REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part IX – Confrontation
Mission Vao had gone through a lot of things in her life. She couldn’t remember anything about her parents and she had been abandoned on the planet of Taris by her brother at a very tender age. She managed to survive on her own for a few years, but it was hard.
She had nothing but the skills she had learned from Griff — which were more like hacking and hawking more than anything else — and that was it. And then she had run into Zaalbar being roughed up by the Vulkars gang.
They had been fine — she the talker, he the muscle — and again, she found her life changing when she was approached by Carth Onasi and Jayden Korr. She hadn’t known she would be helping the two recover a lost Jedi, nor did she know she would go on an adventure that would definitely change her life.
After she and Big Z had left Coruscant, they had both gone back to his home planet to straighten out the situation with Czerka. Arriving there, they had found the planet in slight disarray and some random fighting from those employees that didn’t enjoy being chucked out of their jobs.
But thankfully, the Wookies prevailed and soon Czerka would become a distant memory. They got started on turning the Czerka facilities into their own communications hub, so that they could contact anyone if they so choose.
But after that — after the clean up and the rebuilding — there was nothing for her on Kashyyyk, so she decided to do something else. This was the first time since meeting Zaalbar that Mission was by herself, so she decided that she needed to do something of worth.
So she took one of the freighters that Czerka had left behind and headed off to Nar Shaddaa. Why she choose the Hutt-runned planet she didn’t know, but something told her to go there. Of course, she had lived in the Lower City for years on Taris, but it was on Nar Shaddaa that she felt the true dregs of society.
When she arrived, the Exchange and Serroco hadn’t moved all the refugees into their own sector, but it would only be another year before that would happen. But in the meantime, she again would need to make it on her own. It was just pure luck that she landed in the presence of Sundjask ‘Sunny’ Ishim while playing pazaak one night in the local cantina.
And it wasn’t anything extraordinary other than the fact that she beat him and he had known she had been cheating.
He hadn’t been mad; if anything he was slightly impressed. He had told her of his ‘side’ business — that he was trying to help the refugees — and she had immediately jumped at the chance to help those that needed it. What surprised her were how many kids that had been sold to the Exchange in order to pay off debts.
Of course the parents were heartbroken, but really, what could they do? If not slavery, there was always torture or death. The experience may have hardened her a little when it came to dealing with people like that, especially when she began to learn more about her own species.
She had come into contact with a young Twi’lek girl like herself, who had been sold into slavery with the Exchange when her family couldn’t pay off their debts. It didn’t matter though, as the thugs had still killed her father and brother. The girl had only just gotten away, telling Mission how their species was little more than entertainment for the group.
It had angered Mission and made her think about her friends, especially Juhani, who had known a life like that before meeting Revan. After that, Mission didn’t think about trying to help these people; she just did.
And now, after everything that had happened so far, Mission Vao once again saw her life changed. Once again, she had run into Carth, Bastila, and Revan and once more, she had willingly helped her friends. Then she had met the man that now occupied her thoughts.
She sat within the large medical facility that the Sojourn offered onboard, but more importantly, she sat by the bedside of one Dustil Onasi. His wounds hadn’t been terribly serious — a few hours within the kolto tank — but he needed rest and recuperation. That didn’t stop Mission from spending most of her time by his bed, so he could at least see a friendly face when he woke up.
She wasn’t sure when her feelings for the former Sith student began changing from hostile to what she felt now, but all she knew was when she saw him being carried onboard the Hawk and then off to the med unit on the Sojourn, her breath caught in her throat.
The thought that he could…well…die, disturbed her deeply and she had immediately stationed herself next to the bed when the docs were done with him.
He had woken only a few times, but just enough for her to feel calm that he was still breathing, though whenever he dozed again she could feel the worry coming back. She had never before felt like this; it was scary and exciting all at the same time. She wondered what it all meant and was thinking of who she could ask that could keep this to themselves….when she felt him stirring in front of her.
The first thing Dustil felt was the beginning of a slight headache and the fact that his muscles seemed stiff. The second thing he felt was a hand holding his. At first, he thought it was his mother. He had seen her again and they had talked, just like they used to.
He hadn’t seen her since Thule, though he was dismayed that it hadn’t been her that he had seen; which explained where he was. Opening his eyes slowly, the dimness of the room confused him at first. This was the afterlife? But he felt the hand squeeze his and he turned to find Mission staring down at him.
He managed a small smile for her, remembering the conversation he had with his mother. Despite everything he had tried, Dustil Onasi had fallen fast for the young Twi’lek and seeing her here made it all the easier to keep falling.
“Hey Little Blue,” he croaked, smiling wider as she giggled. He had taken to calling her that because he was taller and could reach things she couldn’t. At first, she had been annoyed, but slowly it seemed a rather sweet endearment.
“Hey yourself,” she whispered. “Are you thirsty?”
At his nod, Mission reached over to get a cup of fresh water. The young man struggled a bit in his bed before finally setting himself up against the wall behind his head. He took the cup gratefully, taking several cool drinks before handing it back.
For someone who had been quite injured, Dustil felt pretty good. Looking at Mission though, she didn’t look so well. There were some slight bags under her eyes, as though she hadn’t gotten any sleep and he wonder if she had even eaten at all.
“I’m glad you’re okay,” came her timid response. She was looking down at the hands folded in her lap, doing her best to avoid Dustil’s eyes. While he had been asleep, it was easy to be girly and cry up a storm, but now that he was awake, all those fears that she had lost him returned and she just felt like running to her quarters to sob.
“We were all worried, you know? Cause you looked so bad and we weren’t sure if you were okay, and then they brought you here and then…”
“Mish,” Dustil called, another smile on his face. She always rambled when she was nervous. He moved over slightly, leaving enough room for her. “Come here.”
The young woman obeyed, keeping her head down until she was next to him. Once his arms went around her shoulders, she snuggled against his neck, sniffing a few times. The Jedi placed a kiss on her crown. “Ah, Mish,” he soothed. “I’m okay. I’m here and I’m all right.”
“I was really scared,” came the watery reply.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered. “I didn’t mean to make everyone worried or even scared.” He held her tighter, his fingers stroking the lekku that caressed his neck and jaw. She was quiet, to the point that he thought she may have fallen asleep. However, when she spoke, her soft reply stated she was clearly still awake
“I really like you, Dusty.”
The young man smiled. “I really like you, too,” he whispered. “I like you a lot, though I never intended to like you so much.” Mission raised her head, her face a mask of confusion.
Dustil swallowed; he hadn’t meant to say that, but now that it was out, he wanted to tell her. “There was this girl…” he started, before shaking his head. He would need to tell the story from the beginning. That was only fair.
“On Telos?” she questioned.
“After…I met her afterwards, when…” He had her attention now, so he couldn’t back out even if he wanted. Taking a breath, he said, “The day Telos was attacked, I was at a friend’s house. We were trying to build a speeder…”
The planet of Onderon had a dark history, that was true, and that dark history went hand in hand with the Sith Empire. To date, Onderon had been involved in at least six wars, an usual high volume for one planet. In the present, Onderon’s port of Iziz was now looking as it did during the days of the Mandalorian War.
The only people out were the strange beings that walked the streets, along with the influx of Sith troopers and assassins. They still combed the city looking for Queen Talia and her people and weren’t having such luck. If it seemed their leaders worried, they didn’t. The strange beings discussed amongst themselves before vanishing in thin air.
Those that had seen it were awed and stunned by these people whom they had never seen before.
The Sith soldiers were much more brutal than those of Vaklu’s troops. If you were caught on the street, you were tortured and killed. No one went out anymore. All communications in and out of Iziz were halted altogether. While it suited the needs of the Sith and those that commanded them, it did not sit well for those that fought them.
In the Merchant Quarter, more precisely the home of one Dhagon Ghent, the mood inside was somber. The doctor himself couldn’t even get out to try and help people, even if he wanted.
Topside, things were bad; the Sith still hunted Talia, making her an enemy of the state and he had overheard some of the troops say the Sith Lord that had been buried on Dxun would be claiming Onderon once again. Ghent didn’t have to be brilliant to figure out what that meant for the people of the planet. Unfortunately, there were other problems within his secret hold.
Downside, within the cavern that had once held Queen Talia when Vaklu had taken over, once again served as not only a hiding place for her majesty, but to a handful of Mandalorian clansmen. It made for some cramped quarters, but the men of Clan Ordo had gone through worse and as long as they survived to gut every one of the Sith soldiers above them, it was more than worth it.
Their leader, Mandalore, sat near the back, grimacing as the initial sting of a med pack went into his arm. He had been pretty banged up, like the rest of his men, when the Sith assassins appeared out of nowhere bringing with them soldiers who had obviously been waiting for the moment when they could take Onderon for themselves.
Despite any pain he may be in, Canderous Ordo watched with pride as Visas Marr — his woman — fought the Sith like a woman possessed. She had ignited her lightsaber and cut down as many Sith as he and his men put together. If he wasn’t already in love with her, he would be.
If there had been any doubt as to whether or not she would make a suitable Mandalorian wife, they were squashed then and there.
And even now, as she checked on some of his men injuries, he knew what to be right in his heart. Like any true leader, he insisted his men be looked at first. Dhagon had been kind enough to look over injuries, including Visas’ even when she protested.
“Check her too, Doc,” he said, holding his injured left arm.
“I…I am fine,” she replied, taking slow and calming breaths. The Force felt depleted within her and she knew she had very little health left.
“I know you are,” he whispered. Placing his hand on her arm, he said, “For me.”
It certainly wasn’t a secret now, about him and Visas, but as far as Canderous was concerned if his men had a problem with her, they had a problem with him. But — and this was only to himself — he admitted hearing praise from his trusted men, those of Kelbourn, Bralor, Zuka, and Kex, meant a lot to him.
They approved of Visas and they seemed to get along together as well. And that’s what he needed — men who would take direction, who would take action. The Ordo Clan was strongly aligned with the Queen and they would do whatever to ensure she was back in power.
But for now, he would be babied.
“How’s your arm?”
He moved his shoulder around and shrugged, wincing as he felt a shot of pain lance upwards. “Little stiff,” he replied. “I can still kick some ass, even without it.”
“I’d like to keep you whole, if possible,” came the retort.
“You just want the good bits.”
She chuckled, leaning over to kiss his ear. “Every bit of you is good, Canderous.”
The Mandalorian wrapped an arm around her waist, pulling her to him. “All right then?” he asked, his hand cupping her cheek lightly.
It still surprised him how gentle he could be with her. Mandalorians were not known for their gentle style, but something about her made him want to be tender with her, just as she was with him. It still struck him, even now, how the two of them had come together like this.
“Yes, cyare,” Visas whispered, a small smile forming on her face.
Since coming back from Freedon Nadd’s tomb to now, Canderous had been nearly obsessed with her well being. She had been overcome after leaving Dxun and their recent battle put a slight strain on her muscles and the use of the Force.
By all rights, she should be resting, but she couldn’t rest knowing that Canderous was hurt and had not been seen by the doctor.
“Zuka is working on rigging up an alternate form of communication,” she stated. “We must get word to Revan about our situation.”
“If anyone can do it, it’s Zuka,” Canderous replied. “We also need to make plans from the inside as well. We’re sitting ducks while the Sith are out there looking for us.”
“I agree,” the young woman said. “However, how do we do that? Those assassins are just like before; stalking us until they are upon without our knowledge. And I doubt we have enough stealth field generator belts to go around.”
“We’re not giving up, that’s for sure.”
“I’m not suggesting that at all.”
The Mandalorian sighed. “I know you aren’t,” he whispered. “This is bantha spit! The Sith are out there and we are holed up in here.”
“We have to wait and see if Zuka comes up with anything,” she soothed, running a hand through his hair. “Then we can contact reinforcements. I have a feeling we will be needing them.”
It had only been two days, but Atton was worried.
He hadn’t heard back from either Ellis or Brianna since they had parted the Necrosis for their own missions. He had heard the rumors that Ellis had been taken by Revan and his crew and possibly turned over to the Republic Senate. To say the atmosphere on the Necrosis wasn’t the least bit jumpy was an understatement. The crew wasn’t sure of what they were hearing.
It was hearsay — their lord couldn’t have possibly been taken by Revan, however they all knew that Revan had been a formidable opponent. But how their dark lord lived, they didn’t know, but they knew that Lord Trayun wouldn’t betray them.
Their True Sith masters however, didn’t seem to be too concerned. Perhaps that’s why Atton felt uneasy. Two of their dark lords had suddenly disappeared; especially when the master — Darth Trayun was one of them. It shouldn’t be anything if the apprentices go missing, but the man in charge? How could the masters not see this to be problematic?
It was later in the night, that first night that Atton felt something was very wrong, that the masters had summoned him to their conference room. They praised him for his work on Honoghr and how he should feel proud to serve the Sith. He immediately asked about Ellis and Brianna. He was surprised when they chuckled slightly.
“Lord Casus,” replied one master. “I’m sure you have heard the rumors that Lord Trayun has been captured by the Republic.”
To this, Atton nodded.
“We are afraid to say that this is indeed true. Trayun has been captured by Revan and I’m sure he is either being interrogated or tortured for the information he holds. As much as we don’t want to think him a lost cause, the Jedi have ways to combat our…operatives. We of course, hope that Lord Trayun will escape his predicament, but we can’t sit and ponder if that will happen or not.”
“Shouldn’t we send someone to rescue him?” the marauder asked. “I mean…he is…he’s Darth Trayun.”
“We do have plans to reunite Trayun with our fold,” replied another. “But these plans will take time and we can not allow what advantages we have slip by. We must continue with taking the Republic and then we are able to rescue Lord Trayun.”
“For now, my student,” commanded Freedon Nadd. “We have a task for you. The Sith Empire is regaining our former glory. We have taken the moon of Dxun and the planets of Onderon and Corellia; we have taken back our former planets of glory, like Yavin 4 and Korriban; we have rebuilt our armies and have recreated our former war beasts and ships; we can easily take the Republic if we so wish.”
“Easy Master Nadd,” replied Exar Kun. “We can not be hasty in these endeavors. That has been our downfall before, as Lord Trayun loves to point out. I believe we may have some opposition, if Revan has anything to say about it.”
“So what do we do?”
“We have a very special mission for you, Lord Casus,” one master said. “We need you to be a leader for our troops. With their lord and master gone, they will need someone to rally them.”
“But…I’m…I’m not…” Atton stumbled. “I’m not a leader like El…Lord Trayun. I don’t think the troops could learn anything from me.”
“Oh but Lord Casus, they have!” exclaimed another master. “They look up to you. You are the idealization of what the Sith should be.”
“I’m afraid that Lord Trayun may have lost sight of that.”
“You’re mission is two-fold, actually,” replied Kun. “We…have something that needs to be kept an eye on as well.”
“A spy, to be exact,” said Nadd. “We need to make sure that they are kept relatively safe.”
“Yeah,” Atton muttered. “Yeah, I can do that.”
“The prisoner is within a holding cell,” one master said. “You’ll find her at the far most point of the ship, starboard part. Look on them, make sure they are treated well. We have plans for them.”
Atton nodded slowly, bowing to his master, and contemplating about what they had said. He had no experience at leading anyone. He was a foot soldier; he followed orders, he didn’t give them. He was good at torture and things like that. Maybe that’s why the masters had given him the task of looking on the prisoner.
But if it was one captive, why did the masters keep saying they? Well, he would find out, as he headed towards the starboard section of the ship. They had designated this area specifically for prisoners that they may capture during this war and it was Atton’s mission to make sure those Republic scum and any Jedi left were to suffer the consequences.
He could feel himself getting anxious; the feeling he always got before he killed a Jedi. He didn’t think he could ever get the bug back, that thrill of watching an uptight Jedi frak be reduced to one of his torture techniques. He hadn’t lied to Ellis back on the Ebon Hawk; he had been good at it.
What he hadn’t said was that he enjoyed it too.
He enjoyed being above those arrogant, self-serving Jedi, who thought they knew better than anyone else; thought they were so right about everything. His footsteps led him to a door where two Sith soldiers stood.
He was in the mood to torture someone.
The soldiers immediately straightened upon seeing him, nodding as they stepped from the door. They obvious knew why he was there; he could tell by the smiles on their faces.
Opening the door, however, he never expected to see what he did when he entered. The room was moderate, the size of one of the crew’s quarters. There was a lone holding cell and in it, the last person Atton ever expected to see.
Sitting in the holding cell was none other than Lady Salus, Brianna Kae.