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(L,F&E 88) To Snatch a Healer


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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:24 PM | #1
<Tython>

“I feel… odd, coming back.” Min said softly as Michael led the way out of the small transport that had brought the pair of them to Tython. “And like this…”

“I know, Min.” Michael replied, his steps confident as he walked. Neither of them were dressed as Jedi. Both of them had their Force senses cloaked as much as they possibly could. “But we need to know what has happened here since Diseree left.” He looked around but the bustle of the spaceport seemed unchanged. “Only one way to find out. I will find Master Farrah, you see if you can find Anya.”

“Right.” Min started for the Enclave that had been her home for years. It felt very strange to be back at the Enclave, and not in robes. She had been found by a wandering Jedi at age of three and brought to Coruscant for training just before the Sith attack. She barely remembered that awful day of death, she and many of the other Padawans had been evacuated just before the temple was destroyed. Now, she was just shy of thirteen years old, on the brink of womanhood, and faced with a difficult mission. She and Michael had decided after talking to Diseree and Ashla Ti, to come back to Tython and figure out what the flarg had happened here. What had happened after Min had left that is…

She had been so proud when Vandar and Melan had selected her to assist with a special mission. She knew that pride was bad, that it could lead to the Dark side, but it had been invigorating after so long stuck in classrooms, training salles and lectures, to be out and doing something. She shook her head slowly, she had been so stupid. Maybe just young and inexperienced, but she had seen all the warning signs and discounted them. She had known, almost for the moment she had set foot on the Invictus, that something had been very wrong, but she had trusted Vandar. The being was a legend after all. Min shook her head, time for ruminations after she delivered her message. She nodded to the protocol droid as she approached the door.

“Good day.” The droid said in it’s usual melodious tones. She always wondered who had programmed the droid for such a voice and when. It certainly wasn’t standard. “How may this unit be of service?”

“I need to speak to a Jedi named Anya Hadas.” Min said confidently. “I have a message for her.”

“May this one ask from who?” The droid of course was programmed for privacy.

“It’s…” Min shrugged helplessly. “…complicated, and from a number of people. It’s a personal message, given to me in confidence. I was told only to give it to her. I need to see her or talk to her. It’s not a matter of life and death, but it is important.”

“One moment.” The droid paused for a moment and then nodded. “Someone will be here momentarily.”

“Anya?” Min asked, suddenly worried. Something was wrong. What was the Force trying to tell her? Something was very wrong. The droid shook it’s head and she backed up a step. “What is going on?”

“I am afraid I will have to ask you to remain where you are, visitor.” The droid said slowly and Min froze as several armed security troops appeared from nearby, their weapons pointed at her. Jedi usually did not need security forces but with the Empire and Republic starting to butt heads again, well… There were not enough Jedi. “I must ask you to go with security.”

Joy… Min sighed as she raised her hands. Fighting these people was not a good idea. She hadn’t even brought her lightsaber. She was just supposed to be a messenger after all. “Can I at least ask what I have done?”

“Jedi Knight Anya Hadas is dead.” One of the troops replied as he pulled a set of binders from his belt. “Her Padawan is missing. What is your name?”

“I can’t tell you.” Min said slowly but did not move as the man bound her and searched her. He wouldn’t find anything except a credit chip and hold out blaster. It wasn’t his fault. She had acted on incomplete information. That was what the Force had been trying to warn her of. Teach her to listen to her feeling closer. She shook her head slowly and shut her mouth.

“Ma’am, you are going to talk to us.” The trooper said slowly as he took her arm in a hold that was gentle, but obviously well practiced and well nigh unbreakable without the Force. And if she used the Force, likely everyone would start shooting, thinking she was a Sith spy or something. Bad choice, be captured, or worse choice, be shot? “One way or another.” Min shook her head and did not resist as she was led away from the Enclave and towards what looked like a military barracks. That was new. And it did not bode well…

<A few minutes later>

Min sat in the chair she had been put in and tried not to fret. The room was small, two chairs and a table, with nothing around to distract or be used as potential weapons. The chairs and table were bolted to the floor. One wall was a mirror, a two way probably. She knew she was under observation, that she was likely in extremely deep trouble. But for now, she was not in pain and if she could give Michael time to finish his part of the mission, then she would remain silent. Her musings broke off as the door opened and a robed form walked in. It wasn’t anyone she knew or did she? She wasn’t sure.

“Young lady, you are in a great deal of trouble.” The Jedi said calmly as he sat. “My name is Zin Gos. You may have heard of me. You have.” It wasn’t a question. He felt the fear that flew through Min. She felt her guts clench although she tried to control her worry. Zin Gos was a Sentinel, a shadow among the Jedi. One of several tasked with internal security at the Enclave, he was almost a boogeyman to the younger Jedi. ‘Study well or the Shadow will get you’ had been a taunt for many of the younger padawans until they learned control. Gos shook his head. “Look, you haven’t done anything wrong, yet. You were given a message, for a Jedi. You tried to deliver the message. The Jedi you were to deliver it to is dead. You can give it to me.” She looked at the floor and shook her head. “Look, young lady… Your dedication to your mission is admirable, but this is pointless.” Min shook her head again and Go s sighed sadly. “Okay, the hard way. What is your name?”

Min felt tendrils of thought seeping into her mind and closed it as she had been taught by her teachers among the Jedi and then by the Sitolon. He could not gain entry. The tendrils became a pressure that steadily increased. Despite her control, a whimper escaped her lips. The pain increased exponentially but she did not retreat, did not falter. Suddenly the pressure stopped. She slumped in place as a shadow fell over her. Gos’ voice was concerned now.

“Who are you?” She would not meet his eyes and when he tried to lift her chin to look at her face she turned away. “Come on, child, I am sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” His voice was gentle, but it was a trick, it had to be. Min shook her head, trying with all her might to keep her mouth closed. She stiffened as he knelt down beside her, looking her full in the face. Then he froze. “By the Force…” His voice was worried now. “Min?” She shook her head, trying to stay in control. “Min… It’s okay. You are okay. What happened?”

She was falling, no, she was rising. The binders came off and she found herself on her feet. Gos shook his head as she stared at him then flinched.

“I didn’t mean to hurt you, Min. I am sorry.” Gos held out a hand and froze as Min flinched back. “Come with me, please?” The entreaty in his voice had Min relaxing, just a little. But she did not lower her mental shields. “You don’t have the stink of the Dark Side about you…But… You feel odd.” He shook his head. “Come on, Min. You need help.” She stumbled as she walked slowly, trying to keep her shield in place as he led her out of the barracks and towards the Enclave.

They were gentle, but insistent. Gos led her to the medical wing and there, they put her through the wringer. She figured they ran every test they could think of on her, but eventually, they let her up. Gos never left her sight and she never relaxed. A tray with food found its way in front of her and she ate robotically. Then she sat on the bed in the hospital room and waited.

“She doesn’t trust us.” She started at Gos’ voice. Had she dozed? Had she fallen asleep? Was she drugged? What had happened? She jerked, but found herself still sitting in the small hospital room where she had been. “I hurt her…” Faint shame tinged the Jedi’s voice. “I didn’t mean to, but her shielding is incredibly strong. Far stronger than it should be, who has she been studying with? She won’t talk to me. Maybe she will talk to you." Gos shook his head and left the room."I need to go smooth some egos. I will be back."

Min kept her eyes on the floor, she wasn't sure what was going to happen. Everything had gone bad, just like before. She tensed, but the memory came again, as bad as ever. One again, she saw the vision of cold green eyes and a blaster rifle muzzle turning towards her. Min shook her head and slowly, ever so slowly, moved to edge herself off the bed. She had to... Her head spun and she winced, but she put the pain behind her. It hurt a lot less than getting shot had. She had to get out of here. Preferably before...

“Going somewhere, you are?” A soft but firm voice spoke up from nearby and Min’s head shot up. “Sleep, you should, young Min.”

“Master Yeri…?” Min’s voice was soft, disbelieving, but she didn’t try and run. It wouldn’t work. The small green form in front of her might look like a stiff breeze would pick her up and blow her away, but looks were very deceiving around beings like Master Healer Yeri. “I…I can’t…”

“Can’t what? Sit? Relax? Heal?" The aged master healer of the Enclave on Tython asked with a gentle smile. “Cannot or wish not?”

"I..." Min was shaking now her fear and pain threatening to overwhelm her. She shook her head and focused herself as she had been taught. "I must go..." But when she tried to sit up again, her head spun worse.

"End in you passing back out, pushing yourself will.” Master Yeri said with a gentle smile. “Being brought right back here, you would be. “Lay, rest, safe you are."

"No." Min said softly, her fear controlled, for now. "I bring danger with me. They got to Diseree in the middle of the Enclave..."

“Hurt Diseree, someone did?” The old Jedi healer asked, her face intent now. “Who?”

"We don't know." Min said slowly. "She doesn't know. But whoever it was, they hurt her. Someone..." Min winced as she tried to move. "Someone hurt her, someone here. I was supposed to tell Anya that, but she is dead...I..." Min took a deep breath, working to stay in control. "I don't know what to do."

"Calm yourself, you must.” Yeri said in a compassionate voice. “Before feelings betray you, start with that. Fear what, do you?"

"I..." Min was gasping now as remembered fear and pain threatened to overwhelm her. "I am trying, Master Yeri. But it hurts so much..." Min struggled to sit up. “I have to… I have… to…” She was gasping with the effort of sitting, her head was spinning and her heart was racing despite everything she could try. But she had to go, she had to tell her friends what had happened to Anya.

"If persist in this you do, make things worse you will, child.” Yeri’s voice took on a stern note. “Rest you need. Or hurt yourself more, you will."

"I know..." Min said slowly. "But I can’t stay here... Something..." She paused and gasped, falling back into the bed as her head started pounding. "I..." Min steeled herself, focusing as she had been taught. "I am sorry Master Yeri. I have to go." She moved to swing her legs off the bed, focusing beyond the pain in her skull.
Yeri gave the resigned sigh of one who had spent many years shaking their head at the stubbornness of youth. There was no inclination of what she intended and then she had a hand on Min. It was all she needed to make the girl sleep as she was told. Her voice held fond exasperation as she made sure Min was comfortable before sitting back.

"Younglings...."

Min fell into a deep sleep, troubled by vague shivers of fear and pain.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:26 PM | #2
The healers were not sure what was going on with her, they were still running all kinds of tests. The headache had vanished after her forced sleep, but there was something else wrong, something that baffled the healers. So when Min awake from an unplanned nap, she was not alarmed at first to find herself strapped to a bed. She had woken that way a few times. They were worried about convulsions and such. At least they had left her undergarments on, she thought with a mental wince. She would have spoken, except there was something in her mouth. She tried opening her eyes and they wouldn’t. Something was holding them shut. She could feel things pressing into her skull. None of them hurt, but the pressure was there. She reached out with the Force and sensed horror around her. Horror she remembered vividly. Then something shocked her and she gasped.

“She is awake.” A clinical male voice spoke from nearby. She would have turned her head to look, except it wouldn’t move. She panicked little, and then called upon her training to quell her fear. They didn’t want her dead. A stick in her arm and she was floating. Everything was hazy now, everything was soft and gray. “We need to finish up and get her back.”

Something was very wrong. She felt so odd. Her head was… both heavier and lighter than it should be. How long had she been asleep? She felt as if she were floating now. Had they hurt her? What had happened? A sting at the back of her skull made her gasp into whatever was holding her mouth open and then she was falling slowly. So slowly. As she fell, she was sure she heard voices, but none of them made any sense.

When Min woke again, she gasped. She was back in her room in the Enclave. Nothing seemed to have changed. She felt the same as she had before.

“Was it a dream?” She mused aloud as she put her outer robes on. She shook her head. “Must have been. Maybe I need to talk to someone about it.” Her mind slid away from that though, focusing on the fact that while she had robes, she did not have a lightsaber or any other weapon. Her status was a bit unclear. The Order wanted to know what had happened, and while she had told Master Yeri some of what had happened to her, she had flatly refused to speak of where she had been, or what had happened after she had been hurt. She would not betray her friends, not…again.

Jedi were well known for not killing their prisoners. They did not want her hurt, they wanted answers. She took some comfort in the fact that Michael had gotten away. It wasn’t really her fault that she had been caught. She had acted on inaccurate information. The Jedi were kind, but adamant. She was not going to leave until she explained. And since she did not want to explain… At least they were not going to interrogate her. Her mind was pulled back to the dream or whatever it had been. But it was fading. It had to have been a dream. She sighed and went to start her day. A day of being asked questions that she would not answer.

<Not very nearby>

“Well?” The cold voice silenced everything in the small room.

“Phase one is complete, master.” The male in medic’s garb said robotically. “She shows no signs of recognition. We can extract her and continue tonight.”

“Do so.” The dark form paused. “And doctor… No slip ups this time. No…entertaining yourself this time. You know the plan, stick to it.”

A sigh came from the corner, but nothing else.

<That night>

Min was utterly, totally, completely, sick of this. The Jedi were kind, yes. But GEEZ. Eight hours of being grilled by Jedi from Master Yeri all the way up to Grandmaster Shan herself had left the Padawan wrung out. She tried to meditate, but she drooped further and further towards the bed. Eventually, she collapsed fully and she was asleep before her head hit the pillow. She never saw or felt the dark form that came close and hit her with a hypo, sending her deeper into slumber.

This time when she woke, she found herself in some kind of tank. Was it a kolto tank? Had she been hurt? She tried to move and found she couldn’t. Something was holding her in place, something hard but padded. Again, something was around her head and she felt pressure in places. No shock this time, just a tingling. She couldn’t understand. Why this in a dream? It was peaceful now, floating in this place. It was warm, she was warm. She relaxed fully, and in that moment, she was lost. Power flooded through her, paralyzing her, holding, searching, prying through each and every nook and cranny of her mind. Familiar power. Then it started to burn and she screamed as her self, her very being was unraveled by that power.

A voice sounded in her ears, or was it just in her mind? “Easy child… Easy… Just relax and let the doctor take care of you.” Then darkness claimed her.

<Later>

She woke. She found herself in a bed. She was comfortable, her body was clean and dry. But she felt… odd. Light. She checked herself. She was unrestrained and her body was clad in a nightgown. The door at the side of the room opened and the doctor entered, a look of concentration on her face.

“Time for another treatment?” She asked slowly as the doctor came close. As always, she did not resist as the doctor assisted her to sit up and then to get into the wheeled chair that sat beside the bed.

“Yes, young one.” The doctor smiled at her. “Soon, your treatment will be done.”

“I am ready, doctor Menglan.” Min, former Padawan of the Jedi Order said as she was wheeled into another room. The chair was wheeled underneath a machine that lowered slowly to latch about her head.

“You will make excellent bait, Min.” Menglan said quietly as she started the machine ignoring the muffled cries of pain that came from underneath it. After a few minutes she nodded. “Ah, there… All done…” The machine rose up from the head of the Jedi Padawan. Her eyes were open and saw…nothing. “You will be so much happier without your free will. But now that I have refined the process, I can use it on any, even Bladeborn. Come, pawn, your destiny awaits. Time to turn you into bait.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:29 PM | #3
“We have found Min.” Mama Lizard’s soft voice was worried and Ona looked up from her work at her.

“Michael reported that the Jedi had her.” Ona said slowly. “Then she vanished from the Jedi Enclave before he could get back from the Bladeborn cave where he talked to Master Farrah. Special Branch’s sleeper agent was IDed, but when they went to take him into custody, he was gone. They think he snatched her and ran. They didn’t stop his ship, afraid for his hostage.” Ire colored her tone now, the thought of a child in the hands of those scum always set her blood boiling. “Did she escape or was she released for us to find?”

“It mussst have been the latter.” Mama replied. “Zhe was found on Alderaan, wandering through a battlezone. The sssoldierz who found her took her to a medical facility. Ona… They wiped her mind.” Ona’s gasp of horror echoed through the medical bay of the Stormhawk. Odd that Bladeborn were working with a renegade battlecruiser, but then again, that was their life. Odd. “Ssshe doez not remember uz.”

“I see.” The medic of the Bladeborn replied slowly. “A trap of some kind?”

“Probably.” Mama agreed, and then she paused. “Ona…”

“I am not leaving her there, to sit, alone and afraid.” Ona said slowly as she stepped away from the console. She looked at L’trask, the chief healer of the ship and he shrugged. “Can I talk to Boss?” They were on his ship, they needed his permission.

“I am here.” The armored form of Stormhawk Boss stepped into the bay, nodding to the patients who were receiving treatment and then striding to the mismatched pair. The small Bothan and the huge Barabel made a very interesting combination. A deadly one mind you. “It has to be a trap.”

“I know.” Ona agreed. “But that does not change the fact that she is my responsibility. I took responsibility for her when she came into my care. I let her go, unhealed. She and Michael both insisted she was fine, btu I could feel her pain, mental and physical. It was against my better judgment. It is my responsibility, what happened to her. I am going.”

“Ona…” Mama growled.

“I am going, Mama.” Ona replied with equal heat. Both the head healer of the Stormhawk and the commander of the ship took a step back as the two females locked eyes. “You know what I have to do. She wasn’t marked, so the Order can’t do anything.”

“Baloney.” Mama Lizard replied. “Ssshe waz a friend. We protect our friendsss.”

“When we can.” Ona said quietly, her face falling. “And if she is a threat now… I know what to do.”

“What will you do?” Boss looked from Ona to Mama and back. “Or should I not ask?”

“This wouldn’t be the first time people have used friends of the Order to attack it.” Ona said heavily. “We have protocols for just such an occurrence. We observe, assess, take on… or terminate.” Her face was remote now.

“You would kill her?” Boss asked quietly. “She is a victim.”

“She was.” Ona corrected him gently. “Now? We don’t know and we have to find out.”

“Just like that?” L’Trask asked softly. The Trandoshan pacifist’s voice was carefully neutral. “We might be able to help her.”

“Maybe.” Ona said sadly. “Maybe not. If it comes down to it, I will do it.”

“Ona…” Mama growled, but she subsided when Ona shrugged.

“You are highly visible, Mama.” Ona said gently. “And most of the members of this crew have bounties on them. They set foot off this ship and they are targets.”

“You would be too.” Boss retorted. “Don’t tell me that there are people who wouldn’t kill you for showing your face.”

“True.” Ona said slowly. “If Leeto were here, I would trust it to him. He knows what to look for, what to do to make it painless and quick.” She looked at Boss and then at the clan mother of the Bladeborn. “Mama, I am going. We can argue about it now, or after I get back.”

“You are not going alone.” Mama replied evenly. “Not a chance.”

“Mama…” Ona said in a long suffering tone. “I can pass as a healer, I am one, remember? You send Bladeborn into a hospital and they are going to stick out like sore thumbs. Same with Marines.” She nodded to Boss, whose posture said ‘No’ quite loudly. “Chari and Reekia are both busy. Istara is gone off with Leeto, Idjit is… facing review.” She said with a muted sob. She hated the thought of her brother undergoing torture, even to save the rest of them, it hurt her just to think of it. “I am the only one available.” She paused. “Mama, I can do it. Get in, find out and… maybe handle it, and then get out. I have done it before.”

“…And it knocked you for a loop for almossst a month.” Mama said sadly. “I promized I would never do it to you again. I will go. I can be ssstealthy.”

“I know you can.” Ona agreed slowly as she patted the Barabel’s shoulder. “But one slip and they will see you. She was my responsibility, Mama. She was my patient.”

“I have a very bad feeling about thisss…” Mama said slowly, but nodded to the healer.

“We have some other backup in that area.” Boss said slowly. “’Unofficial’ type backup. You won’t be alone.”

“Fair enough. Just get me in and I can do the rest.” Ona said, steeling herself. “I just hope I don’t have to kill the poor kid after everything else that happened.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:35 PM | #4
<Alderaan>

“When he said ‘unofficial’ backup, he really meant ‘unofficial’ didn’t he?” Ona said with a grin at her escort who scowled at her. The woman wore the full armor of the Republic Special Forces and had said maybe three words since Ona had arrived at the spaceport. Her name badge read ‘Deering’ but beyond that, Ona had no clue except for the fact that she radiated competence and ability. And dislike. “Look, soldier, I am not your enemy.”

“I know.” Deering said curtly. “Our… mutual friend was clear on that. I don’t know why you need to get into the hospital, and I don’t really care. But you are no Jedi no matter how you dress.”

“No, I am not.” Ona sighed. It did truly bother her to be wearing Jedi attire. The robes fit her well, they had been cut to hide her mechanical legs. The lightsaber she carried was also unfamiliar, but she was capable with it. It just felt… wrong…not to have her sword. But a sword would have been an immediate and large ‘hey Bladeborn here’ sign. “I am also not a Sith. I have no interest in your wars. My interest is a patient of mine who was hurt again and found wandering on planet with no memory.” The soldier looked at her.

“The Jane Doe?” Deering’s face was as impassive as helmet visor might have been. “She was one of yours?” Ona shook her head and Deering tilted her head in query. “What then?”

“She is, or was, a Jedi.” Ona said slowly. “She disappeared from the Enclave on Tython a few days ago. Just vanished. Records that were found during the search for her indicate a Special Branch mole was on planet. He ran, with her it is believed.”

“Special Branch.” Ona could not have missed the surge of hate that flew through Deering if she had been Force blind. But none of it shone in the soldier’s words. “Things are starting to make sense then.” She paused. “This may be a trap. They are good at traps. Usually with people who can’t fight back.”

“Yes they are.” Ona agreed. “But that girl is my responsibility, so if they or anyone else get between me and her, I guarantee you I will show you how much ‘not-a-Jedi’ I am. I will make it hurt.” Deering looked at her and a slow smile crossed her face for the first time.

“I can live with that. Come on.” She nodded to the airspeeder nearby with another form in Special Forces armor at the controls. “Let’s go.” They got in and the speeder took off. “So, your name?”

“Shikiria Melan.” Ona said quietly, hiding a mental wince with the ease of long practice. That had been her name before her trial to become Bladeborn. “It’s not my real name, but it will work.”

“Fair enough.” Deering said with a grunt. “We can get you in. But getting you out with the girl may be difficult.”

“I thought the difficult Special Forces did immediately.” Ona said with a smile. “It was the impossible that took longer.” She sobered. “I might not be leaving with her. I am here to assess her, after that, we shall see.” Something in her words had Deering stiffening.

“And if she doesn’t pass your test?” Ona met the woman’s eyes levelly and Deering actually flinched. ‘You wouldn’t…She is just a kid.” Ona sighed deeply.

“Yes she is.” Ona could not have hidden the pain in her tone if she had wanted to. “They took her, they hurt her. I…I went over the reports on the way here. The girl I knew is gone. Maybe…” She looked out the canopy of the airspeeder for a moment. Then she looked back at Deering. “I give you my word, soldier. If I can help her I will. If that means ending her pain, I will do so. If that means doing something else, I will do…” The Force screamed at her. “Danger! From below.” She exclaimed.

Incoming!” The pilot called as he banked the airspeeder hard to port. “Hold onto your lunches!”

Ona held tight to her seat belts as the airspeeder spun in midair, diving and twisting to avoid whatever was coming at it. The frame rattled a bit, but they were not blown from the sky, so whatever the pilot had done had worked. They settled to the ground and everyone took a deep breath.

“What was that, Jansen?” Deering asked softly, not that she needed to whisper. “Surface to air?”

“Yeah.” The pilot was breathing a bit heavily. Ona thought she felt something odd from him, but when she scanned him, there was nothing. “Blasted Ulgo surface to air batteries. Thanks for the warning Ma’am… If that concussion blast had hit us square, we would be scattered pieces splattered across about a half a kilometer right now. Thanks…” He took a deep breath and steadied himself. “Too bloody close.”

“You are telling me…” Deering said softly. “That sucked. Let’s stay as low as we can until we get to one of the safe zones.”

“That is just it, Ma’am. We are supposed to be in a safe zone…” The pilot said as he pulled up a holo map. “See?” He indicated a red swath with a clear bubble inside it.

“That’s just great.” Deering said with a sigh. “The Ulgos are pushing again. Great, just great.”

“This is a problem?” Ona said as she looked at the holo. She was no soldier, but it did look like it had a lot of red on it.

“Yeah.” Deering said with a grimace. “The Republic maintains facilities here, embassies, infrastructure, and a few bases, ours included.” She swept a hand toward the driver to indicate Special Forces. Boris Ulgo wants us and the Sith gone, and is pushing. He is not going to win in the end, but man it is costing…”

“So what do we do?” Ona asked evenly. “Walk?”

“We could.” Deering said with a small grin. “But we want to get there today. Hmmm… Jansen, those batteries are not listed among Ulgo’s declared forces, are they?” She asked quietly, while perusing the display. At Ona’s quizzical look, Deering explained. “Everything here is essentially in stasis, no one has an advantage. We keep working to stay ahead of the Empire, they keep working to stay ahead of us, and Ulgo keeps sparring with both. Idiot.”

“Sounds like someone needs a lesson in humility.” Ona said with a grimace. “But I can’t delay more than I have to.”

“Our mutual friend said you would be in danger here.” Deering said with an odd look on her face. “Jansen.” She barked and the pilot stiffened in his seat.

“Ma’am?” He asked.

“How many batteries did you detect and where?” The pilot keyed the display and Deering nodded. “I am going to contact the Redoubtable.” Ona felt shock from the pilot.

“Ma’am?” The pilot’s voice was scared now.

“They fired on a marked Republic airspeeder broadcasting Republic IFF in a declared safe zone.” Deering said with a feral gleam in her eye. “They want to play? Fine. We will play, but with a new player taking the field. The Redoubtable will level it nicely.” She pulled her helmet on and started talking, muffled by the helmet. Ona leaned forward to speak to the pilot.

“The Redoubtable?” She asked softly. “Is that what I think it is?”

“Battleship in orbit, Ma’am…” Jansen swallowed heavily. “We witnessed a direct attack, but…” He slumped. “Navy guys are good, but firing into an atmosphere…. They are not that precise. We are awfully close…”

“Which is why we need to move, Jansen. Now.” Deering said with a snarl. “Keep us low and evasive. But get us clear. The Ulgo surface to air batteries are about to get rained on.” Jansen needed no further motivation, he threw the airspeeder into the air and floored the accelerator. Behind then, Ona could hear rumblings, kind of like a freight carrier passing on rails. She looked back to see bright red lances of fire stab from the sky to hit the area where they had been.

“Was that wise?” Ona asked softly.

“Wise? Probably not.” Deering said with a grunt as the airspeeder banked left between a pair of trees and threw her against her straps. “But wise doesn’t cut it when dealing with a madman like Ulgo sure seems to be. And…” She had a grin in her voice now. “It is sure what I call proper diplomacy. Best diplomat I know is a fully charged turbolaser.” Ona winced but kept her mouth shut as the sky fell behind them.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:38 PM | #5
It was anticlimactic when they arrived at the hospital. After the hair raising journey in, Ona had expected more excitement, but nothing happened. The airspeeder finally slowed to merge with civilian traffic after a few dozen kilometers and the rest of the trip was uneventful. That left her time to think, too much time to think. By the time they landed, her thoughts were tranquil again, or as tranquil as she could make them. She strengthened her mental shields. This would not be fun.

Ona had been born with a degree of empathy exceptional even for her empathic people. Bothans as a whole were highly empathic, one thing that made them such great spies. It also made some of them great healers. But as in all things, it was a two edged sword. Her ability to feel the pain of others was a blessing when she wanted to heal, and a curse when she had to not heal. As soon as she entered the building, she could feel them all. A baby crying as a deep burn was cleansed in preparation for bandaging. A man in the preliminary stages of cardiac arrest, a boy with severe head injuries, a girl with a broken ankle… The list went on and on and her expression remained grim as she stalked through the hospital followed by her escort. Jansen stayed with the speeder. Something about him gave her the creeps, but she had no idea what it was. It wasn’t the nanites. That she was sure of. She opened herself to the Force as she walked, careful to keep her thoughts to herself. She was immediately assaulted by pain from all sides and closed herself off again with a sigh. Nothing for it, if this was a trap, now would be the time to spring it, while she was deafened and blinded by the sheer pain around her. But nothing happened.

After the usual bureaucratic bull malarkey, they let her into the upper floor ward where Min was. It helped that Deering had a scowl worthy of any Sith Lord. Even the most formidable nurse gave way to the glowering soldier. But finally, she was ushered into the room and there Min sat, her back to the door. Her head had been shaved and she wore a patient gown. Ona took a deep breath and spoke.

“Min?” Her voice was tentative, and her hand was gentle as it came to rest on the girl’s shoulder. But there was no response. Ona opened her mind a little and blanched as she realized that the reports had not lied. There was nothing there. Nothing at all. The Min she had known was gone, completely. The girl’s body was alive, but everything that had made Min who and what she was, was gone. Ona slumped, tears welling. “Oh Min… I am sorry…”

“So am I, Ona of the Bladeborn.” Another voice answered her. “I had no idea what they would do to her.” Ona felt fear the likes of which she had rarely felt before as a small green form stepped out of the refresher nearby. “She was such a good kid, so full of life, and so willing to do whatever it took.” Ona banished her fear and squared her shoulders.

“Which was why you and Melan chose her when you attacked us.” Ona said calmly, her mind flickering here and there, looking for options. She felt pressure on her mind, but her shields held. “You are going to have to do better than that, Vandar.”

“Ona, please…” Vandar Tokare said sadly. “It’s not what you think. It’s worse. I can’t disobey. I want to…” The ancient Jedi was struggling as his hand came up. “I so want to, but…I am sorry.” Ona stood there and let him use the Force. The power known as Mirichiro hit her and did nothing. It should have stilled her bodily functions, knocking her out. It didn’t. Vandar’s eyes went even wider than normal. “New trick…?” He asked carefully.

“Old trick.” Ona corrected him gently, her hand on her lightsaber. “You know I won’t surrender.”

“Ah, yes. I know.” Vandar sighed. “I don’t want to hurt you. You have no help here. The redoubtable Captain Deering is occupied at the moment.”

“I wondered if she was one of yours.” Ona said unemotionally, her steps slow as she moved away from Vandar and towards Min. “Jansen was, wasn’t he? That is a new trick. Menglan’s?” It wasn’t really a question.

“You know a hostage won’t work, Ona…” Vandar broke off as Ona’s green lightsaber ignited and then flashed. Min fell without a sound, dead before she hit the floor. “What have you done?” He cried, aghast.

“She was a hostage that you took. A victim.” Ona said, tears welling. “I couldn’t save her. You wanted me to try, to distract myself with that so you can take me. It has been tried before, Vandar. We know what to do in that case. I failed her, but I know about failing, Jedi. We know all about it.” Her saber deactivated.

“Why…?” Vandar cried, his face ashen but he relaxed as she did. “She was not dead. She was alive, she could have been re-taught. She might have even been Bladeborn…”

“Your master could have brought her back, but now, she is free, Vandar.” Ona said quietly as she got her grief under control. “You and your scum keep making the same mistake. We are not Jedi. We are not Sith. We are Bladeborn. You keep underestimating us. You and your master. We will leave no one in your hands. No one! We will rescue them when we can but if not, we will free your slaves any way we can.” Ona opened herself fully to the Force, sweeping every emotion away as she opened herself like never before and gathered power. Vandar braced, but she didn’t throw it at him. She spun and threw it at the wall behind her!

No!” Vandar cried as Ona slammed the wall with enough power to snap the duracrete and steel construction like twigs. “Ona, don't” He cried uselessly as she jumped out of the huge hole she had made. He ran to the hole and threw himself after her as the door flew open and an armor clad form ran in with a curse. Deering shook her head and snarled as she ran out of the room, hitting her com as alarms belatedly started to howl.

“All units, converge! Code red! Code red! Vandar is here! Repeat, Vandar is here. If you see him, call it in and shoot the bastard! Our protectee is in motion, find her! Call for backup and snag Jansen before he gets away! I have bunch of questions for him!”
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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:43 PM | #6
It was… Ona had no words. She was flying, well, actually, she was actually falling with style. Alderaan did not have the mile high skyscrapers that dominated urban sprawls like Coruscant and Raltiir, but it had some high buildings nonetheless. The hospital was one of the largest buildings in this particular city. Even now, years later, she could see damage that still had not been repaired from the Sith invasion, even though it had happened when she was still a child. Some of it, the Alderaanians had left in place, to remember, to focus their hate of the Sith. Some of visible damage was more recent, due to the heating of the Cold War between Republic and Empire. Some of it was also no doubt due to Ulgo and his madness. That wasn’t her problem. She was fast approaching the ground now and focused herself on braking her fall, preferably without breaking herself in the process.

She called the Force to her, ignoring the searing pain that ran through her body as she impacted yet another protrusion from the building. She had hit several things on the way down, but each time it had slowed her a bit. She landed with a resounding crash, but no one was in the vicinity. She took a moment to check herself. Aside from some spectacular bruises, she was uninjured. But using the Force in such ways was incredibly tiring. She stiffened as an airspeeder landed nearby and then smiled as the armored form of Captain Deering stepped out of it, weapon ready.

“You are late.” Ona said with just the right touch of insouciance. But her hand was on her saber.

“We have got to get you out of here.” Deering said with a grunt, looking her over. “Jansen has been taken into custody. I knew there was something wrong with him, but had no idea what until he delayed me just long enough for Vandar to bushwack you.”

“Not his fault.” Ona said, stretching as she limped slowly towards the airspeeder. But then she paused as the Force screamed a warning. The black furred Bothan grinned sourly. “Oh, that is one slick illusion, Vandar.” Her tone held admiration now as she stepped back. “I assume as soon as I step into the speeder, I get drugged.”

“Ona…” The exasperated voice of the Jedi master came from where Deering stood and the armored form vanished. The small green form appeared in her place, his body marred by bruises and one arm hanging limp at a bad angle, obviously broken. “That was crazy, even for one of you Bladeborn.” Two robed forms came out of the speeder and four more stepped out of a door nearby. “Don’t make us do this…”

“Yeah, right.” Ona laughed sourly. “Hmmm… Six of you? Good.” She smiled, somewhat evilly.

“Good?” Vandar asked incredulously, cradling his hurt arm. “Ona… You cannot win. You are hurt already, and you are a healer, not a fighter.” Ona actually laughed at that as her saber came to her hand.

“Unless I am facing Masters, which none of these are..." On said with a shrug. "Four or less and honor demands that I try to fight without killing, unless they tick me off.” Ona smirked at his expression. Vandar was out of the fight for the moment with his arm broken like that, but he wouldn’t be for long. From their stances, three of them were experienced, seasoned fighters, dangerous. The other three moved like novices. Now her tone turned vicious. “Since there are six of your pawns here… I can do as I please and it pleases me to tell you and your master to ‘flarg off’.” Her saber ignited in a wave of green energy and she moved into an aggressive stance.

“Ona. Don't make us do this!” Vandar said quietly. “We do not want to hurt you.”

“I don’t care what you want, monster.” Ona said sourly and charged.

It was a seriously uneven fight. But even odds were for formal duels, not real fights. Bladeborn trained for real fights. Ona was good, no question, but her opponents expected her to be tired. She had used a great deal of energy both to blast the wall and to slow her fall enough to land without splattering herself. However, her opponents found out quickly that it didn’t matter. Anyone who trained against Masterblades learned early on how to fight when hurt, when tired, when sick, all of these and more. She didn’t have her sword, but Ona was no slouch with a saber either. Her first opponent came in, with the obvious intent to bind her saber and either slam her to the ground or hold her in place for someone else to disable. His red saber met her green one in a hail of sparks and then he went down as a mechanical foot found the sensitive spot between his legs with lethal precision. Armor might blunt the strike, there was nothing in the galaxy that could stop it. He grunted and then screamed as her saber found his sword arm, cleaving it at the elbow. He fell to his knees, but she was still in motion. His scream cut off abruptly as his head went flying. They wanted her alive and hale, she was under no such compunctions.

Vandar watched, amazed, as Ona tore through the five remaining beings standing against her. Her forms were crisp, clean and totally merciless. In less than two minutes, she had torn through two of her opponents and had the other three firmly on the defensive. Only one of the two she had dropped was moving at all, and that one was missing both arms at the elbow. She never seemed to tire, never seemed to falter. Her blade rose and fell, and another life was cut short. Then she turned on another brown robed form and Vandar hissed as he tried to move his arm. Still broken. The nanites within him were working overtime to heal all the damage he had taken in the fall and catching the speeder in mid-flight. Then Vandar tensed as Ona moved aggressively against the brown robed form in front of her. The small female in Jedi robes had no chance as she was backed step by step away from him by the dervish in black fur that was Ona. Vandar saw his opportunity and took it.

“Ona! Stop!” Vandar cried as he heard shouts in the distance. He had to end this now. He reached out with the force to throw the female’s cowl back. “You will kill her!” He screamed as her blade came up again, this time batting a blue lightsaber aside. The form’s cowl fell and Ona froze in midswing as a familiar short hair and intent face shone from underneath it.

“Min…?” The Bothan asked incredulously, and then she screamed as the tip of a blue saber came out of her chest. She swung reflexively, claiming another life as the attacker who had hit her from behind danced back a step, barely avoiding her blade. Then she fell in a heap as the survivors, all three of them including the one who had lost both arms at the elbow, stared at her. Her saber hit the ground, deactivated and rolled away.

No!” Vandar cried as he rushed to her side. He sighed in relief as he realized she was still breathing, if shallowly. The blade had penetrated her lung and while it was serious, it could be handled if they got her to medical support fast enough. “That was sloppy, Ki Lom, you could have killed her.”

“I didn’t mean to…” One of the brown robed forms babbled. “She was blocking so fast. I assumed she would block it…” He shook his head. “When did she become a Master?”

“Dunno.” Vandar said as he checked Ona over and nodded. “Come on, get our people into the speeder. Now. We are on short ti-… Aw crap!” He jumped back as the airspeeder and his quick evacuation plan vanished in a fireball along with his pilot and all their medical gear. “Nuts…” He said quietly as a pair of armored forms strode out of the shadows nearby, one of them dropping the spent case of a single shot rocket launcher. “Hello, Captain Deering.”

Captain Nara Deering, Third Special Forces Regiment, Sixth Battalion, did not waste time talking. Her rifle came up and she opened fire.
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:45 PM | #7
Vandar signaled his people as the Special Forces troops advanced. They could not win this fight. Even if they could take Captain Deering and her companion, more Special Forces had to be on the way. His arm had healed enough so he drew his saber and deflected the captain’s fire away from the three hale beings who had pulled Ona’s limp form from the ground and started away with her.

Go!” Vandar commanded as he placed himself between the advancing troops and his people. His lightsaber wove a dizzying arc, deflecting every shot that came his way. Then his eyes went wide as the captain slung her rifle and… “Ah!” He jumped as her heavy repeater came down, unfolded and opened fire. The sheer weight of fire was deafening. Her companion as well was firing steadily with his rifle, trying to find a hole in Vandar’s defenses. He looked, but his people had run. There was no point in staying, he could see more armored forms approaching. “Another time captain.” He jumped clear and over a low wall, running at Force speed to catch up with his people.

By the time he made it to the backup rendezvous in a deserted apartment, the three beings who had survived fighting Ona were there and had laid the unconscious healer out to tend her wounds.

“Report.” Vandar said softly as he dropped into their midst.

“Special Forces all over the place.” A black shadow said from nearby as their other team member stepped slightly out of the shadows. “They must have been tipped off. It looks like most of the Third Regiment is out and hunting. The others?”

“None survived.” Vandar said sadly. “She was… Wow. I had no idea she was that good. No one did. We should have brought Ravishaw.”

“You know what he would have done, Vandar.” The black form sighed deeply. “He wouldn’t have hurt her. He still loves her. Despite everything Menglan and Firdlump did to him, he still loves her. When he finds out about this…”

“I know.” Vandar knelt beside the still form and touched her. “Min, Ki Lom? You two okay?”

The two lowered their hoods and looked at him. Both Jedi Padawans looked worried and scared. Min shook her head.

“I have never met her, Master. Have I?” She asked slowly. “She acted as if she knew me. If not for that, she likely would have killed us all.”

“She knew the other you, Min.” Vandar said gently as he probed the wound with the Force. “The one you were cloned from. The one the bugs captured, the one Menglan mindwiped.” He sighed, this was not something he could heal by touch.

“Oh…” Min said slowly, her face scared. “Um…”

“It’s okay to be confused, Min.” Vandar said gently as he worked to bandage the horrible wound on the black furred form. “But we need to get out of here. Now.”

“Easier said than done, Vandar.” The black shrouded form said quietly. “The spaceport is sure to be locked down by now. Any unauthorized launches tend draw fire from all three sides. Smugglers have learned not to try.”

“Well, we can’t just sit here.” Vandar said softly. “She needs better care than we can give. Hmmm… The Republic spaceport is likely locked down. How about the Imperial one?”

“That is just crazy enough to work, Master Vandar.” The form in the shadows laughed sourly as he stepped forward. “She isn’t quite as I expected her to be.” The black furred Bothan knelt by the sleeping one and shook his head. Vandar looked at him and the Bothan shrugged. “My brother did not handle her well, I admit that. But we have to try and get her to understand.”

“She won’t trust any of us, Melan.” Vandar said softly. “Even if you were her biological father, instead of an uncle, she wouldn’t trust you. The master has decreed her fate anyway. Menglan has the gear all ready for her. We just have to get her there and healed.”

“I dislike this.” Jedi Master Thokal Melan said softly. “I may be a clone of a dead Bothan and a slave, but I truly dislike doing this.”

“You think I like it?” Vandar asked as Min and Ki Lom carefully hefted the unconscious healer between them. “Come on, miles to go before we sleep…”

“What the heck is a mile?” Min asked softly as she held Ona’s legs in preparation to moving.

“No idea, actually.” Vandar said with a smile. “Ancient term of distance measurement I think. But for now, focus.” Min nodded and she and Ki Lom started off, Melan followed. Vandar turned to the other and sighed. The young human had lost his arms and would not be able to keep up. “Juir... I am sorry.”

“Just make it quick, master.” Juir said softly. He was the last of the cloned Padawans that Firdlump had made when Vandar had ‘absconded’ with them from the Enclave. “I am…tired…”

“Sleep boy.” Vandar said gently as his hand came down on the young man’s shoulder. “May your next life be glorious.” Juir’s eyes rolled up inside his head and he slumped in place, dead. Vandar caught him and then, with a mental wince, dissolved his body into goo. The nanites within him pulled the residue into himself to tend his own wounds, leaving nothing behind but sour memories and regret.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:48 PM | #8
She woke to pain. Her chest was on fire, her head felt like a pair of shockboxers were duking it out inside and the rest of her felt little better. She opened her eyes and was not surprised to find them covered.

“She is awake.” The soft voice had her flinching. She knew that voice. Or… She corrected herself, she HAD known that voice. Min was dead, mindwiped and then slain by her own lightsaber. So… A clone or some other kind of copy. That kind of thing was something that Ona of the Bladeborn understood. She thought back to the fight.

She had been doing fairly well, her forms had been almost perfect, although she knew that there was always room for improvement. Then she had seen Min’s face under that cowl and frozen for just a second too long. Pain had erupted in her back and she was sure she had seen blue emerge from her chest before blackness had enfolded her. She had roused a few times, conscious of movement, of fiery pain, but then she had always fallen back into the blackness. She tried her hands, but of course they were fettered. Her feet, likewise.

“We have some time until the transport leaves.” Vandar’s voice came from nearby and Ona had to force herself not to flinch. A gentle hand traced her cheek, but she did not react. “It’s okay, Ona. It will be okay.” She sensed where he was and aimed carefully. She couldn’t see where her globule of spit landed, but from the sounds that came from nearby, it was a direct hit. Vandar laughed a little sadly. “Defiant to the end, healer? I almost wish you were not. But then, you wouldn’t be who you are. Take care of her.” His presence vanished from nearby, replaced by a somewhat familiar one.

“I have water for you healer.” Min’s voice was gentle. Ona turned her head away from the voice. “Healer, please. We didn’t want to hurt you.” Ona shook her head violently and managed to roll her body until she was lying on the hurt side. The pain was so intense as to force a gasp past her ironclad control but it did what she wanted. Maybe she could manage to die before they realized what she had just done. “Healer, don’t do that!” Min exclaimed as strong hands took hold of her and rolled her onto her back.

“She won’t stop fighting.” Another voice. Male, older, sadder. “It is all she knows now. My brother was always an idiot. Stupid religious fanatic and his wife was worse.” Ona felt her blood freeze. How the hell did they know about that? Her past was gone, forgotten. No one remembered that Kiero Melan had once had a daughter, one he had found unacceptable and thrown out with the trash. A small brown being had found her, taken her in and raised her until she had assumed the name of Ona. A gentle hand traced her brow. “My name is Thokal Melan, Shikiria. I am your uncle.”

“Minor problem with that, liar.” Ona grated out, trying with all her might to keep her breathing even. If she could just hide it until it was too late… “Thokal Melan is dead.”

“I am a clone.” The voice said softly. “As are Min and Ki Lom. We are all slaves. As are you now.”

“You don’t know much about us, do you?” Ona said hoarsely. Then she threw her hands up, slamming the bound wrists into the form that stood nearby. She had the satisfaction of hearing a bone break and then strong hands were holding her down. “You may be able to kill me, but I am no one's slave!” She fought, but the hands were too strong and eventually she stopped, content with her tactical retreat and hoping that she had hastened what she could feel in her chest now.

“Shikiria…” Thokal Melan’s voice was rueful now. “You won’t have a choice. Once Menglan gets done with you, you will serve, gladly.”

“You wish.” Ona snarled. “My name is Ona!” She kicked out, catching someone with her mechanical legs until they were immobilized again.

“Not anymore.” Thokal said gently and sadly. “Now your name will be whatever the master and Menglan decide. I will call you Ona if you wish to help ease your transition. You will fight, it is what you Bladeborn do. But you won’t win.”

“Winning is not everything, nerfbait.” Ona said with a smile as she relaxed. She was gasping now. “You… have…nothing…”

“Master!” Min’s voice was alarmed now. “Something is wrong! Her breathing is wrong.” Ona snarled and started fighting again. Too soon, she needed more time!

“Sleep Ona.” Melan’s hand was back on her brow. She fought the compulsion, trying with all her might and skill to stay awake. She had to keep fighting until it was too late for them to resuscitate her.

“No!” Ona cried out. “I am not a slave!” She managed to throw the weight off her legs and lashed out again, hearing a cry of pain as she connected to something.

“Hold her!” Vandar commanded and several sets of hand held her despite her struggles. A stick in her arm had her falling slowly. But she fought that too, detoxifying the sedative as quickly as she could. She came back to herself with hands holding her down and gentle three clawed hands touching the wound on her chest. “Pneumothorax.” Vandar said to Ona’s dismay. “Give me a needle, quickly.”

No!” Ona screamed as she slammed herself up with both muscles and the Force. Some of the bodies on her shifted a bit and she pressed her advantage, lashing out with bound hands and fettered feet, hearing sounds of alarm and pain as she connected. “I… will… not…”

“Enough.” The soft, almost gentle command seeped through her and she fell, every voluntary muscle in her body relaxing. She could not resist as someone plunged the needle into her chest, she had no energy even to cry out. But she had one more card to play. Even as the trapped air that had been pressing against her heart slipped out, she focused on her heart. It was healthy, beating quickly in her distress. She couldn’t stop it suddenly, or they would sense it. She could slow it down, make it less efficient. Her lungs would fill with fluid as the heart failed to pump them out. It would be slow, far slower than a tension pneumothorax, but no less fatal if they did not catch it.

“There we go…” Vandar’s soft and gentle voice had her wincing. “For safety’s sake, we should remove her prosthesis.” Ona felt fear again, but quashed it. Of course they were going to threaten that, they were going to do that. She was a prisoner; her comfort took a distinct back seat. But eventually, they would make a mistake, or miss what she had just done. If she kept fighting, maybe they would not figure it out at all until it was too late. She fought the Force induced relaxation her muscles, sensing feeling coming back.

“You…” She snarled, straining to fight, to scream. “Bastards…”

“We don’t have time for this.” Vandar said quietly. “Cut them off at the thigh.” She managed a wordless scream of denial but no more as the snap of a lightsaber sounded. She screamed again, this time wailing in loss and pain. As first one and then the other leg were cut off her pain increased exponentially. Mercifully, she could only take it for a few seconds before blacking out.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 06:51 PM | #9
“Bloody hell…” Thokal Melan was nursing a badly bruised arm and a broken nose as he stared at the finally limp form in front of him and deactivated his saber, returning it to his side. “Maybe the can rethist Menglan…”

“Maybe…” Vandar said sadly as he smoothed Ona’s facial fur. “If so, she will be the first. You okay?”

“The broke my nobe.” Thokal said slowly and carefully as he eased the bones back into place for his nanites to fix. “Kiero wath an idiot, more than an idiot. The ith…” The Bothan was crying softly as he shook his head. His voice returned to normal as he healed far faster than a Bothan should, even a Jedi. “She is…So exceptional…”

“I know. Stay with her.” Vandar said gently, and then turned to the Padawans. “You two okay?”

“Yes.” Min looked up from where she was helping Ki Lom to his feet. “She took us by surprise. How could she fight like that with all her muscles relaxed?”

“I have no idea.” Vandar admitted a bit sheepishly. “That never failed before. Good eyes Min, you saved her life. That pneumothorax would have killed her, which was her intention.”

“I don’t know whether I should be congratulated or cursed.” Min said softly as she sat and checked her arm where a livid bruise showed. “Master… I felt pain when her legs were cut off…” She said quietly as she looked to where two smoldering mechanical legs lay well away from where the black furred healer finally slept fitfully. Everyone was watching her now, just in case. “I thought it was just psychological trauma from losing her legs again… but… Thinking back… It wasn’t.”

“Hmmm…?” Vandar paused, unsure. “I was a bit distracted. Min, are you sure?”

“Yes, Master Vandar.” Min said deferentially. Her eyes were downcast, as they had been since she had been decanted form the tank she had been gestated in. Every so often, Vandar railed again at Firdlump for taking such a bright, lively Padawan and making a submissive clone out of her. “It felt physical… Maybe…” She knelt down beside Ona and slowly opened the other female’s robes, careful to avoid the still hot remnants of the healer’s prosthetic legs. When she did, she gasped. “Master…”

All three of the others came to stand beside her and as one, all three gasped. The wounds that Ona had taken in the fight were visible, but that was not what alarmed them. Many old lightsaber burns shone on her flesh even through her fur. Vandar was shaking his head slowly as he traced them, without touching her skin.

“This…and this…” He indicated the old marks of wounds. “Took her legs, cleanly, precisely angled at the hip to cripple her and leave her alive. This was not done in a battle. Someone knocked her out, or held her in place while doing this. Almost certainly a Sith, and in that case, she was likely awake and aware at the time.” His voice was sick now. “This… this and this…” He indicated spots that marked old healed deep burns on her abdomen and his voice was confused now. “Why? They are not fatal, not with the cauterization from a lightsaber blade. They are not even the most painful spots.”

“Physically painful, no…” Melan said, pain etching his features now. “But emotionally? Spiritually? That is where her reproductive organs were. Her ovaries and her womb. Those burns are deep, whoever did this pressed the tip of the blade deep into her.” Three sets of eyes went wide at that. “Whoever did this sterilized her with a lightsaber. And this…” Melan’s voice was also sick now as he knelt down and traced silver wires that came from her back around her front. “That is how she moved so well with mechanical legs. A direct neural link, hooked to her spinal column. When I cut off her legs…” He slumped in place, his face sad.

“It did hurt her physically…” Vandar was even more horrified now. “Oh my god. That kind of trauma can kill people who are hale. We have to get her to medical care. Now.”

“The transport we selected has medical staff aboard.” Melan said slowly. “But they don’t launch for another two hours. If we move too quickly, the Imperials will get suspicious.”

“And if we don’t move quickly, we may lose her.” Vandar said with an acid edge to his voice.

“And would that be a bad thing?” Melan asked carefully. Both Padawans stared at him and then at Vandar. “Really a bad thing? You know what Menglan will do to her… You know…”

“I want to disobey.” Vandar said, struggling. “But I can’t. Can you?” Melan shook his head. “Damn.” Vandar said slowly. “Min, Ki Lom? Can either of you… um… interpret what orders you were given?”

“Why would we?” Ki Lom asked woodenly. But Min looked at Vandar and her eyes were cautious. Vandar looked at her and smiled. He nodded to Melan who nodded back.

“Ki Lom, come with me.” Vandar started off. “We are going to try and find faster transport.”

“Master…” Min said slowly, her face downcast. “What have I done?”

“You haven’t done anything, Min.” Melan reassured her gently. “But we need you to do something. Something that will be very frightening.”

“What do you need me to do?” Min asked, a little scared now. “I can’t disobey, they will hurt me again…”

“You won’t.” Melan said even more gently. “Sleep Min. You will remember collapsing and us having to leave you behind.” He touched her on the forehead and she collapsed. He sighed as he scooped the still form of Ona of the Bladeborn up in gentle hands and carried her from the apartment. “I know he is on planet, the fuss will attract his attention. He is curious, always has been. I just hope Ravishaw talks to you before killing you.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.15.2012 , 07:00 PM | #10
A terrifying voice roused her. Min went from unplanned sleep to sheer terror in milliseconds.

“Well, well, well… What have we here?” A soft, silky voice drove the last of the sleep from Min and she tried to flee. But a hand grabbed her and the Force was sucked out of her in a roaring wave, leaving her a shivering wreck on the floor. “Now, now, none of that, girl. You are one of the clone brats.”

“R…R…Ravishaw… I…” She flinched back as a hand traced her cheek. “Don’t touch me!”

“I am certainly not going to sleep with you girl.” Did his voice hold humor? She dared a glance and he stood there, as always in his customary black. His latest apprentice stood behind him, a puppet to his will. “You are too young for me, and you don’t have the stamina to keep it interesting. What are you doing on Alderaan, brat? You really stirred up the Republic forces. They are all going gundark.” His mind crowded into hers with all the subtlety of a herd of bull rancors.

“I…” Min tried to focus her mind, to keep the sifting thoughts that she could feel away from her, but it was no use. He was far more powerful and well versed in procuring information in unusual ways. “No…”

“Go ahead, fight.” He sounded bored now. “If I break you, Menglan will just make another.” Then he froze as he saw something in the corner. Two mechanical legs. His mind slammed into hers and she screamed, but his voice was louder. “What have you done?” He screamed as he grabbed her by the throat and held her off the floor, her legs kicking impotently.

“I…” She gasped, fighting for breath. “I don’t know…”

“You… You…” Ravishaw was obviously fighting to control himself. His apprentice looked at him and spoke softly.

“Master…” The red skinned Sith pureblood nodded as he looked at her. “If you kill her, we will never get the information you seek.”

“Yes.” Ravishaw visibly relaxed himself. He lowered Min to the floor almost gently and set her on her feet. “Thank you, Gwenia. What do you think, Gwenia? Another apprentice?” Min felt the Sith’s eyes on her, but she didn’t dare look away from the man in front of her. What was he suggesting?

“She is a bit young.” Gwenia replied evenly. “But she is strong.”

“True. I have stolen them from Jedi and Sith, but never from Firdlump. I don’t know if I can. Let’s find out.” Ravishaw was looking Min up and down slowly. “Strip.” He said quietly and she found her body reacting without her control. In moments, she was standing in front of him, naked. He nodded. “What we have will fit her. Gwenia, see that her robes are on right and get her to the ship. When she is there, prepare her.” With that, he was gone. As soon as he was, Min collapsed to the floor, tears falling.

She stiffened as a gentle hand touched her on the shoulder. She looked up into concerned eyes. She had never seen that particular look of concern on a Sith pureblood’s face.

“I am not going to lie. It will hurt, a great deal. But you will emerge stronger for it.” Gwenia held out a black bundle. “Here, put these on.” Min looked and found that the bundle was Sith robes.

“I…” Min was crying again. “Why…?”

“Put them on.” Gwenia said ungently, giving the girl a shove. “We don’t have a lot of time. You can’t walk around this part of the planet dressed as a Jedi. Why were you here? What did he sense in you that made him so angry?”

“Vandar and Melan came to snatch Ona of the Bladeborn.” Min said woodenly as she pulled the Sith robes on. She paused as Gwenia hissed. “She resisted. They had to cut off her legs.”

“Are they insane?” Gwenia said dubiously. “They have to know how the Bladeborn, hell, how everyone is going to react. Ona is loved by a whole bunch of powerful people. Come on, finish up.”

Min finished closing the robes and shivered slightly. There was a cold, wet stain in the right armpit and she didn’t need to look to know it was blood. Probably from the previous wearer. She was shivering hard as Gwenia led her from the room and out of the building. No one paid her any mind at all. The two females simply walked right by the guards at the spaceport who saluted them. Gwenia did not react, simply marched forward, her steps even. After a little bit, Min found herself following easily. Min followed without difficulty until they reached a landing bay and a small transport appeared inside. She knew that ship! She stiffened in rebellion, but Gwenia took her arm in an unbreakable grip and steered her towards the open maw of the ramp.

Min was resisting as best she could as Gwenia led her into the ship, but her terror was hindering her as the Sith led her into what was obviously a medical bay.

“Strip, girl.” Gwenia said quietly as she pulled what had to be a patient gown of some kind out of a closet. “We don’t want to ruin the robes.”

“No…” Min said softly, horror etching every pore as she looked at the table, the surgical gear, everything. She knew what happened in here! She turned to flee, but a swift blow from Gwenia had her retching on the floor. The Sith shook her head and professionally stripped her robes off. Then Gwenia threw the patient gown over her head, picked her up effortlessly and laid her on the table. Restraints moved without anyone touching them physically and before Min could react, she was strapped down tightly.

“Please…” Min begged, heart thudding. “Don’t do this…”

“Relax, girl.” Gwenia said kindly as she strapped her girl’s head in place. “It hurts less if you don’t resist. It still hurts, mind you. But less.” She started moving things and a sinister looking droid approached. “Level one indoctrination protocols. Full plumbing.” Gwenia commanded and Min steeled herself as the droid began its work. She flinched from its cold steel fingers as tubes went into sensitive spots. Then one went down her nose and she gasped as a stick in her arm had her falling. She never lost consciousness though, everything just went slightly blurry.

“Rest girl.” Gwenia’s face was close by and her voice was soft and gentle now. “You will need it.”

“Get us ready for takeoff, Gwenia.” Ravishaw’s voice was harsh as he stepped into the room. “We have an Imperial transport to catch.” Gwenia bowed and left the room. Ravishaw shook his head as he stepped towards the table. Min would have felt fear if she had been able. “Vandar certainly is sneaky, leaving you as a message. We may not be able to catch them, but someone will. However, that leaves you as a loose end.”

“Will…” Min managed to get words past her leaden tongue. “Will you kill me?”

“Kill you?” Ravishaw actually looked hurt for a moment. “Oh no, my dear. I am going to open your eyes to a larger world. Whether you want it or not.” She could only watch as his hands moved towards her head so slowly. “I will have to think of another name for you. One I haven’t used. Ah well, later.”

His hands were cold at first on her scalp, but then they warmed. And warmed. And warmed. They got so hit they bored right through her skin and into her skull. She was screaming as a tangible darkness snatched her and held her tight. His eyes bored into her, she never lost consciousness. She was begging for death, pleading for it, but she never died and the encroaching darkness never took her into unconsciousness. After a long time it might have been minutes or days, the pain ended, leaving her sobbing in the restraints.

“I don’t want you gone completely, although you have to act it.” Ravishaw said as he sat back. “The nanites in your system are now disabled. How do you feel, Min?” His voice was gentle now.

“Sore…” Min replied uneasily. Why the sudden change? “What are you going to do to me?”

“Like I said, I am going to open your eyes. Min, you are a clone, a slave.” Ravishaw’s voice was soft now. “But you don’t have to be. You can be more, much more. You can help me.”

“Help you?” Min asked incredulously. “I am a slave. So are you.”

“No, I am not, Min.” Ravishaw said with a smile. “While I have to play one, I am not one. But I need your help to keep this from going completely nuclear in more ways than one. When Istara finds out about this, hell when Will finds out about this…” Min stared astonished as Ravishaw, the dark and terrifying boogeyman, actually shuddered. “We have to get her back and we have to do it in such a way as not to arouse suspicion.”

“But…” Min protested. “You serve Firdlump.”

“No, I don’t.” Ravishaw said gently as he patted her shoulder. “I serve the Seven.” Min’s eyes went wide and Ravishaw smiled again. “You have questions, we have time. It will take some time to try and catch the ship that Vandar and Melan took. We may not be able to catch them, but even if we can’t, there are a lot of interested parties in this now. I…” He bowed his head. “I don’t want to leave Ona in Vandar’s hands for longer than absolutely necessary, but if I break cover… I hate this…” Was he crying?

“You love her.” Min’s soft tone wasn’t a question.

“Always have.” Ravishaw agreed. “Every Bladeborn does. Which is why this is going to get incredibly messy if we don’t get her back, like… now. She is such a shining light with just a little darkness streaking her soul, if they…break her… dampen that light… You haven’t seen the entire Order of Bladeborn angry, Min. No one has in a long, long time. No one has been dumb enough to do that. Even the Sith step carefully about doing such a thing. They remember what happened the last time.”

“What happened the last time?” Min asked, curious despite herself.

“It was oh... about four hundred years ago. A couple of young and bright initiate members of the Order were kidnapped, violated and left staked alive to trees as a ‘warning to our people’. It took them over three days to die after the Bladeborn found them. In response, Trugoy and company depopulated most of a small city. Men, women, children, pets, nothing was left alive… It was the only time in the recorded history of the Order that the Order as a whole has targeted children, but then again, the 'children' there were as vicious as the adults. ” Ravishaw said grimly. “It took them a while. But when Imperial investigators arrived to find out why the colony had stopped responding to communication, they found Trugoy sitting atop a ten meter high pile of skulls. He explained calmly to them why making his Order angry in such a way was such a bad idea. Can you blame them for not wanting it to happen again?”

“Uh… No…” Min said slowly. “So… What will happen?”

“If they break her?” Ravishaw sighed and looked sick. “You know about berserkers, Min.” Min would have nodded but her head was held in place. “Think three hundred or so Force sensitive berserkers. And that is not even counting the Masterblades. What’s worse is they would fail.” Ravishaw looked very sick now. “Any normal foe, they could tear apart with ease, but Firdlump is not a normal foe. We throw three hundred Bladeborn at him and all we would have to show for it is three hundred steaming piles of goo.”

“So what do we do?” Min asked softly, impossibly she was even more scared now. Ravishaw sighed and patted her shoulder.

“This is going to hurt, Min. I can’t do it without pain. I have tried, recently, to find a way to do it without, but it never seems to work. It just lobotomizes the subject, which I won’t do to you.” Ravishaw shook his head. “So this is going to hurt. Here...” He held out something and after a moment, Min opened her mouth and let him slip the mouthguard in. It felt…weird. Something was moving inside her mouth but she didn’t react. His hands went back to cradling her head and she focused as the pain came again. She could endure this, especially if it meant she could be free.

After what seemed like centuries, the pain ended. Min gasped in relief and spat the mouthguard out. Then she stiffened as a straw found her lips. She sucked and water cooled her tongue.

“Easy…” Ravishaw’s voice was weary. “Drink slow, Kora.”

“Kora?” Min asked slowly after she had taken a long slow drink. “You change the names. Will you change my face?”

“No.” Ravishaw said gently. “We need you to look as you did. But your mind is free now, Kora.”

“Free…” The being formerly known as Min frowned. “I don’t know what that is. All I know is the flash imprint of the Jedi Min and… What happened after I was decanted.” The head restraints were undone and she smiled as she sipped again.

“Now, you can choose your own way.” Ravishaw smiled at her as she opened her eyes. “Tell me to take a hike and I will. But we need you.”

“Me?” The girl on the table asked carefully. “What can I do?”

“We have a cunning plan.” Ravishaw said with a smirk at her expression. “Problem is, it needs bait and I can’t do it, or I break my cover. I was about to tell them to flarg off and do it anyway.” He shrugged at her expression. “The Seven all love Ona too. They are not about to leave her to Menglan and Firdlump’s nonexistent mercy.”

“What do you need?” Min -no Kora- she reminded herself, asked. “I will do what I can.” Ravishaw nodded and smiled at her as he undid the rest of the restraints.

“Good girl. Be yourself.” He smiled at her expression. “We can’t tell you the whole plan, but if you act as you should, this can work.”

“Okay…” Kora said slowly as she sat up. Her head spun, but she did not wince. When she ran a hand over her scalp, she found no evidence of burns or other injuries. She looked at Ravishaw who shrugged.

“Putting a bomb in your head is evil as well as redundant.” Ravishaw said gently. “I could take control of you. I don’t want to.” For just an instant, the girl on the table saw deep, deep into the man as he let his shields fall for a moment. What she saw scared her and made her sad. She held out a hand.

“Let me help.” Kora said slowly as she focused herself. “I want to help. What do you need me to do?”

“Be scared.” Ravishaw smiled at her expression and helped her off the table. “The idea is that I took you from the Sith who captured you and then I played with you. Then I will toss you back to Vandar like a sack of potatoes.” Revulsion colored his words now. “I will plant memories of hasty torture in your mind as well as my own… particular horrors.” He held up a hand to forestall her protests. “They will not actually be real. But to you they will be real. Real enough to fool Menglan and Firdlump for a time. I need you to get aboard their ship, find Ona and get her ready for extraction. I can’t fake injuries though, so I do have to hurt you. There will be a deep seated command in your subconscious, when you see Ona, to remember the truth. Then the extraction team will come and get you.”

“You?” Min asked softly.

“No.” Ravishaw smiled as he helped her dress in a new set of robes. Ones that were oddly tattered. “But you will like them. Now as for specifics… One of your rear molars has been replaced. Bite down on it if you need a quick escape. And whatever you do, don’t let Vandar catch you doing anything out of character, that being is sharp…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here