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Old 05-22-2006, 03:04 PM   #148
machievelli
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Bastila

I felt her presence, along with Juhani and Jolee. I rose from my meditative state, and a flick of power leaped out, sealing the door behind her.

“So predictable.” I said, standing smoothly. “The grand leader with her hounds at her heels.”

“You knew I’d come, Bastila.” She said with a sad smile. “It’s starting to look like it might be a habit.”

“What?”

“Saving you.”

I barked a laugh. “As always you think more highly of your own actions than others would. “How can you rescue someone from something they do willingly?”

“I’ll never give up on you, Bastila. I know you can be saved.”

“Quit wasting your time. I see the Jedi for what they are. Weak fearful old fools that cling to a path no one in their right mind would follow. The Sith are the true masters of the Force, and have always been. You have forgotten that, Revan.

“Now you must pay the price. Here on the Star Forge, the Dark side is supreme. This time you will die.”

“Please, Bastila.” She said softly. “We don’t have to do this.”

“I do. As long as that bond exists I am linked to a whining cowardly being that doesn’t have the decency to die. I can take my rightful place at my master’s side without the anchor you have become. Without you I am superior to all but him. With you, I am nothing.”

“No. You have never been worthless.” She said sadly. “You are the one that put a shattered mind together. That redeemed me. I must try to do the same for you.”

“Don’t make me laugh!” I snarled. “When I found you all I had to work with was a mewling pile of flesh without the wit to stop drooling! I didn’t redeem you Revan. I put together a composite of one stupid woman with another and here you stand! All I did was reprogram your computer, and over-write it, as the Jedi would have wanted.”

“True.” She smiled sadly. “But did you actually read her files? There are memories here that are not hers.” She tapped her head. “Danika was from Deralia, true. But she worked in one of the resorts. She never saw what I was able to show you. She made sergeant because she was the senior person in her squad, not through any brilliance as a soldier. When it was her time to die she accepted it because there was nothing she could do.

“Revan however went to Deralia on a hunting trip with her father and older brother just before she went off to the Jedi Academy. She met a girl a few years older than herself named Kalendra. Kalendra introduced me to the Tirlat, and the idea of compassionate love.

“That memory, you lying on the ground asking me to bond, me above you. That was the same except it was me as a six-year-old girl on the bottom,” She touched her chest, “And a nine-year-old kneeling over me. Not the love you created for a much older girl. I didn’t bond then because I had sworn to bond with the Jedi. It was I that didn’t want to be separated, I that cried in her lap wishing I could change the world and stay.

“Don’t you see?” She stepped toward me, hand out. “You didn’t just create another program as you think. You took what I was, merged it with a person so selfless that she died assuring we would live, and made me. I cannot help being what and who I am. You made me in the image of what you wanted in a companion and life mate. How else can we feel as we do?”

I screamed and cut at her savagely. She blocked, and suddenly she smiled.

-It was evening, Danika faced me. We were dueling. Not with lightsabers, but with long springy vines. Our movements were fast and clean, but they were more two girls playing rather than a serious battle. “Dance with me.” She whispered.

-”Stop it!” I leaped back. She didn’t follow. I laughed, but even I could hear a thread of panic in it. “I see now why Malak followed you. A shell of what you once were but still a formidable opponent. I can’t even imagine the power you once had and wielded as the Dark Lord. You were a fool to give it all up and follow the light.”

“I am as strong in the light as I ever was in darkness, Bastila.” She replied.

“Lies! The dark side has made me stronger than I have ever been. Stronger than Master Vandar, stronger than Vrook! I will have control of more power than their strait minds would even imagine!

“As Malak teaches me the greatest secrets of the Sith I will unlock all of my potential. Eventually there will be will be no limit to what I can achieve. I will even learn to build another Star Forge!”

“As Ajunta Pall told me, all you will accomplish is death and destruction. Those around you, then yourself.”

I shook my head. “Ajunta Pall is dead for two millennia. He speaks no more. If any knew the true strength of the Sith it was he! All else is Jedi propaganda. The dark side is a tool, nothing more. A more efficient and cutting tool than the light. Eventually I will surpass my master. When I do, I will challenge him, and he will die.

“Then I shall take on my own apprentice and the cycle will begin again. This has always been the way of the Sith. It assures that only the strongest rule us.”

“ 'We fought among ourselves to see who would be the greatest among us, and we brought our own fortresses down upon our heads'.” She said.

“What?”

“As I said, I talked with the spirit of Ajunta Pall. Those were his words to me. The first true lord of the Sith, yet as he died he knew it was all a lie.” She said. “You doom yourself, you try to doom the Galaxy to an endless cycle of death and betrayal.”

“No, it is you that are doomed!” I cut at her knees, but she blocked me. Then she began a fluid attack that had me backing away desperately. I leaped backward ten meters, throwing my lightsaber. She flicked it off with the force, then caught it. She smiled, then flipped it back to me.

“You are growing tired! I can feel it! Your strength falters as the dark side saps the light!”

“Then strike me down, Bastila.” She sighed, setting her lightsaber on the deck. “I won’t fight you any more.”

“Then die!”

“Bond with me.” She knelt. “You only see the pallid shapes of the bond, Bastila. You didn’t know how to bond with an Echani, and all you get is glimpses. I know this because we would not be here like this if you had. I see it all and it is wondrous and magnificent. All that you are, all that you had, all that you feared. I see it!”

Bond with me. My mind repeated the phrase over and over. I remembered kneeling over her body. Frantically I had reached into her mind in a way I had never imagined, a dark place, yet in it was a single spark of life. It was a vision of a young girl, her heart racing, looking up at an older girl laughing at something. But even as I witnessed it the memory began to fade. She was older than I was so I substituted us for the girls. As the younger it was I that lay on that suddenly soft grass, touching the face that hovered above me.

Bond with me.

She had resisted, but I refused to let her go. She had kissed me, accepting the bond, and I felt myself kneeling again, holding her hand. She was alive, but if I moved away from her she spasmed as if being struck by seizures. I had to touch her every second.

The others had helped, carrying her on a stretcher as I ran along side. We had reached the escape pods, and the door had barely closed when the ship began to break up. Something shattered the pod’s engine, and we whirled away as the ship exploded.

Long hours had passed, and the others had fallen off to sleep. I was bound to Revan by that link I maintained so I did not get any sleep. Then I felt the wreckage shift. I looked up, just as a faceplate blackened. It was the real Danika. She was dying from anoxia even then. Somehow I reached out a second time, feeling her thoughts and memories flowing through her. Then starting to fade as she died. I touched her mind, and was suddenly inundated in those memories. While she had consciously known she must die, her spirit had railed against her fate. I found her memories trying to force themselves into my mind clinging to me, and I frantically pushed them away into the only receptacle free for them, the now empty mind of Revan. As the shuttle came alongside, I felt the last of them pass through me into Revan.

When I was done, two people had become one. She awoke in the sickbay, remembering Danika’s life vividly. Yet I could feel her questing outward for something, and when she felt my mind, we had bonded.

Now I could feel her questing again, pushing along the bond like an eel slipping through a crack in a wall. “Revan-”

“Bond with me or kill me.” She whispered. “I who was once Revan Chandar Bai Echani ask you Bastila to bond with me in full. To share the joy and the sorrow the pleasure and the pain, to share all that two people can share until death. To stand with me until the universe dies.” She closed her eyes, looking down. “Don’t make me go through life alone.”

She was defenseless! I could kill her! I raised my lightsaber, ready to cut down-

-The only person who had never asked for more than I might give at any time. Never berated, never screamed, never pressed too hard. The person that had held me in my pain at my father’s death. That had forgiven me for what I had done to save her life. The person-

-Whose hand I touched so delicately. Her fingers spread, and I felt my own interlace. My other hand came up unbidden, and those fingers locked as well. I found myself looking at her as her eyes opened, and in them I could see myself. Not the inner picture of yourself you create. Not the mirror that you preen before. The memories flooded into me. I saw myself dirty and bedraggled in a slaver’s cage, snarling at my rescuer. Pontificating to both her and Carth. Woebegone as she stood on the floor of the apartment on Taris. Deep in thought as I puzzled out the first star map. Stricken when I learned of my father’s death. Huddled in pain when we found his body. Bleary when she had taken off that collar on Manaan. Screaming in fury as I had charged Malak. Haughty when I faced her in the temple. Then the same sneering face when I fought her here.

Yet all had the same glowing quality, as if the person saw deep within, measured all my good, all my faults all my petty worries, then cast them aside and embraced all I was in a love that cannot be matched by any hate. I felt as if my father held me again, as if nothing would ever hurt me, and I knew she would protect me from anything as long as she lived.

At the same instant I understood why she was always so hesitant around me, I realized that she had been feeling and seeing all of this from the moment she had found and sealed the bond. My doubts about her ability, my lies when I spoke to her on Taris, on Dantooine, every lie I had spoken since my terror at being linked to someone else this tightly. All transparent to her except when I was consciously blocking it.

Yet she had continued to reach out rather than thrust me aside. She had felt that I was betraying her trust, no, known I was betraying her, but what she saw had convinced her to strive to maintain the link.

Only now I felt it, a soft whisper of thought. Mine being answered, hers touching me in ways no one had ever done before. It should have been terrifying, but I had been doing the same clumsily to her all this time.

I saw myself kneeling in meditation as I decimated the Republic fleet. While I had felt the glee of having her where I wanted her, she was feeling my worry, my fury, my determination to kill her, she counter-pointed those emotions with regret. She knew what I felt, what I wanted, even now. She felt regret that she might have to kill me. I suddenly saw her afterward, Malak dead, me dead, the Republic coming to kill the Star Forge, and not caring that she would die with it. For her there would be no life afterward.

I found myself kneeling with her, my head buried against her neck, hugging her tight enough to cause bones to creak, but she never wavered, her voice crooning softly to me. I couldn’t hate her. I could never fight her. It would be like slicing off my own hands.

“I always had faith in you.” She whispered, her lips brushing my cheek.

I opened my eyes, then suddenly spun, staring at the battle. The Republic fleet was being smashed before my eyes. “What have I done!” I wailed.

“You can help them.” She said. She reached out, touching my face. “I must deal with other business.”

“But I can help you!”

“Do you think you’re strong enough to face Malak again?” She whispered gently.

I shook my head. It had been too easy to turn me to the dark side before. She must know my own strength. “You are right. Go, I will help the Republic fleet as long as I can.”

“Only if you promise me one thing. If you feel as if the force has left you suddenly, run. Get to the ship. Get away.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Trust me.” She walked toward the door. She looked back, and gave a small wave. I knew she didn’t expect to see me again.

I reached out, feeling the struggling Republic soldiers stand a little straighter. “I will be here when you return.” I whispered.

Coruscant Glory

The Republic troops felt it almost as soon as Bastila had begun. On the ships, the crews were no longer scattered men doing their best against impossible odds. They were smoothly operating cogs in a mammoth machine directed by one woman with omniscient vision.

“There!” Admiral Dodonna pointed. “A weakness in their left flank. Have Green squadron punch through!”

“On it!” Trev Collo replied. The Aleph class fighter jumped in his hands as he aimed at the Star Cruiser Mammoth. “All right guys! Let’s rock!” Behind him, the seven remaining fighters of his squadron leaped into the fray. As they passed, the fighters blasted the huge ships. Trev detected the collapse of the gravity well generator aboard the cruiser and shrieked with joy as his fighters punched through. Ahead of him a bare minute away was the Star Forge. He climbed sharply to make another run.

“We’ve broken through!”

“Understood.” Dodonna’s voice was still calm. He’d never heard her any other way. The ‘Dark Lord of the Sixth’ they called her. “Bastila is now assisting us with her battle meditation. Let’s capitalize on it. Red Squadron, keep that hole open! All capital ships punch through and support the fighters!”

Like the behemoths they were the other capital ships of the fleet forged forward. There was only thirty odd left, and as they advanced, one fell out of formation, breaking up. Behind them the Sith fleet was pushing in, but if they could get through the gap and attack the Star Forge, the loss would be worth it.

Red squadron in the larger Crucis class fighters bored in. Their heavier guns ravened across [/i]Mammoth[/i], and her sister ship Gargantuan. Both fell out of formation, air forming clouds like blood around them as the capital ships raced past them. Hundreds of Sith fighters came in, facing less Republic fighters now, but the Republic knew they could win. Even if every ship died in this system, they would win if they destroyed that huge suddenly fragile target before them.


'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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