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(L,F&E 75) Justice or Vengeance


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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 01:39 PM | #1
At first, everything was dark. Every so often, things would become a bit lighter, but it never lasted. Around her she could hear soft murmurs of things, maybe people talking, maybe droids communicating, but it never made sense and she could never be sure how long she heard them before she was pulled back into the comforting blackness. She didn’t really mind. Every time she was in the light, she hurt. Her head hurt, her shoulder hurt, but mainly, her chest hurt. Sometimes it was a dull ache that suffused every pore until she was unsure where the pain ended and she began. Other times it was a fiery inferno that eclipsed everything else. It continued this way for some time, she was never entirely sure if she was awake or asleep.

Eventually, she had noticed a pattern. When the light came, so did the pain. It was starting to get to the point that she was afraid of the light, afraid of when the pain would come again. So it was a massive shock when she saw the light come at one point and there was no pain. She blinked, trying to figure out what was going on and a soft voice came to her ears.

“She is awake.” She tried to turn her head, but it wouldn’t move. She panicked a little, but then something happened and she relaxed, almost against her will. Was she drugged?

Another voice spoke, this one harsh with pain and fear. “Part of me wishes she hadn’t woken.”

"Come on." The first voice spoke soothing. “It wasn’t her fault, you know that.”

"I know, but..." The second voice sighed. “Doesn’t matter. No matter what you or I might think, the crew will decide her fate.”

Crew. She thought about that word for a moment. She was a member of a crew, she remembered that. Everything was fuzzy, everything was distorted. There had been a… a gathering? An assembly? There had been a young girl there, an angry one, yelling at her. What had happened? She couldn’t remember. She tried to speak, but she couldn’t. She started struggling, trying to move, to speak, to find out what was going on. She couldn’t move, she was strapped down tight.

The first voice spoke to her now, soothing, calming. “Brianna, no, don’t struggle. We have you strapped down.” Something warm touched her brow, a hand. It brushed her hair. It calmed her slightly. “Easy, girl, we need to take the tube out. You will be able to talk in a minute. Okay?”

Brianna, that was her name, wasn’t it? It felt, right and wrong at the same time, as odd as that sounded. She wanted to nod, but she couldn’t. The hand gently traced her cheek and the voice spoke again. “It’s okay, Brianna. Now, this is going to feel weird.”

She felt a tugging, and then something was sliding out of her mouth. She gagged as whatever it was passed her throat, but managed to keep her bile down. Then whatever it was passed out of her mouth and she could close it. She opened her mouth to ask a question, one of many that were humming around her mind, but nothing came out. She blinked and tried again. This time, she managed a croak.

"Easy." The first gentle voice sighed. “Brianna, easy… Take it slow. You have been unconscious for some time. Here, drink this.” A straw found her lips and she sucked on it dutifully. The water was clear and cold, but tasted better than the best beer she had ever had. She sucked greedily on it, but froze as the straw was pulled from her lips. “Slowly, Brianna, slowly. If you drink too fast, you will make yourself sick. Drink as much as you want, but slowly.”

Brianna, that was her name she remembered, did as instructed. She drank slowly. It gave her time to focus herself. She knew that voice. Hawkir, his name was Hawkir and he was a Jedi. Finally, she had taken enough water that she thought she would burst. When she stopped drinking the straw was removed. Her throat was only slightly raspy when she opened her mouth and tried to speak again. “Hawkir…?” She barely recognized her own voice.

The man’s voice was soft and gentle still. “Yes, Brianna?”

"What...?" Brianna’s voice was scared now. “What did I do?” Patients in the medical bay were not generally restrained into berths. She remembered bits and pieces. She remembered Juli Shanas Kalenath’s trial. She remembered the arrogance of the Sith who had come aboard and tried to sell herself as something she obviously wasn’t. She… Her memories broke off at that point.

The second voice that she had heard spoke again, and this time she recognized it as her father. Jaing Makarian’s tone was sad, sick and worried. “What do you remember, Brianna?”

"I..." Brianna thought back, trying to figure out why she would be tied up in a medical bay. She blinked, trying to focus. “I was… I was on my way back to my work. After the trial, after Boss talked to me, berated me for shooting… I didn’t do anything wrong! That Sith was lying!” She paused and shook herself as best she could. “Was I hurt?”

"Ah..." Her father’s voice was neutral now. “Yes, you were hurt Brianna. You don’t remember taking Juli to the Detention bay?”

"Huh?" Brianna blinked again, her face furrowing as she tried to recall. “What? No… I had no business there. I was angry, with that little scamp but mainly with that Sith witch. Lying Sith scum…” Her face heated as she remembered the scene in the hangar bay where Will of all people had actually defended the barvette. She remembered the ignominy of being disarmed after she had shot the Sith witch and not killed her. She must have missed somehow. No one could take four shots center mass without falling, no matter what armor they wore. Not even a lying Sith scum.

"Easy, girl..." Hawkir’s voice was still calm, but focused. “Brianna, calm yourself. So you don’t remember coming to the detention bay and finding Mika, Jonas, Juli’s father and me in the cells?”

"What?" Brianna froze. Something in his tone... “What happened?”

"Brianna..." Her father spoke now, his tone oddly formal. “Brianna, it is very important. Do you remember anything about the detention bay?”

Brianna was starting to get scared now. “No. What happened?” She demanded. “Why am I tied up? Why are you treating me like a prisoner?”

"Because you are." A third voice spoke up and Brianna tensed as the voice of Stormhawk Boss spoke. “You killed Mika Kalenath and Jonas Kalenath, Brianna Makarian. You very nearly killed Juli Shanas Kalenath. I can understand you being angry with Juli, after what she said and did after the trial, but Mika and Jonas had done nothing to you.” Now Brianna was terrified. Boss’ voice was coldly furious.

Brianna stammered. “I… No… I couldn’t have. Mika is my friend. She is studying dance with me… I…” She broke off, scared out of her mind now.

For a long moment, no one spoke, and then her father broke the silence. “Was, Brianna. She was studying dance, and she was your friend. You killed her.”

"I..." Brianna felt her eyes burning. “No… No, that isn’t possible.”

Boss’ voice was just sad and sick now. “It wasn’t just you. You were set up by tech Jaken, and two of the marines, who have all paid for their crimes. But you killed two of your shipmates and may very well have destroyed the mind of a third. I don’t know. Cranna either won’t tell us or doesn’t know what happened to Juli. But as of now, you are under arrest for the murder of Mika Kalenath and Jonas Kalenath. Until you are healed you will be remanded to the doctor’s care. When you are, you will be placed in the brig until the crew can convene a trial that will not result in you being lynched on the spot. I will be back later, keep me apprised of her condition.” A door hissed.

"I..." Brianna tried to shake her head, but it wouldn’t move. “No… Please tell me I didn’t kill my friend, dad… Please…?”

"Oh Brianna..." Jaing’s voice was soft. “I wish I could, Brianna. But Hawkir was there, he watched you do it.”

Brianna was crying hard now. “No…”

Hawkir’s voice was soft and gentle. “It is not your fault, Brianna, you were set up by Jaken.” He sighed. “The artificial heart is working fine, so we can remove you from the plumbing, but you will not want to be awake for that.”

"A what?" Brianna blinked and spoke softly. “Artificial heart?”

"Yeah." Her father’s hand touched her. She could tell his touch, she always had been able to. “When Will arrived in the detention bay, he found you torturing his kids. He shot you, Bri.”

"He... He did...?" Brianna slumped in her bonds. “Then how am I alive?” Will would not have missed. She wasn’t sure the man could miss.

Jaing’s voice was quiet. “Hawkir saved you. So be nice to him. He is the only person on this ship besides me who does not want you dead right now.”

Brianna shuddered, but her voice was hard when she spoke. “If I killed Mika and Jonas then I want me dead…” She was fading now as something pulled her under, but she heard her father curse quietly and then a kiss landed on her brow. She was smiling sadly as she fell asleep.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 01:51 PM | #2
Brianna Makarian had been through a lot of stress in her life. Between being captured by the Sith, used a plaything by a perverted Sith commander, then being rescued by her father of all people, someone she had hated… She knew she wasn’t stable, but usually it didn’t matter. Her job aboard had been as a logistics tech. It had mainly required a strong back and not a lot of brains. There were technical aspects, sure, but there wasn’t much brainpower involved in moving crates, or ordering droids about. She had wanted to a job where she didn’t have to think, where she could just lose herself in the work, and the crew had complied. But now…

She had never really thought about it. She had always railed against people when they disturbed her. When Stormhawk Nine, crew representative and one of the best pilots Brianna had ever seen, had literally grabbed her and pulled her into a rough and ready therapy session, Brianna had remained silent for the first three times. But Nine was patient as a rock and had about as much give. And it had been amazing when the girl had finally opened up a bit. She had always been an admiral’s kid. No matter where she had gone, in the military or out, she was always Jaing Makarian’s daughter, never Brianna. She had always been held to his standards, always looked at with concern when she could not meet the criteria that other people set for her from her dad’s reputation. It had made her hate him.

Only after she had finally broken down in one of the sessions had she begun to understand. It was her. It wasn’t her dad. Her own personality had colored her, had hindered her, and had actually worked to block her promotion on several occasions. Long talks with her father had brought that smoldering resentment out into the open and they had been dealing with it. But then…this.

As the two armed and ready guards escorted her from Medical to detention, she saw faces that she recognized in the halls. None would meet her gaze. She saw Stormhawk Nine at one point and opened her mouth, but Nine looked right through her as if she didn’t exist. That hurt more than anything else. More than the plumbing had coming out, more than the heart implant had. None of them saw her. She was… nothing now. A dead woman walking.

She shook her head as she walked. And then she saw it. An airlock, she stared at the door as she approached it, but the guard to her left shook his head and steered her into another corridor. She glanced back at it longingly. An end to her pain, her shame, her torment, her life… The same guard gave her a rough shove and she stumbled a bit, but continued. They were not going to let her take the easy way out, not now. They entered the detention bay and Brianna was shocked when the guards directed her away from the force cages that stood ominously at the side of the room. They moved her past the large cells, the force fields that were silent, deactivated and towards the… She froze in mid-step.

Her voice was terrified as she stared at the small door ahead of her. “No…”

"Don't try." The guard gave her a shove again. “Move, girl. You know the drill.”

Brianna was shaking her head, but the guards grabbed the binders on her wrists and bodily carried her towards the solitary confinement cell. It was used only for people who were dangerous to themselves or others, people who might throw themselves at the force fields of the more modern cells and injure or kill themselves either accidentally or deliberately. She was trying to fight, but now two more guards were approaching from an adjoining room. One of them held… Brianna screamed as the guard opened the straightjacket.

No!” She was screaming, fighting, trying to get away, to get free. A heavy blow to the back of her head sent her to the deck, her head swimming.

“Easy!” One of the new guards cautioned. “We don’t want her dead. Not until after the trial.”

Brianna could only watch, stunned as they stripped her efficiently and professionally. Then they put the straitjacket on and wrapped it in place. Something went around her waist before the final strap was put between her legs and her guts turned to water as she realized it was a diaper. They didn’t trust her with a refresher! She was shaking her head, trying to get words out, as one guard produced a large ball on a strap. Her eyes went wide and she was trying to cower away, but the hands holding her were too strong.

“No… No… Please… No… You don’t have to do that… I will be good, I swear…” She was babbling but the guard shook her head and moved it over her mouth. Brianna clamped her mouth shut, and the guard sighed.

The female guard looked at Brianna the way a Krayt dragon might look at an insect, with the same level of dispassion. When the guard spoke, it was quiet, and impersonal. “Orders. We don’t want you biting your tongue. Open wide.” Brianna shook her head stubbornly and the guard sighed. Then a strong finger dug into the side of Brianna’s head and found a nerve cluster. When Brianna opened her mouth to scream, the guard popped the ball in and secured the strap.

Brianna was crying, cursing, trying to fight the hands that moved her now towards the small door. They shoved her through and she landed on a padded surface. She rolled to a sitting position in time to see the small door shut, leaving her in a small bare room. No furniture, no decorations, nothing but padding. And the padding was thick. Floor, walls, and ceiling were all padded with that same soft material that was well beyond her ability to damage.

"Take it easy." The guard’s voice came from a hidden speaker. “We will be back with your meal. Get some sleep.”

Brianna tried bashing her head against the wall, but the padding was too thick. Eventually, she wore herself out, and she lay still, crying.

Suddenly the door opened and a shocked female voice spoke up. “Aw, what the hell?”

The guard answered in a quiet, but adamant tone. “Orders, Ma’am. We don’t want her hurting herself before the trial.”

"You..." A small lithe form entered the room and shook her head. It was a small female Twilek, blue skinned, and irate. “Idiots… She is already stressed. How is she supposed to… Oh, I see. You don’t want her to defend herself. You are trying to drive her completely mad.” She sat down beside Brianna’s cringing form and laid a gentle hand on Brianna’s head. “It’s okay, Brianna. It’s okay…”

The guard protested. “Ma’am… My orders are…”

"Get out!" The Twilek snarled at him. “You are supposed to be getting her meal. Go get it. I will feed her if I have to. You sadistic bastards…” Brianna tensed as the Twi’lek’s fingers fumbled around her head. “Here, Brianna…” The strap loosened and the ball fell out of Brianna’s mouth. The girl immediately started wailing out her grief, pain and rage. The Twi’lek sighed and gathered Brianna up in her arms. “It’s okay, Brianna, it will be okay. My name is Mission. I don’t think it was you who did it.”

"I..." Brianna shook her head but calmed slightly. “I saw the recording, it was me…”

"Ah..." Mission sighed and laid Brianna out carefully. “Your body, yes. But not you in control of it.” Her touch was gentle and soothed the traumatized woman. “You told Hawkir that you don’t remember after the trial. You were walking back to your workstation. That is nowhere near where Juli was last seen. Do you remember anything at all?”

Brianna tried, but everything just cut off after a certain point. Now her voice was flat. “No… I was… I was passing section twelve. And then I woke in medical, they showed me the tape, I killed Mika and Jonas… And what I did to Juli… I deserve to die…” She cried plaintively.

"I don't know." Mission sighed. “That remains to be seen. For my sins and for the fact that I am the closest thing on this ship to a neutral party at the moment, they made me your advocate.”

"That doesn't make sense." Brianna was crying again, her heart and soul pouring out in streams that ran down her face like rain. “Advocate for what? I am guilty…”

"Maybe." Mission smiled slightly. “But it is my job to keep them from killing you and finding out exactly what happened may help. Section twelve you say? What is down there? I haven’t been through that area.”

"Ah..." Brianna shook her head. “Not a lot. Mostly storage, some of which hasn’t been opened since the battle of Coruscant. Not a lot of call for request forms or Republic uniforms these days. “

"True." Mission snorted and patted Brianna’s head. “No matter what I want, I can’t let you out of the jacket. But I can make you more comfortable.” The Twi’lek drew off her own uniform jacket and laid it over Brianna’s bare legs. “There, that should keep you a little warmer. Sheesh… Idiots. They could have at least given you a blanket.”

"No." Brianna shook her head. “Could…Could hang myself with it or…” She broke off as Mission tapped her nose. “What…?”

"Brianna." Mission shook her head. “Stop that, you are not suicidal. Or not…intentionally…”

"I must be." Brianna shook her head. “I lost it, Mission, I am dangerous, better off dead…”

"Maybe, maybe not." The Twi’lek’s eyes narrowed. “Brianna… I need to do something and it is going to frighten you. I need to take a blood sample”

"What?" Brianna shook her head, baffled. “What are you talking about? What do you mean it will frighten me? They have been drawing blood for quite a while.”

"Not like this." Mission sighed. “Not from inside your brain, Brianna. That is the only place where the traces of what I think happened to you might be found.”

Brianna went stiff as a column of ice. “In…Inside my brain?” She recoiled away from the Twi’lek and Mission let her go. She skittered across the padded floor until she fetched up against the wall. She shook her head, but Mission didn’t move. “Why?”

"Brianna..." Mission’s voice was soft. “What you described to Hawkir… I…” Mission looked away for a moment. “I recognize the symptoms. Paranoia, loss of memory, lack of inhibitions, heightened aggressiveness… Yeah, I recognize them.” Brianna stared at the Twi’lek, unable to speak. After a moment, Mission continued. “I need a sample from inside your brain because that is the only place I can be certain to find trace elements of Islanian toxins. They are the only thing I know of that might explain all of what you have been experiencing. Humans simply do not react as you have been, even after being traumatized as badly as you were. I should have seen it. I would have thought that Gaia would have seen it, but then again... She wasn't perfect and she was busy…”

"Islanian?" Brianna stared at the Twi’lek and then she scoffed. “All the Islanians are dead.”

"True." Mission nodded but then sighed. “Yes, but their knowledge did not die with them. Republic Intelligence Special Branch is using techniques derived from Islanian mind breaking practices. And some of the drugs they use are similar to Islanian toxins as well. If so…” The Twi’lek looked away, but her face was sorrowful.

"MIssion?" Brianna stared at the Twi’lek. “If so… what?” She asked when Mission did not continue.

Mission looked up and Brianna recoiled. The Twi’lek was crying! “If so, they learned all that from me.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:25 PM | #3
Brianna was bemused. Mission was…odd. She could be acerbic and judgmental, and in the next instant, be kind and gentle. She had spoon fed Brianna’s meal to her and was now easing the girl’s limbs with a gentle massage. Mission was good company, and funny. Most of the time, it was hard to believe that the mind inside the young Twi’lek was over nine hundred years old. Mission finished her massage and nodded to Brianna.

“How do you feel now?” The young looking female asked gently.

Brianna smiled at the Twi’lek a little cautiously. “Um… Better. You say you need a blood sample? Will it hurt?” She tensed a bit but then relaxed as Mission’s strong fingers started massaging again.

"No." Mission shook her head and her lekku moved in a slow dance, coming to rest on Brianna’s abdomen. But that didn’t bother the bound girl. Her voice was as gentle as her fingers when she spoke. “It will feel a bit weird. But it won’t hurt per say. The device I will use was designed not to hurt.”

"I don't get it." Brianna shook her head slowly. “You would think I would remember if someone who looked like Gaia had done something to me. She always creeped me out.” Mission nodded slowly.

The large jellyfish like being named Gaia had been horrific looking. Islanians had never been very physically capable, so they had evolved with incredibly good natural defensive systems in the toxins that they could secrete from their tentacle. Then they had spent millennia perfecting said toxins to produce whatever effects they wanted. Gaia had been able to calm, paralyze or do a myriad of other things via careful manipulation of the biotoxins on her tentacles.

"Brianna..." Mission sighed and patted the girl on the head. “If one of them did it to you, you might not remember. They could do that. And it could have been any number of ways. They got me in a drink. One moment I was drinking from my bottle, the next I couldn’t move a muscle. Talk about scary for a three year old…”

Brianna stared at the Twi’lek. “You were only three? And you remember…?” Her voice was horrified.

Mission’s gaze went far away, looking at something only she could see. “I remember everything, Brianna. It is part of what they did to me. Gaia was as gentle as she could be, but the process was… brutal. There is a reason Gaia called it ‘breaking a mind and then pouring it into a ship’. That is exactly what she did. They had to remake us after placing us in the machines, every single one of us. So they remade us as perfect slaves. The rebuilding process gave every one of us perfect recall. Better slaves after all, right? I remember every single thing that happened to me.”

"Oh, yuck." Brianna was curious in spite of herself. “Do you remember your parents?”

"No." Mission shook her head. “I remember everything from after they found me. I don’t know if I simply don’t want to remember or if they wiped that part of my mind, or if it was too traumatizing for me to remember. I was only three after all. And now, well, it’s been several hundred years. The chances of me finding out are remote to say the least. How do you feel now?” She asked again, gently.

"Ugh." Brianna slumped, she was procrastinating. “No time like the present. I am sort of tied up though.”

"Yep you are." Mission snorted a laugh. “Okay, I need you to stay still. This is not going to hurt, but it will feel very strange. I need to put this…” She held up a small thing, it looked organic, almost like a worm. “…in your ear.”

Brianna stared at the thing in Mission’s hand. “No needles?” She wasn’t sure about this.

"Nope." Mission smiled gently. “No needles. It will feel weird, but it won’t hurt.” Brianna took a deep breath and then turned her head to allow Mission easy access to her ear. Mission smiled as she took Brianna’s head in her free hand. “Good girl. Here we go…”

Brianna felt something wet slide into her auditory canal and gasped as the cold thing wiggled its way in. “I…” She fought to remain still.

Now both of Mission’s hands were on her head, holding it gently in place. “Okay, Brianna. Now comes the rough part…”

Suddenly Brianna felt whatever the thing was push into her ear. It didn’t hurt, but suddenly she was violently nauseous. She gasped out. “I… I am going to be sick…”

"Shh... Easy, easy..." Mission’s hands were gentle and her voice was kind as she held Brianna tight. “No you are not, just hold on a moment…”

Brianna squirmed in her straitjacket, she was sure that she was instants away from spewing her last few meals. Then, like someone had flipped a switch, her nausea vanished. She blinked in astonishment. “What the heck just happened?”

Mission put a finger over Brianna’s lips. “Shhh…Brianna, don’t talk. Just relax, just relax, that’s a girl…” The Twi’lek had started her massage again and Brianna relaxed a bit. “Let the probe do its job. It won’t be long. It deadened some of your nerves so it could pass your auditory apparatus without disturbing things. That is what made you feel sick, your balance center was out of alignment.”

Brianna gasped again as something pressed on something else inside her head. It didn’t hurt. But it felt very, very weird. She tried to focus on Mission’s face instead of the odd sensations inside her ear. She tried not to think of that small…thing…pushing into her brain and tasting her. She grimaced at that image and Mission gave her a squeeze. The Twi’lek smiled at the human woman. “Almost done, Brianna. You are doing a lot better than I did. I was screaming and yelling like crazy every time they did this to me.”

Brianna looked at the Twi’lek and opened her mouth, but Mission put a finger on it again. “No, don’t talk. If you move too much, you may dislodge the probe. And who knows where it would wind up?” Brianna looked a bit sick at that, but subsided and tried to ignore the feelings inside her skull.

After a few more minutes of pressure, Mission smiled and held her head to the side of Brianna’s head. “There, all done.” She pulled her hand away and Brianna could see the small thing in it. It really did look like a worm, or a tentacle… Brianna realized.

"Uh?" Brianna’s voice was somewhat scared. “Can I talk now?” She asked carefully.

Mission smiled at her. “Yeah.” But her gaze was on the object in her hand and her eyes were narrowed as if she were puzzled by something. Brianna shook her head and regretted it instantly as nausea flared. Mission was instantly back at her side. “Oh Brianna, I am sorry. Here…” Something touched Brianna’s neck and she felt better instantly. “I should have done that immediately. I was… distracted…” She looked at the object in her hand again, and now her gaze was pensive.

Brianna didn’t dare move, but she spoke softly. “What?”

"I think I know." Mission bit her lip. “But... Brianna, I cannot tell you that. Please… You have to trust me. I know it is a lot to take in, and a lot to ask. But you have to trust me.”

Brianna blinked. That tone was not one that she had heard from Mission. Fear? “Mission? What is going on?”

"Brianna, it's okay." The Twi’lek embraced her. “I know what happened to you now. It wasn’t Islanian toxins. But I don’t know how to fix it. I need to talk to some people. Will you be okay here for a while? They won’t bother you. I am about to put the fear of death into the sadistic bastards outside.” Something in her tone though, had Brianna recoiling.

"Mission?" Brianna stared at the ancient mind in the young Twi’lek body and her eyes were wide. “What happened? What did you find?”

"I..." Mission shook her head and snarled. “I can’t say, Brianna. Until I know more… The less I say, the better… For you.”

"Mission..." Brianna shook her head, stubbornly fighting the nausea that still threatened. “I don’t care about me.”

"I know, but..." Mission smiled and hugged her. “I do. You didn’t kill them, Brianna. But I don’t know who did. And until I do, you are in danger. So, please… For the love of the Force, can you stay here and stay quiet until I can figure that out?”

"Ah..." Brianna stared at the Twi’lek, baffled by this sudden change. “Uh… Sure… I can do that…”

"Good." Mission’s face took on a hard aspect and suddenly, Brianna could see that this being had been an ancient and powerful starship once upon a time. “Someone is going to pay for doing this to you. I swear it.” the Twi’lek hugged her again, and then strode to where the door was concealed and hit the wall three times. The door opened and then closed, leaving Brianna to stare after the Twi’lek, bemused.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar


kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:38 PM | #4
Brianna kept hoping that Mission would come back. The kindness that the Twi’Lek had shown her had been a welcome balm for the tormented woman’s soul. But when the door opened again, the guards were there, beckoning her out. Brianna had slept for a while. The nausea had passed quickly, and she had been left with nothing to do. So she had slept for a bit. Then she had jolted awake when the door had opened and the guards were there. This time, however, they were polite.

“Easy does it.” The female who had been so angry and hostile before actually held Brianna upright as the girl tried to stand and couldn’t. Brianna would have fallen, except the woman caught her in a gentle grip and held her until Brianna had her balance back.

"Right." Brianna nodded, aware of the four guards that surrounded her now, but… This was odd. None had blasters. As a matter of fact… Only one had a stunner holstered! The other three were unarmed. And all were female! Brianna looked around, scared for some reason. “I… What…?”

"Brianna." The guard who had held her upright nodded to her. “We have one of your shipsuits for you. Will you be able to change into it, or will you need help?”

"A shipsuit?" Brianna stared at the guard. “Why? All I am for is a trial and then an airlock, why dress me?”

"Because it is the right thing to do." The guard smiled a bit sadly. “We didn’t know, Brianna. I swear we didn’t know.”

"What?" Brianna stared at the woman, was she about to cry? “Know what?”

The guard sighed and started undoing the straitjacket. “You will see, Brianna. Here…”

Brianna was shivering as the guards carefully removed her from the straitjacket. Ordinarily, the sight of the full diaper that they removed from her would have filled her with disgust, but here and now, it was a minor inconvenience. They were gentle in helping her get into position to get into the shipsuit, one of hers and…

"Wait!" Brianna stiffened a bit as the guards started to pull the heavy fabric over her head. “Wait… this is an armored shipsuit… Prisoners don’t wear armor…”

"Well..." The guard smiled a little sadly. “They do if people might shoot at them between the detention bay and the where you are going.” Brianna collapsed at that, and the guard sighed. “Ah, sorry, girl… I didn’t mean to scare you. Come on, let’s get you dressed.”

Brianna didn’t resist as the guards eased her arms and legs into the proper places and then zipped up the suit. She didn’t resist as the guards put her wrists in binders. And then, they put a helmet on her head! Now Brianna was very afraid. She was shivering as the guards helped her stand again. She staggered as the female guard laid yet another layer of armor over top of the ship suit but didn’t cry out or protest. She was too scared to speak.

"Easy." The female guard patted her shoulder. “It will be okay. Come on, we have an appointment.”

The guard took Brianna’s arm in a gentle grip and led her from the detention bay. To Brianna’s amazement, the hallways were deserted. She had expected to run a gauntlet of insults, or at least hostile glances. She turned towards the hangar bay that was customarily used for trials, but the guard shook her head and led her on. Suddenly, a group of beings strode from a cross corridor. Brianna stiffened, but none of them acted hostile. All were wary, but none were angry, and none had weapons in hand. They all wore armored flightsuits. Were they pilots? They were not people that Brianna knew. Of course she had never really mingled with most of the crew.

The one in the lead, an older human female, spoke to the guard. “Anything?” The guard shook her head and the woman sighed. “We have it.”

The guard patted Brianna’s shoulder again. “Good luck Brianna.” Brianna stared after her, stunned by the change in the woman. Then the guards strode off back towards the detention bay.

“My name is Minerva. I am Guardian Two.” The woman said as she came close. “We will keep you safe.”

"I don't understand." Brianna shook her head, conscious of the heavy infantry helmet that covered her head and most of her face. “What is going on? I mean… I am to stand trial, then be executed, right?”

"Well..." Minerva sighed. “Yes, you are going to stand trial, but not yet. As to being executed, well… We don’t know. Right now, though... We need your help, Brianna.”

Brianna stared at the older woman, who was a lot older than she looked. Like Mission, this woman had been the mind of a starship until just recently. Everyone aboard the Stormhawk knew about the Guardians, beings who had been enslaved by an evil race, programmed to obey, and then downloaded into machines to serve essentially forever. One Islanian had managed to break free from the brainwashing and had rebelled, taking many of her ‘children’ with her. Through an odd set of circumstances, the Islanian and her fellows had wound up on the Stormhawk and become part of the crew. Then Gaia had died, helped along by a merciful blaster shot from Will Kalenath.

"My help?" The prisoner, she was still in binders, shook her head. “What? Why do you need my help?”

"Because...": Minerva slumped. “You are the only one who can likely get past the barrier that Mission is dying behind.”

"What?" Brianna froze in place, her face a study of shock. “What happened to Mission?”

"Lets go." Minerva waved a hand and the group moved around Brianna, like a living wall. “We don’t know what happened, Brianna. Mission contacted us. She said that you were innocent, a pawn.”

"That is not true." Briana was shaking her head, shocked. “I… I saw the recording… I did it… I wish Will had shot me in the head…” She was crying now, her body shaking as she wept. Then she froze as Minerva embraced her.

"No, Brianna." Minerva’s voice was soft. “No you don’t. That is part of the programming. Be strong, girl. You are better than this.”

Brianna stared at the older woman. Then she broke down and the tears that had been falling redoubled. “Why is everyone suddenly being nice to me? I am evil! A monster… I killed my friend!”

Minerva sighed and embraced Brianna again. “Brianna… I know about being a puppet. We all do.” She waved a hand at the bodies around her. “Mission in particular was… adamant about it. She said she was trying to find out who had used you. She was trying to find out who had set you up. Then she screamed. We all ran to where she was, but we cannot get past a barrier. We think you can.”

Brianna stared at the pilot who had been an ancient starship. “Why?” She asked through her tears.

Minerva held Brianna and shook her head slowly. “Because you have been there before.” She started moving, drawing Brianna gently with her. “Come on, Mission does not have a lot of time.”

Brianna allowed herself to be led. Her mind was whirling. She wasn’t sure what was worse. If she was a monster, then she deserved to die. But if she was a pawn, a puppet…? Her eyes were drawn to a group nearby, all their eyes were on her and they were hostile. She averted her eyes quickly.

"Easy." Minerva gave her a squeeze. “They don’t know, Brianna. Boss has clamped a security lockdown in place. Better that people remain at their posts, at least for the moment. If they knew the truth, they would panic. Come on.”

She led the girl through the bowels of the Stormhawk, through areas that hadn’t been touched in some time apparently. Then they came to a well lit area. The lights had apparently been recently activated, because the whole area was dirty, as if not touched in some time. Ahead, Brianna could see a cluster of forms around a table, one of whom looked up as the odd group approached.

Brianna stiffened as Stormhawk Nine nodded and strode to meet them. But then she was shocked when Nine embraced her. The Cathar’s eyes were glistening. “I am sorry, Brianna. I thought with my gut, and not my head.”

Brianna shook her head. “What are you all… talking…?” Her voice trailed off as she saw a force field ahead of them and behind it…! She cried out. “Mission!” The Twi’lek lay on her side, just beyond the force field, and she was bleeding from a pair of visible wounds on her chest. The female alien was unconscious and lay in a pool of what looked like blood. Brianna turned to Nine and her face was scared. “What happened?”

Nine slumped. “We don’t know. We haven’t been able to get to her. That forcefield was apparently built as part of the original ship. We are trying to trace the power conduits to shut it down that way, but are having a hell of a time doing it. Whoever built this was paranoid and probably a certified wacko as well.”

"I..." Brianna stared at the Cathar and then something seemed to click in the girl. She stood up straight. “You think I can get past it?”

"Yes." The Cathar nodded. “We found a couple of cameras that Jaken apparently didn’t manage to find and got recordings from them.”

"Okay." Brianna nodded, but her gaze was on the force field. “What do I do?”

Another voice answered her. Brianna did not flinch as Stormhawk Boss walked up to her. “All you have to do is deactivate the force field. We can take it from there.”

Brianna nodded and stared towards the field. But Minerva held her for a moment. “Mission asked us to watch out for you. So be careful.” She hugged Brianna and then stepped back.

The impassive visor of Stormhawk Boss was on her as Brianna stepped forward. Then Boss reached out and deactivated the binders. “Good luck One Eighteen.”

Brianna froze. To be called by her ship number… She shook her head. “I have not earned the right to be called that yet. Not until I am tried for my crimes.”

"Okay, Brianna..." Stormhawk Boss sighed. “You need to know. That pool of blood is not from Mission. That pool is from the marine who tried to get to her first, before we knew what was happening.”

Brianna stared at the armored form and then at the green field ahead of her. There was nothing left of the marine. Nothing but the pool of bodily fluids. She swallowed convulsively and then paused. An armored marine? Could it be that simple? She reached up and undid the helmet.

Boss spoke, started. “What…?”

"No armor..." Brianna dropped the helmet as she started forward, undoing the heavy armor. It also fell by the way side. “If I was here before, I wasn’t wearing armor or a helmet. The shipsuit, yes…” She paused just outside the field. She could see the slow rise and fall of Mission’s chest. The Twi’lek was still alive. Brianna took a deep breath and spoke evenly. “Tell my dad I love him and tell Will I am sorry.”

"Bri..." Nine’s voice answered her. “Tell them yourself, once you are done with this.”

Brianna didn’t reply, she was focused on the force field ahead of her. Then she took a step into it.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:42 PM | #5
For a moment, Brianna Makarian was unsure of whether or not she had passed the field. She didn’t feel any change. It didn’t feel any different. It didn’t hurt, she felt some pressure that she had to push against, but other than that, nothing. Then a tingling started in her finger and toes. Again, it didn’t hurt, but she was sure it SHOULD have. Something was… eerily familiar about this. She felt something in the back of her head, something that told her to turn around, to run away as fast as she could. But she couldn’t, Mission needed her. She took another step, forcing her foot forward against the steadily increasing pressure. Then the pain started. She gritted her teeth and kept her eyes shut as she pushed forward, trying to get a foot to move. The pain was excruciating, but she had to get through the field, she had to help Mission! She could barely feel anything now, and she was screaming as the power arced through her. Then suddenly, she was free. She landed on her hands and knees, and shuddered, trying to get her limbs to work. She opened her eyes and froze.

“What… the…?” Brianna looked around in wonder. This was not what she had seen through the energy field. The room that Mission and the remains of the marine had lain in had been a storage room, full of packing crates and boxes. This was a medical lab. Mission lay nearby, and the pool of blood that the Twi’lek lay in was the same, but everything else was different. Brianna stared around, everything looked new, high tech and well maintained.

She staggered, trying to get to her feet, but her hands didn’t work. She looked at them and tried not to scream. Her left one was a blackened ruin, the right…was gone. There wasn’t even bone left. She grabbed her right wrist with the burned hand, trying to staunch the flow of blood that started pulsing from the artery as she stared at it. The pain increased, but she had to hold on or she would bleed to death. She rolled towards Mission.

“Mission… wake up… Please wake up…” She begged as she crawled towards the unconscious Twi’lek. Something stung her on the neck and she gave a small cry as she fell over, her limbs not working.

“Unauthorized access.” Brianna looked up to see a small droid hovering on silent anti-gravity waves nearby. A manipulator with a hypo was retracting into its housing. A mechanical voice sounded from it again. “Experimental subject 1-H recognized. Repair required.” A cool spray and the stump of her right wrist was covered in some kind of liquid bandage.

Repair…? What the…? Brianna asked herself as she was rolled onto her back. Another droid had her now. Its manipulators were padded, as if not to harm organic flesh. As if it was designed to do this! She could not move so much as a muscle; she couldn’t even close her eyes as the droid lifted her up and carried her. She could see part of her body and… She was naked! The ship suit she had worn was gone and her skin was blackened by whatever had happened, not to mention the hands. She tried not to look at them, but she could smell scorched meat now. Her.

Brianna was trying to control her terror as the droid laid her down on something soft. She was trying so hard to calm herself, she never saw the droid extend a mask that settled over her nose and mouth. She screamed and tried to throw it off, but it seemed to latch into place. Cold metal restraints latched into place around her and she screamed again into the mask as her arms were raised onto other sections as if for surgery.

“No… No.. Not again! Please… Anything but this… please don’t hurt me…” She was babbling as yet another droid appeared. The droid came close, sharp implements shining in the bright light. A saw started to whir and she closed her eyes, praying for anesthesia.

A startled voice spoke up. “What the… Code sigma six nine override! Cease!” The droid beeped and the saw stopped whirring. The voice spoke again, worried sounding. “Ma’am…? Can you hear me?”

"Just..." Brianna was crying as she kept her eyes screwed shut. “Just kill me, please don’t hurt me anymore.” She begged.

The voice sighed. “Ma’am… You are hurt. We can help.” A soft hand touched Brianna on the forehead. “Ma’am… Let us help you.”

"No..." Brianna kept her eyes shut and tensed until her entire body was rigid. “Just kill me; I am sick of being a monster. I am sick of being crazy. I just want to die…”

The same voice spoke, gently this time. “No you are not, and no you don’t. It’s okay, Brianna, it’s okay. Shh... It's okay... Shh...” The touch on her head was stroking now. From the feel, her hair was all gone, probably burned off. The hand avoided the painful spots, gently stroking, promoting calm.

Brianna froze. She didn’t know this person, did she? “Who are you? Do I know you?” She asked carefully.

The voice sighed. “No. No you don’t. I wasn’t awake when Jaken was here last. If I had been, I would have stopped him. Scumsucker.”

Brianna tried to shake her head, but it wouldn’t move. Her voice was muffled by the mask. “I… I don’t understand.”

The voice sighed. “I know, Brianna. And you need medical care now, not the kind that these droids would provide either. I guess… I guess it’s finally time to show ourselves. Here…” A tingle at the back of her neck and all the pain she had been feeling vanished.

Brianna exhaled sharply in relief as her pain dissipated. She opened her eyes to find a man in Republic Navy uniform standing beside the bed she was in. He was unlocking the restraints that held her. She tried to sit up, but the man shook his head and held her down gently.

His voice held just a hint of sternness now. “No, don’t try to move. You are still hurt, you just don’t feel it.”

"I..." Brianna blinked and spoke carefully. She stiffened in memory. “Mission… My friend… She is hurt as well… I don’t know what happened to her.”

"She is okay." The man nodded. “We found her first. Her injuries are not as bad as yours. I am sorry, Brianna Makarian, we were still waking when you entered the field.”

Brianna felt something odd now. She was floating. Drugged? Or dying? “Waking? What?”

"Well..." The man sighed. “It’s a long story, and I don’t know all of it. But I have you at a disadvantage. My name is Marc Scarran, Captain, Republic Navy. Also know as Dragon Leader.”

"But..." Brianna’s eyes went wide. “That is impossible… the Dragons are dead…”

"Dead?" Dragon Lead smiled at her. “We Dragons are never more dangerous than when we are dead. And the impossible is our stock in trade. Sleep, Brianna. It will be all right.” Briana took those kind words into slumber with her.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:44 PM | #6
This time, when Brianna woke, she did so quickly. She hurt. Every part of her body hurt. She managed to keep her scream down to a groan as she opened her eyes. As she had expected, she was back in Medical.

“Good morning.” Hawkir said from his place beside her bed. The Jedi looked totally calm and in control, as always. Brianna had always envied that.

“Morning…” Brianna mumbled as she tried to see her hands. The left one was covered in burn dressing and… Wait a moment… She stared at her right hand and then slowly raised it to her face. It was intact. It was burned, but not as badly as the other hand. “What… What happened?”

Hawkir shook his head and took her right hand in both of his. His grip was gentle, but firm as he laid it down at her side. “You went through that weird field. Do you remember that?”

Brianna nodded slowly. “Yeah… I was… I was burned.” She was fuzzy. She had to be drugged. Just from what she could see, there were burn dressings over much of her body. She had to be drugged, or she would have been screaming her lungs out. She stiffened as memory returned. “Wait! Mission… Is she…?” She would have struggled to sit up, but Hawkir shook his head and held her down gently.

The Jedi’s voice was kind. “Mission is alive. You got the field down in time.”

Brianna stared at the Jedi. “I… What?” She shook her head, conscious of pressure and a rustling on it; apparently there were burn dressings there as well. “No, I didn’t.”

Hawkir shook his head again and his voice was gentle. “Brianna, you are confused. Between your injuries and the drugs…” He broke off as Brianna shook her head violently. “Easy, girl!”

The hurt girl was very confused now. “I didn’t do anything. Did you find the lab? Did you find them?”

Now the Jedi looked confused. “Brianna, you were not in a lab. There are no labs anywhere near that section of the ship. The storeroom you were in had seen set up as a workshop, and trapped by Jaken.” The Jedi actually looked like he wanted to spit.

Brianna was trying to understand, this was making no sense at all. “When I went through the field… It was a lab, there was a lab there. A droid had me… I was… My hand was gone, burned off… or something…” She was breathing hard in memory, memory of pain and fear.

Hawkir laid a hand on her brow. “Easy, Brianna, easy… It’s okay, you are okay. You are past your fear, you have passed your fear, I know that. Be calm girl, it will be okay now.”

The girl was struggling to get up now. “You don’t understand. I went through the field… My hand was gone…” She raised her right hand and touched it with her bandaged left one. It felt normal. She put a finger in her mouth and bit down. It hurt as it should. She was nearly in tears. “This doesn’t make sense. I didn’t imagine it…”

Hawkir pulled her hand from her mouth. “Stop that.” He sighed and stroked her head. “Brianna, the mind is a strange thing. Easy…” He was trying to calm her as she was getting steadily more agitated.

The hurt girl slumped back in her bed. “Have I gone mad? I… I felt everything. I…” She was crying now.

Another voice answered her. “Brianna, it’s okay.” The door to the room opened and Mission walked in. The Twi’lek was not her normal dapper self. For one thing, her skin was pale, and her eyes were sunken pits in her skull. For another, the bandages that covered much of her upper chest left no doubt that she had been very badly hurt.

Brianna could barely see through her tears now. “Misson, did you see it? Did you see them? The droid…. It was a lab, it had me. I was locked down, it was going to do something to me. Tell me you saw it, please…”

Mission came close to Brianna’s bed and shook her head. “I didn’t see anything after the droid shot me. I got it, but the next thing I knew I woke here. I remember the field, yes. It snapped on as soon as I passed it. Then the droid attacked me. That storeroom was an evil place. The table, the equipment in there…” the Twi’lek took a long calming breath.” I understand you not wanting to remember it. You saved my life, girl. I owe you. I will help you as I can.”

Brianna was shaking her head, totally confused now. “This doesn’t make sense. When I went through the field, it was a lab. Not a storage area. You were on the floor there. I was hurt… My hand was gone…” She stared at her right hand again. “I tried to wake you, but couldn’t. Then I was blindsided by a droid. I couldn’t move…” She was crying hard now and Hawkir took her right hand in his again, giving what support her could.

Brianna took a moment to collect herself before continuing. But now her voice was scared. “Another picked me up and took me…” She was breathing hard now. “It put me on a table… Just like… Like when the Sith had me… I…” She was shaking her head slowly. Hawkir moved slowly and sting on her arm barely registered. Then she was fading. “There was someone… Someone there… he said… he said he was a Dragon…” Now she was too weak to speak, and slumped as darkness started crowding her vision. She felt someone, probably Mission, give her hand a pat.

As she drifted off, she heard Mission’s voice, scared and sick. “My god, what happened to her?”

Hawkir’s voice answered the Twi’lek. “The pain from the field must have unbalanced her. I can’t say I am surprised, given the injuries she sustained. We will help her.”

Something at the edge of her mind seemed to speak. Sleep, child, it will be all right… Then she was asleep.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:49 PM | #7
This was beyond tiresome. Brianna was getting fed up. Hawkir and Cota, the other doctor aboard, were kind, too kind. They were treating her as if she were made of glass. She slept a great deal, she had no idea at all how long she had been in Medical. She knew she had been in the kolto tank at least twice, she had woken in it twice anyway. Her burns were mostly healed now, only a few of them still twinged when she moved a little. Everything else was fuzzy though. She was drugged.

They had finally explained. Her father, Nine and Stormhawk Boss had all come to her bedside and told her what they had found in the records that Jaken had left. Apparently the man had not JUST been a jealous tech. He had been an agent for Republic Intelligence’s Special Branch. Just the thought of sharing the same space with one of the scum who thought it was a good idea to kidnap people and experiment on them against their will made Brianna feel a bit sick to her stomach. But then the fuzziness in her head increased as the machinery noted whatever the heck it noted and increased the dosage of the drugs. She managed to grimace a bit, but that was all. She couldn’t fight the feelings of lethargy that swept through her so she relaxed as best she could, strapped down as she was. At least the straps at her wrists and ankles were padded. They didn’t want to hurt her.

She understood, she really did. When Boss and Nine had told her that Jaken had injected her with some kind of microscopic droids, Brianna had not believed. But then they showed her the scans, the tiny devices that lay, even now inside her skull. She had freaked, and who could blame her? Boss and Nine had been kind, but adamant. She was a threat now. Brianna had asked, begged, cajoled, threatened, everything she could think of, but they refused to kill her. Mission had been back a time or two, and her father had been there as well a few times. But no one dared touch her. All of her medications were done by droid. All of her feedings and cleanings were done by droid. She just wanted an end, this was beyond horrifying, beyond torturous. Even without the drugs, she was numb now. She wanted an end. She wanted to die.

She was dozing again, there really wasn’t anything else to do, when a large warm mass jumped onto her bed.

“Holy hell, One Eighteen… What the flarg happened to you?”

"Who?" Her eyes shot open and she stared at the large furry creature that now sat beside her, his eyes concerned. Brianna’s voice was soft, scared almost. “Jikirt…?”

The Kushiban was a mess. His head was bandaged, and his fur had been shaved in a number of places. Healing injuries showed in most of those places. The mechanic had been in the ICU for some time, unconscious. No one had known if he was going to wake again after the serious injuries he had sustained trying to keep a young and insanely gifted weapon designer from being captured by the Sith. He had failed, but through no fault of his own, he had been overmatched.

"Ah..." Brianna shook her head. “I… I am not One Eighteen, not anymore… I…”

"Crap." The Kushiban mechanic snorted. “Don’t you give me that kark, girl. I have ears.” He twitched his long furred ones expressively. “You did something awful, but it wasn’t you in control. That demagolka Jaken was.” His voice held hate now and he took a moment to calm himself and smooth his fur and his voice was humorous. “Look at me, all munking fuzzy…” His voice turned serious. “You look like hell, girl. How you doing?” His furred hand touched her cheek and she shied away as best she could.

"No!" The girl bound to the bed stiffened. “No, don’t touch me! I… I don’t know how they spread.” Brianna said in a tone that was barely one step removed from begging.

"Mirk it, girl." Jikirt snorted derisively. “If they spread by touch, idiot child, both the brixing docs would be dead or infected. And they ain’t. So the tiny pieces of osik don’t. Here…” He stroked her face gently with a furred hand. “How long has it been since someone gave you any flarging comfort, girl?” The profanity could not cover his worry. And Brianna didn’t mind, this was just how Jikirt was. He was an incredible tech, a good friend and had the foulest mouth of anyone Brianna had ever met. Not to mention he was a terror when he got his huge wrench out. As an attitude adjuster, nothing else even came close to seeing a meter long Kushiban wielding a two meter long wrench as a sword. It was hilarious as long as you were not facing it.

"No." Brianna was shuddering now. “I… No… Jikirt… Please…”

"Ah..." Jikirt sighed again, and suddenly he jumped up onto Brianna’s chest. “Girl, it ain’t your fraking fault.” To her amazement, he curled up there. “Here, you are cold.” His voice was soft and wonder of wonders, free of profanity. Brianna was stunned speechless. First of all, Jikirt never spoke without profanity. Second, he never acted like this

She finally found her tongue. “Jikirt… What…?”

"Ah, One Eighteen." The Kushiban’s voice was muffled as he laid his head on his paws and sighed. “You know I failed Val. I… I know about wanting an end, girl. I know it well.” Brianna was stunned to see tears forming on the Kushiban’s hard face. “It ain’t your fargling fault. Jaken did this kark to you. You are brixing strong girl, stronger than that son of a barve. You can’t munking help Mika or Jonas now, but that doesn’t mean you should give up.” His face took on a pleading aspect. “Please don’t fraking give up.”

"I..." Brianna shook her head. “I am tired, Jikirt, so tired. Cold… I never can get warm anymore. It’s always so cold in here. I know they raised the temperature, but… Something is wrong, Jikirt. I don’t know what, but something is wrong.”

"Huh?" The Kushiban stared at the bedridden girl and then turned his gaze to the medical gear nearby. “What the…?” He said in a tone of shock, and then he was diving for the call button that lay under Brianna’s hand. He hit it and shouted. “Doc!

The door hissed open and Hawkir came in, his face serene until he saw Jikirt. “Jikirt…what…?” The Jedi asked, but the Kushiban cut him off.

"Doc!" he mechanic’s voice was scared. “Something is flarging wrong with Brianna, look at her munking core temp!”

Hawker came to the side of the bed and stared, first at the monitor and then at Brianna. Then he blanched.

"Good." Brianna was fading. Something was wrong. She smiled a little. “An end to pain… Don’t… Don’t grieve for me… I won’t be a monster anymore…”

"Brixing idiot girl!" Jikirt shouted at her. “Dammit Brianna, don’t you dare farkling die on me!”

Hawkir’s voice was soft as he took Brianna’s hands in his. “Jikirt. Move.”

"No!" Jikirt shook his head stubbornly. “I frelling lost one shipmate, I ain’t losing another!”

Brianna’s breath was coming in gasps now. She smiled as warm suffused her being, the last thing she saw before blacking out was Jikirt’s angry face inches from her own. His voice was quiet, or was it in her head?

I ain’t going to lose you girl!

Something answered the irate Kushiban. No you won’t. Rest Brianna.

She took those oddities to slumber with her. But she wasn’t afraid now. She knew she should be, but she wasn’t.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 02:57 PM | #8
Without sense of transition, Brianna was sitting in a comfortable chair and covered by a warm blanket. She stared around herself bemused. The room was… She blinked, she recognized the room! It was the den of her family’s home on Coruscant. This was odd, she hadn’t been there since she enlisted. She shook her head slowly. Her father had told her that the apartment building had been smashed by a stray round from a Sith battleship during the Sacking. So how the heck…?

She sat up slowly, checking each… She froze. Her right hand was gone! She shivered a bit, but then explored the stump of her wrist with her left hand. It felt… She shook her head. It felt like skin and bone, but… This wasn’t possible. She stood up slowly, hyperaware of her surroundings. The room was exactly the same as she remembered. The fake fireplace on one wall, the painting that her mother had done of a seascape on another, these she remembered. The couch with the stain that she had managed to get onto its ‘unstainable’ surface was where she remembered, she smiled in fond memory. Her parents had been less than enthused, but it was a fond memory nonetheless. She walked to the fireplace and stopped short. It wasn’t fire in it! It was… What was it? She held out her left hand to it.

“Don’t do that, Brianna.” She spun in place as the voice sounded behind her and her arms came up in warding gestures. The man in Republic uniform stood near where in her old home would have been the door to the eating area. And she knew him!

Brianna shook her head. “Captain Scarran?” Her voice was bemused. She could feel her sanity eroding.

The onetime commander of the Republic’s premier fighter squadron smiled gently at her. “One and the same, Brianna.” He didn’t move, as if he knew how fragile her mental state was.

The girl was afraid to move. “They say I imagined you. That there was no way I could have seen you. So…” She took a deep breath. “Am I going mad?” She asked plaintively. “They think I am going mad, well, crazier.”

"You are not." The man in Republic uniform sighed. “What Jaken did to you was intended to drive you mad. That way, if you survived, you could not implicate him.” He blew out a deep breath. “You mind if I sit?” Brianna shook her head, confused. Captain Scarran sat on the couch. “This is a mess, girl, and no mistake.”

Brianna didn’t move. Truth be told, she wasn’t sure she could have moved, as stiff as she was. “I… I imagined the lab, I imagined you… This is just my mind playing tricks on me while my life ends…” She broke off as the captain scoffed slightly.

When he spoke, it was quiet, but held ironic humor. “In order: No, you did not imagine the lab. No you did not imagine me. And no, you are not dying.”

Brinna gulped a bit at that. She felt her eyes start to burn. “I… I want to… I hate being crazy. I hurt people, I hurt my friends. I killed my friend…” She was wailing now and… Wait, how had she gotten onto the couch and whose arms were around her? There were more than one set now. They were warm and gentle as she wept. She looked up to see the captain had his arms around her… She blinked but the image didn’t vanish. Jikirt’s arms could not go all the way around her, but he was purring?

The captain sighed as he saw Brianna’s gaze on the Kushiban. “Never the easy way, huh Jikirt? You shouldn’t be here.”

"Oh?" The Kushiban laughed sourly. “And you munking should? She is my flarging shipmate. I won’t lose her.”

"No." The captain shook his head in resignation. “You are not going to lose her, Jikirt. We won’t let her die.”

"Wait..." Brianna looked from the man in Republic uniform to the Kushiban who had stopped purring now that’s he was calmer and spoke carefully. “You two… know each other?”

"Yeah." Jikirt snarled. “Flarging crazy pilots, always breaking things. Yeah, I knew him.”

Captain Scarran smiled a bit wistfully. “You can tell the truth here, Jikirt. No one else will hear.”

"Wha-?" Brianna stared at the man and then at the Kushiban. Her eyes went wide. “You never asked about him. You never asked about what I had seen. You… knew…” She had told everyone else, and had assumed that someone had told Jikirt. But when they have been able to do it? The Kushiban had been unconscious.

Jikirt smiled at her and his whole demeanor changed. It was softer, gentler, older, wiser and when he spoke there was no profanity. “I am sorry, Brianna. It has been… A long, long time since I could act out of my cover identity.” He gave her a squeeze. “I have… well… I have come close to blowing my cover a number of times. It has made me…wary.” He sighed. “I am sorry.” Brianna stared at the Kushiban and then at the human who held her.

"Brianna..." Captain Scarran nodded. “His rank is lieutenant. He works for Republic Intelligence, as a deep cover agent on the Stormhawk.”

Brianna was shaking now. Her whole world was rocking on its axis. Not only was she… somewhere that couldn’t be, but someone who she knew so well, wasn’t who she knew. “I…” She gasped and huddled up on herself. She felt wetness on her face but couldn’t look up.

Jikirt sighed and hugged her again. “Brianna, listen to me.” He nudged her head with his until her eyes met his. “We are inside your mind. The reason you lack a hand here is because the security systems had to take out part of you to stop the microscopic machines from spreading any further than they had. They are deactivated now, they can’t hurt you or compel you anymore. I hate to say it, but the Dragons do good work.” He grudgingly admitted.

Captain Scarran snorted. “Why thank you.” He said deadpan.

Brianna couldn’t help it, the sheer ironic humor in the man’s tone had her giggling. Then she slumped. “Why was I so cold?”

"Reaction." Jikirt nodded. “The tiny machines were trying to remake your body. We think we have stopped them, but some damage was done. The docs will do what they can, but...” He broke off.

Brianna felt faint again. “Remake me into what?”

Captain Scarran sighed and gave her another hug. “Into one of us, Brianna. One of the Dragons. The implants that they put into us were highly intrusive, and visible. This… This is new. New tech, experimental I think.” He shook his head. “It was bad enough what they did to us, and we all volunteered.”

"Well." Jikirt snorted loudly. “That shows you were all crazy before they did that to you.”

Captain Scarran smiled. “Guilty as charged.” Then his face became remote. “Jikirt… did you get a response?” He asked quietly.

"Yeah." Jikirt frowned and nodded. “They were fake.”

The captain relaxed for a moment, but then stiffened. “How the hell can someone fake Republic Intel orders? And on a one use pad at that?” A one use cipher pad was essentially unbreakable. Even Imperial Intelligence with its supercomputers would take years to hack said encryption.

Jikrit sighed. “I should rephrase. The transmission was sent through official channels, and therefore, it was official. But it was sent by a rogue agent. When I asked for corroboration, my bosses…well, freaked is probably the best term.”

The captain’s eyes went wide. “Oh my god…”

Brianna looked from one to the other. “What am I missing?”

The captain and lieutenant shared a glance and then both turned to face her. Captain Scarran spoke softly. “When Jaken woke me the last time, he had a set of orders for me. Orders are orders, even if they are insane.”

"Dumb pilot." Jikirt looked as if he wanted to spit. “You do know that is what got you killed last time, right?”

Captain Scarran shrugged. “I am a soldier, Jikirt, not an intel geek. I get orders and I obey them. Will may get away with ah…’interpreting’ his orders to suit himself. I don’t. If they are unlawful or downright insane, I can question them, given time, which we didn’t have at Coruscant.”

Brianna stared at the captain. “What were the orders… Oh wait, you can’t tell me can you? Or are they ones where you would have to kill me after telling me?” She made it sort of a joke.

Captain Scarran didn’t smile. “These would have been like that, Brianna. Except that Jikirt says they are fake. We will need your copy of the transmission, lieutenant.” Jikirt nodded and the captain sighed. “We were ordered to take the Stormhawk, and neutralize everyone aboard.”

Brianna felt herself falling. “Neutralize… Kill…” It wasn’t a question. “And you could have and would have.”

Captain Scarran nodded. “Easily. The ship is set up to defend against intruders. If we took control of the internal security…” Brianna was struggling now and Captain Scarran held her tight. “Brianna! Listen! It won’t come to that.”

But Brianna was struggling hard now. And she was fading again. Jikirt’s face came into her field of view.

“Its okay, Brianna." The Kushiban said gently. "Sleep…” So she did.
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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 03:03 PM | #9
Something was very wrong when Brianna woke in her bed in Medical again. She had forgotten something, she was absolutely sure she had forgotten something. But she couldn’t bring the thought to mind. She wasn’t tied down now, and she wasn’t hooked up to plumbing, so she could not have been unconscious for very long. She opened her mouth to cry out, to speak, but… She couldn’t articulate words. She knew, in her head, what she wanted to say, but nothing would come out. Fear suffused every pore as she tried to get words to come out. But all she managed to do was groan.

A soft voice spoke for nearby. “Brianna?” She turned her head to see her father sitting beside her bed. His face was worried.

She tried to speak again, and again, nothing would come out. She gasped and tried harder, trying with all her might to get her mouth to work right. Her father leaned close. “Brianna, Brianna, listen to me… Please, you have to listen. You are hurt, that is why you can’t speak.” She was crying now as he embraced her. “It’s okay, it will be okay. The docs are working on therapy. There is nothing wrong with your voice. There is something wrong with your speech center, inside your brain. They didn’t want to monkey with that until you have recovered.” He hugged her again.

Brianna calmed slightly and her father laid her back on the bed before speaking. “I am glad I was here when you woke. We have been taking turns, me, Nine and Hawkir. I need to get back to my post.”

Brianna’s lower lip was trembling despite her best efforts as her father stood up. He smiled at her. “Hey, we won’t leave you alone. It will be all right.” He kissed her on the brow and she smiled at him a bit forlornly as he stepped back. She was trying to keep from crying as he strode from the room. As he left, a form in Jedi robes entered. The two men shared a nod and Hawkir came to her bedside. Her father stood one moment, framed by the doorway and then he was gone. Brianna looked form the door to the Jedi and a question as writ large on her face.

Hawkir smiled at the bedridden girl. “I hope he gets some sleep. I don’t know when the last time he slept for real was.” He laid his right hand on her brow and his left cupped the back of her head. “Let see if I can fix this…” Brianna tensed, but his hands were warm.

Then it was as if a switch had been thrown inside her head. She remembered. She remembered the captain and Jikirt talking to her. And the captain had said something about taking the ship! She was babbling. “Danger! Trouble… Jikirt… I… I have to…” She was struggling to get up.

Hawkir held the girl down gently. “Brianna, you have been through one heck of an ordeal. You need time to recover.”

Brianna was shaking her head, but knew better than to try and fight. Hawkir may have looked like a strong wind would pick him up and carry him away, but the wiry Jedi was strong. “You… You don’t understand. I need to…” A sting on her shoulder had her pausing, and she looked at Hawkir, befuddled.

Hawkir smiled at her gently as he withdrew the hypo. “It’s okay, Brianna, you need to sleep again now.” Brianna was still trying to articulate her warning as she fell asleep.

***

When next Brianna woke, she was alone in the room. The room was darkened and she could see the chrono on the wall. She had slept for six hours. She shook her head. She had to do something. She had to warn somebody. She sat up, aware of a buzzing in her head, but she ignored it. Pain was no stranger. Someone had laid an armored shipsuit, one of hers, beside her bed. She threw off the patient gown that she was wearing and clambered into it. Then she froze. She patted the belt and stared, dumbfounded as her hand came up with a hold out blaster. She checked. It was hers, and it was charged. She stared at it, who the heck would leave a gun for her? She shook her head… She had to warn someone.

She walked to the intercom box, but when she hit it, nothing happened. She stared at it for a moment and then sighed and moved towards the door. When she hit the control, nothing happened. She stared at it and shook her head again.

“What the hell?” Then it hit her. The security camera that was normally whirring over the door wasn’t moving. She stared at it and then blanched. “Oh my god… no…” Massive malfunction or enemy action, either was bad.

She hit the manual override on the door and it opened, far more slowly than normal. Her blaster was in hand as she entered the main medical ward. No one was there. She stared around. There was ALWAYS someone here. Either one of the docs, one of the nurses, a patient waiting for treatment, someone… She shook her head and started for the door. She had to warn someone.

She made it into a nearby doorway before she was aware of movement coming closer. Boots on an armored deck were not quiet normally. She stopped, and then hid herself. Whoever these were, either Stormhawk crew or possible intruders, they likely would not react well on seeing her loose and armed. She stared as a pair of humans she didn’t know walked by. She didn’t know all the crew of the Stormhawk, of course. Both of these wore Republic flightsuits. But that was not what made her pause. Their faces, and indeed, their whole skulls were covered by metallic…things. But their eyes were visible. And their eyes… Brianna curled herself into a ball. The look in their eyes was the same one that she saw every time she looked in a mirror. Madness. One was male and the other female, and neither looked at where she was hiding. They entered Medical and Brianna was in motion, running the other way. Behind her she heard a shout, but she was gone.

Brianna knew the ship fairly well. She had made it a point to get to know all of the major thoroughfares, and many of the not so travelled ones. But everywhere she went, she saw more of those weird masked beings. There were at least ten of them, and she hadn’t seen any of the rest of the crew. So far, she had always managed to see them first, but her luck wouldn’t last.

“Brianna! Stop!” Came a voice she recognized. A masked being came out of a doorway nearby. Captain Scarran? His voice was sharp, but… not with command, with worry? She was in motion however. He didn’t give chase, he called after her. “Brianna, no. It is not what you think…”

But now every corridor seemed to be filled with the masked forms and they were closing in. She darted away, and her hand came up with her blaster. She looked wildly from side to side as the ring of masked forms started closing. She was no markswoman however, and a hold out blaster was not conducive to long range shooting anyway. She snarled. “I won’t be a prisoner again!” She brought the gun up and the ring paused. Her aim point shifted rapidly from a Wookiee to a Twi’lek, to another human, and then back to the Wookiee.

"Easy..." Captain Scarran’s voice came from where he stood. “Brianna, put the gun away. You are not a prisoner. You are one of us. Come on girl, it will be okay.”

"What?" Brianan snarled at the man. “What have you done to my shipmates?”

"Brianna..." The masked being with Captain Scarran’s voice slumped. “We haven’t done anything Brianna. We told them what was happening. Your dad freaked, and I can’t blame him.” None of the beings moved. “Brianna, listen to me. None of the Stormhawk crew are injured. And we wanted to keep it that way. You were not supposed to wake up for another twenty minutes.”

"Just..." Brianna shook her head savagely. “Just let me go!”

Captain Scarran sighed again, this time sad. “We can’t Brianna. You are a danger to anyone you encounter right now.” He froze as Brianna brought the gun up and pointed it at her own head. “Brianna! No!” He shouted.

The muzzle of her blaster nestled into the hollow behind her ear and she was squeezing the trigger when a throat cleared nearby. Then everything stopped as a black armored form appeared in the middle of the corridor. Will Kalenath’s eyes bored into Brianna’s and she couldn’t move. His hands were empty however and his face was…sad?

“That won’t help.” He said quietly.

"Will?" Brianna felt her bowel turn to water as the man whose adopted family she had killed stood in front of her. “How…?”

"How did I get here?" Will grinned a bit sourly. “I helped build this ship, and when people I think are dead start asking for help… well… I listen.”

A snorted laugh came from Captain Scarran. “Sometimes.”

"Yeah." Will shrugged and kept his eyes on Brianna. “It wasn’t you. I didn’t know that when I pulled the trigger. I am not going to apologize, because I would do the same thing again.”

"I..." Brianna stared at him. “I wish you had aimed for my head. I just want an end.”

"Yeah." Will nodded somberly. “I understand, Brianna. But shooting yourself in the head won’t work. Not now.”

"What?' Brianna stared at him, uncomprehending. “What do you mean?”

Instead of answering, Will produced something from a pocket and held it out to her. It was a mirror. She stared at him and then looked at herself… She saw… She screamed. The metal face that stared back at her didn’t move. She was conscious of screaming and of falling and of warm arms that surrounded her now. Multiple sets.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.10.2012 , 03:11 PM | #10
She never did -quite- lose consciousness. Brianna was aware of movement around her, of hushed conversations just beyond the edge of her awareness. But she was so numb it was next to impossible to comprehend whatever was being said. Finally a door hissed and a raised voice pulled her from her stupor.

Her father was using his ‘I am trying to be patient’ tone. “…look, I know she is dangerous. I dealt with you all before. But she is my daughter. I don’t give a flying what you think, captain. I want facts, not speculation.” She could just see his face, even with her eyes closed. She had seen him often enough in that mood growing up.

Brianna spoke softly. “Dad…?” She barely recognized her own voice. Her voice was scratchy, painful. She remembered screaming until she was hoarse and then someone had picked her up and carried her here, wherever here was.

Her father gasped. “Brianna… What…” He snarled. “Let me go, you…” Brianna opened her eyes to find herself lying in a medical bed, in a room she didn’t know. She wasn’t restrained, but she was so weak it just wasn’t funny. Her father was a few steps away, trying to get out of the grip of the being that Brianna knew was Captain Scarran, even without being able to see his real face, she knew him… somehow.

Captain Scarran was shaking his head. “Admiral, please listen to me.” The captain’s voice was respectful, but adamant. “We don’t know what psychosis, if any, she will have. I would rather not explain to Boss why she killed and ate you if I can help it.”

"Ate?" Brianna scoffed at that, but then froze. The captain was serious. Dead serious. When she spoke, it was scared. “I… What…?”

Another voice she knew answered her. “What you went through drives most people mad.” Brianna turned her head and found Will Kalenath sitting beside her bed, an oddly shaped pistol in his hands.

Her voice was calm when she spoke. “And you are here to keep me from being a danger.” He nodded and the gratitude in her voice was heartfelt. “Thank you.”

"Will." Her father was snarling again. “I don’t care what you say, you are not going to shoot my daughter, Will. Not… Not again.”

"What?" The sheer pain in his voice had Brianna freezing. “Were you… Oh my god, Dad. Were you watching when he came to the detention bay?”

The Admiral swallowed and then, for the first time since she had known him, his on duty façade cracked and the man underneath shone through. He had emotions, everyone did. But when he was on duty, he never let them rule. But now… He bowed his head.

"Bri..." Her father's voice was sick. “I had to stay at my post. Everything was going to hell and hand basket. I had to stay at my post…” Brianna nodded, that was his way. Duty was everything for him. He struggled again, but the captain’s grip was strong.

Captain Scarran’s voice was soft. “Will?” For a moment, Brianna was not sure what the captain was asking but then… something touched her mind. It was cold, but at the same time, it was warm, as odd as that sounded. Brianna gasped, but didn’t move as thought s that were not her own seeped through her skull. Finally the feeling ebbed.

Will sighed. “It is always hard to tell. But I find no signs of the bad ones. I can’t tell if she is simply good at hiding who and what she is, or what.”

Brianna surprised herself with a snarl. “I am right here. What are you looking for?”

Will met her eyes calmly. “I am looking for mental illness. Most people who go through that kind of thing develop some… odd quirks.”

"Odd?" Captain Scarran laughed aloud at that. “That is the understatement of the century.”

"You mean..." Brianna stared at him. “You… You are insane?”

"Insane?" Captain Scarran shrugged, but did not lose his grip on her father, despite the man’s struggles. His posture stiffened as if he was going to lecture. “'Insane' is such an improper word. I have a disorder, thank you very much. It is one I know about, and deal with.” But despite his stance, his tone was humorous. But then his voice became serious. “We don’t know if you are going to have one, or what it will be. So… Better safe than sorry.”

"Uh..." Brianna stared from the metal faced being to Will and her vocie was terrified. “That wasn’t a joke then, about killing and eating?” Will shook his head. “My god…what do I do? How will I know?” She asked plaintively.

“That is my job.” Another voice answered her and another metal faced being walked in. In form, this one was a human female. Her eyes were…

"Uh." Brianna stiffened as best she could. “You were one of the ones I saw in the hallway outside of medical.”

"Yes." The woman nodded and moved towards the bed. Her voice was gentle and her hand was as well as she laid it on Brianna’s. “My name is Surioa, Brianna Makarian, and I am the medical person for the Dragons.” She sat down opposite Will and nodded to him. He nodded back. Surioa sighed and spoke to the admiral. “You probably won’t want to be here.”

Admiral Makarian snarled. “She is my daughter. I am not leaving.”

Will replied quietly. “And if she has something like nymphomania, or some kind of paraphilia? Do you want to know if she is attracted to…?” A hard slap from the medic interrupted him.

Captain Scarran snarled at him as Jaing Makarian went white and Brianna felt faint. “Will, enough!” The captain snapped.

"Four..." The new come woman’s voice could have frozen liquid helium. “Will. You are scaring my patient. Leave.”

The soldier nodded to her and rose, his pistol vanishing to wherever it lived. “I will be watching.” Then he walked from the room.

"Man..." Surioa waited until he was gone before sighing. “He is getting worse, isn’t he?” Her question was not directed at anyone.

Brianna answered when no one else did. “He… he has always skated the edge, from what I understand. But now… Yeah… Because of what I did…”

Her father interrupted her. “You didn’t do it girl.”

"Dad..." Brianna would not meet his eyes. “I… I remember now.” Three voices gasped as one. Brianna felt burning in her eyes but tears did not fall, she wasn't sure she could cry now.. “I… I enjoyed it. I enjoyed hurting them, I enjoyed causing them pain… I… What am I?” Surioa patted her arm and sighed.

The medic’s voice was soft but clear. “That is what we will find out. Both of you need to leave.” She spoke quietly but firmly to the admiral and the captain. Jaing Makarian stiffened in instant rebellion, but the medic’s voice was soothing and soft. “We won’t hurt her, admiral, but we need to know, and so does she. She will be more comfortable with you not here.”

Jaing Makarian looked like he wanted to cry. “Brianna… I…”

Brianna slumped but then met her father’s eyes. “It is all right, dad. They won’t hurt me.” The admiral stared at his daughter for a moment before allowing the captain to lead him from the room.

Suroia slumped. “Okay, Brianna. This will take a while, about five hours for a normal session. We will start with the icky ones. I am going to show you a series of images, and I need you to answer me truthfully how you feel about them.” Brianna stared at her and then nodded. The medic touched a control panel and a wall monitor lit up showing…

"Oh..." Brianna stared at it and felt her gorge rise. “I am going to be sick…”

"Yeah, me too." Surioa blanked the screen. “Thank goodness you are not that.” Her voice was kind. “We have enough problems without people having to lock up the graveyards.”

Brianna’s voice was small. “What is yours?”

"Me?" The medic nodded to the girl and had a smile in her voice that did not show on her mask. “I am a pyromaniac. Which is why they made some else the demo specialist.”

Brianna surprised herself with a genuine laugh. “That works… Next?” The medic nodded and keyed the screen alive again. This time Brianna stared at it, trying to figure out what was going on. When she did, she felt her face heat with embarrassment, which was impossible, wasn’t it? Her voice was clinical however. “Dismayed and disgusted. I don’t want to know where you got these do I?”

"No." Surioa nodded. “No you don’t. Like I said, the icky ones first.”

Brianna sighed and looked ta the screen as Surioa keyed it, bringing up another image. This would be a VERY long day.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here