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(L,F&E 96) Nia's Recovery


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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 04:48 AM | #1
Istara Sharlina Andal’s eyes snapped open suddenly. She looked around the cell she was in and a faint smile curled her lips. Her armor and weapons were gone, but she could feel the buzz in her mind of the sword that she had bonded to. It was close, very close. It was odd that she could actually tell the steel of her sword from other steel, but then again, what about her life wasn’t odd? Ever since she could remember, she had been a little different, a little not quite the same as everyone around her. Part of it, of course, was having a seer as a mother. Part was that her mother Kaosis Andal had not been Sith originally. She had been forced to join them when her husband, Istara’s father, had died. Istara had not dealt well with that. Being taken by the Sith to be trained in the Dark Side of the Force had almost been a mercy. Almost. But after many years and lots of pain, Istara finally started to feel as if she was growing up. But now, she had been captured by the people who had her blood sister. Any of them, she would have fought and or killed. But they knew that, so they had sent Setsuna against her. She couldn’t fight Setsuna. She hadn’t actually expected to survive after dropping her sword. Setsuna had been tightly controlled by something, there had been no recognition in the younger woman’s eyes for her older half-sister. Apparently, Setsuna’s captors wanted Istara alive for something.

“Idiots.” Istara breathed out as she looked around. She was wearing a neurolizer, a device designed to keep a person from using the Force. She was manacled, and she had apparently been lying in place for some time from the pins and needles feeling in her extremities. Not that she really noticed that. Pain was nothing new to a Bladeborn. She didn’t move. She had to be under scrutiny. She couldn’t feel… Wait a second. Yes she could. But it didn’t feel like Ashla. It felt like… She blinked. She knew that feeling. “Hello Nia.” She said sadly.

“Sharlina.” The soft voice from nearby was odd. It sounded far, far older than a twenty year old should. Despair sounded through the younger girl’s tone. “Good morning.” A pause and Nia Korr’s voice was resigned now. “I am supposed to interrogate you.”

“Oh?” Istara asked, incredulous. “And what is it the grand high muckety muck of this cesspit wants to know?”

“Is there a cure, Sharlina?” Nia asked, her voice oddly resonant.

“Oh come on!.” Istara exclaimed. “What the heck is that idiot Sith playing at?” She shook her head and jerked her wrists. The bonds that held them did not flex. “Make a monster plague and not make a cure for it? Sheesh, what rubbish. Even that moron Darmuk knows better than that.”

“He has a palliative.” Nia replied. Istara looked up, and the black haired girl was sitting in a half lotus position just beyond the force field that enclosed the Masterblade of the Bladeborn. “Not a cure.” Will’s daughter looked terrible. Her face was a mask of bloody tears and her eyes... As hardened as Istara was to suffering, her heart went out to the younger girl. “Did you find one?” She begged, her features earnest.

“Yes. And we spread it around.” Istara said softly, testing her bonds. They were well beyond the ability of even a Masterblade to break. Istara had a few advantages that very few people knew about. But she was loathe to use them while under surveillance by the Sith. She paused as Nia’s face lit up.

“Oh thank the Force…” Nia actually slumped and her hands came up to cradle her face. Was she crying? “He has Setsuna and Trisskar. I couldn’t stop him… I couldn’t…I tried to help them. I couldn’t…”

“Nia…” IStara pitched her voice to promote calm and peace. “It’s okay. There is no emotion…”

“I am not a Jedi Istara…” Nia said, not raising her head. “Not anymore. I don’t know what I am. Except dirty… Soiled… Un-“

“Stop.” Istara’s command bit through the air between the two and Nia jerked in place as Istara sat up. The bonds let her do that. She looked around and snarled a little as she saw the camera in the corner. She ignored her state of near undress. The bodystocking that she wore under her armor left very little to the imagination. As a benefit for the people who were trying to hold her, it left no places to hide weapons or tools. Istara gentled her voice again. “Nia, look at me.” Nia did not and Istara sighed internally. “It’s okay, Nia. It will be okay.”

“No, it won’t.” The black haired girl sat just outside the Force cage that held Istara. The sole door to the cell buzzed with energy that Istara could feel from where she was. Magnetically sealed or just hissing with energy, it made no difference. No escape that way. “I… He…”

“He made you do things.” Istara’s soft speech wasn’t a question. “He made you feel things and do things that you never would have considered in a million years.” Istara shook her head. “It’s what he does, Nia. He corrupts people. He is Sith. It is what they do.”

“He didn’t seem that way.” Nia’s voice was small and lost now. “He acted nice… And then…” She swallowed heavily.

“He had you.” Again, Istara’s words were not a question. Sympathy flew from her towards Nia. ”Oh, Nia… I am so sorry. But I can help you. We can help you. You are strong, Nia. Be strong.”

“When Dad finds out…” Nia stammered a bit. “He is gonna go ape.”

“Your dad knows, Nia.” Istara said as gently as she could. Nia jerked and her face came up, new bloody tears marring her face. “He knows, and he doesn’t care.”

You lie!” Nia screamed, her face working. “You lying barvette!

“I am not lying, Nia.” Istara kept her voice calm. “Your dad wants you back and right now he couldn’t care LESS if you have been hurt, abused, or whatever. He loves you, Nia.” Nia seemed to deflate, the fight going out of her.

“Barely know him.” Nia said slowly. “I don’t… know…” She shook her head savagely, trying to clear it. “Everything is… fuzzy. The madness, Darmuk’s… touching…”

“Nia…” Istara’s voice was soft as a new nerf’s fur now. “It’s okay. You are not alone. You do not have to face this alone.”

“I…” Nia crumpled, her face falling back to the floor. “I…”

“We can help you, Nia.” Istara said with quiet conviction. “You are not the first to be abused like this, and you will not be the last. I can help you. But I need you to break the camera.” Nia jerked.

“No…” Nia’s face became a mask of fear. “No... I can’t… Not… Not again… He will punish me again…”

“Nia.” Istara put the bite of command back into her voice. “I can- URK!” Istara convulsed as energy shot through her system. Whoever had been watching her had seen enough. “Nia…” Istara choked out. “You can help yourself!”

“I…” Nia shook her head, backing slowly away from the force cage. “I can’t.” Her shoulders straightened and her face turned stern as the current stopped and Istara relaxed a little. The Bladeborn hadn’t made a sound of pain. “You will answer our questions, Bladeborn.”

“Do your worst, Sith slave.” Istara said sadly. “If that is the best you can do, this will be a very long day. Just remember, Nia… It doesn’t have to be that way.”

“I have no choice.” Nia said soberly as she hit a control by the door and an evil looking apparatus unfolded form the ceiling inside the Force cage. “I am sorry.”

“So am I, Nia.” Istara sighed deeply and braced herself. This would not be fun, Sith interrogation never were. “So am I.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 04:54 AM | #2
Nia Korr lay back and let the docs work. Fighting them never helped. Darmuk had been…displeased with her killing a couple of them and his punishments.. She swallowed heavily and focused on the glowlamp that she could see while not moving. She hated this, almost as much as she hated that arrogant Bladeborn. Sharlina hadn’t made a sound for three hours despite everything the interrogators –and Nia- could do to her. Even then, the sounds that the Bladeborn had made had been grunts of expelled air, not words or anything. Finally, the torturer had overplayed his act and the Bladeborn had sunk into unconsciousness. Nia had been relieved. She had never liked hurting people, she had always-

Nia The voice was quiet and kind and it was in her head!

“What the…?” Nia jerked just a little and the doc working on the machinery connected to her turned to look at her. The medical staff treated her very carefully. They knew she had ‘moods’. But she knew that if she hurt another of Darmuk’s slaves, she would be punished again. She shuddered a little and relaxed. She sighed. “Nothing.” She said as she sank back onto the bed. “Continue.”

She hated this. She hated the feeling of being out of control. The tubes that ran into her body were delivering the serum that was the only things currently keeping her from going totally bug nuts. But it felt so wrong to just lie on a bed and let Sith doctors of all people work on her. She didn’t react as the doc hit a switch and her mind went fuzzy. She lay back to let the injections that kept the plague in check take effect. But then…

Nia… The gentle voice was back. Easy, girl. The female voice –did she know it?- was soothing. Rest, sleep. You will feel better.

Who…? Nia managed to get the word out in her mind despite the drugs. Who are you?

Oh Nia. Now the voice was sad. You don’t remember me?

Everything is fuzzy. Nia complained, hating the whining note that entered her mental voice. Can’t…

Easy, girl. The voice seemed to be coming closer. Come here… The world as she knew it fell away.

When Nia could feel again, she felt good. For the first time in a long, long time, she didn’t hurt and the madness that had been clamoring at her was gone. A hand gripped her right one and gave a squeeze.

“Hello Nia.” The soft, gentle voice had Nia stiffening. Her eyes flew open and she stared around. She was lying on a bed in a small, comfortable room. A nature print adorned one wall, and she could see pictures sitting on a cabinet nearby. But it was the gray haired woman who sat beside her who had Nia’s full attention.

“Grandma?” Nia asked incredulously. Maria Kalenath smiled and opened her arms. Nia was embracing her grandmother before her brain could catch up to her heart. “Shades told me you were dying! I thought… I thought I would never see you again!” She was sobbing now, her heart pouring out in long salty streams.

“Easy, Nia.” Maria said gently. “This isn’t real. It’s a mental projection.” Nia jerked back but relaxed as Maria sighed and smiled sadly. “We are trying to help you. Poor girl, so much fear and pain.” Maria’s face fell. “You dad is going nuts, and we are trying to keep him from doing anything we will all regret.”

“Dad is nuts.” Nia said softly, her face buried in Maria’s shoulder. “He scares me sometimes. He nearly shot me when I first showed up.” She was shuddering now, her control shaking.

“So I have heard.” Maria said with a grimace. “This is a mental projection, but we do not have a lot of time. We can help you, Nia.”

“No one can help me, Grandma.” Nia shook her head slowly. “I am lost, fallen, dark… I…”

“You have been abused, Nia.” Maria’s voice turned stern. “It is certainly not your fault. But we have an ally on Darmuk’s medical staff. He slipped something into your meds. Something that will help. It was all he could do.”

“I…” Nia blinked and drew back a bit. “Will it kill me?” She asked, her voice hopeful.

Nia!” Maria scolded her granddaughter. “Of course not.” Nia slumped, but Maria drew the girl into her arms again and gave a squeeze. “It will open your mind to a larger world. I am afraid it will hurt, Nia.” Maria said sadly.

“Pain and I are old friends, Grandma.” Nia replied softly. “After that?”

“I can’t really explain it. It happened to me too, so I know it is survivable.” Maria replied after a moment of stroking Nia’s hair. “But I have been told this ‘The madness will fade. The sickness will still be there, but the madness will not control you. And Darmuk will not be able to control you either.’ Be warned…” Maria hastened to speak when Nia stared at her incredulous. “You will need to keep playing along. If he realizes you are free, Darmuk will kill you.” Now Maria sighed. “There are a lots of wheels going at the moment, plans and counterplans, plots and counter plots. I miss just shooting things.” The old soldier said with a sigh.

“What do I do?” Nia said after a moment.

“Relax, don’t fight it when it happens.” Maria smiled at Nia’s expression. “I know, I know. It’s totally anathema for you not to fight. But it won’t take long. It will hurt, but it won’t take very long and then we can help you.”

“When will it…?” Nia gasped as pain flared inside her head. Maria grabbed her hands and held as Nia tried not to convulse. But the pain was too intense and she collapsed onto the bed, breathing hard, trying to keep from crying out.

“That’s it, Nia.” Maria said gently. “That’s it. Don’t fight it. Easy... Let it happen. Let us help you.”

“Us?” Nia choked out as the pain, impossibly, redoubled. She was sobbing again, aware only of the gentle hands that were stroking her head as she curled up in pain.

“Yes, us Nia.” Maria’s voice was sad now, but her caresses never stopped. “We need to get past the barrier, but… There…” She crooned.

Suddenly the pain that had flared in Nia’s had vanished as if it had never been. And there was more. Suddenly Nia could feel dozens, hundreds of minds all around her, all worried. For her. It felt… heavenly.

“No…” She felt tears start to fall and then she couldn’t stop. “I am dirty…Don’t…”

“It ‘s okay, Nia. You are not dirty, and you cannot hurt me. I…” The old woman seemed to crumple a little. “I am not really your grandma, Nia.” Maria said sadly.

“What?” Nia asked, her voice bemused by the concern, indeed, the love that was suffusing her now. “You…?”

“I am a copy of her. Don’t hate me, please.” Maria begged. “We want to help you. We can help you.”

“I...” Nia sobbed into the old woman’s shoulder. “I don’t care.” She slumped, surrendering to the kindness and comfort that the other minds suffused her with. “Just want the pain to stop, want the madness to go away, want to be warm again… Don’t care anymore.”

“Yes you do, Nia.” Maria chided gently. “You have just suffered some extreme shocks. Know this, Nia. Your dad is coming for you. We will help you until he can rescue you.” Nia stiffened as she felt her consciousness start to dissolve. She was waking up!

“No!” Nia bawled, uncaring of her reputation or appearance. “Grandma! No!

“We are with you, Nia.” Maria’s gentle voice calmed the scared girl. “We will not leave you alone, ever again. Sleep now, child. Rest and dream of peace and light. You will wake refreshed, and free of Darmuk’s control. But remember Nia…” Maria cautioned the waking girl. “You cannot tell anyone about us or you will be killed.

“I…” Between one moment and another, Nia snapped awake. Her eyes shot open and she stared into the eyes of a worried doctor. When she spoke, her voice was flat. “Back off.”

“We scanned some anomalous readings.” The doctor said as he did as instructed. The restraints holding Nia to the bed unsnapped and retracted. “We require more scans.”

“Flarg off.” Nia snapped, swinging her legs off the table and standing. She ordered her head to stop spinning and it did, far faster than normal. What the…? Something touched her, energy flowed through her, calming, softening, easing. It wasn’t from her, it was something from outside herself and she smiled a bit as she strode for the door.

“Something odd happened.” The doctor pressed, only to freeze as Nia spun in place, a snarl on her features. “If you die, the master will be greatly unhappy.” A shudder ran through all of the staff in the room.

“That is your problem.” Nia said with ice cold precision. “Mine is a recalcitrant Bladeborn.”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:00 AM | #3
Istara was sick and tired of this. Pain was a constant companion in her life. From as far back as she could remember, she had been hurt and expected to deal with it. It had always been the same, Sith, Bladeborn, Jedi, whatever… Ignore the pain, get on with whatever had to be done, ignore the pain and press on. Weakness was an enemy. This was hardly the first time she had been tortured. In addition, this guy was nowhere NEAR the capability of the Bladeborn, beings who had been known for a very long time as the Emperor’s hatchetmen.

“You are going to tell us what we want to know.” The masked interrogator said evenly as he manipulated controls again, sending current across her body. It had to be frustrating to him for her not to show any reaction to the increasing amounts of current. Of course, to one had had once withstood the Emperor’s touch to bare skin, this was barely a tickle in comparison. The interrogator shook his head and ramped up the power. “You will. Where are the Bladeborn?”

Istara ignored him. She was almost ready. This was not something that came naturally to her, this waiting. She had always been a woman of action, waiting had always grated on her. Something was wrong. She was sure of it. Something bad had happened, but with the force dampening device on her head and her general state of being bound, there wasn’t much she could do to find out. But something told her it wouldn’t be good. Then the door hissed open and Nia Korr walked in. Istara looked at her and slumped in her bonds. She knew.

“Oh no…” Istara shook her head as far as it would go in her bonds and sighed. “No, no no no no no no no.” She closed her eyes and when they opened, tears were falling. “I am sorry, Nia. I am so sorry.”

“What?” The interrogator turned to look at Darmuk’s slave and she waved curtly to him. “Uh…” He actually gibbered a bit. Something about her was wrong in the Force.

“Get…” Nia’s voice could have frozen liquid helium. “…out.” The masked man actually ran from the room and Nia sighed as she hit the control by the door. She touched another control and the camera by the door hesitated for a moment before continuing on its programmed sweep of the room. “It’s on a loop, Sharlina. We need to talk.”

“I have nothing to say to your puppet master, Nia.” Istara said sadly. “Oh, girl…” She shook her head. “Your dad was gonna go gundark before this. Now.” The hard bitten Bladeborn actually shuddered.

“It’s marvelous, Sharlina.” Nia said, a smile crossing her face. “I don’t hurt anymore. It’s not bad. He is not evil.”

“No?” Istara asked softly. “Ask him about what he and Vandar did to Morey. then tell me he is not evil.” Istara snarled the final words.

“I…” Nia’s gaze went far away and then she gasped. “Oh my god… Sharlina, I am so sorry. They messed up, they know that. They want to make amends.”

“Yeah, right.” Istara sighed. “So, when do you try to do it to me?” She smirked at Nia’s expression. “It’s what your oh so benevolent master does, Nia. He makes people into slaves. Willing slaves, but still slaves.”

“I am not a slave.” Nia protested. “I am a partner. It is marvelous, Sharlina, if only you would-” She broke off as Istara scoffed. “I know you don’t believe me, but all you have to do is…”

“All I have to do, brat…” Istara said with a sigh. “…Is abandon everything I believe in, throw away everything I love and cherish, oh…” She smiled nastily. “And condemn the galaxy to horror unimaginable for centuries.” She laughed at Nia’s expression. “Did he bother to tell you about Menglan’s experiments? About his own? Did he tell you what he and Menglan did to Sara? To Maria? to Will? To me?” Now she was shouting as she rose up to a sitting position, despite everything the bonds could do to hold her, they were visibly straining and Nia paled. “It won't flarging work! His plan won't work! You stupid little barvette! Go away!” She slumped back into her bonds with an audible grunt. “Go play house or dolls or whatever with your new friends. I want nothing to do with your abomination, Firdlump. Take your puppet and go!”

“I…” Nia recoiled slightly from the sheer force of Istara’s rage. “You don’t understand Sharlina.”

“No, it is you who does not understand.” Istara said heavily as she lay back and shut her eyes. “Bring back the extractor. At least he was honest about what he did, unlike you Firdlump, you lying son of a barve.”

“This is me, Sharlina…” Nia said desperately. “Nia Korr. I am still myself. It’s not him controlling me…”

“Really?” Istara’s voice was caustic now as she replied without opening her eyes. “They told you some about Morey. Ask about Jina, Nia. You remember Jina Darkstorm, right? You trained with her, right? Ask them what happened to her.” Pain colored her voice for a moment before vanishing. “She trusted that he would act responsibly. He didn’t bother. He couldn’t be bothered. He had to control her, turn her into a slave, no matter the cost, to her, to him, to the galaxy, he had to try and control her. Ask what happened.”

“I…” Nia paled again as the collective filled her in when she requested information. Her voice went small. “Oh my god… No, Master Jina… No…” She shook her head, pulling herself together. “Sharlina, we are trying to help her. I am sorry… We are sorry…”

“Sorry? Oh no.” Istara said soberly, leaning back into the table she was restrained onto. “Not yet, you are not. Soon, but not yet.”

“Sharlina…” Nia tried again, but the bound woman did not respond. She tried a few more times and then left in silence. A few minutes later the door hissed open again and the extractor came back in, shaking his head. He stared at Istara. What was different? She was lying on the table differently.

“What did you say to her- URK!” He gulped and died as Istara’s hands flew up from the table and slammed into his head and throat. He died before even realizing that the bonds that had held her were hanging loose, but not broken. More as if the chains holding them to the table had been eaten by a million tiny mouths.

“Right. Thanks, guys.” Istara said to thin air as she grabbed a smock from a wall hanger. It fit badly, but was better than nothing until she could find her own gear. She could sense her sword nearby, it was calling to her. “Now let’s get Setsuna, the others and that silly little girl and get the flarg out of here before Will nukes the place…” She snorted as the smock suddenly shimmered and then she was clad in her silver armor again. “You didn’t need to do that…. Okay… Okay… Sheesh… You would think that a mass of nanites wouldn’t be bothered by things like partial nudity…” She laughed grimly at something only she could hear as she stared for the door. “I am so going to tell your mom you said that, Mira.” She was smiling evilly as she ghosted to the door and was gone.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:07 AM | #4
Nia slammed the hatch control hard enough to bend the metal it was connected to and slumped against the wall of the training room. A wave of worry and compassion came from the collective and she sighed and relaxed slowly.

Why won’t she listen? Nia begged in the depths of her mind. This is marvelous.

All she knows is the ways of the Sith and Bladeborn. The mental voice of the master of the collective was sad. We do not want to control her. We do not want to enslave her. It hurts people when we have to do such things. It takes much more time and effort to repair the damage that is done than to ease people into the collective.

Is what she said true? Nia asked slowly. Did you experiment on her and Dad?

Yes. Firdlump replied sadly. We didn’t know what we were doing, Nia. The voice hurried to speak as Nia recoiled a little. Shame colored the voice now. We… No… ‘I’ hurt them both. I did that. I used methods that I knew were wrong. I did things that I knew wouldn’t work, because I didn’t see any other way. It didn’t help that others interfered. But the main responsibility is mine, and mine alone.

What can I do? Nia asked as she started her stretches. She needed to maintain the cover that she was still a slave and her schedule was set in stone. She has tried to help me, several times. I… I don’t want to hurt her.

We may not have a choice. Firdlump replied, a caress of gentleness soothing Nia’s singing nerves. She is a threat, Nia. A massive one. If we cannot mitigate the threat…

“No….” Nia spoke aloud, then stifled it as she brought her saber up. The first of several training drones appeared nearby and she moved to attack. We can’t just kill her. She is one of the Seven! We need her.

We need her and the rest, yes… A gentle voice sounded in Nia’s mind. Nia smiled as she cleaved a training drone in half and retreated from a pair of attacks that would have cut her in half. Darmuk did not scrimp on training. Ecmin’s voice was sad, but resolute. With the upgrades that they have somehow managed to implement in the nanite encryptions, we need her. I don’t like this any more than anyone else, Nia, but she is the only one who might be strong enough to be able to carry a daughter of mine to term.

Why couldn’t I do it? Nia asked as she maneuvered two drone into attacking each other. Normally, she would have at least smiled when they both fell, but now she was totally focused. She is tough, yes, but so am I.

Yes you are. Maria’s soft voice sounded in her head. Watch your left! The clone of Will’s mom warned and Nia dodged as a flamethrower coughed.

That's new! Nia danced away from the drone that was following her, spewing gouts of flame at irregular intervals. The other drones capitalized on her distraction, attacking in concert. Nia focused on fighting for a moment, catching one drone with the Force and throwing it into the flamethrower equipped one. It hit the floor and shorted out. They she could talk mentally again. So why her?

We are not entirely sure she can do it. Menglan’s sour voice sounded now. It was little freaky how she knew everyone, but it dodn't really bother her. But none of the others managed more than a week. And moving them that quickly hurt them… Nia… Nia Look out!

What? Nia asked as she cleaved the last of the droids in half and stood still for a moment. She focused on her breathing and then went completely stiff as an impossible voice sounded behind her.

“Not bad at all. A bit sloppy dealing with the flame, but all in all, not bad.” Nia spun in place to see Istara standing there, sword in hand, clad in silver armor that Nia recognized. The Bladeborn smirked at Nia’s expression. “You were expecting someone else?”

“How?” Nia asked, dumbfounded. A scream of pain sounded in her head and she paled as the collective vanished from her. “What have you done?” She demanded.

“We need to talk with no eavesdroppers.” Istara said slowly, not moving from her spot. She shook her head. “We have the cure, Nia. By now it is being produced by Cranna the Hutt’s people. We can help you. We want to help you.”

“What have you done?” Nia demanded again, aware that she was clad in robes, while the Bladeborn was in armor. She was winded while Istara looked fresh. The training room was soundproof, heck it was explosion proof, and if the Bladeborn was just standing here, that meant the cameras had been dealt with somehow. She was shaking and forced her body to relax. “What do you want?”

“I want to talk.” Istara said soberly. “You are sick, scared and in pain. I want to help. Will you let me?” She took her left hand off her sword hilt and held it out, empty. “Please let me.” She entreated.

“This is a trick, an illusion…” Nia shook her head. “You are bound in a cell, in a force cage. This is some kind of mental trick!”

“Nia, be calm.” Istara’s voice was feather light now. “I don’t want to hurt you, I want to help.”

“We can’t always get what… we…want…” Nia felt the energy in her body start to fade and she grimaced as she fought to stay standing. Whatever was hitting her was not Force based in any way she knew of, she had no counters for whatever it was. “What…? No!” She fell to one knee, forcing herself to keep her lightsaber up. But it was so heavy.

“Easy, Nia.” Istara hadn’t moved. “It will be okay. Sleep.”

No!” Nia screamed in frantic denial. All that came out was a croak though. The waves of lethargy that seeped through her were too strong and she was unconscious before she hit the floor.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:11 AM | #5
Nia…? Come on, girl, wake up.

The gentle voice seemed familiar, but Nia wasn’t sure from where. She was comfortable though, nothing hurt. And she was… She started and her eyes snapped open. She looked around, she wasn’t anywhere that she knew. From the décor, it was a ship, probably Republic. But nothing was familiar.

“Hello Nia.” The girl who sat nearby said with a smile. “You gave us quite a scare.”

“Who…?” Nia shook her head hard to get the fuzziness out of it. “Do I know you?” She asked. The girl looked awfully familiar, but Nia was sure they had never met.

“No.” The girl sighed. “It’s been a while, Nia. Lots of things have changed since you were abducted by Ctrask and sent to Darmuk.” She smiled again. “My name is Natasha Anastasia Regina, but you can call me Mira.”

“Regina…?” Nia blinked, unsure.

“I am Helen’s little sister, Nia.” Mira replied. “That makes us kin as well. Which is why I am here to talk to you. Others will be along, but I wanted to meet you first, give you some adjustment time.”

“Where am I?” Nia asked, her voice hardening. “I was…” She shook her head. “What did Sharlina do to me?”

“She saved your life.” Mira replied evenly. “The plague was burning through the barriers that Firdlump’s collective put in. They couldn’t have held it for much longer, you were pretty far gone.” Nia gulped at the fear and sadness in the girl’s voice. “But to answer your question, we are inside your mind.”

“I am asleep?” Nia asked, curious despite the oddity of the situation. “They… He came to me in my dreams…”

“Sort of.” Mira sighed. “It’s fairly complex, what is happening. But yes, in a way, you are dreaming, and we are talking in your dream. At least I can keep it pleasant.”

“This is weird.” Nia said as she lay back onto the bed she could see now. Not a hospital bed, or a bunk. It was a comfortable type that might be found in a fairly well to do apartment. “Really, really weird, even for me and that is saying something.”

“I know.” Mira said gently. “Some other people would like to talk to you, but only if you feel up to it. They have been waiting very patiently for me to wake you up.”

“Who?” NIa asked, unsure about all this. Then she went rigid as a form in armor she did not recognize appeared next to the bed. The armor was unfamiliar, but the face was not. “Sara?

Sara Kalenath, Will’s sister and Nia’s aunt, had a look of worry on her face that vanished as she saw Nia looking at her. The look of joy that took it’s place on the young woman’s face was bright.

Nia!” Sara exclaimed. She started for the bed, but paused when Nia raised a hand. “Nia, it’s okay.”

“I have the plague, Sara…” Nia backed up on the bed as far as she could go. “I…” She paused. Something about Sara was different. Actually many things were, but how was Sara projecting compassion and understanding to her? “Sara?”

“This isn’t the real world, Nia. You cannot infect me with the plague here.” Sara said with a smile. “I have waited too long to do this though.” She jumped onto the bed and took Nia in an strong embrace. Tears were falling as Sara hugged her niece. “Nia…” She sobbed.

“Sara…” Nia found herself hugging the girl back. “Oh Sara…” Her own eyes burned as she fought for control. “Thank you.” She said to Mira, who nodded.

“You are welcome.” Mira replied gently. “I will be around, Sara.” With that, she vanished.

For several minutes, the older woman and the younger just held each other. Then Nia shook herself slowly. She took a deep breath and then sighed.

“What is going on, Sara? Why can I sense you in the Force?” Nia was ready for almost any reaction, but Sara just snuggled closer. “Sara?”

“Mom’s dead, Nia.” Sara replied. Nia recoiled as if struck and Sara hugged her tighter. “The things that were done to her… She had cancer…”

“I just saw her…” Nia was stunned. “She comforted me…”

“That wasn’t her, Nia.” Sara’s face went hard. “It was Firdlump.”

“Who?” Nia shook her head. “I have missed things then. Fill me in?” She asked while she hugged Sara again. “I assume that since we are sitting here, Zelkin did not win.”

“No, he didn’t win.” Sara said with a deep sigh as she hugged Nia again and sat back on the bed, not leaving her niece's side. “A lot of people died, Nia, but we stopped him. Will went nuts looking for you, really, truly nuts.”

“I half expected him to be here.” Nia said, looking around. She couldn’t keep the hurt out of her tone.

“Give your dad a break, Nia.” Sara said with a grin. “You have only been unconscious for ten minutes. Istara is still carrying you out of the base.”

“How do you know Sharlina?” Nia asked slowly, unsure. “You didn’t before…”

“Things have changed, big time, Nia.” Sara gave Nia another hug. “You see… While you were…gone.” Sara made a face, but continued speaking. “We found out who the real enemy is. The one who tormented Will, who experimented on Dad, Mom and me. The one who for centuries has been working behind the scenes to further his own, horrific plans for galactic domination.”

“Who?” Nia asked softly, scared by something in Sara’s soft, gentle tone.

“The one who now holds your reins, Nia.” Sara replied sadly. “The one who inducted you into his ‘collective’. Senator Donal Firdlump. Also known as the grand high muckety muck of this whole fiasco.” Nia was shaking her head but Sara was relentless. “We won’t let him have you, Nia. We won’t. We have spent too long looking for you to lose you now.”

“Sara…” Nia shook her head with a frown. “You don’t understand, it was marvelous. And Maria was there…” She paused as Sara recoiled. “Sara, I am not insane.”

“No, you are not.” Sara slumped a bit. “But don’t tell anyone what you just told me. Will has been… right on the edge. Something like that will push him right over. If Firdlump made a copy of Mom… Heaven help us all…” She looked scared now, a first in Nia’s recollection.

“I don’t understand…” Nia complained. “What is so important about me that people keep trying to control me?”

“You travel in time, Nia.” Sara’s soft words had Nia freezing in place. “An older version of you has appeared to me three times. The older you never said what happened, but I get the gist that it was bad.” Nia was shivering now and Sara hugged her tight. “Nia, stay with me, you need to hear the rest.”

“Why me?” Nia’s voice was small now. “What makes me so special?”

“That is a long story, but we have time.” Sara hugged Nia again. “You are going to be okay, but now, we have to catch you up.” Sara took a deep breath and started. “A very long time ago, something awful happened on a world that was home to a race called the Sitolon. A prophecy from that time period references something called ‘The Seven’. The prophecy is apparently happening now.” Nia stared at Sara and Sara shrugged. “Will is one of them. So are you.”

“Sara, this is ridiculous.” Nia complained, but gave a squeak as Sara tweaked her nose. She glared at the younger woman, but Sara just grinned.

“Oh, you haven’t heard the best parts yet.” Sara took another deep breath and continued. “After you were taken by L’trask, I stayed on the Dia’s Gift. Will and I went hunting. But we were not the only ones hunting…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:15 AM | #6
She felt…good. It had been so long since she had felt that way that for a long time after Nia woke form her long slumber that she just lay there, savoring the feelings. A voice nearby had her stiffening though.

“You going to sleep all day?” Nia’s eye shot open and her dad was sitting by her bedside. She was in a medical ward, one she recognized. The Stormhawk’s medical bay had been almost a second home to her. “Hello Nia.”

“Dad…” She could barely get the word out, her throat had closed up. She reached out a slow hand, but paused as something held it to the bed. She was restrained! “Dad?” She asked, suddenly afraid.

“You have been compromised, Nia.” Her father took her hand in both of his and gave a squeeze. “They wanted to keep me out. I told them to flarg off.”

“Dad…” Nia was suddenly crying. Her father leaned close and held her while she sobbed out her fear, heartache and anger in long, salty waves. “Tried to fight… Couldn’t…”

“I know, Nia… I know…” Will held his daughter as she sobbed, his hands gentle, his voice soft. “It is what Sith Lords do, Nia. They warp and twist everything around them to suit themselves. Of course it didn’t help that you mirrored him. No one blames you, Nia. No one.”

“Mirrored?” She asked, tasting the word as her father gave her head a pat and sat back in his chair. “What do you mean?”

“We are not entirely sure.” Will admitted as he pulled a tissue out of somewhere and started wiping his daughter’s face with it. She struggled for a moment, and then gave up. The restraints that the Stormhawk crew used would hold a Rancor, let alone a sick girl. “I know this rankles, but people are scared, Nia.”

“Of me?” Nia protested. “They know me!”

“They knew you, Nia.” Will corrected. “That was before you spent months in the tender care of a Sith, and before you were subverted by Firdlump.”

“Firdlump…” Nia shook her head. “Sara said…” She grimaced. “This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Can you feel the collective, Nia?” Will asked. She noted that his hands were still and on his remote. She felt fear, deep seated fear. “It is important, Nia.”

“I don’t think so.” Nia said after a moment of thinking. She shook her head as far as it would go in the restraint that held it. “It wasn’t awful, Dad.”

“I doubt it felt that way.” Will said with sympathy, but did not move his hands. “Nia, its is a control mechanism. It is supposed to feel good, to promote calm and peace. Did they tell you what happened to Jina?”

“Yeah.” Nia felt her eyes burn and she started as a tissue rubbed under her eyes. Her dad hadn’t moved. Someone else was in the room. “What are you doing here?” She demanded as Istara Sharlina Andal came into view.

“Helping.” Istara said sadly. “I am also in quarantine until they are sure I didn’t contract the plague by picking you up off the floor. If I did, we have the cure now, but they want to be sure before I go back to my kin.”

“You would know.” Nia said slowly. “It feels… wrong… almost instantly. Not bad, just wrong. Bad comes later.” She blinked. “How did you beat me so easily? It wasn’t that easy before.”

“I had help.” Istara replied evenly as she sank into another chair by Nia’s bed. Nia noted that Will did not flinch as he normally would with a Sith or other darksider in the room. “Sara told you a lot of things have changed.”

“The Republic and Empire are heading back to war.” Nia replied. “So not enough has changed. So…what now?”

“Now we are going to sequester you until we can figure out how to undo Firdlump’s control.” Will said heavily. When Nia started to protest, he shook his head. “Nia, your thoughts could be controlled even now. Tell me I lie.”

“You…” Nia slumped in the bed. “You don’t. Where?”

“Where do you think?” Will asked with a grin. Nia sighed and nodded. “The good news is that you will not lack for friends, family and support. The bad news is that we cannot even allow you the limited privacy that the Enclave has.”

“I may be a threat.” Nia said sadly. “I don’t know if I am or not.”

“Firdlump knows where the Enclave is.” Will said heavily. Nia felt her blood stiffen in her veins, but he continued. “We have been evacuating it for some time, but with so many people there, it’s taking longer than we had hoped. The Mandos have retreated into the wilds; I wish him luck finding them there.” Nia smirked at his tone. Oh yes, anyone would need planet sized luck to find a small clan of Mandos hiding in the jungle on Nova Ordo. “We are heading to pick up the last batch of evacuees.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.” Nia protested. “Why put me at the enclave if you are…evacuating…” She paused, thinking hard. “A trap.”

“A trap.” Will agreed. “One we do not expect to work, actually.”

“Huh?” Nia asked intelligently.

“Later. For now, Nia…” Will said soberly. “Your business is to get healed. We will need you.”

“But I feel…” Nia started and paused. What did she feel? She shook her head, bemused. “I feel odd. What is going on?”

“You are starting to go into withdrawal, Nia.” Istara said gently. “It follows a fairly standard series of patterns, no matter the cause, chemical, psychological or technological.”

“Withdrawal?” NIa asked incredulous. “From what? The collective?” At Istara’s nod she hissed in disbelief. “They wouldn’t do that! They were kind!” She was shivering now, and couldn’t stop.

They might not, Nia.” Will said sadly. “Their master would. He is not kind.”

“I….” Nia gasped as heat flowed through her body followed by cold. “No…”

“I will get you through this, Nia.” Istara promised as she reached down and pulled a towel out of a drawer. “You may not like me much by the time we are done, but I will get you through this. Will…” She spoke gently but with command.

“Dad?” Nia gasped as Istara gently started wiping sweat off her. Will slumped and got up. “She screamed as he turned to go. “Dad! No, don't leave me!

“I will always be with you, Nia.” Will replied, but walked to the door. “But I can’t help you. She can. Listen to Istara, Nia. She can help you.” The door hissed shut on her stream of expletives.

“Be easy, girl.” Istara said in that same gentle voice as she wiped more sweat off Nia’s now steaming brow. “Your dad loves you. Hate me if you must, do not hate him.” Nia growled at her, but then a convulsion raked her body and Istara sighed. “This is going to be a long day… For both of us…”
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:20 AM | #7
“I knew this was going to be rough…” Will Kalenath said soberly as he watched the monitor. On it, Nia cursed and spit at Istara who just sat there quietly. “Mom went through it with alcohol. But it wasn’t like this…”

“That was your mother, Will.” A black furred form moved to stand beside him and smiled. Ona, healer of the Bladeborn, was just as distraught as any of them, but she had a lot of experience in controlling her emotions. “It is not the same watching your child go through it.” Will looked at her and a sad smile played across his face.

The two of them stood in the medical bay of the renegade cruiser Stormhawk. The Bladeborn had fit in amazingly well among the group of outcasts, loners and crazies that made up the outlaw vessel’s crew. Ona in particular was liked.

"Yeah." Will agreed sadly. "I... Oh Ona... I..." He shook his head. "I am scared. Not for myself, but..."

"I know." Ona agreed. "Its coming. Even those of us who are not members of the Seven can feel something coming. Something bad." She shook her head. "You, Istara, Michelle, Nia, Idjit, Jina, even poor Mira... You have all given, and given and given... What more must the galaxy take?" Ona asked, tears starting to fall.

"Hey, come here..." Will said gently. He opened his arms and Ona embraced him. "It's okay. You, Istara and the others have given me more time than I thought I would have. I got to see my daughter again. Even if it is not entirely her." He let Ona go and stepped back, looking through the glass again. "The Bladeborn need you, Ona. Istara will need you." Now his face turned sad. "Especially if what we all think the prophecy of the Seven says about her and Jina comes true."

"Yeah." The healer agreed. "Istara likes Jina, a lot." Ona sighed deeply. "She won't handle it well, will she?"

"Killing Jina? By accident?" Will asked softy. "No. No, she won't." He turned and his face was serious when he scrutinized the Bladeborn healer. Ona flushed slightly under his regard. "I know what your Code says about seeking redemption, but you can't... Ona, you can't let her kill herself."

"I..." Ona shook her head savagely. "I don't want to, but... WIll... The Code is all we are. All we have been. If the Grandmaster starts breaking the Code..."

"She won't." WIll said softly. "She won't." He repeated, his sincerity clear.

"Will..." Ona paused at his tone. "What do you know?"

"Nothing I can tell you." Will said sadly. "I want to, but... I can't."

"I understand." Ona said softly. "I have lived with a seer. I understand, Will."

"Speaking of that seer..." WIll smiled as the hatch behind them hissed open. "I wondered when you would get off your fat tookus." He said snidely to the man who entered.

"Idjit!" Ona cred as she darted to her brother and embraced him tight. "You are looking good." And indeed, the Bladeborn seer was. He looked fit and strong and... She froze as he smiled at her, his blue eyes twinkling.

"So are you, sister." Idjit, seer of the Bladeborn said gently. "Even with all the angst I created, I am so glad to finally see you in the fur." He hugged her again. "The healers that I went to were good, not in your class, but good."

"The transplants took, then?" Ona asked professionally. "I had hoped, someday, to clone you some eyes, but... Not like that." She said with a shudder. When the Emperor demanded that it be done, it was done, no matter the potential consequences.

"My fault and responsibility, Ona." Idjit said quietly. "I knew going in that it was a bad idea, but we had to get more information. We did."

"Yeah we did." Will agreed softly. "Did you ever find a good hidey hole?"

"Yes." Idjit replied. Ona looked form one to the others and shook her head.

"Hidey hole?" The healer asked dubiously.

"Yeah." WIll said softly. "We are a target, Ona. You know this better than many." Ona gulped a bit. The damage the ship had taken in the last battle had been extreme. And the casualties... Will spoke again. "I am glad you are here, Ona."

"So am I." Ona replied with a smile. "Although the other healer aboard took some getting used to." The Bothan shuddered a little. "Shar told us about Hawkir and L'trask, but Hera was a hell of a shock."

"Sorry about that." WIll said soberly. "I didn't even think about it. She isn't really an Islanian, she just looks like one." Considering the Sith Empire's relations with the Islanian Protectorate which had ended with the total destruction of the planet Islan...

"I know, now." Ona said with a scowl. "But it was all I, or Jon, could do not to carve her up when she introduced herself. I am glad we didn't. She is nice."

"Yeah." Will agreed sadly as he turned back to the monitor. "I need to spell Istara. I..." He shook his head. "I don't want to do this." He said plaintively. "She is in pain, confused, all that and I cannot help her."

"Will.." Idjit said gently. "Trust your feelings. You have the Force, you just don't have enough to train. You ARE helping her. You cannot do this for her. She has to do it herself, or she will never be free."

"I know..." WIll said sadly. "I know, hey!" He gulped as Ona embraced him. "Ona?"

"It will be okay, Will." Ona said as he hugged him tight. "It will be okay." Will shook his head, hugged her back and stepped out of the embrace.

"And which one of you is the seer?" The soldier asked with a wry snort. "I will send Istara, Idjit."

"Thanks." Idjit said simply as Will made his way out of the room. Ona looked at him sideways.

"Idjit...?" The healer asked softly.

"She asked, didn't she?" Idjit said softly, sadly. "Istara that is."

"Yeah." Ona replied, her face falling. "Idjit... I..."

"Just like Istara to do contingency planning." Idjit said soberly. "Shar never was one for it, she was all jump in, kill everything... But Istara... She plans..." He shook himself and nodded to the healer. "Can you do it?"

"Yes." Ona said quietly. "But should I? This is a child we are talking about here."

"Whose mother is going to either die or be very messed up." Idjit replied evenly. "No matter what, for Istara to be captured... Especially now..."

"She won't go down easily." Ona said softly, her tone scared. "If at all."

"Istara is not invincible, Ona. You know this, you have patched her up often enough." Idjit said quietly as they watched the screen. Will had entered the room and replaced Istara at the bed. Nia cursed at him as he wiped the sweat off her brow. "She is good. Smart, fast, powerful, all that, but she is not invincible."

"I know, Idjit..." Ona said sadly. "I know..."

"Ah, Ona..." Istara said as she entered. "Are you ready?"

"I am, Istara." Ona said soberly. "I have to ask though... Are you sure...?"

"I am." Istara said with a sad smile. "Idjit and I will... talk a bit. Then I will come see you. It doesn't take long, does it?"

"Minutes, if everything goes right, sister." Ona said unhappily. "You... are..." She broke off, embarrassed.

"Yes. I am." Istara said with a smile. "Thank you, Ona. You have taken a huge weight off my shoulders." She hugged the Bothan tight. Ona looked like she was going to say something, then shook herself and left in silence.

"Istara..." Idjit said softly.

"No more words, my ice..." Istara said huskily. "We talked it out. No time like the present." She pulled him close.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:26 AM | #8
<An hour later>

"I want to help and I can't." Hawkir Strum said softly as he and the other healer aboard the Stormhawk worked in Medical. "Nia is special. In so many ways."

"I agree." L'trask said softly. The Trandoshan was checking medical files as the two well matched healers worked to clear their influx of patients. "I almost wish Cranna had sent another transport. Having all these non-combatants aboard is making me nervous."

"Me too." Hawkir aid quietly. When Will had told everyone that the Enclave's location was compromised, they had already been evacuating, quietly. The sheer logistics involved of moving almost a thousand dependants, secretly... Ouch. "At least Sara and her brood are nowhere nearby."

"What is the human saying? Eggs and pails?" L'trask asked as he finished up another chart. "Don't have all your pails in one egg or something?"

"Eggs and...?" Hawkir paused and then smiled. "Oh. 'Don't put all your eggs in one basket'?"

"Yeah, that's it. We are already a big fat target, adding her and her brood to the mix would have been bad." L'trask pulled up the next file and sighed deeply. "Ah Katherine..." Hawkir looked at the screen and sighed as well as he saw the data displayed.

"She is alive, L'trask." The Jedi healer said gently. "She is alive and as well as we can make her."

"Well?" L'trask demanded. "We have to keep her sedated to stop her screaming. She eats, and sleeps, nothing else. She trained me in medicine, you know..." The Trandosahn said quietly. "A kinder, gentler, more peaceful person I have never met. And now..."

"She is alive, L'trask." Hawkir reminded him. "We will find a way to help her. At least her pregnancy is progressing as expected."

"Yeah." L'trask paused. "Um? Where is Cina? I expected her back before now."

"Markus knows more of offensive uses of the Force than I do." Hawkir said soberly. "She is training with him."

"I really hope he isn't letting her use a lightsaber..." L'trask said slowly. "I mean..."

"He knows she is better with a saber than he is. Wouldn't prove anything if she cleaned his chrono, again." Hawkir said with a small smile. "It..." He paused, unsure about something he had just read. "L'trask, is this scan current?"

"Yes." The Trandoshan healer said with a sigh. "I took a full series of Katherine this morning. Why?"

"This can't be..." Hawkir said dubiously. "Her child is a girl?"

"Um..." The Trandoshan paused. "Yeah, full female characteristics forming nicely. Why?" He stiffened as Hawkir did.

"L'trask, look at the history." Hawkir felt the icy hand of fear start to seep up his spine. He acknowledged it and let it pass him by. "The medical history from the Enclave..."

"Oh my god..." L'Trask sounded calm, but his sense in the Force was terrified. "Her child was a boy..."

"It... can't change..." Hawkir said slowly, feeling each word with care. "Unless... it isn't a child!"

"Flarg me!" L'trask snapped and hit a big red button next to his desk. The shipwide general alarm started sounding. As shouts started nearby the intercom chimed.

"What the-?" The voice over the intercom was Boss, the commander of the ship. "Doc?"

"Boss, we have a nanite incursion in Medical." L'trask said softly as he watched the scanners. The straps that had been holding Katherine down were gone. The Cathar medic's eyes were closed, but she was sitting up. "Katherine was carrying them. They mimicked a Cathar embryo."

"Medical?" Boss asked, sounding stunned. "Doc..."

"You can't vent the ship to kill them." L'trask said soberly. "Too many civilians, too many dependants in the area. The turrets are useless, worse than useless, they can be subverted."

"We will clear..." Boss staretd, but broke off as L'trask snarled at him.

"You can't." The Trandosahan said soberly. "Hawkir? Can you do anything?"

"I can't even sense them, L'trask." The Jedi said softly. He paused as the door to the office opened and two forms in Jedi robes hurried in. "Cina? Markus?"

"Master?" Cina said softly, unsure. "Can Bob...?"

"He is not here, Cina." Markus said sadly. "He had something else to do. We are on our own, but we are not without options."

"No we are not." Hawkir said just as softly as he watched the screen. Katherine reached for the door and it...melted away from her touch. "Cina...Go, get the civilians out of here." The young woman recoiled.

"No, master Hawkir!" She cried. "No!"

"Cina, please..." Hawkir said sadly. "I have to do this. Markus and I together may be able to slow the nanites. nothing we know of can stop them."

"Lohas can." Cina cried. "We should..."

"No she can't." Istara said as she and another robed form entered the office. "She is busy keeping the nanites from spreading to the rest of the ship. But I can."

"Where is Will?" L'Trask asked.

"He is staying with Nia." Idjit replied. "Istara...This may be what he wants."

"Yeah, he wants me." Istara agreed. Then she straightened. "Jedi Strum, Jedi Padawan Darkstorm, Jedi Sigmundson, you cannot fight this. I will. Alone." Everyone in the room stiffened at her tone.

"Grandmaster..." Hawkir said slowly. "Alone?"

"Idjit is still recovering." Istara said sadly. "Get him out of here."

"Istara..." Idjit paused and an odd look came over his face. "You...rat..." She caught him as he fell and held him until Hawkir came up.

"He shouldn't have even come. He is still weak. I was going to go to him to do what I planned." Istara said soberly. "Did he 'see' this? I wonder..."

"Istara..." Cina Darkstorm said, her tone somewhere between wonder and horror. "You..."

"I can stop Katherine." Istara said sadly. "But I don't know if I can do it without killing her. Or hurting myself."

"Istara!" Cina protested. "No! You are pregnant!" She moved to block the door, but Istara just looked at her.

"I know. Cina, move." Istara said sadly. "I can't let the nanites loose on this ship. I can't. I have to do what I can."

"And the little one that you and Idjit just started?" Hawkir asked calmly. "What happens to that?"

"One life for many, Hawkir." Istara said, tears starting to fall. "I am the only one who can do this. I have to. I don't want to lose another child, but I don't have a choice."

"Yes you do." Hawkir said soberly. "Cina..." The padawan started and then looked at her master. "You are a joy to teach, girl. But I am about to teach you a very hard lesson. Jedi do what needs to be done. This needs to be done." Cina was shaking her head in horror, but Hawkir continued. "Go to Tython, A friend was asking about you. You will like her. Youn is hard, but fair."

"Master..." Cina begged. "No..."

"I can help Istara." Hawkir said soberly. "I can't face the nanites, but I can keep all of her body intact while she does." Istara stared at him, hope welling behind her eyes. "Markus?"

"I cannot help you, my friend." Markus Sigmundson said quietly. " I do not have the skill."

"I know." Hawkir said sadly. "I need you and Cina to get the other non-ambulatory patients out of Medical, to the bunkers. And then... I need you to get Cina to Tython." Cina was crying now and Hawkir shook his head. "Be at ease, Cina. There is no emotion..."

"...there is peace." Cina said soberly. "I will miss you, Master Hawkir."

"Go." Hawkir said quietly. Cina and Markus both bowed to him and Istara. "You too, L'trask."

"Will may need me." The old Trandoshan said quietly.

"And what good will you do him if you get munched?" Istara said with a snarl. "Take Idjit and go. Please?" She asked.

"Istara..." L'Trask sighed and lifted the unconscious seer easily. He may have been a healer instead of a fighter, but L'Trask was no slouch. "Good luck, or whatever." The two Jedi left with the doctor.

"Hawkir..." Istara said softly. "Do you really...?"

"Yes." Hawkir said sadly. "I can keep your little one alive. I don't know for how long."

"Well, I hope it won't take very long." Istara said sadly. "I do not want to kill her. I like her."

"Which was probably his plan all along." Hawkir mused. "He knew we all felt strongly about her, liked her. So we would not kill her out of hand."

"Now we have to keep her from killing others." Istara said with a frown. "At least most of the non-combatant have been evaced by now. Bladeborn are good at things like that."

"I hope they were gentle." Hawkir said with a sigh. "Some of the people have been in the Enclave for ten years, and are a bit...Fragile."

"Bruised egos we can fix." Istara said soberly as she started for the door. "Civilians rendered down to gray goo? Not so much."

"Ick..." Hawkir said with feeling. "You have an odd sense of humor, Istara."

"That was Sharlina's" Istara said with a sigh. "She wants to hurt FIrdlump now, badly."

"Well, we may get the chance." Hawkir said soberly as the hallway ahead of them started to mist, to warp, to change. A lone female figure in a patient gown walked towards them. Katherine's eyes were still closed "Soon." Istara nodded and stepped to block the corridor.

"That is quite far enough, Firdlump." Istara said with a snarl. "You are not welcome here."

"Where I am welcome is immaterial. This is for the best, for a better galaxy." The male voice from the female mouth was off putting. It was kind and solicitous. "Do we have to fight, Istara? It will make such a mess."

"Yes." Istara said sternly, and her eyes turned a silver color. Energy flared from her hands and Hawkir stepped back, his focus on Istara. "Yes we do, monster."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:32 AM | #9
"Dad?" Nia asked. "What is happening?" The sound of an explosion was felt more than heard through the walls of the ship. Will touched the console nearby and blinked.

"Aw crap..." Will said after a moment. "Nia, your master snuck an agent aboard."

"He did?" Nia asked. Hope and fear warred in her tone. "I mean..."

"You remember Katherine?" Will asked softly, menace underlying his tone. "The Cathar doctor at Cranna's clinic?"

"Yeah." Nia asked, confused. "Why?"

"He took her by force, brainwashed her and impregnated her." Nia's face went white at that, but Will wasn't done. "And now, it seems that the 'child' she was bearing was a host of nanites. A lot of them. So we have a lot of microscopic machine aboard who like to eat people. Istara is...arguing with them."

"Dad..." Nia shook her head. It was all she could move. "I didn't know... I didn't do this..."

"I know." Will agreed. "You haven't had the chance. And-" Whatever else he was going to say was cut off as one of the four turrets in the corners of the room's ceiling spat blue fire at him. He collapsed in a heap, unmoving.

"What the-? Dad!" Nia screamed. "Help! Someone!"

"Nia, relax." A voice she remembered came to her ears. "It's okay. It was set for stun, he is alive. Just relax. This will sting." Nia froze as all four of the turrets aimed at her!

"Are you...Firdlump?" Nia asked, unsure. Then she screamed as all four turrets opened fire. She broke off as she realized that the bolts had targeted the buckles holding the straps that held her to the bed. She was free. The smoking remains burnt her skin, but it was a minor pain. "I..."

"I am. It's okay Nia." The voice was soothing now. "It's okay, Maria and the others are waiting for you. But I..." The voice broke off and the shouted. "Nia, they are overriding! Move!"

Nia was rolling off the bed and just in time as all four turrets fired again, full power, burning right through the bed where she had been lying. She went white as an irate female voice sounded.

"Don't move, Nia." Sharra Kalenath's voice was hard and cruel now. "If you do, we will burn you to cinders."

"Sharra..." Nia said, gulping. "I don't know what is going on..."

"I do, and you are not taking him anywhere." The voice of Will Kalenath's wife, impossibly, got even colder. "Get back on the bed."

"Sharra... I..." Nia shook her head. "I don't want to die. I can't... I can't let you kill me."

"We don't want to." Sharra said in a milder tone. "But you are threatening everyone aboard, including my son."

"Your..." Nia suddenly smiled. 'You and Will had a kid? Really?" She cast out desperately with her mind and found... gloriousness. It felt... heavenly. "Oh... It's okay Sharra..." Nia said as she did what had to be done.

"Nia? What?"" Sharra exclaimed. "No!" But all four turrets gave a hiss and died as Nia shorted out their sensitive electronics, her renewed nanites giving her limited control of her surroundings. "Don't! You don't know what you are doing!"

"I am helping make the galaxy a better place, Sharra." Nia said, riding the wonder that was the collective. "Dad is hurt. I can't help him, but I bet the Master can. And you... We will welcome you, Sharra." She paused. No answer. What the-? Not a good sign. "Ah well..." She reached down and picked up her dad. "Ooof, he weighs a ton..."

***

"This is stupid, Firdlump." Istara said with a snarl as she threw power at yet another wave of nanites that tried to envelope her. They melted away as their microscopic processors shut down. "You are not going to win."

"It is not always about winning, Istara." The male voice sounding from the sleeping female's mouth was horrifying to say the least. "You of all people should know that. Even the redoubtable Hawkir Strum cannot help you, and you are weakening."

"Well, you know what will happen if I lose here, right?" Istara asked, an acid edge to her tone. "You know what Boss will do. He will vent the ship. Or blow it up to prevent you from taking it."

"You might as well say 'She', Istara." Firdlump's voice was calm. "I know who wears the armor of Stormhawk Boss. I have known for some time."

"Maybe." Istara said flatly as she countered another wave and sent a pulse of power at the female form that was still advancing slowly. "I will kill Katherine, Firdlump, if you push me far enough. You know that."

"No you won't." Firdlump said with a sigh. "You are out of time, Istara. It was a good fight."

"What?" Istara asked, unsure, then spun as a scream sounded behind her. "Hawkir!" She shouted.

"Hawkir?" A voice came from a cross corridor. Nia's voice was horrified. "No!"

Istara blanched. Somehow, nanites had gotten around her without her sensing them. The Jedi fell to one knee, his face serene as his body slowly collapsed in on itself. It actually happened very quickly, it only seemed to happen in slow motion. One moment he was kneeling there, his face ashen, but calm. The next he was dissolving, his body falling apart. In moments, there was nothing left of the Jedi but gray mist that dissipated rapidly. A huge hole appeared where the Jedi had been, screams followed, screams that cut off with dreadful finality.

"You bastard!" Istara snapped, restraint going. "And you!" She rounded on Nia who froze in place, her father's limp form in her hands. "Hawkir saved you! Your dad loves you! And you did this?" Sharlina's icy demeanor took over, her eyes going red and her face becoming remote as the rage that she was surged to the fore. "You stupid cow! You idiotic barvette!"

"Sharlina..." Nia retreated a step from the wrath that faced her. "I..."

"Nia be calm. I have stopped the nanites you released. You will not harm her, Sharlina." Firdlump's voice was calm. "She is mine."

"No? Maybe I can't." Sharlina's voice was cold and clear now. "But after what she just caused, the death of a good man, I want her to hurt!" Her sword came out and she was charging as Nia dropped her dad and backed up a step, empty hands upraised as if in supplication.

"No." Something grabbed at Sharlina, but her rage and lust for revenge drove her on. "We need you Sharlina. Rest now, warrior."

"I am not your slave!" Sharlina screamed as she brought her blade down. She had the satisfaction of seeing red appear on Nia's patient gown before darkness hammered into her and she knew no more.
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here

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kalenath
08.18.2012 , 05:38 AM | #10
"Ah..." Nia gasped, as she saw the blade fall from nerveless fingers and the Bladeborn warrior collapsed in a heap. "I..." Pain suddenly surged in her awareness and she found herself kneeling beside the still Bladeborn, clutching a half severed arm. "Help...?" She begged. She barely noticed the Bladeborn's silver armor vanishing through the haze of fear and pain.

"I will." Firldump's voice was gentle. "Nia... easy... She cut deep." A slim hand touched her on the arm and the pain died. The red stream that she saw spurting out slowed and stopped. "We need to move. Now. They will have contingencies that I cannot predict. Eventually they will circumvent the camera and internal defense lockout that I managed to get into place and kill us."

"We can't take them both, can we?" Nia asked, afraid. "I mean... Me and Katherine, I can get off the ship. I can carry one, maybe. But not two unconscious people. Can she...?"

"No, Nia. She is not awake, and I need to focus on keeping us alive." Firdlump's voice was soft and gentle. "We need Istara."

"But..." Nia was shaking her head as she reached down to scoop up the unconscious Bladeborn. "Dad...?"

"I am sorry, Nia." Firdlump said sadly. "It is taking all my local processing power to keep them from localizing us and killing us. I can't wake Katherine until the three of you are safe. You know what they will do if we are not gone quickly."

"I do." Nia said flatly, then she reached out a slow a hand and caressed her dad's slumbering brow. "I am sorry, Dad. We will help you, I swear it." She patted his shoulder and then, with a grunt, picked up Istara's still form and started off. "Hangar bays are that way." She waved and started off. "Do we have a plan?" The sleeping Cathar kept pace.

"They have fighters up, Silver Squadron if I am not mistaken." Nia winced at Firdlump's tone. "Can you outrun them?" He asked, not really expecting an affirmative. That was the Stormhawk's premier fighter squadron, aces all.

"Not in a shuttle." Nia said flatly. "We can... hmm..." She mused. "How long will Dad be asleep?"

"At least eight hours." Firdlump asked slowly though Katherine's mouth. "Why?"

"Is there a place we can rendezvous in that time?" Nia asked slowly. "If we can get there?"

"Yes..." Firldump said uneasily. "Why?"

"Eight hours is more than enough time." Nia said slowly. "We are taking the Dragon."

"Ah... Nia..." Firdlump said slowly. "He has to have safeguards on that ship." Considering that Will's personalized starfreighter had outgunned some battleships... Oh yes, it had to have safeguards.

"I know." Nia said soberly. "And I know what they are. And the codes to use it." She sighed in fond memory. She had helped her dad work on it after stowing away on it once.

"Are you sure...?" Firdlump asked softly.

"100%? No." Nia admitted. "But close. I can access the machinery like he can. I can get us in, and operate it. Any code he has set up, I can circumvent, but when he wakes up..."

"He will activate the self destruct." Firdlump said flatly."And you, Katherine and Istara die."

"IF we can get to a rendezvous before he wakes, we can transfer, get clear." Nia said sadly. "If. Can you?"

"There is a small transport..." Firdlump mused. "They are a bit out of the way, but I can get them to meet within eight hours. Where?"

"Someplace nice and remote..." Nia said sadly. "Less chance for collateral damage. Whatever self destruct he built into it will be big... Come on.." They entered the hangar bay and paused. Nia looked around, unsure. "Ah... Where is everybody?"

"They are..." Firdlump's voice was strained now. "They are trying to vent the hangar! Nia! Hurry!"

"What? They are going to kill me and Istara?" Nia snarled as she darted towards where Will's ship sat ominous and dark. "Bastards!"

"We have..." Firdlump's voice took on a distinctly odd tone now. "We have... Ah!" Katherine's body fell to it's knees and Nia froze as a large dark form appeared nearby. Several of them.

"You are not leaving with her, Nia Korr." The black skinned Sitolon said softly. "Put Istara down. Now."

"Who are you?" Nia demanded, but did not lower Istara's unconscious form.

"We will not ask nicely again, Nia Korr." The black bug did not move. "Put Istara down. Now." There was a distinct aura of menace to that being's tone.

"You..." Nia said slowly. "...are rude." She shook her head slowly and a docked fighter suddenly groaned as it lifted. "Move, you insolent bug."

"Nia... No..." Firdlump's voice was taut as Katherine's body rose again. "They are delaying us... Get to the ship." 

"You know not what you do, girl." The black bug said sadly. "You have no idea. None. Let Istara go. NOW."

"You can't stop me." Nia declared, but blanched as the fighter she had been levitating suddenly slammed back into it's cradle. "What...?"

"You are not the only one with the Force here, girl." The black bug said snidely. "You are not leaving."

"Fine." Nia said soberly. "On your head then..." She looked at the Dragon and a sudden alarm sounded. "I figure we have two minutes to live, until and unless I hold the deadwoman's switch. I don't know what he used as a self destruct, but I bet it is big."

"You would kill everyone aboard to fuel your addiction to that fake hivemind." The bug said quietly. "How...sad."

"I don't want to." Nia said sternly. "You are leaving me few choices."

"And you are leaving us even fewer." The bug replied. "You threaten many children, refugees from the Enclave. Istara would be the first to say to let you go, even with her as a prisoner. How many people who love you will you kill, Nia? How many?" Nia started walking towards the Dragon and the bugs did not move. "So be it... Your father will judge you. Not us."

"You don't understand." Nia pleaded as she started up the ramp. "It is marvelous, wonderful, glorious even..."

"No." The bug said flatly. "It is you who does not understand, idiot larva. You have threatened our entire family this day, Nia Korr. I speak with Matriarch Sharra's voice now... You are no kin to the Kalenath family."

"Wha-" Nia felt as if she had been punched in the gut. "What do you mean?"

"Nia..." Firdlump's voice was stronger now. "We have to go. Now."

"Begone, brat." The black bug said nastily. "When next we meet, you will not have hundreds of hostages -including your infant half brother- to threaten for your freedom. When that day comes, you will die." He stepped away, melting into the shadows of the hangar bay with all the others.

"I..." Nia shook her head, but slapped the hatch close control and started for the cockpit. "This ship is cramped, I'll put her in the starboard dorm... Can you...? What can you do to keep her docile?"

"I am going to try and cut a deal with the half of the personality called Sharlina." Firdlump's voice said soberly. "Get us out of here, hopefully they won't blow us out of the sky on the way."

"They can't." Nia said soberly. "The sensors cannot target this ship. Dad's paranoia runs deep."

"Oh?" Firdlump said, Katherine's eyes looking about. "Pity we can't..."

"No!" Nia shouted. "Don't try and access anything! He has added safeguards... I sense so many...And the destructs..." She gasped. "Four class VII five hundred weight baradium devices, all separate... All rigged to go off if any are tampered with. Can you stop four nukes simultaneously?"

"Ah..." Katherine's body retracted the hand she had almost touched the bulkhead with. Firdlump's voice was shocked now. "No... Gah! Get us out of here..."
My stories in order:
Love, the Force, and Everything Discussion thread here