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Old 04-22-2006, 06:45 PM   #12
machievelli
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The Sacrifice

It all came down to simple chance and geometry. If Breia had waited three minutes, she would have been contacted and waited for the arrival of her fellows. If Corellia had been half a light year close to Delta 4, she would not have arrived first.

*****
The Evanescent Star came out of hyper space, running in toward Station Delta 4. Breia stood behind the captain as the ship raced toward it’s destination.

“My thanks, Captain Condon.” She said.

“You’re very welcome, Padawan. We picked up a good contract on Taris thanks to some of you. The company likes to pay it’s debts.”

“Then fare and trade well, Captain.” She watched as the ship slid up to the docking ring, the hatch mating with the entry.

It took only a moment to clear customs. Her robe identified her as a Jedi Monk and the Duros customs officer waved her through. She walked to the lift, stepping in. “Main Control central.” She said. The lift beeped at her, and she hurtled down ward. Behind her A4 committed a minor droid blasphemy, then tapped the control for a service lift.

Breia felt a dread that had nothing to do with the station. Something dark was out there, and she could feel it’s hunger. The door opened and she walked out, stopping at the security kiosk.

“I am Padawan Breia Solo. I must speak to the station commander immediately.”

“One of them Jedi.” She couldn’t see the man’s face, but could fee the contempt. “The commander won’t want to see you.”

Breia reached out, and pictured her hand closing on the man’s throat. She had heard of but never done a force grip before. The man clutched his throat, falling against the door. Breia leaned forward, her grip tightening on his neck.

“If you don’t let me in this instant everyone on this station will die. Now open the damn door!”

The man pawed upward, finally hitting the admittance button. Breia dropped him, stalking through the door. She paused, then swept her leg up sharply, catching the man in the face as he charged after her, drawing his sidearm.

“What the hell is going on here?” Someone shouted. Breia spun like a breech-block slamming into place. The man was short and fat, a butterball rather than a human being. She walked over, bowing slightly.

“I am Padawan Solo of the Jedi. There is an emergency, and you must assist me or the station will be destroyed.”

“Threats-”

“It is not me you have to fear you fool!” She roared. “Someone has planted canisters of gas that will drive everyone here mad! We have to stop them now!”

“You’re crazy.” The man snapped.

“Yeah, I’m getting a lot of that.” She said. “I need to see all of your records, and shipments of gas, either Bidraxidine or some other gas in the same kind of canisters.” He looked at her warily. “That wasn’t a request, Commander.”

It took only minutes. Fifty canisters of Bidraxidine had been delivered, and were in storage hold seven near the hull. Breia first ordered that the air filtration system be shut down from that location. Then she hurried across the station.

The tanks were standard 400 liter units. Each enough to fill a pebble reactor or a fusion plant. She looked around, seeing the work crew shifting cargo. “Clear this room.”

“Who the-” She drew cleanly, the metal blade she carried slicing the corner off a crate.

“Clear. This. Room. Now!” The men ran. She reached out with the force, slamming the door. Carefully she walked over to the canisters, a sensor in hand. There was no trace of Bidraxidine in the air. The only time there should be leakage was when someone filled a reactor vessel, or if one had been breached. Nothing had happened yet.

So, they deliver the gas as normal. Something causes it to release, and then what? She inspected the canisters. Nothing to the untrained eye. She closed her eyes, looking for-


The timer was to her right about four meters on the outside tank. All of them were in series so one after another they would vent. In that first tank was a bomb. Not a big one, merely large enough to shatter all of the tanks when the aneroid barometer installed told it that all of them were empty. She turned even as the timer reached zero.

The click was anticlimactic. Her sensitive hearing could hear the gas venting. Not a large leak, it would take half an hour to vent just the one tank.

She leaped to the tank, looking for the valve that would shut it off. There was none. The next tank in line had one though, and she slammed it closed. The one tank would be all they had to deal with.

There was a slight smell in the air. She knew Bidraxidine was odorless and colorless. But this isn’t Bidraxidine she told herself. It’s something that drives people mad. So mad that they turned on each other. She drew her sword, and cut at the straps that linked the tanks together. The metal resisted, and she sheathed it, drawing her vibroblade. She thumbed it on, setting it for metal, then sliced through the straps. The tank weighed ten times what she did, and there was no time to find a lift or jack. She bent, putting her hands under the tank. It is a feather, it is so light you have to be careful how you pick it up. She lifted in one massive spasm, falling backwards as the ton and a half tank flipped across the compartment. She fell, sprawling. She leaped to her feet, running toward the door. Vent the compartment into space. It’s the only way-

There was a thud, and the tank shredded. She dove as shrapnel flew past her. There was an arcing sound in front of her, and she stared aghast at the control she needed. Without it, the only way to vent the compartment was by blowing the cargo hatch. That would also destroy the evidence.

She was already dosed, she knew that. If they opened the hatch the gas would seep into the station, and everyone would go mad.

If they let me out without checking, without quarantine I will become a monster. I cannot let that happen.

She didn’t think, she reacted. She drew her sword, finding a stack of steel ingots ten meters long. She thrust into it, and when the blade was two thirds of the way in she snapped her wrist. The blade shattered, a small fragment slicing open her hand, but she ignored it. She drew the vibroblade. Ten years of her life, years of working out exactly how it would work. She didn’t even know if she could repeat it.

She flicked it on, thrusting into the metal. She flicked it off, and leaned with all of her strength, feeling the metal sheer. The pommel hung from her hand. She cast it aside, going to the communicator panel.

“Commander, emergency. Have all compartments check for Bidraxidine leakage. If any rooms show signs of it immediately quarantine them.”

“We’ll get you out of there-”

“No! Under no circumstances open the door to this compartment without full haz-mat support! Everyone will die if you do!”

“Listen lady-”

There was a sound. Breia didn’t even know what it was.

Then like a tidal wave madness struck.

*****

The Jedi courier Kreekta burst out of hyper. Sanji leaned back, tapping the com panel. “Delta 4 station this is Jedi courier Kreekta on approach. I need to talk to your station commander immediately-”

“You damn Jedi! That lunatic is tearing up my cargo bay!” Someone screamed back.”

“Explain, quickly.”

“Some woman showed up, choked one of my guards with some kind of magic, cleared a docking bay crew, and then went mad! She threw a ton and a half tank across the compartment, then she went bug-nuts right in the middle of a conversation!!”

“I will be there in a few minutes. Under no circumstances are you to open that compartment!”

If whatever was in those tanks is causing this I wouldn’t open it if you paid me!”

The courier docked in bay one, and Sanji charged out, gasping as he ran. Yodai bounded along beside him like a demented teddy bear, using not only the decks but the bulkheads in his efforts to keep up. They charged into a lift, and Yodai shouted, “Main Control!” as Sanji collapsed, clutching his chest. Yodai knelt beside him. “Master, slow you must take it.”

“No.” Sanji wheezed, eyes tight with pain. “There is no time. No time.” He staggered to his feet as the door snapped open. He stormed down the hall toward the Security kiosk.

The guard leaped to his feet. “You can’t-” Sanji made a flicking motion with his hand, and the man slammed into the bulkhead, collapsing in a boneless heap.

The Main control room was a mad house. A fat man at one control spun around. “What are you Jedi doing to me!” He screamed.

“Please report.” Sanji said.

“Like I told you. The crazy woman sealed the door, told us to watch for Bidraxidine leakage!”

“Is there any?”

“None reported so far. We don’t scan for chemicals that aren’t potential dangers. We had to recalibrate.” He spun back to the screen. One compartment marked CARGO 7 was a lurid red. “There’s a lot of Bidraxidine in that room. The tank that blew must have vented into it. So far-” Another compartment beside it turned pink. “Wait-”

“Seal that compartment as well.”

“But-”

“Seal it!” Sanji shouted. The supervisor growled, and flicked a switch. Like a warship, stations were able to seal compartments separately. For the same reasons, possible pirates and mutiny.

“There are five people in that room.”

“Until this is clear they are not safe.”

“Safe? What kind of-” There was a sound, the tone the intercom made when it started an all hands bulletin. The room they had just sealed suddenly strobed red.
“What is that?”

“Weapons discharge!” The supervisor flipped a switch.

It looked like an asylum with no security. A Rodian was screaming wordlessly, his pistol blasting shot after shot. Two of the others were down. The other two were trying to strangle each other. The Rodian stepped up, firing into the pair until they slumped in death. Yet his finger kept squeezing the trigger. He spun, slamming the gun into the room control, trying to open the door.

“What is this?”

“Some kind of psychoactive gas obviously.” Sanji replied. “Yodai, get with the station damage control team. We need to find a way to vent any contaminated compartments without killing the occupants.”

“At once. The little Jedi charged toward the door. The guard was just standing, and Yodai leaped up, catching him by the lapels. “Only Jedi had harmed you not I am. Want to make full deck?” The man moaned, leaning back. Yodai bounded off him and into the lift.

“Are the cameras still on in hold 7?”

“Yeah. Bring them up Toro.” The main screen lit. Breia was the only one in the compartment, and she was everywhere, leaping like Yodai had from place to place. She had ripped half of the lights down, every console in the room had been shattered. As they watched she picked up a crate, spinning to throw it against the hatch. She screamed, leaping to the hatch, pounding it. “I’ll kill you, kill you all!” She screamed over and over, beating her hands bloody. The all hand tone went off, and she covered her ears. “Stop it Stop it Stop it!” She picked up another crate, throwing it against the com panel. There was a shriek of electricity arcing, and the cameras went dead.

Sanji leaned back. “We have to remove that tone sound. It seems to make the situation worse.”

“No can do. It’s hardwired.” The Supervisor looked up. “On every station.”

“Wait. Every station? What about Coruscanti ones?”

”Buddy it’s standard equipment for every ship, station everywhere. For five years now.”

Sanji lat, his hands instinctively clutching his chest. “Five years.”

*****

The ship came out of hyper space, slowly approaching the fleet around Sigma 9. “This is Jedi Padawan Lang aboard Jedi courier 771. Request communication with Padawan Solo.”

“Jedi courier this is Fleet Communications. Padawan Solo left here four hours ago for station Delta 4.”

Lang’s eyes tightened. “We had sent a communication asking her to await our arrival.”

“We received it, but it arrived not long after she departed.”

“Thank you.” Lang leaned back, closing his eyes. He pictured Breia Sookor, her face, her manner of speaking. He felt a tenuous link to her, and sent down it dread, and urgency.

*****

“Breia!” Master Sookor sat bolt upright. Apprentice Amberdon flinched as she clawed his arm. “Drop out of Hyper. Reset our course for Delta 4!”

*****

Yodai growled as the team worked. A section of emergency pipe had been cut into the circulation system of Cargo 7, and attached to an air exchanger jerry rigged to it. Tanks waited for their deadly cargo, one already attached. The senior tech checked everything, then looked at the diminutive creature. “We’re ready.”

“Compartment we are is sealed must be. No chance of leakage if this fails.”

If you say so.” The tech tapped his com link. “Control, lock down compartment 7/a5/01. Jedi orders.”

“Understood. locking down now.” The blast door behind them slammed down.

“I hope you’re right that we need to do this.” The tech said. “If that gas leaks in here-”

“If leaks in here it does, none of us leave alive. Must of others think.” Yodai snapped.

“Tell me, Jedi.” The tech flipped on the pump. “Have you every thought of becoming a motivational speaker?”

“Why ask you?”

“Because I’m in the mood to eat my own gun just being around you.”

*****
Courier 771 dropped out of hyper space and right behind it like a shark came Millennium Falcon. They approached the station which was rapidly emptying as ships broke free to run. When each called they got a laconic “Great, a convention.” before Sanji spoke to them.

The ships docked, and more Jedi poured out. With them came the B9 droids, rolling on their tracks with an implacable speed. Four of them headed down to where the damage control team was almost finished venting Cargo 7. Two broke away to approach compartment 7/a1/01 where a Rodian was even now slamming again and again into the hatch.

“Ready?” the senior tech at the second compartment asked.

Arms spread as the droid opened up. Each arm was rated at four and a half tons. “Ready.” The droid grated. The tech stepped back, sealing the blast door between him and the hatch. The hatch slapped open, and the Rodian saw the droids. He screamed, charging.

The first droid ducked to the side. As it did, the Rodian focused on it, turning. The second droid caught his arm, and gas shot into his face. The Rodian screamed, beating at it.

“Stun gas has no effect.” Sanji reported.

“I hate to do it.” Breia Sookor said. “Tell it to go to step 2.”

“Step two.” A voice came over the intercom. The droid slid out a stun rod, slapping the Rodian in the chest. His body spasmed, but still he fought. The droid reset the rod higher, and hit him again. This setting, powerful enough to knock a Hutt on his back did the trick. The Rodian collapsed unconscious. It began extruding poly-fiber plastic, wrapping the Rodian as if it were a spider wrapping a meal. As it clipped and heat sealed the material, the Rodian came awake. The fabic was rated at fifty tons, strong enough to hold a full grown Corellian Megateer. It creaked, but held.

“Subject secured.” The droid reported.

“Stand by to vent compartment.”

The second droid popped out an air mask, and after a few seconds, was able to slip in on the Rodian. “Ready.”

The two droids jolted as they merely vented the compartment into space. They waited patiently as the system began to refill the space.

“Subject stable.” The first droid reported.

“Transport to medical. Team is standing by.”

*****
She could see her hands smashing again and again into the hatch as if through a heat haze. The damn thing refused to open, and the things that had killed her master were getting away! She felt her throat, raw from screaming, but still she keened her fury and loss. I will kill every one of you! She screamed. I will rip out your hearts and feed them to you before you die!

The hatch suddenly lifted. There they were, squat tracked droids. Murderers! She leaped, and one of them moved back. She followed, wanting to rip it’s circuits out. Something caught her arm, and she spun, her hands closing on the metal arm. She focused, feeling the force flow into her and through her. The droid smoked, then burst as the electricity within it ran through tender circuits. Something caught her from behind and she spun in it’s grasp, both feet setting against the carapace. She caught the arms, feeling them shear away as she heaved with all of her strength. Nothing would stop her! She’d kill- A rod slapped out, and her body spasmed, then collapsed
.


'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
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