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Old 04-20-2006, 02:19 AM   #116
machievelli
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Better yet, I'll just give it to you.


Loss and gain

Breia moved toward the table. The figure didn’t move. She reached down, running her hands across the forehead. “Oh Sanji.” she whispered.

“Stop playing with my Lekku unless you mean it.” Sanji gasped. His lungs felt like they were on fire. The last thing he remembered was the cargo spilling out into space.

“Maybe I do.” She joked, sitting beside him. “What have I told you about trying to breathe vacuum?”

He tried to chuckle but it turned into a wracking cough. “Nothing I remember.”

“That’s because I forgot. The thing to remember about breathing vacuum is; don’t.”

“I considered that at the time.” He gasped. “Maybe if you had told me before I wouldn’t have tried.”

“You are such a silly young boy. Get some rest. You’ve had a busy day.”

“Wait. The scientists. I failed them.”

“Failed them how?” She snapped. “You are alive because Professor Coor ran back, to drag you into the cockpit. Didn’t know that there were emergency air masks every two meters, did you?”

“I must have missed the briefing.”

"Good thing for you Professor Coor didn‘t. He strapped an emergency walk around tank on you before you’d done too much damage to yourself. But Sanji, if he hadn’t gone to rescue you he’d be dead.“

“What?“

“While he was doing that, a traitor aboard the Frigate opened fire. Ton Morant was killed when they blew the cockpit right off the ship. Coor caught some shrapnel that would have killed you.”

“I failed.” He whispered. “I failed Morant, I failed you. I murdered so many men down there.” He turned away, tears of shame running down his face.

She wordlessly touched his cheek.

*****

Daysah Shani walked into the brig. Behind the force field Dasa Sunrider sat, looking at the floor. She walked over to stand before it. After a moment, the prisoner looked up.

“Professor.” Sunrider looked away.

“Breia told me what you did.” She said softly. “Surrendering. Killing the man that tried to kill her.”

“Maybe being around people like you and her has rubbed off on me.” He joked. He wiped his face with his hands. “I have to tell them the truth. I have to... I have to atone for my sins.”

“For following a lunatic?” Shani asked. “Did you kill those ships along with him? Did you order the deaths of those men?”

“No.” Dasa whispered. “But I knew and did nothing.” He looked up. “Maybe when they are done with me I can see you again. Maybe that man will be worth your time.”

“You silly man, if I hadn’t liked you I would have told you to jet off when you wanted to take me on a tour.” She sighed. “After the trial, we’ll talk again.”

“Yeah. After.” He sat in silence as she left.

*****

The Mando ship snuggled up against the Duroc. The captain stepped aboard, looking around. “Impressive, but I bet we could out maneuver her.” He commented. He saw the woman waiting for him. “Captain Johara Vau, Clan Ordo.” He said saluting. “I have come for my brother.”

Breia motioned for him to follow. “We were unsure what they should record on their Soochir.” She said.

“Battles and conquests.” Johara snarled. “Nothing else is worth recording."

“Then let us speak with him, and let them tell it.”

The Millennium Falcon looked as if she had come in second place in a collision, which was in fact the truth. The starboard mandible had been shattered and crushed to half it’s size, collapsed forward to where it scraped the deck. The starboard main gear had been shattered as well, the oleo struts slammed halfway through the deck by her mass. Breia walked up the slanted ramp, leaning as if she’d always boarded this way. In the mess deck, the boys stood resplendent in their full kit.

“Soochin. Brother.”

“Elder brother.” Anak bowed.

“Boys. Tell of what you did.”

*****

“What are the losses?” The chairman asked. He looked out of the fiftieth floor window at the city skyline.

“The Requiem has been declared a total loss.” The new Vice President of Shipping reported. “It would cost us more to bring the hulk home than the salvage charges. It would be cheaper to declare her a dead loss where she is.”

“Meera?”

“Almost a total loss. Over a hundred dead, fifteen earthmovers destroyed or so badly damaged that they might as well be destroyed.” The Vice President in charge of Commerce reported. “The hotel is set back at least a decade.”

The door swung open, and a small woman marched in, followed by Admiral Antilles. The chairman turned his chair back, glaring at the secretary that squirmed in Antilles’ grip. “What is the meaning of this?” He growled.

“This Jedi Monk and the Admiral wanted to speak to the board, and when I tried to stop them...” The man gestured with his head toward the arm lock. “They didn’t take no for an answer.”

“Have your say, and leave. The company has pressing business.” The chairman snarled.

“They have more than business to worry about if I don’t have my say.” Breia retorted. She looked at the men. Was there even a scintilla of good in them? She walked along the table, stopping beside the chairman. “Gentlemen, I have a deposition from Professor Daysah Shani of the University of Coruscant. She has some interesting things to discuss with the Galactic Trade Authority. Murder, fomenting the destruction of vessels that belong to rival corporations. Trade irregularities that well have your stock in the penny column by the end of the day.”

“Whatever Suli Corona might have done-” The Vice President of Shipping stopped as a blade suddenly lunged toward him, stopping 25 centimeters from his nose.

“I will talk, you will listen. That means mouths shut.” Breia said coolly. “I can have every member of this board in court for the next century with all of the proven irregularities. Care to bet who will win?” She looked around the table.

“The problem is, you’re not the best example of Coruscanti business, but you’re not the worst either. Removing your company will leave others just as bad if not worse out there. The Admiral had decided to set aside the vengeance he feels is owed for his son’s life. Assuming this board can come to an accord with me.”

The chairman looked at the extended blade which had not moved from the Vice President, staying exactly that distance, level and perfectly still. He licked his lips. “What do you propose, Jedi?”

“Meera is no longer property. The company will foreswear all claim to the system.”

“Agreed.”

“The Ithorians are interested in obtaining some technology. Specifically repulsor lift. You will give it to them.”

“For a reasonable-” The chairman stopped talking as Breia’s face turned toward him. “Free. An orbital factory.”

“Then there is the matter of some construction. The Ithorians don’t mind visitors. They would just prefer that they act like guests, not rapacious monsters. The people of Ithor have agreed to allow an orbital hotel, owned and operated by Tokara. In return they want something built. A floating city capable of sustaining one third of their population with a fair and honest price schedule for the construction of two more within the decade. The first will be built with the promise of payment paid for with medicinal herbs they will supply at fair market value.” She slowly leaned back onto her feet, the sword dropping to low port. “In return for that concession, they have agreed not to take Tokara to court and demand one trillion credits. Admiral Antilles and Professor Shani have agreed not to pursue the matter further. The Jedi will agree to let it be.” She looked around the table. “The only alternative is for all of this to become public. No one will care that some man did this, whether he had approval or not. Even trying to prove it in court could be slippery.” She touched the stud, the blades folding, and she sheathed the weapon.

“Shall I tell them your decision?”

*****

Sanji gasped, leaning against the bulkhead. His lungs were healing, but even this short walk had winded him badly. The treadmill stopped as he did, so he didn’t face the indignity of being dragged onto the deck again.

“There you are.” Breia snapped tartly. “The entire council came from the Monastery to judge you, and you are playing in the recreation deck.”

“Judge me-” Sanji gasped, then coughed, his shoulders shaking with pain.

“Yes, judge you. Now come with me.” She caught his arm, throwing it over her shoulders. “I can’t leave you alone for a minute.” She growled, dragging him into the passageway.

The pair walked down the passageway, entering a large area set aside for briefings. Silent, the full council, all twelve sat, watching.

“Sanji Gretu, you are called to judgment for your actions on Meera-”

“Ithor.” Breia snapped, taking her seat. Sanji stood in the center alone.

“You are correct. Let the record show that Meera is now declared to be Ithor, the name the natives have given it.” Master Hontu corrected. “If we may continue Breia?”

“Of course, Berol.” she replied.

“You are charged with abandoning your master, fomenting a rebellion along with two scientists, decimating a fifty man landing force, and attacking a private company vessel destroying her armament.” Hontu looked at the young man. “Did you do these things?”

“I didn’t foment a rebellion. And as for abandoning my master, I was attempting to escape capture.”

“A technicality.” Hontu snapped. “I have never seen such arrogance in a student in my life!” He stood, storming down the steps to confront the younger man. Sanji straightened, looking down at the master.

“If you’re going to keep doing things like this, there is only one thing I can think to do about it. Are we agreed?” He turned to face the other masters.

Sanji looked at the faces. Human, Hutt, Twi-lek, Gram. They all looked at each other, then nodded. He looked at Breia, who also nodded, his heart sinking.

“Breia, he’s your student. You announce the judgment.” Hontu returned to his seat.

She stood, walking down to stand facing him. “As master Hontu has said, I have never seen such arrogance in a student in my life. So to make sure it doesn’t happen again, I will pass judgment. Will you accept my decision?”

Sanji nodded, closing his eyes.

“As the representative of the council, and your master, I strip you of the rank of Apprentice. From this day forward, you will be Padawan Teacher Gretu.” His eyes snapped open. She reached out, and he silently took her hand. “Next time try not to leave another of the order out there all alone. Now go away, and celebrate. The council has to decide which mission you have to undertake when an apprentice has been assigned to you.”

“Apprentice?”

“Of course you young twit. You can’t be my pilot forever. You have your own duties, as I have mine.” She sniffed. “First I have to get my ship repaired. So go on.”

*****

Aboard the Mando corvette Dhalmarta, Captain Johara Vau stood. “In circle we sit, to tell of our battles, and victories. Tonight we have a new voice in the circle. Tell us ade Anak Vau of Clan Ordo. Tell us of the gutting of the Tokara Requiem.”

The warriors looked at their youngest member as he stood up. “Listen brothers of war as I tell you of my first victory. The one I share with Sev Soochin of clan Ordo.

“We had been captured by the Hut’uun of the Tokara Company... “

*****

Sanji walked slowly. His lungs would never fully recover, he knew that. But he didn’t let them slow him much. He looked at the sleek five man ship he had been given with pride. It was not the Millennium Falcon, but at least it wasn’t being repaired.

He walked up the ramp, then paused. There was a thump of a rock hitting the side of the ship, and he walked around it slowly. He had never seen anyone of the small creature’s race before. Green skinned, long pointed ears, tridactyl hands and feet. The being was sitting in meditation ten meters from the ship. As Sanji watched, the little being looked down, a stone lifting into the air, then shooting forward toward the ship to ring against the hull plating.

“May I ask you what you are doing?” He asked.

“Ask you may, Padawan teacher.” The little being replied. “Bored I am with study. Pilot I heard you need.” He looked up, standing. “Yodai I am. Apprentice I am.”

“And bouncing rocks off my ship was the only way you could think of to get my attention?”

“Worked did it not?”

He sighed, shaking his head. Of all the arrogance-

Just like I was all those years ago.


“Get aboard.”

Sanji walked down toward the monastery. As he passed the rooms, he could hear snippets.

“Language is communication, whether it is body language, sound, moving of the fingers, smell, or a combination of them...” Master Mogo was saying.

A few steps farther he paused.

“As you progress within the order, there will come a time where all you can depend on is your blade.

“You are children, but this you must understand. Steel is pure in it’s honesty. It cares not for your values, or your beliefs. It will protect you only as long as you are honest to it as well.

“To become a full Jedi monk, you must master the blade. Any can master the single blade, few will master two blades. But only a true warrior of the heart will ever master the blade staff.” There was a clicking snap. “It is not to say that using a single blade is weak. Just that if you wish to stay and learn the twin blade and blade staff, you must show more heart.

“Now, each of you pick up a dull steel practice blade. I warn you now that it will be painful, but-”

“Master?” a voice asked.

“Hmn?” Sanji looked at the small human girl. She looked to be about six or seven.

“You are late for class, master.”

“So I am. And you are?"

“Breia, master. Breia Solo.”

“Ah. I have heard of you.” Sanji walked on, entering the courtyard he had been assigned. He sat, easing his form into a meditation seat. He looked at the expectant faces. Young Solo sitting off to one side.

“The art of concealment is sometimes necessary. There are those that can be convinced you are not there. But this is not something you can merely be told of. It is something you will practice in the coming years.

“Now I wish you all to meditate. As you do, I want you to focus on a single thought. That you cannot be seen. You are a wraith...”


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile

Last edited by machievelli; 04-20-2006 at 02:34 AM. Reason: typos
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