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(L,F&E 72) Spying Hard

kalenath's Avatar

08.09.2012 , 04:43 AM | #1
((This story deals with a lot of things, including some non-mainstream relationships. If that bothers you, don't read. That is a BIG part of this story.))

It was very quiet. He liked it that way. He had been stuck on this ship for, well, he wasn’t sure how long he had been here. He had fallen asleep and when he had woken, he had been here. It was weird, he knew something had happened, but he had no idea at all what.

When he had first been given this assignment, he had wanted to protest. Contrary to popular belief, Sith did listen to reasonable complaints. Of course then they often cut down the complainer, but they did generally listen. But he had been given this mission for a specific reason. The group he was supposed to observe had been pushing the limits of Imperial patience. He wasn’t cleared for all of the information, he knew he wasn’t. And that really didn’t bother him.

Operation security was a byword in his business. It was, normally, safer not to know things. But at the same time, lack of information could and often did kill as fast as a sword. His thoughts broke off with their normal suddenness as a soft sound came to his ears.

He froze in place. Another patrol was coming. He resumed his hiding place and started counting in his head. It wasn’t a perfect defense against someone trying to find him with the Force, but it did manage to make his mind harder to track, and that was a useful trick in his line of work. Especially when he was being hunted by Bladeborn. He carefully did not watch through the vent as the patrol of forms in brown armor went by. Even without using the Force, Bladeborn had an utterly uncanny sense of being watched. But then…

A voice called out. “You are very good at hiding, Captain. But enough. Come on out. We won’t hurt you if you come out now.” The soft voice had him going cold. He knew that confident male voice. He didn’t move, didn’t speak. The voice sighed. “Captain, don’t make us come in after you.” He didn’t move, there was no way they could know where he…

He stiffened as he heard recognizable noises nearby. Vent covers being removed. He didn’t stick around. He started off back into the warren of tunnels, vents and ducts that made up the inside of the ship he was stuck on. He hadn’t managed to figure out every nook and cranny on this ship, but he had done all right for having to remain hidden. He had managed to send one message and that had been when the Bladeborn had realized he was aboard. What he had received in reply… Whatever he knew of the Bladeborn, the idea of the entire order turning traitor was ludicrous to the extreme. He had been very glad that his paranoia had extended to using three separate cutouts to send in his message. If he hadn’t, likely everyone on the ship would be dead by now. Imperial Intelligence had no sense of humor. He had to find Trugoy, he had to figure out what was going on.
He was scuttling silently towards another refuge when something strong grabbed him from the side. He struggled, but a heavy clawed hand slammed into his head and he lay stunned as he was dragged from the vent. He couldn’t resist as the strong hands frisked him quickly and professionally and then bound his wrists and ankles in binders. He wouldn’t have resisted even if he could. He knew who had caught him. He looked up into the stern face of the Barabel that served as a clan mother to the Bladeborn and Mama Lizard sighed.

"I sssee you are not totally ztupid." The Barabel’s voice was soft as she picked up the agent, seemingly without effort. “You led usss quite a chaze, captain.” The human did not respond. He also did not struggle. It would have been pointless.

When he spoke, it was quiet and self assured. Amazingly so from a being who was tied hand and foot and being carried by a being who out massed him by about three times. “I don’t talk to traitors.”

The Barabel chuckled sadly. “Well, then it isss a good thing we are not traitorz. Becaussse you are going to talk to uz.” She looked him up and down. “One way or another.”

The agent didn’t flinch, although he knew exactly what Bladeborn were capable of. “I demand to talk to Trugoy.” He said quietly. Of all the things he might have expected, he did not expect Mama Lizard to sigh again.

Mama Lizard’s voice was sad. “Part of me almossst wizhesss you could. He iz dead.”

The agent went completely still. What had happened? He was still trying to regain his bearings when Mama Lizard carried him into the main assembly room and deposited him, almost gently, in front of the dais of the grandmaster. On it… He drew a quick breath as the redheaded woman in the chair leaned forward. Istara Sharlina Andal scrutinized him coldly.

Istara’s voice was cold. “Captain Olin, long time no see.”

Imperial Agent Olin shook his head, utterly dumbfounded by this rapid turn of events. “What happened?” He asked carefully.

"You have been… out of touch." Istara sighed. “We were attacked, by the Republic. Only one casualty. Unfortunately, it was fatality, and it was Trugoy.”

"No." Olin shook his head. “That is impossible. He can’t… He can’t have just… died…”

"I wish." Istara sighed and sat back. “Well, all evidence is that now, he has. And that leaves us with one hell of a mess. The Republic ship that attacked us was destroyed, but not by us.”

"Destroyed..." Olin’s face went white as wheels started turning. “You were set up.”

"Yes." Istara nodded. “So were you. The gas was nonlethal, but they didn’t bring you to the other prisoners. Did you escape or…?” She broke off as Olin stared at her.

Olin shook his head. “I don’t know what you are…” He blinked as he started to make connections. “What the hell?”

His first memory after waking was finding himself in his stateroom. He had tried to find out what had happened, but internal security had been offline. When he had checked the corridors, no one had been in evidence. He had seen one silver armored form in the distance, but it hadn’t had red hair, so he hadn’t dared to make contact. But something was wrong, something was… Why had he been hiding from the Bladeborn? He knew these people. He knew they were not traitors. His eyes went wide as something happened. Something rippled inside his stomach. Was he going to be sick? He didn’t feel nauseous.

Olin looked at himself and blanched at what he saw. “Oh my god…”

Istara seemed to catapult up from her chair as Olin felt pain erupt throughout his body, starting with the divot that had been…eaten out of his stomach. He dimly heard shouting and screaming. The shouting sounded like Istara. The screaming sounded like his own voice. Then the pain disappeared as merciful darkness claimed him.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 04:49 AM | #2
Istara watched in silence at an observation port as Ona and Jon, the medics for the Bladeborn, worked. She shook her head silently. Calling Ona a medic was almost an insult. She was so well trained in so many disciplines that she likely could have gained employment in almost any field in any major hospital. Then the grandmaster snorted silently. That was, if the Bothan could keep from carving her boss up for roasts if he disagreed with her methods. The human turned as the door to the waiting room hissed open and the visitor she had been expecting came in.

Mama Lizard looked awful. The Barabel’s scales were a mess. Some of them had gouges taken from them and the rest were dry and flaky. She was limping slightly. “You asssked to zee me, Grandmassster?”

"Hello Mama." Istara turned until she could face the being that, more than any other had molded a young and headstrong, half trained wild girl into a capable warrior. One that had eventually become grandmaster of the order. Istara’s voice was quiet. “How are you feeling?”

Mama bowed her head. “I owe you my life. I did not think to protect myzelf when I grabbed him. I…” She broke off as Istara stepped forward and embraced the huge being who, more than any other, was her mother. Istara was crying. “Oh Issstara…” Mama Lizard said as she gently embraced the human woman. “It iz okay. You were in time.”

Istara hugged her adoptive mother tight. Sith as a whole detested weakness in any form, but 1) Bladeborn were not Sith, and 2) Istara couldn’t have cared less. She knew that her feelings for this being, and the rest of her kin, were not weaknesses no matter what the rest of the Sith as a whole might say. The entire Empire could go take a run out an airlock before Istara would allow her mother to hurt in private without offering what comfort she could. She was careful to avoid the spots where the microscopic machines had eaten deep into the scales of the Barabel’s arms before Istara, with help, had managed to stop them. She hugged her Mama again and then released the Barabel who remained where she was as Istara took a step back.

Often, Istara wished for things to be as they had been. Back when she was just a blood crazed witch, out to do whatever it took to find the perfect battle, the perfect opponent. Now, she had duties and responsibilities. Istara turned back to the window, sensing Mama coming up beside her as she looked to where Ona and Jon were finishing up the surgery on the Imperial agent Mama had caught. “We have a problem.”

"Yesss." Mama Lizard nodded. “We have zeveral. The Empire. Sssadik and Trizz. Sssetsuna. And this…’Zenator’ that the forcesss who attacked the Zitolon sssaid zent them.” The attackers who had attempted to board the insect races home ship had not fared very well. None had escaped, or would. None had been harmed physically, except for two who had died on impacting the hull. And all had been thoroughly interrogated. Gently, painlessly, and totally. The team of Republic Special Forces had been instructed to get aboard and rescue a supposed hostage aboard. Istara thought it was more like what had been done to the Bladehome, the ship she stood on. A chance to get aboard and get some of the microscopic machines where they could replicate. A chance to ‘infect’ the ships of the people who were trying to support the Seven. Istara still had no real idea what she and the others were supposed to do, if anything.

"Well..." Istara bowed her head. “Setsuna is safe for the moment. Leeto is actually taking more of a risk in remaining there. He wants to stay, and I do not want to pull him out, but…”

The Barabel nodded. “I know. Ssshe is your birth zissster.”

Istara shook her head in a circling motion, cracking her neck. “This sucks Mama. You all need me, or Jina here, to aid when more of those traps are found, like the Captain. There will be more.”

"Yez." Mama Lizard bowed her head. “We mussst leave thiz ship, Issstara.”

Istara nodded. “I know. There are simply too many places that those machines can hide. Too many places where that lousy Jedi might have stuck some.” Again, Istara cursed Thokal Melan. The Jedi Master had been a persistent thorn in her side for some time, and to find out that he had been an unwilling pawn of the enemy that threatened them… The grandmaster started as Mama Lizard placed a gentle hand on her shoulder.

"We have been preparing." Mama Lizard smiled. “We are packed and ready to go, Iztara. All we need isss your word to begin.”

Istara nodded slowly. “Then the word is given. Evacuate the ship.” Mama hugged her daughter again, gently and then turned and left the room. Istara stood for along moment before turning to go. She paused as she saw the door still open and a figure standing in it.

The human male was average in size and weight. In almost every way, the man could have blended into any crowd in the galaxy. But what set him apart were his eyes. The empty sockets were covered by a bandage as always. Not that Idjit, seer and masterblade of the Bladeborn, needed eyes to see.

“You are tired, Istara.” Idjit’s voice was always, was calm and collected.

Istara smiled, just a bit sadly. “It has been a long day. First you introduce me to your protégé and she asks to join us, then we have this excitement. And now… Now we get to leave.”

Idjit nodded slowly. “Leeto will go to Triss, she will need him.”

Istara blinked and then spoke carefully. “Do I want to know why?” Not an impertinent question. Seers had an awful life. Seeing the myriads of possible futures was never a fun thing. Picking the most probable of the ones see out of the mass was… tiring. Add to that the fact that just knowing what was likely to happen never guaranteed that outcome and seers had it hard. Istara wondered sometimes if Idjit was sane. But then she shook it off, sane or not, she loved him.

"Yes." Idjit nodded. “It is begun. I see the plague, spreading. I see the darkness, growing. We need to find a safe place for the Order and the initiates, somewhere they will not be found.”

Istara nodded. “I have.”

"Good." Idjit nodded to her. “Then, grandmaster, it is time you rested.”

Istara shook her head. “I will rest when…” Her words broke off as a large bronze form appeared behind Idjit. “Oh no, you don’t…” She groaned as Nana, her Sitolon keeper came into full view. “No hypos.”

Nana and Idjit looked at each other, and Idjit’s face was a mask of hurt innocence. Nana’s sense in the Force, or Ashla as Istara called it now, was also artful innocence. The large insect’s voice was pained. “Like you could stop me, sister? But no, no hypo this time.” She turned to Idjit. “Be gentle. She has had some rough shocks today.”

Idjit bowed to the large bug and Istara watched in shock as Nana bowed back. And then her eyes went very wide as Nana turned and left the room. Idjit came in slowly and the door hissed shut behind him. Idjit’s voice was quiet, soothing now. “They won’t need us for a while.”

Istara stared at the man and then her eyes went even wider as she felt something from him that she hadn’t for awhile. She had intended to… She had wanted to… “Idjit… I…” She froze as his hands touched her arms and the old energy flew between the fingers and her skin.

Idjit’s voice was quiet and kind. “It’s okay, Istara. It’s okay.”

Istara looked at the man she loved and smiled widely as she surrendered to the inevitable. “How quick can you get out of that robe?”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 04:57 AM | #3
Istara looked a lot better. She had been so tired, so drawn and focused, it had been a wonder that she remained sane. So many responsibilities, so many duties, and so many minor problems all added up to one massive headache. But now the grandmaster of the order looked relaxed and she had a smile on her face as she directed the loading of the cargo shuttles that would carry what they would take from the ship to their new home.

Jina Darkstorm smiled a bit wistfully as she helped. She was not Bladeborn herself, but she had worked with them quite a bit since leaving the Jedi Order. It was funny, she still counted herself a Jedi, she still followed the Code, but… She had been exposed to a world even greater than the one she had known as a Jedi Master. A world of beings who communicated mind to mind, and she had been asked to join that world. She had accepted and hadn’t looked back. Well, not often. She stiffened something rang to her senses. She looked up as a piece of luggage passed her and she waved to the being carrying it. The youthful Bladeborn looked at her, then set the case down quickly and stepped back.

Jina felt rather than saw Istara step close all of her focus was on the case. The grandmaster’s voice was quiet. “What have you got, Jina?”

"Istara..." Jina shook her head slowly. “I am not sure. Maybe nothing, but…” She held out a slow hand towards the case and hissed as her senses picked up what she had feared. “Nope. That one is contaminated. What is in it?”

Istara looked at the Bladeborn who blushed. “Clothing, Grandmaster, Master Jina.”

"Of all the..." Jina sighed. “How many times do I have to tell you people, I am not a Jedi Master anymore…?” Her tone was exasperated but all of her focus was on the case. “And what kind of clothing? Something you can lose?”

The Bladeborn blushed brighter and Istara raised an eyebrow. “Well Cora?” The Grandmaster asked with just a hint of impatience.

"Uh..." The Bladeborn bowed her head. “Dancer’s attire, Grandmaster.”

"Cora..." Jina shook her head. “That case has some of the nanites in it. We can’t take it. If even one gets onto the shuttles, we are right back where we started.” She looked at the youthful Bladeborn. The girl’s sense in the Force was seriously embarrassed. “Cora…?”

"I understand." The Bladeborn didn’t fidget, but was obviously very uncomfortable. “We can destroy it.” But her heart wasn’t in it.

Istara looked at her youthful charge and sighed. “Cora, what is the problem?” Cora stared at the floor and didn’t respond. “Cora.” Now Istara’s voice was flat.

Cora stiffened. She shook her self and bowed her head. “Forgive me Grandmaster… I… I am… embarrassed.”

"Cora… We can replace any clothing you have." Jina sighed. “Fairly easily. What is the problem with you having a dress? I know it’s not very typically warrior-like, but…” She broke off as pieces started clicking. “Oh… that kind of dancer’s attire.” Her face held a look that was part grimace and part smile.

Cora nodded, her face still down. “Chari was teaching me how to dance. How to… How to be seductive. How to dance like she… Like she can.”

Istara stiffened and her face was a study. Chari was an exotic dancer. She did it as a cover on occasion and she was incredibly good at it. “You have what?” She knew her tone was not polite but the thought of one of HER kids wearing that kind of thing made her suddenly aware of just how young Cora was.

"Oh dear..." Jina looked at Istara. “Istara… why don’t you let me handle this. Please?”

"I..." Istara stared at Jina and then at Cora. Her face was sad now. “Cora… I am sorry…I have been acting unprofessional.”

"What…?" Cora stiffened. “No! Grandmaster, I… It is not your fault. I…”

Jina shook her head and with a slow, gentle hand, gave Istara a push towards the rest of the loading work. “Istara… I have got this.”

Istara shook her head and then in a sudden move embraced Cora. The younger Bladeborn stiffened but then relaxed as Istara spoke softly. “I am not angry with you, Cora. If you want to dance, you are welcome to. I will make sure you get the proper attire no matter where we go.” She hugged the girl again and then, swiftly released her and strode towards where a crew was loading packing cases.

"Aw crap." Cora looked to be almost in tears. “I… I never wanted anyone to know…”

Jina sighed. “Ah, younglings. We can’t take that case, Cora.”

"Yeah." The young Bladeborn nodded as she shioved the case to the side where it would be out of the way. “I know. It’s just… I shouldn’t attach, but it was all I had. All that was mine.”

Jina smiled a bit slyly now. “Is there anyone in particular you were trying to gain the attention of?” Cora remained mute, but her embarrassment soared. Jina sighed and put an arm around the girl. But when she did, something… She felt something from the girl she had never felt from anyone aboard. She stared at the girl. Desire. For her. “You… What…?”

"I shouldn't..." Cora was crying softly now. “You are so strong, so brave, so good… I… I am sorry… I should go…You have enough problems.” She shook her head and moved to leave, but Jina grabbed her by the arm and held her in place.

"No, wait..." Jina shook her head slowly. “Cora, I am a Jedi. Perhaps not completely anymore, but I do still follow the Code. I am not supposed to attach to anyone.” She raised the girl’s chin with a gentle finger. “Cora, look at me.” The young Bladeborn did and Jina smiled, just a bit sadly. “I don’t feel the same way for you.”

"I..." Cora hugged herself. “I know. I…” Then both of them stiffened as Istara came striding back towards them. The grandmaster’s face was worried.

Istara spoke without preamble. “Jina, we have a problem.”

Jina nodded to the grandmaster as she stepped away from Cora. “What is up?” She asked.

Istara scowled. “Leeto just called for help. He is trapped on Correllia by a pair of Imperial Intelligence teams. If he stays there too much longer…”

Jina scowled. “...they may find Setsuna simply by accident.” She completed the sentence. The Jedi nodded. “You want me to go get him?”

"If you can." Istara nodded. “Any of us will likely be on the list to detain as well.”

"Hmmm." Jina frowned in thought. “I could use some backup, if just someone to stay with the ship.”

Istara looked at the former Jedi and then smiled. “Cora, up for a trip?” The younger Bladeborn jerked as if something hot had been applied to a tender part of her anatomy.

"I..." Cora stammered. “As you command, Grandmaster.” She bowed to Istara.

"Good." Istara nodded. “Talk to Mama about civilian attire. She will have something your size handy. Go.” Cora was off like a shot.

Jina stared after the young woman and then at Istara. Her eyes were thoughtful. “You knew, didn’t you?”

Istara smirked. “Knew what? Have a pleasant trip.”

"Istara..." Jina just shook her head. “If it is an infatuation…”

"Jina..." Istara sighed and laid a gentle hand on her friend’s should. “Trust the Force. What is it telling you?”

Jina sighed. “That I am stressed and… Oh you rat…” She said as her face colored just a little. “How did you know?”

"I didn't." Istara smiled. “It is an excellent stress reliever, Jina. Humans are not meant to be celibate. Even Jedi.”

"Istara." Jina was shaking her head slowly. “No… No way… Not going to happen…”

Istara shook her head in exasperation. “Jina.” Her voice was bit sharper than it might have been, but no one else was close enough to hear her low tone. “She is not your apprentice, she is not your subordinate. She is of age to make her own decisions, she just turned eighteen. She is a friend. One who cares for you. You will need another hand and she is qualified. More than qualified, she is one of our best young pilots. If something happens between you and her, it is your business, no one else’s.” Istara snorted in wry humor. “At least if you two do, you won’t have to worry about protection, will you?”

Jina slumped and groaned. “You are evil, Istara.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 05:05 AM | #4
It had been an insanely uncomfortable journey. Cora was indeed -as Istara had said- a very competent pilot. Jina had to admit that the girl was actually a better pilot that Jina herself was. This was probably because Jina had never really focused on flying. She could do it, true, but her lightsaber work had always been more important. Cora however, could make the small transport dance.

It made sense, now that Jina thought about it, for the Bladeborn to have a myriad of different types of transports. Everything from assault shuttles to heavy lifters to… this. She hadn’t expected to get this ship, truth be told, she hadn’t really known what Istara had been trying to say by allowing her to use it. She wasn’t sure she wanted to. The luxury shuttle was not discrete. Not by a long shot. Whoever had owned it before the Bladeborn had obviously either been a stone cold wacko or color blind. The exterior was painted the most god awful shade of gold that Jina had ever seen, and the interior was almost worse. It had three staterooms, a main compartment, the engine room and the cockpit. All three of the staterooms were furnished with the most decadent setups Jina had ever seen, and the décor… It was somewhere between a whorehouse and a rich man’s fantasy. Some of the things in the drawers… She shoved the latest one closed with a mental shudder and shook her head. She wasn’t going to look anymore. She strode resolutely out of the room only to stop short. Cora was waiting for her.

The youthful Bladeborn was garbed as a civilian pilot in a standard jumpsuit. Her dark hair had been whitened by the application of a great deal of bleach and her dark blue eyes were changed as well with the insertion of hazel colored contact lenses. Cora spoke before Jina could.

“Ma’am… This ship is a cover. This isn’t real.” The young Bladeborn said with a grimace.

Jina had to smile at the concern in Cora’s voice. She was on edge, she knew that. But she also was worried. She knew Cora had feelings for her, and while it bothered her a little, she understood. Body responses made little sense sometimes.

“I know that, ‘Nio’.” Jina said with a smile.

She smiled sadly as Cora grimaced again. They had both chosen cover names to go with their cover identities. Jina’s name was fairly common, so she simply spelled it Jyna with no last name on the documents that they had. Cora had become Nio, a hired pilot and navigator for the ship. It was as far from her name as she could get, but that wasn’t what bothered her.

"I..." Nio sighed. “I don’t like this, Ma’am. I don’t like this at all. I know why we are doing this. I know that if we show up as ourselves, that bad things will likely happen, but…”

Jina nodded. “It’s the dishonesty, isn’t it?”

Nio grimaced. “Yes, Ma’am. I don’t like lying. It…” She broke off and then spoke again. “I know that we have to. That the mission comes first, but…” She looked away, disconcerted. Jina slumped as she felt the woman’s conflict. She was attracted to Jina, that was clear. But she was also bound and determined not to dishonor herself, Jina or her Order.

"We have time to talk." Jina sighed. “Let’s get something to drink. How long to Correllia?”

Nio glanced at the chrono and frowned. “This tub is reliable, but about as fast as a Talusian snail. I make it at about eight hours.”

"Okay." Jina shrugged as she pulled glasses from a compartment. “Tea?”

Nio sat on a bench against the wall, nearly at attention and nodded. “Tea would be nice, Ma’am.” She was nervous, Jina could tell, but she controlled it well.

Jina busied herself with making the tea and smiled as she finished it. She had never really appreciated tea before meeting the Bladeborn. Now she was unsure how she had ever lived without it. It wasn’t an addiction, per say. She could go without it, and had, for long periods of time. But it helped relax her, it helped her focus on what needed to be done. Like now. She handed a steaming cup to the girl and sat in a chair nearby. The main compartment served many functions. It was a meeting area, a training area, a eating area and even had a gaming table for entertainment.

Jina sipped her tea and waited until Nio had sipped hers before speaking. “Ok, Nio, what is wrong?”

"Um..." The girl on the bench stiffened and looked at the floor. “I… I should not say.”

But Jina was in no mood for evasions. “Nio, what is wrong?” She put no compulsion in her voice, but there was a bit of bite of command in it.

"No." The youthful Bladeborn jerked, nearly spilling her tea. “I… Please don’t ask that of me, Ma’am…”

"Kids..." Jina sighed. “Nio, we are flying into big trouble. Both of us need to be 100%. Is it something I have done? If so, tell me I can fix it.”

"No." Nio shook her head swiftly, she short hair bobbing. “Oh, no, Ma’am it isn’t anything you have done, it’s… just…” She looked at Jina and there was something odd in her eyes.

"Okay, lets try another way." Jina glared at the younger woman. “Nio, if you don’t spit it out right now, I am likely to get annoyed. Even Jedi can get annoyed you know.”

"I... Aw crap..." Nio slumped in her seat and then she raised her eyes to meet Jina’s. “That dress Ma’am. I… You are beautiful in that dress. I… I can’t…” She slumped.

Jina froze. She stared at the girl and then at herself. The blue dress that she was wearing she had barely noticed when Mama Lizard had given it to her. She stood up and went to the refresher. She looked in the mirror and stared at the image that confronted her. Her mouth dropped open.

The older woman that faced her in the mirror was nothing like the severe and stern Jedi Master. They hadn’t changed her brown hair for this, brown hair being common. The green contact lenses were uncomfortable, but would help to disguise her. But the dress… Jina stared at herself. The dress was anything but conservative. She hadn’t noticed. The low cut front was only the most glaring part. It showed skin in the darndest places. The dress by itself would have heads turning even without Jina’s undeniable presence in it. She would have men by the score drooling after her, and many women as well. So much for being inconspicuous.

"Holy..." Jina’s face was ashen as she stepped from the refresher. She stared at Nio. “You have put up with… this…" She waved at heself, her expression incredulous. "...for two hours since we left?” Nio nodded, but didn’t speak. Jina sighed and then smiled. “If you can do that, my god girl, you can do anything.” She moved to sit beside the Bladeborn. Nio stiffened, but Jina didn’t press. “Istara threw us together. I bet Mama Lizard was in on it too. But I don’t care what they want. What do you want?”

"I..." Nio stiffened. “Ma’am… I… What I want isn’t important.”

"You are wrong." Jina shook her head slowly. Then she ran her hand slowly down Nio’s arm. “I think it is.”

Nio shivered. “Ma’am… please… I…”

"Nio..." Jina sat back with a sigh. “If I am going too fast, say so. I won’t hurt you. I promise. I have had relationships in the past, physical and otherwise. I am older and more experienced than you. But you have to be sure you want this. I cannot allow a relationship to get in my way. This may very well be a one night deal. Long term relationships are next to impossible for Jedi and I assume for Bladeborn as well.”

Nio stared at the older woman. “Ma’am… I…” She broke off as Jina embraced her.

Jina’s voice was soft. “Yes or no, Nio. Say no, and I will find something else to wear. And we will never speak of this again. But I can feel your conflict as sure as you feel my lack of it. I don’t care for you that way, Nio.”

Nio nodded, her face down. “I know.” Then she stiffened again and gave a yelp as Jina’s fingers found a sensitive spot and tickled. She stared at the Jedi.

"Nio." Jina grinned. “Jedi are taught all kinds of things. And then they learn all kinds of things while out in the galaxy. Are you up for some… education? We have almost eight hours.” Nio couldn’t speak. She was staring at Jina, stunned speechless. But she didn’t resist as Jina’s hands found the zipper of her jumpsuit and gave a tug. Jina’s voice was quiet in her ear as the Jedi’s strong hands started a soft massage. “I don’t know where this will wind up. But you need it. And so do I.”

The small transport flew through hyperspace oblivious to the cries of pleasure that echoed through it.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 05:11 AM | #5
<Coronet, Correllia>

The pedestrians on the foot path beside the skyway could be excused from noticing the being who was walking on it with them. He wasn’t exactly memorable, more a flash of green scaled skin under a robe and then gone. And even if they had noticed the fact that he stayed in the shadows for the most part, no one likely would have commented. Aliens were not uncommon on Correllia after all. Even Rodians, such as the antennae and large eyes proclaimed this one to be were not unknown. But none of them had a clue what he actually was, or that he was running for his life.

Leeto Gennesavita, or more commonly, just Leeto, was beginning to think he had made a mistake. He hadn’t seen any of his pursuers, but he knew they were there. He didn’t need to see them to know that they were pacing him. The path was a problem. Roads and paths were usually unchancy things. They went two places. At the moment, he had cover, in the crowd, but that wouldn’t last. He had to find a way off this path before…

He didn’t react visibly as two new walkers entered the crowd, but inside he was computing odds and angles. He didn’t recognize either one of them, but he didn’t need to. Even without the Force telling him that both were dangers, they walked like… Well, they walked like people trying not to walk like operatives. They were just a bit too casual. Neither looked at him and he sighed internally. Imperial Intelligence, had to be. Well, the good news was that he had their undivided attention. Istara’s sister Setsuna was safe, as long as she didn’t do anything dumb. Which was highly unlikely. But right now, he was in more trouble than she was. Unless he missed his guess, he had about a minute before all hell broke loose around him. He sped his pace, just a little, curious to see what the followers would do. The two tails kept up their pursuit, but neither closed the distance.

“Flarg.” He muttered under his breath. They likely would keep him in sight until the hit team was in position. Likely they had a sniper or two… He stiffened for a moment and then dove to the side as a blaster shot tore through the area where his head had been. He rolled into cover as the crowd, like crowds usually did when things when ‘bang’, bolted in all directions. A young human woman was on the ground screaming as she clutched her leg. The shot that had missed him had clipped her. A dispassionate glance showed that she was unlikely to die from the wound, but he had bigger problems. Another long range blaster shot tore through the area near his head. He snarled and activated his stealth belt.

Both of the agents that had been closing in on his position slowed their steps as they passed the woman who was whimpering quietly now. This being defined dangerous, but they had him. They both had blasters out as they closed the last few meters to where their quarry had taken shelter, only to find… nothing. Both of them stared at the empty spot for a moment before stiffening. A trail of blood showed heading off towards the side of the pedestrian path. And not human blood either. The pair walked carefully, watching everything and spreading out one attack could not kill both of them. Hopefully anyway.

One of them shook his head as he came across a service hatch. It was closed, but from the look of it, it had just been closed. The trail led right to the hatch. A couple of leaves were half stuck between the hatch and the coaming. He snarled as he keyed his comlink. “Lead, this is Four, target may have gone underground.” He waited for a response and then nodded. “No, no other sign. We need to regroup. If we go underground after this guy, he will slaughter us.” He waited for another response and then nodded slightly again. “Roger.”

He made a hand signal to his partner and the pair started off towards the other end of the pedestrian path. Neither paid any attention to the wounded young woman who was whimpering quietly as they walked away.

Until the pair was out of sight, the girl was whining and crying. As soon as she was sure they were gone, she rolled into a sitting position and snarled. “That is the last time I let you do that to me…”

A quiet voice answered her. “You were perfect, Olandas.” A man in civilian attire, marred by the military grade sniper rifle he held, appeared out of nowhere. “Did you get him?”

Olandas, Senior lieutenant and tech specialist with Imperial Intelligence snarled again at her boss. “You didn’t say you were actually going to shoot me!” She struggled to stand and the man watched as she did so. “Man, that hurts!”

Musano Vorren, Imperial Cipher agent shook his head. “Olandas…” His voice held warning.

The tech sighed. “Yes, I hit him with the aerosol as he passed, just like we planned. Likely he didn’t even see it. He was a little busy. Did you miss on purpose the second time?” She asked snidely.

Another voice answered her. “No, he didn’t.” Both of them froze. That wasn’t a member of their team. “You know who I am.” Neither dared to move.

Vorren didn’t flinch, although it was hard. “Leeto, come on, give it up. The rest of the team will be here in…” He stared at the ground at his feet and snarled. “Son of a barve!” He kicked a small device and it skittered into plain view. A small camera with a small speaker glued to it. Improvised tech, but effective. “You won’t get away, Leeto.”

The Rodian assassin’s voice was quiet and calm. “I already have, Commander. That was very well done, tech Olandas, but your aerosol tracking agent needs work. It smells. And it was water soluble. Well, water and sewer soluble.” A screech came from the camera and it suddenly burst into flame.

Olandas shook her head, amazed by the rapid sequence of events. Vorren just sighed. “Come on, let’s get you back to base, let Mi’Ta check your leg.”

"Okay." Olandas sighed as she started limping off. “Can I have my old face back, please?” Leeto had known her old face, but they had been hoping to keep him off guard long enough to get a tracking agent on him. The Rodian was simply just too slippery to track any other way. They had lucked out when the other team had called in the sighting. They had been ready to move at a moment’s notice with this plan, but it had been a long shot. One did not survive as an assassin among the Sith without being very, very good at sneaky stuff.

Vorren sighed as he led the way to their airspeeder. “You can ask Mi’Ta, but she will probably say no. Not enough time for the quick heal to take hold. At least a week.”

Olandas sighed as she stretched out her leg. “And you don’t get to shoot me again.” Vorren looked at her. “I mean it Boss, I… I am not cut out for field work… I was scared stiff.”

"Scared?" Vorren shook his head as he powered up the speeder. “Olandas… How do you think I feel?”

Olandas stared at the man who she knew was as cold blooded as they came. “But you are never afraid.”

"Never?" Vorren snorted in sour laughter. “Baloney. I just don’t show it or let it control me. Neither did you.” The com in the speeder chimed and Vorren keyed it. “Yes?” He asked.

The voice of the team’s unwilling bounty hunter, Kunda Gev, came through. “We just had a new arrival at the spaceport. It’s… odd…”

The man’s tone had Vorren stiffening. “Odd how?” The team commander asked quietly.

Gev’s voice was quiet, puzzled. “It looks to be a travelling bordello, but there are only two women aboard. Neither matches any of the Bladeborn files, but one… If she isn’t a Jedi, I will eat my helmet. No robes, no lightsaber visible, just the presence, you know?” He would know, he had hunted Jedi and Sith on occasion.

Vorren stiffened. The last thing they needed was another Jedi poking her nose into the mess on planet. “Keep an eye on them, a distant one. We need to rethink.”

Gev sighed. “Everything looks legit. All the papers are… Whoa… Wait a sec…”

Vorren looked at Olandas and the tech looked back as the hunter’s voice took on a harder edge. Vorren queried. “What?”

Gev’s voice was sharp with fear now. “Gotta call you back boss.” The line cut off.

Vorren stared at Olandas and she slumped, then reached into her pocket and pulled out a painkiller hypo. She injected herself and nodded. “Good to go.”

Vorren nodded and threw the airspeeder onto a new heading, towards the spaceport. As he did, he hit the com again. “All personnel, converge on spaceport. Trouble.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 05:17 AM | #6
She never –quite- lost consciousness. It was close though. When the two ‘security’ personnel had come up to them after they had exited the ship, Jina had known something was wrong. It wasn’t standard procedure to quarantine people who simply arrived. The Force had also been telling her that there was a problem and she had learned a long time ago not to ignore that little quiver in her head that said ‘danger’. No matter how good she was with a lightsaber, she was not invincible, she had learned that lesson well at an early age. So when the room they had been ushered into filled with anesthetic gas, she had been ready, or so she had thought. Her meditation had sufficed to keep her from passing out completely, but she was befuddled and slow when two dimly seen individuals had come in, frisked her and Nio and then bound both of them. Then more had entered and carried the two women from the room, put them in an airspeeder and brought them here. Wherever here was.

Jina stretched out with her senses and recoiled slightly at what she felt. Such pain and horror could only be one place run by the Republic. She snarled silently, working with all her might to remain calm and collected as she tried to find a way to get free. She had to get free. She wasn’t sure exactly where they were, but she knew who had them, and she for one had no wish at all to be the next guinea pig on the Special Branch of Republic Intelligence’s operating table. He felt sensation return to her extremities, but didn’t move as a shadow fell across her.

“Ah, a new acquisition.” The voice was kind, gentle even. It was female, and older, almost maternal. But something about it made Jina’s flesh crawl. Jina felt hands explore her body in a medical fashion, and then withdraw. The voice spoke again. “It is all right, ma’am. You will be all right. Here, this will make you feel better.” A sting on her shoulder over the brachial artery and fire spread from that spot quickly into her body. She barely felt the presence withdraw; she was too busy fighting what had been injected into her body.

The Sitolon had warned her about the microscopic machines, how they replicated, how they worked and how to stop them. The techniques that the insect race had developed for combating them however required a certain clarity of thought that Jina was lacking, as befuddled by the drugs as she was. It was all she could do to keep from crying out as the pain increased. She was on the verge of passing out completely when a wave of bliss flowed through her and a wave of compassion and worry came from outside her. She felt the touch of many minds on hers and she gave a wordless cry in her mind. A plea for help.

Jina. The voice was sharp and she recognized it. Jina, stay awake!

I…Istara… Jina struggled with all her might to remain conscious. She knew if she slept that the machines would have free reign inside her. To rewrite her mind for obedience. Help…

Hold on sister. Istara’s voice was quiet and then…something passed into her. The Jedi had no words for how it felt. It was light and dark at the same time. It was warm and cold. It was… It was incredible. Suddenly the pain vanished. Istara’s voice was still worried but calmer now. That should do you. Get Cora and get out of there. The mental touch caressed her mind and then vanished.

Jina opened her eyes, not surprised to find herself on a bed in what looked like a medical ward. She looked for cameras, found one that pointed at her bed and fried it with a pulse of Force energy. It was sure to be monitored, but she had to move, and fast. The restraints that held her were the work of a moment to undo with the Force. Then she was in motion, looking for Nio. No one else was in the room she was in and she made her way to the door. Footsteps hurried towards the room and she flattened herself by the door.

The door clicked and opened. “Stupid fracking cameras. Always breaking down… What the…” The woman in armor had less than a second to see the empty bed before Jina was on her.

No matter what holo-vids or novels might say, hand to hand combat was never easy. And when the combatants were both trained in hand to hand combat as both of these women were, it got messy, very messy. Jina grabbed the armored woman and threw her into the room with a hip throw. But the woman rolled and came up in a ready stance before charging the Jedi. Flurries of blows, faster than the eye could see, almost faster than the Force could follow, were exchanged and both women took damage. Finally the armored woman managed a solid hit and slammed Jina’s jaw with a solid punch. The Jedi recoiled, seeing stars, but then recovered before the armored woman could press her advantage and with a fast leg sweep, managed to knock the woman’s legs out from under her. Jina pressed her advantage and pulled the woman’s helmet off. The face that was revealed was younger than Jina, and… off somehow. Jina flinched as she saw the eyes. Something in the eyes… Jina recognized the pain, fear and horror in the woman’s eyes. It had likely been in her own when the machines had been injected into her.

But this time she could handle it alone. The Jedi, quick as whip, reached out and touched the woman on the forehead, and the woman froze, a strike half completed. Then the armored woman screamed, a heartrending sound of pain, loss and anger. Then she collapsed and tears were falling.

"Easy." Jina pulled the woman into an embrace. “It’s okay. It’s okay. You will be okay, soldier.”

"No." The woman shook her head but didn’t pull away from Jina’s kind embrace. “No it’s not. It won’t ever be okay again…” She was crying hard now. “I am sorry… I am sorry…” She repeated in a daze.

"Shh..." Jina hugged the woman. “I understand, soldier. They put those things in you. You couldn’t disobey. What is your name?”

"Name?" The soldier gasped. “Olian… Mara Olian… Commander, Republic Navy… Or I was… Please…Don’t let them take me again…”

Jina nodded. “I won’t, Commander. But I need your help if we are going to get out of here.”

"I..." Olian shook herself and pulled on her training, working her elbow where Jina had caught her before nodding. “What do you need, ma’am?”

Jina nodded as she let the commander go and sat back. “Information right now. How long until you have to report in about the camera?” Jina looked at herself and nodded, she was wearing the outfit she had selected to land in, a neutral shipsuit. She wished she had worn her lightsaber.

"Time?" Olian took a deep breath and nodded. “Up to twenty minutes, Ma’am. I…” The commander was obviously in shock and Jina touched her on the arm, sending power flowing through the woman, calming, healing. Olian smiled. “Thank you.”

"You are welcome." Jina nodded. “But we need to get out of here. My companion. Do you know where they have her?”

"The girl?" Olian grimaced. “She is in isolation. They are prepping her for surgery. I think they plan on making her a droid pilot.” Jina grimaced. That was a horrid fate, to be plugged into a droid and programmed to obey without question.

"Oh." Jina flinched. “I am too old, right?”

"I don't know." Olian shook her head. “The doc said something about ‘Not ticking the Jedi off any more than they have to’? I don’t know why. I mean… Some of the leaders are Jedi.”

"I know." Jina sighed. “How many personnel on base, commander?”

"Right now?" Olian stared at her. “Twenty three soldiers not counting me, three docs, Ma’am. All of them… like I was…” She curled in on herself, the sheer horror of what she had undergone overwhelming her.

"Okay." Jina shook her head. “Are there any Jedi here now?” The last thing she wanted to do was face Vandar without her lightsabers and preferably two or three dozen friends backing her up. Not here, not now. Not when others were in danger.

Olian thought about that. “I don’t think so, no… the two that I know of went out earlier. They said something about ‘a disturbance in the Force’.”

"Okay." Jina nodded as she rose slowly. “I am going to need your help.”

"Uh..." Olian flinched but then nodded. “I don’t know what good I will be… How did you…? I couldn’t do anything once that witch put those things in me…”

"Long story." Jina nodded. “I have some advantages. First of all, we need to find my friend and any other prisoners they have here.”

"Ah." Olian smiled a bit wanly. “You are in luck, this is the medical wing. All prisoners are brought here first. Then sequestered for whatever.” She shivered a bit.

Jina smiled, a thin, death’s head smile. “I don’t think things are going to work out as they planned this time commander.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.09.2012 , 05:20 AM | #7
Cora didn’t hurt. She wasn’t totally sure what had happened. Jina hadn’t wanted to create a scene, so they two had cooperated with the security types that had come up and requested that they follow. She moved herself a little and whatever she was lying on sloshed just a bit. But then she realized she wasn’t lying ON something, she was IN something as the sloshing continued over her face. She tried to open her eyes, but they wouldn’t. She focused on what she could hear and, just barely audible, she could hear something. When she focused on it through the Force, she could hear a voice speaking in low tones. The words made no sense however. They were not in a language she knew. Or did she? She focused as hard as she could, but then she felt consciousness slipping away. She didn’t feel anything around her physically, and through the Force, she could feel sentients working around her. She was in a sensory deprivation tank. From the horrors she sensed around her, she knew who had her. The Bladeborn had fought Republic Intelligence Special Branch on several occasions, rescuing many of their experimental subjects.

She fought with all her might, but the drugs that had been introduced into her system were too strong. She fell into darkness terrified out of her mind. Someone was programming her to obey, using subliminal indoctrination. She had to focus, she had to fight it… She was struggling against whatever held her as she fell asleep.


Jina and Commander Olian moved carefully through the medical ward. Jina could see and sense slumbering forms all around, most of which were probably experimental subjects. A horrible fate, and one she would do her darndest to keep from happening, but right now, she had to find Cora. Then she stiffened as Commander Olian paused at an empty bed.

The commander’s voice was worried. “This was where she was. They must have moved her to processing.”

Jina felt a pang of worry, but then she tensed. “Company.” She ducked for cover behind the bed as a white garbed form entered the room and paused on seeing the armored from of the commander.

The male human nodded to the soldier. “Unit 004-12. Did you fix the camera in room eight?”

Olian shook her head. “Unable to comply. Failure of main servos requires replacement.” The words were monotone, as if a droid were talking and the white garbed being sighed.
The man shook his head. “Sometimes I wish you all could do more than obey simple instructions.” He strode up to the commander and smiled a bit grimly. “Status?”

Olian didn’t move. “Unit 004-12 fully functional.”

The man paused. “Are you? Your colony is not responding…” He stared at the armored form and then screamed as Jina’s hand snaked out from under the closest bed and touched him on the leg between his boot and the bottom of his medical tunic where the skin was bare. He collapsed bonelessly and Olian grabbed him.

Olian pulled the shuddering form into a corner and held him while Jina came out of her hiding spot. The Jedi was shaking in exertion. Olian looked at her. “You can’t do that for everyone can you?”

Jina shook her head. “No. It takes a lot of effort. What the…?” She asked as the man in Olian’s arms started to convulse. “Get away from him!” Jina said sharply. Olian dropped her burden and the two women watched as the man curled into a fetal position and died. Jina shook her head, horrified. “He had been a ‘colony’ too long. He couldn’t survive without it.”

Olian shook her head. “This is… not good… If they took your friend away… They will be operating on her soon.”

Jina snarled. “Over my dead body.” She started looking through lockers and froze on seeing what was in one. Jedi robes and a… She picked up the lightsaber and ignited it. The blue blade hummed as she took a few passes, trying it out. It wasn’t her custom reforged ones, but it would do. She turned to Olian and nodded. “Let’s see what kind of trouble we can cause.”

Olian stood back from where she had been looking in another locker. “Ma’am…? Look at this.”

Jina came up and shook her head as she saw a set of state of the art bounty hunter armor racked neatly in the locker. “Another prisoner?”

Olian nodded. “Must be a new acquisition. I never saw any bounty hunters.”

Jina nodded. “Where would they have taken the girl? To operate on her?”

Olian shook her head slowly. “If they are following standard procedure, then they prepped her here, and then moved her to a sensory deprivation tank for the initial programming. Then they will operate.”

"Over my dead body." Jina nodded as she pulled the Jedi robes out of the locker. They looked like they would fit her. “Where is the operating theater?”

"The operating theaters are in building annex G." Olian had a smile on her face that was clear even though her helmet as she nodded. “That is two hundred meters west of here.” She pulled a Republic Special Forces issue rifle from another locker and checked the settings expertly.

Jina pulled the cloak over her head and nodded as she settled it in place. “Right, let’s go cause some trouble.”


Kunda Gev shook himself awake. He had been ambushed by two forms in Republic Special Forces armor. He remembered one of them raising a rifle and then… darkness. He hadn’t expected to wake up at all. He was a prisoner. He had been one often enough yo recognize the feelings of the restraints that bound him. But… He also prepared for such things. One did not survive long as a bounty hunter unless one was prepared for when things went south. He moved his hands unobtrusively until he could get at one of his backups. He managed to get the buckle of his belt undone easily and the blade slid into his hand as it was designed. Funny, no one ever seemed to search for low tech ways of getting out of restraints. A knife with a serrated edge often worked just as well as a vibroblade, if slower. And it was silent. Two straps that held him to the bed were in reach. One at his waist, the other just below his shoulders. But he had to keep from being seen by the camera as it whirred and turned.

He listened, but no sounds came from anywhere nearby. He cracked his eyes and found himself in what was either a secure medical ward or a fairly comfortable cell. The camera over the door whirred and he sighed as he considered his options. Likely the Imperial Intelligence team could track him by the device in his head, if it hadn’t been messed with or jammed. And if they even bothered to come after him. He put the odds at about 50% that Vorren would simply hit the destruct switch and blow his head up with the bomb that was nestled beside the tracker implant. He stiffened as a pair of voices came to his ears. A quick glance around showed that the speakers were not in the room, but they had to be close by from the strength of their voices.

A male voice was speaking. “…look, I know what the scans show. We need to deal with them.”

A female voice, harsher, answered. “Why? He is just a pawn. Just deal with the scum and get rid of the body somewhere where it won’t be found for a while.”

The male voice protested. “We can use him. For spare parts if nothing else. All we need to do…” Gev’s guts froze, but then one of the straps holding him down parted. He was careful to keep his cutting hand sheltered from the camera and not to move from his place on the bed.

The female voice cut off the male one. “We don’t have time. We need to get those pilots programmed, implanted and into the droids. We don’t have time for diversions. Do as you are told, doctor.”

The male voice sighed. “Yes, Doctor.” Gev carefully hid the knife under his body as a door hissed open nearby and footsteps came close. His eyes were cracked enough to see a sad eyes man in medical white looking down at him with a hypo in hand. The doctor sighed. “Sorry pal, I tried.” He froze as Gev moved.

Gev’s hand came up, throwing the blade at the camera. His other hand, free from the restraints that held him down, struck fast and precise. The doctor never knew what killed him as the bounty hunter’s lethally precise blow struck the man just above the upper lip and on the bony part of the nose, sending shards of bone into the man’s brain. The man fell without a sound. Gev was in motion, pulling at the final restraint that bound his feet to the bed and then swinging himself off the bed. Time to get out of here, and maybe cause some trouble along the way…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.09.2012 , 05:28 AM | #8
Cora was not fully conscious, but on some level, she was aware of the fact that she was in big trouble. She could feel pressure here and there on her body and she could hear conversation around her, but it made no sense. She tried to remain calm. If these scum were following the same procedure as the others the Bladeborn had found, she was being operated on, probably by a machine. They would have put her in a life support suit already and connected her innards to mechanical plumbing. She felt something buzz against her head and tried to scream as she felt her hair being shorn off. A croak sounded loud to her ears. Something cradled her head in a padded grip and she tried to scream again as she felt pressure against her head. It didn’t hurt, but she knew what was happening. They were operating on her brain!

"What the-?" A startled voice sounded from nearby. “Hey, this one is awake.”

Another voice sounded. “That is impossible, she has enough sedatives in her to knock out a Ronto.”

"it is supposed to be impossible, but..." The first voice spoke again, sharper. “Her brain activity just skyrocketed. Aw hell, I am dosing her again.” Cora felt something change and then she was falling again, but not far, just enough to lose interest in what was going on. She knew she had to focus, she knew she had to fight, but she couldn’t. The first voice sounded relieved now. “That’s better, we don’t want her moving with the cranial cavity open. She is the best candidate among these. Too bad she is the last we can do.”

"Right." The second voice spoke again. “First set of implants are in place and connected. Second set is being fitted now. You think she will survive?” It was scary how clinical and cold the voice was. Not that Cora could care as drugged as she was.

Now the first voice was sour. “She has a better chance than any of the kids. I mean, come on, whose idea was it to select such young kids? They are not as strong as adults. The teenagers will have serious problems even with their systems in biometric stasis.” Something percolated through Cora’s befuddled mind. Kids…

The second voice was sharp now. “You know why we chose them. We have no time to be choosy. We have to get these subjects prepped and off world in time to meet the master. Or he will be… upset. There we are , all done. Turn her one.” Something changed and suddenly Cora relaxed. She didn’t want to, she didn’t order her body to, but it suddenly was not obeying what commands she could give it. Her eyes opened and she saw the faces of two masked and gowned beings standing over her.

One was a Mon Calamari, and it nodded to her. It was the first one that had spoken. “Welcome, unit 901-12. Status?”

Cora was screaming inside as she felt her mouth open and her voice spoke in a monotone. “Unit 901-12 status nominal. Awaiting orders.”

The second masked being, a human, nodded. “Sit up, 901-12. Time to move to your new home.”

Cora was screaming, trying to fight as her body obeyed the commands it was given. It stumbled a bit and both of the doctors held her as she regained her balance.

“Easy there.” The Mon Calamari said. “Come.” Cora could only watch helplessly as the two white garbed beings led her towards a hoverchair. They helped her sit and then she watched as the two medics connected various hoses to the white suit that she was in. If this was the same as others the Bladeborn had seen, this was for life support. The Mon Calamari nodded. “Head back, 901-12.”

Cora’s head moved of its own volition and lay against a padded headrest. A hand cradled her head for a moment and a helmet was placed over her head. For a second, she was in the dark, but then vid screens came alive inside the visor. She felt something latch into place around her neck but couldn’t see what. She had no control even over her eyes. They remained facing directly ahead. But the view on the vid screens was apparently 360 degree, she could see all around. She could see the large red bulk of the Special Branch war droid that she would occupy that sat ominously nearby.

The human was connecting more tubes to the suit and Cora could feel pressure as fluids started travelling though the tubes. He nodded. “There we go. 901-12. Enjoy your new home.”

Cora was screaming silently as the hover chair lifted off and towards the droid. The chest panel of the huge monstrosity opened silently and she was nearly gibbering as the chair turned around. She screamed again silently as she passed into the chest of the droid and the chair settled with a click. She felt pressure all around her now as restraints clicked into place. There was no way at all that she would be able to break free. She could hear and feel the droid coming to life around her. A single tear dripped down her cheek as the systems came online. She couldn’t do anything else. The sensors came online and she could see the two doctors watching the droid with expectant expressions. She watched, unable to do anything, as a man in ill fitting clothing came into the room and without a word, shot both of the docs.

The man stared at her, obviously shocked. “What the hell is this?” He asked quietly.

Cora felt her mouth working. “This is unit 901-12. Orders?”

It was a tossup who was more shocked by that, Cora or the stranger. The man shook his head slowly. “Say what?”

The voice that was Cora’s but not spoke again. “Unit 901-12 awaiting orders.”

The man shook his head slowly. “You are not a droid, are you?” His voice held fear now.

Cora’s voice answered him. “Negative. This unit is 901-12.”

The man shook his head again and then dove for cover beside the droid as the door opened again. A figure in Republic Special Forces armor and a figure wearing Jedi robes entered. The man raised his blaster but neither of them attacked. Cora felt her heart soar as she recognized the woman in Jedi attire. Jina!

Jina Darkstorm spoke evenly. “Don’t do anything rash, bounty hunter. We are not enemies today.”

The man snarled at her. “Prove it.”

The Jedi strode forward, her eyes on the droid. “Oh, Cora…” Her voice was sad. “We will get you out of this. I promise.”

Everything stopped as another voice sounded. “You should not make promises you cannot keep, Jina.”

Cora felt her guts turn to ice as a small green form stepped into the room from the still open door. She knew who that was! Everyone who served or had served the Empire knew who the small green being in Jedi robes was. They all knew he was probably one of the most powerful of the Jedi order, as well as one of the oldest.

Jina sighed and turned slowly on her heel. “Hello, Vandar.”

The small green Jedi master sighed as well. “This doesn’t have to end in bloodshed, Jina. We didn’t know she was with you. We can take her out of there.”

Jina didn’t move. “Can you?” Her voice was flat.

"Jina.,.." Vandar Tokare, or the being who appeared as him shook his head slowly. “We are not enemies. You know me.”

"Oh?" Jina shook her head as well. “Do I?” Impossibly, her voice got flatter.

Vandar shook his head. “Jina, no. Don’t… Just listen…”

Jina smiled grimly. “Funny. Melan said the same exact thing to Will. In the exact same tone no less. Who is pulling your strings, Vandar? You are not in charge. If you were, this horror would have been a lot better organized.”

Cora felt something change. She couldn’t look away from where her eyes were pointing, but she could use the Force and she could sense the bounty hunter doing something at the side of the droid.

"No." Vandar sighed deeply. “I don’t want to fight you, Jina. But you are not leaving me any choices.”

"Choices?" Jina shook her head. “What choices? You want to enslave people? You are a Jedi, Vandar. How can you do this? How can you condone this?” She waved a hand at the droid. Her tone was still flat, but conveyed intense disgust now.

"Jina." Vandar shook his head and his face became stern. “You do not know the whole story Jina. We can undo what they did. We can pull your friend out, send her to Cranna’s clinic, they can get the implants out with less damage than anyone else.”

"You are kidding." Jina scoffed. “I don’t know the whole story? Neither do you. And you would do that out of the goodness of your heart?”

"Any other time and I would, yes. Now?." Vandar shook his head. “No. I would do it because it is the right thing to do. And I would let her go in exchange for you.” Suddenly Cora felt fear, lots of fear. This had been a trap. For Jina! This whole thing had been a trap for Jina! She couldn’t let them get away with this. Vandar spoke again. “What do you say, Jina?”

Jina thought about that for a moment. “Well, let’s see. I have your word, alone, that you will undo the slavery that you have placed my friend in. The word of a being who has lied to me many times. Who has lied to the entire Jedi Order. So, I place myself in your power and of course you are going to let her go. Because you will keep your word this time.” The last few words dripped with sarcasm.


Cora was struggling against the bonds that held her when suddenly, she was elsewhere. And she was free. She collapsed to her knees, screaming and crying. Strong arms caught her and held her as she sobbed.

A soft and kind young female voice spoke to her. “Easy, easy… We don’t have a lot of time if we are going to help Jina.”

Cora looked up into concerned green eyes. “Who… Who are you?” She asked in a daze. She was on the plain. She knew that. The endless gray was something she had been told about by her teachers but had never expected to see.

The girl smiled, a bit ferally. “My name is Sara. I managed to link to you through Jina, but I don’t know how long this will last. Some friends and I are working to undo the programming in your mind, but I don’t know how much we can do. Time doesn’t work here the same as it does in the real world but…” Cora felt herself yanked and Sara’s voice was sharp now. “Cora, remember. They are not the Republic! Not the Republic…”


Cora found herself back in the horror that she had been encased in, and apparently little if any time had passed. Jina and her ally in armor were both still where they had been and Vandar stood where he had been since he entered.

Vandar spoke softly. “Well, Jina?”

"Well..." Jina shook herself and stretched. Joints popped as she did. “I think I will take a quote from a friend of mine. ‘Flarg you and the cat you rode in on’. Master.” This last was sour.

Vandar sighed. “Oh Jina…” He shook his head. “Very well. Unit 901-12, disable aggressors in bay. Non-lethal force.”

Cora couldn’t do anything as circuits fired in the droid. The bounty hunter screamed from where he had been trying to hack the droid and collapsed as electric current arced through him to the deck plates. The droid took a step towards Jina who had her saber out and then stopped. Cora blinked. Wait a moment, she blinked? She hadn’t been able to do that before. She shook herself and then she smiled. She had control of the droid!

Vandar stared at the droid. “Unit 901-12 protect the Republic.” It sounded like a code phrase.

Cora spoke evenly and in her normal voice. “You are not the Republic.” She brought the droids guns up and pointed them at the green Jedi master. “I am Cora, warrior of the Bladeborn, and you are dead.” With that, she opened fire.
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08.09.2012 , 05:43 AM | #9
For just a moment, Jina was just as stunned as Vandar looked, but then he moved force quick. The wash of fire tore through the area where he had been. Apparently, Special Branch had upgraded the armaments of the battle droids since the last models Jina had seen. Two heavy repeaters, a plasma projector and a sonic cannon all poured fire at the small green form. Two other, larger, weapons did not aim or fire and Jina winced as she realized that this wasn’t even the full firepower of the battle droid. She lost sight of the other Jedi Master in the hail of energy fire that passed through where he had been standing. But she saw his Force sped form darting out the door and called out to Cora.

“Cora! Cora! Stop, he has run!” Jian shouted over the din.

The torrent of fire came to a halt and the droid was impassive for a moment. The massive red droid took a step and then seemed to hesitate for a moment before Cora’s voice came from it. “Jina…? What do I do?” The girl sounded scared out of her mind and Jina could understand.

Jina kept her voice calm. “Cora, what happened? How are you controlling that thing?”

"I..." Cora’s voice was baffled. “I have no idea. I… I just do what I would in my body and it does things.” The droid seemed to freeze for a moment before rising to its full height and turning around slowly. “Well, not quite…” Cora said a bit sheepishly.

Jina stiffened. “Cora…? When subjects are placed in those droids, they lose all ability to do anything but obey. What happened? How are you free? Are you free?”

"I don't know what happened." Cora’s voice was scared again. “I was here, but then I was somewhere else. There was a girl there who said that I had to resist and she would help. But I have never seen her before.”

The armored from of the commander was edging towards cover, for all the good that such meager protection would do against such heavy firepower. Jina shook her head slowly. What she could sense from Cora was scared but not compelled, not controlled. Jina shook her head again. “Okay Cora, I am going to keep a close eye on you though.”

"Yes." Cora’s voice sounded less scared now. “Please. The absolute last thing I want to do is suddenly turn on you. They have… Hmmm…” Cora’s voice turned thoughtful. “I understand a lot of the functions. How do I know that? I never studied these things.”

"Well..." Jina kept her voice modulated. “From what I understand, part of the programming is manuals for the droid, so the pilot knows what it can and cannot do. Wouldn’t do for the thing to try and make too sharp a turn at the top of a cliff now would it?”

"Oh." Cora’s voice turned mischievous. “They have that part covered.” A hum came from the huge droid and suddenly it was hovering a meter in the air. A giggle came from the droid. “Look, Ma, no hands.”

Jina sighed. Cora might have been an eighteen year old Bladeborn, but at heart, she was still a child. “Cora.” Her voice was flat. She made a gesture at the droid. “Mind your feelings girl. You do not want to fall to the Dark Side in that thing.”

"Uh..." A gulp came over the speaker and then the droid settled back to the floor silently. Cora’s voice was subdued. “I… Jina… Help me… What do I do? They have to have some kind of backup plan in case the droid goes berserk. After all, many of the people who go into these things go mad. But there is nothing in the files I can access about that.”

Jina came up and laid a hand on the droid. Was it her imagination or did the droid seem warm to the touch instead of cold like metal should be? Jina’s voice was calm. “They almost certainly have a self destruct of some kind. A report I read about the one that a young woman named Nia was trapped in said that it was triggered by radio link and was the reactor of the droid.”

Cora’s voice was soft. “I control the com system, and… Self destruct is a thermal charge. I have control of that. Whoa…” Jina froze as she felt a spike of fear from the trapped girl. Fear that quickly turned to humor. “I don’t believe this. They are acting as if I am not here. They are trying to access me. Idiots.” Cora snorted.

Jina shook her head and turned to her companion. “Check the bounty hunter. We will want to take him with us. If we can get out of here.”

"Jina..." Cora laughed sourly. “Getting out of this building will not be hard.” The droid’s arm mounted weaponry whined a bit as it moved up and down. “But what after that? They have heavy weapons outside and…” Her voice broke off.

Jina stiffened as she felt something odd from the droid. Resignation. “Cora? Cora, what is wrong?”

"We are almost out of time." Cora’s voice turned just as flat as Jina’s had been when she spoke again. “They have fourteen more droids already packaged for shipment on a cargo lifter.” Jina felt her blood freeze, but Cora wasn’t done. “The docs… I heard them while they were working on me, I guess the sedatives didn’t work as well on me since I was trying to detox myself. They put kids in them, Jina.”

"Flarg..." Jina stiffened. Istara’s Bladeborn felt very strongly about children in danger, mainly because most of them had been hurt or abused as children. “Cora, we can’t help them.”

"You can't." Cora snarled. “I can.”

"No!" Jina jumped away as the droid started forward. “Cora! No! You know they have heavy weapons trained on the building now.”

Cora’s voice was clinical now. Jina felt a great detachment from the girl, as if she was working fast and using parts of her mind that she didn’t normally. “There are four heavy weapons emplacements on the perimeter of the camp, two with heavy repeaters and two with grenade launchers. There are two more on the top of this building, both with missile launchers. Only two of the perimeter ones can bear on the loading door to the building. Which is where they expect me to go, if this com chatter is right.”

"Oh?" Jina blinked and then smiled. “You are tapped into their coms?”

Cora snickered. “Hardwired in, apparently. They keep trying to access the droid, but I won’t let them.”

"Cora." Jina shook her head. “Don’t get cocky, Bladeborn. They have to have backups.”

Cora’s voice was sick now. “They do. But Jina… They are saying that the ship they are supposed to deliver the kids to is due anytime. I can’t wait.”

"No." Jina stiffened. “Cora, you go out that door and you are a target.”

Cora’s voice had a grin in it when she spoke again. “Who said anything about me using the door?” The droid hovered again and Jina felt a surge of something from the droid, almost a battle lust. Suddenly, the Jedi realized something. For all that she liked Cora, Istara and the other Bladeborn, the Bladeborn were not Jedi. She had fallen into the mental pattern of seeing the somewhat odd sword wielders as somewhat strange Jedi. Cora was certainly not a Jedi, not with what Jina was sensing now. A lust for battle that rivaled any Sith Jina had ever fought.

Jina spoke softly. “Cora. Be true to the Code.”

Cora’s voice was soft as she spoke. It was in an ancient tongue, but one Jina was learning bits and pieces of. And these she knew by heart after weeks of working with the Bladeborn. <Loyalty. Duty. Honor. Respect. Vigilance. Prowess. Humility. Courtesy. Valor. Service. Sacrifice. > Cora’s voice changed, from the friend, to the warrior. “Get back, Jina.”


Vorren scowled as he perused the readouts on the scanner. They had followed the tracker implant that was in Gev’s head all the way to this place. He shook his head. He didn’t want to lose the bounty hunter, the man was useful. But there was literally no way at all that the small team would be able to extract the man from a full on Republic Intelligence Special Branch armed camp. He counted six heavy weapon emplacements, and there was a lot of activity now. Soldiers in armor were running to and fro. He shook his head.

Mi’Ta was laid out prone beside him and her face was set in hard lines as she scrutinized the camp. She had actually worked for Republic Intelligence Special Branch, before finding out what was really going on, being betrayed and left for dead in a flooding mine shaft. Vorren had found her and given her an offer she couldn’t refuse. Her voice was flat.

“Not a chance, Boss. Not with only three of us.” She said with a hard look.

Olandas sat in the speeder back where they had landed it behind the ridge. Mi’ta had been very annoyed with the tech. The Twilek medic had actually gone so far as immobilizing both of Olandas’ legs as a precaution. She didn’t speak, she knew what was coming. Vorren sighed and pulled a remote from his pocket. He looked at the unmarked button on it and shook his head. He liked Kunda Gev, but… They couldn’t take the chance of the man talking.

But then the odd man out of the team spoke up. Olut’s voice was puzzled. “Wait…” All of the others looked at the apprentice whose face was far away. “Something… I sense power, great power. But… Oh boy!” He grimaced.

They all stared at him, but then their attention as pulled to the camp as an explosion was heard. Every set of eyes went wide as one of the buildings, the one with the missile launchers on top, seemed to grow. No, a large chunk of the reinforced roof was flying off and coming up from it was an easily recognizable form. The red war droid hovered for just a moment and then landed in front of the building with a crash that was audible even to the team. It immediately opened fire on the other heavy weapon emplacements.

"Crap." Vorren cursed. “Well, we knew they had more of the droids.”

"Huh?" Mi’Ta however was shaking her head. “Why is it attacking the RI goons?”

"WHat?" Vorren stiffened and returned his gaze to the camp which was in utter disarray now. The droid was firing steadily, probably so as not to overheat it’s weapons. And everything it shot at either died or exploded. Then he stiffened even further as a small green form became visible through the smoke and fire, striding to face the droid. “Flarg me… Is that who I think it is?”

"Oh my..." Olut’s voice held fear for the first time since Vorren had met him. “Yes. That’s Vandar…”
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08.09.2012 , 05:51 AM | #10
It was such a rush. For the first time in her life, Cora truly understood what all of the Masterblades had been so careful to warn everyone about. It was a heady feeling. She was, literally, a goddess of war. Nothing could touch her. And when she reached out and touched things, they died. But she shook herself, this feeling was dangerous. All of the older Bladeborn warned the younger ones about giving in to the feeling, the Dark Side lurked very, very close in this feeling. Cora focused on what she had to do.

She moved a bit and fired again. A cluster of armored forms that had been trying to regroup was torn completely apart. She saw her target. The heavy cargo lifter speeder was still parked where the data in the droid’s files sad. They hadn’t moved it. She turned her guns that way and then paused. A small green form stood between it and her. She snarled and aimed at it. Vandar didn’t move and she blinked, but then fired anyway. She didn’t bother with the heavy repeaters, they wouldn’t do any good against a lightsaber armed being. Instead she fired the sonic cannon and plasma projector.

To her utter amazement, he didn’t draw his lightsaber. Instead the sonic pulses and gobs of plasma flew, slowed and reversed course bare inches from his hand! And they didn’t deflect at random, no, they reflected back at her! The bolts hit and she screamed as the feedback from the droid’s shields hit her brain. She shook herself and snarled at the green form.

"Jedi." Cora kept her voice flat with effort. “You will not stop me, you evil scum.”

"Stand down." Vandar Tokare’s voice was soft and sad. “Child, I am not your enemy.”

"No?" Cora snarled. “You have an odd way of showing it.” Despite most of her attention being focused on the Jedi Master, she did not miss the furtive movement at a door nearby, one that faced the back of the droid. But she didn’t react. Now her voice was hard. “You of all people know what we do to scum who hurt children.” Trugoy’s Bladeborn had been famous, or infamous depending on who you talked to, in certain quarters for their attitudes towards children.

Vandar sighed. “We didn’t know you were Bladeborn, but…” He paused in thought. “We can help you. We can show you a better way.”

At that, Cora laughed sarcastically. “Your way? Oh, let’s see, enslaving people, brainwashing people, oh and lets not forget experimenting on people until they die!” Her voice was rising in volume and she took an involuntary step towards the small form. It would be so easy, part of her mind said, to step up and squash the arrogant tiny form under her heel. She struggled to control herself. “Your way is evil, Jedi! If Jedi you are still.” She didn’t miss the armored form that peeked out of the door behind the droid and darted back in.

"Yes." Vandar sighed. “From a certain point of view, yes, what we are doing is evil. I agree, that many of the choices that have been made in the past have been… flawed. But we did not have a lot of choices.” He didn’t move as the droid took another step. “We need help to find a better way. You can help us.”

Cora was struggling with her emotions, trying to focus on something other than the small, smug face that stood in front of her. This was a trap, she knew it was a trap. The troopers, there had to be more than one behind her, were up to something. “Why would I? You kidnap children, experiment on them, put them in things like this… Oh and let’s not forget you created a bunch of clone children as droid pilots. And the way you did it…”

"Yes." Vandar actually looked sick at that. He slumped. “What Naj Orh did… was horrific. But she succeeded.”

Cora would have shaken her head in disbelief if it would move inside the droid she was encased in. “And that makes it right? Taken women against their will, impregnating them against their will and then killing them by pulling the children out before they are full term? The fact that it succeeded makes it all right?” Her voice was high pitched now and she took another step towards the Jedi Master. “You… You bastard!”

Vandar shook his head. If he was disconcerted by the huge bulk of the war droid looming over him now, it was unapparent. “I didn’t say it made it right. It was needed, but that doesn’t make it right. ‘The needs of the many’, Bladeborn, I know they taught you that.” He sighed. “Cora of the Bladeborn, we can help you. We can give you a purpose, we can give you a way that is better, more…”

He broke off as Cora laughed scornfully. “Yes.” She said quietly now. “You can give me perpetual servitude. Filled with pain, regret and eventually madness. All ‘In the name of the Republic’ right?”

Vandar looked at the droid and his face was serene. “Cora of the Bladeborn, listen to me child. I know you are in pain, I know you are grieving. You would not have to give up you code, you could do such great things. At our direction.”

Cora paused for just a moment and then sighed. “For someone so wise, you really are an idiot.”

Vandar stiffened. “What?” He asked carefully.

"You do know what the term 'idiot' means, right?" Cora’s voice was flat and biting now. “You have been able to subvert some Bladeborn, starting with poor Morey, using those machines. But it doesn’t often work, does it? Usually they die instead of succumbing to your ‘treatment’, right? So now, you try blandishment instead. Word of advice, Jedi –if Jedi you are still-, do not try and bribe a Bladeborn.”

The guns on the droid came up and Vandar moved to cover but he paused as she fired, not at him, but at the cargo lifter! The sonic cannon swiveled around and blew the doorway the armored form was hiding behind into dust. A secondary explosion sounded there; apparently they had been ready to slap a thermal charge on the back of the droid as soon as she was distracted. But all of Cora’s attention was on the Jedi who stared, first at the doorway and then at the cargo lifter. Cora’s shots had been very precise. The engines of the cargo lifter were slagged, but nothing else on it was touched.

Vandar sighed sadly. “Well played, child. Well played indeed. But you have won nothing.”

Cora’s voice was just as sad. “I know.” The guns came back up and Vandar started as she took aim at the lifter again.

Vandar’s voice was shocked. “Wait, what are you doing?”

Cora’s voice was very sad now. “I know you can disassemble this droid, using those tiny machines. But I can’t let you take those kids. Better that they die in peace than to be slaves to you and your master.” She keyed the firing sequence, but the guns didn’t fire. She keyed it again, but the droid… powered down and sank on its haunches. She screamed in frustration.

Vandar shook his head. “Oh child… You don’t understand.” Cora felt something odd and she screamed again as she saw part of the housing of the droid simply vanish as if eaten. Vandar’s voice was gentle now. “It’s okay, Cora of the Bladeborn, You will feel no pain.” He broke off as the droid rose again. “Child, be calm, it will be painless and swift if you do not resist.”

Cora could see out the front of the droid now as the hull plating was eaten from the structure. But she managed to override the commands that someone had given the droid. “Better…” She grated out. “Better to… Better to die on your feet than live on your knees…” She urged the droid into a walk and then into a shambling trot. The repulsorlifts were gone, physically gone, but she could still impel it forward and she could make it. She had to.

Vandar scooted out of the way. And then he called out. “No… There is no need…” He froze as a lightsaber ignited behind him and he spun to find Jina standing in a shadow nearby. “Jina, stop her, there is no need for this. She will kill them.” Jina bit her lip, but remained silent as the droid shambled towards the landing grid. Vandar was almost begging the other Jedi. “Jina, please…”

The droid made it to the landing grid and staggered under the fire from at least three hastily set up repeating blasters. A grenade launcher chuffed as well and the droid staggered through the explosions. A sharp scream was heard as something made it through the remnants of the hull plating, but then, the droid was beside the heavy lifter and it staggered to a stop. Then, like a tree cut by a logger droid, it fell over, landing against the damaged lifter with a resounding crash.

"No." Vandar slumped. “There was no need for this, Jina. She didn’t have to die. I was just going to remove her from the droid as quickly as I could.”

Jina’s voice was flat. “Yeah right.”

Vandar looked at her and shook his head. “Jina…” He froze and blinked as Jina smiled grimly.

When Jina spoke again, there was pride in her voice. “I would duck.”

"What?" He stared at her and then he spun around. “No!” He shouted as a siren sounded from the droid that lay against the heavy lifter. “Jina… Stop her!”

Jina shook her head. “Why?” She asked coldly as she ducked into one of the intact buildings.

Inside the droid, Cora didn’t hurt anymore. She knew that was bad, that her body was reacting to massive damage by shutting down essential functions to try and keep the core organs -the brain and heart- going. But it was no use. She knew it. She could sense the damage she had taken through the Force. Her legs were gone, her right arm was a shattered mess, but her mind was still clear as she mentally keyed in the final code for the destruct sequence.

As she did, she had time for one final quick thought. <Loyalty. Duty. Honor. Respect. Vigilance. Prowess. Humility. Courtesy. Valor. Service. Sacrifice. This is our way. We are Bladeborn.> I love you Jina, may the Force be with you. Then she keyed the final number.

As self destruct devices went, the thermal charge built into the droid was fairly small. But it was more than enough to completely obliterate the droid, Cora, as well as a good chunk of the heavy lifter. It also set off the thermal charges of all fourteen of the inert droids that were packaged for transport inside. The blasts were more than enough to completely atomize the lifter as well as four troopers who hadn’t been able to get clear of the blast radius in time. Even the heavy duty surface of the landing grid showed a crater.

Jina’s posture was sad as she strode from her cover. “Goodbye Cora, may the Force be with you.” She watched impassive as piece of rubble moved from where a small green form had sheltered.

Vandar shook his head, shocked. “There was no need for that. She didn’t need to do that.” Jina just looked at him and her lightsaber was in hand. Vandar shook his head. “Jina… there was no need for that. We were not going to enslave her. Or the others.”

Jina didn’t speak, just ignited her lightsaber. “Could have fooled me.”
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