Now for something completely different...
And hour after dawn the next day....
When I arrive, she is speaking with Gormak's.
The General turns to face me. She is as wrinkled and saggy as when we last met. Roughing it does not agree with her and neither does armour and a blaster.
'I expected we'd cross paths again, but not here,' is her overly familiar greeting.
'Here is as good as anywhere.' I lean against the wall near the entrance of this... tomb? I glance around with an air of carelessness as I make note of the exits; there's only one and Torian stands guarding it. The room is a little long with a large statue in the middle. The General and her seven Gormaks stand around it with only ten metres separating us.
I move my finger along the wall next to me and take note of the dust and cobwebs that cling to it. 'Certainly is dirty enough for the likes of you to die in,' I conversationally comment as I wipe the finger on my armour in disgust. The General looks at me with the same intense repulsion and hatred I gave the filth. I only continue to pretend to be oblivious to it as I appraise her companions. 'You're keeping interesting company these days, General.'
'It's not hard to find people who share my desire for peace and prosperity. A Mandalorian wouldn't understand.' The venom in her voice lacks any bite.
A rather true assessment but it makes Torian scowl. He is irritated; I feel it radiating from him as he stands, blocking the doorway. I like him angry. I want him. I mentally shake my head. Not the time for thinking like that.
I keep my position leaning against the wall and cross my arms, raising an eyebrow. 'I never thought I would meet a Republic General with a desire for peace. I still don't.' I'm a wompa playing with a tauntaun and despite her spiteful bravado she knows it.
'What do you know of Republic Generals?' She tries to sound derisive but it fails against my quiet, unaware confidence.
'More than you know.' She scoffs and I raise an eye brow, pushing myself off the wall. 'Do you want to see?' I take a step closer. 'Do you want to see what one of your heroic and peace loving General's did to me?' She narrows her eyes and looks at me suspiciously. I only take another step closer. 'Do you want to see the results of almost a year's work?' Torian stiffens behind me but I know he keeps his eyes on the Gormaks.
'This is what I know of Republic Generals.' I raise an arm, wrist level with my eyes and curl my fingers backward. As I slowly extend the knife out of my wrist, I keep my eyes focused on her. I let the turret rise from shoulder and see her step back in shock and fear. And it may be a fancy, but I think I also see recognition.
'Do you need to see more? I've got another one.' I reach my other hand out to her and the other knife slowly extends as I fold my fingers backward. 'Do you want to see more surprises? Though I must say, always of thought this little guy as the best.' I twist and arm to stroke my turret with my curled fingers. 'He's kind of like those toys for children where after turning a handle, the lid opens and terrifying doll jumps out.' Her jaw tightens but she doesn't say anything. So I continue. I wonder if before the end, I can make her **** her pants like my General did.
'Or do you want an exhibition? They are always a favourite with people.' She doesn't make any response and I leer at her. 'An exhibition it is.' I shoot the closest Gormak in the legs, and spring in one jump to stand in front of it, slashing open its large throat as I land. I step back and let it fall to the ground, my eyes never leaving the Generals.
She seems to regain her senses and shakes in anger. 'I'm finally about to get these people on speaking terms and you just threw it away on a whim. For what, money? Tell me your not that petty.' Pleading doesn't become her. Not sure anything could.
I shrug my shoulders and I'm aware of Torian approaching to stand behind me. 'Call it what you want, General. Money. Revenge. Justice. Words of the soon to be dead don't matter. And no matter what the motivation, the outcome here will be the same.' I don't need to pull out my gun. I only extend my arms wide and sneer.
The Gormaks attack with her. It is a swift victory for us.
'Wait. Cease fire. This is a losing battle,' she calls to the remaining Gormaks.
Torian still stands ready. They are not dead yet. 'Finally realised resistance is pointless? Drop your weapons and feel my mercy.'
The Gormak hate the idea. Very Mandalorian. But the General convinces them to surrender their weapons. She speaks of peace, of leaving the planet be. The destruction and havoc caused before being repeated if I don't let them all leave. I don't care and I only yawn. I just want her and them to die. This world might as well burn. It's been burning before the galaxies war came here. And it will be burning when they leave.
She wants me to spare the Gormak, but arrest her.
'Your call. She's going nowhere. Promise,' Torian steadily says. I would trust Torian with anything. I know he is more than capable of guarding an old woman. But it isn't what I want.
'I promised them mercy, Torian. You don't want me to break my word and honour, do you?' I look back at him and he nods with slight displeasure on his face. Know he wants this General to die. I turn my gaze back to the General. The General looks hopeful for a second and I slowly sneer at her. And as it spreads across my face, I get to watch the small hope die. 'Kill them all. That's my mercy to the galaxy.'
'Blood thirsty fool,' she spits.
'I'm not the one about to die,' I respond.
Torian shrugs as he approaches her. 'Least you die fighting.'
'More than she deserves.' He nods decisively in agreement and takes out the Gormaks. I stand and watch with the kneeling General at my side.
'Nice form,' I comment to her conversationally. She looks at me with revulsion and begins to cough blood. Think she has a broken rib and punctured lung. Interesting that she managed a long speech before beginning to die.
Torian kills the last of the Gormaks and I notice his perfect balance. 'Wonderful isn't he?' I say again to the General. Torian walks over to me and I smile up at him. 'My Mandalorian.' I kiss him quickly on the lips and turn back to the General.
'Tell me, General, have you ever been in love?' I squat don in front of her and amongst the abhorrence in her cruel, grey eyes is pain. She doesn't reply and only stares at me. I punch her chest and there's a sharp crack. 'Answer me, General. We came all this way across Voss just to talk to you, after all.' She tries to retort but I slap her into silence. 'You couldn't have always been such an old, pathetic hag. Who knows? Even you might have been beautiful once.'
'None are as pathetic as you,' she whispers between ragged breaths.
'Now General, that's not very nice.' I lean in closer and whisper to her ear; 'if you aren't nice to us, then we will not be nice to you.'
I lean back again and smile friendlily. 'You know, I used to be beautiful once. Just like a doll for rich girls. And do you know what happened? I was taken by one of your honourable and compassionate General's. And they did all this to me. Must say, it has come in handy. But it's price is large and heavy.'
I shake my head and evaluate her again. I'm amused by the sympathy in her eyes. It's a terrible thing to be pitied by the weak, old and soon to be dead. I slap her hard across the face again and this time the red and swollen skin on her cheek breaks. 'Don't pity me.' I hit her again to make sure the point has been made.
And then I smile in an affable way as if we are talking of pleasant things in a nice place. 'So come on, General, it's your turn now. I notice you're wearing a ring. Any man you want us to send your last words of love and compassion to?'
She shakes her head and spits at me. I slap her again. She seems to give up and I think this is the easiest interrogation I've ever done. But then she might be hoping I have some form of empathy and speaking about this will make me spare her. No such thing exists. I'm just doing this for laughs.
'I did have a husband once. He was very handsome and we married when I was a young and pretty soldier. yes, I was young and beautiful once, too. I'm only forty. Guess this is what this life does to you.' She sighs and looks down at her bloodied and wrinkled hands. 'But he was killed almost two years ago now. I suppose I will be seeing him again soon.' She says the words in a breathy voice. I know the expression in her eyes too well; the look a loving partner gives when thinking of the man that always broke their heart but they couldn't stop loving no matter how it would hurt them.
'What was his profession? Guessing it wasn't anything evil like Bounty Hunting.' I say it a little too gently and feel Torian's curious gaze on me. She smiles a little and shakes her head.
'He was also in the army. He was my charismatic superior and a great leader.' Her voice still carries the adoration of the young girl that worshipped a man like he was God. But her expression is that of a bitter woman who can't even find consolation in knowing that they wouldn't make the same choice again.
'Ah, died in action I'm guessing. Hope it wasn't anyone I killed.' I don't know why I say the serious joke. 'No children?'
'I have only three children now. And two grandchildren.' She replies after a moment's hesitation. Can tell that something happened to one of them. Don't think they're dead though. Just wayward and disowned.
'I see. And what do they do?' I keep a blank face and she looks at me incredulously. Don't think this is how she imagined her death going. Think she's too far gone to know why I would ask. Might find these children and kill them later.
'One of the boys and the girl are in the army. The boy is a Captain as of last week and the other is the leader of Havoc Squad. The third is a Jedi now.' I try not to let my features stiffen at the mention of Havoc Squad. Haven't forgiven them for taking away my revenge. And once I'm done with the Chancellor, they and It were next.
'Keeping it in the family then?' I smirk as she coughs up some more blood. Don't think she notices the blood lust in my eye. 'So what was your husband's name?'
When she says it, it is with all the strength and warmth of a devoted wife. And the name makes my body stop like it had only the night before. I don't move for a long time. And this time, I'm not even aware I'm not moving. Something stirs in me and it is the old and familiar hatred.
My vision shifts and my fists clench under the strain. 'Torian, please leave now. I'll meet you at the entrance. I can handle this alone.'
He moves forward to touch my shoulder and I slap his hand away. 'Don't touch me. Just go.' My body starts to shake and I know I can't keep this in much longer.
'It's an order, Torian. Not a request.' He hesitates and I growl in frustration. 'Mhi jorhaa'ir du'caryc. Ori'haat.' We will speak later. Promise.
He nods and slowly leaves. I wait for his steps to fade before I begin to speak. I look the General in the eye and let every part of me come out as I stand above her kneeling form.
'Do you want to know a secret, General?' She doesn't nod or reply. I grab her jaw in my hand. 'I said, do you want to hear a secret?' I make her nod and leer at her.
I keep hold of her jaw and I lean in to her ear one last time and whisper, 'I was the woman your husband was with. I was the one he spent all those nights and days with. And do you want to know some more?' She looks at me out of the corner of her eye with petrified fear, and I make her nod her head again.
'I was the one that killed him. And I'm going to show you how I did on your very own body. Doesn't that sound like fun?' I make her nod one more time. 'In fact, I think you will find it so fun, I will hunt down your children and grandchildren and do it to all of them too. Does that make dying that much easier?'
I lie her out and place heavy pieces of rubble on her hands and ankles to stop her from moving. I move in to begin but stop. And I smile at her with all the warmth I can find. 'Maybe this will be easier for you if you know this is everything your husband did to me and everything he taught me. Does that help?' She only stares in horror.
And after I let the monster in, I don't speak anymore.