SW: TOR: RECKONING OF A LOST SOUL: SECOND EXCHANGE
KORRIBAN, DRESHDAE SPACE PORT, 0000 HOURS (MIDNIGHT)
Part One of an Old Republic Tale by MsFicwriter
Qyzen Fess and I did not know what kind of welcome we'd receive from the Sith once we returned to the Dreshdae space port. One part of me believed that we'd be hailed as victors, having slain Pfon Urazhai! Another part, however, knew that both of us were still prisoners: the perfect ones to put to death for an "unauthorized murder". Even here on Korriban, there was an inexorable chain of command--therefore, an inexorable chain of death. How high had Pfon been in it? I suspected that, being a pureblood and the one in charge of slave trials and testing, he'd earned some prestige among his fellow Sith. How would they react to his untimely demise? There was only one way to find out, so we watched our every move as we returned to the sole "safe" place we knew.
The space port droids caught us first. Initially, I wanted to ignite my silver saberstaff and fight them, but they didn't shoot to kill. Instead, they rushed forward and placed Qyzen and me in Force-suffused stun collars. Neither of us resisted, because my Trandoshan ally had snapped one word: "Hold...!"
Thus, we submitted, and were not killed immediately. The droids herded us inside Dreshdae, to a long hallway containing refreshers. Qyzen and I were quickly ushered inside one of the waiting stalls, which was then locked down.
"Poison gas!" the Trandoshan cried. "I've heard of this kind of trap before. Hold your breath for as long as you can!" Panicking, I obeyed, expecting the worst. Would this be the kind of haze that only affected the respiratory system, or would it also strip our flesh away like acid? When we were unceremoniously stripped of our robes and armor by machines, left with nothing else touching our skin but cold air, we looked at each other with the same despairing expression: This is it, and we won't even receive the honor of a formal Sith execution.
The refresher stall was activated, presumably by the waiting droids outside. In a split second, I wondered if droids reacted to screams the same way that sentient beings did. However, the only screams I uttered next were ones of relief. We were being deluged with a high-pressure spray of water, not toxic vapor! Mechanical arms bearing washrags soon added a deluge of foam. When my bladder released unexpectedly, that problem was solved in a flash with their lathery swipes. After cleansing us through and through, the refresher's mechanisms automatically rinsed us. A panel in the wall revealed black robes after opening. We dressed.
"At--at least they don't want us to stink before they kill us!" I quipped, laughing so loudly that it echoed off of the refresher walls. Qyzen joined in. Not even the re-entrance of the droids could dampen our high spirits! Apparently, we were to be spared, at least for a while longer. As the droids coerced us down more corridors at blaster-point, I thought, Perhaps an interrogation? I do hope our inquisitor doesn't torture us like Pfon did...
After what I'd been through in the past few hours, I knew I would break.
Nothing, however, could have prepared me for the Sith who greeted us:
I couldn't believe it. "I thought you were on assignment--"
"I was," replied the Marauder slowly, "but I returned earlier this evening. I'd gleaned nothing from the so-called 'lead' I'd been sent to contact regarding our mole on Tython. Therefore, I had to rid his mind of information entirely." Vadym's smile was grim. "My superiors, as soon as I had saluted them, told me they'd felt a dark disturbance in the Force: the death of one of their own."
"Pfon Urazhai," I replied, the words coming out more coldly and stalwartly than I'd ever dreamed in such a situation. Why wasn't I blubbering like a child, nearly incoherent with remorse and shame? Isn't that what normal people, and especially Jedi, were supposed to do? "Qyzen Fess and I decided that now was the time to end him and his senseless cruelty--for our own sake if not for yours! Therefore, we went to the Valley of the Dark Lords and dueled him."
"I fired the fatal dart," Qyzen interjected, "which penetrated Pfon's skull. If you wish to execute anyone, Ssssith,
let it be me, because I'm the one who suggested we assassinate him before Per'dra had the chance to fight." He raised his head. "I am the only one who deserves punishment."
"Wait!" I cried. "Pfon Urazhai didn't just perish, even with Qyzen's dart! I quartered
him. There was no chance I'd let his corpse remain intact, after what he'd done to me--and tried to do to me. If someone's head must roll and satisfy your superiors' natural desire for vengeance, let it be mine."
Vadym said nothing for a long while. Behind his closed eyes, I sensed that he was meditating. Planning. Calculating, like a grandmaster dejarik player. Then:
"There is something crucial my superiors want at this moment, which far supersedes their call for retribution at Pfon's unexpected...loss."
His voice was red-black, velvet dipped in blood. "Even now, we still do not know if our mole Karos is with us or the Jedi. We cannot 'read' her, or even find enough legitimate leads who can! To make matters worse, we sense she's planning something."
A weighty pause. "Karos has told us that she is heading to Coruscant to support a politician named Denon Yepti in his bid for the Galactic Senate. Karos claims she wants to corrupt him, and entice him to join us! Still, is that her true goal? We Sith need someone to find out."
I smirked. "Let me guess--that's us." I heard Qyzen snicker softly nearby.
"We've spared your lives. You shall accept this assignment in return."
I swallowed. "Yes, my lord." I bowed my head over his outstretched hand.
"Not only have we provided you with proper cleanliness and proper clothing, but a courier vessel as well: the Vygrali. Go to Hangar 125-A immediately. You are to venture to Coruscant, where a truly trusted contact will meet you. This mission is of the utmost importance."
"I know," I replied, not understanding why, "but I fear I may only have twenty-four hours to live! Pfon injected me with the Essence of Victory..."
"...which shall keep you breathing, and victorious, for as long as needed. Do not fail me, either of you. Death's maw is still wide open. I want you both to avoid it."
Thus, Qyzen and I made our second exchange: surviving, but serving the Sith.