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(L,F&E 79) Dark Medicine


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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:08 PM | #1
It was very quiet in the speeder garage. He checked the area, as always. Paranoia by definition was not rational. He had never had problems here, although some of his coworkers had. And he had worked for scary people once. Admittedly, he had done his tour of duty and then had requested a transfer as far as possible from that particular evil group. When it had been accepted, he had fled. He had cut all his ties, left his family and friends behind, all to get away from his memories and the evil he had helped perpetrate. And he had wound up here, on Tattooine, working for Cranna the Hutt of all people. Here, he could make a difference. If she ever found out who he had worked for, he would take days to die in all likelihood. Luckily, his cover ID seemed to have held up, even through her rigorous scrutiny. So a certain amount of paranoia was understandable. He unlocked his speeder and settled into the seat with a sigh. He started the speeder and then froze as a figure appeared in front of him. A small green form.

“Oh god no…” He breathed as he slammed the accelerator pedal to the floor, ignoring the warning beep from the automated systems that governed the traffic in the garage. He would get a reprimand from security of course, but first he had to get away.

The small Jedi jumped out of the way and he heard a thump as something landed on the roof. He had to get away! He had to! He wouldn’t go back! He wouldn’t! The snap hiss of a lightsaber igniting had him jerking his controls. He made the speeder dance as best it could, it was an airspeeder, not a starfighter and he was no combat pilot. The smell of scorched metal and insulation told him that he had seconds at best before the Jedi cut his way in. He took a deep breath and made his choice. He banked the speeder and applied full power again on a course that would have him impact a large landmark rock at full speed.

“Doctor! No!” Came a shout from behind him, but the rock was growing in his vision. His release from his past, from the pain that he had done. From the evils he had done. He had to reach the rock! He had to! It was growing larger; maybe he would make it… Something heavy slammed into the back of his head and he knew no more.

<Later>

He hadn’t expected to wake at all. For a moment, he just lay there, stunned, and then he slumped. He knew the sounds and smells that surrounded him now. He didn’t need to open his eyes to know where he was. “You should have let me die.”

“We need you, doctor.” It wasn’t a voice he knew. He opened his eyes to find a young woman sitting beside his bed. She was maybe fourteen and wore a white jumpsuit. His heart fell as he saw her shaved head and the tell tales of implants. She was an experimental subject. Like so many he had worked on, to his shame.

“Kill me… I won’t help them. Just… Just kill me…” His eyes travelled down his body and he was surprised to find his body unmarked. He was restrained of course. After all, he had tried to kill himself. But he had cause. Oh yes, he had cause.

“You don’t have a choice, doctor.” The girl shook her head sadly. “Just like me. They… We need you.” He turned his head away from her. “Doctor… please… If you do not agree to help willingly, they will do… something horrible to you. They inject people with something and… it changes them. They can’t disobey. They scream and cry and then… they stop. And then they do whatever they are ordered. Please…” Was the girl about to cry? “Don’t make me watch you get hurt that way. Please…”

“Do I know you?” he asked quietly, after checking the restraints. They were far beyond his ability to break.

“I am 8410-109. I was one of the test subjects. But you were always kind to me, you didn’t have to be but you were. That is why they had me be here when you woke.” The girl would not meet his eyes now.

“Who is in charge?” The doctor asked slowly as he looked around the room. “Arrac? Vandar?”

"Neither." 8410-109 shook her head. “Ton Arrac is dead. They say that Will Kalenath caught him and turned him over to his mother.” The doctor shivered bit at that, but if anyone deserved a horrible fate, the head of the Operations department of the Special Branch of Republic Intelligence did. “Master Vandar is… I don’t know. Sometimes he seems to be in charge, other times he isn’t.”

“Why are you helping them? You are a slave. They have done… We have done… such horrible things to you.” The doctor looked at the girl, and yes, she was the right age to have been one of his experiments.

“I am a clone, doctor. You created me. I don’t know any other way to be. I am…incomplete. I feel… wrong. But I exist to defend the Republic. That is my purpose. My only purpose.” The girl’s calm voice horrified the doctor even more than he had been.

“You are not a droid! You are a girl!” His voice was harsher than it should have been. She was a victim. Of his actions as much as anyone’s. “I… I did this to you. And I can’t make it right. I am sorry.”

“You can help her, doctor.” The soft voice had him freezing in his bed. The small green form of Jedi Master Vandar Tokare jumped up onto a chair nearby. “We need her and the others, now more than ever. The Seven are mobilizing.”

“Shut up, you lying piece of filth. You told us it was for the Republic." He snapped." I know what you serve now. I know! I have seen it! It is not…” Suddenly he couldn’t speak.

"No." Vandar’s face was sad as he held the doctor immobile. “Be silent doctor and listen. We don’t have much time. How long will the loop last, Loia?”

The doctor froze in place as the girl stared at the wall, no at a camera that whirred on the wall. Republic Intelligence had paranoia as a watchword. “We have three minutes, Master Vandar. We can hold it that long.”

“Don’t take any chances. Let me know at the one minute mark. Doctor… Yes, what we did was awful, and yes, what I did is unforgivable.” Vandar’s calm eyes bored deep into the man’s soul. “But we have bigger problems. Not only are the Seven mobilizing, but they are mobilizing too soon. We are not ready.”

“Why should I care? You will just program me, use me and throw me away. Like you have so many others. What you did to Will… To Sara and Maria and Samuel… You bastard… For the Republic my fanny!” The doctor was beyond incensed, beyond caring.

For along moment Vandar did not reply. When he did, it was sad. “What we did… We did for the future of the galaxy. Or… So I thought.” The doctor stared at him shocked out of his rage. “I was tricked, doctor. Jedi are not perfect. I can’t undo what I did. But I can try to make a difference now. And if the Seven come into their own unguided, unwarded, we are doomed. Every. Last. One. Of. Us.”

“This is a trick. You are trying to get me to help you.” The doctor shook his head. “I won’t. Never again. I have spent the last ten years lying awake at night, seeing their faces, hearing their screams. I won’t help you hurt anyone else!”

“We are not asking you to, doctor.” Vandar said with a sigh. “We are asking you to help us heal some people.”

“Kark you.” The doctor said and lay back, closing his eyes. “I won’t help you.”

"So be it." Vandar sighed and he heard both chairs squeak and then a door hiss. A minute later a female voice he had hoped to never hear again sounded.

“Ah, Doctor Varniar… So good to see you again.”

"You..." His voice was flat and filled with hate. “Flarg you, Menglan.”

“Only in your dreams boy.” She laughed, that same chilling heartless laugh and something stung him on the shoulder over the brachial artery. He screamed as pain erupted from the injection site and quickly spread all over his body. “Welcome back.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:12 PM | #2
When Curt Varniar woke, he was amazed to find himself unrestrained. When he tried his fingers and toes, they all moved as they should. He felt… He froze, er, he tried to as his body started moving without his commands. He could only stare out his eyes as his body rose from the bed and headed for the refresher. He was screaming inside as his body cleaned itself, then pulled clean clothes on. No matter how hard he tried, he could not get his body to respond to his commands. It was acting under someone else’s control. He felt madness bubbling up around the edges of his mind and pushed it back by sheer strength of will. He would not let these child killing scum win. They could hurt him, program him, but he would not stop fighting. Not now.

He had been so stupid. He had been so focused on his own work that had had barely noticed when he had been reassigned from forensic work to an operation run by Republic Intelligence. It hadn’t seemed important. He had been focused on his work, so focused that it had taken more than a year for him to realize that the bodies that came through his lab had been children. He had been so blind, so gulled by his own pride and sense of direction. It was the most insidious form of programming. The scum he had worked for had used his own weaknesses against him, making him one of them. Before he knew what had happened, he had been assisting the other doctors in experiments that even now, years later, made him want to vomit. But he couldn’t now.

Varniar was struggling against the control as his body walked from the room he had woken in into a larger room set up as a conference area. He was still struggling as it sat in one of the chairs. He focused on what he COULD control. He had no control over his voluntary muscles now, either the fingers and toes had been a fluke, or whoever was controlling him had wanted to check them as well. But he was aware of everything around him now as well. Hyperaware almost. It was as if his lack of control had focused his mind, or something else was. He had always been a little scatterbrained, but more than made up for it in other aspects.

His body did not move, but inside he was screaming as a door hissed open and three figures came in. Vandar Tokare sighed deeply as he looked at Curt. “You should have taken my offer, doctor.”

The black robed man behind Vandar seemed vaguely familiar to Doctor Varniar. But it wasn’t until the man spoke that Curt recognized the voice. And quailed inside his mind. He remembered this being. Ravishaw’s voice, as always, was soft and silky and held laughter bubbling back in its depths. “Ah, the sweet smell of suffering… You are such a bouquet doctor. I wonder how you will taste…” The doctor could do nothing as the insane Sith reached out a slow hand to trace his cheek. “Ooo Tasty…I remember you. I think I will have you for lunch.” Ravishaw licked his lips in anticipation.

The third, Varniar did not know. But there was something subtly…wrong about him. He wore the garb of a career politician. The man spoke softly, almost kindly. “Ravishaw, we need him, back off.” The Sith that Varniar had helped destroy pouted a little and stepped back.”Doctor, you may speak.”

Whatever was controlling Varniar let him loose for a moment and he reacted with vitriol. “You sons of barves! I will find a way to kill you all!” Years of working in fringes of society spewed from his tongue, profanity that had both Vandar and the politician staring at him. Ravishaw on the other hand, was grinning.

“Now there is fire that I don’t remember from you, doc.” The black garbed man sat down in another chair, his eyes on the doctor. “You were always such a whiner, maybe now you are worth a meal.” He was going to say something else, but the politician looked at him and amazingly, the Insane Sith ducked his head and shut up. The other two sat as well.

“We have spent a great deal of time, money and effort finding you doctor. We have need of your particular skills. You are going to help us, one way or another.” The politico’s eyes were calm as he looked at the doctor, but something… There was something starkly terrifying lurking in the man’s eyes. Something the doctor could not define.

“I won’t help you.” He could see Vandar wince at that, but his focus was on the politician who seemed to be in charge. “You can hurt me all you want, I won’t help you.”

“Oh I won’t hurt you, doctor.” Curt Varniar felt his body freeze into immobility. The man held out a slow hand to touch him on the chest. The voice was so polite, and at the same time, so evil… “I am going to kill you.”

Pain erupted in the doctor’s chest. Somehow, he was able to clinically examine the symptoms as a heart attack. His vision as graying as the blood flow to his brain slowed and stopped. He had perhaps two minutes before total brain failure. He kept his fading vision on the politician, defiantly staring back. It was all he could do as his life ebbed. He knew it was a trick, that he would be released in a moment. It had to be a trick. His vision went dark with that thing that looked like a man smiling at him.

“Do you really want him dead?” Vandar’s cold voice shook Varniar awake.

“He won’t get away that easily. I can bring him back as often as I need to. Ah, back with us, doctor?” the mild voice had Varniar flinching. “Good boy. Remember tour place, do your job and I won’t have to kill you again. Come Ravishaw, time for another treatment.”

"Right..." Cold fingers traced Varniar’s cheek and Ravishaw’s silky voice sounded nearby. “Until later. I look forward to renewing our acquaintance.” The door hissed and Varniar was left alone. But only for a moment.

Gentle hands helped him sit up. “You should not have defied him, Doctor.” Vandar sounded sad. Curt was shivering so hard he couldn’t speak. “Easy… Here…” Something warm spread from the hands that held him, soothing, calming.

“What have you done?” Curt managed to gasp out after amount. “What is that…? That thing…?” He kept his eyes closed tightly.

For a long moment, there was silence. When Vandar spoke it was sad, but held anger as well. “That thing, as you put it, is a collection of microscopic machines that have taken human form. It is also Senator Donal Firdlump.”

"What?" Curt hadn’t thought his body could get any stiffer. He knew that name. He didn’t follow politics, but he did know that name. “Firdlump? The majority leader?”

“Yes. And now, you have some of those machines inside you. You will scream, you will cry, eventually you will try and kill yourself. It doesn’t work. He can bring back the dead. I have seen him reassemble a soldier who used a thermal detonator on herself.” Vandar’s voice held horror the likes of which Curt Varniar could only imagine. “As bad as the things you have seen and done are… The things he has made me do…”

Bad choices and worse ones. That was the story of Curt Varniar’s life. “He put them in you, didn’t he?”

"Yes." Vandar’s reply was almost inaudible. “I was his first. He found me, reanimated me, made me his slave. I am a useful slave, but still, a slave.”

“Fine…” Carl sighed. “What is thy bidding, my master?” Carl was stunned when his cheek stung. He stared up into Vandar’s eyes and the Jedi was crying.

“I am not the master here. We need your help, doctor. And we need you to be a doctor… not a monster.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:17 PM | #3
He had control of his body again, but for how long? He wasn’t sure what to do or think. So he focused on the work. It came back easily to him, far too easily. Part of him quailed at what he was asked to do. Part of him, a traitorous part, was intrigued. And the equipment… It was beyond state of the art. The scanners, droids and medical gear were so far in advance of Republic tech that he wondered at times how he would be able to use it. But it was, for the most part, idiot proof. He spent some time getting to know the scanners, they were nothing like he had used before. Even Cranna’s clinic hadn’t had this much state of the art gear.

Working for Cranna had been a dream come true. She hadn’t cared about appearances, or personalities. All she had wanted was results. She had been a demanding boss, but a fair one. He had made a difference in small ways and big ones while working for her. He had been forced to learn a new field of medicine to keep from betraying himself. And seeing those children again after Cranna and others had rescued them from Special Branch had hurt, a lot. He had been a cause of their suffering. His techniques were what Special Branch had used to create them. He hadn’t been involved with putting control and training implants their brains, but he had worked on growing them. He hadn’t had a clue how Special Branch was going to use his research. When he had finally discovered what they did with the embryos he had modified, he had been horrified. Horrifying him in those days had taken some doing, but his bosses had managed. Vandar had managed.

He sighed and lay still on the table as the scanner whirred. Dwelling on the past was pointless. He was doing a series of scans for several reasons. He needed to get used to the scanner quickly, he had been given instructions and knew better than to procrastinate. He wanted to see if there was any damage left from when his new ‘boss’ had stopped his heart. He wanted to see how detailed the scans would be. And last but certainly not least, he wanted to see if he could detect the machines that were inside him now. If he could detect them, maybe he could figure out how to do something about them.

The monitor beside the table came alive and he looked at it dumbfounded. He could see his entire body in perfect detail. He could literally see the platelets in his blood flowing from… Wait a moment… What was that? Luckily the machinery was set up for voice access.

“Scanner, focus on left brachial artery, shoulder junction four, micro level two twelve.” The machine obliged, focusing on his left arm and the level of detail was unreal. He could see individual cells, and… He froze in place. “Oh my god…”

The small silver machines were working to repair what looked like cellular damage. The damage was probably from when the blood flow stopped. Cell death in extremities was immediate in cases like that, although the body could and would repair most of it quickly. The machines were odd looking. They had eight appendages, four for movement, two large and two small for manipulation. The machines looked as if they had been modeled after something. Why build a machine with a body in three sections? Head thorax and abdomen all looked like… He froze in place and his voice was soft, scared almost. “No way in hell…”

He had seen a being from a race that called itself Sitolon once. Istara Sharlina Andal had brought a group of children to the clinic and a friend of hers had come along. It had been really weird, seeing a six foot tall insect, but it had only been for a moment. These… These machines were the same proportions as the Sitolon body. These machines were patterned after Sitolon. He lay there for a moment, stunned by that revelation. Why would anyone pattern microscopic machines after a race whose homeworld didn’t exist anymore? Then his chrono chirped and he jerked into motion. He didn’t have a lot of time. He turned off the scanner and set up his equipment. Just as he finished the door opened and 8410-109 entered the room. She wore a patent gown and nothing else.

“I am ready, doctor.” The young girl’s voice was calm as she moved towards the equipment.

“This is wrong.” Carl Varniar said quietly as he helped her onto another table, this one set with restraints. He froze as she put her hands and feet in place for the restraints. “I won’t restrain you.”

“Doctor, please. You must. My body is trained to kill, and if I am unconscious, it will revert to its programming. We need you alive.” Her green eyes held his and bored deep into his soul. “You are the only chance we have.”

“I…” He lowered his head, defeated. He was as gentle as he could be when he latched the restraints. “This is wrong.” He repeated. “But… I have no choice. I will be as gentle as I can.”

“Physical pain does not bother me doctor. Not after the training they have given me.” Her voice was calm and matter of fact.

"I..." Carl winced in memory of what Sara Kalenath had gone through. He had only seen one ‘session’ of that, and it had been more than enough. He swung a scanner over the table and started the sequence. What he found shocked him. “Oh my god… How old are you?”

“I will be fourteen standard years old next month.” The girl replied, her eyes on the scanner.

“How… many… times…?” He managed to get the words out through his pain, fear and shock. The scans were distinctive. This girl had given birth and not once, several times.

“Five.” Her calm word shocked him even further.

"No!" He backed away from the table, hands up in a warding gesture. “No! I won’t do this again! I won’t!”

“Doctor, please. Can you heal the damage?” Her eyes pinned him in place and her voice held something odd. Not entreaty. Not fear. Something he couldn’t define. He called upon his training and shook his head.

“Young lady, your uterus is torn. I am amazed the last time didn’t kill you. It should have.” He hated himself for being so blunt, but he was angry and scared out of his mind. They had used his techniques on her. She was a child! Even at the worst of when he had worked for them before, they had never done this to children! Implanted them, yes, programmed them to obey, yes. But not used them as brood cows! He forced his emotions back. “What happened?”

“Memory of that event is faulty. They tell me I hemorrhaged on delivery. I was bleeding too much, I remember them saying that.” Her voice was clinical. Then it softened. “Then she spoke to me. She told me I would be all right.” A soft and sad smile was on her face now.

“Who?” The doctor asked as he started another scanning sequence.

“I don’t know. She sounded old, wise and sad.” The girl bit her lip and for just a moment, she looked like a normal fourteen year old. Albeit, she was a fourteen year old with a shaved head and metal implants showing on it. When she spoke again her tone held wonder. “She never said her name. I was falling, or floating. Not sure which. Then she was there. She was kind, so different from everyone else in this place. She was like I remember you being.”

Curt winced at that. It had been a technique for him to gain the trust of the experimental subjects. They were easier to handle when they did not fight. He had used that trust to do things to the subjects that haunted his nightmares to this day. How he hated himself for that. “I lied to you…” His voice was soft.

“I know.” The quiet word brought him up short and when he stared at her, her face was pensive. “We knew, even then, that you were using that to do what you did to us. At least the genetic modifications you did in vitro didn’t hurt. The ones after… You had no choice.”

Doctor Varniar sat heavily in a chair near the sole desk in the room. “I can’t do this. Not again.” Tears were falling. “I can’t do this…”

“If you don’t they will put me down.” The girl’s quiet words had the doctor jumping to his feet.

What?

“If I can’t… perform… I am useless. Euthanasia will be the only option. I can’t fit in the droid anymore, I have grown too much.” Her voice was clinical again. “If they can’t use me as an incubator…” She slumped in the restraints. “Can you fix the damage?”

“They would…’put you down’? Like a rabid nerf?” Curt Varniar shook his head slowly. He had thought himself beyond shocked at what happened in this place. “You are not a nerf! You are a person!”

“Doctor, if I have no use, I have no purpose. At least they would not give me to Ravishaw.” She shivered a bit. “At least it will be quick and painless. Vandar won’t let them do it any other way. Anymore anyway…” She shivered again.

"No." The doctor shook himself and focused on his scans. “No, I can’t.” He said finally with a sigh. “Maybe the master can undo what happened to you…” He paused as the girl shook her head. “What?”

“He doesn’t touch us." The girl said soberly. "They never put those machines in us. We don’t know why.”

“That is...odd.” Doctor Varniar felt something then, something incredible. He focused it. He had something now that he had tried so hard to find working for Cranna. He had a purpose. He was going to help these children and he was going to stop the scum who had hurt them, who had used him to hurt them. “They are not going to euthanize you, girl. You do have a purpose.” He moved to release her restraints.

“What?” She asked, dumbfounded.

Curt Varniar felt his face move in an odd way. It took him a moment to realize that he was smiling. “I need an assistant. I know how fast you can learn. But…” He raised finger as she would have spoken. “I am the boss here, clear? You do what I say, when I say, clear?”

“The master is not going to be pleased.”

“Well, girl…" The doc said snidely. "The 'Master’ can kiss my butt.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:22 PM | #4
The pain was indescribable. But it had been worth it just to see the look of complete disbelief on the face of the man who Vandar called Firdlump. He guessed it wasn’t every day that someone told him to flarg off. The girl was free from the threat of euthanasia however. But it really hurt. From his education in medicine, he knew exactly how many nerve clusters a human body had. He didn’t need a scanner to tell where they were however. It felt like they were all on fire. He had called upon his old arrogance and pompousness, dredged up from the dim haze of memory and it had worked. Sort of. The master had not killed him, and had actually given him the girl. A ‘pet’ the master called her. Which was both a dismissal and a threat. If he failed, she would likely pay the price for his failure. But then the thing that looked like a human male had sneered and raised his hand.

“Know your place, doctor.” The pain that had erupted in him was even worse than when he had felt when he had been injected with the machines. It had been so severe that he had convulsed, unable even to scream. He had been unable to do anything but writhe on the floor as Ravishaw had giggled in glee. He wasn’t sure how long he had been wracked by the pain but eventually it had stopped. When he had looked up, he had been alone in the room where he had confronted the being who called himself Curt’s master. Curt of course totally denied that. He had no master, despite the machines that inhabited him, despite the pain, the fear, he would not yield. They needed him and they needed him working at full capacity.

Apparently, now he was the only true doctor left working for them. Menglan was no doctor, despite what she claimed. He wasn’t sure what had happened, or why. But all of the others had apparently had things happen to them. Hints that he had heard said that the ‘Dark Woman’ had been involved again. He could only hope she found him and killed him, wherever he was. But since he was on a ship, and not a small one at that, it was highly unlikely she would be able to…

“Holy hell… Doctor… What can I do?” The scared voice of 8410-109 came to his ears as he entered the medical area. Strong small arms helped him to a chair and sat him down. He looked up to see her bustle away towards the small food prep area that the med ward boasted. She cast a worried glance over her shoulder. “Tea?” He couldn’t speak, not yet so he nodded jerkily.

She came back quickly, a steaming mug in hand. She helped him raise it to his lips and drink. Her voice held tears that were not falling. “Doctor… Why did you do that? I am dead either way. Either they kill me quickly and efficiently or I die when my immune system fails. You shouldn’t have done that.”

It took several sips of tea before he felt strong enough to speak. When he did, his voice was hoarse from trying to scream. “Yes, I did need to do that. What happened to you is a direct result of what I did to you so long ago. He may control my body, but he cannot control my mind. He wants you and the others for something horrible. I have no idea what. I…” He took another slow sip before speaking again. “I want to help you.”

"No." Now the girl’s voice and face held fear. “Doctor, he will kill you. He can bring people back from the dead, but every time… It changes them. They lose some of who and what they are. Doctor please… You are the only good thing that has ever happened to us. You…You were kind.” She moved as if to touch him, but stopped.

“I told you it was a control technique.” Curt said quietly as he finished his mug and set it down beside him.

“Was it?” Her eyes bored into him. “You could have made it hurt so much more. After you left… What they did to us hurt so much more. You were gentle, and you tried to keep us calm. The others? They didn’t care. All they wanted was results.”

“I don’t understand what that thing is trying to do. This makes no sense at all.” Curt tried to rise and found his muscles had turned to jelly. The girl smiled and walked behind his chair. She started a massage and Curt stiffened a little and then sighed as he relaxed. “You should not have been a guinea pig for me or these other scum. You should have had a normal life.” Tears were falling.

“Doctor, I was created to serve the Republic. Do I enjoy my life? No. But it is all I know. This is all I am, all I will ever be.” She finished her massage and smiled. “Better?”

Doctor Varniar stretched his shoulder muscles and smiled back. “Yes, thank you. We will find a better way for you to be. Look… I can’t call you by that designation. Is there anything you would prefer to be called?”

“My designation is what I am…” She said uncertainly. “That is all I have ever been. Vandar calls me by a name, but he calls all of us by names. I think he made them up to feel less monstrous.”

“Designating a sentient by a number is dehumanizing. It is easier to rationalize what they did if the subjects…” He gulped a little. “…were not seen as living sentient beings. Otherwise… the things that they… we… did would have driven us mad. The things we did to you and your kin.”

The girl took his hands in her strong ones and gave a squeeze. “You are not an evil man, doctor. I know evil. I have seen evil every day of my life. You are not.”

“You don’t know me, girl.” Curt Varniar said quietly and tears were still falling. “I have done evil, to you and others. I killed some of you, and I felt…nothing beyond annoyance at the inconvenience of having to get another subject prepped. I spent a great deal of time trying to make up for my evil. And now they, and you, are telling me to do it again. I am not going to do what I did. I will find a better way.”

“Doctor…” The girl’s voice and face were wary.

“I have been ordered to find a way to repair your immune systems. I have also been ordered to prepare you for a breeding program. How many of you are aboard?” He asked quietly as he rose and walked towards the scanner tables.

“Two hundred and sixteen as of the last count. Fifty seven of us are sick and in stasis. Doctor, you have to obey…”She walked two steps behind him, subservient.

“I know. I will.” He said flatly as he started the scanners again. “I will need…hmmm… twenty four of you for scanning. That will be three groups of eight each. We will label those groups experiment A, Experiment B and Control. Experiment A will be the group I will work on the immune systems of. Experiment B will be for breeding. Control, we will simply scan and observe.” His demeanor changed as he started working controls, his pain and fear vanished and his face became hard. “Can you set that up?”

The girl stared at him for a moment and then sighed and nodded. “Yes doctor.” She walked to a terminal and started punching keys.

“I need to start as soon as possible." The doctor said with a sigh. "The thing in charge has no patience. I just wish I knew why he wanted you healed after all this time of hurting you.”

He was so focused on his machinery that he didn’t hear the girl whisper behind him under her breath. “No you don’t…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:27 PM | #5
He came back to consciousness slowly. His head was pounding and his body was on fire, but that wasn’t what held his attention. What chilled his blood and curdled the shriveled remnants of his soul were the whimpers that came from nearby and the cackling female laughter that overlaid them.

“There, dearie… Isn’t that better? You were so stressed earlier. The doctor prescribes a good medicinal…” A shriek came from Loia and the doctor snarled at her. “Now, don’t be like that. It won’t hurt. You will enjoy it. That’s it… that’s it.” The soft, almost sweet words took a moment to percolate through Curt’s semiconscious brain. Then he jerked as he realized what was happening.

Loia -he refused to call her by her designation- had come in for her morning scans. He had restrained her as always and then… His memory got fuzzy. He had started the scan cycles, the door had opened and Menglan had been there. It all went black after that. What had happened? He tried to speak and couldn’t. He tried to get up, to see what was going on, and his body did not respond to his commands. Someone, probably the female doc, had taken control of his body from him. All he could do was lie there and listen. He couldn’t even see, he was facing the wall. But from the sounds, he didn’t want to see what was happening.

“There, there, girl. That’s a girl.” Menglan was almost cooing in delight. The sick sounds that came from the table had Curt’s heart racing in fear and anger. But he couldn’t do anything but quail inside as he heard the girl’s strangled cries. She must have been gagged. He knew those sounds would haunt him forever as the other doctor laughed delightedly. “Yes, there we go.”

Curt heard the door hiss open and quailed as he heard Ravishaw’s giggling voice. “Doctor, you are needed in …” But then the insane Sith broke off and something odd happened. His voice changed and it was clear and free of laughter. “You… witch!” A scream sounded from behind Curt and he quailed again, but it wasn’t Loia who screamed. It was Menglan! “You… You…” Ravishaw’s voice was strained. Then it was cold and angry. “I warned you doctor.”

Curt managed to move his head and turned to see a wonder. Menglan was held off the floor, suspended by something invisible. It seemed to be holding her up by the front of her chest. Then she flew to the wall and landed in a boneless heap. Curt could see the slow rise and fall of her chest so she was alive, but she would not be bothering anyone for a while. His gaze went to the figure in black who was leaning over the exam table where Loia lay now. Curt quailed again, Ravishaw was capable of anything. But then the man’s words seeped past Curt’s fear.

Ravishaw’s voice was calm and gentle now. “Easy, girl. Easy… let me get you loose.” Curt’s eyes went wide as saucers as the insane Sith undid the restraints and helped the girl sit up and sat beside her. “What did she touch? Does it hurt? Where?” He asked softly, calmly and carefully.

Loia was shaking hard and Ravishaw held her gently. The girl’s words were as stunned as Curt’s feelings. She couldn’t seem to stay upright. “She… She…” The girl gasped in pain and fear, clutching at the man. She obviously did not see him, just heard the soft, kind words and felt the gentle touch.

“I know.” The black garbed man’s voice was soft and filled with remembered pain. “I will let the doc look at you, girl. I am no healer.” Ravishaw turned to look at Curt and Curt was stunned by the stricken look on the insane man’s face. What could make him react like that? “Doctor?” Ravishaw asked softly.

“I… I don’t know what she did. I couldn’t move. I… I can’t move…” Curt managed to get words out.

“I am going to let you go for a moment, girl. I need to help the doc. Okay?” Ravishaw’s voice was so soft, so gentle, that for a moment, Curt could not reconcile the being he knew as utterly merciless with the figure that rose from where he had been sitting beside the girl. An inarticulate cry came from the girl, but she subsided as Ravishaw patted her arm. “I won’t go far. I will be right here. She won’t hurt you again. I swear it.”

Curt watched in awe as Loia relaxed slightly. He could not control his dread as Ravishaw came close. The man’s eyes were a pair of laser cannon tracking on him. “I owe you a lot of pain, doctor. You were one of the ones who ‘adjusted’ me when Special Branch captured me. But this poor girl needs your help now.” Curt shrank from the man’s touch, but no pain came. Instead, his limbs started responding. “Do not think that I will forgive or forget what you did to me. No matter what, you owe me.”

"Yes." Curt swallowed at that. “I know. And I will pay. But let me help… 8410-109.” He managed to get the designation out with only a slight hesitation.

“Oh, use her name, it’s cute.” Ravishaw laughed, an echo of his usual insane hilarity. He stood back as Curt rose to his feet and staggered towards the table. His eyes went hard as he saw Loia’s state of undress and the marks on her. Menglan had been busy while Curt had been unconscious.

“Loia?” Curt asked quietly. He cursed himself and touched her arm. She shrank away but then nearly jumped into his arms as he came closer. “Easy, easy, girl. It’s okay. It will be okay.” He turned to look at Ravishaw. “Will it?” He asked quietly as the girl buried her face in his shoulder and cried.

"Yes." Ravishaw nodded slowly and turned to where the doctor lay. Curt was glad he could not see the Sith’s face. Just from his tone of voice, bad things were going to happen. “She won’t bother you or any of the other children again.”

Curt busied himself treating Loia’s wounds and checking her for other injuries. His mind was racing but his voice was steady when he spoke. “Why?”

Ravishaw snickered and when he turned the same ironic smile lurked on his face. “Why not?” he cackled now. “I think Menglan and I need to… talk. See you around doctor.” The slumped body of the female doctor hovered silently, buoyed up by the Force and then it followed the insane Sith out the door like a trained canine.

"I... I don't..." Loia stared after him, calming slightly as Curt treated her and the pain she felt dissipated. He couldn’t do anything for her non-physical wounds or her embarrassment but be there for her and help however he could. “Why did he do that? He is evil.”

"I don't know, Loia." Curt shook his head and he pulled a new patient gown out of a drawer to replace the one Menglan had ripped to shreds. “I don’t know.” He helped Loia into the new gown and then held her as she broke down and cried. “Easy there, Loia. It will be okay.”

“No it won’t. It won’t ever be okay again…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:32 PM | #6
“How is she?” The quiet voice from behind him had him flinching, but he was too tired to jump. Doctor Varniar had finally resorted to a mild sedative to allow Loia to sleep. He patted her hand one last time before turning to face the newcomer. He would not let her out of his sight now. He shivered a little. Not that he had been much help at all when Menglan had… Jedi Master Vandar’s voice came again. “It wasn’t your fault.”

Even the dispassionate Jedi winced a little from the icy glare that Varniar leveled at him. “No, I think it is yours. I may have helped create these children. But you are the one who allowed it, ordered it, condoned…what we did to them. You are the one who has kept them in this hell.” The doctor kept his voice low, trying to keep from disturbing Loia’s troubled sleep, but the scorn in his voice could have cut through starship plating.

“You are right, doctor.” The shame and regret in Vandar’s voice bit deep, but Curt Varniar knew this being. He knew that to Vandar, the end always justified the means. He let out a derisive snort and turned back to his scanners. It was downright odd that the place that Loia felt safest was the scanner table where she had been violated. But he was not going to argue. “This… obscenity is my faulty and my responsibility. But I need to know. How is she?”

“Physically she is fine. Mentally? Emotionally? How the hell should I know?” Varniar shook his head as he stared at the tear streaked face of the sleeping girl. “She was just violated by someone who claims to be a medical person. I am amazed she trusts me at all. I am no psyche tech. What she went through before was horrific…” He turned back as Vandar flinched. “Yes, I can see evidence of the torture you administered to her, before this shameful episode. And the births. You bastard. How could you possibly do that to a child?” Just the thought of someone making a child pregnant had his anger rising.

Vandar’s voice was soft and filled with pain now. “She is hardly the youngest human to ever give birth. We couldn’t get any of the other hosts to bear to term. Just her.”

“So you nearly killed her. Well done, Jedi.” Now the doctor’s voice was just sad. “I believed, you know. When you told me it was ‘For the Republic’. I believed. And you lied to me. This horror is not for the Republic. What are you doing?”

“You don’t want to know, doctor.” Vandar’s voice was careful now and Curt looked sidelong at him. “Doctor, I know you have no reason to trust me. But you do… Not. Want. To. Know.” The horror in the Jedi’s voice shook the doctor, although he fought to disregard it. Vandar lied as often as he breathed after all. “How are the scans coming? The master is growing impatient.”

“You of all people know that I cannot just wave my hands like you can, and make things magically happen, mister wizard.” It felt good to insult Vandar. The small green being was the focal point of his stay in his own private hell. He rarely saw the master, and a good thing. Every time he did, he wound up hurt.

“Insult me as you wish, doctor. But please refrain from insulting the master again. You are the only doctor we have now that we can trust.” Vandar’s tone was polite, calm, cool and considered.

“Trust?” Varniar bit out a sour laugh that was loud enough to have Loia whimper a little. He soothed her back into sleep with a careful caress of her hand. “That is a joke.” He said finally, after the girl had subsided back into sleep. “I am a slave. I am no more trusted than these children are. Menglan proved that.”

“What Menglan did…” Vandar said carefully. “…was not condoned. The master is annoyed with her. But it will be a while before she can face his wrath. On that note, doctor. You will have a new patient.”

Curt Varniar went stiff. Who could…? He shook his head savagely. “No.” He spoke softly but there was no give in it.

“Doctor, Ravishaw tore her genitalia off. She is no threat now, nor will she be. We will keep her under closer scrutiny now. But we need her healed. You can heal her while Loia recovers.” Vandar’s voice was soft and persuasive.

You can kiss my choobies.” The mild obscenity flew from the doctor’s mouth as he turned away from his patient and the ancient Jedi master actually flinched back from what shone in the doctor’s eyes. “For the first time in a long, long time, I will not heal someone. You bring her in here, and I will find a way to kill her.” There was no bravado, no idleness in that threat, he meant every word. “You want me to help that witch? Someone who took control of my body from me and violated a girl, not even a woman a girl in front of me while I could do nothing? No.” His cold final word was final. “The only help I would give her is a helpful shove out an airlock. And you can quote me on that.”

Vandar suddenly seemed to grow in size, his appearance did not change, but the doctor shrank from the power that the small green being was projecting. Even the non Force using doc could sense the power. . “Doctor, don’t even joke about that. We need her, we need you and we need Loia.”

“Why?” The doctor asked relentlessly. “It doesn’t make sense. Why did you destroy these children’s immune systems? To keep them under control? There are better ways… Easier…” He broke off, things in his mind combining in new ways, new patterns as pieces filled in. “Oh my god… You didn’t do it, did you?”

"No." The sigh that came from Vandar now was deep and wide, conveying pain, fear, regret and self loathing all in one soft sound. “We don’t know why or how it happened. It just did, with every clone we made. From the very first batch that you helped with. Every single child has developed the exact same symptoms, no matter how far apart they are. It cannot be natural. Even children raised completely sterile in bubbles, or sent out with foster families under observation, every single one develops the exact same symptoms. A Jedi healer named Nolikas found a cure, but we can’t use it. We need you to find the cause so we can stop it.”

“Why can’t you use the cure?” Doctor Varniar shook his head. Every time he thought things were starting to make sense, things took a hard leap sideways. If they had a cure, why couldn’t they use it?

“We need a specialized source for the serum and it is out of our reach. We cannot find the girls who are the sources of the serum.” Vandar stared as the doctor groaned. “What?”

“More slavery. Great, just what we need here. Get out. I have another scan subject coming in three minutes.”

“Doctor…”

“Get. Out.” Varniar bent over his scanners, ignoring the Jedi. A moment later he heard the door open and then close. He slumped but continued to work until the door opened again and a very young voice spoke.

“Doctor?” He turned to see a little boy. One who couldn’t have been over eight. The green eyes and implants were distinctive. “Reporting for scans.”

Varniar buried his feelings as deep as he could and smiled at the boy. “Table two, Minho.”

The boy nodded and with a grace and skill that was downright unnatural, jumped onto the table and slotted his hands and feet into place for the restraints. “How is 8410-109?”

“Sleeping. I can make you sleep if you wish.” He had a hypo ready but paused as the boy flinched. “What is wrong?”

“I prefer to remain awake, doctor. When I sleep they do things to me.” The boy sat back as Varniar fastened the restraints.

“What kind of things?” The doctor asked cautiously as he finished and stepped to start the scans.

“I don’t know.” The boy probably would have shrugged, but he was held immobile. I always feel weird afterwards, so I know when they do it.”

“How often do they do it?” The doctor asked in a professional tone as he started the scan cycle. This bothered him on so many levels, what the scum here were having him do, but he had no choice and it wasn’t as if he were hurting them now, was he? “And how does it make you feel?”

The boy didn’t answer for some time, and when he did it was quiet. “They do it about once a week, and it makes me feel like she did… when the evil doc touched her.”

"What?" The doctor froze in place. This had never been part of the experiment, had it? “You can communicate… mind to mind…?”

Again, the sort of shrug came from the scan subject. “It’s the implants, doctor. We have built in comlinks.”

The doctor shook his head, but suddenly, this started making more sense. Horrific sense. He had to think on this.
He had to figure this out. And for the sake of the Force, he had to keep his mouth shut while he did. When he finally spoke, his voice was clinical.

“Interesting. A useful tool for battlefield communication. Scan cycle one, starting…now…” He clicked the button and watched the scanner, aware now of scrutiny from the boy. And suddenly, he felt as if he were a small fish facing a shark, not a nice feeling. Not at all.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:37 PM | #7
He made sure he would be there when she woke. A side effect of his blatant manipulation of her and the other subjects’ chromosomes was that she healed far faster than a normal human. So none of the physical scars were visible anymore. The emotional ones would take far longer to heal and, he wasn’t sure he had the time. If what he believed was true… He wasn’t sure he would leave this room alive. Something alerted him, she had woken. Her breathing hadn’t changed, she hadn’t moved. But somehow he knew he was under observation. He spoke softly; he was not sure how sensitive the microphones that bugged the med ward were. “Good morning Loia. Can you give us some privacy? We need to talk.”

The green eyes that opened looked at him dispassionately and then Loia nodded. “I can loop the camera and microphones for a while. About ten minutes I think. You have been sitting like that all night, haven’t you?” The concern in her voice had him flushing in embarrassment.

“Not all night.” He protested half heartedly. He held out a full cup of water for her and she took it, sipping slowly. “I need an answer. Can you manipulate the machines inside me?” Loia froze in mid sip and he hurried to speak again. “I know what you did.” His voice was quiet. Even without seeing the emotions that played behind her well trained sabbaac face, he knew his death was moments away. “What I don’t know is why. What is worse, I don’t think I want to know. But…” He paused, unsure.

“But?” Loia prompted as she took another sip.

“The scans that I have done show what was done to you and the other girls. I…” He looked at the floor. “I know you could kill me, but the master would just bring me back. Again.” He shook his head. “You can’t manipulate the machines, can you?” He felt his eyes burn as he looked up and saw the girl staring at him.

“No.” Loia said quietly. “We can’t. We have tried, on occasion. All it has earned us is pain. We can’t reprogram them, we can’t wipe them, we can’t alter them in any way. It’s like they were designed expressly to defeat such attempts.”

“They probably were. This is the hard piece. You can speak to each other over long distances. Can you contact Sara?” He was ready for her to move, to fight, to kill him. She didn’t.

“What do you know, doctor?” Loia asked in a quiet tone, not having moved from her sitting position. The cup was still where it had been, she hadn’t moved as much as a muscle.

“I know that the immune system problems that you all show were engineered by someone who knew more than a little about how your particular bodies work. I know that the genetic information that would have been needed to create something to do that would have had to come from one of you. And I know you can all talk mind to mind.” He shrugged. “That is all I know, the rest is guesswork.”

“What have you guessed?” Loia’s voice was soft now, not scared, not worried. Something else, something similar.

“I remembered you. You were always so curious. You were always listening in when the doctors discussed things. You knew what we were talking about, didn’t you? You had accessed…” He paused and shook his head. “No… No don’t answer that. I don’t want to know. I was… I was an evil man then. Now I am still evil, pragmatic at the very least.”

“An evil man would have gone to the master with this information. He would have cured us no matter what we wished. He would not be reacting as you are.” Loia’s voice was quiet, calm and matter of fact. “You are not evil, doctor.”

“Loia, I created you for these scum. I… I am directly…” He broke off his almost rant as she reached out slowly and took his hand in hers that was not holing the cup. Her eyes met his and her face was sad.

“It was not your fault.” Loia’s voice was sad, but strong. She took another sip of her water. “What do you want to know?” She asked quietly as she finished the water and put the empty cup down on the edge of the bed.

“How can I help you?”

“You can’t.” Loia’s voice was still calm, cool and matter of fact. “What is going to happen, will happen. No matter how we fight, sneak, or trick, we are… what we are. We are slaves. All of the remainder of special Branch’s clone slaves are aboard this ship and… They guard us zealously. I did not think they would let me stay under your influence.”

"I..." Doctor Curt Varniar had done many horrible things in his life, but what he was contemplating now had to be the single worst. He kept his thoughts off his face and out of his voice when he spoke. “The damage to your body has healed. I…I didn’t think about it. I just did it. I am sorry.”

“It’s not your fault, doctor. If I can…bear again… they will come for me again. I am the oldest and strongest of the clone slaves. But… they have to keep me in line…without killing me…”

“That is why Menglan did what she did.” It wasn’t a question. Loia nodded slowly. “I will not let this happen. I will not let you be… a brood cow for these scum.”

“You cannot stop them, doctor. All it will do is get you hurt…again. Please doctor. Don’t resist them.”

"I know I can't resist the commands.." Doctor Varniar felt his face move into a feral smile. Loia stared at him but he spoke first. “I am not going to. I need your permission to do something to you. Something that will not hurt, and might throw a hydrospanner into their plans.”

The girl looked at him and then her eyes went wide. “Doctor… if you do that… They will not just hurt you…”

“I know.” He took the hand that still touched his and gave it a squeeze. “And I don’t care. Enough is enough. Will you let me treat you?”

Loia stared at him for a moment and then her gaze went far away. When it snapped back to him, her eyes were brimming. “What about the other girls? You know that if I am…oh…” Her voice broke off as the doc smiled sadly.
“The scans…? You didn’t need so many scans did you?”

"No." Doctor Varniar shook his head slowly and now he felt old, tired and sad. “I have enough information to make it quick and painless. For all of you. But if I am still here… They can find out what I did and potentially stop it. Or reverse it.”

"No!" Loia’s eyes went wide, and her face was horrified. “Doctor… No! There has to be another way.”

“There isn’t." Curt Varniar said sadly. "I need your help. To die.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:41 PM | #8
He wanted to puke, but couldn’t. He wanted to scream, but likewise, couldn’t. He was held immobile by the machines that swam through his bloodstream. All he could do was stand there and watch while the automated systems did what they were designed to. He had to admit, whoever had created the system he was watching had been thorough. Loia was not harmed in any way. Well, besides being impregnated against her will with something that was not human.

He had been in the medical ward when the master had come in. The thing that looked human had been all smiles. “Well done, doctor.” The creature had said. “Well done indeed. I knew we could count on you to fix the problems.”

He had frozen in place as the miniature machines in his bloodstream had taken control of his body again. He had been unable to talk, to move or to protest as the master had lifted Loia from the bed where she had been sleeping after her treatments were finished. He had wanted to rip the head off the being, but his body had followed silently when the master had carried the slumbering girl from the room. The master had led him to this…this chamber of horrors. All around the room were tanks like the one the master placed Loia in.

“She will not be harmed.” The master had said. “She is far too important to us to be harmed again by ignorant fools.”

And indeed, the master had been gentle. He had used the machines in Curt’s body to get him to assist in preparing Loia for her very short journey to the rest of her life. Between the two of them, the girl had been connected to machinery that would breathe for her, feed her, remove her excrements, keep her body at a stable temperature and keep her unconscious. Then the girl had been lowered into the tank. Now Curt could only watch in silence as a mechanical arm holding a syringe touched her on the abdomen.

“Welcome to the future, doctor.” The master gloated as he watched. “I know this is not what you expected from us, but it is for the best. She is dangerous. Here, she can be cared for, and remain useful. She will be the first of our brood mothers, producing our master race. Menglan is not involved in this, she will be…busy with other things once she has healed. She will be in your care when you get back to the medical ward.” His tone brooked no argument. “And do not think to try and kill her, I will be watching.” With that, the master left the room.

Curt felt the machines release the control over him and fell to his knees sobbing. “No…” He cried. “Of all the things you could have done to me… Why this…? I did what he asked. I did what they required. And it was another lie.” He started towards the tank, his intent obvious. He would smash whatever he could. Then he convulsed as pain flew through his body.

An indeterminate time later, he lay on the floor, in a pool of filth, as he cried. A soft voice came to his ears. “Doctor?” A small hand touched his shoulder. “We are clear.”

Curt rolled into a sitting position and look into scared green eyes. The boy was Minho, one of the first ones he had scanned. “Microphones? Cameras?”

“Looped, we have ten minutes. Doctor… Are you sure…?” The boy looked scared, but at the same time, resolute.

“It is the only way.” Curt tried to stand, but his muscles were like jelly. How long had he been punished? Had they arrived at their latest destination? “Have we dropped out of hyperspace yet?”

“No.” The boy helped the doc to his feet. Minho may have looked like a nine year old, but he was strong. “This way. We are ready. Is…? Is Loia…?”

"Yes." Curt slumped but stepped off, they did not have a lot of time. “It’s done. She will… She will fade away shortly. When that happens, they will know something is wrong. I wiped all the records I could get to, but they have backups.”

The boy’s strong arm helped him walk. When he spoke, his voice was fierce. “Not anymore they don’t. We did as you instructed. All of us that are aware took the pills. Those of us who were sick or in stasis have been given the injections. All of us have it now.”

It had been harder than the doctor had thought to make the virus. It had been far easier to fix the children’s immune systems than it had been to make something that would cause the children’s immune systems to start attacking their own bodies. But he was a genius at some things, like biomedicine. He shook his head. At other things he was a hopeless dunce and arrant coward. He knew this was the only choice, but he was scared, so scared.

“I didn’t want this. I just… I just wanted to help people. I became a doctor to help people. Not kill them.” His voice cracked as he walked, his emotions were strong about this, but it was the only choice. From the records he had seen, it was the only choice.

“You are no killing us doctor. You are freeing us. We would be harming the Republic. The only way to defend the Republic…” Their destination came into view ahead and two more of the small white jumpsuited forms stood beside the airlock. “…is to prevent us from attacking it.”

“Did Sara get the message?” Curt asked in a clinical tone as he walked towards the fate he had chosen. Despite his knees starting to quiver, he managed to keep walking.

“We don’t know.” Minho matched the doctor’s shaky stride. “The link is usually one way. We get feelings, thoughts, from her. She is a long ways away, I have no idea how far.”

“All we can do is what we have done.” Curt Varniar stopped at the airlock door and nodded to the two small guards there. They nodded back gravely. “I wish… I wish I had been stronger, smarter, better…”

Minho shook his head and then, in a swift move embraced the doctor. “We love you, Father. You are the best father we could have possibly had.” The other two embraced him as well.

“I…” Curt Varniar was crying hard now, but did not try and break the embrace. “I am sorry, my children. I tried so hard to make it better. And all I did was make things worse.”

“No.” Minho’s voice was soft as he rubbed the sobbing physician’s back. “You have made things better for us. The only way you could. Our lives are pain and fear. You have given us freedom. You have always been kind and gentle with us. What was done to us, what was done to you, is the ultimate horror. But now, we are free.”

Curt shook himself and gave the three forms that embraced him a squeeze. “Only if I am gone when they find out what I did. I am ready.”

“We love you father. Sleep.” Minho gave him a hug and then something heavy slammed into the back of his head.

When he came to, he found himself lying on the floor of the airlock. The machines in his bloodstream, realizing the danger, started hitting controls, but the kids had scrambled them. His body opened the manual override, only to find it gunked up with something. Something that smelled familiar.

Superglue, oh you sneaky kids… I love you all. He thought as his body started pounding on the door, trying to break it, get someone’s attention.

But Curt and his children had planned this carefully. The machines in his body were dumb, they had to have outside control to act most of the time, unless his body was in danger, as it was now. Red lights started flashing and he could see silvery lines start to cross into the machinery of the door. He could only watch and hope, but then, despite all safety protocols, the outer door hissed open and he could see the blue tunnel of hyperspace beyond. He was blown out into the tunnel, free from the horrors that he had seen, endured and taken part in. There was literally no way at all that his body would ever be found. Even if the machines in his blood could keep him alive without oxygen, doubtful but possible, he was now a true ‘space Dutchman’ doomed to float forever. His last clear thought was of his kids.

Sleep, my children. Dream of peace and light… And then the void embraced him.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:45 PM | #9
What do you mean he is gone?” The master’s shout could have woken the dead. But even that impressive volume did nothing for the small still body in his hands. He focused on unmoving male form in his hands, scowling. “He can’t be gone! He won’t get away. He is hiding somewhere. I will have it out of these brats. He had to go somewhere. I will find him and when I do…” Vandar watched impassively as the angry form of his master focused on the dead child in his hands.

“Master! No!” Came a strained shout from the side as Doctor Menglan staggered into the room. The good doctor was a mess. A broken cheekbone was the least of her problems. Her hair was matted with dried blood and she bore rough bandages over much of her visible body. Ravishaw had been thorough. “Remember how their ability reacts to your nanites’ touch!” The master stared at her and then at the corpse in his hands and blanched.

But it was too late. The room was rocked by a deafening explosion. Menglan whimpered as she lay, stunned on the floor. The master rose from where the detonation had thrown him and snarled as he strode towards where Vandar stood, unmarked and unperturbed. The sad little body the master had been studying was gone, atomized by the explosion. Vandar’s voice was soft. “I checked two bays. It looks like they all were in their bunks asleep. And they will never wake now. And the tissue samples have been contaminated, no more clones can be made from them.”

“You mean to tell me, that all of them are dead? All of them?” The master’s voice was almost shocked, but mostly angry. “Even the ones in stasis? The girl in the womb?”

“All gone.” In contrast to the angry being, Vandar could have been a block of ice. “Screaming about it will not change the facts. All of the clone children are dead. It looks in the Force as if their bodies simply stopped functioning.”

“That is impossible.” Menglan snarled as she rose, her arm hung at an impossible angle. The explosion had rebroken it. Of course she hadn’t nearly had enough time to heal from what Ravishaw had done to her. “The girl in the womb was on full support. She couldn’t die!”

"well..." Vandar shrugged and scorn echoed through the room when he spoke. “I guess you could try telling her that. I don’t think she will hear you though.”

“Vandar.” The voice of the master was cold and angry now. “You go beyond yourself.”

Vandar met his angry glare with a calm one. “Go ahead. Hurt me, kill me and bring me back again. It won’t bring your slaves back. It won’t bring your plans to fruition. Your ‘Master Race’ just got stopped it’s tracks. Curt Varniar stopped you.”

“Is that so, Vandar?” The master started chuckling then. “Always the planner, always the plotter. Did you plan this?” He raised a hand and Vandar was suspended in midair by tiny things that glinted silver. “Is this your design? Don’t think I don’t know about your misdirections or your coddling of the brats.”

“If I had, I wouldn’t tell you.” Vandar grunted out the words. “The carrot often works better than the stick. But you wouldn’t know anything about that.” He grimaced as the machines closed in. “You… Have… Lost…” Finally he screamed as the machines swarmed over him.

“Have I?” The master said in a malicious tone. “Well, no matter what. Your disobedience will be punished, slave.” His hand fell and Vandar fell to the deck, still screaming as the machines hurt him inside his body. “You will not die today. I am not going to be that nice. Menglan. Come here. Take what you need to repair from our recalcitrant servant.”

Menglan stepped forward slowly, and her body seemed to writhe as she entered the area of machines around Vandar. She smiled widely as her body quickly repaired itself. Welts appeared on Vandar’s body as the machines used part of his mass to heal her. She reached out to touch the shivering form of the Jedi master and the effect accelerated. “Tasty…” She said in a smug tone.

A throat cleared behind her and she jumped. Ravishaw stood in the door, his eyes never leaving the doctor. “All of the clones are dead. According to the medical droids that did the autopsy on 8410-109, it was an acute allergic reaction. I am willing to bet it was the same for all of them. The doctor is not aboard the ship.” He grinned and a smidgeon of his old insane laughter sounded. “Sneaky doc.”

“How could he not be aboard the ship?” The master demanded angrily. “We are in hyperspace. Where could he go?”

“You cannot detect the colony inside him. Internal scans show nothing. He is not on the ship.“ Ravishaw shrugged and then smiled evilly. “Unless of course you are simply too incapable of…” He broke off gagging as the master raised hand.

“Remember your place, Ravishaw.” The master raised his other hand and then made a throwing gesture. Ravishaw’s body flew across the room to land in a heap near one wall. “We will find him.” He paused as an intercom chimed. A swift move slapped it on. “I told you I was not to be disturbed.”

The voice of the starship’s captain came over the com. “Sir, we were told to report anything odd immediately. A maintenance team has found evidence that airlock 7-B has been tampered with.”

Menglan’s eyes went wide and she stood up and moved away from the slumped form of the Jedi Master. If not for the slow rise and fall of his chest, the small bloody form looked dead. She stared at her master. “That is the airlock closest to the womb chamber, isn’t it?” The master nodded curtly.

“Tampered with how?” The being who called himself Firdlump demanded.

The captain’s voice was scared, and who could blame him? This whole ship was one great big travelling horror show. “The camera inside has been disabled, the manual override has been fused with what the maintenance people tell me is ‘superglue’, and the physical log says it opened. The automated log says otherwise, but…”

“Do you mean to tell me someone is on the outside of the ship, captain?” Firdlump’s voice was soft, incredulous.

“No, sir.” Came a quick response. “All spacesuits are accounted for physically, sir.” A pause and then the captain spoke again. “Sir, if someone went out that airlock, it was without a suit, and…well, sir… We are still in hyperspace…”

“Thank you captain. Continue your duties.” The being who had taken the name of Firdlump had an unaccustomed expression on his face. Dumbfounded surprise. “Doctor Menglan, come with me. We need to see what we can salvage of this… this mess…”

It was several moment after the two left before anything moved in the small room. Vandar crawled to where Ravishaw lay. The small green form’s voice was pained. “Well… That was… unpleasant.”

“I never want to see anything you might call 'horrifying' then.” Ravishaw snickered as he rolled into a sitting position to look at the Jedi. “I destroyed the tissue samples. The doctor can’t be cloned now.” Vandar nodded and Ravishaw sighed. “No evidence will show that I did it. They will likely think that the kids or the doc did it.”

“You shouldn’t keep baiting him.” Vandar slumped, head bowed as he breathed deeply. The injuries on his body vanished as he focused the Force. He reached out a slow hand to Ravishaw who eyed it like a poisonous serpent. “Now is not the time to be stubborn, boy.”

“I don’t trust you. I did once, and look where we wound up.” But Ravishaw did not resist as the hand touched him and power flowed through him, cleansing, healing. Instead, he sighed softly. “I never thought the doc had it in him.”

“I am surprised as well. He was always a bit of a whiner. But when the stakes were high, no one was better.” Vandar ‘s voice was sad now. “I wish we could have saved the kids, but…”

“They are free. All of them. It’s fair enough.” Ravishaw looked at the floor and then spoke softly. “Your debt to me is paid, doctor. Rest in the Force, doctor Curt Varniar.” He was silent for a moment and then spoke without opening his eyes. “You know what they are going to do next.”

“Yes, but not soon. Everything needs to be in place before they will act. All of their insurance policies just died. Are you ready?” Vandar asked softly as he retracted his hand.

"Ready?" Ravishaw laughed, a merry sound that was somehow both mocking and wary. “To face Sharlina of the Bladeborn? Is that a joke, Jedi?”

***

<A very long ways away>

Sara Kalenath woke up screaming.

“Sara?” Sharra was there, her face worried. Will’s wife had taken over the mothering duties for the clan when Maria had been diagnosed with cancer. “What is wrong?” She asked as she sat down on Sara’s bedside and held the shuddering teen.

“They are dead… All of them…” Sara looked at her sister in law and didn’t see her through the tears that were falling in sheets. “Rouse the clan, beat the drums, something wicked this way comes…” Then she collapsed into Sharra’s arms, crying.
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kalenath
08.11.2012 , 04:49 PM | #10
“Come off it, Kina! I am not crazy. Well, no more than I was yesterday.” If Sara Kalenath’s voice was a bit on the angry side, then she had reason. Not only had she woken from a nightmare, which was nothing new for her, but she had immediately wanted to talk to Will and the others in her odd little clan. And when pressed as to why… Well, she didn’t doubt they thought she had finally gone off her rocker.

The chief medical officer aboard the starship Dia’s Gift sat back a bit in her chair and grimaced. The last thing she wanted to do was anger Sara. The girl was easily the most dangerous being aboard the ship. She was saved by another voice.

“Sara. She didn’t mean it like that.” Sharra Kalenath’s calm voice sounded from nearby and Sara turned to see her sister in law coming bearing a tray filled with glasses filled with fruit juice. “Here.” The older woman said as she set the tray down and held a glass out to Sara. “You could use some fluids.” Sara took the glass, and then, with a suspicious look, pulled a portable scanner out of her pocket and ran it over the glass. It beeped and a green light shone. Sharra looked sad. “Sara, I wouldn’t drug you without a lot better reason. You know that.”

The teenager who was anything but normal winced at the hurt in Sharra’s tone. “I know, just… Oh Sharra, I am sorry. It has not been a fun morning.” The scanner vanished back into her pocket and she sipped the juice gratefully. It was sweet, but not too sweet. Just what she needed to perk up a bit. She smiled as she drank. Sharra took a glass and started drinking herself.

“Now, we can talk. Sara, you have to admit, what you told us was…unlikely.” The older woman’s voice was kind, but rock hard at the same time. “Special Branch needed those clones, even if we could never discover why. They would have guarded them zealously.” She raised a hand as Sara’s face turned red. “I am not questioning what you saw, well, I am…” She corrected herself. “But I am not questioning your interpretation of it.” The older woman’s voice was kind and worried and Sara relaxed a bit.

“I…I don’t know, Sharra. It felt so real. There was a lot of information packed into that message. And then they just… were not there anymore.” She felt her eyes burn and dashed the tears off on her sleeve. “I could always tell that they existed. It was always a background buzz in my head. Kina, I know you felt it too. Is it still there?”

The medic froze in place, her own glass halfway to her lips. Then her lips started to quiver. “Oh my god…” She was shaking her head. “Is that what it was? I thought it was interference from the ship’s systems.” She started to shudder and froze as Sara put her glass down and walked around the table. “How… How many…?” Tears were falling now.

Sara embraced the Twi’lek who had been forced into service aboard the ship and implanted against her will to become the medical professional for this madhouse before being rescued. She had remained aboard for two reasons. One, they couldn’t take the implants out without doing permanent damage to her mind, she was far older than any of the other subjects. And two, her husband had also been implanted and he wanted to stay and help. They loved each other and the other kids loved them. Sara loved them both.

“Two hundred and sixteen. They didn’t suffer. I know that. The doc was going to make it so they died in their sleep.” Now Sara’s voice was harsh. She hated doctors, with good reason. Most of her life, from the time she had been born, until she had been thirteen, she had been a prisoner, a guinea pig and a lab rat. She was dealing with it, but it hurt so much, the things she had endured. She often considered making an end, ending her pitiful existence. But she always had help. “We will likely get a call from the enclave. I know Marta and the others could still merge even after the implants were taken out. I know they could feel their brothers and sisters. This will have hurt them as badly as it hurt me.”

“Should we go to the Enclave, Sara?” Sara didn’t even flinch at the disembodied voice that came from a wall speaker. Dia Ulahadotter was not quite alive, but not quite dead either. The Jedi padawan had been killed by the former owners of this ship when she had infiltrated it to try and rescue the beings aboard it. But she had not joined the Force. Instead, somehow, her mind had been transferred into the main computer banks of the ship. When asked about it, she was remarkably silent. She always said it had been ‘traumatic’.

“No.” Sara said quietly after a moment of soul searching. “We need to pick up Nolikas. The kids that Istara found need Nolikas. And mom…Maybe Nolikas can help her.” Kina hugged Sara as the girl fought to keep from crying again. Sara returned the embrace. “I need to start dictating, recording what they sent me. I don’t want to lose any… of...” Her words trailed off as she froze in place.

Both of the woman in the room looked at her. But it was the one who hadn’t spoken already who did when Sara did not speak. “Sara?” Roane Dijore was definitely the odd man out here. He was a soldier of the Republic and an agent of Republic Intelligence. That should have made him an enemy of the people on this ship, seeing as how Republic Intelligence had run this ship of horrors. It didn’t. He had been a prisoner at the same time Dia came aboard. He had been tortured and was going to be executed for doing his job. His job had included investigating the misuse of Republic materials and the evil that Special Branch perpetrated. He prompted her when she didn’t speak, simply stared off into the distance a stunned look on her face. “Sara…?”

Sara shook her head slowly, utterly dumbfounded. Sharra came around the table and laid gentle hands on the girl’s shoulders. “Sara, what is it honey?”

When Sara spoke, it was almost a monotone. Everyone in the room flinched. Sara only talked like that when she was under the tightest possible control. When she lost control people died. “I need to talk to Will and Istara. Soon.”

“Will is bringing Nolikas, and Istara will be at the rendezvous. You know this, Sara. What is wrong?” Sharra massaged Sara’s shoulders feeling the rock solid muscle underneath the young girl’s skin.

“We have been lied to. All of us.” Sara’s voice was flat. “I just saw an image of what those tiny machines look like. They sent that with the rest of the message.”

“What do they look like, Sara?” Dia’s voice was cautious now. And who could blame her? Sara in a rage was incredible to behold. The girl had literally beaten a Jedi almost to death while in a rage once while the guy had his lightsaber out and ignited. He hadn’t had a chance against her. Of course, he also hadn’t been trying to kill her, but she had been under no such compunction.

"The nanites..." When Sara replied, it was more an animal snarl than a human girl speaking. “They look like Sitolon. Why would anyone build miniature machines that look like a race that has been in hiding for thousands of years?”

Sharra’s hands stilled on Sara’s shoulders and she spoke for everyone else in the room. “Flarg me…”

“Makes you wonder what else they have not told us.” Sara’s voice could have frozen a nuclear explosion in its tracks.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here