SW: TOR: RECKONING OF A LOST SOUL: METAMORPHOSIS
Part Four of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
CORUSCANT, ON THE WAY TO DENON YEPTI'S CAMPAIGN HQ
Something nagged at the back of my mind as our speeder propelled us toward the heart of Coruscant. "Agent Stavros?" I asked. "I don't think a mere change in our physical appearance is going to keep Master Karos from recognizing us. We Jedi can sense the inner essence of a person on many levels, and no matter how hard I've tried, I can't disguise such things as my mannerisms or gait. I'll fall back upon subconscious patterns of behavior sooner or later, and when I do, Master Karos will blow our cover immediately."
The Imperial operative nodded. "Don't worry. The Kaminoans have dealt with many such situations before, and with humans and aliens who've simply needed to 'disappear'. I can't tell you more, because that would involve revealing trade secrets. Let's just say you're in safe hands for the moment, or at least as safe as you believe the hands of honest Sith can be." I said nothing, but merely glanced at Qyzen Fess out of the corner of my eye. As usual, his scaly face was void of all expression. Only his slightly-twitching tail gave him away. I decided to immerse myself in the Force and try to calm my fraying nerves. Time was of the essence if we were to defeat Master Karos!
When we arrived at TF-3109PQ, our intended destination, Agent Stavros disembarked from the speeder. "Leave the talking to me," she commanded. "You two just stand there and keep quiet while I tell Noha Sa, the lead scientist here, what's in order. Follow me." Silently, Qyzen and I obeyed. The "transformation facility" was not what I expected it to be--namely, cold and sterile. Instead, it was as warm and inviting as a recreational spa! Still, a tremor of unease threatened to force its way into the forefront of my mind. It was all I could do to imitate Qyzen and his ever-neutral stance and manner.
"Greetings, Noha Sa," Stavros said. "I know I haven't paid you a visit in quite a while, but we Imperial officers have been very busy as of late. These are two of our newest recruited operatives, and they need deep 'modification'! That's because they chanced to run into a Jedi mole inadvertently, and the human is sure they're being tracked right now. As for the lizard? Who knows what he's thinking?" I noticed the plates on the back of Qyzen's neck bristle. "So, I'll spare no expense for their transformation. Their potential is high, and I would hate to execute two agents whose futures are so bright. Got me?" The Kaminoan named Noha Sa nodded and curled a beckoning finger. We followed.
Once we were inside a highly-secure chamber full of what appeared to be kolto tanks, Noha Sa asked us, "Do you know what I'm planning to do?"
"Honestly, no," I replied, and Qyzen stiffened. Had speaking been a mistake?
"The process might unsettle you, then, but do not be afraid." Noha Sa's tone was clinical and matter-of-fact. "In the natural world, do you know what happens inside of a pupa, when a larva is transformed into an adult insect?" After raising a skeptical eyebrow, I shook my head. I really didn't know how the metamorphosis took place, except that it occurred within the chrysalis or cocoon. "The larva's body is dissolved into cellular fluid, and the cells rebuild themselves into the organs of an adult. Utterly fascinating, isn't it?"
My jaw dropped. "Are you saying you're going to do that to the two of us?"
Noha Sa gave us what could be construed as a Kaminoan smile. "Relax. Within these metamorphosis tanks, the main parts of your body shall remain intact. Only the outer layer of your skin and your hair, with their melanin levels and cellular composition, shall dissolve and regrow. I'm going to talk to your superior about what I should program both of you to look like afterward."
"Wait." I held up my right hand. "If our brains won't be affected, and neither will our thoughts, then the transformation will be pointless because the Jedi mole we're after will sense us anyway. Can you try and fix that, or not?"
"Our previous clients have informed us," the lead scientist said slowly, "that after a procedure as fundamentally drastic as this one has been conducted, their 'unique Force signature', as you Sith say, is erased and must be formed anew. This is because when your outer layer of skin dissolves, so do a vast number of midichlorians! Luckily, they do not disappear. They regenerate and imprint themselves within you. A major side effect, however, is that Force users are not able to utilize their powers for at least ten hours afterward."
Great. How will we be able to beat Master Karos without the Force?
"If your predicament is as dire as Agent Stavros says it is," continued Noha Sa, "I ever-so-humbly suggest that you undergo this metamorphosis. You will not die, nor will you emerge disabled or malformed. I've used myself as a test subject, and so have many others at this facility. Do you see or sense any abnormalities within me?" I shook my head, and so did Qyzen. "Good. Are you sure, then, that you want to submit yourselves to the procedure?" Both of us nodded. We didn't really have a choice if we didn't want Karos to detect us on the spot! Thus, my Trandoshan ally and I climbed into two tall tanks.
Sedation. Warmth and darkness. Peace. Slight tingling, and deeper sedation...