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Like Moths to the Flame

Vesaniae's Avatar

05.08.2013 , 08:58 PM | #1
Summary: A father and daughter attempt to make their way in the galaxy. Not so easy a task when the former is an Imperial Intelligence agent and the latter is a Sith.
Contains major spoilers for the SW and IA storylines, with SI and JK spoilers scheduled to show up later in small doses.

A lot of the first few pieces here will be crossposts from the Short Fic Weekly Challenge thread; those will be spoilertagged. I am going to attempt to post everything in chronological order, so there will be some new stuff thrown into the middle of the old content. Kindly bear with me. And now, our feature presentation...

Tessa and Iriath - Dromund Kaas

Tessa and Vette - Balmorra

Tessa - Starfrost
Serence Legacy Ebon Hawk
There's always lightning.

Vesaniae's Avatar

05.08.2013 , 09:02 PM | #2
Iriath and Keeper - Dromund Kaas

Iriath - Nar Shaddaa

Iriath - X-70B Phantom
Serence Legacy Ebon Hawk
There's always lightning.

Vesaniae's Avatar

05.08.2013 , 09:06 PM | #3
And now, we break up the crossposting with some new content.

Iriath - Quesh

Shadow Arsenal Facility, Quesh
11 ATC

They don't need you anymore, Watcher X whispered.

Iriath stared blankly at his holocom as Ardun Kothe continued to speak.

"Hold position," the Jedi said. "Keyword: onomatophobia. And thank you."

The transmission ended. Iriath slowly put the holocom away, his head starting to pound as Watcher X appeared in front of him.

"They're going to win," Watcher X said grimly. "Now we're out of time."

"I thought the serum was supposed to break my programming," Iriath snapped.

Lynore shimmered into existence beside the Watcher, dressed in Sith battle armor, her hair bound into a long braid that hung down her back. Even after fourteen years without her, he found himself smiling at her out of habit.

"The IX serum has been eating at you since you injected it," Watcher X said. "Carving neural pathways. Bleaching your brain." As always, he gave no indication that he was aware of Lynore's presence. Iriath wondered why, then asked himself, not for the first time, why he was so concerned about the social interactions between two people who were entirely imaginary.

"It's not finished," Lynore said, frowning concernedly, "but it will have to suffice. We're out of time, James. We must rewrite your programming now, or you will not be able to escape this place."

"New commands, new keyword, no outside control," said Watcher X. He raised an eyebrow. "Are you ready?"

Iriath hesitated. "If this goes wrong..."

"Then you'll likely end up in a permanent vegetative state," Watcher X said flatly. "But it's not like we have a choice."

Lynore glared at her fellow hallucination. "There is always a choice. And the risk is far greater if we do not proceed."

Watcher X ignored her. "Thesh protocol, phase one. New keyword: iconoclasm."

"Keyword accepted," Iriath's mouth said. "Thesh protocol engaged."

Watcher X nodded in satisfaction. "Now you have access. You can force your mind and body to obey a new program. Tell me what you want."

Iriath looked at Lynore. "Nothing will keep me from my vengeance. Not anymore."

She smiled happily, her brown eyes sparkling. "Embed assassination commands," she said in the same tone that she'd used to give orders to Imperial soldiers, long ago. "Keyword activate from user only. Accept no outside orders."

"Assassination commands embedded," Iriath responded coolly. "Accepting no further orders." Hearing her voice utter the words that could shape the workings of his mind made him feel sick, but he welcomed the pain and the disgust. It helped to remind him that it was not really her.

"Revert to phase zero," Watcher X said. He tilted his head to one side. "You're free, now. Time for me to go."

Before Iriath could respond, he vanished.

"It's time for me to say goodbye too," Lynore said quietly. "I've done my best to help you, my beloved. I hope it's been enough."

Iriath swallowed hard. "It's been— Lynore, I—" He broke off, unable to find words.

She strode up to him and kissed his cheek. "I will miss you. Take care of yourself, and Tessa. I have a feeling matters will only become more complicated from here on out." Her form flickered and started to turn translucent.

Iriath felt strangely numb. It's not really her, he reminded himself. He had already lost her, and he could never have her back. Never. This brief experience had stabbed at a mostly-healed wound, but he had already resigned himself to the fact that these visions of her were temporary.

"Goodbye," he said softly. It was not much of a farewell, but it was all that he could think of to offer.

Lynore smiled sadly. "Goodbye," she echoed, and slowly faded away.

"Agent?" Vector's voice asked as if from a long way off. "Are you all right?"

Iriath suddenly found himself leaning heavily against the shield control console, Vector standing a short distance away with a concerned expression on his face.

"I'm fine," Iriath said shortly. He allowed himself a moment to massage his temples, his eyes stinging.

"You disappeared on us," Vector observed.

"I'll explain later," Iriath said, turning away and heading for the door. "Just follow my lead."

Explanations could wait. For now, he had a Jedi to kill.

To be continued.
Serence Legacy Ebon Hawk
There's always lightning.

Adwynyth's Avatar

05.08.2013 , 10:20 PM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
Yes, he had an certain air of…something…noble tragedy? No, competence, that was it.
The tears of mirth, they flow.
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

irishfino's Avatar

05.09.2013 , 11:31 AM | #5
Yeeeeesss!!! I love that his dead wife appeared alongside Watcher X. There are feels, sad feels, angry feels, ugh feels.


[glutton for feel-punishment]
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!

Vesaniae's Avatar

05.09.2013 , 12:16 PM | #6
Glad you're enjoying!

Iriath - Quesh (2/3)

He found Kothe bent over a console in front of a doorway blocked off by a forcefield.

"Blasted machine," Kothe growled, prodding the console.

Iriath was tempted to shoot him in the back, but the urge quickly faded. After everything the man had done to him, a quick kill would be too easy. Too clean. He shifted almost unconsciously into parade rest, clasping his hands behind him. His gloves were sticky with Saber's blood, but he could still keep a firm grip on a blaster and a vibroknife. He would see this through.

Apparently, whatever Kothe had done to the console was effective, for a few moments later the forcefield disengaged.

Kothe turned. "Legate," he said, frowning. "I thought I felt you. You're supposed to be back at the shields—" He broke off, his eyes widening.

That's right, you blasted Jedi, Iriath thought smugly. I don't have to do a damn thing you say anymore.

"I see," Kothe said quietly. "You're free, aren't you?"

Iriath smiled pleasantly. "I believe we both knew this day would come. Time's up, Kothe."

Kothe shook his head and drew his lightsaber. "Is that what you think?"

Iriath shrugged, moving into a combat stance and readying his blaster. "For someone who isn't supposed to be a Jedi anymore, you have not tried particularly hard to hide it."

"Call it my secret pride," Kothe murmured, and charged.

Both the Imperial army and Intelligence gave its trainees courses meant to prepare them for fighting Force-users. However, in Iriath's experience, such programs did little to properly ready you for the experience of having an impossibly fast and agile being with a weapon that could cut through almost anything bearing down on you with all the force of a berserk rancor.

He held his ground as Kothe covered the distance to him with disturbing speed. Iriath slowed him slightly with a steady stream of blasterfire, all of which was deflected, but in a matter of moments he was far too close to that bright bar of plasma for his own comfort. Iriath lunged to one side as the blade intersected with the space where he had just been standing, continuing to fire. He didn't expect any of his shots to actually get through, but they didn't need to.

He was, after all, not alone.

Vector had expressed concern over Iriath's temperament and actions over the course of the SIS mission. While normally he would have quashed any questioning of his leadership, there was something oddly endearing about Vector's earnest desire to help. Maybe it was the pheromones. Whatever the reason, Iriath liked having him around, particularly in fights like this, where every move was crucial and he needed someone reliable to watch his back.

Kaliyo was too flighty, Lokin too sly, Temple too unfamiliar. Vector, though...Vector was trustworthy.

Kothe started to move towards Iriath's new position, his lightsaber weaving to block the blaster shots. Vector slipped up behind him, pulled out a sharp-looking object from some hidden pocket, and stabbed him neatly in the back.

Fool Jedi isn't wearing enough armor, Iriath noted as Kothe staggered, whirling around.

"We're sorry about that," Vector said contemplatively as he blocked Kothe's lightsaber on his staff. Not for the first time, Iriath wondered just what that thing was made of. "But not all battles can be won honorably."

Kothe struck again, slower than before, and Vector parried.

He poisoned him, Iriath realized. Why haven't I seen him do that before? He ran quickly towards the fight; although equipped with a lightsaber-resistant weapon, Vector was no warrior. He wouldn't last long by himself against even a weakened Jedi.

It would probably be acceptable to shoot Kothe in the back now. He'd said his piece, and the Jedi would know who ended him. He raised his blaster.

Kothe cursed under his breath and took one hand off his lightsaber to gesture in Vector's direction, sending him flying backward to crash into the nearest support pillar. Iriath's shot went wide as Kothe twisted back around towards him.

Instinct took over, and he reached into his jacket, pulling out the first grenade he got his hand on. He armed it and threw it without bothering to see what kind it was, then dropped to the ground in case it was the thermal detonator.

White light seared the edges of his vision. Flashbang. Great. He squeezed his eyes shut until the light receded, then scrambled to his feet, peering through mostly-closed eyelids. He still had his blaster in one hand; he'd had never drop your weapon drilled into his brain rather thoroughly back at the Academy.

Kothe had half-fallen to the ground, looking dazed. Iriath lunged forward and shot him.

He only managed to fire twice before the blaster's power pack ran out. Son of a—

Kothe tried to stand, then collapsed to his knees. "Huh," he gasped. "You fight good, Cipher. Looks like you still have...something I don't anymore." He looked up at Iriath, his eyes watery from the effects of the flashbang grenade. "The Shadow Arsenal was my chance to stop the war, and I failed. I don't expect mercy, given that and..."

Iriath took advantage of the brief speech to hastily reload his blaster. "You're going to die knowing that the Republic will fall," he said coldly. He leveled the blaster at Kothe's head. "My Lynore will rest easier this day."

Kothe's hands shot forward, and an invisible wave knocked Iriath off his feet. He rolled away as Kothe leaped, lightsaber back in his hand.

Iriath scrambled backwards as Kothe moved towards him, trying desperately to distract him with blasterfire long enough to allow him to stand. He fumbled in his jacket and found another grenade, then hurled it.

The grenade exploded in midair into a shower of flaming shrapnel, which would have been damn useful earlier. Kothe moved with Force-enhanced speed, dancing out of the way of the explosion, ducking down—

—and over the threshold of the chamber he had just opened.

Iriath shot the console. Sparks exploded from the ruined electronics, and the forcefield reactivated.

He slowly got to his feet and walked over to stand in front of the field, meeting his adversary's eyes. Kothe stared back as the turrets behind him hummed to life, their softly glowing targeting mechanisms seeking.


"There is no death," Kothe said softly. "There is only the Force."

"You can have your Force," Iriath whispered. "I'm perfectly happy to watch you die."

The turrets opened fire.
Serence Legacy Ebon Hawk
There's always lightning.

irishfino's Avatar

05.09.2013 , 12:34 PM | #7

[screams the girl who let Kothe live...]
I'll probably die if you group with me, but I'll go out with both lightsabers drawn stabbing someone in the face. Probably you, but it's cool. Forever Shenanigans!!

Syart's Avatar

05.09.2013 , 01:00 PM | #8
Quote: Originally Posted by Vesaniae View Post
Kaliyo was too flighty, Lokin too sly, Temple too unfamiliar. Vector, though...Vector was trustworthy.
Exactly what my first female agent felt. I went all the rest of the way through the IA story with Vector once I'd got him

Loving this <3
Control, passion, diligence: these three principles shape your world.

Lord Scourge: To repeat a mistake and expect a beneficial outcome is a sign of insanity.

Adwynyth's Avatar

05.09.2013 , 05:51 PM | #9
Quote: Originally Posted by Syart View Post
Exactly what my first female agent felt. I went all the rest of the way through the IA story with Vector once I'd got him

Loving this <3
Heh...and I just hit 50 with my sniper using Kaliyo the whole way (except for SCORPIO for a while for familiar spoilery reasons).
Horrendously bad fan fiction: Sith in a Pretty Dress

bright_ephemera's Avatar

05.10.2013 , 08:58 AM | #10
Lynore's appearances are wonderful.

And I will never not enjoy watching Ardun Kothe die.
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