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The Strange Case of Dr Quinn and Mr Pierce

STAR WARS: The Old Republic > English > Community Content > Fan Fiction
The Strange Case of Dr Quinn and Mr Pierce

Striges's Avatar

12.04.2013 , 11:55 PM | #1
With apologies to fans of Quinn and Pierce,
most of the rest of the Sith Warrior crew,
Varrel Umrahiel,
Robert Louis Stevenson,
and classic literature of all kinds.

Spoilers for Sith Warrior story, Quinn story, and naturally Jeckyll and Hyde. Reposted from my tumblr.

Kabe drew this lovely picture:

recently that invaded my brain and spawned this other thing:

The Strange Case of Dr Quinn and Mr Pierce

They heard two men’s voices through the door's solid material. Two distinct men, voices raised in a heated, if unclear, argument. "That is not Dr. Quinn," Lord Umrahiel said, "Miss Vette, I want this door open immediately," he ordered.

Vette examined the codepad, then turned back to Lord Umrahiel, "My Lord, I talked to his butler. Aaaand the charwoman, the cook, the groom, and the neighbors,” she said, ticking them off on her fingers, “When Doctor Quinn locks himself in here, he doesn’t want to be disturbed, At all. Like ever. Not even for meals. He gets cross.”

"Miss Vette, it was his butler who holoed me. This has been going on for days now," Lord Umrahiel said, "I’ll have it open and I don’t much care how cross he is."

Vette put her hands on her hips, “It's classic noble sacrifice. You know, when the hero tells his friends ‘whatever happens, whatever you hear, don’t open this door. Do not come in after me under any circumstances--”

A massive crash sounded from behind the locked door. All overturning furniture and breaking glassware. A triumphant shout followed, then the howl of rending window frames and panes shattering on the street below.

“Slice it,” Lord Umrahiel reiterated.

“Right,” she agreed, turning back to the codepad. In moments she cracked the passcode and the door slid open. The room beyond was in shambles. It was also unoccupied.

Lord Umrahiel rushed to the damaged window and peered out. He saw a vague shadow slip into the deeper darkness at the far side of the courtyard. Impossible to tell what it was. He slammed a fist on the sill, “Gone,” he said, vehemence making a curse of the common word.

Vette’s shoes crunched on the carpet. She picked up a fragment of damaged apparatus, “What do you think he was doing in here?” she asked, “I don’t remember him being all that interested in chemistry.” She rubbed her thumb at a silty residue on the shard before dropping it down the incinerator chute.

Lord Umrahiel turned back to the room, “I’m sure I don't know. Nor do I know why he would run. This is his house.” He surveyed the damage, “I think the more immediate question is who was here with him. I can’t imagine they both jumped out the window. Surely only his guest, if uninvited, or an intruder would have reason to leave in so unceremonious a fashion.”

“I guess,” Vette agreed. She scooted more glass around on the carpet with her toe while her keen eyes surveyed the table, “I bet he left a note. Dr. Quinn had a contingency plan for everything.”

“Agreed,” Lord Umrahiel said.

Just then the butler, Mr. Poole, appeared in the doorway. He went pale at the state of the laboratory and his master’s absence, “My-my Lord. I took the liberty of contacting Dr. Quinn’s solicitor after I spoke with you on the holo. He’s just now arrived.”

“Send him up,” Lord Umrahiel said.

“Yes, my Lord,” Poole said with a bow.

A few minutes later an enormous man ascended to the ruins of the laboratory. A heavy fur coat covered him from head to toe, crowned with a matching fur hat. The mass bowed slightly, “Apologies, my Lord,” came the man’s nasal voice, “I would have arrived sooner, but my repulsor-carriage very nearly ran over a man not a block away from the house. He fled the scene, so I can only assume he was not injured. My driver was most put out.”

Lord Umrahiel nodded, “Dr Quinn’s solicitor, I presume?”

“Yes, my Lord. Talz Broonmark, at your service.”

Lord Umrahiel peered around his bulk, but there was no sign of Poole. “The staff are obviously stressed, what with the unusual situation. Miss Vette, take the man’s coat.”

Vette stepped forward, dwarfed by the solicitor’s hulking frame. Mr Broonmark refused, “No thank, you, my Lord. Poole already offered. I’ve a dreadful cold, and I’d just as soon keep it,” Mr Broonmark said, putting out a gloved hand, “It is an honor to meet you, Lord Umrahiel. Dr Quinn spoke highly of you. He was very proud to have been in your service, sir.”

“I’m glad to hear it,” Lord Umrahiel said, shaking Mr Broonmark’s massive paw, “I trust you can shed some light on the situation?”

“Possibly. About a year ago, Dr Quinn approached me about making changes to his will,” Mr Broonmark said, “Rather odd changes, if you ask me. He left the entirety of his estate to a ‘Mr Pierce’. Now, like yourself, I’d heard rumors of the most sinister kind regarding a Mr Pierce, and I suspected he might be blackmailing the good Doctor. I advised him against it. But Dr Quinn insisted. Furthermore, he insisted that if this Mr Pierce should appear and request monies from Quinn’s accounts, I should give him what he asked without question.”

Lord Umrahiel glowered, “And you said nothing?”

Mr Broonmark removed a holoprojector from the pocket of his voluminous coat and set it on the side-table, “Begging your pardon, sir, but to do so would be to break client confidentiality.”

“Yet you have no such qualms now,” Lord Umrahiel countered.

Mr Broonmark straightened, his hat nearly brushing the ceiling, “On the contrary. Dr Quinn’s instructions on the matter were quite clear. The last being that should he die or disappear under unusual circumstances, I was to contact you immediately and present you with this holorecording. Not a moment before. Dr Quinn was quite adamant.”

Lord Umrahiel stroked his beard, “I see. Rather convenient.”

“Not at all,” Mr Broonmark said, “Rather inconvenient, in fact. I dislike mysteries, and to be forced into keeping some secret, a secret from myself as well, I might add, is most annoying. I find the whole matter distasteful in the extreme. Regardless, I think this evening’s activities meet his qualifications.” He rotated the projector’s base so the activator faced Lord Umrahiel, “The choice is yours, my Lord. Dr Quinn obviously wanted you to see this recording. With your permission, I’d like to see what it is I’ve been protecting.”

“Very well,” Lord Umrahiel said.

The three gathered around the small table as he pressed the activation button. A typical blue hologram of Dr Quinn resolved above the emitter. The image bowed toward Lord Umrahiel and spoke, “If this record is activated, I presume the worst has happened. I, Doctor Malavai Quinn, am either dead or missing under unusual circumstances. I can only hope that Mr Broonmark followed my instructions and that I am at this time addressing Lord Umrahiel.”

Doctor Quinn’s hologram relaxed into his familiar parade rest stance, “My Lord, I must at this final extremity confess a grave transgression. I have, for many years, been fascinated with the the dual nature of humankind, and how it relates to the Force and the Sith. My Lord, with respect, you as Sith exemplify this duality. The Light Side of the Force guiding your loyalties and relationships, with the darker side governing your ambitions. Sith, of course, learn to exist with this duality. To exploit it. Live fully with both halves of your nature intact. The greatness of the Empire is predicated on the strength the Dark Side imparts. But those of us not blessed with the ability to feel the Force must suppress the darker, more base instincts that are as much a part of our natures as they are yours. It seemed to me that there must be a better way. A way to allow the less gifted members of our society to benefit from the power the Dark Side grants. Do not mistake this desire for heresy, my Lord. I would not see the Force-blind replace the Sith among the powerful in our government, or, Force forbid, the Emperor himself. I sought instead a method by which the populace, and thus the Empire as a whole might benefit from the Force without impinging on the power of the Sith.

“I recognized the impulses in myself from an early age. The desire for acceptance, for recognition of my skills and talents, the wish to be seen as a loyal citizen, a dutiful officer, willing to obey the rightful leaders of our great Empire. All these are what I thought of as positive. As light, if you will forgive the term. At the same time, I recognized darker passions. A sense of selfishness, advancing my career at the expense of others. That perhaps I did not always put the glorious Empire first. That I might, given the opportunity, chose personal gain over true patriotism. I perceived the same faults in others, less perfectly controlled, and therefore a liability rather than an asset.

“The disastrous results of the Battle of Druckenwell confirmed my theories. I made a decision, one I still cannot regret, to give in to those desires, to disobey an order and take charge of the situation. I was right. The results of the battle bore me out. Yet I was the one sidelined to a useless position on Balmorra, while the incompetent Broysc continued to advance. It was wrong, it was unjust, and counterproductive to the war effort. It was imperative the military discover a method to harness the aggressive, advantageous nature of the Dark side while recognizing and regulating the more selfish, destructive aspects. Clearly, the Empire needed my research. I understood the questionable nature of my venture. Despite my good intentions, I had no doubt I would suffer greatly if my enterprise were discovered.

“Modern medical experimentation fails completely in this arena. We deal with psychoactive compounds and disorders of the mind and psyche, but nothing approaching what I envisioned. I looked to the Sith for inspiration. Most specifically, Sith Alchemy. The Sith delved into this very issue for millennia. No other body of knowledge comes close in terms of breadth or depth. It was a difficult study, but I made steady progress.

“Unfortunately, isolated on a backwater and embargoed world, I could do little beyond basic investigation and theoretical extrapolation. I could hardly ignore the seemingly chance encounter that allowed me to examine the relationship, the interplay between light and dark as exemplified in the Sith, more closely. When Darth Baras allowed me to serve alongside you, it was an ideal opportunity.

“By the time we reached Nar Shaddaa I had a suite of formulae I thought would produce the desired effect, differing primarily in proportions of ingredients. I took advantage of circumstance and laid in a supply of the necessary chemicals.”

For the first time, Doctor Quinn’s reference-guide posture slipped. His shoulders drooped a bit, his hands escaped their refuge at his back and hung limp at his sides. He took a deep breath and continued, “I did not abuse your trust, my Lord. At least, not on that point. There was no way to trace the purchases back to either of us. I took every precaution. And, for a similar reason you must understand why I am so vague about the specific chemicals involved and their proportions.

“Under other circumstances I would be most proud to deliver my successful research to you. Alas, I have discovered in the course of my investigations two fundamental truths. The first is that my premise was flawed. The common man simply does not possess the ability to manage the Force and its impulses even in such a small and minimal way as I proposed. Any attempt to steal this boon from its rightful owners--even so modest an attempt as mine--leaves the individual in a worse state than from whence he began. Second, as my narrative will make clear, my discovery was incomplete and proved impossible to replicate. In light of these facts, I condemn my dubious breakthrough to permanent deletion, and pray you should make no attempt to reconstruct or rediscover it.

“It pains me to make these admissions. Efficiency, loyalty and indeed success are the hallmarks of my career. The pillars upon which I built my life. Please regard this shameful account as both cautionary tale and apology.”

At this, Quinn seemed to recover a bit. As though having decided on his course, he was determined to see it through. “After you acquired your apprentice, I found myself with more time to myself as well as less oversight. I refined my formula through experimentation and modelling, culminating in a recipe I believed would effect the desired change. All that remained was the final, ultimate test. Your mission took us to Taris, and I resolved to make my attempt there. If the worst should happen, you and the local authorities would attribute my failing to the toxic environment. While Vette explored the ruins and you tended to your apprentice’s education and Darth Baras’ mission, I prepared the tincture in the privacy of the empty ship. With the addition of the last salt, I observed the boiling and smoking of the mixture and dutifully recorded the reactions and color changes, until at last the reaction subsided and the liquid rested quiet in its glass. I loaded the fluid--corrected for tonicity and still warm from the heat of reaction--into a pair of standard stim injectors. Then, with a burst of courage (and before I could think better of it) I chose one, held the needle to my arm and pressed the activation stem.

“At first I thought the potion had no effect. I felt the warmth of it beneath the injection site, but nothing else. But within half a minute I there was a constriction about my heart as though it were clutched in an invisible hand of terrible power. Then nausea. A terrible racking of bones and pain. I felt pulled apart and remoulded. As the pains subsided and I came back to myself I became aware of a strange sensation, indescribably new and incredibly sweet. It was a lightness of spirit and a sense of freedom such as I had never experienced before, and at the same time a feeling of recklessness. That I could take on anything at all and succeed. From within I realized this was not the innocent recklessness of a child or youth. Quite the contrary. I recognized a cunning wickedness and utter disregard for the conventions of society. It was intoxicating. As I stretched out my hands, exulting in the unexpected phenomenon, I saw they were no longer my own.

“Horrified, I seized the first reflective surface and gazed upon an unfamiliar visage. This was not my face. Not my shoulders or my arm or indeed any part of me was recognizable as Doctor Quinn. The man staring back at me was lower-class, a common laborer or enlisted soldier, uneducated, unrefined. I staggered back with a cry and even my voice was rimward and provincial. In one wonderful, terrible moment, I did not care. Therein lay the seeds of my doom.

“I was free of all obligation and care. Without either, I was likewise free of restraint.

“Such concerns meant nothing to me at the time. My clothing no longer fit my new body properly, and neither would yours, my Lord. You see how quickly I tossed aside conventions! I was on an Imperial military outpost. Soldiers come in all sizes. I could take what I needed and blend in. No one would notice. I left the safety of the ship and under the cover of darkness, made my way to the barracks laundry. I quickly found what I required and dressed, but as I was leaving the incoming detail discovered me.

“The lowly private--in charge only by virtue of being tapped by his sergeant--challenged me. I should have been frightened, or at least remorseful for the theft. Instead, I saw at a glance that I outranked him in my stolen clothing. I instead berated the man for bothering me and assigned him some ridiculous punishment. To my shame, I cannot remember what it was. He and the rest of the detail fell over themselves escaping my wrath.

"I laughed. In that exhilarating moment, Mr Pierce was born.

"I took the name from the man whose clothes I wore, stealing it along with his uniform. I later discovered he and his unit perished on Taris during an assault on a Republic stronghold. Fortunate, for me. Especially in the future, when a small adulteration of records allowed me to requisition items on his behalf. But I did not know it at the time and I was concerned above all else with maintaining secrecy. Furthermore, I had no idea how long the serum would remain effective. How long I would persist in my changed state. I longed to relish new sensations, but there remained one final step in the experiment. I returned to the ship, encountering no other patrols or resistance. Leaving Taris’ poisoned gloom outside the airlock, I made my way back to the medical bay and used the reserved stim.

“I experienced the same effects. The same pain, same nausea, the same horror of remaking. When it subsided I checked my reflection. I was myself again, draped in the ill-fitting clothes of another man. I checked the chrono. Barely an hour had passed. And as I felt relief at knowing I had control of my transformation, I knew I could not long resist the temptation to repeat it.

“In point of fact, even then I realized the experiment was only a partial success. I hoped to give the more moral aspects of my nature better awareness and control of the darker aspects. Instead, I bifurcated my character entirely, giving rise to a second identity with none of my constraints and all of my faults. But, since he did not share my face, I thought perhaps this was all the better. I could exercise those dark desires that always troubled me without worry they would stain my own name. In doing so, the pressure and frustration that so disturbed my proper self would decline. After all, could I not always draw upon those impulses at will as I had before? The serum did not remove those desires, only sequestered them. With regular exercise, they ought to trot out on demand and then go back quietly to the stall.

“You will no doubt remember, my Lord, the soldier who aided you on Quesh? Mr Pierce, though you never saw my face behind my filter mask. On Hoth? Mr Pierce, similarly hidden inside cold-weather gear. Belsavis? Who was it who threw open as many cell doors as he could, far beyond what the Empire required? Who was it that revelled in the chaos and destruction he caused? Mr Pierce. I remember you made comment then that it was as though I followed you from world to world. You never knew how right you were.

“Oh, Belsavis! If only I saw the anarchy on that prison world for the warning it was! The more freedom I allowed myself, the less willing I was to return to my proper duties. Mr Pierce grew stronger. Dr Quinn shrank in comparison. There was only one person, divided. A gain for one must entail a loss for the other. Yet I still believed it was Dr Quinn who held the upper hand. The transformation was under my control. Myself as Mr Pierce seemed unaware--or more accurately, uninterested--in the details of preparing the chemicals. However, I discovered my body becoming habituated to the concoction, as often happens with drugs taken for a chronic condition. On occasion I found it necessary to double or even treble the dose in order to effect my metamorphosis from Mr Pierce. So certain was I in my control that I merely noted the increases in my research and made appropriate adjustments to the stims.

“I did not realize how far I had fallen until that fateful day Darth Baras called upon me to take his side and betray you. I should have refused. I knew it then. Yet, facing him, I could not find the courage to disobey his order. There was only duty, and duty required obedience to the Dark Council and Darth Baras as their representative. Perhaps, my Lord, had you been there when I received the transmission, I could have found my strength and chosen the better servant of the Emperor.”

Quinn’s shoulders slumped further, “Even that puts the blame for my actions else elsewhere. The Wrath of the Emperor was outside the recognized chain of command and Dr Quinn no longer had the fortitude to defy the rules. I ceded that ability to Mr Pierce and congratulated myself for being so clever. I considered confronting you as Mr Pierce and trusting his ferocity would win the day. As the thought occurred, I knew it would never work. Mr Pierce’s animal cunning perceived your superiority. He would have fled the battle, and rightly so. At long last, I knew my beautiful experiment to be a colossal failure. A failure on all fronts. My concoction in no way improved either aspect of my character. Instead, it induced both to extremes and I was overall the lesser for it.

“I admit, there was no small part of me that wished you put an end to me that fateful day. Yet you did not. I had to live with and somehow come to terms with the damage I had done. I resolved to never again use my solution to become Mr Pierce. I trusted that without regular separation I would, in time, reintegrate both parts of my divided consciousness. Like an addict cut off from his spice, I expected a period of unpleasant withdrawal. Desire for the drug. Perhaps some physical symptoms. Eventually the pangs would cease and I would emerge whole.

"I managed the cravings, albeit with difficulty. You recall my extended convalescence after the...incident. Recovering from my injuries was the smallest part. The remainder was controlling my desire to disappear in the person of Mr Pierce. But control it I did. I emerged from my sickbed recovered fully in both body and mind. Or so I believed.

“I was utterly, utterly wrong.

“For some time I was successful. You overthrew Darth Baras and in the resulting calm I established my practice here in Kaas City. As time passed with no relapse I grew complacent. Sure I had banished Mr Pierce to my nightmares. I recall with immense horror the morning when I woke with a start from a dream I could not quite remember. Rain pattered as usual on my bedroom window. I glanced at the chrono and saw I was before my time. When I stretched out to begin the day I saw not my own slender and refined arm, but the abhorrent, corded, hirsute one of Mr Pierce.

“I bounded from the bed and confirmed the change in my chamber mirror. Somehow, I had become Mr Pierce without the benefit of my formula. I did not dwell on the means of the transformation. My thoughts ran to how to rid myself of his form. I still had stims of unadministered solution in the bottom of my instrument-bag. But my bag was in my office, a story above and requiring passage through populated sections of my dwelling. I could never manage it unobserved.

“Though I wore Mr Pierce’s face, I could still send messages to my servants they would recognize as being from me, Doctor Quinn. I therefore requested my butler, Mr Poole, bring the required kit to me in my chamber and leave it by the door. Fortunately, Mr Poole is an admirable servant. He did as I asked without comment or question. I heard his step retreating down the hallway, and once he was gone I retrieved my equipment and injected the dose. It took not one, but two syringes to bring me back to myself. I shivered with the agony of transformation and contemplated my fate.

“I remained as deeply divided as before. Only now, our positions were reversed. Before the lapse, my serum summoned or dispelled Mr Pierce at my whim. Now, Mr Pierce was dominant, displacing me whenever my vigilance slipped. The serum was the only thing keeping him at bay.

“I will not bore you with further descriptions of my failing. Suffice it to say that I did my best to curb the worst of Mr Pierce’s abuses, but it was never enough. I was forced to make provision for these unwanted changes, to prepare for the unexpected interruptions of my regular life. I established a set of apartments, some small allowance, and as you already know, provided for the inevitability of my final defeat.

“Inevitable, yes. You may recall it was long ago I laid in a supply of chemicals. A salt, the key ingredient, was required in such small measure I had never before needed to replenish my supply. But now, between the more frequent doses and the larger amounts at each dose I depleted my cache at an alarming rate. I ordered more, but when preparing my potion using the new source I noticed the reaction differed from what I had come to expect. When administered, it failed to provoke the desired metamorphosis. Again and again I prepared the solution, measuring the proportions and controlling temperatures to minute exactness. Again and again it proved impotent. I scoured Dromund Kaas for the chemical, even risking a trip to Nar Shaddaa to trade with the same dealer, all to no avail.

“I came to the unenviable conclusion that the deficit lay not with the new salts but with the old. Some fractional contaminant or impurity existed in my original source and it was that which catalysed the reaction, not the salt itself. With the initial supply already processed into stims and none but the new remaining, I had no hope of discovering what vital substance was missing. Once I exhausted that supply, the next transformation would be my last.

“I entrust this testimony to my solicitor, Mr Broonmark. If you are viewing it, my Lord, I can only assume that final transformation is upon me. Dr Quinn is dead. I hope the vile Mr Pierce will have the decency to finish his half of the job.” With that macabre statement Dr Quinn’s shimmering figure disappeared into the holoviewer and the recording ended.
It was Lord Umrahiel who broke the silence, “By the Force,” he said, “I had no idea.”

“I take back all the nasty things I said about him,” Vette said.

“That’s good of you,” Lord Umrahiel replied.

“...because he’s way creepier than I imagined...” Vette muttered under her breath. She looked about again at the ruins of the apparatus on the table. Her eyes settled on a datacard covered with powdered glass and chemical residue.

Lord Umrahiel stared up at the immense, fur-swathed form of Mr Broonmark, “It seems Dr Quinn’s alter ego chose to escape rather than stand judgement.”

Mr Broonmark’s hat nodded in agreement, “It appears so, my Lord. My condolences at the loss of your colleague, especially under such odd and unusual circumstances. Shall I summon the authorities?”

“To track down Mr Pierce?” Lord Umrahiel asked.

“Of course.”

Lord Umrahiel closed with Mr Broonmark, “No,” he said, pacing around the solicitor’s towering form, “I don’t think that will be necessary.”

“I see. I presume you intend to pursue him yourself, then,” Mr Broonmark said, following Lord Umrahiel’s movement with the angle of his hat indicating his point of attention.

“No need,” Lord Umrahiel said. With that he snatched the hat from Mr Broonmark’s head, revealing the solicitor’s pinched features and red-rimmed eyes. Grey hair stuck up every which way in a scruffy halo around the man’s narrow head. It was very clearly not Mr Pierce.

The solicitor sniffled once and wiped his nose with his handkerchief, “If the hat pleases you, my Lord, by all means take it. But I expect the fit is poor. Shall I set you up with my haberdasher?” he asked.

Lord Umrahiel returned the offending headgear, “No. Apologies. Given Dr Quinn’s description of Mr Pierce’s cunning and your own explaination of your delay, I jumped to an erroneous conclusion.”

Mr Broonmark replaced his hat, “Understandable, my Lord. With Dr Quinn’s recorded testimony, his will cannot stand a court challenge. Besides, Mr Pierce would have to present himself in order to make a claim against it. You have him either way. Dr Quinn outsmarted him after all.”

Vette fished the datacard out of the mess and blew off the worst of the debris, “What’s on this?” she asked.

She set the card on Lord Umrahiel’s outstretched palm. He examined it, “Not Dr Quinn’s research, surely. He would have disposed of it before his final transformation. Perhaps a final message?” he said, handing it back.

“May I?” Vette asked, gesturing toward the viewer.

“By all means,” Lord Umrahiel said.

Vette ejected the original datacard and replaced it with the new, handing the one with Dr Quinn’s testimonial back to Lord Umrahiel. The holoviewer whirred with activity and a new image resolved above the emitter. It was a man both familiar and unfamiliar. Broad of shoulder, large of frame, with beetling brows, a full beard and thick head of hair. His meaty hands busied themselves with a wicked-looking vibroknife, though the lack of sound suggested it was not activated.

Lord Umrahiel recognized who it must be, “The infamous Mr Pierce,” he said with a snort.

“Hope this is Lord Umrahiel. If it innit, you’ll shut this recorder down and get it to his hands if you know what’s good for you,” the figure began, addressing his unseen audience. His voice and accent could not have been more different from Dr Quinn’s. He menaced the camera, poking the air with the vibroknife. Then he flipped the knife with a flourish and it disappeared from frame, “Probably ought to introduce myself. Mr Pierce.” He bowed and continued after a pause, “Bet you figured that out already. My other half burned his research and made a hash of his equipment. Guessing he left some whiny message for you. Like to do things more direct, meself. Way I figure it, though, he’s already done a number on my character. Seen enough of you in action to know I’m better off doing this remote-like. Trust your conclusions.” He retrieved a small holdout blaster, the kind a gentleman might carry for protection in a bad part of town, “I see he left me this little peashooter. Guess he wanted me to shoot myself, since he couldn’t manage it. Not much gas in it. Didn’t trust me with a real gun,” he shoved the blaster in his waistband, “Add it to the collection, I suppose.”

Mr Pierce rolled his shoulders, “Quinn didn’t think much of me. Funny. Seems he forgot one important thing,” with this he leaned in toward the holocamera’s aperture, cowing the room with his miniature recorded image, “He and I, we’re the same. Same person. Same mind. Weren’t nothing I did that Quinn didn’t want, ‘cept he didn’t have the guts to do it. So whatever he accused me of, however much he disavowed me, remember that. Dr Protocol were the one responsible. Me? I just took advantage of the situation.”

He straightened, “You want to come after me, fine. Don’t care much either way. I’m free of Quinn and that’s enough. Got no quarrel with you, m’Lord. Best times I ever had, truth be told. You want, we could come to an arrangement. I’ve an apartment near the alien quarter. Not classy, but then Quinn arranged it. Blame his taste, not mine.”

There was a thumping in the background of the recording and muffled voices. Mr Pierce glanced off camera. “Got to run. Don’t expect to be at that address much longer, so if you’re interested don’t waste time. Quinn’s got it down somewhere. Ta.” Mr Pierce gave a cockeyed salute and the recording ended.

“My Lord?” Mr Broonmark ventured, “You’re not considering his offer, are you?”

Lord Umrahiel looked at the black night beyond Dr Quinn’s shattered window. Dromund Kaas’ constant rain dripped from the eaves and the lights of distant speeders flickered like multicolored night insects. “Perhaps,” he said.

kabeone's Avatar

12.05.2013 , 12:03 AM | #2
Awesome story, Striges! If you want to add my picture to it you can. I really loved this.

Edit to add: I think I like this so much because I've always felt Quinn and Pierce were just different implementations of the same archetype. Soldiers, devoted to the Empire, completely different ways of going about it and that's why they get on each other's nerves so much. I could rave all day about this. Thanks for writing it!

Xakthul's Avatar

12.05.2013 , 04:51 AM | #3
Nicely done. Your intro made me laugh my *** off.
Duelist Mixalot, Grand Champ Tellsa, Lord Saml, Apprentice Syynx, Captain Cirris, Skirmisher Janewei, Jedi Knight Jugger'not, Agent Ez'zio of <Wookies and Cream>, Harbinger
"Aim for the trolls! Kill the trolls!"- Gandalf

Striges's Avatar

12.05.2013 , 09:27 AM | #4
Quote: Originally Posted by kabeone View Post
Awesome story, Striges! If you want to add my picture to it you can. I really loved this.

Edit to add: I think I like this so much because I've always felt Quinn and Pierce were just different implementations of the same archetype. Soldiers, devoted to the Empire, completely different ways of going about it and that's why they get on each other's nerves so much. I could rave all day about this. Thanks for writing it!
Thanks so much for drawing it!

I'll add the picture to the intro; I really like it.

I thnk you're spot-on about Quinn and Pierce. I also think that they each see the other as representing the worst things about the Imperial military. Quinn hates Pierce's anarchistic bent (even when he gets the job done) and Pierce hates the Rules Lawyer (even when he's right).

alaurin's Avatar

12.05.2013 , 12:13 PM | #5
I read this on your Tumblr yesterday and I loved it! A very thoughtful, fun piece to read and you did a great job with the characters. I can easily see Quinn and Pierce being two versions of the same person, and now you have me wanting to go back and read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde's been a really long time. I wonder if it's available for the Nook....

Anyways, a wonderful piece......thanks for sharing it!

Striges's Avatar

12.05.2013 , 09:01 PM | #6
Quote: Originally Posted by alaurin View Post
you have me wanting to go back and read Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde's been a really long time. I wonder if it's available for the Nook....
I'm not sure about the Nook, but I have a copy on my phone through the Kindle or as ePub, I forget which. If you don't mind reading it through a browser (and for free--it's old enough to be public domain) here's a version. The print is small, though, and with the narrow margins it isn't an easy to read copy.

I'm glad to hear you liked it. Now I want to read The Picture of Dorian Gray again.

Syart's Avatar

12.07.2013 , 06:04 AM | #7
Brilliant *rolls on floor laughing*
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.

bright_ephemera's Avatar

12.07.2013 , 05:37 PM | #8
Love the premise, love the style, love the Broonmark. Nicely done!
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---(Ceterum autem censeo, Malavai esse delendam.)--- DELETA MALAVAI EST

Striges's Avatar

12.07.2013 , 11:57 PM | #9
Glad you liked it! Also glad for the vote of confidence on the humor and Broonmark-as-Utteron, both of which I seriously considered cutting or reworking.

Thanks again.