Previous Next

Room for Compassion

Posted on Wed Sep 25th, 2019 @ 10:32pm by Bomoor Thort & Mentis & Thane & Amare & Zenarrah Sozo & 2-1BH "Useless"

Chapter: Chapter V: Unbound
Location: Red Raptor, Korriban
Timeline: After "Invictus", Day 4

OLD

Mentis rubbed the back of his neck, still shaking off the odd feeling he had experienced when he went to Rex’s aid, now threatening to return being told he had saved this young woman’s life.

“I don’t think…” the Rattataki began, before gazing into those deep Nautolan eyes, filled with a warmth that Nala’s had never held, even when they had been at their closest, “Sure. I will see that she gets to a bed. I will see if there is any bacta for her leg.”

Mentis took Amare in his arms, awkwardly like one would cradle a delicate ceramaplex vase, and, with a nod towards Rex, took her out into the main corridor to find the medical bay for himself.

NEW

We are... no... Jedi

Thane's words rang through the Force bond and into Bomoor's mind as he sensed yet another conflict brewing in the young Sith's mind. So true the words were now that they found themselves in open conflict with both Axion and the Jedi. He sensed that their brief allegiance with the Reborn Order members had once again come to a sudden end, although just how Thane had ended that partnership he had yet to learn.

Before he could delve further into their connection, while his friend's mental barriers were lowered, Bomoor was drawn out by a sharp sting to his side.

"Ssss... ouch!" the Ithorian hissed, opening his dark eyes as he felt a sharp stinging across his wounded leg. He spied a small mechanical dongle whizzing back into a floating probe after having administered some spray to his injury.

"Apologies, Master Thort," came the low droning voice of the holographic droid 'Useless', "You appeared to be unconscious and it is recommended that a topical antiseptic be administered to the wound within the first fifteen minutes to minimise risk of infection. I needed to apply it myself since you were unable."

Bomoor watched the little probe fly away, past the shimmering white holoprojection of the 21-B droid and off towards a docking station in the wall, "That's alright 'Useless' but I was merely surprised. Did we get a new droid?"

"I would not classify that as a droid, Master Thort," the medical machine came dangerously close to offering its own opinion, "It is a remote probe I control. We have had it since Mistress Morgo upgraded my capabilities."

"Right..." Bomoor shifted his weight awkwardly, bringing himself to the edge of the bed so he could look around the still empty Medical Bay, "I suppose we are lucky she did. I expect we will be seeing a few more casualties shortly."

As he spoke of casualties, he wondered if all of their newfound companions had even made it onto the ship, which he now felt speeding forwards into the upper atmosphere. Amare and Thane were with them as he could sense their familiar auras, but the others were less discernible and their fates were therefore harder to determine.

The curious Reborn Jedi were of obvious interest but perhaps more so was the strange Rattataki Mentis, who claimed to now be an enemy of the cult and fleeing for his life. With the events just passed, his story seemed all the more credible, but just why he was seeking them out with those two strange Tatooinian spacers was anyone's guess.

"I was made aware of our new passengers by one G4-3K, who is currently in control of the ship," 'Useless' continued, drawing his projection closer to Bomoor's side, imitating a physician tending to his patient, "I am not in a position to comment on the core controls of the ship, but this new droid's programming language seems a little 'rough' and the command sequence he gave me is not the usual standard. I was perfectly content with our old astromech and this one seems like a downgrade, if you do not mind me saying so."

Bomoor was about to begin correcting the glorified computer program when the Med Bay door slid open and a scratched, bruised Mentis carefully entered at an angle, carrying in his arms the unconscious form of Amare.

"Coda!" Bomoor exclaimed, forgetting her new name in the heat of the moment and pushing himself off the bed and to her side.

"Please, do not crowd her!" 'Useless' raised his vocal output to be heard, "Place her upon the other bed and I will run a scan."

Mentis followed the command and placed the Nautolan gently down upon the bed and the medical droid began to scan from a sensor built into the unit.

The Ithorian and the Rattataki stood face to face, divided only by Amare laying between them, "So, that Nautolan Cultist did this to her?" Bomoor asked.

"Nala," the pale man nodded, "Yes, she did this. Cut straight through her lightsaber too. Your young friend here is lucky Nala likes to gloat before she kills or she would be dead already. That other blue Nautolan rushed over and saved her; probably saved me too. Is she related to this... Amare here."

Bomoor heard the name again, soaking in the change that had occurred within Coda to become this new, stronger and darker form. Indeed, the other woman did have much in common with Amare and the way she had spoken before, suggested a deeper knowledge than she let on.

"I do not know..." he admitted, "But perhaps. We shall know soon enough."

The scanner clicked and then beeped, "Mistress Wolph has suffered a deep tissue burn to her left thigh and minor burns to her right hand. Complete motor function can be restored, but she will be unable to put weight on her left leg for three to four weeks. Scarring is also highly likely, even with advanced dermal regeneration. Once basic treatment is complete, I can search for appropriate physical therapy programmes on local systems."

"Just start treating her!" Bomoor raised his own voice, impatient at the droid's insistence on chattering, "Is there any damage to her brain? Is it just shock that caused her to pass out?"

The little probe whizzed over again and began applying that same spray as 'Useless' continued, "There are some signs of bruising to the trachea; she may have experienced mild suffocation but most of her symptoms are consistent with shock, yes."

"Nala had her suspended by the throat too," Mentis confirmed as he looked down with a concerned expression, "It's strange how you never think about how you're crushing someone's windpipe. How you're cutting off someone's precious air."

Scrutinising the man with squinted eyestalks, "I suppose you wouldn't unless you had ever tried to protect someone. Had someone you feared to lose."

That seemed to touch a nerve in the former cultist and he turned away, shrinking into himself while the treatment of Amare continued, "Life is so fragile..." he seemed to shudder.

Bomoor pitied the man, so narrow was his previous vision of life that basic concepts of compassion seemed to overwhelm him. Even so, he had already started along a broader path. The Ithorian could sense that much and it intrigued him.

"And yet, you have survived as will Amare here," Bomoor softened his voice, "Why do you think that is?"

Turning back to face the former Jedi, Mentis answered, "Well, we would not have if it were not for this ship. If we didn't have the numbers we did in that fight."

Bomoor nodded, "Life is not so fragile when we fight together. The reason I continue to seek power is to protect the lives of those I care about. The Jedi no longer focus on preserving life as they once did and I know Axion certainly does not. But I think you see it or, at least, want to see it. Am I wrong?"

It was clear that Mentis did not have an answer for him in that moment but Bomoor would need an answer soon if he was to trust his intentions among them. He did not have space on his journey for a selfish parasite that only feared for his own life.

Fortunately for Mentis, the two men were suddenly distracted by the uncomfortable groaning of the injured Amare as she wrestled herself back into the conscious world.

Hushed random words huffed out from Amare's lips and she fidgeted and flinched into an uphill mental battle to retake her consciousness.

"Have to...must...(unintelligible)...act," she murmured with great visible distress on her face, her eyes struggling to snap open. "Act...(random words in Nautila)...Jedi...way of cowards...(more Nautila)...Sith...the Sith...must act..."

"Amare?" Bomoor's echoic voice queried softly, "Amare, we are here. The battle is over."

Small surges of electricity began to spark at random from her right hand whilst a small writhing flicker of her red ethereal flame gently arose from her left hand. All the while, small loose objects around the medbay began to lift several inches into the air from where they were.

"Uh, Ma-er Bom-r," the holographic doctor began to short out, "-equipment fai-ure."

Reaching forward with his long fingers, Bomoor attempted to project an aura of calm, although he found it harder than usual to maintain that calm focus.

He did not try long before Amare snapped awake with a sudden gasp. In that instant, the subconscious displays of her power instantly evaporated and she stared hard at Bomoor, as if scrutinizing whether his appearance was real, or another terrible trick of her own mind.

"Bomoor?" she asked weakly with an innocence akin to her kindly former temperament as Coda, her hands reaching to grasp his shoulders, desperate to know if it really was him. "What happened? Where are we?"

"You were injured in the battle against the cultists," Bomoor explained, "But you are back on the ship now in the Med Bay, thanks to Mentis here."

Mentis toughened his expression, squinting at her with his non-dilated eye, "Well, it was the other woman, that Zennarah, that saved you from Nala. I merely carried you in here while she went over to confront that other Cathar Jedi."

Interesting thought Bomoor, not too distracted to pick up on the comment, So, those two Jedi may not be as like minded as they first appeared. That might prove advantageous.

He filed the thought away for now before reassuring Amare again, "We are in the air now and I do not sense anyone in pursuit. It seems we've succeeded. Not exactly as planned, but no matter: mission accomplished. Another Kaiburr shard that will not make it into Axion's hands."

"Thane...he's close," Amare said softly, her head shifting nervously as she searched around the medbay, her vision blurred, and the light all around her bright in multi-coloured halos. She glanced at Mentis and then the door. There was a strong oscillating feeling of the light nearby, and it stung her mind like so many Nabooian honeybees; its presence impressed in her great trepidation and loathing. Her instincts were screaming at her to get up and extinguish it by any means possible. "I need to find my master," she plead to Bomoor. "Help me. We have to stop the Jedi..." She started to push herself upright only to be stopped by the limits imposed on her from her fresh wounds.

"Aaah!" she yelped and grimaced from an incredibly sharp pain at her thigh. She recoiled back onto the bed with her teeth clenched tightly together, her breathing laboured and her skin clammy. She had thought nothing could hurt more than the flesh-rending slash from the terentatek she fought earlier; she was wrong. Even with Useless' initial treatment, a lightsaber wound had easily put that monster's grievous dealings of pain to shame. "Bomoor...we're still in danger. Don't--nngh!--don't mind me. Please go help Thane."

"Calm Amare, I sense the danger from the Jedi has passed... for now," Bomoor tried to reassure her, "I understand your concern; you have a strong bond with Thane as his apprentice, but you must realise the strength of the bond I share with him also. He is perhaps a bit singed, but he is well and will be along shortly."

The young Nautolan took no comfort from Bomoor's soothing words. Oh, I realize it all right... she thought disdainfully, suspecting that if Bomoor were one of her kind, he would have read the deep resentment in the tightening swirls within her dark alien eyes. It was difficult not to furrow her brow or scoff at him for mentioning his brotherly bond with Thane. She simply nodded and focused on fighting her physical pain. She was starting to notice a strange inner appreciation the agony her trials and travels as Thane's apprentice was offering her. The pain was giving her an odd sort of focus, guiding her towards new possibilities she never before had thought possible. She wondered if pain was at the core of the Sith way...the heart of the dark side.

Mentis cast a puzzled expression across to the Ithorian, "You and Thane were both Jedi, am I right? What kind of bond do you share besides your history in that order of mystics?"

"It is a complicated story," Bomoor replied, "One that may require some explaining, but Thane and I share a Force Bond, which links us at a level beyond even our understanding. Not unlike the weaker bonds we form with our companions over time but a lot deeper."

Mentis averted his eyes again, "I'm not sure I know much about bonds except perhaps..."

"Your friend Rex?" guessed Thort, "I sensed there was more than credits binding together your relationship with that man. Perhaps we can help you learn more about those connections..."

"I'm sorry for making things difficult for you back there," Amare interjected to Mentis. She wouldn't have blamed him if he were cross with her; she knew she got in the way of his attacks on Nala more than once during the battle, and it shamed her as her thoughts retread what had happened blow by blow. "Something came over me. I never thought in a million years that I'd try to kill a fellow Nautolan, but there was something about her that...I just wanted her gone."

"Force-willing," came the crisp, recognisable voice of Amare's master as he stepped into the opening doorway of the medbay, "we will end her, and the cult, one day soon."

Gone was the young Sith Lord's cumbersome black greatcoat and the trappings of their days-long excursion across the ancient tombworld, his clothes instead now stripped down to the lowest layers of his dark grey robes, although even they bore the signs and damage of the tumultuous adventure's trials. Unlike the others, however, he seemed to be showing fewer signs of suffering from his visibly-evident injuries or exhaustion, despite the hardships he had clearly endured, too, the Force still gathered tightly around him as he peered at the various people arrayed within the increasingly-cramped medical centre of the Red Raptor.

After a brief nod of deep understanding to his old Ithorian friend, Thane brought himself closer to Amare and regarded her with discerning eyes, halting to examine her injury for a few seconds. Although his features changed almost imperceptibly at the injury, his features tightened slightly, but he stopped short of actually reaching out to the young Nautolan.

"You brought her aboard?" He addressed Mentis, angling his head to examine the former cultist. As he did, another figure appeared in the doorway behind him.

Mentis tensed slightly at the man's question as well as the sudden appearance of another person in the room. He looked around to see the other blue Nautolan woman who had jumped to their defence against Nala. Perhaps it was seeing the Human male alongside the aquatic woman that reminded him too much of his former master, but he swallowed the thought as Thane looked to him with some genuine appreciation in his eyes.

"I brought Amare in here to be treated," he answered before gesturing towards Zenarrah, "But it was the Jedi there that brought her aboard."

He looked to the doorway again expectantly before adding, "What happened to the Cathar one?"

The instant Amare saw the older Nautolan female enter the room, her body flooded itself with another stressful burst of adrenaline as her first instinct was to straighten up in bed, reach for her shoto, and hold the activated blade in front of her defensively.

"Another cultist?!" Amare shouted as she pulled her open left palm back to gather Force energy for a strong push. "Look out, master!"

Thane did nothing in response, eager to see how the situation would develop without his involvement, physically stepping back towards a wall to permit the others clearer views of one another..

Bomoor narrowed his eyes but did not draw his own weapon, examining this woman for her intent and wondering why this Jedi alone remained while the other had clearly been left behind. He did, however, wordlessly place one hand upon Amare’s shoulder to hold her back.

Mentis, sensing the familiar untempered fear and rage rising within the younger Nautolan, spoke out in Zenarrah’s defence, “Hold on, this Jedi came to our aid before. I don’t think she is your enemy.”

"It's alright," Zen told the others in an attempt to disarm the sudden tension in the room. "She should be afraid. I deserve her anger; her aggression.; and her judgement." She carefully stepped closer to Amare, each footfall registering virtually no sound on the hard deck plating. "I mean you no harm, my child. I am no enemy to you, or your friends."

Amare's eyes were wide as she wearily watched Zen approach. "Liar!" she countered with a scowl. "I saw you on the planet during the fight. You were up on the mountain near Thane. I saw lots of lightning up there. You have to be one of them! This is some kind of trick. Don't believe her, master! If she's not a Cultist, then she's some kind of Jedi spy!"

"I am a spy, yes," Zen confessed as she lowered her gaze to the floor. "And a hunter of dangerous objects and people. I was what they call a 'Shadow' among the Jedi. But far more important than that..." She lifted her gaze to Amare again, her features more stern than before, "...I am a mother who would do anything for her daughter...even set fire to the whole Jedi Order if necessary." She turned to add to Bomoor, "Rynseh Lahan and Jundal Quellus represent that old broken Order. The very Order you so boldly and justifiably rejected. To say that your parting words with the Council was inspirational would be an understatement." Then over her shoulder to Thane, "The Cult is just the beginning of your troubles, Prince of Caanus. In the days yet to come, you may find yourself having to kill some of the Jedi in order to save them. Are you willing to do that? Can you sacrifice what you were if it meant killing former clanmates and teachers you grew up with?" She turned back to Amare, "And you...are your feelings for Thane so strong that you would follow him into such battles? It is one task to slay miscreant dark-siders that have it coming, but it's entirely another to cut down good people that believe deep within their hearts that they are doing the good work of defending the Republic." She finally glanced at Mentis knowing nothing about him, but she narrowed her eyes at the powerful Rattataki determined that she would be watching him with great interest soon. Now that his gray face was in her memory, there was no way he could hide his truth from her, at least not for long.

Amare was speechless, and didn't know how to answer Zen's direct challenge. Instead, she averted her eyes and let her gaze sink slightly as she lowered and disabled her shoto, a display that was plainly an expression of shame. She had been so caught up learning the power and secrets of the dark side of the Force that she hadn't ever thought beyond the simple childish nonsense of, the Jedi are our enemy. They were indeed people with noble hearts. They couldn't all be corrupt...there had even been a time when she dreamed of becoming one herself.

"Were it so easy for the galaxy to be so cleanly divided upon lines of good or bad as simply as the Force is divined as dark or light..." Thane said to the open forum being led by Zenarrah before him, his tempers towards her cooling since their first meeting, but he considered her prophetic words carefully - words that echoed sentiments already uttered to him by his own gatekeeper mentor in months past.

It was that very-same gatekeeper that remained the only 'sentient' character aware of the Jedi Knight he had murdered, his first true foray into the ways of the Sith. As he silently mulled that and Zenarrah's comments regarding the inevitable deaths of their former comrades within the Order, he cast a hooded glance over towards Bomoor. He wondered, not for the first time, if his friend could ever reconcile such actions with his own personal philosophies of life and order, and if he somehow could and did, if Thane could then even reconcile that fact with his own views of Bomoor.

"...Just as if notions of parenthood and identity were so simple," he continued saying, resuming his previous thought, offering a knowing expression first to Zenarrah, and then a more prolonged one to his apprentice. "We are at hyperspace and are clear of both the Horuset system and any Judicial/Jedi forces scouring its space. Looking upon these new faces, drawn to this old ship through happenstance and grim fortune, I do not see threats or foes." Thane stepped now towards Mentis, their similar heights allowing the Caanan to look firmly into the former cultist's eyes. "But I do not see friends, either."

He turned on his heel and walked back towards the medbay's door, looking back with a dark expression. "Everyone will be given time to recover and assess their situations, Zaracoda and the cultist's companion most of all, before it is decided what we will do with our new guests. Bomoor, if you are well enough, I think it right we take our Rattataki friend here through to the rec room for some sustenance and a... frank conversation." A slightly menacing glint entered his eyes. "He looks famished."

Mentis’ muscles tightened at the undertones of Thane’s suggestion but he did not react, simply looking to Bomoor for his response.

“Certainly, Thane,” Bomoor nodded, before providing the former cultist with his own challenging glare, “I am certain Mentis will have much to say about his escape from Axion and what has brought him to find us all the way out here.”

With a final glance towards Amare and Zenarrah, the Ithorian led the still-tense Mentis out of the room, leaving Thane lingering in the doorway.

Thane looked over to Amare's pleading and confused expression as he prepared to leave her sight, but he allowed his features to soften slightly and permitted a wave of confidence to flow forth towards her within the Force. "You have done well, Zaracoda, and you have made me proud." His eyes flicked knowingly to Zenarrah, who looked straight back at him, before flicking back to the younger Nautolan. "And I know you will continue to do so. We will speak soon. The Force shall free you." And with those final comments, he left with both Bomoor and Mentis, no further words being exchanged.

Zen turned in time to see Amare offering her persistent visage of confusion to her.

"What does he mean by 'notions of parenthood'? What do you want from me?"

The initial answer Zen gave her daughter was a mild sigh and a weary smile. "The same things I've always wanted from you..." she answered after a short pause upon reaching Amare's bedside. "...time and trust."

TBC

 

Previous Next

labels_subscribe