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(L,F&E 86) Traps Set on Traps

kalenath's Avatar

08.14.2012 , 05:13 PM | #1
<A cavern complex on a backward world in the backside of beyond>

It was very quiet in the small cave. It was also pitch black. No one dared move.

“You mean to tell me it all failed?” The soft female voice was incredulous.

“Yes, my queen.” A diffident male voice replied. “The queen Majistrona is dead, but her successor is the human girl who was changed, Sarai by name. She is…Not as was expected…”

“How so?” The female voice sounded almost punch drunk. “Speak.”

“She is not…” The male voice sounded scared now. “She is not weak, or easily led. She nearly sacrificed herself for her retainer by all accounts. She is not motivated by vengeance, but seems to be acting from a sense of justice. She is searching for our agents as we speak. And…” He broke off. It was clear he did not want to continue.

And” The female voice was sharp now. The sound of a blow rang through the room. “Speak!”

“There are murmurs… in the swarm… Rumors in the hivemind… They say she is an Alpha. A kind one.” The sound of another blow cracked across the dark room.

“Do not speak that heresy ever again.” The female voice was sharp now. “Or I will kill you myself. The Alphas were abominations, monsters better forgotten in our past.”

“I report as ordered.” The male voice was soft. “My life is yours, queen.”

“Indeed…” A soft sound, almost a clacking was heard over the female voice now. “Remain, drone. I am hungry.”

“Do you have to do that?” Another voice spoke softly. A light flared in the darkness and a green skinned wrinkled face appeared. “He did as you ordered, no more, no less.” Vandar Tokare’s voice was sad, but his face was serene.

“My swarm, my choice. And I am hungry.” The large black skinned being said nastily. “You do not rule here, Vandar. No matter if we serve the same master. You do not rule me.”

“You are going to do what you wish no matter what.” Vandar said with a deep sigh. “But if you keep killing dutiful and efficient subordinates, you will only have dregs left.”

“Get out, Jedi!” the huge black queen thundered. “Or you are next on my meal plate!”

“Be careful, Sentacakilohas.” Vandar said with a smirk. “They are coming. You know what happened to the last queen of your kind when she faced the two of them.”

“We are ready for them this time, are we not, Jedi?” The black skinned queen reached down and with a negligent swing, cut the legs out from under a drone that stood nearby. She pulled the wriggling body up and took a huge bite, but paused as Vandar laughed. “What?”

Ready? To face Will Kalenath or Jina Darkstorm? Both of them together? When they expect a trap no less? Because they will. This is how such beings survive for as long as they have, by planning for traps. Ready… Is that a joke?” Vandar winced as the queen took another bite from her drone, one that did not kill it. She could have ended its suffering with single blow, but she enjoyed its suffering and pointless struggles. “No plan survives contact with the enemy, and when the enemies are members of the Seven, beings that the master wants alive…”

“The Seven are mortal.” The queen took another bite and turned her head, showing cold metal where antennae would have been on a normal Sitolon. Not that this one was anything LIKE a normal Sitolon. She had six legs instead of eight, two stumps showed where heavy manipulators had been amputated. Her skin was a deep midnight black. “They make mistakes just like anyone else. They can be overwhelmed just like anyone else. We are ready for them.”

“Make no mistake, my dear messy eating queen…” Vandar’s voice was mocking. “Because all it takes is one. You make any mistakes at all and they will bury you and your swarm in a pile of radioactive rubble. If you are lucky. If not… they may leave you alive to face the master’s wrath.” He swept from the room, leaving the queen to sit in place, her meal forgotten. She dropped the still squirming bundle at her feet and then absently crushed the life from it with a clawed foot.

“Report on the facility.” The queen demanded. “Is the trap set?” Another drone replied in a stoic voice.

“All of the slaves are in the pen, as ordered.” The male did not move as the queen looked at him although he had to be terrified. “None have been touched, as ordered. All the traps have been readied, all we need is your order to activate them.”

“And the bait?” The queen fondled a small red crystal that she pulled from her carapace. “What of it?”

“The mindwiped human was found by the authorities and taken to the medical facilities.” The drone reported. “We have tracked reports that were sent off to various places, including the clinic of Cranna the Hutt. They will forward the report to Kalenath and Darkstorm.”

“And that will bring them here. Good.” The queen had a feral smile in her voice as she picked up the still form at her feet. Waste not, want not. She took a bite and swallowed before speaking again. “Make sure our troops are ready. We want both alive if possible. But I want Darkstorm alive. I want her to suffer as I did. The master needs her for a time, and then she is mine. I will breed her. Turn her into my slave, and then, only after a few decades of breeding for me, will I allow her to die…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:17 PM | #2
It was boring and they wanted to keep it that way. After so many recent setbacks, many disastrous, the Special Branch of Republic Intelligence had decided that having bases –even secret and well hidden ones- on inhabited worlds was a bad idea. So, they picked out of the way planets, ones that were habitable, but with little or any appeal to the Republic or Empire. Coincidentally, these planets also offered a great place to practice with things that would have drawn a great deal of negative attention even in a backwater like Tattooine. So this lace, which had been surveyed, but was not even on a slate for colonization yet, was perfect. Brintooin. What a muckball. The Shistavanen commander of the light cruiser Defiant thought to herself as her body rose from the command chair and took a step forward. Without her control.

Lieutenant Commander Bixa Sivrak, formerly of the Republic Navy, was not a praying being. She had lost whatever religion she had possessed during years of service to the Republic, and then… Then she had been assigned to a ‘highly secret and highly dangerous, but imperative’ project. Part of her had hoped for advancement, or at least to make a difference. She had been sent to a ‘special training center’. But when she had woken, someone else had been in control of her body… She could see, hear and feel, but she was not in control! It had taken every ounce of willpower in her to keep from going mad as her body went about its daily routine despite her commands, her demands, her increasingly shrill cries and screams to stop. All she could do was listen, file things away, try to figure out how to get out of this mess. She had a certain freedom of mind that the rest of her small crew lacked. They all had the same look in their eyes that stared at her from her mirror however. All of them were slaves. What was worse, she had no idea how she was being controlled. There was no technology that she could find, no signals that she could discern the few times that her body was sent to Medical for checkups. Fighting the control did not work. It did nothing at all. She was starting to finally lose her grip on sanity when her sensor operator reports.

“Hyperspace trace, Commander. Edge of the system.” Her body walked over to the human sitting there, his posture so erect as to be acutely uncomfortable. Apparently, he was fighting the controls as well, but with as much luck as Sivrak had. The operator jerked and then his hands were flying. She couldn’t feel his pain, but she knew he had just been punished for disobeying orders. Starship crew needed a bit of freedom to handle things, but not much. If any of them went too far, pain happened. Sivrak had tried to rebel, she had tried not to obey, but whatever they had done to her was different. She couldn’t even talk by herself. She snarled as she felt herself reply.

“Any word?” Sivrak heard herself say in a quiet but authoritative tone. They were expecting anew shipment of…subjects…for the medics on planet. Not that anything that happened on planet was in any way related to healing. And she had been warned to expect an unfriendly ship as well. Her orders in such a case were clear. Run.

“Nothing on sensor, Ma’am.” The operator replied, his face intent on his screen. “No identification code. Ma’am…” Sivrak tired to fight, but it was useless as her body nodded and turned quickly to the engineering section. Sivrak snarled as her body started barking commands.

“Send the signal and get us powered up. Fast!” On such a small ship, the engineering was handled by a crew of three. The Bothan who was on watch nodded to her and started working his controls. The Defiant took time to power up to full, but hopefully whoever it was who had just come calling would also take time to get to the planet. Then her head turned back to the screen and Sivrak felt her guts turn to ice. She knew those readings! Imperials? Here? But did whoever was in control of her? She made herself as small as she could, hoping to hide what she recognized, hope flaring through her. But something gripped her mind and yanked the information out. She could not stifle a cry of pain, but it came out as a small sound of alarm.

“Imperial battlewagon!” Her voice called. Com?” The com operator turned to her and shook his head. Jammed. Of course they were… Imperials were nothing if not thorough. “Engineering?” They had planned on the possibility of an Imperial patrol finding them, this was Imperial territory now. But they had not expected this. Her body ran back to her command chair, and orders spilled from her lips, bringing weapons and shields on line. Speed was far more important now than stealth. If that Imperial ship launched fighters or bombers… She had a moment to gawk as her screen lit up with light and then she was smiling as bolts of energy and the bright balls of torpedoes sped towards her ship. They had launched fighters from way out, way beyond sensor range, and then micro-jumped in to support them. A good tactic. The control that held her was strong and she felt herself giving orders to roll the ship, to try and spread the damage that was hitting them now out amongst the ship’s shields. But she was laughing inside as the wave of missiles approached, despite what her point defense could do. At least a squadron’s worth of bombers had salvoed their ordnance at once. There was no way a single light cruiser was going to survive that. And even if they did, the Imperial battleship that was now visible despite its ECM and stealth systems was launching another squadron. She was still laughing inside as the torpedo swarm tore her ship apart.


“Report.” The soft voice on the bridge of the Sith battleship Dark Deciever had all of the soldiers listening shiver a bit. They all focused on their jobs, none of them wanted the attention of the black garbed form who stood in the middle of the bridge. The ship’s captain nodded.

“Republic light cruiser, C’athag class. As you directed, we destroyed it. We are recovering our fighters.” The captain did not quibble, but his disapproval was clear. “Milord…Standing orders are to capture any trespassers, interrogate them…”

“If you had tried to capture that ship, Captain, it would have escaped.” The man showed no sign of irritation, indeed, no emotion at all. “They were ready for that. They were not ready for us to destroy them. We need to find that base and get the information inside it. All other matters are secondary.”

“Yes, Milord.” The captain turned and started barking orders to his crew. They were well drilled and efficient. “Troop deployment will begun in ten minutes, sir.”

“Good. I will join them.” The man in black turned and left the bridge, and a palpable wave of relief swept the bridge. There was something about that man’s eyes that just…felt wrong. Even for Sith. Even the normal Sith horror was bland compared to the madness in that man’s eyes.

But the man did not head to the hangar bay, instead he went to life support control. “Report.” He said softly. The young human female who was busy at the controls did not turn. She also did not acknowledge the three bodies at her feet. One still breathed. A rack of canisters were attached to the life supports systems, and none of them looked official.

“Gas administered.” The woman’s voice was muffled by the gas mask she wore, but it was clear and unhurried. “Teams Sigma and Tau have secured the armory and Engineering. No alarms. No casualties. The gas should take effect in three minutes, max. Barring any unforeseen occurrences, the ship will be ours in ten minutes.”

“Excellent.” The man in black nodded as he dropped his hood and slapped a gas mask over his face. Why take chances? Even with the Force, there were limits. “This ship will make a much better mobile base of operations in Sith space once we get the personnel from below. ”

“Were you able to administer the nanites to the captain?” The woman asked softly as she continued to work.

“No.” The man in black said as he started going over the bodies at his feet. His hands were unusually gentle for a Sith as he straightened the man who was still breathing. “I could never get him alone. I did get the XO and the chief engineer.” He pulled the still living soldier’s helmet off, and looked him over clinically. Then he produced a hypo from a pouch and injected the trooper at his feet. He watched dispassionately as the man convulsed. “Another recruit.”

“Excellent. My medical staff is fully recruited.” The woman stood and turned to face the man. She wore a medical tunic and her rank tabs proclaimed her to be senior medic. Her face was serene, but her eyes… They held horror. “Pity about the captain. But we may still be able to take him alive. He would be useful.”

“Indeed.” The man agreed as the man at his feet subsided and his eyes opened, showing the same calm face with horror buried in deep. “Come, let us finish this.” He undid the rough bindings that held the man and the soldier rose on his own. “You will guard this room. You will monitor the gas distribution, and you will notify myself or Chief Medic Brana if anything changes. We need recruits, not more death.” The soldier nodded and silently took the medic’s place at the controls. “Right doctor?” His voice held mild reproof and the medic nodded.

“I had no choice. All three were awake and aware.” She shook her head. “Usually, there is at least one who is distracted by something. It was almost as if they were expecting me. Do you sense anything?”

“No…” The Sith said after a moment of searching his feelings. “Danger of course. Taking over a Sith battleship is not a safe thing to do, even with all of our advantages. Come, let us rendezvous with team Epsilon and take the auxiliary bridge, then we move on the main one.” He nodded to the soldier as he and the medic left the room.

The soldier remained at his post, watching his screens. He couldn’t do anything else and only someone with the Force would have been able to tell he was screaming impotently inside his skull.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:20 PM | #3
It was finally quiet on the bridge, the medic was checking the still forms, looking for any still alive. Not that she was going to be able to find many. If he was anything, it was good with his saber. They had fought hard, but in the end, they had been overmatched. Sidearms and courage versus the Dark Side of the Force and a lightsaber usually did not end well for the courageous side. He shook his head and walked to the com console and keyed it alive. Right on time…

“Brakon?” The voice of Jedi Master Tokare Vandar was clipped and sure. “Report.”

“The ship is ours.” The Sith nodded as he looked at the corpse of the captain. He had injected the nanites, maybe they would bring the man back. He hoped so anyway. “There are isolated holdouts in three sections, people who managed to get gas masks on in time. But there are less than twenty of them. We have control of all key systems and will have the holdouts reduced shortly. One way or another. We are ready to start receiving your shuttles. Landing bay crews are at half strength, medical staff is ‘recruiting’ the unconscious as quickly as possible. I estimate that the ship’s remaining crew will be implanted within the hour.”

“The command crew?” Vandar asked softly.

“We have about a third of them alive. They were on alert for some reason.” Brakon shook his head. “The captain attempted to activate the self destruct systems and I was constrained to act.”

“Pity. Get him to stasis if possible; the master will be joining us at our next stop.” The Jedi Master’s tone was calm. “We have very little time until the trail that Lohas set will be followed. I still think it was too blatant, Will is going to smell a trap.”

“Expecting a trap or not, will he be able to escape?” The man in Sith garb asked quietly. “He is good, as we all know. But…”

“I don’t think it is possible to overestimate his ability to do the unexpected.” Vandar said sourly. “No one expected him to show up on Tython when he did, or to threaten the entire Jedi council with a baradium bomb as he did. That ship needs to be long gone before he gets here.”

“Agreed.” Brakon Darshiel, former Dark Jedi and now slave to a mass of microscopic machines, nodded soberly. “We will be ready to move.”

“Good.” The Jedi replied softly. “I will be on the second shuttle. First shuttle will have more troops and medical personnel.”

“Uh…” Brakon could not keep a shiver of fear from rippling through him. “Is Menglan here?” That so called ‘doctor’ could scare Sith lords, with good reason. She was utterly without morals or sanity.

“No.” Vandar’s voice was also soft, but held disgust. “She was recalled. Thank the Force, we have enough problems.”

“Where do we go after this?” Brakon asked pointedly. ”We can’t just sit here. Sooner or later a full Imperial fleet will arrive to search for their missing ship.”

“Ah, but it is not missing.” Vandar replied easily. “We will report a pirate attack that claimed much of the crew and state that we are going to Vanaria to make temporary repairs.”

Vanaria?” Brakon exclaimed. Vanaria was the home of Dargon Darkstorm, a well known and powerful Sith inquisitor. He was also known for being utterly merciless and vicious even for a Sith Inquisitor. As well, his daughter was one of the Seven.“Umm… Vandar, is that wise?”

“No, but then again, what is wise about what we just did?” Vandar asked with sardonic humor. “Taking over a Sith battleship is not usually considered wise.”

“Dargon is not a pushover. Are we after Jina now?” Brakon said quietly as he watched the medic working on the five survivors of his attack on the bridge. If only the captain hadn’t figured out what had been going on. If only he hadn’t tried to destroy the ship. They would have had so many more potential recruits. Ah well…

“You know the plan.” Vandar said tiredly. “Why belabor it?”

“Because I really don’t want to face Jina Darkstorm again.” The Dark Jedi shook himself a little, and ran hand across his chest. Even after all this time, the phantom pain of a Jedi’s lightsaber hurt. “My chest still hurts where she got me.”

“If all goes well, you won’t have to fight.” Vandar sighed. “Fighting her won’t work. We all know that too well.”

“Good.” Brakon did not bother to hide his relief. It wouldn’t work with Vandar anyway. The short green being was far too observant.

“One thing, Brakon…” Vandar cautioned. “We are very likely to encounter the Dia’s Gift at some point. If we do, stay away from the com. She can and will ID you.”

“And if she does?” Brakon asked with sour humor. “It’s not like she is going to tell the Empire I am still alive, now is she? She is dead too. Sort of anyway…”

“She knows you died, cut down by Jina Darkstorm.” Vandar’s voice was cool. “She knows by now that the master can bring back the dead. If she sees you or hears you, she is likely to figure out more than we want her to. She is no moron. You should know, you trained her.”

“Yeah.” Brakon was quiet for a moment and then he sighed. “Feels like a million years ago, or another life. She always was a good student, Oreana was. You think we can… um… recruit her?”

“I don’t know.” Vandar replied unemotionally. “We can attempt it, but in all things, our plan must be fulfilled. If she gets in the way, we remove her. She is simply too dangerous now to leave in place. Shuttles are lifting, I will be there in ten minutes.”

“Understood.” Brakon nodded even though there was no way for Vandar to see him through the com. “I will be ready.” He cut the com and slumped back, his face falling. “Oh Oreana… I am sorry, child. But we have no choice… We never did.” He shook his head as the medic stepped away from the last two convulsing forms she had injected. “Oreana always was better than she had any right to be, and that is what is going to kill her…”

“We are ready.” The medic said quietly as she started packing her gear.

“Good.” Brakon replied. “Let’s get the ship ready to jump as soon as possible. I do not want a baradium bomb going off in my face any more than Vandar does.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:24 PM | #4
“Ship approaching.” The sensor operator reported. Brakon stayed out of the way. Starship operation was not his area of expertise. Besides, being on the bridge of this ship gave him the creeps. He could feel the rage, the pain, the madness kept just at bay by the nanites that were coursing through each crewmember. The captain nodded to the sensor operator and turned eyes that held remembered pain and horror to Brakon. The nanites had, as Vandar promised, brought the captain back from the dead. They needed the man. Of course, he was a bit different now. No one who died and was brought back forcibly by machines stayed the same. The rating manning the sensors was calm but his sense in the Force was scared and angry when he spoke. “Imperial transport. Positive for two lifeforms. They are requesting to come aboard. They have the proper codes.”

“Milord?” No one simply listening would have been able to tell how close the captain was to losing control of his bodily functions. Brakon could relate actually. When he had woken after Jina had killed him, he had screamed for an entire day. They had been…less than gentle…with the captain as they needed the man at least seeming functional now. “Orders?”

“Hmmm…” Brakon mused as he turned to where Vandar sat, buoyed up in midair by the Force. The Jedi was helping the crew to stay calm and under control. The microscopic machines would allow their hosts some freedom, but not much. “Vandar?”

“This is…” Vandar’s voice was confused now. “Odd…”

“Is it Kalenath?” Brakon asked quietly. “Or someone else?”

“I cannot trace any of the Seven.” Vandar said after a moment. “Not through the Force. I have no idea WHERE Will learned that skill, but he apparently taught all the others how to foil detection. I can’t…” He shook his head slowly. “Everything is… murky… Shades of gray…” Then he blanched. “Have Medical readied for a critical patient. Oh, that idiot boy…”

“What?” Brakon asked softly as he turned to scrutinize the viewscreen. “Who is it?”

“Tell Medical we have a patient.” Vandar said as he dropped his feet to the floor. “Ravishaw broke another of his ‘toys’.” The com operator started speaking over the intercom, warning Medical to prepare.

Ravishaw?” Brakon detested the insane Bladeborn, and it was mutual. “What is he doing here? He is supposed to be finding the Stormhawk Enclave.”

“No idea.” Vandar said sourly. “We will ask. Come on.” The small form had short legs but he was fast enough that Brakon had to hurry to keep up as the small green Jedi Master led the way to the hangar bay. They arrived just as the battered form of the Imperial transport was landing. It was a mess, marks of laser scoring and explosions dotted the hull. Vandar whistled softly. “I think… Oh, what an idiot boy. We told him to find them, not fight them…”

“I didn’t have a choice, short stuff.” A black robed form carrying a still body came down the ramp almost before it had finished lowering. Ravisahw’s blonde hair was mussed and he looked nothing like his usual dapper self. “Maybe I got too close to their enclave? Maybe they were just onto me. I don’t know. I felt a tremor in the Force and started to run. We barely escaped when the Stormhawk appeared.”

“You fought the Stormhawk? You are crazy!” Brakon could not keep incredulity out of his voice was he turned with Vandar to follow the newcomer. Ravishaw started off towards Medical. It was a standard Sith design. And the Sith liked their ships standardized. Ravishaw snarled at him and Brakon realized that the red skinned form in Ravishaw’s arms was limp and trailing blood behind…her, yes, definitely a her. Someone had said that Ravishaw had ‘acquired’ a new apprentice, but Brakon hadn’t paid much attention. “Were you followed?” Brakon was torn between running to the bridge to order the ship to flee and finding out what the flarg had happened.

“Give me a little credit, Sith boy!” Ravishaw snapped. “No, we didn’t fight them, we turned and ran as soon as they appeared. We managed to avoid their guns while we plotted several jumps, but their fighters caught us before we could get away. Poor Gwenia here took the brunt of an explosion.” His voice oozed fake sympathy now. They reached Medical and Ravishaw deposited the limp Sith on a table where several doctors and nurses came up. He stepped back as they started working and shook his head. “And before you ask, I found you because I contacted the Master for instructions. He wanted me to lie low for a while, just in case the Stormhawk did follow. So… Voila… Here I be.”

“You are the last thing we need on this ship.” Brakon did not snarl the words, barely. “You could have led them right to us.”

“Well, considering who you are planning to trap…” Ravishaw had no humor in his voice for a moment. “You are going to need all the help you can get. I have never faced Darkstorm, but Kalenath is scary as hell.” Coming from a man who routinely scared Sith, that was saying something. “You got a problem with me? Bring it on, Sith boy!” His hand was on his sword hilt now and Brakon’s was on his lightsaber.

“Yeah, you did so well when you faced him, didn’t you? Ran away with your tail between your legs and lost the whole cloning facility.” Brakon’s voice held menace now, but he broke off as Vandar cleared his throat.

“Boys…” Vandar said into the quiet that resulted from his interjection. “We have bigger problems that you two figuring out whose ego is bigger.”

“True.” Ravishaw snickered at Brakon’s expression. “I am not stupid, Sith boy. I faced Istara for goodness sakes. You have no clue at all…” Suddenly he looked tired, old and tired. “I couldn’t sense her in the Force at all.” He looked at Vandar. “Is that something she learned on Tython?” Vandar shook his head and Ravishaw nodded. “Well… Look on the bright side; we will never know what kills us if the Seven can all do that.” He snickered at Brakon’s expression.

“It may be something in their armor.” Vandar said when Brakon looked at him. “I can’t sense even the Forceless ones. The girl named Mira and the woman named Michelle…” He shook his head slowly. “I could sense both before. Now…? They are not there.”

“Yeah.” Ravishaw nodded. “”The first I knew of Istara was when she ambushed me. If she hadn’t been alone, I would be dead.”

“Bladeborn.” Brakon said with disgust. “You and your stupid honor.”

“Bite me, Sith boy.” Ravishaw said with a wide grin for Brakon’s disapproval. Brakon snarled but Vandar stepped in again.

“Children…” Vandar sighed and shook his head. “Brakon, get back up to the bridge. We may need to leave quickly.” Brakon nodded and left the room. Behind him he heard Vandar start questioning Ravishaw on where, when and what he had been doing when ambushed. As he walked, he shook his head.

“Just what we needed…An insane Bladeborn.” Brakon’s voice was angry now. “At least the entire package is aboard now, just leaving the traps below…” He paused in mid step as the intercom chimed.

“Lord Brakon to the bridge, please.”

“Oh, what now?” Brakon snarled as he darted for the lift. All of the crew made way for him.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:27 PM | #5
When he reached the bridge, he paused, blinking.

“Oh… frak…” He stared at the image of the ship that was on screen and swallowed a little. He hadn’t wanted to face her. “Have they contacted us?”

The Dia’s Gift was on an approach vector. The Foray class blockade runner should have been ancient, archaic, outmoded and useless. It wasn’t. He knew all too well just how dangerous the systems inside that shell were. Even without the multiple combat droids that had made the ship a match for almost anything in space, the ship was fast, heavily shielded, and very heavily armed for its size. The battleship he was on had perhaps half of its guns in service at the moment. It would not be a good fight. He didn’t want to fight her, not here, not now…

“No sir.” The com operator reported evenly.

“When did they get here?” He asked as he strode onto the bridge, mind working overtime. Something was wrong. He wasn’t sure what it was, but something was… He blanched. “Full evade! Jump us, fast!”

The bridge crew did not question, indeed, they could not question his orders. They started preparations to jump to lightspeed, but it always took large ships time to prepare. They did not stop and start on a credit after all. He watched, mouth set in a thin line as a pair of small ships left the hangar bay of the Dia’s Gift. Both headed for the battleship. He shook his head. Even if the Deceiver had been fully operational -which it was not- it would not have been a match for Dragon 4 and the battleship-disguised-as-a-freighter that the crazy man flew. But it was the other one… What was that? He blinked and a slow smile crossed his features. It was about time something went right. He walked to a specialized console and stood over the operator, waiting. Sure enough, both ships came about into attack position.

“Captain!” Get us out of here!” Brakon commanded. “We cannot fight him! And launching fighters is what he wants. He will slaughter them as they launch.”

“Yes, sir! Full shields!” The captain commanded. “Shunt weapon power to shields. And everyone hold on! This is going to hurt!” He said as the Dragon came about on a firing run. Brakon could feel the man’s competence. He had never had much time for military types before he had died. Now? He had a newfound appreciation for being able to watch death coming in slow motion and not being able to do a Force be damned thing about it. “How long to hyper?” He demanded.

“One minute to hyperspace, sir.” The engineering rating replied.

“Hang on!” Brakon called as the Dragon opened fire. Fire flew from torpedo tubes, and multiple heavy guns. Most people assumed that the stories about Will Kalenath’s personal attack gunship were exaggerated. If anything, Brakon knew they were understated.

Fire wreathed the ship Brakon stood on, and the multi-million ton starship actually shuddered in space as coherent energy slammed into it’s shields. Battleships were designed to take punishment as well as give it out, true. But the freighter *** gunship called Dragon was designed to kill battleships. Whatever he was firing, and Brakon did not recognize all of the weapons, they blew the shields down across a large section of the ship as easily as his lightsaber might cut through a mass of steel. Then the torpedoes came. He could not bite back a scream as at least six proton torpedoes impacted, two of them on the bridge tower of the Sith battleship. Three of the bridge crew were tossed from their feet but the captain remained on his feet. Brakon smiled evilly as he saw the second ship start in.

“Time?” The captain called. “The second one is going for the engines. They can’t stop us, they can slow us, which is almost as bad. We won’t survive if that monstrosity that looks like a freighter hits us again.” The Dia’s Gift was firing now too, her fire insanely accurate. She was targeting sensor nodes, power distribution points, gun turrets…

“Twenty seconds, captain.” The engineer report and Brakon smiled even more evilly.

“Captain?” He asked softly so as not to distract the bridge crew. “Can this ship hold a tractor beam into hyperspace?”

“Yes.” The captain said softly and then his eyes widened fractionally. The captain nodded. “Tractor beam! Snag that second ship and…” he broke off as Brakon shook his head.

“We want her alive. And as undamaged as possible.” Brakon watched as the bridge crew did all the things that soldiers had to do. It was a delicate balancing act. Put controls in place for obedience and many times people would not function at all without higher control. But Sith troops were used to operating in such an environment. If not QUITE as controlled as they were now. He smiled as the second ship came in, torpedoes flaring and lasers firing. The deck rocked under him, but his eyes were on the fighter as it started away, only to pause as something reached out and grabbed it.

“Got it, sir!” The tractor operator called.

“Ion cannon.” Brakon said softly. “Disable her, before we pull her in.”

Blue flared and the small ship went dark. He could almost literally taste the rage from the Dragon as it turned so fast that the pilot had to be puking in his cockpit. Or maybe not. Every time Special Branch thought they had a handle on what Will Kalenath could do, the soldier surprised them. He opened fire at extreme range and every single one of his shots hit.

“Damage to forward sections twelve and twenty three. Loss of pressure in sections fifteen through eighteen.” Brakon winced at that. Decompression was one sure way for the nanites not to be able to repair a body. Each and every slave now had an imbedded command to foil any self destruction that way. The master had included that in every single packet of nanites after a doctor had done just that, while foiling a long term plan.

“Security to Hangar bay two!” The captain called as the ship shuddered a little. Then the tension on the bridge dialed down a notch as the stars outside the viewport tuned into lines and then into the blue tunnel of hyperspace.

“I need to greet our guest, captain.” Brakon said softly. “How long till Vanaria?”

“Eighteen hours at this speed, sir.” The captain said to Brakon’s retreating back. The black clad man decided to ignore the hate that flowed at him from the captain. It was unsurprising. The man was a slave now, just like Brakon.

It was a short trip to the hangar bay and there be found the security forces roughly searching the pilot of the fighter. She was not resisting. Indeed, she was hardly breathing. One wrenched off her helmet and yes, it was who he had expected.

“Gently, soldiers…”Brakon said as he walked up and squatted down beside the shivering form. She did not react to his presence or his gentle touch. “It’s okay, Michelle. It’s okay. It will be okay…” A gentle touch to her head and she collapsed unconscious. “Ah…it is the armor… Nice…Some kind of Force cloak…” He ran hand along the silver flightsuit and smiled. “Welcome to the first day of the rest of your life, Michelle…” He scooped the sleeping woman up in his arms and started off. “I will get her to Detention. Have Vandar and Lohas meet me… We were just handed an opportunity here. Be a shame to waste it.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:30 PM | #6
“Do you have one of the red crystals?” Brakon asked as the huge black bulk of Lohas the queen pushed her way through the door. She snarled at him.

“Stupid human manufacture. Always so tight…” She paused as she took in the scene ahead of her. The slumbering form of Michelle, Sixth of the Seven, was laid out on a restraint frame. He hadn’t activated any of the interrogation machinery, he had other plans for her. “Humans, always rutting.” She made a snide comment. “She doesn’t have to be unclothed...”

“I didn’t undress her.” Brakon replied evenly. It was not productive to get angry with the sole remaining Sitolon high ranker on their side. “Her suit dissolved on the way here. Do you have a red crystal? We can use her, if we can wipe her mind.”

“No…I am growing another, but it will take time.” Lohas mused softly. “Ravishaw lost his. Idiot. I warned you all about that.”

“Well…” Brakon shook his head. “We don’t know where the master is currently, and we don’t have a lot of time. Can you do anything?”

“Hmmm…” Lohas studied the human female who was totally restrained and then an evil smile crept into her voice. “I think I can… It will not be quick. But it will be fun.” She stepped towards the table the unconscious woman was on, but paused as another voice spoke.

What can you do, Lohas?” Vandar asked sourly as he arrived with Ravishaw in tow. Ravishaw stared at the woman and then at Brakon. Vandar’s voice turned severe. “You know the master’s orders concerning the Seven.”

“I can make her a breeder.” Lohas replied evenly. “She would likely survive it. And once she is breeder, she will do whatever I tell her.”

“Looks like someone else has been breeding… Or something.” Ravishaw snickered. “I never thought you had it in you, Sith boy.” The insane Bladeborn giggled. “Well done, boy. Was it fun? You just had to get her alone and tied up first? No biggie…”

“You…!” Brakon went for his saber and Ravishaw had his sword out.

Enough!” Vandar thundered as he somehow got between the two of them, and everything stopped as his green lightsaber ignited. “Both of you, back off! Lohas…” He turned his head to glare at the insect being reaching for the sleeping woman. “That includes you!” His voice turned cold and the bug recoiled. “The captain informed me that we snatched her. The traps on planet?”

“Triggered to no gain.” The bug replied sadly. “The swarm there was sacrificial, but you might have told me that when you set it up. It was feeling like home. She is one of them…” Her voice held lust now. “She is strong… I want her…”

“No.” Vandar’s voice was quiet but held command now. “I will handle her. None of you besides Brakon could possibly hold yourselves in check long enough. You have the four slaves that you chose as breeders. They are more than enough. The area you have been given is being revamped to your specifications. Go.” His quiet word was another command and the huge black queen left, muttering. “Ravishaw, go to your apprentice and stay there.”

“Spoilsport.” Ravishaw said as he left, obviously pouting. Vandar looked at Brakon for a moment and then made a hand gesture.

“Cameras are not recording for the moment. Are you out of your mind?” Vandar’s voice was soft and worried as he checked the woman over professionally.

“Look, we needed her.” Brakon said softly as he scrubbed his face. “It was the only chance we were going to get, you know that the Sitolon would have scrubbed Helen before the nanites could make her remember your message.”

“I know.” Vandar shook his head. “And you brought Lohas here to set the stage so she won't try and come back without orders or send a drone to grab this… prize…” His voice was dubious. “A very dangerous prize.”

“Yes.” Brakon said softly. “He will track her. I could feel her feelings for him when I touched her. She was controlling them, but she does love him.”

“I was afraid of that.” Vandar admitted. “You are going to have to be front man on this. She doesn’t know you.”

“I know.” Brakon said softly as he sat beside the restraint frame. “I hate this, master. I have hated this ever since you sent me to infiltrate the Empire…” He shook his head. “I did not want to be like this… I did not want to teach Oreana or…kill her mother.”

“I know.” Vandar said gently. “For what it is worth, I am sorry.” He sighed again. “One more regret? What is one more regret in a life full of them?” He reached into a pocket and pulled out a small brown crystal.

“Master…” Brakon said softly as Vandar approached the restraint frame. “Is that wise?”

“No.” Vandar said with force. “But it is her only chance.” He touched the crystal to her forehead and then stiffened as her eyes shot open and she screamed. “Hold her!” Brakon reached out and took her head in gentle hands. The woman was crying as Vandar continued with what he did and then, her body convulsed and she fell into a deep sleep. Vandar’s small hand caressed her brow. “Poor woman. She will be very confused when she wakes. She will need to be retrained and we have very little time before the Master catches up to us. Get her to a stateroom, get her clothed and fed. Treat her gently and keep her safe.”

“I will.” Brakon sat beside the woman whose mind was now trapped in the small crystal and sighed as Vandar left. The woman was a blank slate now, and she did not have the Force to figure out what had happened. She would be a perfect tool for Vandar and Firdlump to use. Life had seemed so easy when he had been a Jedi. Then Vandar, and then Special Branch, then Oreana, then Firdlump and now… this… He shook his head and started unstrapping Michelle. “I will…” His hands were gentle as he picked her up to carry her to her new life. “I will…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:35 PM | #7
“Have you lost your mind?” The dubious words coming from the man in black were a shock. “You want me to do what??” Ravishaw asked Brakon, his edge of humor fading as he looked form the Dark Jedi to the sleeping woman who now wore an Imperial uniform.

“I don’t know how you managed to get your nanites all messed up. Neither does the master.” Brakon was holding onto his temper by his fingernails as Vandar spoke. He hated Ravishaw. “But you are the best we have at mental overlays.” Ravishaw looked at the small green form and then at the still form on the bed. When he spoke, it was serious.

“Look, I cannot even guarantee it will work. Half of my… um…subjects… don’t wake up.” Ravishaw moved to the side of the bed and an oddly gentle hand traced the sleeping woman’s cheek. “Hmmm…This is…weird…”

“She shares Will’s ability.” Ravishaw turned startled eyes to the green form and Vandar nodded. The Jedi spoke softly. “We can’t let the master have her. Please tell me you can do something…”

Ravishaw stood for a long moment and then he reached out and slowly touched the sleeping woman on the head. She shivered once and then relaxed back into sleep. Then he retracted his hand and shook his head.

“There is nothing there to work with. It’s almost as if… Oh...” He snickered, a form of his humor returning. “You sneaky Jedi.” He waved a finger at Vandar. “Does the master know you just imprisoned the mind of one of the Seven?”

“No.” Vandar replied. “And if we can manage it, I want him not to know.”

“Vandar…” Ravishaw’s voice turned professional. “I cannot work with nothing there. I need a template to start from.” He held out a hand and Vandar reluctantly pulled a small brown crystal out of a pocket and it flew into Ravishaw’s hand. “And this works better without an audience.” There was no humor or any other emotion in his voice now.

Vandar and Brakon shared a glance and then hastily left the room. Ravishaw looked at the crystal and then sighed. A quick check showed the security monitors in the room had been disabled. “And they call me crazy… You are crazy, woman…” He said as he laid a hand on the crystal and on the sleeping woman’s forehead. He paused as the woman’s mouth opened

“Stick to the plan, Morey.” Michelle’s voice was soft and gentle.

“I can’t do this to you…” Ravishaw was nearly in tears. “I... I can’t…I will put you back in and we will break out.”

“Morey…” Her voice turned stern. “Stick to the plan. Michelle Stele. Do it.” This last was an order.

“I…” The man known to the Bladeborn and the Seven as Morey and the rest of the galaxy as Ravishaw bowed his head. “Yes, Ma’am. I will be as gentle as I can.”

“It cannot hurt worse than being broken and poured into an Islanian STORM Phantom.” Michelle’s voice was sarcastic now. “Just do it. Then get your apprentice and get the flarg out of here.”

Ravishaw nodded and put the crystal in a pocket. He put both hands on her head, cradling it as he sat on the side of the bed. Power flared from his hands. A scream tore from Michelle’s lips as the power flowed through her, seeking, burning, twisting. For a long, long time, maybe a minute, the power burned through Michelle’s body and she screamed, but here eyes never opened and she never moved anything but her mouth. Finally, he removed his hand and spoke softly, gently.

“Lieutenant Stele?” He smiled as her eyes shot open and she looked at him.

“Milord Ravishaw…” The woman looked at him oddly. “What happened?”

“Your ship was hit while you were connected to the links.” Ravishaw’s hands were gentle as he helped her sit up. “You took neutral damage. It is healed now.” He checked but the mental overlays were holding strongly.

“Thank you, milord.” The woman who was now Michelle Stele, Imperial Navy, shook her head slowly as she sat up. “Did I…?” She looked anywhere but him.

“The ability works.” Ravishaw smiled at her. “We will install the implants. Anything the Republic can do, the Empire can do better.”

“For the Empire, Milord.” She looked as if she wanted to salute, but her body sagged. “I…”

“You are not weak, Lieutenant Stele.” Ravishaw smiled gently at her. “You will heal quickly now.”

“When do I return to duty?” She asked, conscious of him sitting on the bed beside her. “I still think I should report this… This ability…Milord…” Her voice was soft and worried now. “It might win the war for the Empire.”

“Or some Sith with delusions of godhood will dissect you to see how it works.” Ravishaw said with a scowl. “Your orders are clear, Lieutenant. This ability of yours… We need to keep it secret.”

“Yes sir.” Her voice held resignation. “When do I report to medical to get the implants installed?” Not that she HAD implants, yet, or needed them. But as a cover? It would be an excellent one.

“As soon as Vandar has cleared you. You took a bunch of hits.” He shook his head and slapped her face. It was a heavy slap, but she did not react. “That was brave, pilot. Brave but foolish. Do NOT risk yourself again, that is an order.” He had implanted a memory that she had engaged overwhelming Republic forces to protect her capital ship while it withdrew, barely escaping with her life. Totally in character for this new woman. “We need you. The Empire needs you.”

“Yes, sir.” Michele Stele said as she sat up straighter. “For the Empire.” She stiffened as the door hissed open and two black garbed forms entered. “Master Vandar, Master Darshiel…” She nodded to both.

“How is our prodigy?” Vandar asked with multiple levels to that simple question. Michelle looked at him and he shrugged. “You were hurt. We need you.”

“Lieutenant Stele will be fine.” Ravishaw manfully did not smile or laugh at Brakon’s expression. “She has asked when she can return to fighter pilot territory.”

“Lieutenant…” Vandar sighed. “You are not a normal pilot anymore. We will work with you, and we will get you into Medical as soon as it is cleared. We took some hits in that battle.”

“Yes sir.” Michelle looked as if she wanted to salute. She started to wilt, but caught herself. “I am fit to fly sir.”

“We will be the judge of that.” Vandar said quietly as Ravishaw surreptitiously laid a hand on the back of Michelle’s head. Her eyes rolled up into her head and she collapsed. “Any problems?” He asked as Ravishaw laid the sleeping woman back down.

“No.” Ravishaw said softly as he arranged the woman so she would not be uncomfortable when she woke. “As far as she knows, her name is Michele Stele. She was an orphan on Korriban, and joined the Imperial Navy at age seventeen. She is twenty now and shares Will’s ability. An ability that she has worked very hard to keep secret as an advantage. We found out and recruited her for a special Imperial project, one that involves lots of flying. She is bright, we will need to fill in a bunch of gaps.”

“No problem.” Vandar said as he motioned Brakon forward. The man made his way to the bedside, avoiding Ravishaw. “The crystal?” Ravishaw held out the brown crystal, but Vandar shook his head, getting stunned look from Ravishaw. “No… No, she is safer with you actually than anyone else right now.”

“Vandar…” Ravishaw still held out the crystal. “I am not going to face the master with this in my pocket…”

“No.” Vandar said quietly. “You are going to hide that somewhere. We need some kind of bargaining chip with the Seven, and that is likely our best bet. Do not hurt her.” Ravishaw shrugged.

“She doesn’t have the Force, her pain isn’t sweet.” His face was sorrowful now as he pocketed the crystal. “You never let me eat enough…”

“You should be keeping a low profile.” Vandar said severely as Brakon scowled. “…and find the Enclave.”

“Yes, master…” Ravishaw said in a parody of a mad scientist’s assistant. “Anything you say master. Igor go find this Enclave thing like a good little slave, master…”

“Get out of here, Ravishaw.” Vandar said softly but with command. “Get your apprentice and get off this ship when we get to Vanaria. The master is meeting us there.”

“Oh…” Ravishaw nodded and left. “Give him my love, Sith boy…” He said as a parting shot. Then he was gone.

“He does that just to make you mad.” Vandar said as Brakon bristled. “He has his uses…” He scrutinized the sleeping form and sighed.

“You know what Menglan is going to do to her.” Brakon said with horror etching every pore now. “Master…”

“I know…” Vandar said softly as he slumped. “I know.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:39 PM | #8
“Pity about her mind being wiped.” The malign intelligence that called itself Donal Firdlump said quietly as he watched the surgical team work through the observation port. “But that is what happens when you are connected to a ship that is hit by an ion cannon. Nice job that Ravishaw did. I had hoped for a report.” His tone held mild reproof.

“His apprentice was out of danger. He returned to his hunt.” Jedi master Vandar said softly from where he sat. He refused to watch while Menglan and her cronies did their evil work. “You know what the rest of the Seven will do.” It wasn’t a question.

“Four now. Idjit and Nia are both in the hands of the Empire.” Firdlump corrected him absentmindedly. “Will, Jina, Istara, Mira. Will and Jina are the likeliest threats. Lohas reports from her final agents state that Mira is not likely to be allowed out of the Sitolon ship. They know she is the most vulnerable. Istara is…off stymieing that idiot Darmuk’s plan for galactic conquest and chaos. So… Will and Jina…” He scratched his chin. It was uncanny how human he acted. “Ah well, maybe we will get lucky when we strike the Darkstorm compound.”

“Lucky how?” Vandar asked softly. “You know they will be ready for us.”

“Ready for us, yes.” Firdlump smiled evilly. “Ready for Lieutenant Stele and her special war droid?”

“It’s ready then?” Vandar said softly. “Last I heard it still had issues with the interface. The last thing we want is for it to go berserk like the one we put Nia Korr in did.”

“Vandar…” Firdlump sighed deeply. “I wasn’t in control of that. I will be in total control of this.”

“So you say.” Vandar shrugged. “I just want to be very far away when you turn her on.”

“Pity.” Firdlump responded snarkily. “Because I need an onsite controller for the droid and you are it.”

“Master…” Vandar protested half heartedly. “This is a bad idea…”

“Hey.” Firdlump smiled at the Jedi Master. “It’s not as if you are going to be strapped into it. And even Lieutenant Stele will be in a cockpit as opposed to being permanently fused to the droid. That idiot Jarrel and his pet were just a little too clever and it bit them.”

“Yes it did.” Vandar agreed softly. Having a droid first run amok, and then be captured and it’s interred pilot removed had been incredibly embarrassing to Special Branch. What was worse was how the two surgeons from the base on Alderaan had fared. The Jedi who had been instrumental in getting the implants small enough to fit inside human skulls had been…well… Vandar had seen Jarrel Strum’s remains strapped to the front of the Stormhawk where he had been placed after someone had taken a great deal of time making him hurt. He devoutly hoped that his student had been dead before that, but… He doubted it. The Twilek surgeon also had been lost to them. No one was going to try and ‘recover’ the surgeon. The security around the being was unobtrusive, but incredible. All of their medical staff who had been stolen were the same way. Their enemies were not about to let Special Branch have them back. But at least Cranna hadn’t done to them what she had done to another operative… Vandar actually still had occasional nightmares about what had happened to Meliee Jok. Poor girl… He shook his head. “So… Now what?”

“There is a repair team coming within five hours.” Firldump replied evenly. “We will need to see if we can subvert them. If so, they will join the crew and we will have to remain mobile. If not, we will just have t keep them sequestered. Things are proceeding well. I need to get to the hangar and make sure the droid is ready for it’s pilot. Stay with her.”

“Yes, milord.” Vandar bit out the words with no respect as Firdlump turned and left the room. Only when the mass of machines that mimicked a human was gone did Vandar slump a bit. “I knew he was going to do it sooner or later. I had just hoped later…” A masked and gowned being came to the door and beckoned him and, with a sigh, he started for the surgical suite. Resisting was pointless; three hundred years of trying had taught him that at the very least. He had even tried dying on several occasions. It didn’t work. And he had to find a way to fix the mess he had helped create. He started undressing as the masked and gowned being waited, putting his lightsaber and robes in a convenient cupboard. He shook his head and pulled on the surgical garb that the surgeon handed him and followed into the surgical suite. He watched as Menglan finished up. “Report.” He said softly when Menglan turned to him.

“All implants are in and functioning.” Menglan’s madness rode deep in her voice, but it was suppressed for the moment by her professionalism. “She will go into kolto shortly, and once that is done, we can hook her into the suit.” Vandar nodded. The pilots/slaves who ran the droids all wore specialized white flightsuits that were both life support and control devices. Menglan shook her head. “This is no fun. I am going to go do some research.” Vandar did not wince although it took some doing. Menglan’s idea of research usually involved people screaming. Her methods were less scientific and more twisted.

“Do not tamper with any of the command crew, doctor.” Vandar said softly as she started for the door. She flipped him an obscene gesture but paused as Vandar spoke again, this time cold. “Master’s orders, doctor. Leave the command crew alone.” She snorted, but he sensed her acquiescence. She wouldn’t cross the master. He watched impassively as they team of doctors moved the still form into a kolto tank, not speaking until they were done. “How long until she wakes?” He asked one of the gowned forms. The female human nodded to him.

“The lieutenant will wake in approximately thirty minutes, milord.” The woman would not meet his eyes and he could feel her fear and horror at being under someone else’s control. Vandar sighed and spoke for all their ears.

“I can’t help you.” He said softly, but clearly. “I want to. But I can’t. They did the same thing to me that they did to you. I can and will make it as easy as possible. Do not fight. It can hurt worse.” The medical staff were all looking at him now. Maybe it was his tone, sadness, anger and regret all mixed in one tired voice. “I have been ordered to stay with the lieutenant. I will not get in your way. Please…” He was begging now. “Do not give the master cause to give you to Menglan. Please…”

The medical staff all looked at him and then, in unison, nodded. Now that was beyond creepy. Vandar moved to sit beside the kolto tank and his heart was heavy. He could feel Firdlump’s scrutiny, but even now, the master let him have some lead. Just enough to hang him from if he transgressed, but he was a useful slave. Maybe he could help Michelle, somehow. But for now, he just watched the slow rise and fall of her chest in the tank, trying not to look at the mechanical devices that now sprouted from her shaven head. Something was wrong. Vandar could feel something was very wrong, beyond what had happened to this woman. But when he focused, he could not put his finger on it. Ah well, whatever it was, he would find out soon enough.

The ancient Jedi Master shook his head and started a meditation. It helped, sometimes, to at least try to free his mind from the suffocating grip that held it tight. It never worked for long, but it was really his only way of resisting. The master would eventually find out what Vandar had done with Michelle, but he hoped that Ravishaw would have the sense to hide the crystal before then. But that wasn’t what was bothering him, was it? Why had Will allowed this woman, who loved him, to follow him into an attack? Maybe she was as good as Will. Maybe she had just followed at her own whim…? It didn’t make sense. Why would one of the Seven put herself in such a position? It really made no sense at all. He started and blinked as he worked to still his mind. Why would she put herself in such a precarious…position…?

“Oh… Dear…” A small smile crept across his face as he looked at the still form inside the tank. “You crazy woman…” He buried his feelings, surmises and other things behind a wall of apathy. It worked sometimes to keep the master from the deepest recesses of his mind. And right now, the last thing that he wanted was for Firdlump to realize that the Seventh of the Seven had put herself in this position deliberately. But he had a small smile on his face now. He didn’t know what they had planned. But he knew his master would not like it. And that was fine by him…
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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08.14.2012 , 05:44 PM | #9
Vandar was on edge. Something was wrong. The master had left with Menglan, thank the Force. Lieutenant Stele was sleeping. He shook his head as he watched the monitors in the security station off the medical ward. He had to give the Sith credit, they were incredibly efficient. Most of the damage had already been repaired by the repair team that had come.

They had been right on time. Even in the Empire, such punctuality was notable. The three humans and Twi’lek were very well trained. They had the ship’s damage fully documented and under repair by the large team of droids they had brought within thirty minutes of arriving. All of them exuded quiet professionalism. Unfortunately, all of them worked as a close team. None of them had been separated from the others long enough to be ‘recruited’. They had asked about the droid, who wouldn’t? It was sitting right out in plain sight near where they had landed, but the cover story seemed to be holding. One of them, a younger human female, had actually looked very closely at it, as if fascinated. But she had jumped when the Twi’lek had called to her. What had the Twi’lek called her? Olandas? Then they had gotten to work and their work was impressive to say the least.

Vandar sighed. He liked working with professionals. The he paused and blanched as he saw one of them get thrown across a corridor by electrical energy... He hit a general alarm and spoke into his com.

“Alert! Medical emergency in section Twelve Sigma. Power conduit explosion.” He watched as the repair team congregated around the human who had taken the brunt of the blast from a damaged power conduit. He had been working on it and it had discharged. If the man was still alive, he was incredibly lucky. Vandar shook his head. If he didn’t know better, he would have said that the tech who had been caught in the explosion was a soldier, not a tech. But all kinds wound up in the Imperial Navy. There was one human crewman aboard who could bench press almost as four hundred kilos. That guy was a freak of nature. He watched as the medical team arrived and then smiled as they sat the guy up. He was talking, so he was alive. Vandar’s eyes narrowed. Maybe… He keyed the intercom to Medical. “Doctor Brana, you will have a new patient shortly.”

“Milord?” The voice of the ship’s head medical was professional. “What happened?”

“The repair team was working in section Twelve.” Vandar pulled up the security footage. For once he was blessing the Sith’s overarching paranoia. “Looks like the big one hit something. Maybe… No…” He paused. He had missed that part, looking at the whole team. “The small human was working on a console and she apparently did not notice that the power conduit was rupturing. Her companion did and shoved her away. The man stood between his team and the conduit, he took some nasty burns.”

“That is…odd…for Sith…” The medic mused softly. “Sounds more like something a Rep idiot would do.”

“Maybe he is in love with her.” Vandar said softly as he watched the man being carted away on the monitors. Then he winced as the Twi’lek who was obviously in charge slapped the human woman across the face hard enough to knock the smaller female onto her rear end. For once, Vandar was very glad that he couldn’t hear in that section. He was fairly sure he was lipreading properly and if so, he did not want to hear what the Twi’lek was calling the quivering female. He shook his head, just looking at the Twi’lek, he could see she enjoyed causing pain. Lots of people like that in the Sith Navy…“But that means we may have an opportunity.”

“Hmmm…” The woman replied, thinking hard. “If he is that badly hurt, the nanites may be the only way to save his life. We will see.” Vandar watched on the monitors as the repair team went back to work. Wait a sec… Where was the human female going? She was favoring her arm. He replayed the segment and shook his head. Tough woman. She had landed on her arm. At the very least it was hurt, maybe broken from how she was holding it.

“You have another patient, doc.” Vandar shook his head slowly. “If she makes it all the way. She is weaving quite a bit.”

“Should I send a team?” The doctor queried.

“No…” Vandar mused. “I will send Brakon…”


He could feel her pain from two corridors away. Brakon shook his head slowly as he walked into the main corridor and saw her. She was seriously tough, no question. Other than a slight wobble in her step, she exhibited no sigh of the agony she was in as she kept up her pace towards Medical. She paused, as if sensing him somehow, and turned. Her eyes went wide as they took in the black robe and she saluted, with her bad arm! Her pain went through the roof, but none of it showed on her face.

“Milord…” Her face was still, and he could tell she was close to passing out, Somehow she managed to stay on her feet. “May I help you?”

“I was wondering if I could help you actually.” Brakon said softly as he stepped closer. She recoiled little.

“No…I am fine.” She bit her lip on the lie. She was actually very good at it. If he hadn’t had the Force, he might have believed that she was really in no pain. As it was, it was all he could do not to knock her out and carry her to Medical, just to stop the agony he could feel. “I just took a tumble. I need…” She broke off as he approached.

“You need to get your arm set.” Brakon said softly. “Do not lie to me, tech...” His sentence was a question as he stepped closer.

“I…” She broke off and bowed her head in submission. “Senior tech lieutenant Olandas, milord. I…” She winced as he took her arm in gentle fingers and turned it. She gave a soft cry and collapsed as he twisted it one way. Her eyes rolled up into her head and she fell unconscious. He hadn’t planned on that reaction? A quick check showed not one, but two fractures in her arm. He shook his head as he picked her up, but paused as an irate voice sounded.

“Olandas? Drat you, lazy girl! Where are you?” An irate blue skinned Twi’lek came around the corner only to pause as she saw the man holding the tech. “Oh…” She froze. “Milord…” Did he know her from somewhere? She seemed familiar somehow. He focused on her words. “What did that lazy good for nothing shutta do now?” She asked in a sour tone.

“She broke her arm when she hit the wall her teammate threw her into.” Brakon replied. The Twi’lek’s eyes went wide at that, but Brakon was not finished. “She is a good subordinate. Strong, capable and intelligent. Why do you call her lazy?” His tone was mild curiosity.

“Um…” He had never known blue Twi’lek skin could turn that shade of embarrassed. “It’s a game, milord. One we both play. She is not lazy. I was concerned, she is my best tech.”

“A game?” Brakon asked incredulously and then he blinked as a wave of lust came from the Twi’lek who was staring at the female in his arms now. “Oh… I see…” He said with bemused humor. Well, it took all kinds, didn’t it?

“Please don’t report us, milord.” The Twi’lek asked in an earnest voice. “It doesn’t get in the way. If anything it helps with efficiency and productivity. We are both very relaxed and we work better when… Um…” Brakon grinned. Potential blackmail information there, but it seemed mostly harmless.

“For now, your secret is safe, tech… um…Ti’la.” Brakon read off her uniform. That felt…wrong somehow. He shook his head but his movement jarred Olandas’ arm and the woman in his arms made a noise of pain in her sleep. He shrugged. A mystery for later. “Go back to work, I will take care of this one. She is tough. Good subordinates are hard to find. I insist.”

“Yes, milord. Thank you.” The Twi’lek bowed to him. “They are.” She turned and left, but Brakon could feel her relief that she was not in trouble and that the tech was, well, not fine, but hadn’t caused any problems. So why was he uneasy? He was missing something. He shook his head. Later. He started off, careful not to jar the broken arm.


“We have a major problem.”

“This is the day for it. Vandar is aboard. He is sitting in the main security office off of Medical watching everything.”

“Brakon Darshiel is alive.”

What? Is that who that is? Couldn’t get an ID. Wait a sec… He is one of the ones who…um... Chaine dyou int that mine... Are you okay?”

“I am fine. I don’t think he remembered me. I hope not. But we can’t assume he won’t figure it out. My face may have changed, but my mind? You know how hard that is to change. The drugs helped I think… We need to move it up.”

“We can’t. If we change the schedule, everything goes out of whack.”

“And if we don’t… We may all die.”

“Good point…Very well, I will see what can be done. Stay out of his way. I know you want him dead, but stay out of his way.”

“Actually... He was nice to me. He was even kind to me, boss. He didn’t need to be. If I have to kill him, I will, but… I would rather not if possible.”

“It may not be possible. Mi’Ta… You know what we are facing… Don’t use this channel again. Vandar is already on guard. Not sure why.”

“He has the Force, boss. It doesn’t make him invincible, just much harder to fool.”

“True. Get back to work. I will check on Gev and Olandas. And maybe I can get close enough to that special experiment to talk to her.”

“Be careful.”

“Hey… It’s me…”

“That is what I afraid of, Vorren. I don’t want to explain to your wife why you got killed. Lorna would skin me slowly with seashells, and I am not even going to go into what your kids would do.”

“What a wimpy excuse for a Twi’lek… Get back to work.”

“Yes sir.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

kalenath's Avatar

08.14.2012 , 05:49 PM | #10
She didn’t hurt. They had promised her that it wouldn’t hurt. But it was so hard to focus. She had always had to be focused, ever since… Her mind fuzzed again. She opened her eyes, and gazed incuriously about. She was still wearing only a patient gown, but when she ran a slow hand over her shaved head, she could feel bandages. Were they done? She was still in the main ward of the medical bay aboard the Deceiver, her new home. She looked over at the two new arrivals. The man was covered in bandages and burn dressings, obviously he was not going to move. The female though, she was sitting quietly examining the flexi cast on her arm. Lieutenant Stele nodded to her.

“What happened to you?” She barely recognized her own voice. It was emotionless. The woman with the cast jumped.

“I… I didn’t know you were awake, Lieutenant Stele…” The woman tried to salute, but her saluting arm was the one in the cast and it only came up halfway. “I apologize…”

“No need.” Stele smiled softly. This woman was kind of cute, in a naïve sort of way. How had she managed to stay that way in the Imperial Navy? They usually burned that kind of thing out during basic training. “What happened?”

“I was working on a power conduit.” The woman said with a sigh. “I didn’t realize it was unstable. My companion did…” She glanced at where the man lay, drugged into a stupor. Stele was glad for that; she had seen way too many burn victims in her life. “He is always trying to protect me. I think it’s cute…” She admitted quietly.

“That is a weakness.” Stele said quietly. “Depending on others is a weakness. Not watching out for yourself is just stupid.” She blinked as the tech bristled.

“And how long with you last in a dogfight without a wingman?” She clasped her good hand over her mouth and gave a squeak. “Um…”

“No offense taken, tech… What is your name?” Stele asked when the tech relaxed a bit.

“Um… Olandas, Senior tech lieutenant Olandas, Ma’am…” She was obviously NOT expecting Stele to laugh.

“I think I should be calling you Ma’am, senior lieutenant.” Stele said with a wicked grin. She LIKED this girl. “You outrank me.”

“Uh… No ma’am…” Olandas replied. “I am just a tech…”

Just a tech?” Stele asked in a baffled voice. “Who the hell have you been talking to? Oh…” She snarled softly. “Have the pilots been bothering you?”

“Um…” It was clear that Olandas did not want to say, but Stele glared at her and she nodded. “Yes, Ma’am. They want their stuff fixed and now, but we only have five people to cover a bunch of droids and with two of us laid up…”

“I see.” Stele’s voice was felt now and then she smiled thinly. “Well, let me make this perfectly clear, Senior lieutenant…” She put a great deal of emphasis on the word ‘senior’. “Pilots have to be supremely confident and highly aggressive, it comes with the territory. But pilots, by their very nature, cannot, not do not, but cannot understand every single thing about their ships in complete detail. Oh they study, they read, they understand most things at a basic level. Some of us actually get our hands dirty on occasion…” Stele smiled, thinking of her own flight crew. What had happened to them during the battle? No one had said. She had to check on that. “…but none of us have the time to understand every single little thing about the ship. We also have to study tactics, plans, briefings, all that kind of thing. Tell me to take a starfighter scale sublight drive apart and put it back together? No problem with the right tools, a manual and some lifting assistance. Ask me how the flarg a sublight drive actually works? Um… Not so much. I don’t have the math skills.”

“But…” Olandas froze as a female in a medical tunic came in.

“Ah, you are awake, tech Olandas.” The chief medical officer of the ship smiled at Olandas who smiled back. “Your boss is getting antsy.”

“Yeah, she is a pain in the shebs.” Olandas said as she threw her legs off the bed. “I need to…” She paused as the doc shook her head. “Doc…I have to get back. Am I clear for duty?”

“No.” The doc said, but her voice was kind as she stepped to Olandas’ bed and moved the woman’s legs back up onto it. “You and your team have been pushing yourselves too hard. Sleep.” A hypo hissed and the tech slumped into the bed. Another hypo hissed and Stele’s eyes went wide as Olandas started to convulse.

“Doc?” Her voice held worry but the doctor came to her bedside and smiled gently at her.

“It’s okay, Lieutenant Stele. Sleep.” Waves of lassitude pulled her under before she could phrase a coherent question.

When Lieutenant Michelle Stele woke, she could tell she had not been out for long. But this time, when she woke, she slitted her eyes and feigned sleep as the doc worked on Olandas, removing the cast. Something was… off… something was wrong. What did she hear? Or did she hear it? Was it in her ears or in her mind? A screaming as if from far, far away?

“There we are, young lady. Better?” The doctor asked kindly as she eased the tech up into a sitting position. “Your friend survived his own dosage. His burns will heal by the end of the day. Who do you serve?”

“I serve the master.” Olandas said in an emotionless tone.

What was Stele sensing? It was as if she could feel Olandas’ mind. She could feel the horror, the rage, the pain, the fear. And not for Olandas herself but for the Empire? What the…? She froze in place and then her face hardened as things started to click together. She couldn’t remember a lot of things. She couldn’t recall the faces of her ground crew, people she had cared a great deal for. She could not remember her wingmen’s faces. She knew their names of course, but not their faces. She was drugged, yes, but… The doctor was speaking aloud again.

“Good girl.” The doctor patted the formerly broken arm. “Now... Why were you here?” The doctor asked as she helped Olandas into her uniform.

“To find out why this ship vanished.” Olandas said in the same wooden tone as she did as she closed her uniform back up. “There were many questions and we were close.”

“For who?” The doctor asked softly, cautiously. “You are not Navy, are you? Who did you serve before you were recruited?”

“Imperial Intelligence.” Olandas replied soullessly, but those words sent a shockwave through Stele. Imperial Intelligence? Why would Imperial Intelligence be investigating a secret operation OF Imperial Intelligence? Then various things clicked and it made sense. Rage flew through Stele, burning the last of the sedatives away.

“You do not serve the Empire.” Stele said as she sat up, her face a mask of hate. “Traitor!” She jumped up to run. The doctor spun, a blaster in hand, but she did not shoot. Of course not, they wanted her alive for something! She would not help them! She would not! She looked around for a weapon, anything she could use as one. But the bay was clear. She started for the door and paused.

“Neither do you, now…” The green form of Vandar appeared in the doorway, blocking her path. “Just relax child. It will be okay.”

“I serve the Empire…” She paused. What was that she sensed from Vandar? A word? ‘Sleep’? What the hell? “Not…” Her knees buckled and she found herself on her hands and knees. She tried to rise, but couldn’t. “Traitors… I… Will… Not…” She managed to grate out and then she knew no more.


“Crap.” Vandar’s soft exclamation was the only sound in the medical ward. “Report.” The doctor came up and checked Stele where she lay before replying.

“I administered the nanites as directed to both of our new patients. Stele was awake.” The doctor sighed as she lifted the unconscious form and laid her on a convenient bed. “She was going to ask questions I had no answers for so I sedated her. She woke far too soon from the sedatives. Her implants must have filtered them.”

“Probably…” Vandar mused. “So… Imperial Intelligence. They moved faster than expected, but no matter.” He keyed his com. “Lohas, we have uninvited guests. Two male humans and a female Twi’lek. I want them alive!” He barked at the queen’s exultation. “We need answers and if we can recruit them all, they will be a powerful addition to our crew.”

“I have one answer.” Brakon said as he came into the bay. “The Twi’lek’s name is Melita Ranol.”

Ranol?” Vandar exclaimed. “Wasn’t she the operative that…” He broke off as Brakon grimaced.

“Yeah, the one the master made me chain in a flooding mine shaft.” Brakon’s face was sick now. “Of all the stupid ways to kill someone… I guess Imperial Intelligence found her and made her an offer she couldn’t refuse.”

“Probably.” Vandar agreed. “We will catch them and ask. Doctor. Is Stele ready for the final steps?”

“Yes, sir.” The doctor said softly. “The initial implantations are all done. We are ready to begin her programming. Her suit is done and all we need is for her to be properly set up for insertion into her droid.”

“Good.” Vandar said softly. “Use our newest recruit to help you get Stele into the sensory deprivation tank and then we can get her started on implantation. At least the nanites will help with the healing as they have with the pilots. Brakon, find the other two human males, and subdue them gently. We want them alive.”

“Yes, Master Vandar.” Brakon said as he turned and left.

“Doctor.” Vandar said as he turned to watch the doctor and tech Olandas preparing the slumbering Stele for a dip in a very special tank. “How long?”

“Not long.” The doctor assured him. “The primary implants are in place already and she has healed somewhat. With her mind as blank as it was, it will be no problem to speed up the programming.”

“Good.” Vandar said softly as he turned to go. “We will need her.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here