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(L,F&E 74) Issues of Family


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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 09:50 AM | #1
((This will give a bit of backstory and some continuity to all of my stories.))

<Over forty years in the past, on the planet Raltiir>

Jedi Consular Emily Hollian was no stranger to fear. After all, she was a Jedi. The uneducated, or superstitious might say that Jedi did not feel fear, but that was utter rubbish. She was afraid. She was also very confused. She had been in an airspeeder, she remembered that. There had been an explosion, she remembered that. But she couldn’t remember anything else. She focused her mind as she had been taught from an early age and tried to scan around herself with the Force. What she found scared her further. She was still in the speeder, what was left of it. It had apparently impacted the ground with sufficient velocity to drive a broken piece of the frame completely through her lower body. But that wasn’t the worst part. No, it was the dark and forbidding presence that was slowly closing in on her position that utterly terrified her. She focused herself further, acknowledged her fear and let it pass. She opened herself to the Force and tried to force the strut that had impaled her out of her body. She managed to move it a few centimeters before the pain drove her concentration away. But she had to get free before the darksider that she could sense easily now could…

"Easy." She froze as a soft voice came to her ears. The voice was male and sounded concerned. “There is no need for that, Ma’am.” He was closer than she had thought.

Emily didn’t reply, she was channeling the Force. In a massive push, she managed to get the strut that had impaled her to move enough that she could roll clear. Pain flared along her left side as it contacted the remnants of the speeder, but all of her focus was on the nondescript human male who stood before her. Her lightsaber arced from her belt to her hand and the green blade ignited.

"Come on." The man spoke again. “Ma’am, don’t do that. I don’t want to hurt you.” But malice lurked under his words.

Emily shook her head, conscious of wetness dripping down her side, of pain running all along her left side as the light wind stirred along her body. She ignored both.

“Did you plant the explosive in my speeder?” She brought her left hand up to hold her saber and nearly lost her lunch. It was charred almost black in places, but it still functioned. It hurt as she flexed it, but she could use it.

"No." The dark Force user shook his head. Now his voice was cold. “I need you alive, Ma’am. The explosive was likely some criminal’s idea. I can find out who and punish them if you wish. Come along, and your injuries will be tended. Neither of the others were suitable, you should be.”

Emily felt of her body go cold at his soft malicious words. “You… what…? She asked carefully. She had been sent to this world to check on a pair of Jedi who had been sent to handle some complex negotiations. Neither had checked in for several days and the Order was worried about them. No one had suspected the presence of a Dark Jedi, or whatever this being was. There was something… odd about him. She shook her head, holding her pain at bay through sheer force of will. She was no padawan, she was a Jedi Knight. “I won’t help you.”

"No?" The man smiled a bit sadly. His voice was kinder now. “Who says you have a choice? Sleep.” The Force stretched out to her almost gently. Almost.

Emily fought the compulsion that flew over, around and through her with every fiber of her being. She grimaced and kept her saber up. She was not going to let this man, this Dark side scum, defeat her so easily. She moved towards her opponent and then she blinked. How had she gotten on the ground? She rolled, trying to get up and she screamed in pain as her arm and side hit the ground. Where was her saber? Why was her vision darkening? She screamed again as a dark form towered over her, but then blinked as she saw the man’s face was not angry, not cold, but… worried? She took that puzzling image into darkness with her.

A mechanical sounding voice roused her. “…soft tissue damage to left shoulder and arm, puncture wound through upper left quadrant of abdomen, second degree burns on left arm, left torso and left side of head. Probable concussion. Evidence suggests internal bleeding as well.”

The dark man’s voice was cold again. “Repair the subject.” It was as if he were discussing a machine, Emily thought. But somehow, she knew he was talking about her.

The droid’s reply quick. “Given current conditions and equipment, probability of subject survival is less than 40%.” Emily tried to move, to fight, to do anything, but she couldn’t. Her body wasn’t working, she couldn’t even feel it. Of course, with what she had felt before, that MIGHT not have been such a bad thing. Cold metallic fingers touched her head and the droid spoke again. “Subject is conscious, administering sedatives.” A sting on her arm had her wincing.

Emily tried to fight the drugs, but they were too strong and in short order she was falling, slowly. The man’s cold voice cut through the fog that surrounded her now. She was falling into it, but she clung to his words. “As soon as the subject is stable, we are going to move her. This area is not secure. Those other two Jedi will be back shortly, and we need to be gone by then. Start treating the wounds.” She felt pressure on her scalp and then blissful numbness drove her under again.

The next time Emily woke, she was floating. She felt… numb. Nothing hurt, but then again, she couldn’t feel much of anything at all. She cracked her eyes and found herself floating in a sea of green. Bubbles floated up from below and she could look around a little. Emily relaxed just a little; she was in a Kolto tank. Whoever had her didn’t want her dead. She looked at herself and found she was wearing only a respirator mask and medical sensors. Her head felt odd, then she realized that all of her hair had been shaved off. She had never been body shy, but… She blinked as a shadow fell over her. She looked out and there he was; the darksider who had captured her. His image was distorted by the glass, but his sense in the Force was the same. He looked at her and then turned away. She couldn’t speak, the mask prevented it. And even if she had been able to, what could she say? She was still pondering that when she nodded off again.

Emily knew that it had been some time since she had last woken when she woke again. She opened her eyes cautiously and found herself lying on a bed in a small room. It took a moment for her to realize that the only window she could see had bars across it. It wasn’t a room, it was a cell. She looked around, but there was no door that she could see. She shook her head slightly and sat up slowly.

She didn’t hurt, at all. She looked at herself and she was wearing a patient gown and nothing else. She shook her head and smiled as hair flowed across her face. She remembered the feelings in the tank, pain and… She paused. Her hair had been gone, which made sense from a wound treating point of view, especially if she had been burned. She examined what she could see. The left side of her body had new, pink skin in a number of places. She remembered all of those places hurting, but when she poked the skin experimentally, it didn’t hurt. How long had she been unconscious?

"Who are you?" She shook her head and spoke. “Where am I?” Her voice was calm and matter of fact. She had to be under observation.

A cold mechanical sounding voice answered her. “You will speak when spoken to, Subject 17.”

Emily didn’t flinch. “What do you want with me?” She could not restrain a scream as pain flowed through her. She shuddered as it vanished as quickly as it had come.

The voice repeated. “You will speak when spoken to, Subject 17.”

"You do not own me." Emily shook her head and her voice was calm when she spoke again. “My name is Emily Hollian. You will not hold me here.” She raced herself for more pain, but it didn’t come. Instead, a voice she remembered answered her.

"No." The voice of the dark side user that had captured her was cold and hard. “You were Emily Hollian. But, according to your Order, she died in a speeder crash a year ago. Now you are Subject 17.”

"What?" Emily blanched. A year? “What do you want with me?”

The cold voice laughed. “You will see, Subject 17. You will see. Go ahead, fight. It makes the victory so much sweeter.”

The voice cut off and Emily sank back onto the bed and cried softly.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 09:52 AM | #2
The days were a bleary routine. They were starting to blur together despite Emily’s best efforts. Her meditations were helping her stay sane, but they couldn’t completely dull the horror of what she was enduring. She wore a slave collar and stun cuffs now, and nothing else. The food that she was given was nourishing, if unappetizing. She did not think she was losing weight, or gaining any. The hatch hissed open and she controlled a flinch as the small droid hovered out of it. She had tried, once, to get a hand into the hatch that the droid came out of. The resulting shock had knocked her unconscious. So now, she just lay quiet as the small hovering bot came close to her head and an appendage touched her shoulder.

Fighting them didn’t work. If she smashed one, two showed up. If she smashed those two, three appeared. As always, a small sting and again she tried to stiffen, uselessly. As always her ability to think was diminished only slightly, but her control over her body vanished. She couldn’t move as much as a muscle as the wall to her left moved. Technically, she could use the Force with her mind clear, but to do what? The wall slid out on rails and then slid to the side and her heart lurched as she saw the bulky droid approaching again. She kept her fear at bay through sheer force of will as it entered her cell slowly.

The heavy droid that entered as the small medical bot hovered back out the way it had come was well beyond her ability to fight. She probably wouldn’t have had a chance even if she had possessed her lightsaber. Without it, she had no chance at all. The paralytic drug was just insurance. With her body paralyzed, she could do nothing. Telekinesis had never been a strength of hers, she had always been a negotiator, not a fighter. Her skills had laid in determining the best outcome for all interested parties, getting upset individuals to compromise, to see all sides of an issue. She had been a lawyer, a judge and an advocate, not a warrior.

She couldn’t move at all as the padded arms that had apparently been built specifically for the purpose slid beneath her. It lifted her easily, cradling her body as it lifted it to take it for her daily regime of torture. She couldn’t even scream. All she could do was cry silently as the loud steps of the droid sounded through the hall that she had become so used to. Thirty seven steps, then a turn to the right. She had memorized that, in an early attempt to plan an escape. But the only time the wall opened, she was paralyzed. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t get the Force to eliminate the drug quickly enough. She tried anyway. After that turn, twenty four more steps, and then the door. Her pulse pounded in her ears as she saw the apparatus out of the corner of her eye, but then the droid carried her to the table and laid her down. It was odd how gentle the droid was. She was sure it could have just dropped her onto the padded table, but it never did.

As always, cold metallic fingers mover her body parts into the proper positions and restraints clicked closed. Forehead, neck, wrists, abdomen and ankles, all were held tight to the table by the cold metal restraints. She closed her eyes, knowing what was coming, working hard to remember the Jedi Code and all that she had been taught. A sharp pain in her tailbone had her gasping as the paralytic drug finally wore off. Then all sensation below her hips simply vanished. She could do nothing but watch as the apparatus was swung over her lower body and then he was there, standing in her field of view.

Now he wore a set of surgical scrubs, but there was no mistaking the taint of the dark side that pervaded the man. His voice, as always, was silky and soft, but full of menace. “Good morning 17. Time for your next test.”

She dredged up strength from somewhere. “My name is Emily Hollian, you will not win. Surrender now and the Order will be merciful.”

"Wow." The man, she had never learned his name, laughed heartily. “Such spirit, even after all this time. You are remarkable, girl. Pity.” She writhed in pain as whatever they had done to her hurt. It was probably some kind of implant.

Emily gasped, and then focused herself. “You are gravely mistaken. I won’t help you.”

Pain came again, but this time from a recognizable source. Force lightning arced from the man’s hand into her arm and from there throughout her body. It went on for an eternity. When the current finally stopped, he spoke. His voice was still that cold, dead, terrifying thing.

“Oh no, my dear 17. It is you who are mistaken, about a great many things.”

He touched her cheek, and she winced, but no pain erupted. Instead, he pulled the apparatus down around her body and she felt pressure as things touched her. She felt the same strange cold things pressing on her as always. She had no idea what they were, or what they were for, but it couldn’t be anything good.

She gasped out words as the pressure on her body built. “Why are you doing this?”

Her voice was calm to her ears. It made no sense. He never asked her any questions. He never tried to turn her. And as always, he didn’t answer her questions, just looked on as she finally gave in to the pain and screamed. As always. But this time, something was different. His face was almost serene now as he smiled at her.

His voice was almost gentle. “You will understand in time, 17. In time.” Then waves of pain crashed in on her and it was all she could do to stay conscious.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 09:55 AM | #3
She had no idea at all how long she had been in the cell. It all blurred now. She was lost in a haze of pain and fear. Everything was blurry, everything was odd colors, odd feelings. She struggled to her feet in her cell, trying to focus, but nothing worked as it should. She collapsed to her knees. Everything was off. She felt… odd. She felt heavy and light at the same time. She could feel the Force flowing through her, but… it was muted. She had never felt like this before. And then, it happened. The door of her cell opened. She flinched, but no droid appeared to carry her to pain. She stared at the door for a moment before trying to rise, only to fall again. She crawled on her hands and knees, working to get up the energy to defend herself if she was attacked. But no one did. She managed to get to her feet, and staggered forward. She had no idea where she was going or what she was going to do when she got there, just that she had to move.

Then she heard it. Them. Lightsabers, clashing. She could feel the force boiling ahead of her as she staggered, holding herself up against the wall. Her brain was fuzzy, but she thought maybe a Jedi had come to fight the Dark one who held her. So it was a bit of a shock when she came into a larger room and found two human males wearing black who were squaring off against each other, both with red lightsabers. She blinked, but then her body moved, without her command. She blanched and tried to fight the compulsion, but she couldn’t. Her body moved to a table and there on it was her lightsaber! Her hand picked it up, and her body turned back to the fight.

The nondescript man who had hurt her for so long was smirking as he faced off against his opponent. “You are a fool to have come here, Dargon. Surrender and serve me. You cannot win.”

The being called Dargon was limping, from what she could see he had taken damage already. But his posture was erect as he faced his opponent. And… She stiffened. He was smiling! “You of all people should know better than to boast before the battle is done, Kuilon.”

She could only watch in awe as the one called Dargon unleashed such a torrent of Force lightning on his opponent that the very air sang with power. The being called Kuilon, the one who had hurt her so badly, dodged and parried, but then a tendril of the lightning caught him. Then two, then five, then ten arcs of blue white power all connected to his body. He was trying to ground the power, but it was arcing too fast and too strongly. He was being overwhelmed. His mouth opened in a silent scream. The being called Kuilon was struggling against the power that the one known as Dargon was pouring at him. Dargon’s attention seemed to be all on his opponent. She heard a voice in her head.

Strike him down 17. Now!

She couldn’t fight the compulsion as her arm came up and her lightsaber ignited. She took an attack form against her will and started forward. The stranger, the one called Dargon, looked at her and…sighed.

“Geez... Always the pervert, huh, Kuilon?”

Something she couldn’t define took hold of her. It wasn’t Force stasis. It wasn’t anything she had ever encountered. It was gentle, but at the same time, unbreakable. Then something touched her mind and it cleared. For the first time in a long time, she could think and she focused on the Jedi code. There is no emotion, there is peace…

Kuilon’s voice sounded in her head again. He sounded desperate now. Kill him, 17! Do it now!

She spoke. Her voice was rough from pain and fear, but her tone was calm. “My name… is Emily Hollian. I am not… I am not your slave…” She deactivated her lightsaber and collapsed to her knees. “I am… a Jedi.” She couldn’t keep her head up. Even the sound of renewed Force lightning could not make her raise her head. She was so tired now.

A horrible scream sounded, one that cut off almost as soon as it had started. Then the stench of scorched meat filled the air and Emily fought to keep her gorge down. She looked, she had to. The form of her tormentor lay, limbs askew, robes smoldering and burns disfiguring his features. But…he wasn’t human! She had no idea what race he was. His long eyebrows and the tufts of what looked like fur at his cheeks were no race that she knew. She looked up into the eyes of the newcomer and then rose slowly to her feet. Her lightsaber was still in hand.

"I..." Her voice was weak when she spoke, but calm. “I have no quarrel with you, sir. I simply wish… to leave.”

"Mi'lady..." The being called Dargon nodded to her. His voice was kind, however. “You are hurt, mi’lady. You need help.”

"Not..." Emily shook her head, struggling against a wave of dizziness that threatened to overwhelm her. “Not… Yours…”

"Please." Dargon bowed his head. “Mi’lady, please… Let me help you.”

The nude woman froze. To have a Dark Force user say something like that! To say please? To essentially beg her to accept help? Something was wrong. Something was off. She stared at the human. No… No he wasn’t human either. He felt the same way the other one had, he was hiding who and what he was. Emily shook her head.

“I can’t trust you. You are not what you seem.”

Then, his form changed. No, the image that covered it vanished. In the place of the nondescript human was another of that odd race. The eyebrows were long and pointed, but gray, where the other’s had been dark. The tufts of fur on his cheeks as well were gray. He spoke and his voice was kind.

“My name is Dargon Darkstorm." He said quietly. "Yours is Emily Hollian? I mean you no harm this day. You are sick from what this scum did to you, even if you do not feel it.”

"I cannot." Emily shook her head again, and grimaced as the dizziness increased in severity. “You follow the Dark Side. We are enemies. We can only ever be enemies.”

"Well." Dargon sighed so softly that for a moment, she wasn’t sure he had. “No, actually I don’t. I use the Dark side, but I do not follow it. It’s… complicated.”

"That..." The Jedi blinked, that made no sense at all. She spoke softly. “That… makes no sense. If you use the Dark Side of the Force, it corrupts and eventually controls you. I…” She gasped, her stomach seemed to be trying to come up through her throat.

Without sense of transition, she was lying on the floor, looking up at Dargon’s face as he laid a gentle hand on her forehead. She felt fear, but Dargon’s hand was cool and comforting. His voice was soft.

“It’s all right, Emily Hollian. It’s all right. Rest. Sleep.”

She tried but couldn’t resist the compulsion that raced through her. But something… Part of her didn’t want to. She wasn’t afraid now. She should be; she knew that. But she wasn’t. The compulsion as accompanied by something else. Something that took her befuddled mind a moment to identify. It was compassion. She was still trying to figure out how and why a Dark Force user would feel that way when she nodded off.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:00 AM | #4
Emily Hollian woke suddenly. She was free from pain for the first time in a long time, but her mind was fuzzy. She was also so weak she could barely open her eyes. What she found when she did astounded her. She had wondered if it had all been a dream, but then again, Jedi did not normally dream. She was lying in a bed, one with rails like a hospital. She was wearing what looked like a hospital gown. Her left arm had tubes into it, but nothing hurt. She looked around beyond her immediate situation. The room was bare. There was NOTHING else in it. No decorations, no plants, no nothing. If not for all the medical gear, she would have thought herself back in her cell. Well, except for the fact that the bed was comfortable, she didn’t hurt at all, was wearing something, was not restrained or wearing a collar and…

Her thoughts broke off as a harsh voice sounded nearby. “…and I will see this ‘subject’ of yours, Inquisitor.”

A voice she recognized from somewhere replied calmly. “As you wish, this way.”

A door she hadn’t seen opened and two figures walked into the room. One was the black robed being she had seen, the one her tormentor had called Dargon. The other was an unknown, but from the sheer malice that poured off of him, she was in even worse trouble than before. His aura stank with dark power and his eyes… The yellow orbs bored into her soul. She couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t do anything. She tried to summon the Force and it wouldn’t answer her. All she could do was lie there.

"Fegh!" The stranger looked her over dispassionately and then shook his head minutely. “She is unacceptable. Why did you take her, Inquisitor? Mercy?” The voice was cold and mocking now.

The one called Dargon didn’t move, but his voice was just as cold. “Hardly. I wanted to see what Kuilon had done to her, maybe it could be useful. I also wished to interrogate her, perhaps she has information. It will be four years out of date, but potentially useful. His records were encrypted, so it has taken some time to unravel them, as you know, Mi’lord.”

"Oh?" The form of what had to be a Sith lord snorted in sour laughter. “And is that the only reason?”

Dargon smiled thinly, and Emily winced slightly at the sheer malevolence in it. “No. I wanted her to hurt. I like hearing her scream.” His voice was still that same cold, calm tone and Emily shivered.

The other man smiled thinly. “Now that I can understand. But…” He sighed in soft regret. Emily tensed as she realized he wanted to see he hurt himself, to hear her scream at what he did. The Sith’s voice was cold now. “She is a liability. Dispose of her.” He turned and left the room.

Dargon’s face was still that same cold thing as he came to her bedside. She tried to speak, tried to move, to fight as he shook his head slightly. Then she felt the Force turn a switch nearby and fire flooded through her veins. She croaked, trying to scream, as darkness followed the pain and she was dragged down into it.

***

It came as a hell of a shock to Emily when she woke again. She was lying on another bed, a patient gown covering her. She was clean, warm and dry. But she felt so odd. She moved her fingers and toes and all of them worked. But something was wrong, something was off. She froze as a voice spoke from nearby.

“Good morning.” The voice was kind, and female. Emily turned to see an old woman sitting in a chair beside her bed. Her hair was long and black and her eyes were a piercing green. They twinkled with merriment and compassion. The woman smiled at Emily. “How do you feel, Miss Hollian?”

Emily blinked and then spoke slowly. “I…” She broke off, her voice sounded normal. After so long of hoarse croaking, to hear her voice sound as it should felt wrong. But she focused herself and nodded to the woman. “I feel… detached. As if I am not all here. Am I drugged?”

"No." The woman shook her head and put a gentle hand on Emily’s. Emily flinched slightly, but the touch was gentle. The woman stroked the Jedi’s hand soothingly. “No you are not, Miss Hollian. My name is Karli and I am here to help you.”

"I don't understand." Emily blinked in confusion that must have shown on her face even through her tight control. “Help… me…? With what? I feel fine.”

The old woman beside her bed gave her hand a pat and spoke gently. “Miss Hollian…” She broke off as Emily sighed. “What?” She asked just as gently.

Emily snorted in sour amusement. “Miss Hollian was my mother. My name is Emily.”

"Okay." Karli chuckled. “You go ahead and laugh, girl… Emily. You will need your sense of humor.” Something in her tone and sense in the force had Emily stiffening. It spoke of strong emotional pain and regret.

"What?" The Jedi consular’s voice was soft and worried now. “Why? What is wrong with me?”

"Oh Emily..." Karli bit her lip. It was clear she didn’t want to say. But then she sighed and laid her gentle hand on Emily’s shoulder. “Scan your abdomen with the Force.”

Emily did, mystified and then… She couldn’t help it, she screamed. What she sensed inside her was… She barely noticed when Karli pulled her up and into an embrace. She barely noticed when two women in nurse’s attire came running in, only to stop at a curt gesture from Karli.

Emily felt herself teetering on the lip of a wide and hungry abyss. She pulled herself back through sheer force of will. She made herself look at the tiny dead thing that lay within her womb, it wasn’t human. Even with her general lack of knowledge of biology, she could see that. And then she turned her gaze on Karli who nodded. When Emily spoke, her voice was almost calm. Almost.

“What have you done to me?”

"Oh Emily..." The kindly older woman held her tight as she shuddered. When the old woman spoke, it was calm and gentle. “We didn’t. That bastard Kuilon did. And that isn’t the first. None of them were viable.”

"What?" Emily felt the ground crumbling under her feet, and she knew she was maybe a step removed from madness. “Why? In the name of the Force, why?” She was crying now and Karli held her close as she sobbed.

"Because he was insane." Karli’s voice was soft, but filled with anger now. “He was trying to breed Force users. It isn’t possible to clone beings who can use the Force, something drives them mad. But he was trying anyway. He was very sneaky about it, but then again, he had to be. The Emperor declared that kind of thing illegal after some fairly spectacular incidents.”

"Ah?" Emily blinked through her tears. “Emperor?” She asked carefully.

Karli looked as if she wanted to spit, but then she nodded slowly. “Yes. You have missed a lot, chained up in a cell as you were.” Karli sighed as Emily shuddered again, and then gave the younger girl another hug. “It’s okay, Emily, it’s okay. It will be okay.”

"I... I..." Emily’s control finally cracked. “I just want to go home.” She sobbed into Karli’s shoulder.

Karli’s voice held regret as wide as an ocean now. “I am sorry, Emily. You can’t.”

Emily went as stiff as if she had been hit by carbonite. “What? You…” She tried to squirm away from Karli, but the older woman wouldn’t let her go. “What do you want with me?”

Karli’s voice was gentle now as the two nurses came closer. “We want to help you, Emily.”

Emily was struggling, trying to get out of Karli’s gentle, but irresistible grip as one of the nurses produced a hypo. “No… No.. Leave me alone! No… Don’t...” But everything she tried, Karli seemed to be able to counter. The nurses both had looks of compassion on their faces as they took hold of her as well. Emily was crying, screaming, trying to fight as one nurse laid the hypo against her shoulder and numbness spread from it. The numbness swiftly spread through her entire body. As she drifted off, she heard singing. Karli had such a great singing voice. It soothed her as she fell into blackness.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:03 AM | #5
Emily sat in a meditative posture and tried to clear her mind. It was so weird. These people were so weird. They were Sith. Followers of the resurgent Sith Empire, and some of them actual members of the Sith species, a race that most people in the Republic thought were extinct. But they were nice!

When Emily had woken, after the surgery… Karli had been there as well as the two female nurses. They had been kind and gentle in helping Emily get back in shape while filling the Jedi in on what had happened while she had been locked in a cell. Emily could not keep a small smile off her face even now. Karli had all the give of a rock sometimes. She was kind and gentle, yes, but she was also tough as hell. And she had the vocabulary of a drill sergeant when she was trying to get the younger woman to exercise. Emily’s smile vanished as she thought about what Karli had told her.

Everyone in the Republic has assumed that the Sith had been destroyed after the mess with Revan and the Star Forge. The Jedi had faced troubles after that, but to the galaxy as a whole, nothing had come of the wanderings of the Exile. Even now, with the stark evidence of system after system falling to the might of the Imperial forces, Emily could hardly believe what she had been told. But they had no reason to lie to her. Did they?

It was so strange. The strange family was not trying to turn her. They were not interrogating her. And while at times some of them were curt, they all tried to at least be polite to her. This was not what she expected from a Sith family. Not that Sith were supposed to have families. From what she could recall, the followers of the Dark Side had looked on love as anathema. Something about it leading to mercy? She wasn’t sure. Ancient history had never really interested her. She had always been more focused on the now.

Emily shook her head and sighed. This was getting her nowhere. She needed answers and the best place for her to find them, was of course, the Force. She had access, under supervision, to the excellent library that the family boasted, but… It felt wrong, somehow. The two ancient Sith holocrons that dominated the library gave her the creeps, so she spent as little time in it as she possibly could, which was sad. The sheer scope of information that was available there was amazing. These people had been collecting material for centuries. She shook herself again, she was distracting herself. This was not the time to be wool gathering.

Emily had refrained from going too deep into meditation since her awakening from the surgery. She was somewhat scared of what she would see if she delved too deeply. She shook herself and snarled. She had requested this time alone specifically to do this, and now she was wasting the time. The family didn’t like leaving her alone. She did get odd moods occasionally, and likely would for some time. The doctors said it was a side effect of the aborted pregnancies, and the texts she had studied concurred. There didn’t seem to be anything she could do about it so she just grinned sourly and bore up with the somewhat overpowering care that the family was lavishing on her.

But now, it was time. She sat in the middle of the spacious quarters that she had been told were hers and closed her eyes. The Force sang in her veins and she relaxed slowly, carefully. It wouldn’t do to lose herself now, she had…

“Mom?” A soft, scared young female voice had her freezing. What the…?

She opened her eyes and stared in shock at the small form that stood in front of her. It was a young human girl, maybe five standard years old. No, it looked like a young human girl, but it wasn’t. There were telltales, small things. The hair wasn’t quite human, and the face was just a little too angular. But it didn’t matter, she was beautiful. The hair and the eyes though… Emily inhaled sharply as she realized the girl looked quite a bit like her!

"It's okay." The girl spoke again. She sounded far more mature than she looked. “I am scared Mom. I don’t want to go. I want to stay here, with you and Dad. But I know I have to. I will not dishonor our family.” The determination on the young face was somewhat worrisome, but then the little girl smiled and Emily could not help but smile with her. “I will run rings around those idiots at the academy. You know I will. This is just basic indoctrination. I need to succeed, but not well, so they will send me home in disgrace and not kill me. I will be back and it will be all right.”

The girl held out her hands to Emily and without thought, Emily reached back to take the young human in her arms. But then the girl vanished. Emily recoiled. A vision. This was a vision. Then with a start, she was back in her body and she felt her eyes burning. She tasted salt and worked hard to calm her emotions, to slow the rush of her pulse, to calm the thumps of her heart. It took several minutes for her to calm herself, but during that time, she reflected on what she had seen. On what she had felt during the vision. It was starting make sense now, everything was.

Emily shook her head as she felt Karli approach her door. The older woman had specified a time limit to Emily’s meditations, and enforced it with draconian efficiency. The older woman knocked on the door and Emily spoke softly.

“Enter.” Karli came in and stopped by the door, her face a mask of worry. Emily met her eyes and sighed. “You knew, didn’t you? That is why you all have been nice to me.”

"Emily?" Karli blinked, and both her face and her sense in the Force was confused.”Knew what?”

"Maybe you didn't." Emily thought things through for a moment before responding. “I need to talk to Dargon.”

Karli stared at the younger woman, her face and sense in the Force worried. “He should be back this afternoon. Emily, have you been crying? Are you all right?” The older woman’s voice was kind as she took a step in, but stopped, not wanting to crowd the Jedi.

"All right?" Emily shook her head. “No. My entire world just rocked on its axis.” Her voice was calm though. “I saw something in the Force. Something I need to talk to Dargon about.”

"Oh." Karli stared at the younger woman before nodding. “Is it something I can help with?”

"Well." Emily smiled just a bit sheepishly and nodded. “Yes. I am going to need your help. I… I know nothing about child rearing.”

Karli froze. “Emily…” Emily couldn’t blame the older woman. The Jedi had some very odd moods now and again. But this was no mood.

"Yeah, Karli." The Jedi sighed. “I know how it sounds, but…” her eyes were burning again. “Karli… I saw a little girl, she looked like me.” Karli stiffened. “She looked like me…but not. Like Dargon does when he cloaks himself.”

Karli shook her head and her voice was sad now. “Emily, it is probably just a residue from what you went through. God knows how you are sane, girl, Jedi or no…” She broke off as she saw Emily crying softly. “Emily…?” Her voice was worried now.

The distraught Jedi shook herself and focused, calming herself as best she could. “She called me ‘Mom’, Karli… She called me ‘Mom’.” Emily bowed her head and didn’t move as Karli came to her side and hugged her tight. “It was… It felt right… Jedi should not attach, but it felt right…”

The old woman smoothed the younger one’s hair gently as she supported the shuddering Jedi. “This… This is going to be… interesting…” Karli’s voice was thoughtful as she held the younger woman. But then she sighed. “I will tell Dargon as soon as he returns.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:09 AM | #6
To say that Dargon was startled by what Emily said was the understatement of the century. For the first time since she had seen him, his façade of indifference vanished and he looked baffled. Karli looked at him, shrugged and left the room quietly. They were meeting in Emily’s room. It was large enough and private enough. Emily stared at the door as it hissed shut behind Karli and then at Dargon who was not cloaked in his guise of a human for once. She was sitting in a comfortable chair near the bed and Dargon was standing by the painting she liked so much.

She raised an eyebrow and he sighed. When he spoke it was careful, each word considered. “This is not… I never thought about anything like this.”

"No?" Emily looked at him, her face serene. “Then why did you help me? Why have you and your family been so nice to me? I am an enemy of your Empire.”

Dargon looked at her and his face was blank again. “Are you?”

Emily sighed quietly and looked away. There was a painting on the wall that she truly liked, a seascape. “Dargon, I am a Jedi. The rulers of your Empire have no love for Jedi.”

"True." The Sith nodded slowly. “According to the Empire, yes, Jedi are enemies. You, however, are not.”

Emily blinked. “Say what?”

Dargon slumped where he sat. “I..um… Well… When I killed Kuilon, I reported everything to the Empire. It was standard procedure, and I had to follow procedure, I was under intense scrutiny. But when I was ordered to kill you, I didn’t.”

"I... I remember." The Jedi stared at the being who had saved her from a horrible fate. “Why didn’t you?”

Dargon shrugged. “I told myself it was to interrogate you, to ferret out secrets of the Jedi order. I kept telling myself that, to hide the real reason behind a mask that even Sith lords would have difficulty getting past. But I was lying to myself as much as I was lying to the Empire.”

Emily froze in place. Something was off about his reply. “Then why?” She asked slowly when he didn’t continue.

"Emily..." Dargon frowned in thought, obviously trying to choose his words carefully. “I am an inquisitor. My job is to ferret out enemies of the Empire and eliminate them, using whatever means necessary. Recently, inquisitors seem more interested in gaining power, legally or illegally, than in doing what they are supposed to do. Inquisitor means ‘truth officer’. But I lied to my superiors and hid you for a personal reason. Perhaps that makes me a traitor, perhaps not. I don’t know. I have no intention of harming the Empire. And I want to protect my family. Which is why we can’t let you leave.”

Emily nodded unhappily. “I know. Karli explained.” The fact that Dargon had lied to his superiors was one thing. But if she left, and word got back to the Empire that she had survived and had escaped from this place, well, Dargon and his family would suffer greatly. She shook her head. “That isn’t the only reason, though, is it?”

Dargon shook his head. “No. Tell me, Jedi. Do you believe everyone can be saved?”

"Well..." The Jedi who was sort of a prisoner blinked and shook her head slowly. “Not everyone, no. There are some who, either through action or inaction, go far beyond the norm, but for most, yes. Why?”

"Fair enough." The erstwhile Inquisitor nodded, his face impassive, but something in his Force sense spoke of tension. “And what is the Jedi view on love?”

Emily felt her cheeks heat a bit. “I wasn’t talking about love; I was talking about the will of the Force. I know this sounds weird, but… It felt right.”

"Please..." The being in black robes didn’t take his eyes off the woman. “Emily, it’s important.”

"Okay..." Emily shook her head and fell into lecture mode. “Jedi are not supposed to attach. Jedi are supposed to avoid strong emotions. We are supposed to love all unconditionally.” Dargon looked at her and she flushed a bit more. “I know, I know. It doesn’t always work. But there are valid reasons not to attach, not to fixate on a relationship.”

Dargon nodded, his face still serene. His voice was calm. “What reasons?”

"Dargon." Emily sighed and then laughed a little sourly. “Are you really curious or just leading me on? If so, say so and I will desist.”

"I am not leading you on." Dargon shook his head and when he spoke his voice was almost inaudible. “I have a reason, Emily. But I need to know what you think before I burden you with it.”

The Jedi shook her head and shrugged. “I … well, I never really thought about it. Uncontrolled emotion is a bad thing. I am pretty sure even Sith say the same.” Dargon nodded slightly and Emily continued. “After all, if you are not in control of yourself, are you strong or weak?” She asked quietly.

Dargon grimaced slightly and then nodded slowly. “Good point, but not one that most Sith would agree with. Of course, in my experience, most of the beings who follow the way of the Sith are power mad idiots. It’s the relative few who are not blinded by their lust for power who can get incredibly dangerous. Of course a ‘relative few’ in talking about an interstellar empire is hundreds, but scattered across the entirety of the Empire.

The woman sitting in the chair nodded. That made sense. “Well, there are other reasons. First of all, if you focus on family, what does that leave you to focus on being a Jedi? And if you focus on being a Jedi, what kind of parent will you make?” She slumped. “I… I think what I saw was the future, but… I don’t know. Maybe it was just my mind making up things.” She froze as Dargon came and stood beside the chair.

"Emily..." Dargon’s smile was kind as he took her hands in his. “Would it help if I told you I have seen the same thing in a vision? But she called me ‘Dad’.”

Emily stiffened. “You… I…” She was shaking now, trying to control the emotions that flew through her. Then she blinked as Dargon knelt by her side.

Dargon’s voice was calm. “Easy, Emily. Be at peace. There is no Emotion…” He began the code of the Jedi and Emily joined him. “…There is peace.” They chorused and Emily relaxed slowly. Dargon nodded and when he spoke, it was kind. “You will need to understand your emotions to deal with them.”

Emily narrowed her eyes. That didn’t sound anything like she might have imagined a Sith saying. “I would have thought you would be quoting the Sith Code, seeing as how there is only one way to make sure a child is viable even with modern technology.”

Dargon smiled a bit mysteriously. “Ah, but to quote the Sith Code, I would have to believe in it. And I don’t.”

Emily shook her head, completely baffled. “If you are trying to confuse me, you are succeeding.”

Dargon smiled widely. “Emily, I am not a Sith.” Suddenly, Emily could see deep, deep into the being in front of her, deeper than she had ever been able to. What she saw stunned her.

The Jedi shook her head, completely undone by what she sensed within the hardened shell of the Inquisitor. “You… I… No… I can’t… We shouldn’t…” She was babbling, but it didn’t seem to matter.

Dargon smiled sadly. “You asked why we helped you? Why we are nice to you? It is simple. I have loved you from the first moment I saw you. You were so proud, so hurt, so violated, and still you managed to stay calm and in control. I envy that ability. Anyone going through what you did could be excused going mad.” He looked away for a moment. And when he met Emily’s eyes again, his were glistening. “If you choose this, I want it to be your choice, not some remnant of brainwashing. So I have to ask. Do you want this? Knowing what is entailed? I know Karli has told you some of what will transpire.”

"Yes." Emily grimaced, her face turning introspective. “Yes, she has. She thinks I am insane. Part of me thinks I am insane, but it feels right as silly as that sounds.”

"True." The inquisitor shook his head. “We all follow the will of the Force, Emily. Some of us knowingly, others… blindly. And if it leads us together, who are we to say no?”

Emily shook her head, but not in negation, in disbelief. “This is going to cause problems.”

Dargon took her hands in his and smiled. “I don’t care. If you want a child by me, I will not leave you to raise her alone. I have seen far too many children forced to grow in unloving or unstable situations to ever want a child of my own to face such hardships. I wouldn’t do it to you either, Emily. You can sense why.” Emily found herself unable to speak. The depth of feeling that Dargon was showing her now was intense to say the least. “What say you, Emily Hollian? Will you marry me?”

Emily focused herself as she had been taught from her early years and then smiled a little as she took Dargon’s face in her hands and gave him a kiss. When they came up for air, she spoke. “Yes.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:17 AM | #7
<25 years before the Treaty of Coruscant>

Of course it wasn’t that easy. Emily reflected as she recovered from one of the most strenuous ordeals of her life, but it was worth it. The Jedi consular hugged the small being to her chest gingerly and smiled as it moved slightly. The tiny bundle they had named Jina was exhausted and sleeping. Her day had been just as stressful as Emily’s, if in different ways. Emily had thought she was prepared, but nothing could have possibly prepared her for this. Even Jedi training had been stressed to the limits with the ups and downs, the horrible pain that even the best painkillers could not dull entirely, and then the wild surge of joy when a small female voice started crying. And then actually seeing her and holding her for the first time…

Nothing at all compared to the thrill of holding a small life in her hands and knowing that she, Emily Hollian Darkstorm, had helped create it, her. Jina was marvelous, beautiful, a wonderfully docile baby. Emily had been studying parenting, and with Karli’s enthusiastic help, had been preparing for this day ever since they had found out that she had, in fact, conceived. Then Emily winced as the tiny form woke, squirmed a bit and then clamped her mouth onto her food source.

Karli sat beside Jina’s bed, a beauteous smile on her face as she watched Jina feed. “You don’t know sore yet, girl.”

"Ah Karli..." Emily sighed, but her face was still smiling. “Jedi do not know pain.” But she winced again and relaxed.

"Sure they don't." Karli nodded slightly, smiled and laid a gentle hand on Emily’s shoulder. “You may be able to deaden the pain, daughter in law, but you just stressed your body a lot more than even a Jedi is going to be able to bounce back from immediately. Don’t push it. Jina needs you. You need sleep, Emily.”

"I know, but..." Emily shrugged carefully so as not to dislodge the waif that was feeding. “I don’t know when I will be able to. So much emotion, even Jedi training has limits.”

"Figured that." Karli nodded with a smile, she remembered. “Do you want some help to sleep?” She waved a hand at a table nearby that had an array of pill containers laid out on it.

Emily shook her head slowly, and had to work to keep her nausea at bay. Her morning sickness had been awful. Luckily, she had been taught how to control nausea early in padawan training. “I don’t think I will be able to keep one down. Should I call Mei?” Mei had become Emily’s personal nurse, assistant and special friend while the Jedi was laid up. The girl was almost Emily’s age and was a kind soul.

Karli smiled fondly. “No, I can do it if you want. But let’s make sure Jina is finished before we do knock you out. She is likely to wake up often tonight. I know none of my kids slept for more than two hours at a time for at least two weeks after they were born. I will stay with her, its part and parcel to being a mother in law.”

The Jedi winced. “Two… Weeks…?” She sighed but then smiled as her tiny daughter released her grip, sighed and was immediately asleep again. She shook her head and smiled. “I will defer to your greater experience in being a mother then.” Karli grinned at her tone and got up from her chair. She watched as Karli deftly pulled the materials from a drawer and started preparing the injection. As Emily waited, she reflected.

It had been a momentous year. From the moment Dargon had proposed, her life had taken some serious twists and turns. Parts had seemed to fly by, other parts had seemed to crawl. Dargon, Karli, Mei and the others of the small family had taken Emily in and taught her a lot, about a lot of things. Emily had, of necessity, become very interested in biology. The sheer scope of what Dargon had to do to make sure that she would be able to carry a child to term had been mind boggling. Dargon had spent much of the last year in labs of various kinds. Of course, that had not gone unnoticed.

As Karli finished preparing the hypo and started back to the bed, Emily looked at the silver object in the older woman’s hand and shuddered. She didn’t move, careful not to disturb the slumbering bundle. Jina was a good baby, or so Karli kept saying, but that didn’t mean she enjoyed being woken from her naps. Karli stopped just at the edge of the bed and looked at Emily.

Emily’s mother in law spoke softly so as not to upset the baby. “Are you all right?”

The Jedi, or former Jedi, she wasn’t sure if she still was one at the moment, shook her head. “I was just remembering the last time you gave me an injection.”

Karli winced and sat down beside the bed. The hypo vanished somewhere. When she spoke her voice was sad. “We didn’t have a choice Emily.”

Emily sighed. “I know. I understand, it was just… It was really, really weird not being in control of my body and mind.”

When an Imperial inspection team had come through the first time, it had been unannounced. The family had been forced to improvise while Dargon greeted the team. Emily had been reading in the library when Karli had burst in, pulled her into another room, and… Emily winced in memory.

"I know." The older woman laid a gentle hand on Emily’s shoulder. “I am sorry Emily. We didn’t have a choice.”

Emily nodded, but her mind was still reeling. Karli had been… different, harder. On one level Emily had known it was an act, but… Being stripped, restrained to a bed and then drugged with something that fogged her mind enough that she couldn’t talk or even move had been terrifying to the Jedi, especially after what she had endured before. The Imperial team, satisfied that she was an experimental subject who bore only a slight resemblance to a dead Jedi, had left without incident. Part of what had convinced them must have been the absolutely genuine terror that had seeped through her befuddled mind when an evil looking woman in black robes had examined her physically. The woman had been utterly professional, but so cold, so remote and so dark… It had taken Dargon and Karli some time to calm Emily down and get her to understand. Even now, she was hard pressed to keep the terror at bay. And there had been three inspections since then. Dargon was apparently under close scrutiny for some reason. Of course now they had a system for it.

As Emily was steeling herself to ask Karli to inject her, Mei came in, her face worried. “Grandma…. We have a guest.”

"A guest?" Karli froze in her seat and her face was worried. “Who, child?”

"Well..." Everything stopped as a soft voice answered her from behind the frozen girl in the doorway. “That would be me.”

Emily hadn’t thought she could get any stiffer, but she managed as a small brown form walked around Mei, patted her on the arm and nodded to Karli. But his gaze was on Emily and the bundle Emily held. The alien had long ears, tufted short hair and three fingers on each hand that ended in claws. What was odder was that she could not sense him in the Force, it was as if he wasn’t really there. It was the best camouflage she had ever seen of a being’s Force sense. But in that case, this being was insanely powerful. And dangerous.

"I am sorry..." Karli didn’t move. When she spoke, her voice was odd. “Lord Dargon is not here, Grandmaster Trugoy.”

The small brown form nodded. Emily felt her heart start to thud and she focused to keep calm. It wouldn’t help, and it would likely wake Jina, which might be bad. Sith as a whole had no time or patience for children. But Bladeborn, of which Trugoy was the leader, were not Sith, were they? Everything she had read had said they were different. Strange.

"Yes." Trugoy nodded sagely. “I know, I need to talk to Miss Hollian.”

"Uh..." Emily felt her heart fall completely out of her chest. He knew! Somehow, he knew… Through sheer force of will, she managed to keep her voice submissive and calm when she spoke. “I am afraid I don’t know any Miss Hollian, Grandmaster. My name is Emily Darkstorm.”

"Of course it is." Trugoy smiled and suddenly, Emily felt okay. He wasn’t hostile, maybe a bit worried, but not angry or hostile. “You are a very good actress, Jedi. One of the best I have seen. Be at peace, Ma’am. You have already had an incredibly stressful day. That is a beautiful child.” His smile was gentle as he looked at Jina.

"No..." Emily felt her heart start thudding again. “Leave her alone.” Her voice was calm still, but she gathered Jina into a tighter embrace. The waif snuggled closer but didn’t wake.

Trugoy smiled, but Emily was not mollified. He raised a hand when she would have sat up. “No, no… stay where you are or you will wake her. I will leave her and you alone if I can, Emily Hollian Darkstorm. Your secret is safe with me as long as Dargon is loyal. I know his loyalty to his family is stronger than his loyalty to the Empire, so I am telling you this. Your child will do great things, and terrible ones. Her choices will make or break the galaxy. So we will be watching. For now, rest new mother. You will need your sleep.” To Emily’s amazement, he bowed to her! Then he was gone. After a moment, Mei followed him out, her face serene, but her sense in the Force was shocked.

Emily stared after him and then looked atKarli who looked just as poleaxed as Emily felt. “I… This wasn’t a dream, was it?” Karli shook her head, bemused and Emily surprised herself with a small laugh. “We need to figure this out.”

Karli shook her head slowly and her hand came up with the hypo. This time Emily didn’t flinch. “For now, you need sleep.” She injected Emily with the deftness that spoke of long practice and then waited while Emily drifted away into a haze of blissful rest. She smiled as she reached for Jina. “Come here, youngling. Your momma needs sleep.” Emily drifted off conscious of soft singing. She loved listening to Karli sing.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:20 AM | #8
<Seven years later>

Emily was very good at waiting. She had not been originally, but in her training as a Jedi and now in her hidden life as the wife of a fake Sith, she had been forced to learn patience well. But this was driving her mad. Nothing was worse than being the mother of a hurt child and having to watch as others tended her daughter, even others she trusted completely. She sat on the couch in the waiting area and tried not to fidget.

“Mom?” A small voice asked from nearby and Emily turned to see her son sitting quietly. “It will be okay, you will see.”

She held out her hand and the small boy came into her arms and snuggled close. It never ceased to amaze her how calm her kids made her on occasion. Of course they could be infuriating at times, any children could be. But hers were special. She knew it was just her own perception, but to her, Mikol, Cina and the girl who was just now being wheeled out of surgery were the best children in the galaxy. Cina, at 6 months old, was too young to be exposed to this. But Mikol was solid at 3 years. He acted so grown up on occasion that Emily actually worried sometimes that he would never have a childhood. She remembered bits of her own fondly and didn’t want any of her kids to suffer because of her own inadequacies. But he never showed any jealousy, fear or anger. He was such a sweet child. She feared for him when he would have to go to the academy himself, after what had happened to Jina there. But then the Jedi forced herself to relax, there was nothing she could do about it.

Emily watched as the medics wheeled Jina to the recovery ward before replying. “I know, Mikol. I know.” She ruffled his hair and Mikol smiled as he nestled closer. She looked up as Dargon came out of the surgical suite, a satisfied look on his face. Emily raised an eyebrow and he nodded.

Dargon’s voice was quiet, but carried easily. “The lightsaber wound to the abdomen was clean. It self cauterized, and it missed most of the vital organs. The elbow that was pulled out of socket and stomped on is a bit more worrisome, but the repairs we made should hold. She also has a skull fracture, so we will keep her under observation for a couple of days.”

Emily nodded to the list of injuries. “Can I see her?” She asked quietly. Something was bothering her greatly.

The man in black robes was long time in answering. When he did it was quiet and sad. “I don’t think that is a good idea right now, Emily.”

"What?" His wife stiffened. “Why not?”

Dargon’s gaze was far away, at something only he could see. But when he spoke, anger was heard deep, deep down in his tone. Enough anger that Mikol whimpered a bit. “They tried to break her, Emily. They succeeded. She fell.” Emily gave Mikol a squeeze and he relaxed but then her husband’s word sank in.

Emily’s face went slack. “Oh my god… No…” She rose quickly, holding Mikol close as she started for the door. Dargon blocked the door and Emily snarled at him. “She is my daughter, Dargon! I have to help her. Even if she wasn’t I have to help her. It is my duty as a Jedi.”

"Emily..." Dargon sighed, but didn’t move from where he blocked the door. “Emily… Think. They used every means they could think of to break her mentally. I read the reports and they… they sicken me. But…” He sighed.

The female Jedi looked at her husband. “But what?”

"She..." Dargon spoke softly. “She didn’t break until they used you against her. In her mind.”

The woman with the child in her arms felt the planet rock on its axis. “They… what…?” she asked in disbelief.

The erstwhile Sith inquisitor sighed and put his arms around his wife and son gently. “Emily… It is what Sith do. They find a weakness and exploit it. It took them almost two years to find her weakness. It cost several students their lives for the instructors to find her weakness. But when they did find it, they did what Sith do. They broke her. Emily, she is one step removed from madness. The students who ambushed her wore your image. She killed them all, while they looked like you.”

The Jedi was shaking her head in horror and disbelief. “No… I…” She felt her eyes burn and focused herself. “I have to help her.”

Dargon shook his head. “If you go in there, Emily, she will attack you. She very nearly attacked me, apparently they tried using my image a few times as well. I um… Well…”

Emily looked at her husband. “What did you do?”

"Emily..." Dargon sighed and would not meet her eyes. “Is it Dark Side to use an enemy against another enemy? To escape with a wounded child, Emily?”

Emily stiffened. “Dargon…? What did you do?”

Dargon still wouldn’t meet her eyes. “I… They were going to kill her. She wiped the floor with all four of the senior students who attacked her in the refresher. She killed two of them, disarmed the other two literally, and was leaving when two of the instructors cornered her. One was going to… I…” Dargon’s voice broke. “Emily, help me, I was so angry, I wanted them to hurt.”

"Dargon?" Emily looked at her husband and then set her son down on his feet. He scampered to the side, face worried. Emily moved to stand beside her husband. Her voice was still quiet, but held a bite now. “What did you do, Dargon?” She repeated.

Dargon bowed his head. “They were going to enslave her, put bindings of the Force in her mind, turn her into a puppet. None of them had realized exactly how powerful and tough she was until then. Four on one and she wiped the floor with them, Emily. The instructors reacted as Sith do, with avarice. She had no chance against two full fledged Sith. She was down, she was screaming… I had to do something…”

Emily shook her head and hugged her significant other. “What happened, Dargon? What did you do?” She asked gently. Dargon finally met her eyes and she recoiled as she saw flecks of yellow in his otherwise impassive brown orbs. He had used the Dark side. “Oh my god, Dargon… No…” Her voice was horrified.

Dargon was crying now. “I took control of them both. They were tough, but no match for me. I turned them on each other. It was easy, they were Sith. They detested each other. They were still going at it when I left with Jina. Emily… I… I wanted them hurt for what they did to Jina, and… I think they both died. I didn’t stay to see. I carried Jina out to my ship and told the headmaster that Jina was now my apprentice. Then I left and brought her here.”

Emily slumped, but then embraced her husband. “I think I would have done the same, or worse. This is why the Council forbids attachment so strongly. But I don’t care. I can and will help you and Jina through this, Dargon. It will not be easy, or quick. Be we can and will do it.”

Dargon stared at Emily, and then smiled. “Thank you, Emily. I have been so scared… So…” He shook his head and then both of them started as small hands took theirs.

Mikol looked at both of them and his voice was sure. “Mom, dad? It will be all right.”

Emily had to smile at the clam surety in his voice and Dargon smiled as well. Both of them embraced their son, but both also knew that this was not going to be a simple matter. Not now.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:27 AM | #9
<8 years later, 10 years before the treaty of Coruscant>

It had almost gotten routine. That was bad. Emily knew that falling into a routine was never a good thing, especially when her life and the lives of everyone that’s he loved hung in the balance, but she couldn’t help it. Mikol had flunked out of the academy, on purpose. The absolute LAST thing that any of the family wanted was to become visible to the powers that be in the Empire. Jina’s spectacular slaying of four students as, supposedly, two instructors, had very nearly spelled doom to the small family. It had taken Dargon talking VERY fast to keep the hounds away.

Now Cina was there, and keeping her cool as best the hot headed girl could. Emily worried about her youngest. And she knew that Cina would be her last. The docs had tried, but after the last attempt, they had been forced to sterilize her. Her internal organs simply could not keep up with the strain, even with the best medical tech the Empire had and the Force, there was simply no way to have another child. So Emily and Dargon had, um… adopted a few. So that was what Emily was doing when Dargon returned from his latest trip.

He staggered into the main room, his eyes haunted and his posture slumped. “Emily…” His voice was as haunted as his eyes.

Emily blinked and turned from the game that she had been playing with two of her adopted children. Lisbet and Jul did not have the Force, but she didn’t care. They were good kids, well trained and disciplined now. She and Dargon had started a small training school for soldiers that had grown over the years and now was providing training to some of the best and brightest of the Empire. Candidates from as far away as Drummond Kaas were attending now, and Emily kept herself and her kids far, far away from it. She was on her feet and at her husband’s side in an instant. The two kids were also on their feet, one moving to take Dargon’s cloak and the other to get a cup of tea for him.

Emily helped her husband to a chair and sat him down. He was shaking slightly. Emily stared at him; she had never seen him shake. But when she spoke, her voice was calm. “Dargon? What is wrong?”

Dargon accepted the cup that Lizbet gave him and sipped slowly. He managed to calm himself slightly before speaking, but even without the Force, she could see that he was seriously upset. When he spoke, his voice was tightly controlled. “We went to Tralus, Jina and I. We were sent to ‘acquire’ one of the bugs that live there. For experimentation, for dissection, for study. I had no idea, Emily. They were not animals. They are sentient. Mad sentients.”

"What?" Emily shook her head, baffled.. “What happened, Dargon? Where is Jina?” She stared at the door as if expecting her daughter.

"I lost her." Dargon winced and would not meet her eyes. “They took her. The bugs did.”

Emily froze. “They what? Dargon, they eat people!” She had been informed of what the Sith knew about the race of huge black bugs that lived on the moon of Correllia and occasionally travelled elsewhere. “You left her there?” She tried to keep the accusation out of her voice, but it flew regardless.

Dargon shook his head, his entire being spoke of fatigue far beyond normal. “I tried, Emily. I couldn’t get close. They didn’t… It was weird. They didn’t eat her. They did something else. I had no idea why.”

Emily shook her husband, and not gently. “Dargon, make sense. What happened?”

"I tried." Dargon slumped. “I tried to get into the nest, but there were just too many of them. Every time I tried, they found me, chased me away. Then something odd happened. A team of Republic Special Forces and a pair of Jedi arrived. They went in, they found her. They fought their way out. They lost people, but they got Jina out.” His face was so sad now.

Emily stiffened. Something in his force sense. “Then what?” She asked quietly.

Dargon slumped. “The girl they found wasn’t Jina, Emily. The bugs…” He was crying now, softly. “The bugs wiped her mind.” Emily’s horrified gasp was matched by the two children. All of them liked Jina. She was odd and dangerous, but they liked her. Even with her penchant for diving into battle naked to test herself. “She didn’t remember me. I snuck onto the ship the Jedi were on. She was so small and lost in the medical berth. The Jedi were gone, talking to the remnants of the Special Forces team, I think. I was going to try and get her. She didn’t know me. She fought me. I… The Jedi returned and I had to flee.”

"And?" Emily was shaking in fear and grief. “What happened to Jina, Dargon? Where is she?”

Dargon sighed. “They were going to take her to Coruscant for medical treatment. I tried to stop them… I fought, and I lost.”

"Dargon..." His wife froze in place. “If you lost…”

Dargon looked old and tired suddenly. “The Jedi I fought knew I was Jina’s father. He told me he would see to it she was safe and taken care of. They were not sure if they could help her. She was… is… a mess. He defeated me easily, and then he let me go.”

Emily was in shock, she knew she was. “They… they will take care of her. Probably better than we can.”

Dargon looked away for a moment. “It gets worse, Emily. I… interrogated the bug I captured. I know why they took Jina alive. Why they tried so hard to get her back when the Jedi and Special Forces took her.”

Emily waited, but Dargon didn’t continue. “Dargon?” She prompted.

"it was horrible, Emily." Dargon sat up straight, his posture becoming rigid. “They wanted to use her to breed Force using versions of themselves. They were going to use her to make a horde of huge, flesh eating, Force using insects, Emily. They remade her, Emily. They hurt her, badly, in capturing her. They repaired her body, using biotechnology that is way beyond anything the Empire has. They were going to alter it, so she could be a brood mother for their race.”

Emily felt all the blood leave her face. “How do you know that, Dargon?”

Dargon slumped again. “I asked.”

Emily shook her head. “You… What?”

The erstwhile Sith Inquisitor sighed and rose to his feet. “Come with me.” Emily silently followed her husband as he left the room. She followed him through the compound that served as the home of the Darkstorm clan, and then she followed him into a section she had never been in. A glace told her what it was. A dungeon. As dungeons went, this one was fairly comfortable. No water, no rodents, no… She froze and recoiled as she looked into the cell that Dargon was approaching and a large black bug lay on it's side in the middle of the floor there. Its legs had been lopped off, apparently by a lightsaber, but it looked at Dargon with intelligence in its compound eyes.

Dargon nodded to the bug. When he spoke, it was in a formal tone. “Kioulinhighjutsofruitploniun, meet Emily. Jina’s mother.”

"Greetings, Mi'lady." The bug nodded to Emily and Emily froze as the bug spoke accentless Basic. “Forgive my inability to rise.”

Emily blinked and looked from the bug to Dargon. “What the flarg?” Her eyes narrowed as she scanned the bug with the Force. “You… You are sane. I thought your people were all insane.”

"All the others are. I was." The bug nodded again. “Your mate has healed what was done to my people so long ago. Inadvertently, but he has restored my mind. I am free of the madness that was all I knew from the moment I hatched.”

Emily looked at Dargon, her mouth hanging open. “What did you do?”

"I don't know." Dargon shook his head slowly. “I really don’t know. I was trying a dozen different things at once to communicate. Suddenly, well, she talked.”

"indeed." The black bug made a soft sound. “Your mate saved me from madness, Emily Darkstorm. Anything I can do to help, I will.”

Emily shook her head, utterly bemused. “She? Uh, you are female, Kio- um… I cannot remember your name. I apologize.” Her old training as an arbiter and judge came back as she tried to remember how to act.

"Apology accepted." The bug nodded to her. “You may call me Niun, Emily Darkstorm.” Her tone held humor.

Dargon nodded. “Yes. Niun here is a sterile female of a race called the Sitolon. Apparently there are more of them out there than we knew about. And they don’t like us. Force users. Nuin was telling me about… Well, what happened to Jina and why.”

Emily sat down heavily on the floor. “So… What can we do?” She asked quietly, trying to get her mind around this predicament.

Dargon bowed his head. “I have been ordered to set up a clandestine garrison on Tralus. To keep Niun’s people as contained as we can. And I have been ordered to put Mikol in command. His orders will be to kill Jina if she ever returns.” Emily’s eyes went wide, but before she could protest, Dargon continued. “I was ordered by the Emperor, Emily.”

Emily shut her mouth with a click. No one sane defied the Emperor’s commands inside the Empire. She slumped. “I… I…” She felt her eyes burn, and Dargon embraced his wife.

Her husband’s voice was soft now. “It gets worse.” Emily stiffened and he continued. “One of the Special Forces soldiers who rescued Jina was Will Kalenath.”

Emily felt her world suddenly shiver, as if the galaxy itself had suddenly frozen in place and then started again. “Oh my god…. It’s begun…” Both of them had been researching various things and both had recently uncovered disturbing information about the Kalenath and Darkstorm families. An ancient prophecy suddenly looked as if it were coming true.

"Yes." Dargon nodded. “Yes. The Seven are rising. And Jina is one of them.” Emily stared at her husband and then buried her face in his shoulder and wept.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 10:48 AM | #10
<5 years before the treaty of Coruscant>

Emily shook her head as she took her place by the slumbering woman. Mei nodded and left the room. But Emily knew she had to do more than just sit with this sorely hurt woman now. The woman was not asleep, her eyes were open, but vacant. She had to do what the Force was prodding her to do. Dargon might be annoyed with her for this, but... She had to try. Emily laid her hands on the soldier's arm and forehead and focused herself as she had not in many, many years. The Force answered her call as easily as ever and she could feel the power seeping into the still form in front of her, soothing, cleansing, healing. The staring eyes in front of her... blinked.

"Sharra?" Emily asked gently. "Can you hear me?" There was no response. Emily sighed, nothing for it, she was going to have to go deeper. She called the Force again and threw herself into Sharra Kalenath's mind.

A whirlwind of emotion surrounded her. Images, memories. She saw battles, people dying in Empire and Republic colors, Jedi, Sith, all sorts of beings. But then she ran into a wall.

"Ow..." Emily said slowly as she retreated from Sharra's mind for a moment. "What the hell? A block...? Has to be a block...But... Wow that was powerful."

"Emily?" Mei's voice was worried. Her friend came into the room. "You cried out."

"I am okay, Mei." Emily hastened to reassure her friend. "I am trying to help her." She waved a slow hand to where Sharra lay silent.

"Emily..." Mei's voice was disapproving. "If Nuin can't..."

"I know." Emily said sadly. "But I think I did find out what is causing this. Why or how? That I don't know. How is Will?"

"Still asleep." Mei said sadly. "He is as much of a mess as she is. Do you think...?"

"I can help her, Mei." Emily said solidly. "I just need a little more time."

"Okay." Mei said with a shrug. "But this time I am going to monitor you."

"I would appreciate it." Emily said a she laid her hands back on Sharra's still form. "And this time I am going to try to get around the block instead of ramming my head through it."

She heard Mei chuckle as if from a great distance as she entered Sharra's mind again. She could almost see it. A wall across Sharra's memories. And not an externally created one either. It was as if the woman had put it up herself. Emily gently insinuated herself around the edge. She was not prepared for what she saw. It was as if she were watching from outside as the scene unfolded.

Sharra was in Republic uniform. She was walking along a corridor. It looked like a military base. A glance to the side showed Will in uniform, walking beside her. Both had no expression on their faces. The pair walked to a door marked "General Mak' and Will knocked.

"Enter." An older male voice sounded. A Kel Dor in Republic Uniform, with General's stars on his shoulders, rose from his desk and nodded to both. Will and Sharra both saluted and he returned them. "Will, Sharra, good to see you. I take it everything is taken care of."

"The senator is in custody, general." Sharra said flatly. Emily tensed. There was something about her voice, something wrong.

"Good." The general didn't seem to hear whatever was in Sharra's voice. Or care. "This has been a hell of a mess. You have both earned some leave time." What was going on? Emily had no idea.

"Have we?" Sharra asked calmly. "Is that so? How many children's lives is a leave worth, General?"

"Sharra?" He asked slowly. "I don't know what you mean."

"We are not stupid, General." Sharra said slowly. "Will and I have done...evil things for the Republic. To see the Republic survive. It is the duty of any soldier to place him or herself between those who would harm innocents and innocents. Any who would harm innocents..." She stopped talking as the general shook his head.

"Look Sharra. I know this hurt you." The Kel Dor sighed. "It hurt all of us, but it wasn't your fault."

"No sir, it was not." Sharra said slowly. "We followed the chain of command. We did as ordered, placing the bomb in the bank as you ordered. But..."

"Stop right there, lieutenant." The General said harshly. "I take responsibility for my operations. I messed up. "

"Did you?" Will's voice was as cold dead thing. "Did you really?"

"Will!" Sharra hissed. "I have this." Will looked at his wife and nodded, stepping back a pace.

"Look, I know you are both stressed." The general said gently. "You both have earned a great deal of..." He broke off as Sharra glared at him. "Lieutenant..." He shook his head. "What?" He asked sourly.

"This." Sharra laid a message chip down on the general's desk. He stared at it and froze. "The senator's aide sent his final report with us. You knew. You knew who the conduit in the Senate was. You knew all along. You knew all along where the terrorists were getting their money."

"Sharra..." The General said slowly. "It is not that simple."

"Begging your pardon sir..." Sharra said slowly, carefully. "I think it is. So I only have one thing to ask before I walk out of here and go to the Judge Advocate General's office." The general went stiff, but Sharra didn't seem to care. "Why? Why blow up a bank? Why use us to kill a bunch of civvies and kids? Why, general?" A tear fell from Sharra's eyes. "Why?" She demanded.

"You are stressed, Sharra." The general said kindly. "I know this hurt you. It was my order, my responsibility."

"I planted the bomb!" Sharra screamed. "That makes it my responsibility! I knew it was wrong and I did it anyway! You ordered us to do it. You said, and I quote 'It is needed'! Why?" She snapped. "Why was it needed?"

"I don't like your tone, lieutenant." The general said slowly. "You have no right to question me."

"No?" Sharra asked sadly. "The eighteen little bodies I pulled out of rubble I made give me that right, General. Did you know there was a daycare in there?"

"No." The general said just as sadly. "I didn't. But that doesn't change the facts. They were going to shut this division down. Now they are not and we even got a funding increase."

"You..." Sharra froze in place, her face ashen. "You... What? You did this get funding?" Emily hissed in horror, horror matched by Sharra's face and voice.

"Sharra... I know this is bad." General Mak said gently. "But it is for the best. We are defending the Republic."

"Begging your pardon sir..." Sharra said flatly. "The oath that I took says to defend the Republic against enemies foreign and domestic. I think you are going to hear from JAG soon, general." She turned to go, but he sighed.

"You are so naive, Sharra." General Mak said sadly. "You and Will are both on unpaid leave as of now until we can have a full psyche screening done. The medics are waiting outside. JAG is not going to listen to crazy people, Sharra."

"Crazy people." Emily tensed at Sharra's words. Uh oh...

"Sharra, you are stressed." The general said gently. "This is my responsibility. I ordered this. You are not responsible. Stand down, relax. It will be all right."

"With all due respect, General..." Sharra said flatly. "Kiss my choobies." She turned for the door. "If I have to I will broadcast this over the fracking holonet for all to see. You terrorist scum! You are no better than the ones we killed on Correllia."

"Fine." The general said as he reached for his desk. "Sharra Kalenath, you are under arrest for treason-URK!" He grunted as he jumped the short distance between the door and his desk, slamming his fingers in the drawer he had been reaching into. "Ah! Sharra! I...!"

"You dare!" Sharra slammed her hands, fully trained in several forms of martial arts, into the recoiling general. "You dare call ME a traitor, you murdering filth?" Emily watched, awed, as the furious woman beat the Kel Dor bloody. She jerked as Sharra pulled the being's mask off, and then the Jedi blanched as she saw a blinking device in the woman's hands. She was trying to shove it down the alien's throat!

"Hey!" A new voice sounded. A young voice. "You! Freeze!" Emily spun to see two soldiers in the door, both had blasters out, but both were focused on Sharra. Neither saw Will, who ALSO had his blaster out and aimed.

"Will..." Sharra said as she retreated from the still form at her feet. "No... We are soldiers, like them...We were even young and dumb like them... once..." Her husband stared at her and slowly dropped his gun. The guards jumped at the sound, they had never even seen him. She collapsed in a heap and started to cry.


Emily hissed as she slammed back into her body. "Oh my god..."

"Emily?" Mei asked, concerned. "What?" Then her eyes went wide as Sharra coughed and started to cry.

"Sharra..." Emily said gently as she took the woman in her arms. "Easy... Easy..." She crooned. "It's okay. It will be okay. You are a soldier, not a terrorist, not a monster, not a murderer. A soldier. Sharra. You are..."

"Who are you?" Sharra gasped out between sobs.

"My name is Emily, Sharra and I am here to help..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here