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Old 04-30-2006, 01:20 AM   #10
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Chapter 6: Duty
Ashira-Li inched her way closer as the governor’s counsel was speaking, “This is outrage! All who are being called must report quickly by emergency order: General Tsu, Admiral Yi, Master Jedi Kenobi…”

Ashira was flabbergasted. It undermined her authority as commander of the troops but she knew that her father did what was best for the people and did not think about it any further. She watched as he officers being called stepped forward to receive their orders. She thought it foolish to go to Avalon when Belos was threatened. The governor of Belos had to be notified to mount a defense. She had enough when Obi-wan’s name was called.

Striding purposely, she interrupted the governor’s counsel, “You can’t do this right now. Belos must be notified to mount a defense.”

He snapped at her, “Silence,” then looking at Obi-wan said, “You would do well to teach your comrade to hold her tongue in matters that don’t concern her.”

“I have as much right,” but was ignored for her pains. The other officers brushed her off as well. They did not know her and thought her to be a troublesome woman who had poor manners. The governor’s council continued down the list and handing out orders and ignoring her. Ashira-Li left and double-timed to check on Miklos who, in the meantime had been stabilized. Obi-wan decided to leave having not been pleased with how she was treated nor how she approached the situation. He decided to go to his quarters by way of the medbay.

Ashira saw to Miklos who told her that one of their own had betrayed them all. She insisted that he rest and not worry. She told him that she would send for his team so they could regroup. She headed towards the small room that she, Andros and Obi-wan were to share for their meals. Along the way, she saw Obi-wan practicing saber techniques. She hid so as not to be seen and watched. She left and later went to report to the council what had happened.

Later it was just her and Obi-wan eating. She had poured some tea and was silent trying to keep her frustration inside. She was swirling the contents in her cup when she said, “Pure nonsense. You shouldn’t be going to Tyan-yu.”

Obi-wan replied, “Why is that?”

“Belos needs to mobilize a defense. If we don’t, there won’t be any armies to defend the Republic.”

“And you want to go and disobey the council once again just to prove that you are right, like at Azure when you were so right?” Obi-wan’s temper was starting to flare.

“And you will let millions die just to obey the council?” she countered.

“I will do as I was instructed for the greater good…”

“So you will do nothing?”

“I know my place. Maybe you should have learnt that a long time ago then maybe Siri would have still lived.”

The words sent a shock through Ashira’s heart. She turned and walked with all the dignity she could muster out the door. Stopping at the door she stopped and said just loud enough for him to hear, “Either way, the same would have happened. I had to try.”

She left and disappeared down the corridor. Andros walked in on a stunned and angry Obi-wan and a still warm cup of tea. He did not have to look twice to know that something was not right. He did not say anything but ate his meal in silence. He thought to himself, Time will work on its own accord. The Force works as it wills.

Ashira was not seen by anyone, nor could anyone find her. She had hidden near the lake in the vivarium and sat staring at her reflection for the longest time. She remembered instances where she was rebuked for questioning when she was young; the first time Master Yoda caught her singing to the padawans and other things that did not adhere to the code. She looked up to see Obi-wan cross to his quarters but he still seemed to be angry as he went in. Ashira again looked at her reflection and saw Siri when she was alive and when she died. She knew what she needed to do, no what she had to do.

Most of the station was asleep when she went to her quarters. She pulled out the letter to Siri and read it carefully she also noticed the blossom that Obi-wan had out in her hair and gently took it out. Placing the box with the other things and the blossom on the shelf, she opened a drawer and took out a small black lacquer box. She opened it and pulled out a small tube. Undoing her hair, she then squeezed in a methodical manner throughout her hair. She ignited her lightsaber and breathing a calming breath, she brought the blade close to a lock of hair she held in her hand and moved it down as if brushing her hair.

Having done that, she looked at her reflection and selected a small lock and left it undone. The rest she braided leaving a pattern of dark and golden streaks. The smaller lock became a smaller braid. When she was done, she opened a cupboard and selected an outfit ad discarded her Jedi robes which she folded neatly. She attached a different lightsaber to her right side and in the left, she fastened a blade that no one had seen before. Taking one last look at her reflection, she picked up the letter, a datapad and the blossom and left her quarters.

She stopped first at Andros’ quarters and quietly slipped in. He was sound asleep, worn out from worrying about his twin. She smiled as she left the datapad in a place where he would find it and left as quietly as she had entered. Obi-wan’s quarters were pretty much the same when she entered. She placed the blossom nearby and gazed at him. She whispered, “I’m sorry,” and left.

The hangar was nearly deserted as she selected a small fighter type and R4, her special droid, injected himself as her astromech. Glancing back, she then swung herself into the cockpit and started the systems. She took off from the station and plotted a course for Belos. No one noticed her absence until the next day when Andros found the datapad.

Lord Dragus directed his ship to a small encampment deep in the forest. It was tricky landing but a skilled pilot could land there. Landing without a problem, Dragus exited his ship and began to walk towards the command post, totally ignoring the commander that greeted him. He said in a low and menacing voice, “Dispense with any pleasantries commander. I need to know of the situation right now. My contact is interested in any updates.”

“The Haida tribe is still holding out and the smaller ones have made for the cities. Our ‘defenses’ are holding up and all is going as planned,” the commander promptly replied.

“Excellent. Prepare for mobilization against the Deladron. We shouldn’t disappoint the governor.”

“Yes milord. Orders are being carried out per your instruction.”

“Good. All is proceeding as I had foreseen and she will pay for the price of performing her duty.”

Dragus waved off the commander and went to the special quarters for him to meditate and make his plans. Once inside, he walked to a strange altar and kneeled in front of it. He bowed deeply while saying, “My honorable ancestors, soon our family will have its revenge on the family who sentenced us. Our honor will be avenged and she shall fall.”

Andros woke up feeling something was not right. He looked to the table next to his bed and saw the datapad. He picked it and began to read, “My trusted friend, I cannot let Belos nor any other of our people suffer any longer and I must atone for my actions of the last few days. I entrust you with the operations of the teams; you are a member of the Head. I trust that you will guide your actions with a firm hand and a steady heart. As always, your friend, Ashira-Li.”

Shocked as he was, he realized she did what was best for everyone. She needed to be alone and in that solitude, help her people. It was then that he remembered that Obi-wan and the council might not see it that way. He knew it was wrong but he made the decision to not mention anything about her being gone. He left to go to the Ebon Hawk to initiate the protocols on the droids and make sure that everything looked as if she were there but preoccupied. He ran into Obi-wan who was getting ready to leave for Avalon.

Obi-wan had found the blossom and thought that Ashira meant to apologize for her behavior. He had been looking for her all morning when he ran into Andros. He asked, “Have you seen Ashira?”

Thinking quick, Andros replied, “She is in her quarters communicating with the recon teams. She doesn’t like to be disturbed.”

“I see. I just wanted to say that I was sorry for what I said. You will mention it will you?”

“Of course,” Andros replied.

“Well, I’ll be going. Duty calls,” and Obi-wan left for his fighter.

Watching his retreating figure, Andros thought about the lie he just told. He sighed and replied so softly that no one heard him, “Yes it does,” and he hoped that Ashira was alright.

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