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Old 01-01-2007, 12:03 PM   #154
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Thanks guys. I hope you caught the slight attraction that my newest character feels for my resident scoundrel. The next chapter I will come out and say that it was inspired by the movie Rocky III and the scene that discusses fear. It is particularly important since it concerns a final confrontation between Atton and his past. You also get so see some glimpses into Kiera's character as well...

Chapter 35
I’m going to get the Old Man for this, the thought ran through Kirabaros’ mind as he struggled to awaken from the powerful sedative that Jolee had injected him with. His amber eyes were clouded as they opened to a light overhead. If Kirabaros had been anyone else, he would have thought it was the white light a person greets at death. He had the sense to know that he was in a med bay, just where, he had no idea. He shifted his eyes around and surveyed the room as far as he could see.

The room was rather small but then again so was the ship. It smelt of disinfectant though Jolee would say otherwise and he could make out the panels necessary to create medpacs and the like. As he explored with his drug-induced haze, he was aware that the screeching and the noise had softened to a dull and the pain in his neck from the injections were gone. Feeling satisfied at his observations, he slowly sat up. His ruminations were interrupted by a gruff voice saying, “Glad to see that you are up sonny. Now maybe you can explain a few things.”

Kirabaros turned towards the door to see Jolee standing there with his arms crossed. He grinned and replied, “I guess I owe an apology to the old man for getting out of retirement to come and rescue me.”

“You keep quiet with the jokes there, sonny. After that lively display of insanity I want to know exactly what happened to you on that ship,” Jolee responded rather stern.

Kirabaros knew this was serious. He had a tendency to forget that he dealt with trauma as a joke and his friends didn’t see it that way. Of course they didn’t have to live with childhood memories of torture but he never held that against him. He gave a sigh before replying with, “Do you really want to know?”

Jolee could see that Kirabaros wasn’t intending to be funny with the question. Jolee remembered when he was captured by the Leviathan and endured the interrogation process. It wasn’t a pleasant thing but he had to know. He replied, “What did they do to you sonny?”

“The usual: the threats, the torture, whatever it takes to reveal what they want to know.” Kirabaros looked away to gaze at a particularly interesting panel, “That and Draconis injected something that causes me to hallucinate.”

“Yes that was made clear after that interesting exhibit on the way out.”

“It made me remember things. Things that I have long buried.” Kirabaros began to look disturbed. He disliked feeling vulnerable and he reacted to it in not a pleasant manner. He closed his eyes and the memory of the Blood King drenched in blood passed through his mind along with flashes of death in general. It was a joke amongst the tribesmen that Kirabaros saw death everywhere and even he laughed about it. Now it was haunting him much like his dreams. True that the sedatives dampened the effects but it didn’t stop it. He looked at Jolee with a pleading look.

Jolee saw the look of desperation, the plea for help. He always knew Kirabaros to be someone too stubborn to ask for help but this time he was. The one time that he was asking for it, Jolee didn’t know how to give it. Instead he replied, “That’s war for you sonny. You never get over it,” and sat next to Kirabaros.

“You can’t get over things that nearly killed you either, things that should have killed you but didn’t,” Kirabaros replied looking at the ground. He remembered that attack in the enclave where Cronus was killed but it was mingled with those that he cared about being killed amongst those that he knew then. It was maddening and it terrified him for he couldn’t tell vision from memory.

“Kid, I don’t know how many times you have brushed with death since I met you. Some of those things should have killed you but they didn’t,” Jolee picked up on his train of thought. Saying that made him think that whatever it was they injected him with would have probably destroyed a normal Jedi. “This is probably one of those times.”

Kirabaros said nothing but continued to stare at the floor. He would have gone on staring in complete silence if Mission hadn’t poked her head into the med bay. Jolee asked, “What is it lass?”

“Just came in to say that we will arriving at Amshrey in two days and my watch is up,” Mission gave a thumb back and leaned in the doorway. Her lekku twitched to indicate her impatience at Jolee.

Jolee sighed, “Fine, fine. This youngsters have no respect for their elders.” He was still muttering as he disappeared around the bend towards the cockpit to take over.

Mission watched him leave and said to Kirabaros in a conspiratorial whisper, “He’s an old married woman.”

Kirabaros couldn’t resist a chuckle. He coughed to keep it from becoming a full-blown laugh. He replied, “He’s tougher than he looks.” He then looked at Mission and added, “Thanks Mission.”

“No problem,” Mission replied with a smile on her face. As quick as the smile appeared, it dropped out of sight. She inched her way forward and asked, “You all right?”

“Yes and no.” Then seeing that she was going to pursue the subject, Kirabaros added, “I don’t know.”

“Hey, you’ve got nothing to be ashamed of. Revan didn’t remember anything about being a dark lord and that’s not her any more.”

“Mission, I don’t think that has anything to do with this,” Kirabaros began.

“Then what? Because you keeping secrets from everyone doesn’t help matters any.” Mission had made her way inside the med bay. Her lekku was twitching with impatience mingled with concern.

“What do you want to know?” Kirabaros asked. His head was pounding for the occasional hallucination was going through his head. He hid his discomfort by using his hand to brush his hair away, a futile gesture at most.

“Why were you captured and what did they do to you?” Mission was quick to ask.

“Because of the kids and he did something,” Kirabaros replied but not being clear. Seeing that Mission was getting annoyed, he sighed and made to explain his thoughts. He didn’t get far for a vision or a hallucination gripped him. He winced in pain and gripped his head at his temples. He stood up; unaware that Mission was gripping him to steady him. His eyes were open and wide in shock, terror and pain.

Mission saw him grab his head and became frightened. She pushed it side as she reached out to try and shake Kirabaros and get him to focus. He was groaning from whatever he was seeing and his eyes were wide open. She kept asking him what he was seeing and what was wrong. When she turned him to face her, he looked at her but not at her before squeezing his eyes shut and nearly shouting, “No!” The next thing she was doing was catching Kirabaros as he tried to sit back on the bunk and nearly fell on Mission as she reached out to steady him.

Atton had worse. After being in the company of Darius and later Kirabaros, he could shake off causal injuries. This time however, it just hurt more. Mainly it was because he had to face someone who willingly followed him when he used to kill Jedi. It brought back bad memories and the familiar self-loathing that Kirabaros at one time told him fiercely to get rid of.

They were standing on the shore of the Chinooka River before Atton was to return to Coruscant to carry out his new duties as a Jedi. Kirabaros was tossing some fry bread mixed with rice into the river when Atton walked up and asked, “Something up?”

Kirabaros tossed another handful in before saying, “You still carry much guilt.”

“Look who’s talking,” Atton retorted getting defensive.

“I’ve learned to let it go but this is not about me,” Kirabaros calmly replied, “In order for you to face the challenges that will come your way, you have to let it all go.”

“Look, it’s bad enough that I have to leave Morgan here…”

“I am not speaking of that but rather of your past activities,” Kirabaros turned to look Atton in the eye. “They have held you back and I suspect create a desperate need to live.”

Atton squirmed slightly for this reminded him of when Kreia crawled into his head a wrestled out his secrets. He began to flush and wanted to turn tail and run but was held by Kirabaros’ calm and reassuring hand. Kirabaros then said, “There will come a time when you will have to face that which you have done. You have to be able to battle it by believing that you have changed, believe in yourself.”

“What do you mean?” Atton asked.

“We all have to face our pasts. It’s what you do then that defines who you are. For you to succeed, you have to let the guilt go away so that you have no excuses should you fail,” Kirabaros replied.

“I admit that I am afraid,” Atton replied, turning away.

“Don’t carry that fear around inside of you. Let it go,” Kirabaros responded before turning back to the river to continue tossing fry bread and rice into the river. “May the gods grant a safe journey home.”

Atton thought about that day he spent in Kirabaros’ company. He then wondered if that conversation had been the result of a vision. Next to Revan, he was the only one who knew that sometimes Kirabaros received such visions through the Force. Everyone else thought that they were ramblings or something. That caused Atton to wonder why they had to keep running and hiding. It had been two years since the great evil had been defeated but it was like Kirabaros was still running from a shadow and no one knew why. Not even Michaela though she knew more than most people.

Atton couldn’t think more when he felt the sting of antibiotics on his ribcage. He turned to find the strange woman who helped him escape applying whatever it was to his ribs. Michaela had gone to the cockpit after scolding him mildly about being careful. The funny thing was that she was much younger than he and should have been more respectful but her excuse was that she lived with a warrior. He looked at the woman and studied her.

She was a pretty woman with ivory skin that was tanned. Her hair was a dark brown tinged with reddish streaks as if they had been bleached. She wore a short dark brown jacket over a black tube top. Her holster was slung low over her hips that were hugged in tight black pants that met with her boots. She was short but she was strong for she nearly pulled his arm out of the socket when she yanked him up the stairs.

Kiera was aware of how much the Jedi was studying her. She suspected that he wasn’t always a Jedi from the way he was staring at her. She decided to get him focused by applying a little more pressure to the rake to his ribs. Satisfied at the grunt he gave, she smiled and asked, “So, why were the three of you at Nar Shaddaa?”

“Heard about the call for bounty hunters and we needed the credits,” Atton uttered the lie.

His reward was another sting. Kiera said, “Sithspit first lie. You want to try again?”

“Fine,” Atton conceded, “We were there on a mission for a friend.” It was a partial truth but he wasn’t sure of whether or not to trust this woman.

“And you dropped right into a nest of gundarks and the guy in charge of hiring knows you. At least that’s a start, Jedi,” and Kiera applied the last of the antiseptic and threw Atton’s shirt at him. She turned to leave but not before she added, “By the way, your friend Michaela filled me in.”

Atton said nothing but watched her leave. He fumbled into his tunic while grumbling about her. Finished, he made his way to the main hold where Michaela was sitting at the communications console. He tapped her shoulder just as she was finished and asked, “What’s up with the new girl?”

Michaela had switched to a data console and was examining data when she answered, “She has joined us. I told her everything worth mentioning.”


“No,” Michaela scrolled through her data, “Only that we were trying to prevent a war. Nothing more.”

Atton nodded and made to turn away to relieve Rowan in the cockpit for a few hours. He was stopped when Michaela spoke up, “You didn’t banish it. You were not ready to face him yet.”

Atton turned to look at her. All he saw was her back but he asked just the same, “What did you say?”

Michaela turned to face him. She looked him in the eye and repeated, “You weren’t ready. You still carry that fear inside you.”

“What do you know about that?”

“I know nothing except what your personal signature in the Force tells me,” Michaela explained. “He is not the only one who can sense these things.”

“Maybe so but that doesn’t give you the right to pry into my head,” Atton was getting indignant.

“I did no such thing Atton.” Michaela stood up to her full height. “Or should I say Jaq?”

“That is not my name!”

Michaela softened her voice, “I know that. What I am saying is that the more you hide, the more the fear and the guilt grows. I think she once said that it squirms like a worm inside of you.” She paused to scan Atton’s features. She could see the anger and sense the feelings of violation. She continued, “He said to let it go. Don’t let this past dictate who you are.”

Atton had been schooling his rage at mentioning of his past till it became nothing more than a dying ember. Feeling that he could control his voice he said, “I knew him. I was him.”

“I know,” Michaela replied softly.

“I taught him things I knew but not all. I taught him to kill Jedi.” Atton was then struck with a realization. He said, “He was the one who shot at Kirabaros.”

“I know.” Michaela sat back down. “Atton, we all have our demons. This race of deception leads to only one course, the facing of those demons.”

“How and when?”

Michaela shrugged her shoulders. She then replied, “They are heading to Amshrey so he’s all right. We are heading to Tatooine since we are low on some supplies and it is fairly close.”

“The girl?”

“A comrade fighting the same cause.”



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