Title: The Commander's Holo-Com Author: Viridian-Maiden Genre: Suspense/Friendship Characters: OCs - Katya Starstar, Tilasa Si Nhala, Commander Wyatt, Gaima Summary: A suspenseful story about friends and the multiple ways one could use a com. A/N: Written for the OC Revolution Oct. challenge. It's obviously very unfinished, but I wanted to post it anyway since it's the deadline. I'm not sure I know where this is going but I'm writing again! (Something, anything...seriously I'm just happy about that.) The Commander's Holo-Com “Katya…my lady…” The faint echo with an accent of gold slipped through the link in the privacy slide between the palace service bunk and its other end in the hallway. Katya Starstar stirred, lifting her head to listen for the gray sound of the link to buzz again under the voice she thought she just barely heard. She hadn’t been sleeping, although her body felt the weariness of her week. She had only been thinking…processing events actually...the high of the brief companionship she had for moments at the week’s beginning having tumbled into more than exhaustion as the holonets filled with stories about General Grievous’ defeat and an almost unbelievably imminent end to the war. At the same time, it wasn’t all celebratory. In fact, she was quite certain the more she laid in the still square space of the bunk and watched the lights of the climate control panel blink that something was amiss. She had spent more than one minute breathing in and out in the space while thinking about it. Still, her body tingled with memory in a way that was difficult to dismiss from her mind even as she found enough stillness to soothe herself. “Lady Katya...” the voice over the quiet buzz came again, pulling her firmly away from her thoughts. “Nhala?” Katya questioned, and then scooted across the mattress to press the button that thrust the panel diagonally aside. “Shhh……Un-Sister,” Si Nhala spoke in hushed tones and when Katya exited the bunk, motioned her friend past two other bunks and out into the meeting point between two corridors. “What’s wrong?” She asked Nhala, when Nhala declined further information. A security droid floated near them across the palace’s stone floor, disturbing the stillness of the hall by bleeping a request for proof of identification. Katya pulled her sleeve up to uncover the com on her wrist, orienting it just so towards the droid’s single eye. She waited for Nhala to do the same, expecting her friend to orient her wrist so that the droid could scan the link. Nhala didn’t move. “Nhala?” she said when the droid beeped again slightly louder and more insistently, but upon looking at the Tilasa Katya only saw her shake her head. Katya pushed the button on her own com-link, radioing the central guard station to report that although the droid indicated the presence of a being without authorization, it was in fact only Si Nhala who did not have a working link. “Check,” she heard the guard report back. “We’ll reset its alert status from here.” Almost immediately, the droid’s interface lit up blue – the universal all-clear color – and moved to continue its patrol through the halls of the attendants’ quarter. “Why didn’t you show your com?” Katya asked earnestly. It echoed through the dome of the intersection between halls. The cause was revealed easily, once Nhala lifted her hand to let Katya could see. Her com-link was attached as it had to be at all times in palace walls according to regulation. But the small light from down the hall showed just enough of the com that Katya could see it was clearly damaged. It seemed such a small matter, to have a com-link damaged. But then again, they were made of exceptionally durable synthetic alloys, and Katya could not actually remember having seen a broken one. There was also the way Nhala’s looked at the floor – even in the dark – and she could sense the Tilasan had a longer story. She had been about to pull her friend down the hall and insist that she exchange it for another when Nhala spoke. “It was the commander,” she said. “The commander did it.” “Commander Wyatt? Did - ” she asked, but was interrupted from asking more as the Tilasan’s words began tumbling out. “He smashed it. Against that, the pillar. The bones in my wrist broke.” “Nhala!” her friend began protesting as quietly as she could, but failing rather. “Shhhh…..I’m fine, my lady. My wrist will heal. Lilyyli will heal it later and I can move it fine. It’s the com that’s the problem.” She pulled her sleeve up to show Katya again, who marveled at the way the Tilasa deftly moved her broken-boned wrist. It was as though, to any outside eyes, nothing was at all wrong with it. Then Katya looked past the wrist at the face of the com-link, its tiny circuitry exposed in more than one spot. Still, Katya couldn’t see anything unusual. “I can exchange one,” Nhala said as though reading Katya’s mind. “But this one was modified. And I can’t let them see that. I’ll lose some of Ashera’s respect.” Nhala spoke of her brother – though they shared no parents – and Katya sensed real fear in the Tilasan’s voice about that. “Nhala, calm down,” she said, reading Nhala's voice more than her otherwise and always very still manner. “How was it modified? And what does Ashera’ have to do with it?” “It was Ashera’s idea. He wanted holos of the commander for us to take back. He thinks the clones will turn on the Republic. He thinks the tribe should know where they’re weak.” Katya looked at her friend sympathetically. She knew Nhala was confiding in her a great deal. But she still didn’t know what she could do about anything. Hiding the com made little sense, since they would ask to have the broken one when a new one was requested. Still, she tried to calm her mind and see if that helped her come to any conclusion about how to respond or what to do next. “Nhala,” she said after thinking about it. “Is that why the Commander smashed it?” “He smashed it because he was angry,” Nhala said. “Why?” “He wanted me to put a feed from Gaima’s suite into his.” Nhala was never entirely forthcoming with information, but Katya thought the picture was becoming clearer. And it was, in fact, something ironic. That Ashera’ would determine with Nhala to create holos of the commander for analysis later made perfect sense considering their vulnerable position as a nomadic species without a planet. But that it would be smashed and Nhala’s task jeopardized over the commander himself wanting cameras placed on Gaima (a technically legal if vulgar act)? Nhala had been asked, Katya recalled earlier that evening, to prepare and service Gaima’s suite. More than one attendant was, since the celebrity was the main entertainment at the Queen’s upcoming gala and always received the very best. And the rest of it shouldn’t have been surprising really, Katya thought, but clones didn’t tend to show human inclinations towards or against a lot of things. They wielded their authority heavily, were work-driven and serious. But apparently even clones had, well, typical male recreational interests.