Title: Betrayal's Fire Author: SabyneAmberle Genre: Angst, Drama, possible small hints of romance Main characters: Malavai Quinn, Lord Lycuneae [Gammon], Jaesa Willsaam Summary: After everything they had endured together, Quinn appears to show his true colors...and will pay dearly for it. Notes: First, this is my (multi-part) response to the Movie Quote Challenge. I chose #13, and was given this quote: 'Let that be a lesson to you, sweetie. Never love anything. – The Simpsons'. The quote fits well enough that I can likely incorporate it into the story proper. About this story: Although I did not play it back then, early on in the Beta for TOR, you had the option of killing certain companions (or leaving them for dead, or whatever). It was removed after players got upset that killing these companions was irreversible. Malavai Quinn was one of the affected companions, and the excision of the killing element is a pretty sore point of contention with TOR fans. So I decided to come up with my take on his betrayal scene. I did my standard 'take in-game cutscene dialogue, give it some good mixings, add it to my story, and voila'. Because I take a heavy DS tone with this one, I want to take this slowly. Not only because I want to write this as best as I can, but also to make sure I don't have any issues with violence later on in the story. Also, if you're curious, the music that inspired me while writing this was 'aLIEz', from the soundtrack to the anime 'Aldnoah: Zero'. Sadly, I don't have a YouTube link to the entire song, but here's a link to the translated lyrics: http://www.lyrical-nonsense.com/lyrics/sawanohiroyukinzk/aliez/#page=English-tv Without further ado, here is Part 1. ****** “Something troubling you, my lord?” Quinn asked as they walked through the transponder ship. He watched her warily from the corner of his eye. Did she suspect? He wondered, dreading that she would guess the true purpose behind this trip. Lycuneae shook her head. “I...I'm not sure,” she replied. “I just have this feeling something isn't right.” “In what way, my lord?” he asked, feeling his spine stiffen slightly. “Think about it, Quinn,” she continued. “This is an Imperial starship. Baras no doubt tipped off that trio of guards that we would be arriving. So where are the swarms of armed soldiers come to greet us? All we've run into is one easily-dispatched security detail.” She paused, thinking she heard the distant sound of approaching footsteps. When no additional soldiers appeared, she continued. “For that matter, where is the crew of this ship? Normally when I arrive on an Imperial vessel, it is buzzing with crew and workers. All I've seen are a few Imperial droids.” His mind spun. He knew he had to ensure she wouldn't figure out what was going on. “My lord, remember that Corellia is currently a very unstable planet,” he said. “It's entirely possible that any troops stationed here were called to the planet in order to assist the ground forces there.” She nodded. “A solid point,” she conceded. As she approached the elevator the security team had come out of, Quinn felt himself relax. Crisis averted...for the moment. She carefully examined the elevator. “I need to disable this elevator, to ensure that no reinforcements can reach us here,” she said. “Go on ahead and secure the transponder room, Quinn. I'll be there momentarily to help you collect it.” He gave a small bow. “Yes, my lord. I will do so immediately,” he answered. As his steps quickly took him down the long hall, Quinn could feel his heart racing. He entered the room at the hall's end, closing the door behind him. It was an otherwise unassuming circular room, with a second large door at the opposite side of the room from where he entered. The perfect place for his plan. He felt himself hesitate as he reached for the datapad on his belt. Why now? He raged silently against himself, against his perceived weakness. Fool. Why do you hesitate now, when you have gone over this very scenario countless times in your mind? His thoughts flashed back to his last conversation with his master. Darth Baras had contacted him while Lycuneae was occupied with some last details on Voss. Quinn flinched as he remembered his feeble arguments, protestations that she had been his master since Baras' betrayal of her on Quesh. Baras had easily overcome those objections, pitting Quinn's loyalty to the Empire against his loyalty towards the woman he loved. In so doing, he was able to secure Quinn's reluctant assistance in this task. Suddenly, Baras' image seemed to appear before him; though it was a hallucination, Quinn flinched involuntarily. “You are hesitating. Do not tell me you're having second thoughts, Captain,” the image intoned menacingly. Unconsciously, Quinn tugged at his collar; was it his imagination, or was it feeling a bit tighter than it had been just seconds earlier? “Remember, you owe everything you have become to me. What can she give you that I, the Emperor's Voice, cannot match? Remember also the faces of those whom I had my former apprentice eliminate for me, and how easily you could join their ranks if you defy me...” He closed his eyes and gave his head a brisk shake, dispelling the thoughts that gnawed at his conscience. When he opened his eyes again, the image was gone. Unclasping the datapad from his belt, Quinn began entering a coded sequence, feeling as though he were being kicked in the chest with every button he pressed. He resisted the urge to abort the sequence he was inputting, told himself it was for the good of both himself and the Empire to continue down this path, tried to convince himself this was the best choice he could have made under the circumstances. But telling himself such things and believing them were two entirely different things. He knew he only had one shot at this; failure would mean he would join those whom Baras had ordered her to kill, whether by her hand or Baras'. On the off-chance that she spared him, he might be throwing away the best thing that had ever happened to him. She might never trust him again. But it was a chance he had to take, for the good of the Empire. Sometimes sacrifices had to be made. So why did the thought not comfort him? As he heard her faint footsteps hurrying down the hall to the room he stood in, he pinched the bridge of his nose with her fingers. Why did things have to go so wrong? He asked himself. Why was this impossible choice foisted upon me so? He raised an eyebrow as he heard the footsteps slow, then stop, his fear rekindling itself tenfold. She suspects. His thoughts taunted him cruelly as he heard her voice, though the thick door obscured her words. She is coming with assistance. That thought was confirmed when he heard a second set of footsteps rapidly approaching. He smirked grimly. “Good thing I made sure all avenues were covered,” he muttered. Quickly, he activated his stealth unit. He had not had a reason to use it since leaving Balmorra, but it was now coming in quite handy. As he heard the voices on the other side of the door, he felt a single tear slip from one eye, rolling silently down his face. He forced himself not to react to it. Forced himself to do nothing except stand there. Waiting. ** As soon as she had set foot on this starship, Lycuneae had sensed something wasn't adding up. According to the information Malavai had given her, the ship should have been teeming with heavily-armed soldiers who were prepared for their arrival and willing to stop them. Yet all they had run into was one small guard detail, and those three soldiers had seemed surprised at the intrusion. Though she waited with bated breath and straining ears, she heard no footsteps besides her own. Indeed, there were no signs of any sort of crew on this ship, utility droids excluded. She frowned. Something was very wrong here. She knew it. And when she felt something as wrong as this, she knew calling for backup was her best bet. Quickly, she pulled out her holocommunicator. “Jaesa? Are you there?” she asked. One thing Lycuneae liked was how easy it was to reach her young apprentice. Almost immediately after she activated her holo, Jaesa's image flickered into view. “I am here, Master,” she began. “Is there something wrong?” “I don't know,” Lycuneae began. “Something feels very...off here. I am requesting assistance.” “Of course, Master. I will be there right away.” Jaesa's efficiency continued to surprise her master; it seemed only seconds after the transmission ended that Lycuneae could hear Jaesa's hasty footsteps approaching. “Master?” Jaesa's voice was concerned. “What can I assist with?” “Tell me,” Lycuneae began. “What do you sense here?” “I sense...” Jaesa closed her eyes and fell silent for several moments. “I sense a great jumble of things. Confusion, confidence, deceit...it's all blurred together to where it is difficult to identify the individual components.” Lycuneae's frown deepened. “I see,” she said, though she really didn't. Still, it shed some light on her own feelings. “As long as this feeling persists, I would like you to accompany me until our task here is finished.” “Of course, Master. I shall do as you request.” The odd feeling did not go away as the pair stepped into the next room; if anything, it only intensified. Quinn had told her this room held the ship's transponder. Her eyes scanned about the circular room, but found no trace of any sort of machinery that even vaguely resembled a transponder; only a large door on the opposite wall. “Wait. Where is Quinn? He was supposed to meet me here.” Lycuneae was confused. This was where he said he would be once she disabled the elevator, but the room was completely empty. Suddenly, her ears picked up the sound of a stealth unit deactivating, and Quinn appeared in the center of the room, his back to them. “Quinn? What's going on?” she asked, her voice betraying her surprise.