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Old 04-30-2006, 05:23 PM   #68
machievelli
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Captive

Breia shook her head. She knew what had hit her. A sonic stunner circuit connected directly to the very internal communications system. It felt like someone had played a rather nasty game of Parpan with her head.

Her eyes opened. She was slung against a wall, tightly wrapped in plastic as if a spider had hung her for a meal. At a small table a few meters away, Landru sat, staring out the clearsteel at the panorama of Fondor. She sensed to her left and right. She was the only one on the wall. What of Amberdon?

“I am sorry. Your Padawan died.” Came a soft voice from the table. Landru sipped the bitter wine he had chosen for this moment. He looked up at his teacher. “There are some more susceptible to a sonic blast. I had not considered it.”

"What does one more death matter?" She asked.

He shrugged. "I had no animosity toward such a noble man. You have always chosen the noble kind of people for Padawan I have seen."

“Had you considered how many hundred of thousands would die when you created that hell weapon?”

“Yes I did.” He stood. “I am building a new world, a world without sin, where no devil with six legs can ever dwell ever again.”

“So a quarter million people had to die so you can live in this new world?”

“So I could create it.” He turned, walking toward the panels. He reach out, touching them as if he could hold the planet in his hand. “I don’t plan on living there, and they would not let me if tried. Don’t you see I know what I have become. I have not only cast aside everything you taught me, I used it to help me. I have become a monster that has only one reason to live, and once that reason is gone, I will leave the stage to those who deserve it without taking a bow. My name will be cursed for centuries, and no one will remember quite why I have done what I have.

“Remember the old legend of the Wanderers? Cast into space for two generations, led by a man that knew where they were bound, but unable to tell them where? If you remember he reached that new world, but died before he could set foot on it. Remembered now only for the voyage.” He pointed. “There, the red spot? That is my home town. Where I was born. Where my family lived until the consortium chose our planet for their vision of a better Galaxy.” She could sense the anguish he felt. “That red is Kusberi. It grows rapidly and is incredibly invasive. The Sulishti scattered spores of it throughout the northern hemisphere. They have been carried by the winds throughout the planet. There are little sprigs of the filth everywhere.

“None of my family survived that. Kusberi has a secondary effect that the Sulishti didn’t bother to mention. It is an allergen of exceptional strength. The pollen causes severe reactions in some people specifically humans.

“No one bothered to discover this until it was too late. Not the Sulishti, not the Companies that belong to the other races, not the governments.

“Oh the Conglomerate developed a medication eventually, when they had problems with their own people. But it isn’t for us. Unless a Fondorian works for the Conglomerate, they aren’t allowed to have it. Instead they offered compensation and relocation.

“Compensation! My family is extremely susceptible. My father died choking on his own vomit because the Conglomerate couldn‘t be bothered! When I heard I tried to go home, but the Conglomerate requires tests now for anyone coming to my home world. I was more susceptible if that is possible. I stood here!“ He pointed at the deck at his feet. “Here while watching my father’s pyre. My sister’s, my mother’s both of my younger brother’s. Unable to even touch that beloved flesh when they died. I can never go home because doing so will kill me as surely as it killed my family. A lot of my people have already died.

“Then I had to consider who is worse? The animals that needed a special diet, or the ones that strip mined mountains into pits for materials? That have let a quarter million people die rather than supply a vaccine because it will cut into their profits? It will take ten millennia or more before the planet can heal what they have caused if they stopped today. Ten thousand years of anguish for my people which can’t even start until the occupation ends.

“The Trade Authority-”

“The Trade Authority has only one rule. Trade must continue. No planet has the right to gainsay them in that holy quest.” Landru turned back. He motioned, and a droid moved forward. “Lower her and bring her, please.”

The droid, a version of the L7 Police units of Corellia slid her down off the wall, carrying her upright to be held before Landru.

“Don’t you think I tried, that We-” he waved back toward the planet, “didn’t try? Every time we found a sympathetic judge, we were forestalled. On Corellia, on Coruscant, on Ryloth, even on Nal Hutta, our injunctions would be filed, and on each planet other judges on higher courts struck them down.

“We tried one last time. I asked the Order for arbitration in the name of our people. What did we get?” He snarled. “Your precious council on Coruscant would only ‘study the problem’. They would ‘advise’ that there be a moratorium to discover if Kusberi could be rendered less dangerous to humans. They would try to convince the Conglomerate to suspend mining.”

“Zardan, the order does not have the authority to force governments to change. To force companies to do things a better way. That is what governments are for.

“And every government I mentioned except the Sulishti are controlled by the companies they would try to rein in. Eventually they would finally do so. What are a few hundreds of thousand of additional lives in that mix?” He motioned. “My people are still sick, they are still dying. If you were born on Fondor, living there is a death sentence issued at birth, thanks to the Sulishti.

“The Sulishti were the worst. To them all other races are either impediments, or background noise. They only speak to us when they want to. I went myself after I left the order. No hive officials would recognize my need, my pleas. I was detritus in the road to them.

“This is an excuse for killing-”

“Half a million of our people died while that went on!” He screamed. “Half a million people that did no harm to anyone. That weren’t important because they weren’t stockholders, didn’t vote on boards, didn’t live on Coruscant or one of the other worlds that decided to use our home as a factory and garbage dump.” He calmed, “I am merely returning that favor.”

He turned back to the screen. “Down there, fifty kilometers from my home, I have decided to put and end to it. When I am through the Galaxy will have to give us that ten thousand years.”

“So now you execute your own people?” She asked softly. “How does that balance the scales?”

“Kill them?” He laughed gently. “No my dear teacher. I am going to save them.”

*****

The Jedi in the second flight were rocked by the deaths of almost an entire race. The worst of it was there was no way to communicate between them. Traveling in hyper space was not unlike digging a hole, getting in it and filling it back in. Nothing went into that abyss that did not go in with you.

Yaka was affected worse than Breia was. She had felt death before, close enough because she had been dealing it. But the gentle Ithorian had never felt violent death beyond what was natural on his world, and that which happened by misadventure in a city. This was a weight that bore him down on his knees weeping. Breia was a little better off, but she held him as he cried not only for a race, but for those who had had done it, led by one of their order.

Aboard Padawan Rees of Coruscant. Newly appointed Padawan teacher Yodai locked himself in his room, weeping silently, rocking as he did. I failed you master he thought. [/i]I was not there to help you, protect you, and if failing die with you. How did you know?[/i]

Board Knight of Coruscant, Master Hobart wept for the Sulishti, for a student he had known for three decades, and in his heart for Breia Sookor. Even now he knew she could feel Sanji’s death. How much more pain could she take?

*****

Breia had decided that she had quite enough of hanging like a trophy on Landru’s wall. She felt around her clothes, and came to an alarming discovery. Landru had removed every bit of metal and plastic from her clothing while she was unconscious. For decades she had used her blindness ruthlessly when dealing with enemies. No one considered a blind woman as a real danger, and a blind old woman was even less so. She had always secreted blades and Cnifta darts through her clothes sowing them like crops she would need in the future, and had never been failed by them. Not this time.

She had never considered that anyone who was an enemy would ever know her this well.

Landru came into the room, looking out of the window again with a hungry look “I just received the message torpedo from the Monastery meant for you. My plan has worked beyond my wildest expectations. I had assumed the Monastery would send ships to stop the ship from crashing on Sulisht. I never imagined I had judged the Sulishti so poorly. They not only stopped the Jedi, allowing my plan to work, but when they discovered that it allowed their own people to be eliminated, they went home” He shook his head in wonder. “They went home and died with them.”

“This pleases you?” She snapped. “You have committed genocide and you’re pleased?”

“No.” His eyes grew sad. “That my people will no longer suffer because of them pleases me. That instead of living more years trying to hunt the last of them down I can end it pleases me. All the pleasure I gained was that my plan had worked. You taught me to enjoy a perfect plan clicking from beginning to flawless fruition. The few remnants of the species will die out, and good riddance.” He looked through the window again. Beyond it, Feradi awaited his signal. He punched in the codes, and the ship drove toward the planet below. “One more piece needs to be in position, and my task is done.” He turned. “I cannot allow you to stop me, but I do not want your death on my conscience, Master. I must wait for the rescue that will come. Only then will it all come together as it must.”

“You must stop. Millions will die.” Breia pleaded. “Think of the children!”

He maneuvered the distant robot vessel with finicky care, placing Feradi in orbit above his home at less than fifty miles altitude. Once it was there, held only by orbital mechanics, he leaned back, turning to face her.

“No. I have made an estimate. 62,500 more will die. None of them Fondorian.” He smiled sadly. “My last legacy. My last slap in the face at those who wish to treat my home as a garbage pit. My death will follow within hours.” He turned. “For my family, for my people. For my beloved dead. It ends here today.”


'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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