REVENGE OF THE SITH
The air seemed to suffocate him and he could feel his stomach twist in knots. He had never felt this nervous before, or at least it had been years since he had the feeling of rancors dancing on his lower intestines. He took another deep breath, which didn’t seem to help him, and continued to view the planet that was coming closer in his line of vision.
Telos had been a beautiful planet once; the hills had been green, there had been small man made lakes, and of course the buildings were numerous; however the majority were family houses, those mostly the residence of the military station that was there. The planet had been mostly green once; now it was the hue of orangish-brown — the color of a nearly dead world.
Carth Onasi hadn’t been on Telos in nearly four years; he couldn’t go back. After what Saul Karath and the Sith had done to it, he couldn’t live there anymore. He didn’t even pack his things — just continued doing his military duties abroad, keeping only want he needed to survive; and what he would need in order to kill the traitorous bastard who had killed his family. But now…now Carth was coming back to Telos, to see the son he had last saw as a little boy.
He had been quite surprised to receive that holo from Dustil a few days earlier. He had been convinced that his son died, along with his wife; but to see him, and as a man, it…it shook Carth to the core. Dustil looked like his mother then and a rush of memories had come to Carth like he never knew.
He hadn’t wasted time with securing a ticket and started packing. His last conversation with Revan had him thinking though — apparently Dustil had contacted the Jedi High Council and they had forbidden Revan on telling Carth anything; of course Revan had ignored them and had told Carth how long they had known about Dustil and on guessing that his son had just contacted him.
Again, Carth didn’t understand why this was, but Revan had only told him that Dustil would probably make a mention of it and it would be better coming from him anyway. The pilot shook his head to clear it. He was worried; not only about what this meeting with Dustil would reveal, but about Revan was well.
The former Jedi master and reinstated knight had said the council had separated him from his girlfriend, fellow Jedi Bastila Shan, as it was against the Jedi Code to fall in love. Of all the most ridiculous things he had ever heard in his life! They were sending her on some mission she wouldn’t even know about until she had left and the timing couldn’t be worse.
Carth had opted to stay, but Revan had waved him off and insisted that he continue his trip to Telos.
‘You’ve waited too long for this and I, for one, certainly do not want to keep you from that.’
So the pilot had said goodbye to his friends and got onboard his shuttle. He was still coming to terms with this friend who had been a Sith Lord, but the very fact that Revan knew exactly what could happen with Carth and Bastila away and still insisting that he go and see his son…
The guy was amazing.
They were coming into the Telosian atmosphere when Carth returned from his musings. He was vaguely listening to the information droid that was giving out Telos history overhead, but he did catch the fact that the alien species known as Ithorians had been asked by the Republic to try and turn Telos around, a sort of ‘restore project’ the Republic was trying.
Carth didn’t have much experience with the Ithorians, but he hoped they knew what they were doing and secretly wished them the best. They apparently were setting up housing for those that still remained on the planet, something called a station, and even had some sort of police security mounted. It reminded Carth a bit like the outpost he had been stationed at in his youth.
The shuttle landed into the Telos/Citadel Station docking bay and the passengers were told they had about a two-hour layover. The information droid told those that would be getting back on all of the attractions that the Citadel Station had, though it was slow and still quite small. Carth didn’t listen to any of that; he grabbed his belongings and stepped off the ramp, his eyes searching for the person he came to see.
He couldn’t remember what he had wanted to say when he saw him, but almost immediately those feelings of abandonment came to the surface and he did his best to push them down again. He had been through a rough patch and he wasn’t exactly sure why he had even called on the Jedi Council or on Commander Carth Onasi.
Years ago, he had admired the man, respected him even. And why shouldn’t he? Everyone knew who Carth was, what a great pilot he was, what a wonderful officer of the Fleet. He had grown up with the man, had seen him at home and knew that what you saw was what you got with Carth.
But that day…that day changed everything…And now, four years later, he was standing in the lobby of the newly built dock module, waiting for a man he still inwardly hated.
Dustil Onasi had done many things in his short four years, from the time he was carted away from Telos and brought to the Sith Academy on Korriban and he attributed those things to the man he could see stepping off the loading ramp of the shuttle that had just landed.
He had contacted him, maybe hoping for…something, but now as he saw that familiar face attached to that familiar ugly orange jacket, anger burned in him. He would settle things, that was for sure, he would settle them today and make sure that his father knew exactly what he could do from now on.
The greeting between the Onasi men had been chilly at best. There were no hugs or talk of missing one another. It had been strictly formal, addressing of their names, a nod, and then they were walking out of the dock module and into what was known as the Entertainment 081 module. It was the go between the residential areas and housed the Telosian Security Forces, the cantina, and various information consoles in case one got lost.
The two men were quite surprised at this new station, neither of them being on Telos in those four years, and got somewhat lost in finding their way around. One of the consoles directed them to the Residential East 082 compound, where Dustil had secured a living space within apartment B, room number 1. They were quiet as they approached the compound, neither saying anything to the other.
Carth took the time to study his son — his grown son. He had no idea where he had been, something he was determined to find out, but he could see whereever it was took a toll on him. He had some slight bags under his eyes, but he looked relatively unharmed.
In his youth, Dustil had looked a lot like him; as he had gotten older, Carth could see a lot of his mother in his face, especially her eyes. Her eyes had captivated him, though they shared the same color, hers always seemed more intense somehow. Those were the eyes their son had inherited.
Upon reaching the door to his quarters, Dustil set about using the password that would allow him entrance, watching as the door opened to view the room inside. He waited for his father to move forward and when he didn’t, he took the initiative himself, walking to the center of the room and waiting until the door had closed before rounding on his father. His father hadn’t changed much; he seemed more tired than anything and a small part of Dustil was slightly concerned. They had been through a lot, hadn’t they?
Shaking his head, he tried to squelch the sympathy that welled up in him for this man. This man who had abandoned them, abandoned him for all the good in the galaxy and what had it done?
Carth watched as his son went through a myriad of emotions, seemingly warring with himself against something. ‘This is different, huh?’ he asked, looking around the room. ‘The planet…I mean.’
Dustil smirked, again shaking his head. ‘I would think you’d be used to something like this,’ he said, sarcastically. ‘Not like you were ever home to return what the house looked like.’
‘Dustil, please, don’t start…’
‘What?’ the young man spat. ‘Did you really think I’d be happy to see you? Look, everyone! It’s Father, come to rescue me at long last! Sure, he may have left Mother and I to die on Telos, but that doesn’t matter! Only about four years late!’
‘I didn’t abandon you!’ Carth exclaimed. ‘The task force just arrived too late. Telos was in ruins, and your mother… I held her while…’
‘Oh big deal!’ Dustil cried. ‘I felt her die! As for abandoning us, you abandoned us long before. We were alone all during the wars, and even once you came back, you still didn’t stay.’
‘I didn’t have a choice! I was needed…’
‘You were needed at home!’ The young man stood, giving an icy stare at his father. Did he really think things would go smoothly? ‘You were needed when the bombing started and I got captured. You were needed when my mother was dying.’
‘I tried, Dusty…’ Carth whimpered, trying to make his son understand, make him see. He had struggled for so long, so many years wondering what he could’ve done to make things right, to keep his family together.
‘Don’t.’ he replied. ‘Don’t call me that. You lost that right years ago.’ The two stared at each other, one angrier than hell, the other saddened by how things had gone down hill so fast. ‘I knew this was a mistake. I knew it from the time I even got clearance. This is hopeless.’
‘The son I knew would never…’ Carth started, but was again interrupted by Dustil.
‘You never knew me,’ the young man spat. ‘You weren’t even there to know me, so don’t presume to tell me what I would or wouldn’t do. Believe me, Father, I’ve done things you wouldn’t imagine your precious son of doing.’
‘And what would your mother say to that?’
‘Don’t ever talk about her.’ Dustil growled, walking straight up to his father and staring him in the face.
‘I loved her, too.’
‘I loved her more.’
The two were at a standstill, Dustil using everything in his power to keep him from attacking this man. He was angry and for good reason. How dare he say he loved her? He, who went out all the time and was never home, had the very nerve to say that he loved his mother?
Unable to contain his anger, Dustil pushed past him, leaving the apartment and storming down to the Entertainment module, leaving a stunned and broken Carth.
He was nineteen when he met and married Morgana Galez on Telos. He had been born and raised on the planet and was just finished with his pilot training for the Fleet when he had met her. She had flown in from Alderaan, something about wanting to visit a friend who had come to Telos because of the Fleet.
She had been beautiful — long dark brown hair, brown eyes, and legs to die for. He had been smitten when he had seen her in the cantina, standing at the bar, waiting for service.
She had dismissed him easily, sending him on his way back to his friends, who laughed at his shut down. He didn’t see her for week, never forgetting the girl that got away. He saw her at the theater next, looking every bit as lovely in the light of day as the dark of night.
This time, he was a gentleman, asking her if she was lost. He showed her around the sights, nervously asking if she’d like to have dinner with him sometime and having his heart nearly burst when she said yes.
It wasn’t a surprise when after a few months of marriage, they discovered she was expecting. He was embarrassed when people called them gizkas, but he couldn’t help it. Every time he saw her, he wanted her. And there was something, almost prideful in his voice, when he told people he was going to be a father, as though he was silently telling people ‘I did that.’
Morgana usually got a kick out it, telling him he wouldn’t touch her again after this child was born. It never stopped him, of course, and up until a month before their son was born, he and Morgana were always at it.
He could still remember what it felt like to hold his small baby, his son, in his arms after he had been born. In his mind, in his heart, he knew he would never let anything happen to him.
To either of them.
Carth had been alternating sitting with standing ever since Dustil had left. He was agitated, by the way he kept running his hands through his hair. He didn’t understand it — this was supposed to be a happy reunion. Where was the part when his son would hug him and tell him things would be all right again?
But he assumed this was just his luck. Of course things wouldn’t be great; he should’ve seen that when Dustil hardly said one word to him since meeting and then the verbal backlash as soon as they entered his quarters.
The former pilot realized there might be some hurt feelings, but he never thought he would encounter something like this. It was down right scary and heart wrenching.
He had never meant to make Dustil or Morgana to feel as though he didn’t love them, as though he wouldn’t do anything for them because he would. He went to war to protect them, to ensure they would live in a world where things were right.
If he was truthful with himself, he had never imagined he’d be the one without either of them. He always thought he would die in a battle somewhere, never imaging he would lose both his wife and son.
The sound of the console outside and the opening of the door stopped Carth’s pacing and he immediately went to apologize for whatever wrong he had done, when Dustil stopped him. Waiting for the door to close, the young man put a hand up before falling back against the door.
Carth kept his mouth shut, though the image of his son clearly drunk was filed away for later. ‘I brought you here to tell you something,’ the young man slurred, a strange smile on his face.
Something in the younger man’s tone of voice had Carth thinking about the conversation he had with Revan, before he left, when he had learned the Jedi Council had known about Dustil…
‘They’ve known since we’ve been here.’ Revan replied. ‘As to how, apparently Dustil contacted the council himself.’
Revan looked at the man, his sunny disposition suddenly come crashing down with the knight’s arrival. ‘I think you’ll have to ask Dustil about that.’ He said
‘What is it, son?’
‘Don’t…don’t call me that,’ Dustil stuttered. ‘I haven’t been your son for at least eleven years.’
Well, that stung. ‘Don’t say things like that…’
‘It’s true!’ The younger man winced as the loudness of his voice gave him a blinding flash of pain. When it subsided, he began to laugh. ‘It’s funny, you know?’ he mumbled. ‘When I saw you on the Holonews, I was so angry. There you were, paragon of Republic sympathy, standing next to the former dark lord of the Sith. It was ironic, seeing as I had just left the Sith myself…’
Carth was sure he didn’t hear that right. ‘What?’ he asked.
Dustil laughed again. ‘Oh, that.’ He chuckled. ‘That’s what I wanted to tell you. Remember what I said, about knowing anything about me? Well there it is, Dad! I’m a Sith! Or was a Sith. I guess it doesn’t matter now, does it?
‘No more Sith to speak of. And before you say anything, don’t worry. I’m doing my dutiful son act and joining the Jedi. It seemed to have worked for that bastard Revan and his Jedi whore.’
‘Dustil…’ Carth growled. His mind was still reeling from the statement that his son had been a member of the Sith – a member of the very organization that had killed his mother – he did not need to hear his son badmouthing his friends on top of that.
‘You watch what you say,’ he continued. ‘I taught you to have respect for people and I refuse to stand here and listen…’
‘Don’t you talk to me that way,’ the boy countered, teetering on his balance. ‘The Sith were my family…’
‘Family!?’ Carth exclaimed. ‘You made a family out of liars and murderers?’
‘It didn’t stop you from making best friends out of them!’ Dustil retorted. ‘If I remember correctly, you seemed to be quite cozy with an ex-Sith lord and his mistress. Makes me wonder how many other people you’ve been ‘cozy’ with.’
‘That’s enough, Dustil.’ That was it. His son had lost it, completely had lost his mind. ‘I don’t who the hell you think you are, but you are my son…’
‘Who do I think I am?’ Dustil asked, quietly. ‘It’s simple, Father. I’m someone who could very easily kill you if you don’t watch it.’
Carth nearly dropped from the shock. His son had just threatened him, had just said he could kill and knowing the Sith like he did, he knew Dustil wasn’t kidding. ‘That’s your family, Dustil?’ he whispered.
‘Have I hurt you so much that you’d be so willing to join the people who killed your mother? Who made this planet the way it is? To kill me in cold blood right here and now?’ They stood looking at each other in silence.
‘Then do it, Dustil.’ Came the reply. ‘I’ve…I haven’t done what I supposed to when you were a boy and obvious I haven’t succeeded for you now. I did what I set out to do and that was to avenge you and your mother. I’ve…I’ve got nothing else, I guess.’
Dustil bowed his head and Carth thought maybe the young man had changed his mind or had dozed off while standing, when he heard his son muttered something. ‘They killed someone I lo…someone I knew.’
‘I had been looking for something,’ he continued. ‘Something that would gain me more prestige for Master Uthar. I found it in one of the consoles — they killed her. She was so nice to me when I got there; I was so scared. I didn’t know what had happened, only that mother was dead and you were nowhere to be found.
‘She told me I could use the Force, that’s why I could feel…we…we talked. They…they said…’ Dustil slumped to the floor with small thud, sniffling as he did. Carth was there before he fell, kneeling next to the man he remembered as a boy.
‘They said she was hindering my progress,’ he continued. ‘But she didn’t. She…helped…helped so much…’
The young man pulled his knees to him, holding himself as he fought tears. In that instant, Carth was reminded of the little boy who tried to be brave, who tried to hide the pain when he skinned his knee.
He remembered the times he had come to the boy, knowing his presence was comforting than that of his mother’s…he remembered those times as very few and he again cursed himself for their shattered past.
‘I’m so sorry, son,’ he said, putting a hand on the boy’s — no, young man’s — shoulder. ‘I’m sorry you had to find out that way about your friend, but I’m glad you’re okay. And I’m proud of you, Dustil. You didn’t hang onto a lie after you saw it for what it was. Not everyone could do that.’
‘I’m sorry, Dad.’ Came the sniffle and then another gulp of air.
‘I’m sorry, son,’ the pilot insisted. ‘I never meant to hurt you or your mother. I loved you both so much and I failed you. And for that, I’m sorry. I only wanted to protect you, to make sure you were both safe. I never…I never though this would happen. Never in a million years.’
The two remained like that, until Dustil’s tears subsided and he told Carth he was going to be sick. Laughing, the pilot helped his son to stand and lead him to the bathroom, where the young man immediately began to empty the contents of his stomach.
Then Carth helped him into bed, covering him with the spread. He watched his son drift into an alcohol-induced sleep before cupping his cheek in his hand.
‘You’re a good boy, Dusty,’ he whispered. ‘And I’m sorry I missed so much of you growing up. I’d like to make it up to you, but on your conditions. I don’t want to miss any more of your life, son.’
With that, he moved back to the sat he had been sitting in previously, thinking over things. He knew they had a hard road to go through and it wouldn’t be easy, with years and hurts between them.
But he meant what he had said. A long time ago, he promised his wife he would look out for their son, only finding his son lost among the others. He had been given a second change and he wasn’t going to waste it.
When his son woke up, he would make the effort to get him back in his life.