Kotor II: Ruin, Mystery, Dreams: Part 2 – Renaissance

Okay so once upon a time I started writing a fanfic based on KotOR II: The Sith Lords, and since I saw the new Star Wars movie, I’ve been on a Star Wars bender… reading all the books, playing all the games… One of the games I’ve started up again has been Kotor 2, so here we are, resurrecting this hideous corpse of a fic like Darth Sion. : P It’s just flashes of things that happen; I’m pretty sure it’s not worth writing a walkthrough of which responses I took to everything. Still, that means it would be best to have played the game before reading the story.

I also found an Atton-centric fic that I wrote once; I will probably steal bits from it.

EDIT: I found out I never finished writing this chapter? So I rewrote it.

Part 1

 

Part 2: Renaissance

 

Selyn Tekeri came back to herself, slowly, groggily. She was lying on a freezing cold metal floor, in her under-things, in a well-lit room that stank of kolto.

Someone had called her name?

She was not in the habit of speaking her thoughts aloud, and she wondered silently where she was as she sat up, wrapping her arms around herself and shivering. There was a door in front of her, and…

Behind her were five kolto tanks, four of them occupied by still figures. The fifth was empty and she guessed that she had been in it until recently. Who, then, had removed her? Had she crawled out unconsciously? It wouldn’t have been the first time, but it always bothered her when that happened. It wasn’t as if the Force had done it for her.

That power had left her long ago and she no longer missed it.

She climbed slowly to her feet and went over to one of the tanks.

The man inside was dead.

She twitched in surprise and horror and took two quick steps backward. The others were all dead.

She shivered, then collected herself and turned to the door. She had to find out where she was, and why she was there.

The door whispered open to reveal a brightly lit hallway. She was definitely in the medical wing of some facility or other. There was an office nearby, empty, and she went in where it was slightly warmer. Perhaps someone would come to explain to her. Although, she wasn’t optimistic that anyone would come if there were bodies in the kolto. Someone should have dealt with that. Were there any someones left?

She collected herself in an office chair and tried to remember how she could have ended up there.

It was no good. Her last memories were of the Republic ship Harbinger, of being in her quarters. But this was not on a ship. It was too quiet, too stable. Had they been in a battle during which she had taken a hit to the head and developed short-term amnesia? That was the best theory she could form at the moment, but she still knew nothing, and she hungered for more knowledge.

After a moment she glanced idly at the computer terminal on the desk and saw that there were video logs recorded. She accessed several of the most recent ones.

After seeing them, she was struck by more confusion. The medical officer who recorded the logs had referred to her as ‘the Jedi’.

Selyn pushed herself away from the computer. She was no Jedi, not anymore. Perhaps never had been. But more logically, she reminded herself as she calmed again, how did they discover that she had been a Jedi? Did they recognize her from a decade ago…?

She pushed the unwelcome thoughts away again. The decade had been spent in trying to forget. But it was still a struggle, every single day, some days more than others.

The kolto was drying from her skin and clothes, but she was getting colder again by the minute. Deciding she’d waited long enough, she went across the hall, and found herself in a morgue. A sickeningly well-filled morgue.

What had happened? This was clearly a bad place to be. She shivered and not just from the freezing cold.

All the dead people appeared to be workers of some kind, miners perhaps. Except one – an old woman, shrouded in a brown robe. She glanced at her curiously, but turned away.

There, on the floor, was something she could use. She picked it up; it was a small plasma cutter. While the dead appeared to be dead of burns, having something to defend herself against whatever killed them would be a slight comfort.

“Did you find what you are looking for, here among the dead?” came a voice from behind her, and Selyn squeaked and whirled, holding the plasma cutter in front of her as a knife.

The old woman had stood.

“You are alive?” Selyn managed cautiously. Zombies weren’t real, not that she had encountered anyway. Still, hadn’t the old woman been dead?

“I am, and so are you, fortunately.”

“Do you know where we are?”

“I do not. You had better go out and look around, though I do not believe there will be much alive to greet you.”

“I agree,” Selyn said, her breathing beginning to return to normal. “Who are you?”

“You may call me Kreia, Exile.”

Selyn looked strangely at the woman. “My name is Selyn. Selyn Tekeri. Why do you call me Exile?”

“Because that is what you are.”

Selyn shook her head. “It is true, I am, but please don’t call me that.” Kreia only smiled mysteriously.

“I’m… going to look around. Will you come?”

“I will stay here. Do as you please. I will help you as I can.”

Selyn looked at her curiously, but the old woman knelt on the floor in an uncomfortably familiar manner and payed her no more attention.

Selyn left the room, used the plasma cutter to cut the lock on the door to the rest of the facility – why would they lock the medical rooms up? – and ventured down hallways until she came to a chamber with another desk in it. Looking at the logs on this computer, she found that the security officer of this mining operation was paranoid, especially around droids. And that must be his body, next to the desk, stinking. He had a sword in hand, and Selyn picked it up, wove through a few steps of Shii-Cho. It was more familiar to her than the plasma cutter.

“They are in the next room,” came a disembodied voice in her mind, and Selyn jumped and spun, looking for Kreia.

“Who is?” she demanded, alarmed. How was she hearing- it couldn’t be-

“The droids who killed this one. You can feel that they are, can you not?”

She paused. There was a breath, a thought, something she had not felt in a long time…

“No!” she cried. “I don’t want this! Not again… not ever again…” But it was already too late. If she was hearing the voice of her new companion in her mind…

“Do not fight it,” Kreia’s voice droned soothingly. “It is all right. Continue.”

Selyn shook her head hard. This was no time to think about the implications and consequences. She opened the door.

There were three droids there, and when they saw her, they began to fire mining lasers at her. She ducked and dodged forwards, cutting them to pieces. They were slow, for mining, not for combat. Her reflexes were not so dull that they’d be able to stop her easily.

And now that she felt that ethereal whisper… the faintest ghost of that power she’d once borne… She couldn’t yet tell if it was an aid or a distraction, but already her reflexes seemed sharper.

She stood over them, breathing slightly harder with her exertion. It was back. She had not wished for it back, had wished for it never to come back. She had been glad it was gone.

Having it back would only expose herself to her own pain. It was dulled, worn, old, but never forgotten, though every day she fought to move past it. It had been ten years. Perhaps she never would.

 

She peeked into the next room, and found it a large one. On her right, there seemed to be something promising. She watched for the short-sighted droids and crept up a ramp to a control panel looking out onto a magnificent view of space and an asteroid field.

The terminal was very helpful. There was a command program there that shut down the droids, a command program that would open certain protected doors, a communications system – still locked, but her programming skills were not inconsiderable – and information.

She was on the mining colony of Peragus, which was less a colony and more a business operation, built into the side of a volatile planetoid full of Peragian fuel. Whatever disturbance had killed the people in the morgue, it had only begun three days ago… the same time that she had arrived, unconscious, in a battered freighter with an astromech droid and Kreia, who was presumed dead at the time.

Very odd.

Now that the droids were offline, she could move about more freely, without fear of them. After a brief look into the glory of space, she turned away and went to look more on that floor. Once she had exhausted all the possibilities on that floor, she would see if the communications system yielded better results.

And clothes would be nice. Her underwear was designed for comfort and durability, hardly flattering, and left her midriff bare. It was still freezing when she wasn’t fighting, and if she met anyone in this state… She hadn’t felt embarrassment in years, but she remembered well what it felt like, and had no wish to feel it so soon on her return to known space.

“Someone is alive in there,” Kreia spoke suddenly, as Selyn looked towards a door that had been shielded until she had shut down the protected doors. “Be careful – his thoughts are… difficult to read. But you have nothing to fear from this one, and he might prove useful…”

Selyn headed for the door. Answers were more important than decency. Perhaps the person would be helpful in finding her clothes.

The door slid open, and she saw a scruffy, dark-haired man in a force-cage cell. He whistled.

 

Bored. Bored, bored, bored. And hungry. And thirsty. The room service in this place is simply awful.

He heard the shield on the door die. Someone was still out there, at least, which meant they were the absolute worst, locking him up and then starving him on purpose. Even if he did violate regulations – which was highly improbable, really – it didn’t warrant starvation.

The door slid open almost silently, and he looked up and saw… not quite a vision of beauty, but a very pretty woman, maybe his own age. In her underwear. He whistled in appreciation. “Ni~ice. You guys change the uniform since I was last out and about?”

Which was the first thing anyone would notice, but he saw a bit more than that. Her black hair went down to her chin, but it was damp. Bath? Kolto tank? Probably kolto. What’s more, her muscle tone would be the envy of many, but her skin was covered in old, fading scars. And the way she held the sword…

Jedi. Definitely Jedi. Probably in at least one of the recent wars.

But she was the first person to open the door in three days, and his stomach was collapsing in on itself. If she used her Jedi powers to spring him out of here, he didn’t care if she was the Jedi Grandmaster himself. Or herself. Did they still have a Grandmaster? Anyway, he could always ditch her later. Before she found out who he was.

She blinked in confusion at the teasing he’d given her, and he looked up into calm, curious brown eyes. Did he say she wasn’t a vision of beauty? Maybe not, still. But she was just plain beautiful. Even her Jedi-ness didn’t detract from it, only gave her an aura of strength and serenity that was enthralling. He was going to have to be careful that he didn’t fall for her.

She was saying something already while he was busy having his universe shifted, just slightly, and he forced himself to pay attention. “Who are you?”

Jedi were so innocent, and it looked like she was no exception. “Atton. Atton Rand. ‘Scuse me if I don’t shake hands. The field only causes mild electrical burns. And you?”

She nodded. “Selyn Tekeri. What are you doing here in the first place?” Se- General Tekeri. Really? General Tekeri was here? In the middle of nowhere, in her underwear.

He should have recognized her, he’d seen plenty of holos of her, but she was older, of course, and he really wasn’t expecting a blast from that part of his past, here and now. Play it cool, Rand. You can still get her to let you out.

He rolled his eyes and snorted. “Security claims I violated some stupid regulation or another. I don’t even care. They stopped listening to me shortly before they stopped feeding me, which was like three days ago, when that supposed Jedi showed up. Speaking of which, you don’t happen to have…”

She shook her head. Damn. “I haven’t found anything like food yet. Or clothes, obviously. Or people. It seems like everyone’s dead. What was that about a Jedi?”

It’s you, stupid. Or maybe not so stupid. It was a good attempt. She didn’t know that he knew, and he’d try to keep it that way. “Don’t know for sure, but there were plenty of rumours flying all over the station within an hour of that ship docking. But you know what Jedi mean. The Republic’s gonna be all over the place in no time. And then some of the miners get it into their ferrocrete skulls that they should cash in on the bounty the Exchange has out for live Jedi, since this one’s unconscious. Security took a pretty dim view of that idea, and there was some kind of fight. I haven’t heard much since they stuck me in here. It’s been pretty quiet for a while. Then you showed up in your underwear and things got a lot better. You said everyone’s dead?”

“Everyone I’ve seen so far has been dead,” she answered quietly. “Everyone except you, me, and a woman named Kreia.”

“Don’t know her,” he grunted.

“What can you tell me about this place? It’s called Peragus?”

He looked at her incredulously. “How do you not know where you are?” he scoffed. “This slice of paradise is Peragus, yes. The only supplier of engine fuel to this little corner of the galaxy, at least since the Jedi Civil War.”

“The… Jedi Civil War?” she said, looking shocked. “What’s that?”

He looked at her even more incredulously. “Yeah, the Jedi Civil War. You know, that thing that happened after the Mandalorian Wars? Revan and Malak and the Jedi that followed them to war decided to take over the galaxy and almost succeeded. Where’ve you been?”

“I-I’ve been… away… since the end of that war,” she stammered.

“I guess that’s understandable.” General Tekeri had disappeared after that final battle; he’d heard no word of her during the Jedi Civil War, and most people had assumed she was dead. She’d gone hermit instead?

The Mandalorian War had left its scars on most people, himself included. He could understand.

He really wished he could sit down in this force-cage, and not on the floor. On a chair. She didn’t look like she was going to let him out yet, but he could probably convince her eventually if he answered all her questions. And it looked like she was going to have a lot. “Let’s see… right after the Mandalorians surrendered, two of the Republic’s strongest generals and the Jedi’s strongest knights, Revan and Malek, went evil and tried to take over the galaxy. Then I heard they turned on each other. He tried to kill her, she survived and went back to the Republic and destroyed him, even though he had some kind of superforce at his disposal. Don’t mess with Jedi women, that’s all I can say. Not that there’s many left.”

He watched her carefully while pretending not to. She was – or had been – General Tekeri, the right-hand strategist of Revan. What did she think of hearing them falling to the Dark Side?

Her reaction was small, but he caught it. She was disturbed, at the very least. “Was she… still a Sith when she did?”

“Considering the Republic made her into a hero again, I doubt it. Good thing too. Dark Jedi are bad enough, but when a woman falls to the Dark Side, you better space yourself before she shows up. But anyway she’s disappeared, they say.”

“I wonder why,” she said softly to herself.

He looked at her for a long moment as she stood quietly, her focus inward. Her self control was remarkable; he could hardly see the confusion and turmoil. And she had pretty nice curves to go with all the toned muscle.

She turned towards him again. “Why did you say there’s not many left? Did so many die in the… Civil War? Why is it called the Civil War?”

“Yeah, it was Jedi against Jedi, right? Religious infighting across the whole galaxy. And afterwards, I heard a lot of them switched off the lightsabers. Hard to find a one these days. Word is there isn’t even a Jedi Council anymore. Which is good, I guess, because the Exchange has a bounty out for ’em.”

Now her surprise was more evident. “You said that before. Why would the Exchange have a bounty on Jedi?”

“Beats me. Maybe one of them is looking for revenge for something or other. At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if the bounty is pretty high. But hey, not like your half-naked interrogation isn’t a personal fantasy of mine or anything…” She blushed. Adorable. “…but you’re the Jedi the miners were talking about, aren’t you?”

“I am no Jedi. Once, perhaps, but no longer.”

He sighed. “That’s a shame, could really use a Jedi’s help in getting out of this mess.” His tone and face turned sheepish. “Hey – look. Let me out of here and I’ll help you. I can! I’ve gotten out of trouble countless times.”

She observed him carefully, the faintest frown of concentration on her face. He kept his own face as honest as he could, trying to meet her eyes, even though staring at her chest would be a big help right now. He counted cards instead. “It’s true, I haven’t met anyone else here yet. I’ll let you out.”

“Thanks.” He had to smile in relief, and to his surprise and gratification, she smiled back as she crossed the room to the force-cage controls.

She really was beautiful.

“And if you try anything, I’ll cut your hands off,” she said, tapping her swordpoint on the floor meaningfully. Beautiful and fierce. He really was going to have to watch himself.

He held up said hands in a placating gesture. “As if I would. I happen to be a gentleman, you know.”

“There isn’t a spare change of clothes in here, is there? It’s really freezing on this station.”

She was cold, and he was hungry. They’d make a great team! “Not that I know of. Not like they have a special outfit for prisoners.” …A real gentleman would give her his jacket. Too bad he was only a sort-of gentleman.

 

So war had come to the galaxy yet again, Selyn mused as she explored onwards on her own. She had heard things, yes, something about the Sith. She had done so much running in the last ten years. She had avoided listening to anything associated with war.

He’d looked at her like she was an idiot, rendering her more embarrassed than when she’d noticed he was staring blatantly at her chest. It was too bad, because he was kind of handsome. She blinked at that thought. It was an irrelevant thought.

“Find anything good?” Atton’s voice crackled over the commlink from the comm centre.

“A few things… a medpack, some survey gear…”

She looked deeper in the crate and found a full-body jumpsuit with lots of pockets for tools and gear. “And clothes, oh good.” Finally, she wouldn’t freeze to death, and it would be slightly more protection against scratches and scrapes than her bare skin was.

“Dammit!” she heard a faint swear from the comm. Then his voice came back stronger, closer to the mic. “I mean, good. It’s, uh, distracting. For the droids. Uh, anyway, I’ve been checking out the droid signals, and you’ve got a couple dozen down there with you. You better be careful.”

“Thank you, Atton, I will,” and she couldn’t help the laugh that crept into her voice at his teasing.

 

She looked inside, and there he was. He was looking at the computer, and abruptly he did a double-take. She saw him raise his hand to his mouth and his voice crackled into her ear.

“Uh, I’m getting some strange readings. According to this, you’re on the exterior of the station.”

“Look up,” she said sweetly, and he did, and she laughed at his reaction.

“Are you crazy?” he seethed. “That fuel is venting right across your path. It’s not supposed to be, but it is. You’re trapped; you’ll get burned if you try to walk through it.”

“I know. But…”

She never got a chance to complete her sentence as she felt suddenly cold again, and not because of the emptiness of the vacuum.

Atton’s hands were dancing along the control panel. “Ship coming in to dock. Big one… Oh, a Republic… war cruiser. Uh, good or not good?”

“Not good,” she whispered. “It’s the Harbinger…”

“And…?”

“I was on that ship before I became unconscious. Based on hints a strange protocol droid gave me, terrible things happened on that ship while I was unconscious.”

Atton was silent for a long moment as the diamond-headed ship drew closer to them. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

Selyn looked at the bridge viewports of the Harbinger, and a stronger chill ran down her spine, and suddenly, unbidden, she had a vision. A vision of something that should not live, kneeling in meditation amidst a sea of bodies in Republic uniform, on that bridge.

“So do I,” she answered softly.

 

The visions were true, mostly. Every cabin and corridor on the ship was strewn with bodies, all in Republic uniform. Some had expressions of fear frozen on their faces, but most looked blank or surprised, as if they hadn’t even seen their death coming. There were few signs of combat, too – hardly any blaster marks on the walls, and in some areas the personnel hadn’t even drawn weapons. They’d been brutally assassinated.

And the assassins were still present. More than once her senses tingled, just barely, and she would spin just in time to block a knife thrust from stealth-cloaked men in black and silver garb who fought silently and died silently. For once they were revealed, they were not quite as skilled as she and her companions were. But the ambushes made her nervous, and with her control and sense of the Force as weak as it was… She took to sending Atton first; even though he seemed just as alert and twitchy as she was, he didn’t have the Force, he couldn’t sense danger even as poorly as she could. She didn’t want him to get stabbed in the back. Kreia showed no sign of alarm, her mouth pressed into an unchanging grim line.

The bridge was as she’d seen it in her mind’s eye, dark and bloodstained, but the monster she’d sensed was not there. The stink of death was worse here, and she tried not to breathe through her nose as she accessed the navicomputer for the asteroid charts they’d need to escape the system. She’d seen death like this before, a long time ago, and while she didn’t want to see it again, her body did not freeze in horror as it might once have done, moving smoothly, doing exactly what she asked of it. She hated that it was so easy, though it brought up thoughts long buried; anxious, too, that such thoughts were so self-centred while a hundred people lay dead around her. She couldn’t process the dissonance between body and mind, even between the layers of her mind, and finished her task as quickly as she could and without looking at the dead crew.

They had to move to the lowest level of the ship to reach their goal, on the way stopping by her former quarters so she could retrieve what was left of her belongings. Then they descended. Half the lights here were dead, and the corridor was extremely dark. They were halfway down the length of the ship when she felt creeping hatred behind her, and turned.

There, stepping out of the turbolift, was the horrific monster she’d seen in her vision. Tall, strong, with grey skin cracked like parched earth, and one eye blank and white at the centre of a massive cratering scar. He was like a zombie from a folk tale, yet her senses told her that he lived, and breathed, and hated. He was overflowing with hate, darkness poisoning the air around him, reaching out to her to draw her into its sickening coils. She had never met anything, anyone in all her experience like this. There is no emotion, there is only peace. And yet even her peace was shaken in the face of such violent power.

The Sith paced towards the three of them. “I came to warn you, Jedi.” The voice was deep, like a massive stone dragged across gravel. “You know not what path you walk.”

Kreia turned back. “This battle is mine alone. I am not defenseless. He cannot kill what he cannot see, and power has blinded him long ago. Run. I shall be along shortly.”

“Kre-” she began, and stopped. Kreia was already walking resolutely towards the Sith; she passed a door and it slid shut.

She could have run back and opened the door. Kreia hadn’t locked it.

But an old woman would not have stayed behind to fight to no purpose. If she meant to delay him with her life, she would not have assured them she would follow. Would she? No. She barely knew Kreia, yet somehow she knew she wouldn’t need saving, that disobeying her order would help nothing and hurt greatly.

“Let’s go,” she murmured to Atton, and he nodded and followed as she began to jog in the opposite direction.

Why did that Sith Lord’s voice sound familiar to her?

 

They were almost at the entrance to the fuel line, their unorthodox way out, when pain engulfed her left hand. She gasped and cried out.

“What? What’s wrong?” Atton demanded, turning towards her instantly. She gripped her hand, pressing it against her chest in a futile effort to dull the pain. He reached out towards her hesitantly as she leaned against the wall, gritting her teeth. She was surprised to catch such concern in his face. She wouldn’t have thought he would care so much, so soon, for her well-being.

“My hand… I don’t know what’s happening.”

“Dammit, don’t quit on me now, we’re almost there…” He was hiding his anxiety under gruffness, she could tell, and he put an arm around her and pulled her along. The pain began to fade and she straightened up and began to move at a more suitable speed.

“I think… I think something happened to Kreia.”

He looked at her strangely. “How do you know?”

“I just do.”

“I thought you said you weren’t a Jedi.”

“I’m not!” she said desperately. “I’m not a Jedi. I can’t feel the Force… It’s an illusion…”

He grunted. “We’ll figure it out later. For now, let’s keep running. Come on!”

 

“So, what happened?” he asked, as she went to look up where this Telos system was. They’d escaped the Harbinger, escaped Peragus – barely – before the Harbinger had turned its guns on them, destroying the entire asteroid belt behind them just as they fled to hyperspace. Perhaps the Harbinger was destroyed as well, and yet she doubted such a powerful Sith would simply die so easily. Kreia had returned at the last moment, and her left hand had been severed. She was now recuperating in one of the dorms.

Selyn paused and turned back to him. “To what?”

“Don’t give me that. Where’s your lightsaber? I thought Jedi were supposed to be married to their weapon?”

“I’m not a Jedi.”

“I know, you keep saying that.”

“And I don’t know who started that saying, but it’s not true.” She wanted to explain more, but he probably didn’t care.

He rolled his eyes. She could tell. “I know you had one, where’d it go?”

“I… left it behind. I don’t want to talk about it.” What had she been doing? She couldn’t remember. Absently, she poked the computer without really seeing it.

“All right.” He was silent for about five seconds before he turned back around to her and began again. “What colour was it? Blue? Green? …It wasn’t red, was it?”

She smiled a little and took a couple steps towards him to make the distance more conversational. “Silver, like the streams in the Room of a Thousand Fountains in the Temple on Coruscant.”

“Poetic,” he said. “Single or double blade?”

“Single blade. I was pretty classically trained. I can use a double-blade, I can dual-wield… but I prefer… preferred a single blade.”

“I bet you were good. You’re pretty good with a vibrosword, but with a lightsaber you might make those Sith think twice before attacking us.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said distantly. “It was taken from me a long time ago… and perhaps it would just drive them to hunt me harder.” She shook herself, came back to the task at hand. “What’s our ETA for Telos?” She’d forgotten to look it up entirely.

“Eighteen hours. You might want to catch some sleep. As soon as everything’s taken care of here, I’m certainly getting some.”

She nodded and smiled. “Good idea. I’ll see you later, Atton.”

 

She slept for twelve of those hours. She had been worn out from the running, the fighting, and recovering from whatever had happened to her while she was unconscious, including having her kolto tank poisoned. Exile was much more uneventful than this.

She rose refreshed, dressed in a robe from the bag she had retrieved from her room on the Harbinger, and searched for the ‘fresher on the little freighter. She showered, for the first time in ages – why hadn’t Atton complained about the smell? He was blunt enough to. She felt a lot better, and took some time afterwards braiding the sides of her black hair, to keep it back from her face. She stared at herself in the mirror as she did so. She was only thirty-five, but her brown eyes were growing wrinkles at the corners and her eyes had shadows under them nearly permanently. One would think being on vacation for nearly ten years would fix that.

She went to her shower kit and pulled out three silver hair clips to keep her braids in place. While Revan was practical with her hair and face, always putting her dark hair in a rough ponytail and never wearing make-up, Selyn liked to be pretty sometimes.

She finished with her hair and went to the cockpit, but Atton was sleeping there, lolled back in the pilot’s chair with his mouth hanging open. He snored.

She smiled gently. She rather liked him. He was more complicated than Kreia gave him credit for, or perhaps Kreia thought him beneath her notice because she disliked his surface. Selyn wasn’t sure.

But she left him, and went to check on Kreia again. She had done so the day before, at Atton’s urging. He certainly cared more about Kreia than Kreia cared about him, although she didn’t think the concern extended to liking or affection.

Kreia was waiting for her. “You have many questions, do you not?”

“Yes,” Selyn responded hesitantly. “I… why can I feel the Force again?”

“I do not know,” Kreia said. “It is a mystery to me as much as to you. A mystery, as well, is this bond we share.”

“You seem to know who I am,” Selyn said. “Almost better than I do, myself. How is that? You feel the Force, don’t you? Is that how?”

“I do, and there is much I can teach you, if you will let me.”

“I…” Selyn stopped and shook her head anxiously. “I don’t want the Force. I don’t want to be a Jedi. It’s not… I’m not one.”

“If you feel the Force, you will use it, trained or not,” Kreia said sharply. “It is better to use it trained than not. You will need my help. Am I correct in that you have never had an official Master?”

“Master Kavar…” Selyn began defensively.

“Master Kavar was not your true Master,” Kreia said. “He may have taught you something, and you may have shared a connection, but I know. Do not ask me how. You have never had a Master.”

“I don’t want one,” Selyn said. She did not want to contradict the proud old woman, and she hated to cross anyone, but everything told her she did not want the Force. “I – Kreia, the Force was taken from me for a reason. Several reasons. It’s bad enough dealing with the pain as an ordinary Force-less human. With that sensitivity…”

“Are you a coward?”

Selyn caught her breath with a hiss. “No. But you weren’t there. Were you? That battle was… too terrible to go back to. My life is tied to Malachor more than to the Force. It is difficult enough. Can we please stop talking about it?”

“It is too late,” Kreia said inexorably. “You already feel the Force again. It is a whisper, but it will grow.”

“It will grow to a scream,” Selyn said.

“No,” Kreia said. “The Force in the galaxy will grow to a scream. What was set in motion that day is still echoing through the galaxy. But the Force in you… ah, that is a different matter.”

“I do not have hope for myself,” Selyn said. “I have wandered a long time, and did not see many people. Now that I am back, I want to help people any way that I can. To give them hope again. To begin, even in the smallest way, to atone for the things I have done. But I have no hope for myself. And yet I know that is a danger, because I do not wish to fall to the Dark Side… and despair is of the Dark Side…”

“We will speak more of that later,” Kreia said. “For now, you must learn to accept this touch of the Force that has been granted again to you. You will deal with the pain. You are strong enough.”

Selyn stood. “Thank you for your confidence in me, Kreia.” She hesitated. “I don’t know why you help me, but… thank you.”

 

He’d just woken up again and taken his boots off the console. The ship was still on course and they only had a couple hours left until Telos. If only the dumb navicomputer wasn’t voice-locked. Selyn had had to ask the trash compactor to program their destination in for them, which meant as long as they used this ship, they had to take it with them. Joy. And if they hadn’t run across it in the empty fuel line, they would have never been able to leave. Even more joy.

He heard Selyn enter the cockpit. “’Sup?” he drawled as she entered and sat primly on the co-pilot’s chair. He glanced over at her, taking in what she’d done to her hair. “Nice hair.”

“Thank you,” she said. “How close are we?”

“Still two hours. Make yourself comfortable. How’s the old lady?”

“She is doing surprisingly well,” she said. “I hope we can get her proper medical treatment on Telos, but for now she is holding up well. In fact, she is more interested in my mental well-being.”

“Why’s that? You seem relatively sane. For a Jedi.”

“I’m not a Jedi,” she said patiently, and he grinned. But then she frowned. “Except that… she’s concerned because I can feel the Force again.”

He looked at her, frowning back. “What do you mean?” Why ‘again’?

“I couldn’t feel it for a long time,” she said. “My connection was… cut, somehow. But yesterday, on Peragus, I began to feel it again.” She looked out into the blue of hyperspace, an anxious look crossing her face. “I don’t want to feel it again.”

“Why not? Get all your superpowers back, and you won’t have to worry about the Sith much anymore.”

She smiled. “I do not share the arrogant opinion that a Jedi is a match for all Sith just because a Jedi is of the Light.” Ha, no, really? That’s a new one. “But no, it’s because… actually, I don’t want to talk about it. Please believe me when I say I don’t want any part of it again.”

“You’re really weird,” he grunted. What kind of Jedi didn’t want power, light or dark? But… that was a good thing, wasn’t it? For him, anyway. Less chance of her digging in his head, of finding out more than she needed to know. Speaking of which… “Anyway, don’t get too fond of me, I don’t like it.”

She smiled charmingly, as if she didn’t believe him. Oh frak, she was cute when she did that. How a thirty-five-year-old woman managed to be cute was behind him.

“I mean it! First chance I get, I’m out and off to the Nar Shaddaa red district. You helped me and I helped you; as far as I know, we’re even.”

“I believe you, and we are even,” she said calmly.

“No you don’t,” he muttered.

“I won’t hold you. Go wherever you wish. But it was nice to meet you.”

“I’m not leaving this second,” he muttered.

“Don’t pout, Atton.”

“Yes, Mom.”

She laughed. He shut up.

After a long silence, he turned to her again, an impish grin of his own on his face. “So, we’ve got two hours. Do you play pazaak?”

Her face brightened up. “I do! Do you have cards?”

He produced some from an inner pocket of his jacket with a flourish. “Right here. You don’t happen to have any, do you?”

She shook her head. “I lost mine a few months ago.”

“Lost yours? That’s bad luck, isn’t it? No wonder the Sith are after you.”

“Is it? I just thought it was unfortunate. May I borrow some of yours?”

“All right. And just so you know, I’m out of credits, so it’s Republic Senate rules.”

“That is fine by me. Thank you.” She accepted a random deal of ten from his side-deck, and he dealt the first card.

 

Part 3

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