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When I Wake


EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
09.30.2012 , 06:40 PM | #21
Taris: Cantina 3/3

Once I leave the complex, I am chilled by the night.

I look to the sky. It is starless. My right hand hurts. I look down at it. Blood is seeping from four crescent shaped cuts. I drop it to wave by my side and slowly walk up a ramp to the higher level. I leave a trail behind. The stores are closed and shady figures move in the dark.

I sit down at a stims vendor stall. I decide not to take anything for awhile.

I feel empty. It is comforting to see something flowing from me. To know there is still something living in there. I want to bleed to know I'm still alive. I haven't bled in a long time. Do they even train people to use blasters anymore? I didn't even know if I still had blood. I could never bring myself to see.

I think of Mako and Cadera still in the cantina. I wonder if I destroyed their night... I decide not to deny myself the feeling of hope that I did. On an impulse, I write on the steel ground. I smile at the message and lie on my back. It is nice to feel the cold on my skin. Been too long since I took my armour off. Guess this is what happens when you live for suffer. And live for revenge.

I pull my blaster out. I shoot out to the stars. 'Pow.' I watch the laser bolt disappear. 'What if' seems to be written in the stars tonight. I hold the gun, arm straight, eye along the line. My thumb plays with the engraving underneath. It's smeared with blood.

His body is firm against mine.

I press my finger on the trigger. Bullseye. A tiny hole is left in the small red circle in the middle of rings of colour. I giggle and turn in his arms. I jump up and down. 'I did it! I did it!'

'You did, you did. You win. I concede, I concede.' He laughs and smiles down at me. 'But it is harder to shoot when the red circle is another man's head.'

I pout. 'I could do it! I could kill a man. I am not scared! I could be a Sith Warrior. Or a bounty hunter!'

'Don't think you'd be much of a bounty hunter. You would have to travel the galaxy just to kill a man. It's beyond you.' He pinches my cheeks. It is a derisive act of a father to a young kid. My heart beats a potent rage at it. 'You're too sweet to kill anyone.'

He underestimates me. 'Just you watch, General.' I back flip away and aim the gun playfully at his head. 'POW!' I say. 'You're dead.' I smile.

He moves quickly to disarm me. I am on the ground and his hand is at my neck. I pout. Again. He smiles and releases me. Sitting with elbows on his knees next to me. Close to me. My back hurts. And my hand. I am angry. The annoyance of a spoilt child.

'I want you to teach me how to do that now! I want to be able to protect myself.' He smiles at me.

'What about others? Or don't you like anyone else?' Always smiling.

'I like you. That's enough.' I think a little, though. I chew my lips and they drip blood. But I continue to do it. It hurts. I remember thinking others don't matter. They don't deserve life. It is funny how the innocent can see so clearly. At times.

'I want to protect myself from men. I don't want to be defenceless again.' Darker thoughts creep around my mind. Black memories. No one has ever shown the orphan girl kindness. An unprotected girl can only be used for one thing. I still feel the loathing I learnt to have for soldiers. Their vile drunkenness. I remember every time I was still on the streets too late and I could not run fast enough, cursing them. No one ever helped me. Only watched. I made a list of vendettas. A hit list. I remembered their names. And faces. Their time would come.

And I had seen their wars and the brutalities people show each other. Men show other men. No. There is no honour in the world. No kindness. The Empire and Republic are the same.

And then he leans over and kisses me. 'Then first things first... my perfect little killer.' His eyes are clear. They see me. And they smile. Small shadows dance at their depths. Eyes are gateways to the soul. And I want to see his. Like he sees mine.


My hand hurts. Blood has been falling down my arm. A lot. I pull up my sleeve with my free hand and watch it make trials of orange down my arm. I try not to think of the colour. I don't want to know why it's not red. They are orange vines that slither and climb up my arm, weaving between pale short hairs.

Protect myself, huh?


I lower my arm and lie like a star on the ground. All empty pale skin covered in black. Somehow glowing in the dim night light. Grand Champion of the Great Hunt. I want him to see me now. Strange thoughts I'm having tonight...

I think I'll find Gault later. Unless he already went back to the cantina and found some company... We kill time together. Get smashed. But he has never touched me. Tried. Every night. But failed. Sometimes, though, we will sit close as we drink and enjoy the proximity of another. It's nothing sexual. I know Gault doesn't really want me. Just like he doesn't really want any woman. I think it's a tiring charade to have. He never lets it down. I have a feeling there's only one person he loves and wants. So I tolerate his advances. I enjoy those nights too much to kill him yet.

Footsteps come. I know them. They bring certain colours to the edges of my vision. I think about rolling away. But that's all I do. Think about it.

'What's up, kid? Can't take the ruff housing? Or wasn't the company stimulating enough?' I smirk a little. My tone is light. I don't have much of a humour.

He stops and takes in my star fish form. I casually pull my sleeve down. I don't want him to see that. 'Some shabuir started to bully a woman. Now he's bleeding on the floor. Thought I'd get some air.' He continues to walk closer. Think he found me not shooting him a permission to come and talk. 'Found an interesting trail of blood. Thought I'd follow it. Seem to be making a habit of it.' He's standing over me now. I feel small. An ant. A strong, cold ant. I avoid his eyes. But I feel him smiling. Just a little. In a serious kind of way.

'Don't you just hate it when that happens?' I can't smile. 'Find anything interesting?'

He walks casually to the vender stall. I hear a few locks break and a med pack and bandages fall on my chest. I don't move. They make a 'thump' sound as they land. But I don't feel it.

'Possibly have.' He sits down next to me. Elbows on his knees. Close to me. The silence is empty. It's funny, how silences often aren't. It's a little ironic. They are awkward, or comforting, or terrifying. It lengthens. I don't mind. Eventually, the rustling of my movements as I sit up crackle along it like lightening down a lamp post. I start to treat my hand. It hurts. I want to smile. But I have grown tired again of bleeding. You have done your share in the past.

'I want to thank you for the help. Decent of you to let me in on the kill. You didn't have to do that.' His voice is deep. We sit side by side, facing different directions. Close but apart. I look at the space. My message is between us.
I think of many things to say in the silence that follows. I suppose he is a little silent. It's a nice change, after Mako and then Gault. Something continues to expand in my chest. I ignore it. Nothing can break my armour. Let it try.

'Just part of the hunt.' He grimaces and nods slightly. 'But I couldn't have found him without you.' It's true. I had a drastically lower chance of finding Jicoln without him. Just meant it would have taken a while longer. He smiles in that serious way again. It's small, but when you look, you can easily see it. I know what it's like to never have someone look close enough. And to be the one that doesn't look at all. 'I was almost glad to help.' I tell myself that's true too.

'I'd say the same. Almost.' It's that silence again. I like it. It's uniquely us. No expectations. No tension. But it's not indifferent. And not quite comfortable. 'I'm looking forward to this. Not everyone gets a chance to fight alongside the Champion of the Great Hunt.' His voice flows deep and strong with pride. Only Cadera could pull off the combination of humility, disbelief and self-satisfaction.

'It's quite an experience, I'll tell you that. So would Mako and Gault. Though accounts would differ.' I lie back down. 'Though I can think of better things for us to do then fight.' I don't smile.

He nods his head as if contemplating the positives and negatives of such amusements. It's not a philosophical debate. I can tell he's just going to be our funniest addition yet. 'Something to consider.' And in the silence that follows it seems like he has already begun considering it. I sigh. A young fool.

He stands up finally and moves to attention. 'Just say the word. I'm ready to move out.' Not the direction I had in mind... But I know my advances are hollow. Guess I know I only make them because he won't take me up on it.

I climb to my feet as well, as the sun quickly rises. So early already. 'Off to the next **** hole it is.'

And so will begin our first adventure as four. Oh what exciting adventures await. I roll my eye to myself and crack my neck. At least it will be interesting. It is different from being alone. Haven't decided if that interesting is better or worse. I stretch a little as he walks away.

I look down at my own blood.

It hurts : )

'A little ironic. When you think about it.'

Adwynyth's Avatar


Adwynyth
09.30.2012 , 10:57 PM | #22
Quote: Originally Posted by EverSteam View Post
Thanks XD I'm loving your Sith in a Pretty Dress btw, makes me laugh so hard
Why thankee. That's its purpose.
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.01.2012 , 05:13 AM | #23
On the ship

-----

When I return to the ship, I wash my hands. And put on my armour. I give orders to Gault to set course for Nar Shaddaa. He's more than a little thrilled to hear it.

I can tell Mako's angry with me. Touchy girl. She hides in her room and storms past me in the corridors. Don't think she liked me ruining her time with Cadera and stealing the blonde punk from her. Didn't mean to. But I did want to... But she'll come round. I figure I'll wait for it in my room.

I have mail. It's Mandalore.

'... I understand Jicoln's boy is with you now. Take care of him. He's got a legacy to carry on.'

I sit. Still and unmoving, repeating the words over. Hours pass. I think Mako does come in at some stage. But I stay still. Something stops my body from moving. My mind thinks of things to say to her but they never leave my mouth. I'm sending the messages but it doesn't happen.

'Take care of him.' As if he would ever let me. Not running a day care center.

But I keep reading it again, the letters burned onto my eye. I suppose it's what people called 'stunned'. It's in uncomfortable thought. But it has trapped my mind. A large part of me wants to move. Find a new place to go. Get some more credits and seek my revenge. There's a galaxy out there I want to see. Because I am finally free. After many long years I am free. Hunted. But free.

Yet I stay. And sit. I am caged and petrified by a few words. And a boy.

Gault comes and goes. I start to move. Push ups. Stretches. Weights. My body is aching dully as it tears itself apart. But I still think. About a lot and nothing. Part of me that I don't recognise, that I refuse to recognise, is blissful. And it chatters. Yet I refuse to listen. Thinking everything and hearing nothing.

And so night comes. And I sleep.

In my dreams, I am killing men. When I wake, I am in the cockpit. A blaster in my hand.

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.01.2012 , 05:45 AM | #24
Later, while docked briefly on Nar Shaddaa for no reason...
----

'So, what do you think of Torian? Cute, huh?'

I momentarily stiffen and stop half way through my thirty eighth morning push up. But then I quickly continue. I glare hard into the steel floor under me. Don't remember ever allowing her to come into my room. And I don't think cute is the word I would apply to Cadera.

I don't look at Mako as she moves from the door way to my bed, sitting cross legged on the corner. Definitely don't remember inviting her in.

I don't reply. And after a particularly long, hostile silence she continues oblivious.

'I like him. I was thinking I might make a move on him. What do you think?'

'Over that punk on Nar Shaddaa already? Someone bounces back quick. Though you did spend four weeks crying into your gizka toy at night...' I lie still a while on my back and then make my way to the weights in the corner of the room.

'Hey! How do you know about that?' I don't reply and just smirk at her weak, blushing form. 'Whatever. Anyway, what do you think?'

'I think you're mistaking me for someone who cares. Do whatever you want. I'm not your mother. Just don't do it on my ship.'

She giggles. The sound is annoying and makes me scowl. 'Do you think I have a chance?'

I drop the weights onto the ground and turn to her slowly. 'How the **** would I know? Go ask the stupid Mando punk, Mako. **** you're annoying.'

I pick up my blaster and walk out of my room. I pass Cadera at my doorway. Seems I'm popular tonight... I smirk at him and as I walk past I carelessly say, 'wanna come kill some Black Suns?' I heard him standing there five minutes ago. I know he heard almost everything. And I'm not sure how that makes me feel.

He silently follows, picking up his tec-staff as we make our way off the ship.

When we return, an angry Mako is waiting for me. And I think about killing her.

----

Spoiler

Magdalane's Avatar


Magdalane
10.01.2012 , 06:28 AM | #25
I finally got caught up. I didn't want to comment until I did. Moving story, very well written. I'm enjoying this very much! Thank you for sharing it with us, and please continue.
Love is the strongest magic of them all.

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.01.2012 , 03:32 PM | #26
Quote: Originally Posted by Magdalane View Post
I finally got caught up. I didn't want to comment until I did. Moving story, very well written. I'm enjoying this very much! Thank you for sharing it with us, and please continue.
Thanks XD

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.01.2012 , 03:37 PM | #27
Sometime later on the ship...

'Nice! Now I know we hit the big time!'

Because getting access to the mythical Black List wasn't a big enough hint. I continue to plot coordinates. Not sure is she's talking to me, Torian, or herself. I think it's the last. Pretty sure she wasn't talking to Gault.

The silence lengthens. 'If you're gonna say something, Mako, spit it out already or **** off. I'm trying to type coordinates.'

'Well, you might want to stop because we might change direction! I'm just so excited.' I roll my eye. She is grating. Constant prattle. Which she promptly continues. I don't listen to much. But I get the gist. Some company wants me to endorse something. Stims I think I heard her say. It's a little low. Not the pay. Just the job in general. But I don't care. Whatever works. As long as there are sup Republic's where ever we're going. But I don't have much time. Pain is getting worse.

Gault is all for it. Wants to help 'negotiate.' Says he thinks he can help get more for it. More I think he's going to claim in his 30%.

Torian is against is. 'Not how I'd want to be remembered.' He shrugs his broad shoulders. My chest pulls. I do agree with him. I have bigger ambitions. Bigger targets. The entire Republic for staters. By the time I'm done with this galaxy, endorsing a product won't even be a foot note.

'Might as well check it out. No promises though.'

Before I know it, Mako has pushed me aside and is plotting course for Quesh.

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.01.2012 , 03:42 PM | #28
Quesh

-----

'I'm Moff Dracen. Head of Imperial Forces here on Quesh. You're here to help our war efforts against the Republic?'

'It'll cost you. My rates sky rocket during war time. Can't afford it then you're wasting my time.' He's underlings frown, and I smirk at them all. 'Your war, not mine.'

All I hear from the **** face punk with him is 'stinking mercenaries' and something like 'women don't belong on the battle field.' I'm not in the mood for this kind of ****. Taris gave me enough of it. So does Gault. And my body is aching. My joints are slowing. I can feel my body separating from the metal. It hurts. I need more sedatives.

'Ooo, you sound so important.' I punch him. Twice. Hard. He rubs his jaw, which has started bleeding. Tears brim in his eyes. He appeals to his commanding officer, who merely waves him away.

'Couldn't have hurt that bad. I thought women didn't belong on the battlefield.' I spit on his shoes. I hate soldiers. Imperial or Republic. There leaders are worse. Cadera watches, impassive and serious.

They want me to help with something or other. Political crap. I say I'll see if I can fit it in. I know I will do it. Pays too good. But I don't give a **** about their politics. Both sides burn the world. When the dust clears and both sides have lost, it will be free lancers and the underworld that rule what's left of the galaxy. I just want as many credits out of it as I can.

I just want revenge.

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.02.2012 , 03:50 AM | #29
Later on Quesh...

----

Cadera and I carve a path along Quesh.

We make a game of it. Quesh isn't really a fun planet. It's poisonous, foul and barren. The frequent pools of water splattered amongst dry hard dirt, bubbles and sizzles. Tress and anything green is rare. So of course the native wildlife have to be carnivorous.

Gotta find the fun where you can. Not that I have eye for fun. I just need to avert my mind from the pain. I don't know how it happened. The game, that is. We stood with ten dead. I claimed six, he claimed seven. That's when we started counting. After we finish with the Republic soldiers and wait for the Walker to come down, we add up our totals.

'Fifteen Republic, four bat-birds, and ten frog lizards.' I feel triumphant. Liquid is running quickly through me. Almost like a heart is beating fast. Not my best. I held back. Thought it was good enough to beat a Mando trained punk.

His mouth twitches. Sweat is dripping from under his helmet. He takes off his helmet and wipes his brow. Blonde hair plastered to his forehead. I almost choke. Something constricted and I couldn't breathe. Maybe my cybernetics are too tight...

'Who's keeping score?'

'I am.' I sound confident. A champion. But not a killer.

'Then you would know I killed seventeen Republic soldiers, two harvorisk and twelve lobels'. He gloats. His voice carries emotions in them when his face is stoic and serious. I feel his pride. His arrogance. And his teasing. I am impressed.

The Walker explodes in the background. I watch his face but avoid his eyes. I smile. I feel something close to glee. It is odd. I am excited. I stand quickly and run across the path. I jet pack onto one of the large droids, shooting the head I stand on. Torian arrives quickly after, jumping down to its legs. Stabbing and cutting. 'Try to keep up, Torian! You might learn something from the Grand Champion.'

He looks at me seriously, a curious expression on his face. The droid shoots. He only just manages to dodge. I laugh and continue to shoot. I jump off and launch a rocket in the air. When I land, I let go with my flame thrower. Torian does the same. We are in time. Killing is funner when you have someone to really share it with. The bond between us strengthens. I am almost happy. And that knowledge pulls at my chest.

Happiness isn't what I was born for.

EverSteam's Avatar


EverSteam
10.03.2012 , 02:49 AM | #30
We head to where the job is supposed to be.

Torian's mouth is in a constant state of twitching into a smile. Mine is a set frown. I feel flushed and I need to think. Something is changing in me. I'm hurting. The tranquilisers aren't working anymore. I need their serum. I try to think of the job ahead. I want to keep this short. Something doesn't feel right. This better be worth it.

We walk in the door under a hill. I glance back down at the barren, toxic wasteland. Nice view.

When we enter, the director greets us just inside the entrance. He seems off. His standard flattery is empty, too serious and calculating.

'Skip the pleasantries, director. I want to get down to business.'

We move to his office and he calls for drinks. Soldiers come out. And a Jedi Knight. 'Well, not entirely unexpected,' I mumble to Torian. He raises his hands and takes a step back. What a naive reaction to a gun in your face. Mine is different. I pull out my own.

'Knew I didn't like this,' is his only reply.

'Save it for Mako,' I retort.

A tiny holo figure of a Jedi appears on the desk and the director, the holo Master and the real life Knight carry on with explanations as if nothing was said. It has something to do with the Jedi I took out - my last target in the Great Hunt. I remember. I killed his Padawan as well. And this situation seems to basically end in death or arrest.

'Touch me, and you'll end up in a body bag.' My muscles flex. My plating shifts and my skin ripples. I want them all dead. I feel livid and powerful.

'We can take them.' Torian's confidence is reassuring. I was never in doubt.

The Jedi pulls out his lightsaber. Typical. Its heat burns my neck. 'Not so tough now, are we?' But the jedi lowers his lightsaber on orders. I smirk. Trained Kath hounds.

'Enjoying yourself aren't you? Not very Jedi like of you.' My leer widens at the flash of irritation I feel from him. They get so uptight if you mention anger to them. Jedi and Sith are both the same. Arrogant and flawed.

'Disarm them. They're a tricky bunch.' The holo Jedi Master gives his orders. I can tell the Jedi won't follow them.

'This thug isn't going anywhere.' Typical corruption.

'Yes, I am. Once you're all dead.' I enjoy the kills. It soothes me. The cold hatred is like a balm over my tearing body. We are efficient and merciless.

Only the tiny Jedi Master systems away is left alive. 'You've only made matters worse for yourself,' he says spitefully. I doubt it. Jedi are too weak for torture and they have already tried to kill me. A pathetic and pointless endeavour.

'Try anything like this again and I'll be paying you a visit.' It's a lie. I am already going to kill him. He doesn't have to do anymore.

'Justice will be done. I promise you.' I snort in derision and flick the call off. Justice is a pitiful ideal for the weak. There is no justice in this galaxy. You must make your own. Or have none at all.

'That will teach them to mess with Mandos.' A smile twitches my own lips at Torian's naive enthusiasm. I don't reply. My gloved hands remain on the desk. I lean on them. I need to steady myself. My body is suddenly weak. And he is close. Something is wrong.

His eyes are watching me. Considering and searching. His body sways on the spot. There is a wound on his shoulder. He almost takes a step forward but stops. One foot forward one foot back. My chest heaves. I remain impassive. My body is weak and in pain. But I go to him.

I pull out some med pacs and begin fixing his wound, gloves off. His body has no scars, except the clan scars that shape his cheeks. This wound will be no different. There will be no scar left behind. He continues to watch. Staring at my hand, at my eye. His gaze lingers on the thin metal rods that run under my skin, from my knuckles to up the darkness under my armoured arm. I don't want him to see me. I don't think he'd understand.

'Kellian Jarro. You took down the 'Mandolorian Killer'?' Spoken slowly.

'You seem surprised.' It hurt me. And just for a second, when my eye looked into his, I think it showed. Underestimated again. But it had never hurt this much. I gesture with my strong, smooth and pale chin to my hands. I was created and made to be the greatest weapon. I say it indifferently. But only in my mind. It is a fact. It is what I am. But I have never spoken the words. Suppose part of me thinks if I don't say it aloud, it's not really true. After all these years, somewhere and somehow, I cling to this belief.

I don't want him to know who I am. 'Didn't stand a chance.' It's all I can say.

I finish my job. I stand and walk away, leaving him to sit and stand alone. I know he is a gaping fish. His mouth opening and closing for air; trying to form words to project across the silence. The distance between us.

But an alarm sounds

They finally come. 'More trouble.'

'I thought the body count was low, anyway.' More killing. I immerse myself in it. I channel my frustration through my movements and kills. I try to kill the hurt in me. The anger. The disappointment. They run from down the stairs. I jump, twist and plunge amongst them. I set them all on fire. They are dead before Torian reaches us. I walk on the burning corpses.

We grab the stimulant and leave. We don't talk. We don't compare kills. As we break into the now night sky, Cadera only says 'I'll cover your rear.'

We head back the ship. We have seen enough of Quesh.