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Before - Legends The Descent

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by lordmaul13, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    The Descent
    By
    : Joe

    Edit: So, I had a few when I posted this initially and totally should have added a little more to this intro area. Now I've had a few again (don't judge me :p) and I will put in what I left out. I'll probably go ahead and update too. FYI this is a re-post of one I did 10ish years ago. I think it's the best I ever did. I hope you agree. Feedback is always appreciated.

    Time frame: Before legends? KotOR is legends right? KotOR era anyway.
    Characters: All OC
    Genre/warning: It's gets dark



    There were four of us at first, clandestinely inserted to disrupt Sith efforts to influence the democratic process on Chernshad. I assume someone else handled the Republic’s efforts to influence the democratic process on Chernshad.

    Not a one of the four of us was anything close to what I would call normal. Jorik Ne’Dolo was a Bothan. His fur ranged from a chocolate brown to a creamy caramel color. He was also a demolitions expert. And a hypochondriac. Need I say more?

    Despite the everyday discovery that he was dying of a new disease Jorik was a great friend of Galak Bell, our resident medical expert. Galak was, in almost every way, average. He had an average build, was average height and looks. The only thing about him that was not average was his eyes. His eyes were infinitely deep obsidian pools. Maybe they were such close friends because they were both so messed up. Jorik had his hypochondria which stemmed, in my opinion, from an almost paralyzing fear of death and Galak had his addictions to deathsticks and painkillers respectively. They came from all the things Galak saw in the Mandalorian war. How he was still functioning in any capacity now in the Jedi Civil War was beyond me.

    Speaking of me, it’s hard to have perspective on yourself so I find it hard to describe myself. If anyone asks about me my standard answer is, “Tall, dark, and handsome.” I find my sense of humor to be something of a twisted one. In actuality, I’m somewhat socially inept. I find it hard to meet others gaze. I do well in our little group but if you get me away from the team I tend to close up. I’m much better and far more comfortable around my beloved machines and computers. You know the guy in the van with all the equipment? That’s me.

    Last but not least is our fearless leader, Lt. Sarie L’Chan, better known to us as Sariel. Actually, Sariel was the only one of our little team who could pass as fairly normal. If you consider being a drop-dead gorgeous, green skinned Twi’Lek in charge of a Republic Intelligence covert operations team to be in any way “normal.” Oh, and she could kill and not feel a thing, like a sociopath. I don’t think that’s normal…

    For awhile we had a pretty good thing going. We gathered intel which we passed up the chain for analysis. Mostly that involved spending credits like they were going out of style and planting listening devices, holocams, and bugging computers. Occasionally we would do something a little more personal…

    I never actually killed anyone. I typically did the lookout/getaway driver thing. That was fine with me- I’ve always been rather soft.

    The best we had at killing up close was Sariel, of course. She could literally shoot someone in the head and then ask what we thought sounded good for dinner and she could do it all without batting an eye. I’ve seen it happen. It’s rather disturbing.

    The worst was easily Jorik. If you ever have to get into a gunfight with someone be sure it’s Jorik. That crazy Bothan is a genius when it comes to explosives but he could shoot at the ground and miss. You’re probably in more danger if you’re on his side.

    Galak fell in the middle. He could kill but was always torn up inside for days afterward. I remember the first time we had to take out a target up close. That was when Sariel found out about Galak’s addictions. Galak was the one who eliminated the target- a guy named Miles Sora, I think it was- and couldn’t stop shaking until we got back to the safe house and he started lighting up deathstick after deathstick.

    Sariel didn’t appreciate that I can assure you. She lit into Galak like I’ve never seen before or since. But Galak is a crusty old veteran and didn’t take to well to that. He barked right back at Sariel and his bark rivals anyone’s.

    What started as an argument turned into a very long rant on the horrors Galak lives with. He raged about many things. From the time he tried and failed to save a beautiful little girl with her face blown off to… Well, let’s just say Galak’s personal demons are legion. Somewhere in the middle he started crying. It wasn’t until later that I noticed I had too.

    Sariel never said another word about how Galak deals with his problems. I think she almost took up deathsticks herself, just from hearing about them.

    Ahh, I miss the old group. When the Jedi first showed up all was still well for awhile. But not for long…
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2018
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  2. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    And here is part 2. Just as a note, the diseases are real. I had a book called The Hypochondriac's Pocked Guide to Diseases You Probably Already Have and any diseases in this story came from it.

    ******

    “Alright, everyone gather ‘round,” Sariel said, motioning us over to the sitting room’s couch. Galak and I sat down and endured Jorik’s horrified look that said he wondered at our sanity for sitting on something so filthy. This, the latest in a long line of safe houses, wasn’t exactly luxurious. “Command, in its infinite wisdom, has decided that Chernshad deserves the attentions of a Jedi.”

    “What, are they saying we’re not good enough?” Galak growled.

    Suddenly Jorik looked even more horrified. “They probably don’t like the job we’ve been doing and they’re going to let the Sith have us!”

    Did I mention Jorik is also slightly paranoid, even for a Bothan?

    “Relax, would you?” Sariel said, rolling her eyes. “That doesn’t even make any sense. Why would they send us a Jedi if they were going to hand us to the Sith? We’re doing just fine,” she switched to a soothing tone, “they saw our intel about Cral and they want the Jedi here to help us turn her to our side. We’re to get her to feed bad intel to the Sith.”

    Jessica Cral was a local crime lord. She was pretty good at keeping out of sight but we did have one fuzzy holo of her to go by. She had her hand in everything from spice, gunrunning, and slaves to information brokering. It looked like she was going to hand classified defense information to the Sith forces who would probably make it here sooner or later. Probably sooner but I hoped not so soon that we hadn’t left already.

    “Who is the Jedi?” I asked, averting my eyes as soon as Sariel shifted her gaze to meet mine.

    “The Jedi is no one I’ve heard of,” Sariel said. “Her name is Danni Tainer.”

    “What else do we know about her?” Galak asked. He sounded suspicious. He was always suspicious.
    “Not much,” Sariel admitted. “She’s not fully human, she’s a half Cathar, half human. Her home planet is unknown and, like most Jedi, she has no known family.” Sariel sighed. “Officially that’s all I have,” she continued with a wry look. “They’re being very hush-hush. But I’ve placed a bug in a few ears and I’ve gotten a little info back. I don’t like what I’ve heard.” She paused and shifted her gaze to the floor.

    “What is it?” Galak asked, his eyes narrowing.

    “I don’t know the details but her last mission went bad and a lot of people died,” Sariel said.
    Galak smacked his fist into his leg and clenched his jaw. Jorik looked ill. “We’re doomed,” he moaned.
    “Just keep alert and keep your eyes open,” Sariel said grimly. “She’ll be here tomorrow.”

    *****

    The next day did indeed bring our Jedi. My first impression of her was one of mystery. She was shrouded in a long, hooded brown robe. The hood’s folds shifted as her head pivoted side to side and she looked us over for the first time. What her first impression of us was, I have no idea, though, from what came later, I suspect it was low. She raised her hands to either side of her hood and slowly, almost delicately lifted it and pulled it back. A shake of her head settled her brown hair back into its customary place. All in all I thought she had a rather intriguing look. Her brown robe was open along the front revealing a closely fitting, thigh length, smoky gray tunic, cut at an angle on the front, making it appear like a skirt, minus its front. Slightly baggy black pants and knee high black boots completed her outfit. She herself was very… exotic. I had never heard of a Cathar before but apparently they are a race of bipedal feline like creatures. Her ears were pointed and her pale, angular face was tiger striped with patches of darker skin.

    The Jedi again inspected us. Her eyes seemed to tighten slightly when they passed over Sariel and she almost looked about to smile when she looked at me. “Greetings,” she finally spoke, “I am Jedi Knight Danni Tainer.”

    The descent began with those simple words. Sariel introduced herself and the rest of us. Then the two women went into a separate room where Danni was briefed on the planet, its culture, and the target.

    Our first order of business was to get the Jedi settled in. The next morning we all met up around the table in the living area for breakfast and to begin to get the Jedi up to speed. All of us except Jorik, that is. He was never ready to face the day until he had decided what he was dying of that day. He joined us only a few minutes late. Must’ve been easy today.

    “Galak, you have to help me!” Jorik begged. Literally. He had thrown himself on his knees at Galak’s feet.

    “What’s killing you today?” Galak asked. He barely glanced up from his breakfast. Danni looked on with puzzlement at the lack of a response. She’d quickly learn this was one of Jorik and Galak’s favorite games.

    “It won’t kill me today,” Jorik wailed. “It’ll probably take months of agony.”

    “Then we probably caught it in time,” Galak said. “I’m kind of busy,” he said in between sips of caf, “Tell me about it tomorrow.” He had to work not to smile.

    “TOMORROW?” Jorik wailed and Galak smirked behind his mug of caf. “I could be dead tomorrow.”

    “I thought you said it would take months to kill you?” I injected into the conversation to give Galak time to recover.

    “I have fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva and no one cares!” Jorik despaired. He pulled the hair on top of his head with both hands and collapsed in a heap at Galak’s feet.

    “Do you have any idea how rare that is?” Galak asked, incredulously.

    “No,” Jorik replied, looking back up. “But I can find it really—

    “Actually, neither do I,” Galak interrupted to Jorik’s increasing horror. “But, I do know it’s very rare and you don’t have it.”

    “What’s fibro-what’s it?” Sariel asked.

    “It’s an incredibly rare disease where, due to a faulty protein that’s responsible for healing bones, muscle injuries don’t heal properly, they turn into bits of bone instead. Eventually enough of your muscle tissue turns to bone that you can’t move anymore.” Galak, who had finished his breakfast, explained. “Let me see,” he said.

    “Here,” Jorik said, pulling Galak’s hand to a point on his upper arm, near the shoulder. “Feel that bump. I’m sure it is a bone fragment.”

    “Congratulations,” Galak sighed. “I don't know what you have.”

    "It's worse than I thought!" Jorik said.

    "But," Galak continued, "It's probably an insect bite. I'll get some cream for it."

    “An insect bite?” Danni, who had so far stayed out of the conversation, repeated in amazement. “All that over an insect bite?”

    “You’ll have to forgive them,” Sariel explained. “That’s just those two’s morning ritual. And now that that’s out of the way, we have work to do. Everybody get dressed and meek back here in ten. It’s moving day.”

    “Aww, Lt, I haven’t eaten yet,” Jorik complained.

    “Maybe that will teach you not to be late for breakfast,” Sariel suggested with a raise of her eyebrows.

    “Spast,” Jorik cursed as he left to get prepared.

    “Why do you tolerate such a lack of discipline?” Danni asked.

    “We’re a close group,” Sariel said. “We have to let off steam in our own ways; otherwise we won’t be effective due to interpersonal conflicts.”

    Danni hmmphed arrogantly. “I wouldn’t allow such behavior.”

    “You’re not me,” Sariel said. For a moment the two glared at each other then Danni smiled and, without another word, she went to gather her belongings.

    We left a little over a half hour later. Everyone piled into the landspeeder while I followed with our gear in the van. I wasn’t sorry to see the end of that place.

    “Tell me of moving day,” Danni ordered peremptorily.

    “It’s the day we move,” Galak said. “It’s quite simple really, moving day.”

    Danni’s eyes narrowed and she glowered at him but Galak didn’t faze easily and he only smiled and lit up a deathstick.

    “Aren’t those illegal?” Danni asked, even though she knew they were.

    “Yep,” Galak said, popping a painkiller, just to spite her.

    “Moving day is a precaution,” Sariel explained. “We’ve been here for almost six months. Moving around makes us harder to track. My two rules are we stay in one place no longer than a week and anybody, for any reason, can decide we need to move early.”

    “I insisted on that last part,” Jorik added. “If you haven’t noticed, they think I’m paranoid.”

    “You are paranoid,” Galak said.

    “I beg to differ,” Jorik contradicted. “They are out to get me—and you, I might add—therefore, by definition, I am not paranoid.”

    “Who is out to get you?” Danni asked.

    “The Sith, of course,” Jorik said. “Who else would it be?”

    “Oh, I don’t know,” Galak needled, “The Mandalorians, the Exchange, various and assorted Hutts, swoop gangs, pirates, and warlords.” Galak paused for a moment and mentally added up his list. Something was missing… “Oh yeah, bounty hunters, I forgot bounty hunters.”

    “How long have you been waiting to use that gem?” Jorik asked acidly.

    “About a week,” Galak smirked. “Hey, isn’t that Calo Nord?”
     
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  3. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Hey_Joe.mp3

    How about waiting before somebody replies instead of just throwing it all out there? Because I bet people WILL reply. :)
     
  4. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    I guess I didn't say I was planning on Monday and Friday posts--one more thing I could have edited into post number 1. :p Shouldn't take too long because this isn't that long of a story. Did you think the second post was too long? I ended it at what seemed a natural spot. I prefer a longer post but if people like a little shorter I can try to do that.

    Joe
     
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  5. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    Nah, not that. The boards have been generally slow for the past couple of years compared to what you're used to and while there are a couple of people who rapid-fire, most don't and post weekly or so...and there are some great reviewers you'd deffo want to have. ;)
     
  6. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    I see. This isn't very long but it's long enough to last a few weeks or so. Enough time for people to get by and review if they want but it isn't like this will be going on for six months or anything.

    It's Friday! [face_dancing] So, here's the next part:

    *********

    Our new home was nicer than our last. But that was like saying living under a bridge was nicer than living in a sewer. It had two bedrooms which meant two things; one, we were splitting up according to gender and, two; we were going to be cramped. I could already tell Sariel and Danni rubbed each other wrong but Sariel was a professional. I wasn’t sure yet about our Jedi. Sometimes when no one was looking she would lapse into an ugly look. I’d privately started calling it her ugly face. The rest of the place consisted of a fresher and a small kitchen/living area, much like our last place.

    Jorik and Galak stayed at the dump, I mean the safe house, and set things up while Sariel and I showed Danni around the city, pointing out Cral’s many houses, business fronts, the homes of her lieutenants, warehouses, and everything else we knew about her.

    It was outside one of the warehouses that it happened.

    “See that Quarren in the green and black tunic?” Sariel asked. “He’s about a half a block ahead of us and on the right.”

    “Yes,” Danni said.

    “That’s Foss, we’re pretty sure he’s second in charge of this warehouse here.”

    “Hmm,” Danni said. “Let’s snatch him.” She hopped out of the speeder and started walking quickly but not suspiciously fast toward the Quarren.

    “What the hell? Get back here!” Sariel said but Danni was already too far away to hear or just didn’t care. “Follow her,” she ordered.

    Danni caught up to Foss near the next intersection. She stuck the business end of her lightsaber in his back. “Keep quiet and get in the speeder,” Danni ordered the hapless Quarren.

    The Quarren was put in the back with Sariel, who trained a hold out blaster on him. Danni hopped back into her seat next to me in the front. “What the hell is wrong with you?” Sariel hissed. She was deadly quiet which meant she was at her most dangerous. “What are we supposed to do with him?”

    “We’ll take him back and bleed him for information,” Danni said.

    “Wait a minute,” Foss started to say.

    Sariel rose up slightly and brought the gun up with her. “One more word.” She turned her attention back to Danni. “What, we just take him back to the safe house? Its broad daylight, what happens if you were seen? What happens if we’re followed?”

    “I can deal with that,” Danni said.

    “Like hell,” Sariel spat.

    I hadn’t been sitting still through their discussion. Sariel had said it herself, it was broad daylight and we had Foss in our speeder. I did not want to be seen. We were already five blocks away and leaving the warehouse district. “Where do we go?” I asked.

    “The parking garage on Spacer Street,” Sariel said. She got her communicator out. “Galak,” she said. “Start packing, we’re moving again. Tell Jorik to take the van and meet us at the parking garage on Spacer.”

    While Sariel was distracted Foss tried to get away. He jumped out of a speeder doing 40 klicks. He did it incredibly athletically. Almost before he hit the ground he was up and running. The fool was running in the road, though. I spun us around and took off after him. Just before we caught up with him I threw my door open. It caught him squarely and he face planted into the pavement.

    Sariel jumped out. In a few moments she had him back in and we were off again.

    “Galak, you still there?” Sariel asked after she retrieved her communicator. “Good, tell Jorik to bring some goodies. They need to be big enough to take out a couple vehicles.”

    Jorik showed up at the parking garage about fifteen minutes after we did and about the same time Foss started to come around. Jorik exited the van with a briefcase.

    “Let’s make a deal,” Foss said.

    “You tell us what we want to know and then you go back and play mole for us,” Danni said.

    “No deals,” Sariel said, shaking her head. She lined her blaster up with Foss’s forehead and shot him.

    Jorik got that sick look he gets any time someone gets killed. The look that says that could’ve been him. I knew just how he felt. Sariel, of course, felt nothing. Danni initially smiled at the sudden, casual violence and then got angry. “We didn’t even get to question him!”

    In two steps, Sariel was upon Danni. One fist clenched around her throat and the other held the blaster in her face. “Pull another stunt like that,” Sariel ground out between her pointed teeth, “and you’re next.”

    Danni laughed. “As if you could,” she said, her anger swiftly replaced by amusement.

    Sariel and Jorik drug the corpse to the van and put it in the back. Jorik got into his briefcase and planted demo charges in the van and speeder. “Set it for fifteen minutes,” Sariel ordered.

    When the charges were placed Sariel pointed at me and Danni. “You two,” she said. “Take a cab back to the safe house and help Galak pack. Jorik, you and I are going to find a new speeder and van.”
     
  7. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    It's Monday again. [face_skull] Short update today.

    *****

    Having just moved out for the second time in one day we were all suffering from a serious case of really damn annoyed. It was about midnight. We were all tired and we were all mad about something. Sariel was mad at Danni for taking such a foolish risk. Galak was mad because he had to do half of the packing himself. Jorik was mad because he had loved the old speeder and had to blow it up. Not to mention he had been forced to face his ultimate fear; death. I was mad because we had taken a huge risk and still couldn’t be sure we were in the clear. Danni… Ok, we weren’t all mad.

    “Ahh,” Danni said, as she stretched. “I feel like going out,” she said. She pointed at me, “You, you’re going with me.”

    I looked to my left and then my right. There was no doubt about it, she was pointing at me. “Me?” I asked.

    “Yes, you,” Danni said. “You are going with me.” She headed for the door.

    I looked at Sariel and she nodded. It looked like I was going out. Yippee.

    We went to a nightclub called Crisis. I wondered idly why Danni wanted to come here. I didn’t think Jedi were supposed to have fun.

    We paid our cover, that is to say, I paid my cover and Danni got in free. It must’ve been ladies night.

    The interior was crowded with a mix of humans and near human aliens. Dimly visible in the hazy atmosphere was a bar on the far side of a dance floor. We made our way through the mass of people and approached the bar. A scruffy looking man in a dirty dockworker’s uniform bumped into me. “Watch where you’re going,” he growled and gave me a push before continuing on his drunken way.

    Almost before he had moved on Danni was at my side whispering in my ear. “Are you going to allow him to get away with that?”

    “It isn’t worth starting a fight over,” I replied.

    “Look at all these beings,” Danni murmured. “Every one of them has lost their respect for you and every one of them will walk all over you unless you do something to regain that respect right now.”

    I thought for a moment. “You’re right,” I said, my eyes narrowing with a sudden fury. I picked up a glass from a nearby table. I saw the dockworker up ahead and followed swiftly after him. When I caught up to him I smashed the glass into the back of his head and he collapsed onto the floor. Shards of glass had embedded themselves in the back of his head as well as my hand, further increasing my uncharacteristic fit of anger. “Watch where you’re going,” I spat and kicked the man in the stomach.

    The pain coming from my hand and the looks I was receiving from some of the other dockworkers brought me back to reality and I realized we needed to leave quickly. “Let’s go,” I said, taking Danni by the arm. I came up short as an immense boulder of a human stepped in front of us.

    “Just where do you think you’re going?” the boulder asked, poking me hard in the shoulder.

    “No weakness, no fear,” Danni muttered to me.

    Strong… Fearless... “I’m leaving,” I stated simply.

    “You just kicked my friend while he was down,” the man said as a crowd began to gather. He shook his head from side to side. “Do you really think I’ll let you leave? I’ll—

    “What?” I interrupted and took a step forward. “You’ll what?”

    The man blinked and I slapped him across the face. “Hey!” he yelped in astonishment. Bits of glass embedded themselves more deeply into my hand.

    I snorted contemptuously. “That’s what I thought,” I said. “You’ll do nothing.” No one else tried to stop us.

    It was only when we stepped outside and my adrenaline rush began to wear off that I began to shake and my hand started to really hurt. Danni looked me in the eye and for once I didn’t feel the need to avert my gaze. “You did well,” she said and smiled. I felt like a new person. I like the new me. The new me is strong.
     
  8. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Thanks to DRL we missed a couple updates. I'll try to get at least one a week if I can't get both Monday and Friday published.

    Without further delay, here is the next part.

    ******

    The next morning we sat down for breakfast, as we usually did. Right off the bat Sariel noticed my hand was bandaged. “What happened?” she asked, inclining her head toward my hand.

    “I got in a bar fight last night,” I explained.

    “I trust you had no other choice,” a nonplussed Sariel said. “We are trying to maintain a low profile here.”

    Danni and I exchanged glances and I smiled slightly. “Of course I had no other choice.”

    Galak, who I had woken up to pull glass out of and bandage my hand, had already heard the story. He cleared his throat. “Sorry buddy, that’s not how it sounded when you told me what you did last night.”

    “Well then you misunderstood,” I said.

    Sariel’s eyes widened and her jaw practically bounced off the table. She shook her head and stood up. “Come with me,” she said to me.

    We went into Sariel and Danni’s room. “What the hell is going on here?” she inquired.

    “What do you mean?” I asked innocently.

    “You’re like a completely different person today than yesterday,” Sariel said. “What happened last night?”

    “I told you, I got into a bar fight,” I repeated.

    “Details,” Sariel said angrily.

    I explained about hitting the man with the glass and kicking him while he was down and then dealing with his friend.

    Sariel looked at me like I was a total stranger. “I know you,” Sariel said. “That isn’t you.”

    “I know,” I said with a smile. “Something happened inside me last night and I changed… It feels good.”

    “It doesn’t sound good,” Sariel said. She paused to reflect for a moment. “I’m going to drop this for now,” she finally decided with a sigh. “Let’s go finish breakfast.”

    We came back out to the breakfast table to find Jorik explaining his latest disease. “Look at this,” Jorik said, pointing to a spot on his arm where a patch of fur was missing. “I think it’s the beginning of necrotizing fasciitis!”

    “Ok,” Sariel said as she sat down and began eating. “What’s necrotizing fasciitis?”

    “It’s a bacterial infection where your flesh begins to decay while you’re still alive!” Galak explained.

    “So you rot while you’re still alive?” I asked incredulously. I never would’ve guessed that was possible.

    Galak nodded.

    “Ugh,” Sariel said and dropped her fork mid-bite. “That’s disgusting.”

    Galak nodded. “Oh, by the way, you don’t have it,” he said.

    “But I have all the symptoms,” Jorik wailed. “I have discomfort, sensitivity, pain, swelling, blistering, weakness, increased heartbeat!” He pounded on the table with both fists and repeated himself, “Increased HEARTBEAT!”

    “Clearly it has nothing to do with your being so distressed,” Galak said dryly.

    “You’re wrong!” Jorik howled. “It’s obviously necrotizing fasciitis. My body is going to rot away right in front of you and no one will do anything to help me!” Jorik collapsed headfirst onto the table.

    “Cool your jets,” Galak said. “I saw that last night. You caught your arm in the doorway as you carried some of your goodies inside. It pulled out a patch of your fur.”

    Jorik looked at his arm with dawning new hope. “It isn’t necrotizing fasciitis?”

    Galak just shook his head “no.”

    We ended up taking the day pretty easy. That evening we went out to a dirty little bar called The Barbarian Barabel of all things. Where did they come up with names on this planet? One of our contacts, a Zabrak who went by the name Angel, could usually be found here. Sariel and I were doing the actual meeting with “Angel.” Jorik and Galak were in one of the booths behind us keeping an eye out for trouble. Danni was at the bar doing her Jedi thing.

    “This is a big one,” Sariel said, leaning across the table towards Angel. “We’re after Jessica Cral.”

    Angel didn’t even blink. “It’ll cost you,” he said.

    “You’ll get paid,” Sariel assured. “Just get everything you can find out.”

    Angel, a man of few words, nodded and stood up to leave. He didn’t go far before he bumped into Danni who blocked his path. He stepped to the side to go around her but she matched his movements. “Betray us,” she whispered in his ear, “and I’ll tear you apart.”

    Beside me Sariel ground her teeth. The encounter hadn’t gone unnoticed by the other patrons of the bar. Even the dancers on the stage seemed to have noticed. We all left at separate times and met up at the safe house.

    Danni was the last one to return. “What is your problem?” Sariel all but screamed. “Have you no concept of undercover? Why did you break your cover?”

    “You know I don’t like you,” Danni said. “But, believe it or not, I want the same thing you want. I sense betrayal in that man.”

    “Since you arrived you’ve done nothing but put us in danger,” Sariel said, her eyes flashing. “I’m contacting command and requesting your removal.”

    I did something I wouldn’t have done a week earlier. I got in the middle of an argument. “She is a Jedi,” I said. “Maybe you should listen to her.”

    “Maybe you should stay the hell out of it!” Sariel grated and she stomped into the other room.

    I was a changed man. But I wasn’t that changed. I stayed the hell out of it.

    The rest of us sat quietly and awaited Danni’s fate. Twenty minutes later Danni, who had been sitting cross legged on the floor with her head facing down, looked up. I could see her smile in the shadows of her hood.

    Ten minutes after that Sariel came back into the living area. “She stays.”

    Danni rose gracefully. She looked at me and smiled. “Let’s go out,” she said.
     
  9. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    There should be only one more post after this one.

    ********

    The next morning’s breakfast was an uneasy affair. Jorik came out with something about burning mouth syndrome but stopped when Sariel looked at him and shook her head.

    We spent the next few days waiting around uncomfortably for Angel to come through. Finally, just to get us out for awhile, Sariel sent us to take care of some business. Danni went to wander by many of Cral’s properties and see what she could “sense.” Whatever. I went on a supply run with Jorik.

    We drove in silence for awhile before Jorik broke the stillness. “So what’s going on with you and the Jedi?” he finally asked.

    “What do you mean?” I asked, taken aback.

    “Come on,” Jorik said. “Haven’t you noticed how she treats you differently from everyone else?”

    “Differently?”

    “She actively dislikes Sariel. Kriff, she goes out of her way to push Sariel’s buttons. Galak and I she just ignores,” Jorik explained. “And then there is you. She’s always around you, having you go out with her.”

    “Hmm,” I said thoughtfully.

    “You haven’t even realized she likes you, have you?” Jorik smiled. “And you like her.”

    “Huh,” I said. I hadn’t realized any of that. It’s amazing how I was so blind.

    “I wish you all the best,” Jorik said. “But be careful, something is not right with this Jedi.”

    “What’s wrong?” I asked, still lost in thought.

    “Galak told me about a Jedi he knew in the Mandalorian War,” Jorik clarified. “He was a good man but he couldn’t handle all the things that happened in the war and he turned to the dark side. He had a pale unhealthy look. He said the dark side of the force ravages a Jedi's body.”

    “So?”

    “So haven’t you noticed Danni always has her cloak on and her hood up?” Jorik said. “It’s because she has that same look. And every now and then I’ve seen her eyes flash yellow. That’s just scary. But, maybe that’s all nothing and I’m just overreacting. Maybe I’m seeing things that aren’t there. We all know that happens. But it feels like Danni just isn’t herself, like she just acts… It’s like we’ve never seen the real her. Just glimpses.”

    “What are you trying to say?” I asked.

    “I’m just saying be careful,” he said. “I have a bad feeling…”

    The rest of our trip was uneventful. We each took a container of equipment from the van and started to carry the supplies inside. I almost ran over Jorik’s when he stopped abruptly in the safe house’s entryway. “What is it?” I asked. Jorik dropped his box and ran inside. I looked past his scampering figure and stopped in horror of my own. Sariel was a smoking ruin on the couch. They easily fired a hundred blaster shots into her body but it was definitely her. Galak was lying on the floor with a snarl frozen on his face and a hole burned in his forehead.

    Jorik collapsed at his friend’s side. “Galak…” he said, his voice breaking. “Why?” he blinked back tears and stood up. There on the wall, written in my friends’ blood, were the words, “Leave or you’re next.” Jorik stumbled unseeing past me, a look of horror on his face, as he ran for the door. I heard the van start and drive off.

    In shock I staggered out the door just as Danni pulled up in the speeder. She jumped out and ran up to me. “What happened? What’s wrong?”

    “They’re dead!” I exclaimed. “They’re dead.”

    Danni rushed to the door and stopped in her tracks as she slumped up against the doorframe. Slowly she straightened and furious, she stomped back to me. “Get in,” she bit out. I idly noticed Jorik was right, her eyes were yellow and she was awfully pale…

    She tore out of the driveway. “Was that Jorik leaving in the van when I arrived?” Danni asked.

    I could only nod.

    “Where was he going?”

    “I think he’s running,” I said. “He’s scared and he running. He’s so terrified of dying… so terrified… We won’t see him again.”

    “Don’t quit on me!” Danni snapped. “I didn’t like Sariel and I, ordinarily, would care less about Jorik and Galak but they were a part of my team and I will avenge them. No one dies unless I will it.” She turned from the controls and faced me directly. “I’ll need your help.”

    She needed me, the new me, the strong me. “I’m in,” I said.

    “A lot of people are going to die for this,” she said.

    Good. For the first time in my life I truly, deeply wanted, no, needed, to kill someone.

    A short while later, as darkness began to fall, we arrived at the Barbarian Barabel. Danni stormed inside. I pulled a blaster out of the console compartment in the speeder and held it close to my side as I followed.

    Danni tramped up to Angel. She took him by the shoulder and spun him around. Angel knocked Danni’s hand away with one arm and began to reach into his cloak. I stepped in close and clamped my empty hand around Angel’s wrist. I dug my blaster into his ribs and shook my head. Angel slowly put his hands back by his sides.

    Without saying a word we moved over to a table. Angel sat with his hands resting on the tabletop. I sat across from him with my blaster trained on him out of view under the table.

    “Surely you remember what I said to you,” Danni spoke as if commenting on the weather.

    “About betrayal? I didn’t betray you,” Angel stated flatly.

    “Liar,” Danni said. “I’m going to give you one chance. Do one thing and maybe, maybe I’ll spare you.”

    “And what might that be?” Angel asked, to the last he was a very cool customer.

    “Find out where Cral will be staying tomorrow night,” Danni said. “We’ll be back tomorrow afternoon. Be here or it’ll go badly for you. I’ll never stop.”

    “I’ll be here,” Angel promised.

    We rose and sidled to a nearby exit that led out the back so we wouldn’t have to turn from Angel. He just sat there watching us leave.

    We found ourselves in an alley behind the Barabel. We made our way back to the front, Danni’s usually lithe and graceful movements were abrupt and choppy, indicating to me exactly how greatly she was seething inside.

    “Damn him,” she spat, her spastic pacing taking her in and out of the scattered pools of light cast by the very few working streetlights in this seedy neighborhood. “He will get the information I desire or so help me, I’ll have his heart on a plate,” Danni’s eyes began to bulge alarmingly, “and then I’ll eat it!

    The grinding of the entrance disturbed Danni’s rant and she glared at the interrupting presence of one of the dancers. A cruel snarl spread across her face. “My, my,” she said, pausing to lick her lips. “Isn’t this a pretty thing?”

    “Danni,” I said, wondering what direction this was taking.

    “And that outfit,” Danni continued, slowly circling the ever more apprehensive Twi’Lek and totally ignoring me, “I simply must have it.” She smiled sweetly.

    The Twi’Lek dancer attempted to back towards the entrance but Danni was there to cut her off.

    “I noticed this one earlier,” Danni commented. “Take it, do what you will with it.”

    “What?” I recoiled and so did the nameless dancer.

    “Don't you want to know?” Danni breathed, her eyes flashing, “What it means to feel like a god?”

    I didn’t know. But I wanted to. I lunged out at the dancer and my hands grasped at her body. I dragged her towards the side alley and she tried to cry out for help but, of its own volition, my hand clamped over her mouth and the other, still holding my blaster, pistol whipped her roughly in the temple. “None of that now,” I said.

    The rest is a blur with the occasional vivid detail that I was unable to block from my memory. At first I lied to myself and said I wasn’t responsible, that Danni did something to me and made me do it or it was the madness of that bizarre day infecting me somehow... But the casual violence and cruelty, the sickeningly sweet smell and taste of blood and fear… Force help me… I do love it so. I know now what it means to feel like a god and I do love it so.

    Danni looked over at me and smiled lovingly. She knows too.
     
  10. lordmaul13

    lordmaul13 Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 18, 2000
    I am sorry it has been so long. Work has been absolutely insane. We've been getting ready for an exercise and they've been messing up my sleep schedule left and right. Most recently, last night I was originally supposed to be in at 7 pm and work until 7 am. I got up at 2 pm and had my coffee about half an hour before they called me and said not to come in until 1 am. Well I just drank a cup of coffee so by the time I was tired enough to take a nap so I could stay up a little later in the morning it was time to go in. On the phone I was told to expect to work until 9-10 am. Because people here are terrible at making decisions, I got home at 2 pm. I got to sleep at 3. I was up 25 hours. You hit a certain point around 20 or 22 hours where you're not tired anymore. I bet I could've stayed up another 5-6 hours but I knew I had to sleep so that's the only reason I got any rest. When this enlistment is up I'll be at 13 years. I'm seriously debating if the half pay for the rest of my life is worth the 7 more years it'll take to get to 20 and get the half pay. If I do get to 20 I'm going to live until I'm 140 so they can pay up for days like today.

    So that's my life lately. Thanks again for your patience. Here is the final post of this story.

    *********
    Very late the next morning I awoke with Danni in my arms. I wondered if it had all been a dream but I saw, draped on the chair, the dancer’s outfit. I remembered it looked so much better on Danni that it had on the dancer…

    Danni awoke and stretched beside me. She smiled and looked into my eyes. “Hi,” she said. Nothing, before or since, has ever looked more beautiful than she did right then.

    “We have to get back to the Barbarian Barabel pretty soon,” I said, wishing it weren’t so.

    “Yes,” Danni breathed.

    We both got up and dressed, Danni in the dead dancer’s outfit. It was a half hour drive to the bar. We walked in the front. The bartender did a double take at Danni. His eyes widened as he recognized her outfit. Danni smiled and blew a kiss in his direction.

    Angel was already waiting on us. We pulled up chairs at his table and sat down without a word. Angel slid a datacard across the table to us. I checked the contents on my datapad. I nodded to Danni and we stood up.

    “Are we finished?” Angel asked.

    “Oh yes,” Danni finally broke our silence. She drew her lightsaber and ignited it.

    “Wait!” Angel blurted, his calm, cool exterior beginning to crack. “You said if I got the information you wouldn’t kill me!”

    “I recall her saying she would spare you,” I said.

    “I was going to make this long and painful for you,” Danni explained. She swung her lightsaber and cut him in half. Everyone in the place stared at us in astonishment as we walked right to the front door. “Sorry about the mess,” Danni said to the barkeep and blew him another kiss.

    “Trying to make me jealous?” I asked.

    “With that?” Danni snorted. “It isn’t worth my time.”

    It? I wondered. Yes. It.

    That night found us at one of Cral’s many estates. According to the data the late Angel had so kindly given us security was fairly tight. The property was surrounded by a wall. Inside the wall there were two fence lines. Motion detectors and cameras lined the first of the fence lines. Armed guards constantly patrolled between the two fences. Anyone who got past there would find themselves in one of several enclosures in Cral’s menagerie of predators.

    Danni leapt to the top of the wall in a single bound. She waved her hand and proclaimed the motion detectors and cameras in that area were out. Then she helped me atop the wall. She dropped lightly to the other side and quickly parted both fences with her lightsaber.

    I dropped heavily to the ground and followed her into the enclosure. We were quickly surrounded by a half dozen large four legged creatures with very sharp teeth and long, whip like tails. They seemed to home in on Danni and stared straight at her.

    She closed her eyes and made a calming gesture with both hands. The creatures laid down.

    “That’s a neat trick,” I commented.

    “I’ll show you how to do it sometime,” Danni replied.

    Was she saying what that sounded like?

    We made our way to the house, a few of the creatures following behind us. We entered through a balcony and found ourselves in a bedroom. We continued on towards a door that led further into the house.

    “That’s far enough,” Cral said, emerging from her hiding place and giving me a hell of a start. How Danni had missed her was beyond me. I thought Jedi were supposed to know when someone was waiting to kill them but, apparently, the much vaunted Jedi powers could be defeated by merely standing in the shadows.

    Cral stepped further out of the darkness. The wind coming in off the balcony rustled through her hair like a breeze crossing a grassy plain. She’d never been the gloating, tell your opponent exactly how you beat them kind of person like you always saw in the holos. Instead she raised her blaster, an Aratec A1C – 2000 repeating blaster carbine, I noticed – very nice – and I silently prepared to find out if there is an afterlife.

    Behind Cral I noted movement. One of the beasts we had seen outside silently padded its way in off the balcony and slinked closer and closer to Cral. I had no idea they could jump that high. An instant before it sprang Cral realized my attention had switched from her to something behind her. Suspecting a trick she slowly turned just in time for the animal to hit her in the chest and slam her to the ground. Her weapon was knocked from her grasp and slid a few feet away from her.

    With a superhuman effort Cral rolled onto her stomach and reached her hand toward the rifle. The brute raked its claws down her back and then sunk its fangs into her outstretched arm.

    “Help me!” Cral pleaded. The animal’s tale whipped forward and smacked her in the face.

    “Why?” Danni asked.

    “I can be a valuable ally!” Cral screamed as the animal tore into her.

    “You could’ve been my ally but you had to go and kill my team,” Danni said. A strange light glimmered in her eyes and an insanely triumphant look settled onto her pasty grey face. “This beast,” she crowed, “is under my control!” Danni, on the other hand, was the typical holo villain. She took great pleasure in letting Cral know exactly how she had wrought her destruction.

    At a gesture from Danni the creature whipped its head from side to side. There was a sickening sound of snapping bones barely heard over Cral’s pathetic screams. I laughed uncontrollably at hilarity of it all.

    “That’s right, scream!” Danni laughed. Then her face hardened and her breath became heavy. “Scream!” she somehow shouted and ground out between clenched teeth. “Because this… is going to hurt… and it will take,” she licked her lips and grinned, “a long… long… time!”

    The animal went back to its attack on Cral, further widening Danni’s smile. Ah Danni… Danni. Do you realize how much I love you?

    Unbeknownst to me my face had paled to a pasty grey pallor of its own. Finally, as Danni had been hoping for, I had totally embraced the darkness inside me. My descent was complete. Danni would be proud.

    The End.