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(L,F&E 90) Swirling Force? Or Destiny?

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
(L,F&E 90) Swirling Force? Or Destiny?

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 06:43 PM | #1
It was very quiet in the queen’s nesting chamber of the Sitolon homeship. Queen Sarai was sitting, her posture dejected as her retainer tried to cheer her up.

“It is not your fault, Sarai.” Ji said desperately. “It is not your fault. Lohas cleared it all with all of us, it is not your fault.” The younger bug was rubbing the queen’s carapace, trying to stimulate circulation and relaxation. But Sarai’s decision to blow up the nanite production facilities on the Sitolon homeworld had thrown her into a deep depression, one even the hivemind was having difficulty easing her out of.

“I know.” Sarai said sadly. “But the drones who carried the bomb in were ours. I asked, they all volunteered. But… whether they volunteered or not, they were part of us. They will be remembered. But I gave the order…”

“Sarai… Please…” Ji was getting exasperated. “It is not your fault. None of this was your fault.”

“Listen to her, Sarai.” Lohas said from her spot nearby. The young Sitolon nanite controller was busy with something, her claws flying as she worked a holo. “We had to stop them from taking the production facility. If you must blame someone, blame me. That I couldn’t stop those scum from taking over the…” She broke off as a sour voice came from nearby.

“Lohas, claw.” A blue skinned Twi’lek strode to stand beside the small silver form. “Now.”

“Melita…” Lohas sighed deeply, turned off her holo and held out her claw. The Twi’lek slapped it hard and then retreated. Lohas shook her claw as she recovered it. “Ow. It is a good thing I am not a queen Melita. Abusing a monarch would have serious consequences.” The Twi’lek just sat, her face desolate and Lohas sighed. “I am sorry, Melita. I tried… I couldn’t get through to her. I could barely touch poor Ecmin. I could feel her, but… It wasn’t her, Melita… It wasn’t Olandas.”

“I know.” Melitas said, tears starting to fall. “We were not really involved, just… friends, you know. Colleagues, coworkers. She needed help, I gave it. I needed help, she gave it. I know that the bad guys win a lot, I know that she is alive and where there is life, there is hope, but…” She froze as a gentle hand touched her arm. She looked up into concerned brown eyes. “Jina…?”

“I came as soon as I could, Melita.” Jina Darkstorm said with a sad smile as she hugged the Twi’lek who had been her first love. “We need to talk. All of us.” Something in her voice had Melita tensing.

“Jina…” The Twi’lek rose and embraced her old lover. “What is wrong?” Jina smiled at her and hugged her back.

Which one of us has the Force?” Jina asked sarcastically and then she smiled and motioned for Melita to sit. She sat as the Twi’lek did, well within reach. She smiled as the Twi’lek’s lekku caressed her gently. So many good memories. “I may be able to help Olandas.” Both of them looked up as Sarai hissed in shock.

“Jina… No…” The queen said, disapproval oozing from every pore. “Do not even think about such a thing.”

“I am not surprised you knew.” Jina replied, her tone absolutely neutral. “I am surprised you kept it from me.”

“Jina… No…” Sarai replied lamely. “I didn’t want to lose anyone else. I don’t… No…” She cried as she stepped forward. “Don’t… Please, we can find another way.” Melita stared at the Sitolon whose body posture of fear and worry now and then at Jina.

“Jina…?” The Twi’lek’s voice was soft, scared. “What are you going to do?”

“Not many loves survive a death, Melita. You died and I got you back.” Jina said as her hand caressed her good friend’s arm. “But know that no matter what, no matter what happens to me, I will always love you.”

“Jina…” Melita said, eyes wide. “You are scaring me. Whatever I see in your eyes… Don’t do it…”

“Oh, Melita… Always the brave one.” Jina sighed. “It is the only way. Sleep, Melita.”

“No!” The Twi’lek cried as Jina’s hand clamped onto her arm and her form was resisting as the Force eased her into sleep. “No… Jina… No…” Her face relaxed into sleep and Jina caught her and laid her down gently. Her hands caressed the Twi’lek’s lekku as she sighed.

“I am sorry, Melita.” Jina said as she bent down, kissing her old lover on the lips gently. “Where I go, you cannot follow.” She arranged Melita’s limbs so she would be comfortable and then rose slowly as if she were an old, old woman. She turned to face to face the stunned Sitolon. “You will need to keep her asleep or in stasis until I am… done. Otherwise she will chase me and get herself killed. Please… I don’t want anyone else to die following me.”

“Jina…” Sarai’s voice held horror. “Don’t do this… Please…”

“What choice do we have?” Jina said slowly as she turned to go. “The fate of the Third is clear.”

“It is a prophecy, Jina!” Sarai complained. “It doesn’t make sense until after it is done.” Jina started for the door. “Jina… please?”

“Queen Sarai…Stop her…” Lohas said slowly. “If… If she goes, she will die! Jina no…Don’t leave us… Don’t leave me… I thought you were my friend… Why are you leaving me…?” Her voice sounded so lost and young now. Jina paused and shook her head as she moved towards Lohas.

“Hey…I am your friend, Lohas.” Jina said gently as she moved to stand beside the young nanite controller. “It’s okay Lohas. I have spent my whole life trying to help others. I knew that my death would come helping others. The visions are clear now.”

“Jina…” Lohas shook her head and held out a claw. “Please… Visions are never clear. Don’t leave us, please?” She dropped her claw as Jina shook her head. “I… No…” Lohas said, near panicking. She was still very young.

“I have to, Lohas.” Jina bent down and gave the slumping bug a hug. “I have to. Maybe I can help Olandas, Katherine or poor Ecmin in the process.”

“You would…? Jina… I…” Lohas asked, her form shivering in grief and fear. “I could send some of my children with you… They could help…” Jina shook her head. “Jina… please…”

“You will need all the help you can get to hold Firdlump’s artificial hivemind off the nanites on the Sitolon homeworld, Lohas. If they get the mass of nanites that have been working to rebuild the ecosystem, we are screwed. Concentrate on that, my friend.” Jina said as she hugged Lohas again and then rose. She nodded formally to the Sitolon queen. “Do I have your permission to leave, Queen Sarai?”

“Jina…” Sarai was heaving in grief as she stepped forward. “I don’t want to lose you… I know it was wrong not to tell you what I suspected, what we suspected…” She broke off as Jina shook her head. The former Jedi smiled as she embraced the queen gently and then stepped back. “What about Zana?” Sarai asked as she slumped.

“Zana… has said she will stay with me, to the end. I am going to try and keep her from following.“ Sarai tensed and Jina nodded. “I don’t expect to succeed, but I have to try. The future is always in motion. Not your fault. You did the best you could with what you had. Everything dies, Sarai.” Jina said slowly, her face sad. “I just wish it wasn’t Istara who was going to kill me…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 06:52 PM | #2
<The Stormhawk>

“Hello Cina.” The soft voice had the Bladeborn warrior freezing in the middle of her workout in the training room on the renegade battlecruiser Stormhawk. She stretched, finishing her extension lunge and then sheathed her training sword before she turned to face her sister. “You look good.” Jina Darkstorm said with a sad smile.

Cina Darkstorm stared at her older sister. What was wrong? The Force was trying to tell her something, but she could not understand what it was. She couldn’t keep her eyes from the knee she had amputated to try and wake Jina up from a dangerous Force trance. Jina smiled at her and her heart eased a little, but then it constricted again. Something…

“Jina?” The younger Darkstorm sibling said slowly. “I thought you were on the homeship.”

“I was.” Jina nodded, her face sad. “I… I haven’t seen you since mom and dad died. I…” She stopped talking as Cina stepped forward, her hands going to her old sister’s shoulders.

“You have been busy.” Cina said as she embraced her older sister. “Jina, what is wrong?” She asked as her sister did not return the embrace. “Jina…?”

“I used to think destiny was a pile of poodoo. That people made their own.” Jina said with a smile as she ruffled her sister’s hair. “Now I know better. I know that everything I have done has led me now to this place. I have tried to avoid it, and all I have done it hasten my steps.”

“Jina…” Cina gave her sister a shake. “What is wrong?”

“I need to talk to you, Mama Lizard and Ona if she is available.” Jina said as she stepped back. “If not, then Jon.”

“Are you hurt or sick?” Cina asked, looking with more than her eyes, but finding nothing. Not that she could really sense Jina’s presence, the Force dampener built into Jina’s armor was powerful. “What is wrong?” She asked again, suddenly afraid. She couldn’t say why, just that suddenly, her whole form shivered in fear.

“It’s okay, Cina.” Jina said as she stepped close again, easing her sister’s irrational fear with kindness. “I know what I have to do.”

“Jina…” Suddenly Cina felt fear the likes of which she had never felt before. Not when she had gone to the Sith as a child. Not when Bob had taken her and programmed her to serve him. Not when she had faced Ravishaw in a training ring one time and gotten her chrono cleaned. Not even when her parents had died. “No…” Cina cried as she hugged her sister tight, tears starting to fall. “No…” She was blubbering and didn’t care.

“Cina…” Jina rubbed her sister’s shoulders gently. “Let’s go talk to Mama and Ona.”

***

Cina hadn’t wanted to leave her sister’s side. It had taken a direct command from Mama Lizard to get the young Bladeborn to sit. Mama Lizard puttered about the quarters she had revamped into her new ‘den’, making tea for the group and making sure that Ona did not move.

“Sssit, Ona.” Mama declared as Ona tried to stand up and move to Jina’s side again. “You are ztill nowhere clossse to recovered.” She handed the Bothan a steaming cup and sat beside her with one of her own. Her attention was on the Bothan and her expression made the healer sigh and sit carefully, easing sore muscles and bones.

“I can’t feel you, Jina.” Ona said slowly as she nursed her cup. “Why have you closed yourself up so tight?”

“I don’t want to hurt you, Ona.” Jina said as she sipped her own tea, smiling at the taste. She made a sour face but not at the tea. “This is going to hurt a number of people, badly. You Ona… I think worst of all. You and Istara.” Ona froze, her cup halfway to her lips.

“Jina…” Ona’s voice was horrified. “No… Not you… Not now…” Jina continued, as if the Bothan had not spoken.

“I was meditating on the homeship a week ago…” Jina said quietly in the silence that descended. “Zana has been meditating with me. She would have made a heck of a Jedi. But I wouldn’t change her now for anything.”

“Where isss Zana?” Mama asked slowly, looking around. “Ssshe would not have left your zide willingly.”

“She is getting something for me, something I left here the last time I was aboard. I tried to leave her on the homeship.” Jina said with a grimace. “That was a mistake. She chased me down. I don’t want to… be responsible for the death of another learner. Even if she is not a padawan, every learner who studies with me dies…”

“Jina…” Ona said slowly, gently. “It’s not your fault.”

“I know that.” Jina said sadly. “But that does not change the facts. She made her choice and I will not gainsay it.”

“What did you see, Jina?” Cina had not touched her tea. “In your vision?” Jina patted her sister’s arm before speaking.

“I saw Istara. She was…angry. Angrier than I have ever seen her.” Jina mused, her own cup forgotten. “Someone was trying to calm her down, a female that I do not know, but when Istara gets that angry…”

“People die.” Mama Lizard said, her face ashen. “Jina…”

“She wasn’t wearing armor and she wasn’t much older than she is now.” Jina said quietly. “So it’s soon.”

“What happened?” Cina set her cup down and reached out to her sister. “Jina…?”

“I don’t know.” Jina said softly, her eyes distant. “It happens fast, I know that. One moment I am looking at her, through something, maybe a helmet? I don’t know. I am wearing armor I know that. I am aiming a weapon at her, not a saber, a stunner I think, definitely not a blaster… It feels odd… She is charging, she is not wearing anything but a nightgown! I… I don’t want to hurt her, but she is so angry… So fast and angry… I can’t move fast enough, the armor is slowing me down. I have to hit her, knock her out before she kills someone! I focus on my shot, I try to fire… And then… she hits me and…” She looked up, tears falling. “I woke out of the meditation screaming. Zana saw what I did, she was screaming as well.”

“By the Force…” Ona’s face was pale. “But Jina, it was a vision, just a possible future.”

“Two of us having the exact same vision?” Jina inquired softly. “And every night for the last week?” She shook her head. “It is coming, soon.”

“No…” Cina jumped to her feet and ran to her sister, pulling Jina into a rough embrace. “I can’t lose you, not now… Not when I finally have you back. No…” Mama Lizard and Ona both looked at each other but did not intervene.

“Cina.” The former Jedi held her younger sister out at arm’s length. “I need you to be as strong as I know you are. This is going to tear Istara completely apart. That is part of the prophecy, actually. She will kill herself in remorse for what happens to me. You cannot let her die.”

“But…” Cina was holding onto her tears by her fingernails. “Jina… I…”

“You are the last of the Darkstorms, girl…” Jina said, giving Cina a shake. “You have to be strong, you have to persevere. Life has given you a good shellacking, but it has taught you how to survive. On that note…” She nodded to the side and Zana entered the room, a bundle in hand. The young Bladeborn bowed to Mama and Ona, then knelt and laid the bundle at Cina’s feet before rising and leaving in silence. “Cina… This is everything I own. The deed to the estates on Vanaria, Mikol’s journal, Some robes that may or may not fit you, spare parts and a lightsaber. My old one.” Cina was shaking her head, but Jina shook her gently again. “Cina… Please… I need you to do something for me.

“Anything…” Cina said but paused as Jina slapped her arm gently. “Wha…?”

“You do not know what I am going to ask.” Jina said softly and then turned to where Mama sat, transfixed. “One does not …leave… the Bladeborn. But one can take a leave of absence, correct?”

“It isss mozt irregular.” Mama said with a frown. “But it hasss been done. We need a reazon.”

“I have one.” Jina said quietly. “Cina Darkstorm…” Her sister jerked as Jina stepped back, her face impassive. “You have learned well your clandestine lessons over the last several months. Your studies have not gone unnoticed. Every teaching droid on this ship reports to Boss, who has kept me appraised.” Cina tensed, but Jina smiled at her and the younger girl relaxed a little. “No one minds you learning as much as you can. Even about the Jedi.” Both Ona and Mama were staring open mouthed at Cina as the girl froze in place. “The warping that was done to you, by the Sith and by Bob to pretend you were a Sith, both of those tortures have left scars upon you, scars that will never likely fade. But you are strong in the Force and wise to learn as much as you can. You will need more instruction in the Force and the Bladeborn cannot teach you what you need to learn. The sword? That they know better than any I have met. The Force…? Not so much.” Cina was shaking now and Jina sighed as she stepped forward again, taking her sister’s hands in her own. “Bob made you Bladeborn against your will.” Both Mama and Ona hissed in disbelief and shock, staring from the former Jedi to Cina and back. “It kept you alive, so that one day you could find your true path. And…” She smiled. “I happen to know a Jedi who is looking for a padawan. Someone who wishes to learn.”

“I…” Cina shook her head violently. “I can’t… I am Bladeborn.”

“Isss it true…?” Mama asked as she rose slowly. “You were not given a choize?” Her voice held horror. Cina shook her violently, tears flying every which way as she tried to control herself. Ona likewise rose, her face a mask of sadness. “Oh, child… Why did you not sssay anything…?” The Barabel was crying.

“The others were given the choice, serve as Bladeborn or become troops.” Cina said in a monotone as the Barabel and Bothan came close, joining in the hug around her. “He… he needed me as a trainer. I was obstinate… I fought… I didn’t know what was happening, just that he demanded my service and I refused. I woke with the brand on my arm and… I… I can’t Jina. I can’t…”

“Oh Cina…” Mama Lizard held her gently as the younger human girl sobbed. “I am sssorry. We never asssked…”

“Not your fault.” Cina swallowed her pain and grief and calmed her emotions. “It is for life though.”

“This has happened before.” Ona said in the silence that fell. “Once, long ago, an arrogant Masterblade raised two young children to Bladeborn status without permission or informing the Order. He trained them in our ways, but they did not wish to be Bladeborn. Trugoy was… incensed…”

“Trugoy tore the man’sss head off when he found out.” Mama Lizard corrected Ona with a sad sigh. “But thiz means, that there isss prezedent.” She took Cina’s hands in her own. “Cina, do you truly wisssh to leave uz?”

No!” Cina protested. “You all… You all are my family now… I… I can’t…”

“Cina.” Jina’s voice as calm and matter of fact. “Mind your feelings, girl. Be calm, at peace.”

“Jina… No…” Cina was begging as Jina bent down and pulled a silver hilt out of the bundle. “I… I can’t…”

“Giving up without a fight?” Jina said with a frown. “That is not like you, Cina.” She held out the lightsaber hilt. Cina stared at it as if it were venomous. “You do not have to choose this, Cina. It is a hard road. A very hard road. But one you are eminently qualified to walk. I give you the choice you were denied.”

“Jina…” Jina’s little sister has tears falling in sheets now. “I… am… Bladeborn…”

“Are you?” Another voice spoke up and all eyes turned to the door where a brown robed form stood. Hawkir Strum’s face was sad. “I met your mother once, Cina Darkstorm, a long, long time ago. I was just a padawan back then, but I remember her. Know that if you choose this path, it will not be easy, or quick.”

“Easy is not for a Jedi.” Jina said almost inaudibly.

“The Bladeborn that I have met and worked with…” Hawkir bowed his head to Mama who nodded back. “...will not hold you against your will.”

“Mama…?” Cina asked, her gaze turning to the matriarch of the Bladeborn. “I don’t want to leave… Don’t send me away…” Her voice was scared, now.

“Oh Cina… We will not forget you…” Mama Lizard said gently as she tweaked the girl’s nose a little. “You have worried usss, child. You were never… quite… right with uz. We did not know. You ssshould have zaid sssomething…” She hugged Cina again.

“I was ashamed.” Cina admitted as she stood stiffly in the Barabel’s embrace. “I was weak, I fell…”

“No one can be strong all the time, Cina.” Her sister said as she ruffled Cina’s hair. “Everyone has weaknesses that enemies will exploit. But you will get stronger.” Jina bowed her head and stepped back. Mama Lizard as well stepped back from the now cringing girl. Ona gave her a hug and stepped back to join the other two.

“No…” Cina said slowly. “I am not strong enough… I am… I am afraid…”

“So am I, Cina.” Jina Darkstorm said slowly as she held out the lightsaber again. “But you get past it.”

“Know this, Cina Darkstorm…” Ona said formally as Mama nodded. “You will always have a place in our hearts and memories. If you need assistance, you have but to call, battlesister.” Cina stiffened as both Mama and Ona bowed, to her. Then they turned and left the room silently.

“I…” Cina shook her head, stunned. She bowed her head slowly and then raised it. When she did, her face was calm. “What do I say?” She held out her hand and the saber hilt flew from Jina’s hand to hers. She stared at it and then slung it at her waist with a sigh.

“It is simple, Cina.” Jina said with a smile. “Say ‘yes’.”

“I don’t want you to die, Jina.” Cina said, her face calming as she accepted her burden. “But what I want is rarely what I get, isn’t it?”

“The Bladeborn’s loss is the Order’s gain.” Jina said as she stepped closer. “Do not forget who and what you are, Cina Darkstorm. You are my sister, now and forever. But you serve a higher calling now. A noble cause, a hard and dangerous cause.”

“I will make you proud of me, sister.” Cina said as she bowed to Jina and then to the Jedi Consular at the door. “I swear it.”

“Cina…” Jina said with a sad smile. “I have been proud of you since I first met you. Annoyed with you, yes. Wanting to knock sense into you, yes. But always proud. Be well, Jedi Padawan Cina Darkstorm.” She bowed formally and left the room.

“Is it wrong that I am sad, master?” Cina asked as she stared at the closed door.

“No.” Hawkir said in a quiet tone. “But you need to learn how to handle it. Your blade handling and physical training are well advanced, but your other skills are…” He sought a diplomatic term but Cina just laughed sourly.

“They suck.” Cina smiled as she looked at her belt and the saber that hung there now. She didn’t need to ignite it to know the blade was blue/white. Jina’s original lightsaber, before she had known she was one of the Seven. “Well, no time like the present. What should we study first?” Hawkir smiled at her and waved her to take a seat. He knelt in a meditative posture and she did likewise.

“Repeat after me, Cina… There is no Emotion, There is Peace…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 06:55 PM | #3
“Did you really think…” The soft, pained voice spoke from nowhere and Jina stopped in midstride in the empty corridor heading to the Stormhawk’s hangar bay. “…that I would let you go…” A black armored form appeared out of nowhere in the middle of the corridor. “…without at the very least saying ‘goodbye’?” Will Kalenath’s eyes were glistening, but he was not crying.

“Will…” Jina’s voice was low and sad. “I thought you were on Correllia.”

“I was, I did the weekly delivery but too many bounty hunters.” Will said sadly. “If I go in with Istara, all hell will break loose. Lots of casualties, lots of collateral damage. I want to. I almost did anyway. Then… Sharra called.” His voice turned sour. “She is a bit angry with you.”

“I bet.” Jina winced. Sharra was one of her oldest friends outside the Order. “I couldn’t, Will. I couldn’t talk to her…I couldn’t face her and keep going.”

“Oh Jina…” Will said sadly. “Come here girl…” He held out his arms and Jina stepped into them. He shook his head as she shuddered. He embraced her gently as if afraid she would break. “I am not going to ask anything dumb, like ‘are you sure’ or ‘have you lost your mind’. This whole Seven business is completely nuts. I mean, look at me, I am working with Imperials…” This from a man who was on the Empire’s ‘Most Wanted’ list for nuking an Imperial space station and shipyard.

“Tell me about it.” Jina said as she hugged the man who had found her freezing in a cave with no memory twenty years previous. And then he had come for her when she had gone back seeking answers. Answers that nearly killed her. “Will…I… I go to my death.”

“I know.” Will Kalenath said sadly. Jina looked at him and he shrugged. “I have a lot of spies, Jina.”

“Sarai called you.” She shook her head ruefully. “I should have known that crazy bug would…”

“She didn’t.” Will said sadly, cutting off her half formed rant. “Jainine did. She told me, Jina.” Now he was crying. “Oh Jina…” He shook his head as he embraced her tightly, squeezing her against his armor. “I want to do something, anything…” Jina nodded soberly. He had lost so many friends, most of whom he had never had a chance to say goodbye to.

“But you won’t, will you?” Jina asked him as he shuddered. “Will, I am sorry.”

“I always knew your road was dangerous, Jina.” Will said sadly as he stepped back. “As crazy as my life has been, yours has been just as nuts. I do love you, Jina Darkstorm. I always have, and I always will.”

“Will…” Jina said as she stiffened. “I…” She broke off as he raised a hand.

“You were a Jedi. I was a grunt.” Will said sadly. Then he laughed a little. “If things had been different…” He paused and then laughed a little abruptly. “No, I still don’t think we would have had a chance anyway.”

“Not with Sharra on the prowl.” Jina said with a smile. “She could give a black hole immovable lessons sometimes.”

“Yep, she could.” Will agreed, hugging her again. “Jina, I want to help and I can’t. I want to make it better, and I can’t.”

“No, you can’t, Will.” Jina agreed. “This isn’t something you can shoot or blow up.”

“We haven’t tried that yet.” Will argued comically and then sighed. “I would tell you to be careful, but you won’t. You will do whatever you have to do. Just like always.”

“Yeah.”Jina sighed as she started off again, the black armored form keeping pace. “Will… Don’t let her… I mean… Don’t let Istara…” She did not pause as his arm went around her, offering support.

“I won’t.” Will’s voice was sad now. “She will try, the prophecy is clear on that. We will stop her.”

“You will do your best.” Jina agreed. “Cina is…” She broke off as Will smiled. “You were watching weren’t you? Creep!” She exclaimed as he grinned. She slapped him on the shoulder pauldron. “You have to stop stalking people, Will. People will talk.” She grinned at his expression.

“Let them.” They were in the hangar now and Zana stood by the small ship that Jina had been given by Sarai and the Sitolon. “Jina…” Will paused as Jina turned to face him. “Good Journey.”

“Will…I…” Jina paused and shook her head. “Aw to hell with it!” She reached out, pulled him close and kissed him hard. She held him for a moment as he jerked and then relaxed into her embrace and kiss. Finally, she had to come up for air and she was smiling as she stepped back. “Sharra will kill me, but it was worth it.”

“No I won’t.” Another voice said and Jina went stiff as a female human stepped out of another small ship nearby . The female form was surrounded by Sitolon, all of whom had weapons out. “Hello Jina.” Sharra Kalenath said quietly as Jina goggled at her. Will stared as well; he seemed equally shocked to see his wife.

Sharra?” Jina stiffened. The woman could not leave the homeship or bad people would find her… “What are you doing here?”

“Saying goodbye to my best friend.” Sharra had tears in her eyes as she stepped closer. She reached out, pulled Jina into a rough embrace and kissed her. It didn’t last long, but Sharra was no slouch in kissing. Finally, she stepped back and nodded to Jina. “You were always the rock, Jina. Always the strong one, even when I wasn’t.”

“Sharra…I…” Jina found herself at a loss for words as both Will and Sharra embraced her. “I…” Her vaunted Jedi control cracked and she was crying as she held them both.

“I had to say goodbye.” Sharra said sadly as she gave Jina another squeeze. “But now I have to get back.” Her eyes were overflowing as she kissed Jina on the cheek this time. “Take care of yourself, Jina. May the Force be with you. Wherever it takes you, know that you have people who love you.”

She hugged Jina again and then walked back into the ship she had come out of. The Sitolon, none of whom had relaxed for a millisecond, followed her. The ramp shut and Jina stared as the ship took off and flew out of the bay.

“She did all that…” Jina was crying hard now. “Just to say goodbye?”

“She loves you, Jina.” Will said quietly as he held her. “So do I. We may understand and accept what is going to happen. We do not like it.” He hugged her again and then stepped back. “Good journey, Jina Darkstorm. I hope we will meet again, in this life, or the next.”

“Me too.” Jina said, focusing herself. But when she looked up, he was gone. When she spoke, her voice was low and sad. “Good journey Will and Sharra Kalenath. I love you too.” She shook her head and started for the ship again. She had a long way to go and not a lot of time to get there.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:02 PM | #4
<Hyperspace>

“Jina…” Zana asked as they settled in for the long flight to Tattooine. The Stormhawk routinely went places that the rest of the galaxy had never even heard of. It helped cut down on incidental skirmishes that served no purpose. But it did add a lot of hours to travel time. “I have questions.”

“I know.” Jina Darkstorm said as she finished computing the path to Tattooine. The small ship jumped into hyperspace with no problems at all. An omen? Jina certainly hoped so. “Go ahead.”

“I…” Zana shook her head slowly. “I am uncomfortable.” She sighed.

“With me?” Jina asked slowly. She had expected this sooner, but Zana sort of defined stubborn. “Or my lifestyle choices?”

“Both, I think.” Zana said slowly. “I know what we saw…” She gulped a little. “I know… According to what I have been told, when Istara is raging that badly, she has no target control. I don’t want you to die, but everything does, eventually. I like you. I mean, I admire you, I owe you my life, my sanity, even if you do say that Morey was not trying to enslave me, I still feel that he was. That I was a hairsbreadth from being turned into a slave. I do owe you. I will pay that debt.”

“I know, Zana.” Jina said gently. “But it is the other that bothers you more, isn’t it?”

“Y…Yes…” The young Bladeborn said hesitantly. “I mean no disrespect, but… It makes me uncomfortable. Very uncomfortable.”

“I understand.” Jina said sadly. “It’s not something I can stop doing though. I don’t know if it came from the bugs, from my original upbringing, or something else. I have just… always preferred the company of females.” Zana goggled at her and Jina sighed. “Don’t go there, Zana. No Wookiee jokes…” Her grin was wicked and Zana surprised herself with a laugh. Jina shrugged. “I know it’s not… normal, but...it feels normal for me.” Zana looked at her and licked her lips.

“I…” She stammered a bit and shook her head. “I don’t know what to say. It’s not my place to say.” She sighed and turned her gaze to her instruments.

“Zana.” Jina’s soft voice had young Bladeborn stiffening. “I am sorry. I wish…” Jina shook her head. “I know that the only way anyone would get to me is through you. And the only way Istara could possibly hit me… is if you are…” She swallowed heavily and shook her head again. The only way Istara would get to Jina was through Zana’s dead body.

“The future is always in motion, Ma’am.” Zana said sadly. “I want to pay my debt to you and get on with my life. But honor demands that I do this.”

“Stubborn Bladeborn.” Jina said sadly. “The bunk is yours. I will stay, we have a four day trip to Tattooine. We will take shifts here. I have first, get some sleep.”

“I….” Zana started to speak and then shrugged. She rose from her seat and started for the small dormitory. She paused at the entrance to the cockpit. “Jina… I…”

“You are not in love with me, Zana.” Jina said kindly without turning. “You are stressed. It is okay. I am okay.”

“No, you are not.” Zana said slowly. “You have the best emotion control of anyone I have ever met outside of the Order, but you are not okay. I want to help, and I can’t. Just the thought makes me sort of sick.”

“I know.” Jina said quietly. “I can feel your revulsion.”

“Revulsion?” Zana said slowly. “Do I…? Have I…?” She asked, horrified. “Is that what I am feeling? My god… It is…” Zana shook her head, her mouth hanging open. “You have been putting up with me… Oh Jina…”

“It is hardly an uncommon feeling, Zana.” Jina said sadly. “But I am not going to put you in a position where you…” She broke off, her eyes narrowing as she turned to look at the Bladeborn who was shivering slightly. Now her voice turned sharp. “Zana, what is wrong?”

“Nothing.” Zana said, but she stopped when Jina moved and had a hand on her arm before she could leave. “Jina… I…”

“Don’t lie to me, Zana.” Jina said slowly, tipping the girl’s head up so that she looked Jina in the eyes. “The ship is on autonav and the computer will alert us if anything happens. What is wrong?”

“I…. No…” Zana tried to look away, but Jina’s gentle fingers pulled her head back to face her. “I can’t…”

“Zana…” Jina’s voice held exasperation now. “You are not attracted to me. That is not the problem. What is?”

“I didn’t… I can’t… No…” Zana said, but gave a squeak of surprise as Jina hefted her easily and carried her into the main bay of the small starship. Jina sat Zana down in one of the two chairs and started making a cup of tea for her. “Ma’am… I…”

“Here.” Jina said gently as she handed Zana the cup. She started fixing a cup of her own. “We cannot have distractions, Zana. What we are going to do is dangerous enough. What. Is. Wrong?” Jina pressed as she sat in the other chair.

The ship was tiny. Aside from the small bay they were sitting in that was barely wide enough for two people to walk by each other, a small dormitory had two bunks, one above the other, and a small refresher was the sole sanitation facility aboard the ship. Other than a cargo hold that was filled with food and other supplies, the entire rest of the main ship was the cockpit and an airlock. It was cramped and was already starting to smell. Zana looked around, trying to find something to distract Jina, but the former Jedi was not easily dissuaded.

“Zana…” Jina said gently. “What is wrong? Is it the visions?”

“Yes… No…” Zana said, unable to vocalize her issues. “I don’t know.”

“I tried to leave you behind.” Jina said quietly. “I knew it would irritate you, but I didn’t want you sharing my fate. It was wrong of me, but I had to try.”

“I understand that, Jina.” Zana said, her face hardening in remembered rage and grief. “But it was my choice. My honor demands this, and I live by my honor.”

“And my honor demanded that I not drag you down with me.” Jina sighed. “Enough trying to distract me, Zana. You are not attracted to me, I know that. I am not attracted to you, for one thing, you are far too young, even though you are cute.” Zana’s face turned an interesting shade of embarrassed, but Jina continued. “So… What? I feel your conflict.”

“There is no conflict.” Zana replied stolidly. “I am fit for duty.”

“That is not in question.” Jina sighed, extremely exasperated now. “What is wrong, girl? Why are you acting like you have never… been…” She broke off and froze as Zana stiffened. “Zana…?” The girl shook her head slowly and her sense in the Force was a clam. Jina’s face was a study of shock. “You have never been kissed, have you? You have watched me do what I do, and never said a thing… Zana…” Now her voice was horrified. "Bladeborn are not prudes, but you are too young for most. You have never even had any kind of relationship, have you?"

“I…” Zana choked up and could not speak. Jina sighed.

“I never asked about your past, Zana.” Jina said gently. “But now I have to. We fly into uncharted territory here. Danger will lurk close at every turn. This is a distraction, one you cannot allow. One ‘I’ cannot allow.”

“Jina…” Zana tried to get words out. “I can’t…”

“Zana…” Jina’s voice was serene and very kind now. “Drink your tea and we can talk. I think… We both need to. We cannot have distractions in what we are doing. It will be dangerous enough with no distractions.” Zana made a tactical retreat and took a sip of her tea. “They told me about the cult. Who were you before?”

“I was…” Zana said in a monotone as she sipped. “I was the third child of a pair of farmers. I was...odd. I never knew it was the Force. Then the cult…They made me do things, but I was too young to reproduce as they said… So…I was a helper, a fetcher, a carrier, not a reproducer.” She shivered. “After the cult was destroyed I had nowhere to go, the Bladeborn took me in. They taught me everything I wanted to learn. I learned so fast. I loved learning… But the sword was everything. I wanted to be strong, to be fast. Like Atara and Tiana… Nothing else mattered…”

“No relationships…” Jina said quietly. “Just the sword… Oh yes…I do understand.” She bowed her head. “Oh, Zana… For the first time in my life I wish I was male and younger.”

“What?” Zana jerked up and stared at the Jedi. “Why?”

“I can’t help you, Zana. I want to, but you find me repulsive.” Jina said with a sad smile. Zana shook her head desperately, but Jina sighed. “Zana, do not lie to me. Your honor demands that you follow me around until you can pay the debt that you feel you owe. But you find me and my… proclivities distasteful.” Zana looked horrified, but Jina wasn’t done. “Zana, that doesn’t matter. I go to my death, I know it, you know it.”

“Jina… I…” Zana shook her head and tried to focus, but it wouldn’t come.

“Zana, it’s okay. How you feel is normal, for you.” Jina said kindly. “I do not feel the same way, and cannot, I am a different person. Let me tell you about me…” She took a deep breath and then sipped her tea. “My first clear memory is waking in the recovery ward of the Jedi temple on Coruscant. I have scattered bits and pieces of when I was found on Tralus after the Dark Cousins wiped my memory, the escape and after, but until the Temple on Coruscant, my memory is fragmented, unclear. I was sick as canine for weeks after they brought me in. I had been on the Dark Cousin’s nectar for months at the very least, maybe as long as a year. I have no idea how long it took them to heal the damage the black bugs did when they caught me. I don’t think I want to know. Anyway… Coruscant… There was Zeltron Jedi there, her name was Elenaia. She was a healer, much like Ona. She was… different from the others. It took me a while to figure out why, I was a bit out of it. She gave of herself completely, willingly, gladly. Once I was healed and started to study, she introduced me to a larger world. She and I never shared a bed, we were never quite right together, but she did teach me how to kiss.” Jina said with a fond smile of memory.

“What happened to her?” Zana asked quietly. “From how you say it, she is dead.”

“She died during Malgus’ attack.” Jina said sadly. “From what I understand, defending her patients from Sith who wanted easy kills after Malgus killed Ven Zallow and the defenses broke. But that was years later. She taught me about feelings, about love and lust, and no they are not the same thing. For her, it was all clinical, all things she could pull out and examine.” Jina sighed. “Because of her, I never had the same reaction to differing relationships that other people have had. Then I met Melita and everything went straight to hell.” But she was smiling even more fondly in memory as she said that.

“So… What I feel…” Zana said slowly. “Even around you…”

“…is normal.” Jina said kindly. “You are not even a teenager yet, Zana. Your body is honed as a weapon, but it is changing. You should be able to explore your feelings, your desires. I wish you had listened to me. I wish you hadn’t come, but… I understand…” The Jedi was weeping quietly now. “I won’t question your honor again. Get some sleep, Zana. I have first shift.” She finished her tea, rose and put it in the cleanser before walking the short distance to the cockpit, leaving Zana to think in silence.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:09 PM | #5
<Tatooine>

“Your sniveling is pointless, mercenary.” The man in black robes snarled loudly. “We will take this place, we will have revenge.” He stood in the shadow of a building, his face intent on the holo terminal nearby that showed an irate female human.

Sniveling? Come right ahead, slimeball.” The female in the holo snarled right back at him. “Let’s see how many of your cannon fodder are left after they cross my perimeter. Oh, and have you told them that there is a Force Plague in here? Oh, no of course you haven’t. It’s not important that they know they are about to breach a quarantine zone…”

Jina shook her head, bemused at the sight that greeted her as she stepped out of the alleyway leading to what had been Cranna’s clinic. She had been to Anchorhead a number of times, but she had never seen so many Imperial troops in it. The closest troops looked at her and she shrugged. They obviously did not know what to make of her silver armor. It was unlike any Jedi or Sith armor after all. She kept her hands from her sabers as she spoke, she wasn’t here to fight.

“I would say ‘Take me to your leader’, but I think that is him over there…” She said quietly with a wave at the man in black. “I need to talk to him. Do we have a problem?” She asked politely and the troops stared at each other before shaking their heads and making way for her. “Good.” Her hands were not on her lightsabers, but they were close as the man in black turned and saw her.

“Who the…”He paused as he took in her armor. “Who are you?” He asked arrogantly. “You interfere in business of the Empire.”

“My name is Jina Darkstorm, Third of the Seven.” Jina said in the silence that suddenly fell around her. “And you interfere in the business of the Seven. Your Emperor has given us authorization to operate in this area, so unless you have a pertinent and germane reason for being in my way, I ‘suggest’…” Her voice was calm, but her eyes were flashing. “You move.” It had been one hell of a shock when Dia had told her about that, but… It did make sense. The nanites were threat to everything. Did she trust the Imperials? Not hardly. But it would make some things a little easier.

“The Seven?” The Sith asked incredulously. Then he laughed. “This is a joke. Jina Darkstorm is a…” He paused, taking in her lightsabers and her calm. “You are a Jedi Shoot her!” He commanded as his saber flew to his hand. Jina’s sabers were in hand now, but she did not ignite them.

“I am giving you one more chance, Sith.” Jina said calmly. “Do not defy the will of your Emperor.”

“I do not answer to weak willed Jedi fools!” He said as he ignited his saber. But then his face took on a surprised cast as a blaster sounded from nearby. He fell without a sound, the back of his robes smoking and Jina shrugged as she returned her blades to her side. His saber fell from his dead hand, deactivating as it hit the ground. The troops were all staring at her as she spoke to the empty air.

“What are you doing following that idiot?” The Jedi asked sourly and a black armored form stepped out of the shadows, his rifle at high port. Musano Vorren’s face was stern. She squashed her feelings hard. It really wasn’t his fault that he had tortured her for information once. Nor was it hers that she had broken many of his bones tossing him against a bulkhead later. They were never going to like each other, but they understood each other just fine.

“Orders are orders, Ma’am.” Vorren shrugged. “Until he did something unforgivable, I was stuck. The Seven are under Imperial decree of noninterference however. So… I am walking a tightrope here, Jina.”

“I know.” Jina nodded. “What is going on?” She asked as the troops shuffled uneasily.

“We were attacked here.” Vorren said, his face angry. “I lost…” He broke off as Jina inhaled sharply.

“You lost Olandas and Gev.” It wasn’t a question. “Firdlump took them.” Also not a question. “Cranna’s people were also attacked. They lost their chief administrator.” Vorren looked at her oddly and she shrugged. “I have tried to keep in touch with what is happening. So two of yours, one of Cranna’s?”

“Yeah. Professional snatches.” Vorren nodded, but then shrugged. “Makes no sense though. Why Olandas? Why Gev? Why not me?”

“Were you here when they were taken?” Jina asked slowly. He shook his head and she sighed. “That is probably why. If you had been, you would have been snatched too.” He gave her a look and she sighed. “You are good agent, but not that good. Why all the troops then?” Vorren made a face.

“The Republic ship Firdlump came in opened fire on the clinic.” Jina stiffened, but Vorren laughed. “Cranna is one sneaky slug. And I say that with respect. She had a military grade shield generator hidden in there. Deflected the bombardment nicely, but…” He shrugged.

“Oh…” Jina pursed her lips in thought. “No... The Empire could not just ignore that, now could they?” Vorren shook his head and Jina sighed. “So… Your orders?”

“Find and secure any Imperial technology inside the clinic.” Jina winced and Vorren nodded. “Yeah, the unlamented commander tried a pair of assault droids to ‘intimidate the enemy into surrender’ and they blew them apart. Idiot boy Hatus here…” He kicked the smoking Sith corpse. “…was about to order a full scale assault.”

“Glad I got here when I did.” Jina mused. “Would have been one hell of a mess. Mind if I…?” She waved at the silent walls of the clinic. Walls that she knew hid a great deal of firepower, most of it far beyond what was available to common civilians.

“Have at.” Vorren said sourly. “I need to contact my bosses and explain what just happened.”

“Blame me.” Jina said quietly as she started for the holo terminal. “Everyone else does…” She smiled as she looked at the terminal. The female mercenary’s face was a study. “Hello Aleesa.”

“You are crazy woman.” Aleesa said softly. “I thought I was, but you are.”

“It’s been said.” Jina said with a sigh. “How you doing?”

“Cranna stocked this place for a siege. A plague is pretty much the same thing.” Aleesa said slowly. “We are good. For now.”

“You know you are not going to hold out against the Imperial Military, Aleesa.” Jina said as she looked around at all the hardware and the many obviously uncomfortable troops watching her. “Do you have Imperial tech?”

“Not a lot.” Aleesa said quietly. “And what we have we are willing to surrender.” Jina looked at her and Aleesa sighed. “We are not stupid, Jina. We knew we couldn’t win. But that son of a murglak kept pushing. He didn’t bother to talk, just demanded complete surrender and sent in droids when we balked at him breaching the quarantine.”

“Sounds familiar.” Jina agreed sourly. “Well, he is no longer a problem. Vorren is in temporary charge. He is a reasonably decent sort. How bad is the plague…?” Jina broke off as Aleesa gulped. “That bad…?”

“Worse.” Aleesa said slowly. “We have four cases. Three of which are critical. It definitely spreads by touch, but it may mutate, if it does… Or jumps to non-Force sensitive beings… We are ready in case it does. A class seven thermal warhead will leave no trace of it.”

“Or the clinic… Aleesa…And all the people inside…” Jina said slowly. Then she shook her head sadly. “Did anyone contact you with my information request?”

“Yes.” Aleesa said as she turned aside for a moment and then nodded as she turned back to face Jina. “We found what you sought. The Republic battlewagon was the Courageous. The shuttle ID plates are in the datadump I just sent to your ship. What little info we have on the snatch teams as well. Jina… I…”

“It is okay, Aleesa.” Jina said with a sad smile. “I better get Vorren in on this, let you two coordinate the searches that you know they will have to perform.” She waved Vorren over and nodded to him. “You heard.” It wasn’t a question, the agent had some serious eavesdropping gear at his beck and call.

“How do you want to do this, Ma’am?” Vorren asked the holographic mercenary.

“We have the Imperial tech that Cranna managed to acquire loaded into shipping containers.” Aleesa said slowly. “I can allow one team of your people across the perimeter to search. They should be in full hazmat, just in case. They will be escorted by troops in full hazmat. But agent…” She cautioned and she tilted her head as he smiled.

“No eavesdropping devices.” Vorren said slowly. “No cameras, no bugs of any kind. I know you can detect them.” He said with a sour smile. “So nice to work with professionals. Even opposing side professionals.”

“Agreed.” Aleesa smiled. “We do have one hiccup though. We just IDed our latest Jane Doe plague victim.” Jina and Vorren looked at her and Aleesa sighed. “Her name is Amarath Shades.”

“Amarath…” Jina tensed. The Kiffar tech had been working with Will to find Nia…? “But… She isn’t Force sensitive…”

“Apparently she is.” Aleesa said sourly. “But that is not the problem. The problem is that a certain Lord General Darmuk ordered her detained by Imperial Security. We had to slag her ship where it crashed, not that there was much left of it.” Jina stared at the holo and then at Vorren.

“Hmmm…” Vorren said with a grimace. “Well, if she is quarantined, and I assume unconscious if she has the plague…?” Aleesa nodded. “We are going to have to leave guards here, outside your perimeter to help enforce your quarantine. So she is detained.” Jina and Aleesa both stared at him and he shrugged. “What? I don’t want Will mad at me…” ‘Again…’ He added sotto voice. Jina chuckled at his tone.

“I will leave it in your hands. Good luck the both of you.” Jina nodded to both and started away. She had a hunt to continue.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:13 PM | #6
<Nar Shaddaa>

“Have I mentioned recently how much I hate Nar Shaddaa?” Zana asked sourly as she followed Jina through the bazaar level of the Vertical City. “Even if the Bladeborn did not have Imperial bounties on them, I hate this place…” She snarled as beggar reached out towards her and the ragged human male found something else to do.

“I don’t like it much either.” Jina admitted. “But this is where our quarry was seen next, so…”

“Why would a senator come here?” Zana asked sourly. “This is not Republic space. His authority, what he had, did not extend here.”

“That may be why.” Jina said slowly. Then she stiffened, “Aw fierfek…” She sighed as a pair of armored forms blocked her and Zana’s path. Her smile was kind when she spoke however. “You are blocking the way, friend.” Zana did not move, but her sense in the Force was a coiled spring and her hand was very close to the hilt of her sword.

“You are worth a lot.” The larger of the two said snidely. “You gonna do this easy or hard?”

“Worth a lot to who?” Jina asked, her tone noncommittal as she glanced around casually. The crowd had vanished as if by magic. Two other armored figures slouched nearby, but Jina did not need the Force to know that both were watching her and Zana. “I think you have mistaken me for someone else.”

“Gorbak the Hutt wants to talk to you, Jina Darkstorm.” The smaller of the two, a brown skinned Twi’lek, said quietly. “Easy or hard, makes no difference.” His posture said that while his companion was a bit of a blowhard, he knew what he was facing. His casualness was a façade. He was ready to fight.

“Well…” Jina blinked and then smiled. “Guess what? I wanted to talk to him too.” Both toughs stiffened at that. She shrugged and relaxed. “So… You going take us to him?”

“Eventually.” The larger thug said with a smirk that froze as Jina’s expression vanished. When the Jedi spoke, it was calm, quiet, and totally matter of fact.

“Let me make this perfectly clear.” Jina said slowly, her hands hanging loose in front of her. “I do need to talk to Gorbak the Hutt. I need some information he has. But if you lay so much as a finger out of place on myself or my companion, I will cut it off.” Her tone never changed and her eyes never left the smaller thug, who did not move at all. “The four backup scum you have secreted around this area are good, no question. They are not that good.”

“Ah to heck with this!” The larger thug exclaimed. “The money is for alive, I will take you alive. And have some fun in the process.” His hands dropped and blasters flew into them, but Jina had her sabers ignited. The smaller thug didn’t move. The large thug fired, but Jina was in motion.

Fire came in from three other angles, but suddenly the five thugs attacking Jina found themselves facing both a Jedi and something just as scary. Zana was small, not even into her teen growth spurt. It didn't matter. Zana fought in silence, the only noise the hissing of her blade as it cut through the air, and through the unfortunate Gran lowlife who had been focused on the Jedi instead of the ypung Bladeborn. He had a bare moment to scream as three feet of razor sharp Force enhanced steel cut into his flesh and then he fell sobbing as both his arms fell off, cleaved at the elbow. The sobbing cut off abruptly. Bladeborn rarely left live enemies behind them and Zana was no exception. Her lightning fast thrust tore the three eyed alien’s throat out. The other two thugs near her turned to face her, but Jina was also in motion.

The loudmouth thug lasted exactly four seconds after Jina’s blades ignited. At the end of her first attack, her foe was lying in the ground, clutching the smoldering remnants of his thighs and screaming. Then she jumped, closing the distance in an instant with an Aqualish who was bringing a heavy repeater up towards Zana. A quick slash of both blades and he fell, never to rise again. That left the odds even, and both remaining thugs threw their weapons away as Jina and Zana both started towards them. Jina paused, Zana did not. Her blade was held ready as she started to attack, only to draw herself up short as Jina coughed.

“I think we made our point, yes?” Jina asked the smaller of the two thugs who had accosted her initially. He had not moved from his spot. He had not moved at all. He was not afraid, Jina realized, cautious, but not afraid. That made him far more dangerous than any of the hired muscle. She felt Zana’s realization of the same and both women focused on him.

“You have.” The Twi’lek smiled. “Your reputation is well deserved. You are who we expected.”

“There was doubt?” Jina asked as her blades deactivated and the hilts went back to her belt. Zana cleaned her sword on the coat of the dead Gran before sheathing it. But the Bladeborn did not relax.

“Anyone can use a name.” The Twi’lek said snidely. “I am Srali Fortuna. If you would come with me, Gorbak would like to talk to you.”

“Jina…” Zana said in a low voice. “It has to be a trap…”

“Of course it is a trap.” Jina said as the Twi’lek’s face went still. “But we do need that information, so the easiest way to get the information we need is to walk right into it.” She smiled at the Twi’lek who suddenly looked far less confident. “And you do know that the very first person to get sliced will be the one closest to us…” He started to sidle away, but Jina smiled again. There was nothing nice or polite about her smile. “Maybe you should lead the way, just to avoid any… misunderstandings? Or we could do this the hard way…” Her face turned cold as she tapped her lightsaber hilts meaningfully.

“I…” The Twi’lek sighed and nodded. He smiled at her. “You are crazy human. I like that. Follow me.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:20 PM | #7
It was easy. With Fortuna guiding them, and the judicious use of the Force, Jina and Zana were ushered into the Hutt’s place of business with no problems at all. Fortuna relaxed a bit as Jina and Zana showed no signs of hostility, but did not relax completely. He stiffened as Jina walked right by a pair of Gammoreans with her lightsabers in plain view, but he said nothing when the guards ignored them. The presence of Zana’s hand on her hilt a half step behind him was probably the reason. Even without the Force, one could taste her contempt and willingness to kill. The building was a fortress, but Jina and Zana walked right in. After all, they had been invited, right? Once past the defenses, Fortuna led the way through winding corridors.

JIna Darkstorm had dealt with a number of Hutts both before and after she met Cranna, so she was unsurprised to find Gorbak seated on a dais surrounded by guards, thugs and various other kinds of lowlifes. She WAS surprised to find him obviously getting ready to listen to a musical number. Her guide paused and she and Zana paused as well. She looked at the Twi’lek and Fortune leaned close.

“He doesn’t like it when people disturb his tunes…” The Twi’lek said nervously. “We really need to wait…” Jina shrugged.

She looked at Zana and paused. The girl was almost livid. Jina followed the Bladeborn’s gaze and felt her guts clench. Gorbak had two… well…calling them women was probably not quite accurate. They were obviously not of legal age for anything on most planets, but then again, this was Nar Shaddaa, the city where anything and everything was for sale. Both had blonde hair and despair in their eyes. Neither wore anything that might be called more than skimpy. One had something made of metal on, the other just wore rags. Jina touched Zana’s arm and shook her head slowly. Zana leaned close.

“If he does anything to them while I am here, Ma’am…” Zana could have been carved from rock for all the emotion she showed now. “You know what I will do.” Jina flinched at the cold tone but nodded.

“Let’s try not to make a mess.” Jina said as the music started again. Then she winced anew. What the…? The music group was eclectic. A Dug was playing the drums, a Trandoshan was jamming on a guitar, two Bothans and a human were singing and what they were singing…

“I'm Henery the Eighth, I am,
Henery the Eighth I am, I am!
I got married to the widow next door,
She'd been married seven times before.
And every one was an Henery
She wouldn't have a Willie or a Sam
I'm her eighth old man named Henery
Henery the Eighth, I am!”


Jina stared flabbergasted at the Twi’lek who had guided them in. Fortuna looked sheepish. He shrugged. Jina sighed, it took all kinds, and Gorbak seemed to be in a good mood, he was laughing and singing along in Huttese. He had an absolutely horrid singing voice. She tried not to wince as he destroyed the refrain, no one else seemed to notice or dared to comment.

The auditory torture finally ended and Gorbak threw several coins at the group, who gathered them up and beat a hasty retreat. He was chortling as he looked around and then his eyes lit on Jina, no… Jina realized with a start, on Zana! Jina kicked herself as she realized that Zana had dyed her hair to blonde. Gorbak was well known for having a ’thing’ for blondes. The Bladeborn usually had her hair cut so short it was invisible, but she had let it grow out a little and was experimenting with colors. Gorbak laughed and spoke in Huttese, the droid at Gorbak’s back spoke evenly.

“Statement: Greetings, traveler. Welcome to the home of Gorbak the Hutt. The illustrious Gorbak asks how much for the girl?” Jina shook her head and stepped in front of Zana as the Bladeborn would have gone for her sword. She shook her head minutely and stepped forward.

“She is not for sale, Gorbak. Besides, you would not be able to afford her.” Jina said evenly as she stepped into a hastily cleared space in front of the dais. She could feel Zana’s readiness and sour amusement now. Jina did not miss the telltales of a trapdoor build into the floor under her feet. “My name is Jina Darkstorm.” At that name, a hush swept around the room. “I understand you wanted to talk to me?”

Gorbak laughed again, heartily. Then he spoke again, his eyes never leaving the Jedi’s. Jina shook her head and his eyes narrowed. The droid spoke again. “Statement: The mighty Gorbak offers the sum of thirty five thousand.”

“She is not for sale.” Jina said quietly. “I would hope we could find an amicable solution for this, but if not…” Her hands rested on her lightsabers now. Gorbak stared at the lightsabers and then his gaze turned thunderous. He shouted at the droid and it spoke slowly, almost afraid, if droid could be.

“Statement: How did you get past the guards with your weapons?”

“I am persuasive.” Jina said with a smile. There was nothing friendly about it. “And if you try and drop me into the pit below my feet… This will get very messy, very fast.” There was no threat in her words, just fact. “I am here to do some simple business. You have information I need. We can both profit here.”

Gorbak looked at her and then laughed again. The droid spoke softly again.

“Statement: The noble Gorbak asks how you intend to get out of here alive with that information.”

“I am good at improvising.” Jina said with a small laugh of her own. That was the trick of dealing with Hutts. Never show weakness, never back down. “While I am not carrying a thermal detonator or anything… You know who I am, and you know what I can do.”

Gorbak looked at the Jedi and then at her companion. He spoke softly and the droid translated.

“Statement: Does your companion also share your wish for death? Gorbak can offer so many interesting diversions.” Jina did not take her eyes from the Hutt, but she knew several of the guard had weapons ready now.

“It will cost you a lot more than you think, Gorbak.” Jina said quietly. “Zana, introduce yourself.”

The sound of a sword leaving it’s sheathe was loud in the silence that fell. Jina could literally taste the fear that swept the room as Zana’s blade became fully visible and everyone could see the design. The mark that adorned the blade was distinctive. A word swept around the room, in multiple languages. ‘Bladeborn’. Zana was well within reach of most of the room at Force enhanced speeds.

“My name is Zana of the Bladeborn, Gorbak the Hutt.” Zana said formally. “While I would prefer to remove your **** ridden form from existence, I am sworn to follow Jina in this situation. Threaten her, and you threaten me. If you threaten me, you threaten the Order. I do not think one as wise and illustrious as you would make such a mistake.”

Gorbak looked from Jina to Zana and then laughed again. He snapped something in Huttese and the floor in front of him fell open. But Jina had taken three quick steps back and her smile was vicious as his poleaxed expression centered on her when her sabers ignited in silver plumes, the crowd scattering.

“Did any of your sources mention that I studied Huttese?” Jina asked snidely. “And really, ‘Drop her’ was rather rude even for one of you slugs.” She shook her head as he looked fearful for the first time since she had entered. “Now, we are going to discuss things. Slowly, patiently and politely. Or Zana and I are going to find out exactly how much of you is fat, and how much is muscle.” She stepped forward as the crowd froze around her. “What would you prefer, Mighty Gorbak? Being cooked with lightsabers or filleted by a sword?”

Gorbak snarled a vile curse in Huttese but froze as the point of a sword caressed his throat. Zana was smiling and her smile as an echo of Jina’s.

“I would listen to her, slug.” Zana said, her face impassive except for that smile. “She is the nice one.”

“What is it going to be, Gorbak?” Jina said with no hint of give in her posture or voice. “We can both profit by this, or I can tear your organization part, starting with you, until I find someone who will give me the information I seek.” Gorbak snarled, but he did not move. “And one more thing while we are negotiating, the slaves you have here… They come with us. That is nonnegotiable.”
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:25 PM | #8
<Four hours later, hyperspace>

“I can’t believe he backed down…” Zana said with a smile as she helped their newest ‘friend’ get into a new set of clothes. “I expected him to fight.”

“You have to understand, Zana…” Jina said with a smile. “Most Hutts are not warrior types. We know Cranna who is as un-Huttlike as she can possibly be. Most Hutts? Businessmen, criminal kingpins, administration types. Dangerous, to be sure. Hutts are large and physically robust. But they generally hire their fighting done. In the end, it cost him less to give us what we wanted and let us leave unmolested than to fight. A simple equation and he knew it. Fight and die or negotiate and live. He blustered of course, but I knew the moment he didn’t order his men to attack when you drew your sword that he would back down eventually.”

“Was he a coward then?” Zana asked as she finally got the tunic on right. The girl stared at her, eyes wide. Neither of the girls they had rescued had said a word since they had left Gorbak’s palace. Zana smiled at her. “It’s okay, girl. It is okay. Sleep if you can. We will take you somewhere safe.” The girl stared from Zana to Jina who smiled before replying to Zana.

“No, not a coward. He sat there under your sword and haggled every penny, every drop of information.” Jina said slowly as the girl slowly, carefully sat down on the bed and stretched out. “He just knew that the odds were slanted heavily in our favor at that time. Hutts live revenge though. If we ever run into of him again, bet on him making some kind of play against us, just because he can.”

“Will we?” Zana asked slowly, making sure the girl was comfortable before smiling again and getting up. the other girl had the top bunk. “Pleasant dreams, you all.” Zana said gently as she started for the door. She stopped as a small voice spoke up.

“Why…?” Zana turned and the upper bunk girl spoke again. “Why did you do that?” The girl seemed dazed.

“Because it was the right thing to do.” Zana said with a smile as she moved to the door. “You two going to be okay in here? I can leave the light on. It can be scary in the dark.”

“You took us…” The girl said slowly, her face confused. “What do you want us to do? I… I have never serviced a human before, but…I am willing…” She paused as Zana’s face froze. “Don’t beat me, please…” The girl cringed back on the bed, her face falling. “I haven’t done anything!”

“Child…” Zana said, forcing herself to relax, the girl was barely older than Zana herself. “I won’t hurt you. I won’t touch you again without your permission. I needed to get you out of those rags and clean. You are. What is your name? Mine is Zana.”

“My… My name…?” The girl said dubiously. “I…He called me Pilloa. I… Don’t….” She cringed back as Zana stepped back into the small room but stared as Zana took her sword off and handed it to Jina who took it without a word. The Jedi nodded and left the room, the door hissing shut behind her.

“I won’t hurt you.” Zana said in a gentle, soothing tone as she sat in the middle of the floor. “No one is going to hurt you again. I don’t know what he did to you, I do know he is never going to touch you again.” She extended a slow hand and sat there, hand upraised.

“What do you want us for?” Pilloa asked, scared. “You are not slavers, not like the ones who came to the orphanage. Who… took me… What do you want with us?”

“I want to help. You are hurting, deep, deep down…So deep you cannot see it, but inside your head and body, you are hurting.” Zana said in a sad voice. “I want to help that hurt. Will you let me?”

“You are scary…” Pilloa said as she backed up until she was against the wall of the small dormitory compartment. “You scared the master… You scared me…”

“I am sorry I scared you.” Zana said with a wince. “I am not sorry I scared him. You are free, girl.”

“Free…” The other girl said slowly, bitterly. “Yeah… Right… Until you sell us or use us or…” She broke off as Zana’s eyes fixed her. “I…”

“You are both free now.” Zana said slowly. “I do not own slaves. I will not own slaves. I wish I could go back in time, keep the horrors that I know you faced from happening to you. I cannot. All I can do is help you now. Will you let me?”

Let you?” The other girl asked sourly. “Since when do people like YOU care about…” She paused as Zana shook her head. “Are you going to beat me now?” She asked caustically, her tone and expression far older than her years.

“No.” Zana said sadly. “The refresher is yours. You will find food in the cupboard. Please don’t overeat, you will make yourselves sick. Rest well.” She rose and turned to go, only to pause as the girl who had spoken in such bitter tones spoke again, baffled.

“What do you want?” The girl asked softly. Her face unsure. “You… This makes no sense. Why are you acting this way?”

“Because I can.” Zana said without turning. “Because I want to. Because I know what it is to be used, to be degraded, to be something less than sentient to someone. To be a thing, to be kicked and beaten for doing what I was told, but it wasn’t want the master wanted.” Zana bowed her head and then spoke again. “Oh yes, I know about such things.”

“I…” The girl spoke in a hushed tone. “I am sorry… I…”

“Rest.” Zana said kindly, still not turning. “We will take you somewhere safe. To people who can help you start a new life.” She shook her head as she left the room. As she did, she heard the second girl exclaim.

“What is she…crazy? Backing down the master and then…acting like this…?” Zana smiled as the door cut off Pilloa’s response.

“Yes.” Zana said softly as she started for the cockpit. “I am.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:29 PM | #9
It took longer than Zana had thought it would, but eventually, the door to the dormitory hissed open and the bitter voiced girl crept out. Zana did not move from her mediation position, but she did smile and the girl froze as she spoke. Zana worked to keep her voice gentle.

“You don’t have to sneak.” Zana said as she opened her eyes. She did not comment on the scared expression the girl wore. “This is really the only safe space on the ship besides the room you were in. Jina is in the cockpit and it is very cramped. Come…” She waved a hand at a chair near her. “Sit. You have questions.” The girl stared at her and Zana shook her head. “Pilloa, if that really is her name and not some fabrication by the Hutt, is younger and less hardened by what she endured. You were there longer, weren’t you?” Just to be fitted for a metal bikini like the girl had worn had likely taken some time. That kind of thing was not available off the rack. The girl nodded, the nerf in the headlamps look fading into a wary scowl. “Sit. Can’t sleep?” Zana asked gently.

“Why are you acting nice?” The girl asked slowly. “What is your angle?” She did not move and her posture showed she was ready to bolt.

“I am a member of an order of warriors called Bladeborn.” Zana said quietly, not moving from her spot. “One of our tents is ‘Harm no children’. It happens, every day, all over the galaxy. We cannot stop it everywhere, but when we can, we do.” Zana nodded to her. “They helped me, taught me how to live, how to fight and when to. I can help you.”

“Can you teach me how to fight?” The girl asked softly, warily. Her sense in the force was a fragile thing, scared and defiant all in one. “Like you can?” Zana shook her head and the girl tensed. “Why not?”

“You don’t have the Force, girl.” Zana replied, keeping her voice gentle. “What you have been through is horrible. It will mark you for the rest of your life. The question is whether or not you let it break you.”

“What do you care?” The girl snarled, not moving. “You are just going to throw us …” She paused as Zana rose, but then stared as Zana moved across the small room, putting as much space between her and the girl as possible. “You are not soft… Not with what you did to the master. But…”

“There are only two kinds of people in the galaxy, right?” Zana said softly, her face and voice sad. “Users and suckers. Right?” The girl stared at her and Zana shrugged. “I guess that makes me a sucker, right? Because I want to help and am not asking anything in return.”

“This doesn’t make sense…” The girl nearly wailed. “You make no sense…”

“You lack information.” Zana said kindly. “I can remedy that. I am not going to pretend that I can wave my hands and make everything better, because I can’t. You can sit if you wish.” Zana waved at a chair. “It has to be more comfortable than standing there, or sitting on the floor.”

The girl stared at her for a long moment and then, with a deep sigh, slowly walked towards the seat Zana had indicated. With a scowl, she felt the cushion gingerly. Only after she was sure it had no hidden surprises, did the girl sit. She sat on the edge of the seat, obviously ready to move. She sat and stared at Zana. The Bladeborn, for her part, did not move. She slowly closed her eyes and counted inside her head. The girl surprised her. It took until the count of two hundred before the girl spoke. Most children would have done something, anything, to fill the uncomfortable silence after thirty seconds or so.

“Leeni.” The girl said finally, her sense in the Force was baffled as she sat, obviously uncomfortable.

“What?” Zana asked softly, her voice calm. “What was that?” She asked kindly, although she had heard just fine.

“My name…” The girl said slowly, feeling her words out with great care. “I didn’t mean to be rude… My name is Leeni… I…” She was shuddering now. “You are… strange…”

“Oh Leeni…” Zana said with a sad smile. “You have no idea.” She sighed deeply and opened her eyes. “I am not going to tell you that this will be easy. I am not even going to tell you that you will be okay in the end. I don’t know. I am not a healer.” Zana shook her head. “But I do know about being a thing, being a toy. You can recover from this, you just have to want it enough.”

“I…” Leeni shook her head, her face a grimace. “I don’t know… The things he did to me…”

“The place we are taking you has healers.” Zana said gently. “They can help. But you have to want help, or nothing they do will. If you want an end bad enough, you will find a way.” Leeni froze and Zana sighed. “I won’t let you die on my watch.”

“How did you know…?” Leeni asked incredulous. “Did you read my mind?”

“How did I know you came out here looking for some means to kill yourself?” Zana asked softly and Leeni nodded. Zana shook her head. “I don’t need to read your mind. Because I did the exact same thing when I was finally freed from the mind control I was under. I remember it all…” Zana said, her eyes going far away. “They tried to soften my memories, ease my pain, but I fought. I wanted to remember, to hate. I didn’t realize that the hate was self destructive, that all I was doing was hurting myself. It took two Bladeborn to keep me from killing myself and then they sat me down and had a similar talk with me.” She shrugged. “If you want an end, you will find one. Nothing I do would stop you if you are totally determined to end your life. But I won’t help you kill yourself, and I won’t turn a blind eye.” Leeni stared at Zana her face astonished. Zana sighed, walked to one of the other chairs and sat. “You can fight, but I do not recommend it. My question for you is this. What do you want?”

“Me…?” Leeni asked, somewhat startled. “Why would my wishes matter?”

“Because I want to know what you want.” Zana said quietly. “Your wishes matter to me. I cannot reverse time, undo what you endured. But I can help you now. If you let me.” She held out her right hand, empty and palm upraised. “Please let me.”

“Can…” Leeni stammered slightly. “Can you make the dreams go away…?” She asked, dazed.

“No.” Zana said sadly. “Or at least… Mine haven’t. But you learn to live with them. Then you are in control, not the bastard or bastards who hurt you.”

“What is a bastard?” Leeni asked slowly. “I never got much education. People say that like it is an insult, but when someone called Gorbak that, he just laughed. Then he had the guy killed….” She swallowed heavily.

“Ah, Leeni… Come sit with me…I can help you.” She moved slightly and indicated the chair beside her. “The word ‘bastard’ is a human expression. It means a person whose parents were not married. In some societies and for some species, such as most human ones, it is an insult. Hutts are hermaphrodites, that is, they have both male and female characteristics inside their bodies. So, yes… I can see Gorbak being amused by the insult. He won’t touch you again.” Zana said slowly as the girl stared at her. “Ever.”

“He…” Leeni shook her head. “He has a long reach…Everyone says so…” But she did

“He knows that if he reaches after you, he will draw back a bloody stump.” Zana said with no give in her voice. “You haven’t met the rest of my kin. I can hold your dreams at bay, Leeni. They will flee from me. But only if you want me to.” She patted the seat beside her again.

“I want to…” Leeni said slowly. “But… I…” She looked slightly green. Zana froze.

“Leeni…?” Her voice was horrified now. “It wasn’t just Gorbak who… did things to you, was it?”

“No.” Leeni said slowly, her face falling. “He shared us out when he got bored. I…”

“Leeni…It is not your fault. Your fear and pain are completely understandable.” Zana said slowly, not moving. “This is your choice. Not mine, not anyone else’s. If you can, stand up and walk to the chair beside mine. I will touch your head, nowhere else. You will go back into the room with Pilloa and go to bed. You will not dream.”

“I…” Leeni shook her head. “I can’t…” Shame colored her voice as she shuddered. Zana’s eyes narrowed.

“You didn’t have any issues when Jina helped you shower.” Zana shook her head slowly. “Is it me?”

“She…” Leeni shook her head, tears finally starting to fall. “She is… I don’t know… She was so gentle, so kind… You… You act kind, but you are hard…Like some of Gorbak’s…” She shuddered hard and then froze as Zana rose.

“Don’t move.” Zana stated as she started for the cockpit. She was unsurprised to see the hatch open and Jina step out, her face worried. Zana nodded and spoke slowly. “She needs help to sleep without dreams and fears my touch. I have this shift.” Jina smiled and as she passed, she spoke softly.

“Well done, Zana. We will make a Jedi out of you yet.” Then she was walking towards Leeni who looked poleaxed. “I was listening, Leeni. I can help. If you let me…”

Zana shook her head as she closed the hatch and spoke for her ears alone.

“Maker, I hope not.” She said sourly as she sat and checked the controls. “I really wouldn’t want to be a Jedi…This being nice is hard work.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.16.2012 , 07:33 PM | #10
“Something is wrong.” Jina said slowly as she worked to get the ship ready to exit hyperspace. ”You feel it too?” She asked he copilot.

“Yeah.” Zana said slowly. “Not sure what it is, more a ripple in the Force than a tremor. It isn’t danger, I know that. Maybe…” She said dubiously. “Drat, where is Idjit when we need him?”

“He is recovering, Zana.” Jina said with a frown. “He survived the Imperial review. But…” She shrugged. “Michelle says that he will be in the Deceiver’s medical bay for some time. She says he isn’t lucid now, and it may be a while before he is.” Zana snarled and Jina sighed. “Zana, he did it to save all of you. Do not dismiss his choice or his sacrifice.”

“I…” Zana shook her head. “I don’t. But the thought of Idjit, who we all revere and fear in equal measure, submitting meekly to something like that… It makes my blood boil.” She stared as Jina scoffed.

“Idjit? Meek?” Jina said in a totally astonished tone. “Since when? According to Michelle, everything they did to him just made him even more polite. When they asked if him if he had taken enough, and would give up his attempt at earning the Emperor’s pardon, he told them, politely, to take their heads out of their rear ends and use them for something other than gathering dust.” Her tone was vicious and Zana actually laughed. “I understand that he drove the three Sith Inquisitors assigned to his case totally bonkers.” She patted the Bladeborn on the shoulder. “He will be okay. Michelle says that he is alive, and he won. They could not break him. A first apparently for that set of Inquisitors. They apparently swore revenge on him or some such. But when the Emperor tells someone to desist, well, they do.”

“Or it gets messy and loud.” Zana agreed. “But only for a little while.”

“Agreed.” Jina sighed as she checked her readouts. “What do you think of this ‘Julia’ thing?”

“I don’t know…” Zana said slowly. “Leeni and Pilloa both think she is dead. She tried to escape, and Gorbak apparently has no patience for slaves who try and escape. Gorbak said she was dead. He doesn’t let slaves run away. That is why he keeps such detailed records. But Leeni said that a man dressed as a Republic Senator was there, and the timing…Julia tried the vent that led to the outside landing pad while he was there and Gorbak was distracted.”

“I don’t like this, Zana.” Jina said softly. “Why would Firdlump take children? Julia was not the only underage slave that Firdlump took, if he did take her. And to take more…? From orphanages, from other places. Places that they will not be missed by most… This really bothers me.”

“You and me both.” Zana said, a hard note entering her voice. “I shudder to think what he will do to them. Do you think he will add them to that ‘collective’ thing of his?”

“I don’t know.” Jina said soberly. “But we will find out eventually. Remember, don’t fight.”

“This is nuts, Jina. Totally nuts.” Zana said sourly. “Have I told you recently how totally nuts this is? How is doing this going to help us? And what do the rest of the Seven say about this?”

“I haven’t told them.” Jina said. She sighed as Zana froze solid in place. “I can keep my mind free of the link we share and I have. I think Will figured it out, that man is too sneaky by half, but… He didn’t try and stop me. So maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. I dunno. I have a specialized crystal that I had the Sitolon make for me…They did, under protest.” She pulled a small object out of a pocket and looked at it, her gaze going far away. Then her gaze refocused on Zana who looked…scared. “There… All done…”

“Jina…” Zana said slowly and then stiffened as the woman in Jedi robes dropped the crystal to the floor and stepped on it. It shattered with a crack. “Jina!

“It is okay, Zana.” Jina said slowly. “I will not betray Sarai, Lohas or the Seven. They refused to do it to me, but I could do it to myself. All the memories I had of what the Seven talked about, plans, tricks, traps, thoughts… All I could focus on… Were transferred to that crystal.”

“And you broke it…” Zana shook her head slowly. “What about me?”

“You were there on occasion, Zana. But what did you see? What did you hear?” Jina asked the young Bladeborn gently as she sat back down. “I have planned this carefully, but no plan survives contact with the enemy. I just hope Cranna is there at the rendezvous. I don’t want to take these two poor kids into the firestorm we are flying into chasing the Courageous if we can help it.”

“Me neither.” Zana said, stunned. “So… Am I a danger?”

“Maybe.” Jina said slowly. “I don’t think so. While you have been present at some of our strategy sessions, we know that Firdlump had other agents aboard the ships we were on at the same time. You would be a source of intel. Current or germane intel? I don’t know.”

“That is why you didn’t want me to come…” Zana was horrified as realization dawned. “I am a threat… to you, to the Seven, to everyone…If they scan my mind, which they can…What have I done…?” She sat down heavily and put her face in her a hands. “I am a threat… to you…”

“Maybe.” Jina said slowly and sadly. “But… I am glad you came.” She said with a smile that did not reach her eyes. “I don’t know if I could do this…alone…”

“Jedi Darkstorm…” Zana said formally. “I know I may be a hindrance, but if I can help in any way, you have but to ask.”

“Bladeborn Zana…” Jina replied equally formal. “Thank you… I… What the…?” She exclaimed as ship jerked hard. The blue tunnel of hyperspace outside the viewport vanished from sight, the tunnel turning into streaks that quickly turned into pinpoints as the ship slowed to sublight speed. “What the… Check on the kids!” Jina snapped as she started checking controls. Zana nodded and started for the door. “Oh my god…” Jina’s horrified voice had Zana freezing.

“What?” Zana asked as she turned back. “Jina…?”

“We ran into an interdiction field.” Jina said, hitting controls. “Republic battleship at point six. It’s the Courageous!”

“A trap?” Zana snarled as she moved to the hatch. As it opened, both girls were heard asking what was going on, Zana moved to reassure them. “Can we evade? We have to get the girls out of here!”

“They are firing ion cannon!” Jina barked. “… Zana… Protect the girls! As we discussed, don’t resist! I will try and…” Whatever else the Jedi was going to say was lost in the deafening hiss and crackle of high power energy coruscating through delicate electronics as the Republic battleship’s high power cannon, designed to disable opposing dreadnoughts, hit the small, barely shielded transport like a hammer wielded by a god of thunder.

Zana was conscious for a moment, conscious of screams of pain from the two girls they had rescued from Gorbak, then a heartwrenching scream of horror and pain from Jina, and then the pain hit her. Nothing she had ever encountered had prepared the Bladeborn for the assault of high power ion energy on her nervous system. She was dimly aware of a high pitched scream of pain erupting from her throat. Then, mercifully, she blacked out.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here