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(L,F&E 94) Mind Games


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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 04:45 PM | #1
((This is the next fanfic in my story arc Love, the Force and Everything. It follows Unplanned Parenthood. Things are going to start making sense soon, I promise. Is that a good thing though?))

It was dark and quiet in the small chamber at long last. The screams had tapered off to whimpers, and finally, to sobs. It had taken the man in black over a day to achieve his goal, but he had, at long last, done it. He did not look up from his work as the door opened and the human in charge of this phase of the operation walked in. If the black robes had not been a dead giveaway, the lightsaber at his belt would have been a more immediate one. Not to mention, the utter lack of emotion as he turned away from his subject with a very small smile.

“Report.” The cloaked human said in a tone of ice. The man in black was not impressed.

“It is, as you predicted, a different tactic than is customarily used.” The voice of the man in black might have made a Wampa freeze in terror. “But not beyond my own ability.” His eyes measured the newcomer and he sniffed derisively.

“So, you have results.” If the man who had walked in was disconcerted, or even impressed at all, it was unapparent. “The Emperor will be pleased. What do you have?”

“The methods of control are different from what we normally use in the Empire.” The Sith said slowly. “But not incomprehensible.”

“And?” The newcomer’s voice turned slightly colder. An invitation to not waste time. The man in black stood up straight and faced the newcomer, standing defiantly erect to his full height. “Do not make the mistake your predecessor did, Rantas. My patience is not infinite.”

“Do not assume that just because you managed to survive the Imperial Review that your stock with the Empire is any greater, Bladeborn.” The Sith actually smiled now, an evil look. “You do not intimidate me.”

“Good.” The man swept the hood of his cloak off and bandaged eyes met the Sith’s. “That way there are fewer chances for…improper responses, now aren’t there?” Idjit of the Bladeborn said with no inflection on his words.

“You are not my master.” Rantas said slowly, his face impassive. “I do not answer to you.”

“I know.” Idjit said offhandedly. “But you -and your master- do answer to the Emperor, do you not?” He asked, a faint trace of menace finally peeking through the control. “Last I checked, HE was still the ultimate authority and he has given my mission clearance. Argue it with him if you wish.” The Sith in front of the seer slowly forced himself to relax.

“It’s just so…inefficient. I prefer faster methods, sure methods. I did this under protest.” The Sith said sourly, but was careful not to make any sudden moves, as the Force was screaming ‘danger’ in the room now. “It would have been much more efficient to use the normal methods of breaking them.”

“Rantas, Rantas…” Idjit chided him gently. “Torture does not work in all cases. You know this.” Rantas nodded slowly, against his will. “We have to be able to reprogram the tools that Firdlump and his slaves have placed in the Empire. Preferably without breaking them into bits. That is why you were brought here. Your record and your boasts said that you could. Have you?”

“Yes and no.” Rantas said slowly, finally easing his posture and one. He sighed and spoke evenly. “I do not trust you, Bladeborn. But you are correct, the Emperor’s will is law. I did as instructed, using the softer means than we are used to. You were correct, if we had used shock treatment, both subjects would have suicided. We did manage to get them free of that ‘collective’…” He grimaced in distaste. “…of theirs. But for how long? These methods are unpredictable. I will lodge a protest for inefficient use of resources upon my return.”

“Feel free to do so.” Idjjit said softly. “That is your right. My question then is this: ‘Can I proceed?’.”

“Yes.” Rantas said sourly. “You can. How long it lasts or even if you can get through to them, they are broken from the over control for now.”

“Oh, I can get through to them.” Idjit said softly. The room seemed to darken for a moment and Rantas nodded soberly. The seer turned his blind gaze to the figure strapped to the table and his face was even more remote than usual. Rantas waited a moment and then spoke cautiously.

“I have no statistical data on using these methods. These ‘gentler methods’ as you call them.” Rantas’s voice held clinical curiosity now. “Would there be any chance of getting the data? It would be much more efficient if…” He paused as Idjit turned to face him.

“There are many things, Rantas, that you do not want to know.” The seer’s voice was soft, almost sad. “Do not pursue this.” Rantas looked at him and Idjit shrugged. “Your choice of course. Wouldn’t dream of trying to keep a Sith from his undoubtedly unpleasant destiny.” Rantas was about to speak sharply and then paused. Idjit was a seer, he saw probabilities clearer even than Master Sith and Jedi. But that was rarely a comfort, Rantas knew, having had a few less than fun experiences with visions himself. Idjit’s mouth curled into a small smile and he nodded. “I will take it from here. Both are stable?”

“Both are stable.” Rantas agreed. What had Idjit meant by what he had said? All Sith knew that their lives were likely to be unpleasant. It was a fact of life. “With your permission, then Masterblade Idjit?” He stated formally. Idjit nodded to him, his gaze focused on the figure on the table and Rantas left. A moment after the Sith had left a female human form in Imperial uniform entered the room. Michelle’s expression might have scared a thundercloud. She was shaking her head savagely enough that her brunette locks were flying. Idjit couldn’t actually see the color, but he didn’t need to see to know she was seriously angry.

“I understand the need for camouflage Idjit…” Michelle, the Sixth of the Seven said softly. “And I do like most of the crew. But if that man leers at me one…more…time…” Her voice trailed off in menace any Sith would have envied. Odd, she wasn’t even Force sensitive and she could scare the pants off almost anyone. Maybe because she hung out with Will so much? Idjit mused silently. She growled. “Gah! I hate being reactive! I want to kill stuff!”

“Lieutenant Karvin is still making eyes at you?” Idjit asked, somewhat distracted. “I thought he was cured of that by the full contact bout you two had. You broke his arm.” Michelle grinned in memory, and then she sobered.

“No.” Michelle said sourly. “Now he is making ‘comments’ in my hearing. And they hit the grapevine and then they are everywhere. Luckily the pilots have no time for that garbage.” Idjit snorted, the only thing faster than a hyperdrive engine was the unofficial gossip channels on any starship, even an Imperial one. People had joked, semi-seriously, that if they could harness the power of the grapevine, they could travel from one side of the galaxy to the other in moments.

“Want me to…’talk’ to him?” Idjit said softly. Michelle looked at him and he shrugged. “Having a scary reputation is useful on occasion.” Michelle seemed awfully tempted for a moment and then sighed.

“Nah, just venting.” She smiled at him. “But then again, you knew that.” She shook her head and changed the subject. “What do you think of the report that Will gave us on Katherine?”

“It has to be a trap of some kind.” Idjit said slowly, picking his words with care. “I mean, she disappears –kidnapped by Firdlump- and reappears several months later, pregnant and with no memory of what happened to her? Even without the Force, something stinks.”

“Yeah.” Michelle agreed softly. “They did pick the most secure place they could find to hold her until they did figure it out.” Both nodded to each other. Neither was going to expose the Stormhawk or any of it’s hangers on to Imperial attention, that would be -in a word- bad. Considering that the Stormhawk had fought the Sith successfully on it’s own for more than ten years, oh no, it wouldn’t go over well. She shook her head again. “Nothing we can do about that. They are good at figuring out traps. These?” She asked, waving a hand at the table.

“I will take the one in here.” Idjit said softly. “You take the other. Remember, gently. They will be very confused.”

“And we are not?” Michelle said with a chuckle as she nodded. Then she paused. “Idjit, are you okay?” Idjit shook his head. “Is there anything I can do?” She asked. He shook his head again. “If there is, let me know." She laid a gentle hand on his shoulder and he covered it with his own for a moment before pulling it to his mouth and giving it a kiss. Michelle jerked her hand back with a snort. “Naughty boy! I am going to tell Istara on you!” He bowed to her and she left the room, still chuckling.

“I hope you get the chance.” Idjit said softly. “That at least is unclear, maybe because of who you were before we met. Ah well…” He sighed and moved to the table where a human male lay silent in his bonds.

“Who is there?” The man cried out. “I don’t know what you want from me! Why won’t you let me sleep?”

“If you sleep, you will die, Brakon Darshiel.” Idjit said soberly. “And we still have need of you.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 04:49 PM | #2
“You.” Brakon’s voice was hollow. His injuries had been treated of course. Wouldn’t do for him to die while they were trying to figure out how to undo the brainwashing that had been done to him, now would it? He turned his blindfolded head at the blind man and snarled, his voice heavy with fatigue. “Come to gloat?”

“No.” Idjit said sadly. “I have come to ask your help.” He sat down beside the table the man was restrained on and waited. He did not have to wait long.

My help?” Brakon asked in disbelief. “What a wonderful idea. What a magnificent way you have of ASKING for my help. Knock me unconscious, strap me to a table and hurt me.” The sarcasm in his voice could have cut steel.

“Now, now, Brakon Darshiel.” Idjit said with a grimace. “We haven’t hurt you. We haven’t tortured you. We have been working to undo the programming that Firdlump and Vandar did to you. It hasn’t been pleasant, but it could have been much, much worse. Tell me I lie.”

“Of course you lie.” Brakon shot back. “Everyone lies. What do you want?”

“What do I want?” Idjit said softly his hand dropping into his belt pouch. “I want you to listen.”

“Do I have a choice?” Brakon asked sourly, then he gasped as Idjit’s hand came out with a small brown crystal. “What…?” He shuddered, the tremors passing the length of his body. “What are you-? No!” He cried out.

“Choice? Who does have a choice?” The cold of space rang in Idjit’s tone as he scrutinized the crystal carefully. As he had been promised, the essence that made up Brakon Darshiel’s mind was encased with it. What lay before him on the table was shell, one that had served it’s purpose. “Welcome back, Brakon.”

“You…” Brakon grated words out as Idjit laid the crystal down on the table beside him. “Bastard…What have you done to me?” He demanded.

“I just returned your mind to you.” Idjit said serenely. “But you knew that. Now, tell me what you found out.”

“I…” Brakon was shuddering now, his restrained form fighting the straps that held him down. “You… I…” He couldn’t seem to find the words.

“Don’t make me discipline you again.” Idjit said with menace. Brakon shivered and the blind seer shook his head. “I don’t like the idea of taking slaves. It is totally against what the Bladeborn stand for. But… Needs must when the Rancor drives and I was willing to pay the price for what had to be done. So, Brakon, what did you discover about the collective?”

“Not much, Master.” Brakon said grudgingly. “It is obviously a control mechanism, one intended to keep the subjects content and as happy as possible inside it. Fear and pain are the usual goads for enslavement, but love is much harder to resist. It is harder to keep stable, but much more efficient in the long term. If Firdlump can keep it stable, he will have a whole host of people who will gladly throw themselves away for him. And not mindless fanatics either, but thinking, reasoning, planning people who will do whatever it takes to protect the massed minds.”

“As we feared.” Idjit said slowly. “And Vandar?”

“He is trapped within it now as well.” Brakon said slowly, as if against his will. “Firdlump will not allow Vandar to leave his sight again. Vandar’s machinations were discovered, Firdlump did not take them kindly.”

“Does Firdlump know that you were rebelling as well?” Idjit asked softly. Brakon stiffened and Idjit shrugged, knowing the man could not see him. “Do you believe he knew you were rebelling?”

“If he did, I would be dead or imprisoned within the collective myself.” Brakon said slowly. “As it is, the old agents of Special Branch have been slowly assimilated into the collective. Some of us have been implanted, others adjusted. A few have wound up in the droids.” He shivered again, this time in fear.

“Easy, my friend.” Idjit said gently, patting the bound man’s shoulder. “We will not let him have you.”

“You are not my friend, Idjit of the Bladeborn.” Brakon said without heat, but without give in his voice either. “While you hold my reins, I have no choice but to obey you. Sooner or later, I will be free again however and then…” He cried out as Idjit touched the crystal and power flared.

“I thought we were beyond that.” Idjit said mildly as he withdrew his hand. The blind man shook his head. “Don’t backslide now. We have a lot of work to do.”

“Won’t help you.” Brakon declared, somewhat shakily. But it wasn’t pain that colored his voice. “You cannot make me!”

“You really do enjoy that, don’t you?” Idjit said with a sad smile. “No, I won’t punish you again. Brakon, come on, we have to find a way in.”

“The way in is easy.” Brakon said slowly, his breath coming in gasps as he recovered from the stab of pleasure that Idjit had sent through the crystal into his mind. “Getting out will be hard. If possible at all. Please…More…” He begged.

“Brakon…” Idjit sighed deeply. He had expected this, but it was still rough. “I can’t. There is a limit to how much of that a human can take.”

“I don’t care!” Brakon threw himself against the straps, trying to reach the crystal that was just out of reach. “I need it! Give it to me!”

“No.” Idjit said as he picked up the crystal and put it back in the pouch. The human on the table started to cry but Idjit was unmoved. “We have to find way to get into the collective. If he has found a way to access the hivemind, we have untold problems coming. We need a backdoor of our own.”

“Just a little…” Brakon begged. “I need it. I need to feel the goodness again, the light… I need…” His breath was coming in gasps as he sank back onto the table. “Please let me see the light again? So long in the dark, need to see it, feel it. Please?” Idjit sighed and laid a hand on the bound man's arm. A wave of cleansing blue energy passed over him and he smiled and relaxed in his bonds. "I... No..." He begged as the energy faded. "More... I need more..."

“Later.” Idjit promised. He kept his expression, voice and Force sense serene, but inside, he was seething. To use a man’s addiction like this was evil, but needed. “So, how do you access the collective? What does it feel like? When you touch them, do they feel you?”

He had done some incredibly awful things as a Bladeborn. But when the Dark Jedi started to weep in streams, Idjit wondered if this was the worst. To use the man’s craving for the serenity of the light against him... That was evil. Truly evil. Idjit sighed and shook his head. He was committed. This was his fate. The Fate of the Fifth.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 04:57 PM | #3
He was not used to this feeling. He was supposed to cause fear in others, not be afraid himself. But as Idjit of the Bladeborn sat and stilled his mind to attempt what he planned, he could not help but sense trickle of fear. Some Bladeborn, and some Sith, were renowned for not showing emotion at all. Istara in particular was very good at being an Ice Queen on occasion. But he knew it was an act, that she hid her emotions behind a wall at times. That the woman he loved was a deeply emotional being who laughed, cried, loved and hurt in equal measure. But it was a hard galaxy and he knew better than most about hiding who and what he was. He loved Istara, and he was afraid, both for himself and for her. But this needed to be done.

He took a deep breath. Waiting would solve nothing. He had set this room up to be as private as possible. Oh, there were surveillance devices scattered about, and the com was live, but no one was around. Indeed, the next few corridors were cleared around him as well. No one wanted to be anywhere near him if this went badly. Well, no one except…

You okay, Idjit? Michelle’s worried mental voice came into his mind, gentle as always, but with the rock hard determination that characterized her. Admittedly, she was far, far older than almost anyone else he had met. It was hard to remember that the stunning brunette that had been working with him aboard the Sith battleship Deciever was actually a cloned body with the mind of a woman who had died over nine centuries before and had her mind crammed into a starship to serve a jellyfish like alien race as a slave. Even now, Idjit couldn’t quite comprehend the horror that Michelle had suffered. She generally refused to talk about it. He didn’t blame her. The Sith Empire did not know who she had been, just that she was now the Sixth of the Seven and an ace pilot. And Idjit had no intention at all of telling them.

Yeah. Idjit replied slowly. Just… Well… He shrugged, even though she was nowhere around.

It’s okay to be scared, squirt. Michelle said with a familiar lilt in her voice. Idjit had to laugh at that. She sounded exactly like a mother would. Then her voice hardened. You know what we have to do. And why.

And you know what you have to do. Idjit replied softly. I AM afraid. It was incredibly hard to admit that, even in the deepest recesses of mind communication that the Seven shared. Not of what will happen to me, but… He paused as Michelle snarled at him.

Istara, can you talk sense into your paramour. Again? The pilot asked sourly and a snort came through the link.

Sense has nothing to do with it, Michelle. Istara Sharlina Andal replied with an unseen smile. Of course she was on the other side of the galaxy. Idjit is Idjit, trying to get him to be sensible? Her laugh echoed through the link. Not going to happen.

He has reason to be afraid, you two. We all do. Will Kalenath’s calm voice came through the link and everyone calmed a bit. Odd that he could calm them, but he could. We are with you, Idjit. Now and always. Will’s voice promised. You are not alone no matter what the scum throw at you.

Okay. Idjit sank back into the chair that he had set up and the restraints locked into place. Thank you all. Now kindly butt out. I don’t want Firdlump getting access to all of you if he can access me.

'Butt out'? You are going to pay for that comment, masterblade. Istara’s cool voice promised. A mental caress had him smiling and then she was gone.

Good luck, Idjit. Will’s voice commented and then he was gone.

Michelle? Idjit asked softly as he tried to get comfortable in the hard chair. I am ready.

This is going to hurt no matter what we do, Idjit. Michelle’s mental voice was calm, but held a tinge of worry. Last chance to back out.

My path, Michelle. Idjit replied with a serenity in his tone that he didn’t really feel. My choice. This may be our only chance. Lohas cannot keep Firdlump’s collective at bay for too much longer. We need to figure out what we are facing and how to combat it. He laid his head back and the restraints around it snapped into place. Was this what Jina had felt right before she had been hurt? It was nerve wracking. He had always been in control of himself, he had always had to be. His power, never completely under control, surged again and he slammed it back down with the skill of long practice. Ready. He said and braced himself.

It didn’t hurt. He had expected it to hurt But the needles that slid into his head didn’t hurt. At first anyway. Then…

Idjit? No! A familiar voice screamed into his head.

Mira? Idjit blinked. Wait a moment. He blinked? He hadn’t had eyelids for almost three decades. Let alone eyes… He was already in.

Idjit… The sad, scared voice of the girl he had found chained to the wall in a Sith’s dungeon, scared, sick, dying from evil experiments faltered a bit. Her voice was strong but held massive amounts of fear. You shouldn’t be here, Idjit.

I need to find out about the collective, Mira. Idjit replied. Can you tell me?

I… Mira sighed deeply. I don’t… We haven't been able to access it at all. Idjit, get out. Get out now! Her voice changed from worried to horrified. Get out! Before he gets here! He is coming!

I can’t Mira. Idjit said softly. Bring it, scumball. He materialized on the plain, the odd place that seers could reach. It was an endless gray plain, endless stretches of nothingness. He had heard it described as a sleeping mind but whose? He had no idea. It didn’t really matter. He knew what to do. His cloud form solidified as always when he wore his Seven armor. It surrounded him like a second skin, not impregnable, but protective. “Show yourself.” He said in a soft, commanding voice.

“Well, well, well…” The voice of the master of the collective sounded form nearby and Idjit could not keep from quailing slightly as Firdlump appeared nearby. The mass of nano machines could appear as anyone, or anything. Right at the moment, he appeared to be a human of middling years, black hair turning gray, with piercing brown eyes. “This was unexpected. Idjit of the Bladeborn, well met.”

“Not so well met.” Idjit replied, keeping his senses in a 360 degree arc. Yes, as he had suspected, other shadowy forms were circling him now, just beyond the reach of his main senses. They were more sensed than seen, and even then, they were ephemeral. “You have made some critical errors.”

“So have you.” Firdlump said evenly. “Your allies have failed you.”

“Oh, come on!” Idjit actually laughed at that and he sighed as Firdlump stared at him. “Is that the best you can do? I have met the Emperor, monster. Do your worst.”

“Oh, no…” Firdlump replied as he stood quietly. “I am not going to do a thing.” A soft voice had Idjit freezing in place and the distinctive snap hiss of a lightsaber igniting silenced everything.

“Hello Idjit.” Jina Darkstorm’s silver blades hung in seemingly negligent grips as she strode form the shadows beside him. Idjit shook his head and then paused as other shadows also started forming into solid shapes. Istara and Mira also appeared. Istara had her sabers in hand, but not ignited, her face was covered in tears that fell silently as she watched him. Mira just watched, impassive, as Jina walked towards him. Then everything stopped as Idjit’s blade simply appeared in his hand. “You are not going to win, Idjit.” Jina said sadly.

“I know.” And then silence became absolute as his sword clanged to the ground.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:04 PM | #4
“You can dispense with the illusions.” Idjit said calmly as he crossed his arms in front of his chest. “They won’t work on me.” The mass of intelligent nano machines in front of him actually seemed non-plussed.

“What is this?” Firdlump asked softly, not moving. The fact that Idjit had dropped his sword made him more dangerous, not less. His blade was the least of his weapons.

“I am going to give you a chance. More of a chance than you give any of your slaves.” Idjit said softly, not turning his blind eyes from the avatar of Jina Darkstorm who still had her sabers ready. “Convince me to join you. Convince me that what you are doing is right. Turn me to your way of thinking.” He paused. “If you can.”

“Now why would I do that?” Firdlump said with a grin as the shade of Jina started to attack. Then he paused as Idjit raised his hand and the form of the female former Jedi imploded with a shriek. No gore though, simply a puff of smoke appeared and then was gone. All of the other shadowy forms froze in place as Idjit dusted his hands and smiled thinly.

“Don’t forget who I am, Firdlump.” The seer of the Bladeborn said with a small smile. “You are not the only monster here.”

“You are not really crazy Idjit.” Firdlump said with a sigh. “Despite everything you do, I know it is an act. Why ask me to convince you?”

“Because if you can’t…” Idjit said quietly, but firmly. “One of us is not leaving this mindscape. Not alive that is.” Menace rang in his quiet tone now. “Even machines can die. You know this.”

“You can’t win.” Firdlump said slowly, his face serene.

“Neither can you.” Idjit said with a familiar ironic grin starting to cross his features. The old heat and anger that had served him for so long pulled at it’s bounds and he forced it back again. He had to remain clear headed. The rush of power that came from losing himself to the Dark Side always clouded his thoughts as well and right now he couldn’t afford that. “What is it going to be, scumbag? Do we fight or do we talk? I really don’t have all night, you know.”

“Well, then…” Firdlump said with a sigh, “Let us talk. What do you want to know first?”

“Jina’s exact condition for starters.” Idjit said as he sat cross legged, as if he hadn’t a care in the world. “Several people want to know.”

“Ah, Jina…” Firdlump shook his head. “We have not been able to figure out exactly what happened. It doesn’t help that she fights hard every time we try and examine her.”

“Can you blame her?” Idjit asked sourly. “After all, she willingly and knowingly put herself in your hands to try and stop the vision and what did you do? Hurried it right along.” Scorn sang in Idjit’s tone now. “And you call us short sighted and stupid.” He shook his head. “We all assumed you would see her as a danger, not a toy to be played with.”

“She is not a toy.” Firdlump protested. “We needed to see what the bugs had done to her.”

“Lie to yourself all you want, machine.” Idjit shrugged. “Don’t lie to me and expect me to remain silent. You knew the Sitolon hadn’t done anything to her except teach her how to kill things like you. You want to know how so you can protect yourself from us. Sorry.” Idjit didn’t sound particularly sorry. Indeed, he sounded amused. “We don’t care what you want.”

“You should.” Firdlump said easily. “We could do so much good for the galaxy.”

“Good?” Idjit asked, his expression probably incredulous. Hard to tell without eyes. Then he laughed, good naturedly. Or at least it seemed that way, except for the fact that his blind gaze never left the mass of nano machines and his hands did not move. At all. “You are a barrel of Kowakian monkey lizards, Firdlump, do you know that? Good…” He chortled softly, darkly amused.

“What is so funny?” Firdlump asked mildly. “I am trying to make the galaxy a better place. You of all people should understand that.”

“No.” Idjit replied just as easily. “You are trying to make it an ordered place. With you of course as it’s controller. There is a difference. Problem is that you are falling into the same trap the Sith generally do. Of course…” He mused. “The Republic isn’t much better sometimes. Idiots all at times.”

“You could help us.” Firdlump insisted. “Help us greatly. Think about the mighty things we can accomplish with one of your insight to guide us.”

“Be guided by you, you mean.” Idjit replied steadily. “Of course, all it would cost me is my free will. Small price to pay for your victory, now is it?”

“My victory is inevitable.” Firdlump said softly, with absolute certainty. “The Republic is corrupt, the Empire is rotten to the core. Sharp blows will bring them both down. Both the Sith and the Jedi are divided, distracted, ripe for the plucking.” He paused as Idjit sighed deeply. “What?”

“You are such an idiot.” The seer said softly. “No matter what happens here and now, no matter what you do, you are doomed, Firdlump.” The seer’s voice rang with sorrow now. “Even if you win, you will not manage to hold whatever you win. You cannot control the entire galaxy no matter how large you make that horrific mass mind of yours. It will not mean anything in the long term. All these lives destroyed, innocents hurt and killed, children tormented, trained to be monsters, for what? In the end, nothing.”

“You are wrong.” Firdlump said, but his voice was not as sure now.

“Am I?” Idjit said slowly. “No seers work for you. All that you have taken -captured, whatever- have suicided before you could ‘adjust’ them. Even Special Branch was never able to recruit any seers. Why is that, do you think?”

“We are not perfect.” Firdlump said slowly. “We have had to be careful until recently. Now we can move more openly, get more recruits.”

“No.” Idjit replied, almost gently. “You see, we –the seers- talk to each other. Even Jedi and Sith seers do on occasion. We know what you do not. Nothing you do will change anything. You have caused untold horror and pain to so many people. For. Nothing.” The seer said relentlessly as Firdlump recoiled slightly. “Everything you have done will fail. Everything will fall. All you have done is hurt people and in the end, it will change Nothing. You will fail. You have failed.”

“Have I?” Fidlump said, recovering his poise. “And the prophecy?”

“Prophecies are vague for a reason.” Idjit said gently, almost as if he were talking to a child. “Taking them at face value is dumb, Firdlump.”

“And trying to evade the question is also not very smart, Idjit of the Baldeborn.” Idjit stiffened as a new voice sounded and a small green form appeared nearby. Jedi Master Tokare Vandar sighed and nodded to Firdlump and Idjit. “You do not have all the information. Neither do we. We should work together.”

“Then convince me.” Idjit said slowly. “Or fight. Either way, this is likely only going to end with a fight.”

“No.” Vandar said gently. “I have a better idea.” Then Idjit stiffened as the gray plain fell away. “A much better idea…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:07 PM | #5
A hand grabbed Idjit’s and while he tried to pull away, it was relentless. Then he heard it. A voice. Young, concerned and female.

“Wake up, Daddy.” The small voice had him stiffening and then his eyes shot open. Wait a sec… HIS EYES? “Please wake up.” He blinked and then nodded slowly.

“Wha…? Who…?” Idjit paused, unsure as he took in his surroundings. He was lying on a large bed, garbed for sleep and the hand and voice belonged to a small brown haired girl, maybe six or seven years old. Her face was intent and her eyes were worried as she looked at him. He shook his head. “Oh Vandar, this is low, even for you.”

“Daddy?” The girl asked, confused. “What do you mean? I am Istara, your daughter.”Her voice was the perfect shade of exasperated and worried. Idjit shook his head and sat up. What greeted his eyes was absurd, and at the same time, completely plausible.

The bed he was lying in was in a comfortable looking room. From the air and gravity, he was on a planet. He knew he was not on a planet, but the level of detail was unreal. Incredibly precise. The girl saw his eyes wandering and made a noise of disapproval.

“Daddy, we are going to be late!” She said softly, but firmly. “Momma is gonna be mad.”

“Well, we don’t want that, do we?” Idjit said after a moment, deciding to play along. He rolled out of the bed and got another shock. The body that he knew was gone. The one he was in was flabby and soft. He stared at the round midsection in wonder and then sighed. Whatever plan Vandar and Firdlump had for him, this…projection was likely to be a trap or a test, or something. He could not sense anything different anywhere. Matter of fact, he couldn’t feel the Force at all. The girl watched as he walked to the refresher and looked in the mirror. The face that greeted him was his, with eyes, older, flabbier and… He shook his head. “You have got to be kidding.” Idjit said sourly as he took in the clothing lying folded neatly nearby. He picked up the shirt and winced. He would look like a court jester in that. Or a pimp. “What are we doing today?” He called to the girl, determined to play his part until he could figure out what was going on.

“Daddy!” The girl declared sourly. “It’s my party today!” She made a face that he could see even through the wall. “I was selected and all. I thought you would be happy.”

“I am still asleep.” Idjit said slowly. “Hang on.” He cleaned himself quickly and dressed, wincing at the colors. It was incredible. He knew he had to be in a mind simulation of some kind, but the textures were perfect, everything was perfect. At least the cloak that was there was a neutral color. He shook his head as he put it on and walked out to find the girl sitting waiting for him. She smiled as he came out, her face turning radiant.

“You look perfect, Dad.” The girl who called herself Istara said with a grin. “Let’s go, we are going to be late.”

“Wouldn’t want that.” Idjit said softly as he let the girl take his hand and lead him from the room. But as he did, he felt what he expected. He kept his face and Force sense neutral as the probe swept through him, basically ignoring it, allowing it to pass through him. But… He didn’t. He controlled a smirk at what the scanning being was going to find and followed the girl.

***

“What do you mean, he isn’t there?” Firdlump said with a snarl as they watched the image of the girl lead Idjit from the room towards the next phase of the test.

“I mean…” Vandar said slowly. “Part of his mind is there, accessible, and open to us. The rest… The important parts…” The small green form sighed. “Dang it, he knows. Somehow he knows. He knows we are trying to pump him for information and is likely feeding us dis-information.” He shook his head, his long ears waving. “I must respectfully protest this course of action. What we are trying is incredibly dangerous. This is no novice, no Jedi or Sith, we are talking about here, Master.”

“We need to know how the Seven keep anticipating us. How they are always one step ahead of us.” Firdlump said with a wave of his hand. “We need to know who is feeding them information. All of our people are accounted for, except Ravishaw and there is literally no way at all he will work with Idjit. Not after the work we put in on him.” Vandar looked at him and Firdlump sighed. “I know, I know. We were refining the mind control processes of the nanites. We were…less than gentle with him and the damage was done. I highly doubt that Ravishaw is the leak, but we need to know.”

“And if Idjit manages to break loose?” Vandar asked neutrally. “You know what he is capable of. He fought Brakon and Jarrel to a standstill while fighting a team of troops and Gev as well.” The small Jedi sighed. “So many losses,…” He tilted his head quizzically. “Might the Seven have their own form of the collective?”

“Now that…” Firdlump actually paused and looked worried for a moment. That never occurred to me. He shook his head. “No, no… There would have been some kind of sign. Something we could detect in his mind. We need to break through those blocks, access his memories.”

“Carefully.” Vandar said slowly as they both turned to watch the girl lead Idjit from the house in the mental projection that they had ensconced him in. The sheer power that it took to create a convincing mental illusion as staggering. The power it took to make an illusion that would fool a Force user of Idjit’s power and sensitivity was mind numbing. “I still think that having her call herself Istara was too blatant.”

“You will see.” Firdlump smirked. “It’s all planned out. He will join us.”

“I hope so.” Vandar said slowly. “We are fumbling in the dark without access to visions. With all the Force users in the collective essentially blinded by it, well...” He shrugged. “It is marvelous, but I do miss the visions.”

All of them?” Firdlump asked softly.

“Well… When you put it like that…No.” Vandar shook his head. “Okay, ready for the next phase.”
My stories in order:
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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:11 PM | #6
“Oh come on…” Idjit said sourly under his breath as the little girl pulled him from the house and onto the street. A street where each and every house looked exactly the same. He kept his voice down however as the girl almost started skipping forward, her hand clenching his. She looked at him and he forced a smile onto his face. “Where to?”

“We are going to Mira’s house.” The girl who called herself Istara said grandly. “The party is there. Then I go for the operation.”

Operation? Idjit blinked, still novelling slightly at the sensation. He knew this was make believe, a construct. But he had to admire the effort and skill that had gone into it. It actually felt like he was walking on a solid surface. The little girl’s hand was… He paused. The little girl was real. He was sure about that. But was she who she said she was? Did SHE believe she was his daughter or was it another trick? He shrugged slightly and took the Rancor by the throat.

“You seem very happy.” Idjit kept his voice neutral. “Are you?”

“Well, duh.” Idjit had to smile at the sheer disbelief in the little girl’s tone now. “I know it is going to hurt. I know that I will change a lot. But it will be worth it.”

“Are you sure it will be worth it?” Idjit pressed slightly. The girl stopped and looked at him and Idjit smiled to defuse any tension. “I am not questioning your choice. I just want to be sure myself.”

“I talked with a lot of people about this.” The little girl said soberly. “Yes. I want to do this. I want to help others. I want to make the galaxy a better place. I want to do what my mom…” She broke off and her face started working as if she were about to cry. Idjit pulled her close. “I wish mom were here to see me. I wish she hadn’t died.”

“It’s okay.” Idjit said gently as he held the now softly crying girl. “Just remember, in all things, there are choices.” He smiled as he ruffled her hair and then froze as an impossible voice sounded nearby.

“Well, well, well.” An older human male came around the corner of the closest house. His face was covered by the hood of the black cloak he wore. “Been a long time, Leonel.”

“Istara.” Idjit said slowly, his entire form going stiff. “Go on ahead. I will be there in a moment.”

“Dad…” Istara’s voice was unsure as she turned to look at the man. “Do you know this man?”

“I did.” Idjit said slowly. Then he gave the girl another hug and then a gentle shove. She took off running. AS soon as she was out of easy earshot, Idjit shook his head slowly. “This is dumb. Hasn’t anyone ever told you idiots that my older brother is dead?”

“What?” The hooded man asked, nonplussed.

“Come on, Vandar.” Idjit said with a scowl. “Enough is enough. Nice illusion, but come off it. If you want to convince me, this is not the way.”

“I am not going to convince you of anything.” The hooded man said softly, with menace as his hand came up from his belt with a small vial. Idjit simply looked at him and the man chuckled ominously. “How would you like to lose your eyes?”

“Old.” Idjit said with a deep, heartfelt sigh. The hooded man stiffened and Idjit shrugged. “What better way to try and break the will of a blind man? Give him eyes and then threaten to take them away. Come on, Firdlump. It’s been tried.” Something grabbed Idjit and held him in place as the hooded man started forward. The hood came off and Will Kalenath’s face shone on it. The vial came up and the man’s free hand opened it.

“Enough.” Idjit said quietly and everything stopped. “There are limits to what I will allow you and your scum to do, Firdlump. That is beyond them.” He reached deep, deep into himself and the Force answered his call.

No!” The man cried out, a new voice, as the reality around them vanished. Then he shrieked as Idjit raised hand, the vial of acid falling, then slowing and stopping.

“You wanted my eyes?” Idjit asked as his sight faded. He didn’t need to see to know that his form was his usual whipcord thin and tough as nails body again. “I just wanted to talk. Fine, we do it your way.” The man was shaking his head, trying to speak as the vial came back up, arcing to stay right in front of the man’s face. It angled just right and he pulled his hand back to send it flying into the man’s face. It wasn’t Will Kalenath’s anymore. It was someone else. Someone who Idjit remembered far less than fondly. The voice and face were his older brother. The one who had blinded him. His rage burned though him. Even knowing that it was a trick, one probably designed to make him lose his temper… He still wanted things to die.

“Stop.” Vandar’s voice was resigned as the small green Jedi master appeared nearby. “He isn’t the one you want to hurt, Idjit.”

“He will do.” Idjit said as he flung the contents of the vial into the man’s face. He watched dispassionately as the man screamed and then collapsed in a heap as the acid ate into his skin. He shook his head as Vandar stared at him. “You might want to get that neutralized. Or it will eat completely through him.” The screaming, writhing form vanished and the two of them were left what Idjit recognized now as a pocket of the gray plain, separate from the main parts, but still part of it.

“That was uncalled for.” Vandar said softly, his tone disappointed.

“If you want me to lose my temper, simply say so, Vandar.” Idjit said quietly. “I will be happy to show you what depths my anger can reach. As powerful as you are, you should know better.”

“It wasn’t my choice.” Vandar said sadly.

“What is that little girl’s real name?” Idjit asked softly. “Just curious. Is it Julia? Pilloa or Leeni? Or did you clone someone just for me?”

“Her name is Rebeka. We rescued her from an abusive father on Correlia.” Vandar said sadly. “She volunteered. We told her it was dangerous. But she wants to make a difference.”

“By becoming a slave.” Idjit shrugged. “Well, no matter.” He sighed. “Convince me. Or have you given up on that?”

“You know better than that, Idjit.” Vandar said gently. “This was never intended to be taken at face value, but your request had us stumped. How can we convince you? You have seen what we do and think it is slavery. So what we are going to do is show you what we are.”

“Indeed?” The seer asked softly.

“Yes.” Vandar said slowly. “We would try and pull you in, but I don’t think that would work. Or go over very well.” Idjit just smiled thinly and Vandar nodded.

“One thing, Vandar.” Idjit said slowly, all humor vanishing as If into a black hole. “If you ever bring that part of my past up again, I will burn every single mind I find of your collective to ash. You know I can.” There was no melodrama in his words, just simple fact. Vandar actually gulped a bit at that. “I won’t be able to destroy your collective, but as Will found out, we can hurt it.”

“What he did was unconscionable!” Vandar nearly exploded. “He had that poor man down. He had him totally defenseless!” Will had killed an entire team and then taken the last member of it prisoner. Just so he could torture the man to death. And the WAY he had done it… Even Idjit had gotten goosebumps. Which had been the point.

“And what you did to Jina was right and proper?” Idjit snarled right back. “What you want to do to every one of us who do not simply submit to you?” He shook his head. “Maybe you cannot see the slave chains that hold you any more, Vandar. But we can. So go ahead, try and convince me.”

“Okay.” Vandar said slowly. “We both need to calm down a bit. I know you don’t trust me, and I don’t trust you. We can both hurt each other, but you have the advantage here, seer.” Idjit nodded. Seers routinely went places and did things that other Force users could not. It gave them a great deal of experience in dealing with issues of the mind. Idjit just waited and Vandar sighed. “Follow me.” His form winked out and a moment later, Idjit’s followed.

A moment after they both disappeared, two indistinct forms appeared where they had been. One appeared to be a transparent female human, the other a transparent female Twi’lek.

“It’s begun.” Emily Darkstorm said sadly. “I will warn Sharra. You warn the others. And be careful Ulaha.” The Twi’lek nodded and both vanished from the place.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:15 PM | #7
Idjit materialized inside what looked like the corridors of a starship and nodded slightly as Vandar appeared next to him. Odd that he could see here. Was he still in the mindscape? No. So something else was happening. Something odd. Ah well, that was his job most of the time, find out what was going on, by any means necessary.

“The Courageous?” Idjit asked offhandedly. Firdlump’s flagship was known as a renegade. The Republic was seeking it along with two other battleships and their escorts now that they had -finally- realized that Firdlump was not the genial and kind custodian of the people he had pretended to be.

“Yes.” Vandar said with a smile. “Our home away from home.”

“Better hope Will doesn’t find it.” Idjit said with a smirk. Vandar glowered at him and the seer just smiled. “Well, it is the truth.” Vandar actually shuddered a little. Yes, if Will Kalenath found the ship, it would likely be blown out of the stars. The crazy soldier was well known for destroying capital class starships, usually all by himself. Sith fleets had learned to run when they heard the loud, fast music start. “So, when do you spring your trap?” He asked curiously.

“Idjit…” Vandar groaned. “Can’t we just invite you to talk and not have some kind of ulterior motive?”

“You…?” Idjit asked, his expression turning incredulous. “And him…” He waved at the walls, meaning Firdlump who was probably listening. “…without ulterior motives?” The seer actually laughed. “The mind boggles.”

“Well…” Vandar actually looked uncomfortable now. “Yes. We usually do have ulterior motives. This time, though we just want to talk.”

“Ah.” Idjit smirked. “And you pulled me here… ‘Just to talk’. Right.” The sarcasm in the seer’s voice could have cut durasteel. “Whatever you are going to do, you might as well try.”

“We are going to convince you.” Vandar said gently. “Come, someone wants to talk to you.” The small green form led the way through the corridors of the ship, nodding as people saluted him and frankly stared at the blind seer. Not that Idjit cared. He had other things on his mind.

“Did you ever manage to clone Morey?” Idjit asked after a few corridors worth of travel. He didn’t bother to keep the hate from his tone.

“His name is Ravishaw, Idjit.” Vandar said with a glance at the seer.

“Not to us.” Idjit replied coldly. “He broke the Code, broke with the Code. He was punished, and now his name is Morey.” Idjit’s tone might have given an Aklay nightmares.

“I am not going to argue Bladeborn politics with you, Masterblade.” Vandar said with a sigh. “But it wasn’t really his fault.”

“Fault has nothing to do with it.” Idjit said, his tone still cold. “At your master’s behest, he betrayed us, attacked us, and did his darndest to destroy us.”

“You do not have all the information, Idjit.” Vandar said sadly as he stopped before a door marked ‘Medical’. “We have made some mistakes. We are trying to fix them.” The door opened and screams echoed down the corridor. “This is what your friend did to us.” Vandar said sadly as he stepped into the bay. Idjit followed, his face impassive.

The medical bay was packed with injured beings of various races. Most of them screaming in pain while doctors, nurses and droids tended them. Idjit turned his head from side to side, and then sneered. Vandar looked at him and Idjit just laughed.

“This illusion is even stupider than the last one, Vandar.” Idjit said with an annoyed sigh. “Get on with it.”

“What do you mean?” Vandar asked, incredulous. “This is…”

“This is a group of people screaming.” Idjit said calmly. “None of them actually are in pain.” Vandar goggled at him and Idjit smirked. “Who are you talking to, slave? Your master controls their pain and pleasure.” The screams in the room cut off. “I have asked you to convince me, and you keep throwing illusions at me. If I didn’t know better, I would think you were just delaying me while Firdlump did something he didn’t want me to notice inside my mind.” Vandar stared at him and then blanched. Idjit shook his head and sighed deeply. “So be it.” The seer raised his hand and the scene around them vanished.

“idjit! No!” Vandar cried as he tried to summon the power to resist Idjit’s. “What are you doing?”

“I warned you.” Idjit said softly, menace ringing in each syllable. “I was actually open to being convinced, after the stunts Will pulled. He needs control, no question, even imposed. But this….” Idjit shook his head. “Not like this.”

“You cannot win, seer.” The voice of the master of the collective sounded from nearby as both Idjit and Vandar reappeared on the gray plain. “Submit.”

No!” Vandar cried as the mass of nano machines took shape nearby. “Master! Idjit! No! Don’t!”

“Don’t what?” Idjit asked as he took a deep breath. “Live? Yearn to be free? You may hurt me, you may kill me, but you will never defeat me.” He shook his head. “All this time, all this pain and you still do not understand.” Idjit’s blade appeared in his hand and he assumed a ready position. “You may take Bladeborn, you may brainwash Bladeborn, but you will never…” He broke off as a new form appeared on the plain. A small blonde haired girl. Her armor and sword proclaimed who she was. “Oh Zana…” Now his voice held sorrow.

“Hello Idjit.” The youthful Bladeborn said sadly as she interposed herself between the masterblade and the master of the collective. “I can’t let you do this.”

“Why did you change your hair? I preferred you as a redhead.” Idjit asked, sad now. “Most of us did.” He did not take his gaze from Firdlump as Zana’s sword left it’s sheathe. “This is low, even for you Firdlump.” He started walking, angling past Zana.

“I like being a blonde. I have ever since I met Jina.” Zana said softly, moving slowly to keep herself between Idjit and the mass of nano machines. “I don’t want to fight you, masterblade. But I will if I must. If you hurt him, you hurt Jina. I cannot allow that.”

“You can’t stop me, Zana.” Idjit said with dreadful finality. Then he attacked.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:19 PM | #8
No one could even doubt the Zana’s courage. Her good sense, maybe, but never her courage. She tried to fight Idjit. She had no chance at all. As he charged, she moved into the proper blocking stance to keep him from Firdlump, only to be taken off guard when he changed course and attacked HER instead. She got her blade in between her innards and his point, only to have it slapped almost contemptuously aside. The she gave a small cry as his sword came down in a flashing arc, but not the edge. The flat of the blade slapped her rump armor, making a ringing noise. Then, quick as a whip crack, he retreated out of her reach and shook his head.

“You still don’t guard your left, Zana.” Idjit said sadly. “I see you haven’t been keeping up your studies.”

“I can’t let you hurt Jina, Masterblade.” Zana said, setting herself again. “I will stop you.”

“No you won’t, Zana.” Idjit said almost gently. “I don’t want to hurt you, but you are leaving me no choice. Actually…” He snarled at Firdlump. “He is leaving me no choice.”

“It is wonderful, masterblade.” Zana said, but without hope. “We are all parts of a greater good, a mighty and wonderful whole.”

“Zana… Open your eyes.” Idjit said softly, his guard never wavering as he circled her slowly. “I know they hurt you. I know you cannot make sense of things, I can feel your confusion, your conflict.”

“There is no conflict.” Zana said stolidly as she turned in place to keep her sword between him and Firdlump. “You do not understand.”

I do not understand?” Idjit shook his head slowly. "Girl…” His shoulders fell for a moment and then he straightened. “So be it.” With no further ado, he was in motion.

Zana tried, but in the end, she was still a learner, a novice Bladeborn. He was a masterblade, honed and trained to be a perfect weapon, his sword and the Force actual extensions of his own will and body. Their swords rang as Idjit pressed his attack, first from one side and then the other. Zana backed away, trying desperately to keep his sword away from her as strikes came from every direction. But it couldn’t last. Eventually, she missed a block and she gave a small cry as Idjit’s sword came slamming in. Her armor was exactly as much protection from that ancient blade as a sheet of paper might have been and her right hand fell from the hilt as the tendons in her right forearm were sliced with surgical precision. Blood dripped from her useless arm, but she shifted her grip and kept fighting, trying to find an opening in Idjit’s guard. But there wasn’t one. Sweat and tears were both falling down her face as she tried. Finally, Idjit found the opening he wanted and his sword made a peculiar twist. Zana blanched as her sword went flying out of her hands. But she did not cry out. Bladeborn did not surrender. She met the masterblade’s empty eye sockets with her eyes and he nodded soberly. Idjit’s blade was perfectly balanced as it came sweeping down to end her life.

“Stop!” A green lightsaber interposed itself between Idjit’s blade and Zana’s unprotected throat. Tokare Vandar got between them, but paused as Idjit turned a blank gaze on him. “Idjit…She is protecting Jina.”

“She has betrayed us.” Idjit could have been carved from stone for all the emotion he showed as he raised his right hand from the hilt of his sword and Zana rose into the air, now she was screaming as power coruscated through her. “She knows the penalty.”

“It’s not her fault!” Vandar said, trying to break the flows of power. He knew better than to get into a swordfight with the masterblade. He was old, canny and sneaky. He was nowhere near Idit’s class with a blade. “Let her go!”

“Fault has nothing to do with it.” Idjit said, and then paused. “Ah, sneaky, sneaky.” He actually chuckled. “Get me focused on a swordfight and then probe my mind for weaknesses. Nicely done, Vandar. That was a slick mental probe. Pity it missed it’s mark.”

“Idjit…” Vandar actually blanched. “Don’t…”

“You people just don’t get it.” Idjit said as he lowered his sword’s point until it pointed at the ground. “What the flarg makes any of you think I care what you want? You hurt people I care about. You have brainwashed and killed people I care about.”

No!” Vandar cried out, terrified. “Don’t do it! You don’t know what you are doing!”

“Neither do you.” Idjit said coldly as he focused all of his rage, all of his hate, all of his negative energy into one pulse and let it loose. Not at Vandar, or Zana or even Firdlump. But at the surface of the gray plain. “Wakey wakey, eggs and bakey…” He chortled as Vandar and Zana cried out in terror. But he paused as another voice sounded on the plain.

“Masterblade, stop!” A large golden form appeared on the plain. Queen Sarai’s form fairly buzzed with energy as she snarled at Idjit. “Now is not the time.”

“They hurt us. They kill us. They take us and twist us, make us parodies of ourselves…” Idjit’s voice was cold as he turned his blind gaze from the mass of nano machines, to the now kneeling and keening younger Bladeborn, to the terrified Jedi, to the queen Sitolon. “I think it is more than time, Queen Sarai.”

“Idjit, stand down.” Saria was nearly begging. “Please, don’t make me do this. Stand down. We will stop them.”

“How? Oh... you...dumb girl...” Idjit snarled, respect fading as his true nature came to the fore. Then he paused, stared at Sarai and slumped. “I had thought you of all people would have been able to resist, Queen Sarai.”

“Idjit…” Sarai shook her huge head. “I can’t. If I do, my people will die. The hivemind is needed. When he accessed it, he took all of my people hostage, as well as everyone on the homeship. Everyone, Idjit.” Saria said with force. Idjit did not respond. “Idjit… Please…” She stiffened as he shook his head. “No… Don’t…”

“I said it before.” Idjit’s face broke into a wide, inhuman smile. “And I will say it again. Screams of misery, screams of victory…!” He raised his sword high and then he slammed it deep into the surface of the plain. Shockwaves coruscated from the impact point. “Blood, blood, blood, blood!


“NO!” The scream of denial came from many throats as Idjit cut loose with all of his power directly into the surface beneath him. Then the grayness… shuddered. Movement was seen in the distance as the predators that prowled the plain all converged on the site of power. They ate the Force, so such a bouquet as Idjit was unleashing would be irresistible to them. Idjit was cackling in delight as power flowed from him into the surface that was undulating now.

“For the Bladeborn! For Morey! For everyone who you scum have hurt and killed! Die!!” He slammed his blade again and again into the surface, each time creating shockwaves that threw everyone around him away from him. “May you agony be endless!”

“Idjit! Stop!” Saria begged. “You will kill us all! Stop!”

“Go ahead, Queen Sarai!” Idjit snarled. “Serve them. Be a nice little slave. I won’t be one!” He raised his sword again and Sarai acted.

Power flowed from all four of her claws, dark terrible power. He screamed once as it engulfed the seer. Then he was gone.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:25 PM | #9
“What happened?” Zana said slowly as she nursed the cup of caf that she had been given with her left hand. She was careful to hold still, the medical gear attached to her right arm was cumbersome. “He was upset, we all could see that, let alone feel it. Why would he attack the plain? Why would Sarai of all people stop him?”

“He knew we were trying to read him. It made him angry.” Vandar said from her side, his hand stroking her upper arm as Menglan worked on her lower arm. The actual damage done on the plain had not transferred, but nerve damage had occurred. It was odd, but then again, the plain itself was odd. “Why didn’t you stop him, master?” He asked deferentially. Firdlump sighed form where he stood against one wall.

“I am not omniscient, Vandar.” The mass of nano machines said sadly. “I never would have expected him to do something that nuts. He is not crazy, he just acts it well. Or…” Firdlump paused and grimaced. “I didn’t think he was. Maybe…” He shrugged. “What I got from his mind didn’t make any sense.” Vandar looked at him and Firdlump shrugged. “Look, we all know that Idjit is a masterful liar and manipulator. But what I got made no sense at all.”

“What did you get from him, Master?” Vandar asked softly, his hand soothing Zana as the girl jumped. Menglan gave her an apologetic smile and nodded.

“Sorry about that, Zana.” The doctor said with a sigh. “All done. I assume the plain is closed to us now?”

“Yes.” Firdlump said slowly. “For the foreseeable future anyway. The pounding he gave it may not have been enough to wake the mind that slumbers, but then again… It might have. I think that was his intention.” He nodded as both Menglan and Vandar blanched. “Yeah, I know.”

“All three of you are lucky to be alive.” Menglan said with a shudder. “The predators would have swarmed to such a display, and likely will not disperse for a while.”

“I know.” Firdlump said with a frown. “They might have even been able to devour me, let alone one crazy masterblade.”

“He wasn’t crazy.” Zana said sadly as she sat back and drank deeply from her cup. “He was angry. Every Bladeborn knows not to anger Idjit. But why? All we were doing was trying to explain, to convince him.” Firdlump did not look at her, but she suddenly drooped, her eyes sliding shut. “So tired…”

“Menglan, take Zana to the medical bay and make sure she sleeps.” Menglan nodded and helped Zana stand. The young Bladeborn was weaving on her feet but managed to get out of the room with Menglan’s aid. Only then did Firdlump turn to Vandar. “Well?”

“It’s not possible.” Vandar said flatly. “We both have tried to dilute or dismantle Ravishaw’s insanity. What I found in Idjit’s mind had to be a plant of some kind. There is simply no way that Ravishaw would work with or for Idjit, not with all the history between them. No way.”

“I can’t access his mind.” Firdlump said soberly. “He could be hiding things from us.”

“He could be.” Vandar agreed. “But if so, for what purpose? The Empire hates him, the Republic hates him, the Bladeborn detest him, and the Seven all want him dead. Who would it benefit?”

“I don’t know.” Firdlump agreed. “For now, he is busy. Maybe he can find where Cranna stashed Katherine. We can’t access her anymore since the slug had her implants removed. I had hoped that when the Stormhawk found her, they would just treat her like a castaway, but I forgot they would have constant contact with Cranna. They probably knew who she was before she got aboard their ship.”

“Dropping her into a nest of slavers with no memory was not a nice thing to do.” Vandar said neutrally. “They hurt her.”

“Yeah, they did.” Firdlump agreed. “And now, we cannot ease her pain. Ah well, if she CAN find out where the clone children were taken, then it is all to the good. We know she is alive, and if she manages to get communication with us, then great. We will go get her.”

“And if she is in the Enclave?” Vandar said softly. “That place makes any prison I have ever seen look like a fence made of cheese.”

“Then we go get her.” Firdlump’s tone was final. Then he nodded. “I wondered when she would call.” A com panel came to life on the wall and then a large holo appeared in the middle of the room. Queen Sarai’s posture was angry. “Well met, Queen Sarai.”

“Come off it, monster.” Sarai snarled at him. “I just hurt, maybe killed a good friend, because you could not leave well enough alone. Well done.” She almost hissed in sheer spite.

“Now, now, girl. No need to be rude.” Firdlump said mildly. “Or do you really want to start having your people go mad?” Instead of answering, Sarai raised a claw. Firdlump stared at the bracelet on it and blanched. “Sarai, don’t do anything rash…” He said in a much quieter tone as he saw the blinking biometric trigger on her wrist.

“Rash?” Sarai asked snidely. “Like taking one of the most powerful force users in existence and probing his mind when all he wanted to do was talk?” She snorted. “Rash like that?”

“He wasn’t just going to talk.” Vandar objected.

“He wanted to see the other side of the argument.” Sarai’s voice was sad now. “All we have seen from you is horror, death, madness. He said that there had to be a reason for what you were doing. I guess he was wrong.” She shrugged all four shoulders. “Doesn’t matter now, alive or dead, he cannot help us. Rescue us from you. What do you want, monster?”

“There is no need to be rude, Sarai.” Firdlump said, this time much softer in tone. “I don’t want to hurt your people. They created me.”

“No.” Sarai said slowly. “A mass of nanites created you. We did not.” Vandar stared from Firdlump to the holo and then back.

“You know not of what you speak, child.” Firdlump was not prepared for Sarai to yell at him.

Neither do you!” She screamed. “You know nothing outside of your programming. Yes, you learn. Yes, you think, plan and adapt. But you know nothing beyond what you have learned. And this you have not learned. You were created by a mass of nanites to facilitate dialogue. They failed. And I am not a child. I am young, yes. But if you persist in calling me ‘child’, I will end this conversation. You know not of what you speak. Again, what do you want? You have my attention.” She said snidely.

“I want access to the nanites on the homeworld.” Firdlump said slowly. “Then I want Sharra Kalenath and her son, Kirina and her daughter delivered to me for safekeeping.”

“I am afraid none of those are possible.” Sarai said slowly, her posture stiff.

“Then you better make them possible.” Firdlump said with a scowl. “I know that Will Kalenath’s wife and son are aboard the homeship as well as Idjit and Istara’s daughter who was born to Kirina. I need some insurance to keep Will Kalenath and Istara Andal from tearing any more of my plans apart.”

“You can’t always get what you want.” Sarai said with a strained laugh. “And before you go all ‘Me master, you slave’ on me, I can't give them to you, because they are no longer aboard.” Firdlump stared at her and Sarai shrugged again. “A few minutes before I felt the disturbance on the plain, both Sharra and Kirina vanished off the ship. WITH their kids. I was about to start a search for them when I felt your stupidity. I bet Sharra had plans laid weeks ago for just such an occurrence. Mom always was a planner.”

“We will find her.” Firdlump promised. This was likely true. Sarai could not lie to him now, not when he had a wide open conduit into the Sitolon hivemind. “Then tell Lohas to stop resisting my attempts to control the nanite swarm.”

“Lohas is also not aboard. But, from the sense I get of her, she is not conscious, maybe she is comatose.” Sarai could have been discussing the price of ice on Hoth now for all the emotion she was showing. “You know why.”

“The plain is the collective unconscious of the nanites.” Firdlump said with an annoyed growl. “When Idjit hurt it…”

“He hurt her.” Sarai finished. “Is there anything else?”

“We want a sample of pure Sitolon DNA…” He paused as Sarai scoffed.

“Not chance in hell, monster.” Saria’s voice could have frozen an explosion in its tracks now. She raised a claw and the glowing bracelet shone on it. “You may be able to drive my people mad. But you cannot stop us from extinguishing ourselves. And if we go, the nanites will go dormant, permanently. Lohas has programmed that in.”

“You wouldn’t. Your people…” Vandar shook his head slowly, horrified. “Sarai, think…”

“My people are unanimous.” Sarai said, her six eyes never leaving Firdlump. “We will die before we allow you to succeed, Firdlump. There are six one thousand weight baradium core munitions attached to this trigger, scattered throughout the homeship. You won’t even find organic debris. Try me. Please.” Her tone was familiar. Will Kalenath’s madness screamed form every pore. The holo leaned forward. “Please.”

“Sarai…” Firdlump sighed deeply and shook his head. “Very well. Then I ask for Melita Ranol.”

“Melita?” Sarai sat back on her haunches and looked at him. “Why?”

“Because Jina loves her. And right now…” Firdlump shook his head sadly. “Jina needs all the help she can get. We don’t want to hurt her. But we may not have a choice.”

“And what you have done already does not qualify as hurting?” Sarai asked sarcastically. “Sheesh…”

“I am not going to argue the past with you, Queen Sarai.” Firdlump said with a glower. “We have a chance to build a better future. A much better chance with you and your people working with us rather than against us.”

“Understand this, pawn master.” Sarai said with a snarl. “We are under your threat, yes. My entire people are hostage to you. But we do not serve you. We will not serve you. If Melita will go, then we will send her on the way. If not, we will not compel her.”

“I am not asking you to serve me…” Firdlump began, but Sarai cut him off again.

“No, you are trying to command us. Won’t work, monster.” With that, she cut the connection before Firdlump could reply.
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kalenath
08.17.2012 , 05:30 PM | #10
“Arrgh!” The mass of intelligent nano machines that called itself Firdlump actually groaned aloud after the communication had cut off. “Of all the arrogant, opinionated, just downright dumb females…”

“You cannot really blame her.” Vandar said sadly. “Not after everything that has happened.”

“Of course I can.”Firdlump said with a scowl. “Should I? Probably not. But I could.” He sighed. “No, I guess I can’t. I didn’t want to take her people hostage, but I didn’t have a choice. They keep interfering. I am trying to rebuild their home world, trying to repair the damage that was done so long ago, trying to reconstitute their race. Why will they not just leave me in peace to do so?”

“They do not understand.” Vandar said softly. Firdlump glared at him and Vandar shrugged. “Yes, I know your question was rhetorical, but it really doesn’t matter. They see danger, of course they are going to take steps to mitigate the danger, whether it is actually there or not. At least now, you can take steps yourself to keep them out of the way.”

Them, yes.” Firdlump agreed sourly. “The Seven? No.” He shook his head. “Do you think Idjit is dead?” Vandar thought for a moment before replying.

“No.” Vandar replied after a moment of thought. “I have no idea what she did. Do you?” Firdlump shook his head with a frown and Vandar pursed his lips. “Do you think she was telling the truth about Sharra Kalenath, Lohas and Kirina?”

“There was no evidence of falsehood.” Firdlump said with a shrug. “Could she hide it from us even when we are in the hivemind with her? Maybe. I don’t know. I wouldn’t think so, but every time I think I have a handle on what our enemies will do, they surprise me.” He shook himself and changed the subject. “What word from Olandas?”

“The decryption is going, slowly, but going.” Vandar said with a grimace. “It is now simply a matter of the computational power of our nanites versus the computational power of Lohas’ nanites. Not difficult according to Olandas, but time consuming.” He looked expectantly at Firdlump and the mass of nano machines sighed.
“Lohas has more nanites available.” Firdlump actually growled. “I think Olandas is right. She managed to cut the time I would have needed in half, but…” He shook his head. “Between Lohas and the Sitolon, they managed to create algorithms that defy prediction. We need to…” He paused and then sighed. “Darn that woman…” Vandar blinked at the apparent non sequitor and then slumped.

“We better go.” The ancient Jedi said sadly. “They may need us.”

“I just hope we can keep her from hurting anyone.” Firdlump agreed as he started for the door. “Jina was not stable before. Hoping she wouldn’t feel what happened was a pipe dream at best. But in her mental state…” Vandar winced as a wave of pain came through the collective and then both were running. Towards Ecmin’s chambers.

***

“Jina…Please…” Ren was trying very hard to get Jina Darkstorm to calm down, but the former Jedi was having none of it. “Calm down. No one is going to…”

“Leave alone!” Jina screamed as she backed away from the empty handed security guard who was blocking the only hatchway leading out of the queen’s chambers. Two guards had answered the healer’s frantic cry when Jina had woken screaming and tried to leave the chamber. One now lay still. The female human was still breathing, but shallowly. The other held empty hands in from, trying to calm the hurt Jedi down. “Liars! Murderers!” Jina screamed again, tears falling down her face.

“Jina…” Ecmin’s voice was soft, but adamant. “Calm down. What happened was horrible, yes, but…”

“Liars.” Jina declared, her entire form pulsing with energy now. “You lie!” Jina declared as she started for the door. The guard there shot an impassioned glance at Ecmin, who did not move from her spot.

“I have never lied to you, Jina.” Ecmin’s soft voice cut through the woman’s cries. Now the queen’s tone turned severe. “Calm down, Jina. Please…?” Pain arched through Ecmin’s voice as she struggled to rise.

“My queen…” Ren was torn between helping her queen and helping Jina who was completely distraught. “Please do not move.”

“I am the only one who can calm Jina down.” Ecmin replied evenly. “Can you help me stand?” Command sounded in her gentle voice and Ren bowed her head.

“My queen…” Ren could not keep a hint of disapproval from her voice, but she made it to Ecmin’s side and laid a manipulator on the large silver bug’s hurt flank. “I can dull the pain, but no more, my queen.”

“It is enough.” Ecmin said with a sigh of relief. “Thank you, Ren.” She turned to where Jina was glaring at the security guard who looked decidedly scared now, and who could blame him. “You should leave.”

“Queen Ecmin, I have my orders.” The guard said slowly, not moving at all, which was wise. “I cannot leave you alone with her in such a state.”

“I am not alone.” Ecmin replied. “Ren is… What the?” Ecmin stiffened as the door behind the guard slid open and a large red form appeared in it. “No…” Ecmin said slowly, horror filling her tone. “No!” She cried as the droid started forward. “Don't!

“We have no choice, Queen Ecmin.” The being inside the droid responded evenly. Not that she could talk any other way. “Jina Darkstorm is a threat to the collective.”

For her part, Jina was crouched now, her posture one of readiness as the droid entered the chamber. Another droid followed the first, then another, and another. In form, each was the size and shape of a Sitolon, but all were red. Jina growled, a feral sound as the droids moved to surround her.

“Jina…” Ecmin’s voice was horrified now. “Stand down, please. Please girl. Don’t…”

“Step mom…” Jina’s voice was sad, but none of it showed on her face as she watched the droids approach. “Me love. Stay.”

“Jina…” Ecmin’s voice turned sick as Jina lowered in her crouch, ready to fight. “Please…” She tried to move closer but her body was not responding. “No! You bastard! I can help her! I can… No…”

“It ok, stepmom. Me no slave.” Jina said slowly, her face contorting with effort as she fought to speak. “Me no be slave.”

“Jina…” Ecmin wailed as the droids closed in on her step daughter, but she could not move as they raised their arms. Then Jina was in motion.

The woman was hurt. She was jerky, slow and halting in most respects. But both Ecmin and Ren stared in shock as Jina danced in the midst of the warrior droids, a picture of grace, power and lethality. The droids extended batons that crackled, then blue stun bolts and other non lethal ordnance flared. But Jina was never where they flew. Then she danced up to the side of one of the droids, touched it on the torso armor and it crumpled! A shrill scream came from the droid as Jina darted away from it. The other droids all moved back a step as Jina snarled a wordless challenge.

“Enough.” Ecmin had never heard Firdlump speak in that tone before. He strode into the room and fear walked with him. “Stand down, Jina Darkstorm.”

“Me remember you.” Jina spat on the floor. “Me remember to say Flarg you!” She started for the master of the collective and then she was rising into the air, screaming, flailing, fighting as the mass of nano machines raised a hand.

“Sleep, Jina.” Firdlump said sadly. “What happened was a tragedy. But we can make it better. When you wake, it will all be better.”

“Flarg...!” Jina snarled, trying to get free of whatever held her. Power pulsed from her fingertips as she fought to get free of whatever held her. “...you!” Firdlump sighed and nodded. One of the droids raised a claw and a net that sparkled flew from it to encompass the struggling Jedi. Jina gave a shrill scream and then jerked once and was still. Firdlump slumped in place, and lowered Jina to the floor gently. She did not move at all as she landed. If not for the slow rise and fall of her chest, she might have been dead.

“Ecmin…” Firdlump said sadly. “Like this, she is a threat.”

“Master… No… Please…” Ecmin said, her voice horrified. “I can help her. I can!”

“Ecmin…” Firdlump looked at her and his eyes were sad. “Tell me the truth. Has she improved? At all?” Ecmin stared at him and then at the crumpled Jedi.

“No.” Ecmin said, manifestly against her will. “It’s not her fault!”

“No it is not.” Firdlump agreed softly. “Nor yours. If it is anyone’s fault, it is mine. But we cannot have her doing things like this. Ecmin…” He shook his head and Ecmin stared at him.

“I…” Ecmin slumped in place and then nodded. “I will do it.” Pain sounded deep, deep inside the queen as she reached for Jina. "I can make the mindwipe gentle."

“No, Ecmin.” Firdlump said gently. “We won’t hurt her. We won’t let her hurt.” He shook his head slowly as one of the droids moved close to Jina and picked her up gently. “We will bring her back when we are done.” Another of the droids picked up the still form of the security guard that Jina had hurt and started for the door as well.

“Can I call her Jina still?” Ecmin asked, her voice small and lost as the droid started for the door. “Even if she won’t remember?”

“You can call your step daughter anything you want, Ecmin.” Firdlump said sadly. “But when we are done with her, she won’t be a threat anymore.” He left the room, leaving Ecmin to stare after him. Ren quickly moved to the queen’s side. The queen was heaving in grief.

“She wasn’t a threat.” Ecmin said slowly as she let Ren guide her back to her nesting spot. “She was scared and alone and…” Grief flew through her and Ren embraced her. “She wasn’t a threat…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here