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Old 10-17-2008, 06:25 PM   #1
Darth_Yuthura
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Descending into Revan's Shadow (Ending to 'Prior to Exile')

Here is 'Prior to Exile' in reverse. The last chapter will lead to 39, 38, and continues to where the first chapters meet the last. This is just to make it more interesting.

-------

Chapter 40: The Last Casualties of the Mandalorian War

Describing the force to one who cannot sense it was difficult to do. It would be like describing a sight to the blind or a sound to the deaf. It was a sixth sense to Jedi just as different as smell was to sight, yet it seemed to touch upon them all. It was odd to see so many around who found it so natural to have only their eyes and ears that I envied them... or rather I envied that they could go about their lives and I was struggling just to get by.

Sight was the most significant of the five senses, yet some Jedi have learned to rely on the force more than their eyes. Despite that, the force could never replace sight for the purpose of reading or appreciating a work of art. Light could not be sensed through the force, so a Jedi could never fully substitute their eyes for the mitochlorians in their cells.

Hearing was often a neglected sense, but it resembled the force much more than sight. When you hear a sound, you can only approximate where it came from, but can’t navigate without echo location, which I didn’t have. Despite its limitations, you almost instantly know danger when you hear it. Unlike eyes, your ears were always active and could not block out unwanted noise.

Losing your hearing due to auditory shock was debilitating and difficult to cope with while danger was going on all around you. Despite being able to see and feel everything around you, blaster fire did not look the same without the sound. Pain felt different without hearing the sound of the explosion or the footsteps behind you that came before it.

The Force was much like sound because it was always active and being deafened to everything was far worse than the unwanted noise. The Force was my most important sense and I could not hear it. There was no pain, yet it felt like I was hurting all over... frightened, deafened, and inferior. It was for that reason that I had to do whatever it took to heal, even if it meant confronting those who said I betrayed them all those years when I was trying to save them. I was not too worried about receiving aid from the Council as much as I was that they could not help me re-establish my connection to the Force.

When I was walked down the hallway and into the Council chamber, only five were present, including Vrook. At least with him were Atris and Kavar, who knew me and would have believed that I did it for the right reasons.

When I was in the center of the chamber, I felt much better just seeing Kavar again that I smiled for the first time in a long while, but it was brief. He maintained a very stoic face, which indicated feelings that he didn’t want me to know. Without the Force, I couldn’t sense anything from anyone beyond what they chose to show.

Atris, who had begged me not to follow Revan, was giving me a very smug and contemptible look. I left on hard terms with her, but I would have imagined a decade of friendship would have endured what we went through. She was not hiding anything... she wanted me to know she felt superior. Of all the nerve!

After a moment of standing before them, Vrook spoke out in that same tone he used as if just going through procedure. “Do you know why we have summoned you here?”

“I have come of my own accord... not because you summoned me.“ I did not let him believe that I was under their control, otherwise, it would have been as if I had not returned willingly. I wanted to show that I was willing to face my crimes, but I didn't want it to seem as though I had just run away when things got difficult.

Vrook sat back in his seat. “That didn’t answer my question. Do you know why you’re here?”

“I do... but I would like to know what you expect from me. Is this a trial or a debriefing?”

Master Vash gave me an answer. “Alexandra Tydings, you were in command of the Republic Fleet that caused the massacre at Malachor V...”

“It was a battle! A battle between two opposing fleets. And yes, I was in command of the Republic fleet.” I corrected.

Atris shouted out against me. “You murdered millions who didn't participate in that battle! It was a massacre, and one of which you are responsible for!”

It hurt to hear her attack me like that, but at the same time, she was right to a degree. I knew millions of innocents would die from the mass shadow generator, but I believed it was better than the billions who would have died in a long, drawn out war. Malachor V was a means to keep that from happening.

“It was not by choice that Malachor V was the system to use the mass shadow generator, but by necessity. It was the only system that we could have lured the majority of the Mandalorian fleet into a single system. They chose to enter a sovereign Republic system, knowing the contingencies of war.”

Vrook took over. “We are not here to debate military tactics. That weapon is an atrocity and should never have been built, yet you are also the one who both produced and detonated it... are you not?”

“I did, but in...”

Atris went on the offensive again. “That was a war crime. There is nothing that could justify such an act. I don’t understand...”

I did not allow myself to be interrupted. “It ended a war! Hundreds of billions of lives were at stake and the attack on Malachor V prevented billions more from dying in a long, drawn out war.”

Master Kez Kae Ell entered the debate. “That comes back to the heart of the matter. The Jedi are guardians of the peace. Your call to war undermined all we have worked for.”

“War was upon the Republic, whether you chose to get involved or not. When the Mandalorians committed the first overt act of aggression, the Republic asked for aid and you ignored their request. Revan did not.”

“And you just thought rushing into battle was the only answer? Every...” Vrook started, but was cut off.

“We waited for the Council to take action far longer than was prudent. I waited for you as long as possible, waiting for you to aid the Republic. In doing so, you allowed the Mandalorian threat to become more dire as the Republic Fleet was being beaten back.”

“And now, because of you, the reputation of the Jedi is stained with the blood of the victims of Malachor V.” Kez Kae Ell said.

“I’m not going to get into a circular argument, but I won’t have any of you believe that there was a better means address the Mandalorian threat.” I declared.

Atris countered me with a pointless reason of which she really did not understand, herself. “You didn’t take the time to evaluate the threat and Revan’s defiance forced us to deal with him instead of the Mandalorians. Had you and the other fallen jedi not supported him, his crusade would have died in its infancy. Now he controls almost a fourth of all the Jedi who were once loyal to the Order.”

“You were not part of the Council then Atris... so be silent." I faced Vrook and Vash. "Do any of you [i]think[i] that I wanted to defy you? Do you believe that I wanted to go to war, let alone leave the Order behind. I didn’t want to follow Revan, I wanted to support Master Kavar. Had Kavar been selected, Revan and Malak would have stood alone without a standard by which to gather followers.”

“So is Revan your master now? You stood under his standard from the very beginning. Even after casting you aside, you still defend him.” Atris sat back as if satisfied to say that.

“I stood with Revan for as long as he fought the Mandalorians. Once they were defeated, I left him and came back...” I looked each one in the eye. “...I never wanted to leave the Order, but the Mandalorians had to be stopped. Now that the war is over... I have returned to face judgment.”

Vrook snapped back at my sincerity. “You came back because you lost your connection to the force! You want us to heal it because no one else could!”

“No!” I knew that it was not the only reason, but it was the most important reason to me. After a sigh, I spoke the truth. “Yes... but that wasn’t the only reason. I intended to return anyway.”

Master Vash replied. “If you are sincere about this, there are questions that we need answered. Revan and Malak are still gaining support from other Jedi, but we do not know where they have gone or what their plans are. You were within his circle and should be able to tell us everything we need to know. First: what is the true reason that Revan's forces ventured beyond the Outer Rim?”

I was not informed of anything planned beyond the war and didn’t know such answers. “I was never aware of such plans. It was not to pursue fleeing Mandalorian forces, I can say that.”

Vash looked disappointed. “I find that difficult to believe you weren’t included in such a significant operation. Moving a third of the Fleet couldn’t be directed by any one man; wouldn’t he have included his closest lieutenants in such plans?”

“Yes. And no, I was not told of any plans because I was longer within his circle. Surely you can’t sense any deception from me.” I said confidently.

When they didn’t answer, Zez Kae Ell asked the next question. “Rumors have been spreading that Revan and Malak have been feeding teachings of the dark side among the Jedi who continue to follow them. Are those teachings sith? If so, where did they acquire such knowledge?”

“I don’t know.”

“She doesn’t know.” Vrook mocked me.

“If I knew, I would tell you. Whatever they’re doing now was never discussed with me. I thought all of it was going to end when the war was over.” I said almost desperately.

Zez Kae Ell was not swayed. “Well then why don’t you tell us what you do know?”

I thought a long moment before I could think of something fitting to that question. “Revan and Malak are convinced that they saved the Republic from the Mandalorians. They believe that you, the Council, stopped being Jedi when you started believing yourselves to be more divine than the entire Order.”

“It is Revan who had stopped being a Jedi, as did everyone who betrayed us.” Atris declared, looking at me.

“To fight in the war was no betrayal. I never forgot my teachings, even at Malachor. I did what had to be done, or billions would have perished. Had I not, I would no longer have been a Jedi.”

“You stopped being a Jedi long ago. If you believe that you can evade the consequences of your actions by returning here, you are wrong. In defying the Council, helping Revan wage war, and committing mass murder over Malachor V; you have rejected everything that we stand for.” Vrook declared.

I felt as though a dagger had been plunged into my heart when I heard those words. After everything that I sacrificed, they were going to throw me out and say I was responsible for everything that has happened. I was not so concerned of exile as I was in loosing the Force forever. Such fear made me put my hands together and lower my head to beg. “Please... don’t do this. I need your aid.”

“You have brought this upon yourself. Considering what you’ve done, you are fortunate to be able to walk out of here.” Zez Kae Ell said.

“Please! Exile me... imprison me if you must, but don’t leave me in this condition! I beg you!”

“No. She would just join Revan again. If she’s beneath his gaze, he’ll leave her behind.” Atris justified.

I turned to face my once-loyal friend and shouted, voice breaking up. “Shut up! How can you say that?!”

Atris looked upon me pitifully, but remained silent. Then set sat back in her chair, arms folded as if to show contempt and superiority to me. I couldn't understand why she was being so cruel for something that didn't affect her. How could she have been so angry at me?

Kavar had not said anything all session and I couldn’t believe he would stand for any of this. I got in front of him to know if he had turned on me like Atris, or if he was just letting things happen without being a part of it. I brought myself to eye level and asked softly, “Master Kavar... please help me. Please tell me at least that you believe me.”

Kavar’s stoic expression began to break and he looked up to the other masters as if to silently ask them to reconsider, but he turned his gaze back on me. Then he showed a very pained expression and said he was sorry.

I was close to tears, blinking to keep them hidden. There seemed little point anymore, but I didn’t want that to be the last thing they saw of me. I moved back to the center of the room and waited to hear their final words.

Zez Kae Ell started the final verdict. “Know that there is no going back on this decision. You have shut us out and so shut yourself out to the galaxy.”

Vash stood up and got in front of me to say it directly. “Alexandra Tydings, you are exiled from the Jedi Order. You will not be held on trial for your crimes, but you are banished from here and every other Jedi outpost.”

Those words made the tears I was holding back pour from my eyes and stream down my cheeks. It was so painful to have lost everything that mattered to me. Jedi are supposed to have nothing to lose, which was why they didn’t allow love or close friendships, but even then they had the force. I was left alone and blind with no where to go and nothing of my life left except the memories to remind me of what I held most dear.

I turned around to leave that place forever, but before I reached the door, I heard Vrook’s voice again. “There is one more thing... your lightsabers... surrender them to us.”

No, not quite everything. All I had left were the two lightsabers attached to my belt, but I had been ordered to surrender even them. That command filled me with such fury that I shot around and shrieked, “I’ve already given everything I had! How can you ask for more?!”

Vrook stood up and took Vash’s place near the center stone. “A lightsaber is the symbol of the Jedi, a title you are no longer worthy of. Give them to me.”

I stared at him in disbelief. Although I didn’t really have much sentimental value for my lightsabers, they were all that I had left and I was determined not to lose them. I got in Vrook’s face to defy him one more time. “I’m exiled, remember? I don’t take orders from you!”

When I turned around to walk away, I heard that geezer’s voice again. “You will not carry anything of the Jedi out of here. If you do not give them up willingly, they will be taken from you.”

I turned around when I got to the door to the chamber and pulled out the weapons, but not activating them. “Then you’ll have to take them, or let me leave.” I turned back one last time and went down the hallway, waiting for Vrook to stop me, but nothing happened.

When I was at the opposite entrance, I heard someone coming behind me and I was going to defend myself... there was nothing left to lose anymore. When I activated the sabers, I turned back and crossed their green blades in front to threaten... Kavar? I guess that he was going to try and be the one to convince me to give them up, but I would not trust him again.

He was taken by surprise and almost ran right into the blades. “Alexandra...! Please don’t do this.”

“Why didn’t you defend me?! How could you and Atris have betrayed me?! I never offended either of you... how could you...?!” Saying those words were painful. Kavar was my friend and when I needed him most, he again chose the Council over me. Just the thought made me weep intensly and as I broke down in tears. My arms lost all their strength and were pulled down by the weight of the sabers. Shortly after that, I lacked the strength to hold them at all... slipping from my grip and retracting the blades before clattering on the floor.

Kavar had brought me into an embrace, if only to let me cry on his shoulder. He still regarded me as a friend and somehow, just knowing he still cared meant more than anything else... even if he couldn’t defend me. He helped me into a room beyond the Council’s sight and sat me down on one of the benches before taking a seat next to me.

For a long moment, there was a painful silence worse than ever I have ever felt. It was almost as though because there was nothing that could be done, there was nothing that could be said. I looked deep into his eyes with my tears clearly visible. “Please... I’m desperate. Living without the force... it hurts.”

“I’m sorry, Alexandra, but we can’t help you with this.”

“Can’t... or won’t?!” I explaimed with my voice breaking.

He put his hands on my shoulders as if to keep me still. “We can’t... because we really don’t know what happened to you over Malachor V. We don’t even know how you’re still alive.”

Hearing such things almost increased the magnitude of the pain. The only thing that has kept me alive was the hope that I would hear the Force again. Even that hope was dying. “But why are you sending me away? Because of Malachor? I was just trying to save as many lives as possible.”

“I’m... not at liberty to discuss it. I’m sorry.”

“Do you think that makes it easier for me?! That it’s for a good reason... but you won’t tell me what it is?” I shoved him away and stood up to shriek with all the anger I had within the remnants of my soul. “That’s exactly what they said before the Mandalorians invaded... and look what happened! Look how many of them followed Revan!”

He stood up and held me close as he rubbed my back and shoulders as if he were my master. He then whispered into my ear, “Once, you told me that the Council lost so many of their followers because they never explained the reason for judgment. You said it was foolish to assume your followers would blindly follow whatever orders you gave. Do you remember that?"

I nodded, my head against his shoulder. "All reason said they were wrong, but they just told everyone to stay calm. Never did they justify their wisdom."

"What if you heard a friend telling you?” He pulled me back to look into my eyes. “Do you trust me enough to believe there is good reason for why we do this? Would you believe me if I tell you that this is in your best interests?”

I showed no confidence to him. How could he expect me to believe such a thing?

"If we could heal you, I would stop at nothing to help you. This isn't punishment... if ever you are to heal, it's not here."

I stared at him as though it would be the last time we would see each other. The sadness in his eyes seemed genuine and I realize that exile was just as painful for him as it was for me. I don’t know why, but I felt that there had to be something left worth holding on to. If Kavar said this was for the best, I had to believe he was right, or all hope was lost. Although it was not a thing to value, hope was often all anyone had to hold on to. If there was anything in store for me in my future, it was more than what I had at the moment.

I embraced Kavar as if to say ‘yes’ in a way that mattered. “I wanted to cast my weapons aside and walk away for the last three years. Maybe now is the time for that.” I forced out a chuckle.

He smiled as if to show confidence in a moment of utter gloom. Neither of us were genuinely happy at that moment, but we tried to assure the other that it was alright. “I’ll keep your lightsabers safe. If you should find the Force again, they'll be ready for you.”

I took the lead and went through the outer door, where my lightsabers had been dropped and I took them both, ready to use them one last time. I didn't how how many deaths were brought by my weapons... I didn't know how much blood was on them, but the blood of two more were about to be added to the list... the two most important to me. The two that were trampled upon by the very ones I wanted to protect.

Kavar followed close behind as we entered the Council chamber, but when he extended his hands to officially take my weapons, I activated them and plunged the blades of energy into the center stone, destroying the symbols of ‘truth’ and ‘justice.’ The Council did not have the right to bear them any more than I had the right to bear my lightsabers. I couldn't help but feel as though I were destroying what they represented, but I was well aware that they were not recognized and that I was making the stone tell the truth.

I let go of them and the blades retracted again, hilts tumbling to the floor so that the last casualties of the Mandalorian Wars would forever be remembered. I turned to my shocked friend and spoke calmly, almost to gloat. “I’m sorry Master Kavar, but it doesn’t change what has happened here today.” After a brief pause to remember his face, I was ready to leave. “When you heal the stone and your hearts, perhaps I will return."

I turned around and never looked back.

-----

Most of the content is original, but not all of it. Machievelli should be credited for the content regarding the centerstone. The last quote comes almost directly from his story, "Return from Exile."

Darth_Yuthura has requested a fanfic review for this thread.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 10-23-2008 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:21 PM   #2
Burnseyy
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I don't understand why no one has commented on this... Being busy, I guess, would be the reason, but this is such a good ending! I'm not sure why you posted the ending before you got into the story properly, lol, but it is still brilliant, nonetheless.

I think that you captured the Exile well. It is definitely a different side of the Exile, as the game didn't exactly convey much emotion on the exile's side... but to have ignored the councils decisions and gone to war, the Exile must have had some very strong opinions and beliefs. Having everything taken from her would truly have envoked some emotion, and I believed that, after being in a war, witnessing death and then being scolded for aiding people would have made her very angry, and thus upset when she was told she had been exiled.

Brilliant work Now, everyone, get commenting!


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 10-18-2008, 03:20 PM   #3
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I can't believe I missed this!

Wow...that was emotional!!!!! I agree with Burnseyy. The game doesn't really convey the feelings that a traumatic experience like this would produce. Great work, Yuthura--as always!


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 10-18-2008, 03:25 PM   #4
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Helpful! 
Yeah, sorry. I don't know where my head has been, but I have now just noticed your new fic. As I said, I think that you capture character's conflict with each other exeptionally well. I think that this is a really ineresting read, and I always look forward to the next chapter that you write!

Keep up the fantastic work Darth_Yuthura!!

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Old 10-18-2008, 03:49 PM   #5
Darth_Yuthura
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THANK YOU!
I have been wondering if it was never that good to begin with. I got some looks, but no feedback.

I've added Kavar's part at the end because I wanted to show just how fragile she was at that point to lose all hope. I don't think she would have been angry so much as hurt when her hope of a recovery are stolen from her and all she knew was thrown into complete bedlam. Being without the Force would have been like losing a critical sense and being told that it was gone forever... where she had hope before was gone at the end.

This is actually the END of the story and will be written in reverse. Hopefully, you can understand certain info meant to come from 'later' chapters.
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Old 10-18-2008, 10:43 PM   #6
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Chapter 39: The Sacrifice

This chapter is immediately after Malachor V The Exile feels the loss of the Force. In addition, this is only one half of the chapter. The other will be Bao-Dur's departure, but I needed to know what people thought of this so far.

----

I had been tossing and turning in a bed for what seemed to be a week, never in a deep sleep or fully awake. Bao-Dur’s voice seemed to break the darkness that I was in, but I could not make out what he had said. I wanted to wake up, but when I tried to open my eyes, it seemed just too much effort that I fell deeper into darkness.

My dreams were so erratic that I could not make out what was going on in my subconscious. It was as though I moved from one place to another, the people I knew, and the details changed while the rest was just a jumble of things I could not make out.

It was like a nightmare that wouldn’t end, even in death. Each time the dream was ended abruptly, I woke up to a glimpse of reality and fell back to sleep within seconds, only to wake up again within minutes and never allowing me to get beyond REM sleep. For a long time, the cycle continued until my dreams reverted back to normal and I finally found the utter darkness of deep sleep.

When I finally saw it clear from my mind, I had opened my eyes, but even then, it didn’t feel as though I were awake. I felt so weak and tired, but I couldn’t stand being in that bed any longer. I sat up, thinking I would feel more energy then, but it was like I were still asleep. My thoughts were distant and I had to focus all my effort into staying conscious and alert.

Someone had exclaimed when he saw me. “Doctor! She’s regained consciousness!” The man came over to my side, but I couldn’t move my head. “How are you feeling?”

I tried to say something, but the words didn’t seem to come naturally, but I forced something out. “I... am alive?”

“Yes. You’ve been asleep for nearly three days.” He said as he put an instrument on my arm the check my pulse. “You’re aboard the Ticonderoga. You were injured in the battle.”

“No... the mass shadow generator. I saw it... and then...”

Another physician came into my sight, but I didn’t know where he was before that. I would have felt him, but I didn’t see him until he was in front of me. Why couldn’t I sense him?! The lights... the crew... the ship... I couldn’t sense anything!

“Are you all right?” The doctor asked.

I was suddenly filled with utter terror and panic beyond anything I’ve ever felt before. I desperately slid myself off the bed and fell headfirst onto the floor. The pain barely seemed to register and that frightened me even more when I tried rolling onto my feet, but was held down by the male nurse.

“Easy! Calm down.”

I never felt such danger in my life that I shrieked in panic. “No! Let go! Let me go!” When the other doctor tried to help him, I would have thrown them off with the Force, but nothing happened. I tried again, but nothing.

Both of them were holding me flat on my back and the doctor tried calming me with hollow words of assurance. “It’s alright! You’re alright! Remain calm and...”

When the Force didn’t come to my aid, I resisted physically and managed to kick the male nurse away and roll out of the grip of the doctor. When I got to my feet, I turned to find a door with only my eyes, but by the time I saw where I could go, he had managed to grab my arms and tried restraining me again.

I fought with everything I had and managed to throw him to the floor. When I turned back for the door, I saw the nurse and ran around to avoid being caught, but he got hold of the hospital gown I was wearing and it grabbed me by the neck. After managing to slide the collar off, I was left clad only in my undergarments, but continued for the door.

Once I was in the hallway, I had run into a Republic officer who cursed at me, but after seeing I was half-naked, he stopped mid-sentence.

I just turned around and kept running... not even knowing where to go. I was disoriented and afraid to stay where I would be caught by that doctor. The halls were filled with Republic soldiers and personnel all staring at me as I ran through in terror. Their general was now a laughing stock, but they stepped out of my way and let me through.

Less than a minute after it all began, I found myself in front of Revan, who seemed to frighten me beyond any means I’ve ever known. I cowered into a corner, expecting him to kill me as he had Captain Pardon. I was beneath anything he would have tolerated in one of his generals. I was going to die and I could not even bring myself to my feet.

After a long moment of staring... not as a male would, but as if he had something else in store for me. I dreaded what he was about to do, but when he approached, he pulled off his cloak and wrapped it around me. He looked back at the personnel, who had gathered around to see me. “Return to your posts!”

I had taken the cloak and held it tightly as if I were in freezing conditions, but I was truly so terrified that I was trembling. Everything was different and I could not feel the Force, even from the one hovering over me. Instead of standing out like a torch, I saw nothing more than a man in front of me. I must have appeared like a shadow to him.

Instead of what I had come to expect, Revan helped me to my feet and guided me back to the infirmary. The doctor and nurse had followed me, but did not get within two meters of Revan. There was nothing but silence until I was escorted back and given a set of clothing.

Revan stared at me as if he’d never seen a woman before, but I could not understand why. He would not say anything and I was too afraid to ask, but when I was fully dressed, I just couldn’t stand the silence any longer. “What’s happened to me?”

“Can you still sense the Force?”

I shook my head erratically. “I can’t sense anything!”

“Then it’s as I feared. You are clearly alive, but I assumed you were masking your presence. In reality... there was nothing of the Force to sense.”

“What?” I asked desperately. “Are you saying I’m not sensitive to the Force any longer?!”

“No. There is nothing of the Force within you to sense. It’s as though there is nothing but a void in front of me where I see a living, breathing woman.”

My jaw hung open at what I just heard. “But that’s not possible. How can you not sense me?!” I gestured to myself with my hands as if I had to feel myself to know for sure. “I’m here! I’m alive!”

He gestured me to be silent. “I’m not blind! I know what I can see, but you can’t even sense yourself.”

“But how?!”

“I had a sample of your blood analyzed and from what we can tell, the mitochlorians in your cells are just as high as they were before, but they’ve become inert.”

“Inert? Which means I’m still... I can be healed... right?”

He didn’t give any gestures. “There have been no records of such cases as yours. Without any healthy mitichlorians, there is nothing to start the process of revitalization.”

I gasped in fear, but held my mouth closed. I was prepared for the possibility that I would have to undergo rehabilitation for what I had suffered on Dxun, but I was not expecting something so extreme as living beyond death. I was supposed to reach a threshold where there would not be enough mitochlorians to sustain my physical body and anything beyond was death. Approaching that threshold was a frightening thing, but going beyond it and still living was worse than death.

I curled myself into a ball at the head of my bed as if terrorized of myself and laying my head upon my knees and my arms wrapped around my shins. I had suffered a loss greater than anything else I held dear, but my sadness was far eclipsed by my fear. I was close to tears, but would not show any to Revan.

He stood out of his chair. “That Iridonian engineer wanted to know when you regained consciousness. He’s on duty, but still under your command. What would you have of him?”

With my head still down, I answered. “Just tell him to fix whatever is broken and move on.”

“Will do.” Then he walked out of the infirmary without any indication of concern for me. To him, I was just a spent soldier to be left behind. It didn’t make sense though why he didn’t just leave me out there in my underwear... at least then I would have been entertainment for the crew.

Oh God! I have lost everything I was and didn’t even have the Force anymore. And I came to think that I was nothing more than a thing to pity and laugh at. How did it happen?! Why was I still alive?!

I was about to break into tears when I heard the doctor approaching cautiously. “I need to check your vitals. Will you let me?”

“Just leave me alone.” I said softly.

“I need to check your vitals.” He said in a more commanding tone.

“I don’t care. Just leave me alone.”

“Very well.” Then he went back to his office, but it had a window that didn’t give me enough privacy.

I crawled off the bed and sat on the floor to give me more cover from prying eyes, but before I could vent my pain privately, I heard a door slid open and heavy footsteps going towards the doctor’s office. When I heard Malak’s voice, I curled myself up as tightly as possible as if to be as small as possible from his eyes. But there was no way to escape my fate.

I heard the footsteps approach me and suddenly stop about a meter from where I was curled up and shaking in fear. “How the mighty have fallen.”

“Go away.” I whispered. A moment later, I felt him trying to probe my mind and I lifted my head to shout at him. “There’s nothing wrong with my mind you idiot!”

“You know, I think that’s the first time you’ve ever directly insulted me. Rather ironic... don’t you think?” He grabbed me by the neck and forced my head in his direction. “Because I could kill you without a moment’s hesitation!”

He didn’t realize it, but I had a lightsaber in my hand and he couldn’t sense me moving it to his gut. Only when I pressed the hilt against his side did he see both it and my finger on the activation switch. “Try it.”

Malak was surprised at how easily I had him at my mercy and drew back quickly, clearly embarrassed at his recklessness. When he was safely away, Malak’s smug expression returned as though he had already forgotten what just happened. “It is of no matter. Letting you live will allow you to suffer a long, miserable life. Almost poetic, I think. You were always the one who held true to the saying ‘a Jedi’s life is sacrifice.’” He lowered himself to his knees. “Now that you’ve sacrificed everything, can you honestly tell me that it was worth it?”

I stared at him for a long moment, trying not to shed tears, but they came regardless.

“If you had to do it all over again, would you have made such a sacrifice so easily?”

I kept trying to blink back the damn tears, but they were going to come anyway. “No.” I said honestly.

He smiled maliciously. “That’s what I thought.” Then he got up and turned away.

I curled myself back up and waited for him to leave, but I heard the footsteps cease again.

Then he turned around. “Oh... one other thing that may interest you. The news of Malachor V has spread across the Republic. The networks have officially declared it a massacre and your name is attached to it. You are now a war criminal and those millions who died are your victims.” He took a sadistic pleasure in telling me that. “Just thought it might ease your mind to know you did exactly what you set out for. Still want to go back?” Then he laughed and turned to leave.

Once the door closed, it was like all my emotional control breached in an instant, violently unleashing an agonizing stream of wailing and tears. I fell on my side and released a deafening wail of pain. Sobbing in agony, I had never felt such torture or loss. Everyone I knew who went into the war with me were gone and I had lived through it. My attempts to save myself by saving the Galaxy have left me suffering beyond death.

Why wasn't I allowed to die?! Why was I forced to do what no one else was willing to do? How could I have saved the Republic and be called a war criminal? Why has the Force abandoned me?!

My unyielding tears and anguished screaming were the sound of ultimate suffering. I hated myself and hated everyone else! Why was I the victim of all this?! By what right did I deserve any of this?! Why can't I escape this pain?!

Despite everything I tried to do, I had the blood of millions on my conscience and nothing I did could change that. The Force had abandoned me and I was helpless. My friends were dead because of me and those I hated were escalated to power. It was all because of me! There was no one else to blame, but it wasn't my fault!

After nearly an hour of endless wailing, a physician hovered over and sedated me... sparing me of the pain for at least a while.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 10-19-2008 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:08 PM   #7
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That was intense! I loved her pulling her lightsaber on Malak. That was a really good trick.

What the heck does Malak have against her?! She just gave him and Revan the keys to the Senate, practically! Oh, well, guess that's what the next chapter's for.


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 10-20-2008, 11:35 AM   #8
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Chapter 39 xtend

This is a continuation of chapter 39, not the previous chapter.

I have rewritten the ending of chapter 40 and retitled it "The Last Casualties of the Mandalorian Wars" I think this is much more fitting than what I had before and I hope you reread the last four paragraphs and understand what it represents to the story.

------

I woke up in my quarters a few hours later, hoping it was only a dream. My entire life was nothing but a nightmare anymore and I wanted to go back to the solace of my sleep so I would be spared that pain, but sleep was never going to come easy again.

I didn’t know what was hurting more, being without the Force, or if it was guilt for Malachor V. At first, millions sacrificed to save countless billions seemed to be the best outcome, but knowing that those millions were my victims... It gave me no comfort, even if I saved the entire Republic. The few friends who survived the war were also killed by me and I survived.

*It was not survivor guilt that I was feeling, but being a survivor was what caused the guilt I felt.* If I had died along side my friends and troops, then I would not have been regarded as the mastermind of the shadow mass generator, but another victim of it. What fools they were to assume I had not lost something more significant than my life.

I rolled out of the bed, still clad in my robes, and curled myself into a ball like a frightened animal. It was like the very air around me was painful and that I could shield myself from it by ducking my head against my knees and tucking myself into my arms. It also allowed me to weep more quietly.

-----

A long while after that, I heard my door chime, but I did not answer verbally. It sounded again, but I did nothing. Then I heard the lock being picked and I knew that whatever was coming would get through. I was between my bed and a wall, still curled up and in dim lighting... maybe I would not have been seen.

When the door slid open, the person waited at the entrance for a moment before I heard his heavy footsteps as he came in. When he was at the foot of the bed, he whispered to me. “General?”

I didn’t want Bao-Dur to see me like this. I didn’t want him to see me broken and in pain, but I had to push him away. The problem was that I couldn’t move from where I was... I was just too afraid that I couldn’t move.

He came and sat next to me. A moment after that, I felt his right arm extended to rub my back and shoulders. Almost like a bunny-cat, I raised myself in the direction of his hand, which ended at the back of my neck. “I heard that something had happened to you... something about the Force. I see that they weren’t exaggerating. You look as though you lost something more than an arm.”

I had moved my head to see the stump where once my friend’s left arm resided and realized that I was not the only one who lost something in the war. “The Force... I lost it.”

He turned himself around so that his back was against the wall and facing me. “Lost it? Can you get it back?”

I shook my head, tears pouring from my eyes. “I don’t know. Even if they could, I don’t think the Council will help me.”

“I heard that they are willing to help anyone in need, regardless of who’s asking. Why would they refuse to help you?”

“Because of what happened here. I’m responsible for the deaths of millions. I’m a war criminal.”

He reached his arm out to my shoulder and began blinking back tears of his own. “No, General. You were trying to end a war. I was the one who conceived of the mass shadow generator. I was the one who built the weapon... with this hand.” He gestured to his head. “This mind was what brought a weapon of mass death into existence.”

I reached myself over to hold his shoulders. “I was the one who had such a terrible thing built. I was the one who lead the fleet at Malachor V. I was the who gave the command to fire.” I wailed. “I was the one responsible for all this! It was because of me!” I sobbed, “I can’t...”

“Shh...” He gently covered my mouth and lowered his hand again. “You are a Jedi, General. You did what you believed was right. If you hadn’t, would you have felt any better about yourself?”

“I should have found another way! I shouldn’t have forced it upon you to build such a thing. I knew it was wrong, but I did it anyway. You were just following my orders... there is no blood on your hands.”

He shook his head. “No, General. You wanted to end a war. I wanted to hurt the Mandalorians. I wanted revenge for what they did to my people. The Republic, the Jedi, You... none of it crossed my mind when I activated the weapon.” He started crying. “I savored that moment, but when I heard your scream... it was like you were screaming for everyone caught in the gravitational pulse.” He covered his eyes with his hand. “All that anger and hate for the Mandalorians faded away and I feared that my weapon killed you as well. Nothing is worth that.”

“If I hadn’t given the order, you wouldn’t have fired it. It was all me.”

“Do you think that it makes me feel better to see you like this? I let my hate for the Mandalorians blind me to everything else and it hurt you... it hurt more than the Mandalorians ever have.” He withdrew and lowered his head. “I am a monster.”

I leaned myself up and lifted his chin to face me. “Maybe we all did what had to be done. We may have paid the price, but it meant others didn’t have to. If we saw billions die because we hesitated to act... would the galaxy be worth living in?”

He looked at where his arm should have been. “It still hurts. I don’t feel any pain, but not having it... I never realized how important it was to have two hands for most of the work I did. I tried helping with repairs after the battle, but even the simplest task was much more difficult because I needed a hand to hold and another to weld the piece back in place.” He sighed in pain. “I’ve always been good at fixing things that were broken, but without my other hand, I can’t do half of what I could before. I can’t imagine what you must have lost in that battle.”

I nodded. “I’m not going to stay. There is nothing left for me here. The Council are the only ones who can help me and I must go back. Even if it means standing trial for my crimes and imprisonment... it’s better than this.”

He nodded, tears in his eyes. “And I’m going to stand beside you as well.”

“No.” I held his shoulders. “The galaxy is going to need fixing and you would do it better by doing what you love... what you do better than anyone else. I have nothing left, but to throw myself onto the mercy of the Council and hope they can heal me.” I tried to smile, but it was the most unconvincing smile I ever gave. With more tears in my eyes and my voice breaking up, I uttered, “Maybe then, I can return.”

He and I held onto each other like it was the last time we would ever be together. He knew that I had to go back alone and that he would not see me until I had healed. He knew that if I did not feel the Force again, that I would have left him forever. He understood that I was asking him not to throw his life away if mine were already lost.
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Old 10-20-2008, 07:59 PM   #9
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Helpful! 
Very intense. I like it!

Great emotion. Keep it coming!

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Old 10-20-2008, 08:33 PM   #10
Darth_Yuthura
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For anyone reading this AND Prior to Exile at the same time...

I am not going to release any chapters in this thread that will be bombshells to new characters or suspense. I will be posting most of these when I can rearrange the chapters and not lose the plot.

I will be writing dialog for what the masters said after the trial and post it, but it won't be an official chapter. Malachor will not likely be included until much later, but I will be going over a wide range of chapters that address the war.

If there are ANY scenes that you would like me to enhance, I do take requests. (The second trial is soon to come, as is the Exile's confrontation with Atris on Telos) Thanks for reading AND commenting.
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Old 11-02-2008, 08:12 PM   #11
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I've been focusing more effort into Shrouded in Darkness of late, but I intend to start a new story arc that will take place about a year before Malachor V. The purpose of this message is to inform the readers of the situation of which the next several chapters will encompass.

If anyone would like me to address certain war stories, such as how justice gets lost in the fog of war, war profiteering, propaganda, or anything you can think of... I would like to get original ideas of which to work with. If anyone would recommend a book or movie, I would also do requests.

As for Chapters 25-30, Alexandra has been in the war for several months and assigned to command the Leviathon's sister ship, which is still under construction. She is expected to deal with the same problems that came from the WWII battleship, Mushashi.

Mushashi was Japan's flagship and sister to Yamato, the world's largest battleships. Unlike Yamato, Musashi was built on a slipway and in an urbanized area. Getting the ship completed was almost a battle in itself, but often riddled with dishonest tactics and unexpected delays that resulted in defective parts fitted by overworked and underpaid laborers.

Alexandra will face these complications as well as dealing with a government interested in rushing a barely spaceworthy ship to the front lines. Once launched, they face the same problems as the Soviet submarine K-19 as well.

I hope that by telling of actual events, that I get replies that regard how I will follow these and relate them to this fiction. Please comment about this if you intend to read.
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Old 11-05-2008, 09:30 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rev7 View Post
Yeah, sorry. I don't know where my head has been, but I have now just noticed your new fic. As I said, I think that you capture character's conflict with each other exeptionally well. I think that this is a really ineresting read, and I always look forward to the next chapter that you write!

Keep up the fantastic work Darth_Yuthura!!
That makes two of us. Sorry for lateness DY!

I agree, this is emotional as I have come to expect when I see your name as author, but I have to say this is definitly your most intense work yet. I loved the Bao conversation.

Keep it up DY! I am busy but I will try to keep up with this as best I can.

~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 12-09-2008, 04:38 PM   #13
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Chapter 25: The Republic Flagship

Here is a new story arc that starts at Chapter 25 and will go one from there to tell enough story without spoiling the ending. This is still raw and needs to be polished a bit more. Alexandra has just been appointed captain of the new Republic flagship and she must direct the final stages of the construction as well.

-------

When the great vessel came into view, I was astounded at how massive it was. A destroyer under construction that came between us and the battleship and it seemed hard to believe that it didn’t disappear behind, but instead passed in front of the massive ship. It already looked four times larger than the destroyer from my point of view, but seeing it pass in front made it seem ten times greater in size.

The hull was mostly complete, but there were areas of the superstructure still exposed and incomplete. The elongated egg-shaped vessel had a command tower on top and in the back that housed the bridge and shield generators. It didn’t seem an efficient design to extend a module so far extended from the main hull, but that was how they wanted the flagship to display its command center as if to overlook the entire vessel. Aesthetics were one of the characteristics that seemed to weigh heavily on the design.

I turned to face my guide. “I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but I can’t say I’m impressed by the Negato. It just seems like an oversized battleship with big guns and powerful shields. What’s so revolutionary about anything other than the new reactor design?”

“The Leviathan class is our answer to the Mandalorian G-class heavy cruiser. They have such powerful ships that we cannot match them without numbers on our side. Leviathan and Negato are meant to outclass and defeat those cruisers alone. We may even force them to use new tactics that they aren’t accustomed to. The armament consists of the most powerful cannons placed in strategic locations along the hull to maximize the range of motion that each turret can pivot. There are no blind spots where an enemy can be without at least a third of the guns aimed at you.” He crossed his arms as if to show confidence. “You should be honored to be given such a ship as Negato. She was designed from the start to fight the Mandalorians and that’s exactly what he will do.”

I turned my head in confusion. “He?”

“Oh, it’s just a tradition that we’ve come to have. Such a powerful ship was not thought of as very... feminine. No offense to you.”

I crossed my arms and smiled smugly. “Well you’ll see just how capable this woman can be and I’m sure that tradition will soon change. I really don’t care one way or another. To me, that ship is nothing more than a collection of bulkheads and armour. It’s at the heart, the crew, that make it more than that.”

He nodded. “Well we will do our best to carry out the job you give us. I think you’ll be more impressed once you see what the ship is capable of.”

The pilot had taken us on a final approach to the main hanger. “This is shuttle 9. Request permission to come aboard.”

Over the intercom came an operator. “Granted. Proceed to landing bay two. They are eager to accept your passenger.”

“Acknowledged. Shuttle 9 out.”

-----

When I walked through the hatch, I was greeted by a large crowd of my officers in dress uniforms saluting me. I did the same and waited for the first officer to come forward and shake my hand. “Captain on deck! May I ask the captain’s name and purpose aboard our vessel?”

I saluted to him and the other. “Tydings, Alexandra. I’m to take command of the Negato. May I ask my first officer for a full report on the situation of the vessel? I need to know about my officers and what we need to do first.”

“Captain, everything you need is ready for you in your quarters. First, we should go through the transfer ceremony. After that, a formal address to the crew, dinner with the officers, and...”

I looked away as he was going through the procedures, but I didn’t want to go through with tradition. “We’re behind schedule as it is. I would like to get a full assessment before I make my formal address to the crew. After that, I want everyone to get back to work. That is why we are here... to work.”

He looked to the officers and shrugged his shoulders. “You are the captain, so we will follow your orders. You have only to give them.”

I nodded. “Everyone here is to report to your stations and carry out your duty to the best of your abilities. I will leave my first officer in command until I’m ready to take over the responsibilities I’ve been given.” I turned to him. “What is your name?”

“Vostricov, Kola. I was to be relieved of command when you arrived... what’s going on?”

“I’m not ready to take command just yet. I’m not as familiar with this crew, the ship, or any other objectives as you. While I assume command, you’ll have to help me adjust so that we can make this transition as smooth as possible. When I know what to do, I will gradually take over for you. Is that acceptable for you?”

He looked at me oddly, but nodded. “This is unusual, but I’ll do the best I can.”

I smiled and nodded. “Then you carry on as if I were not here and I’ll be at your side while I get an idea what is currently in progress and what needs to be done. Maybe two days of vicarious learning would be all I need and then I can take over completely.”

“Very well. I planned to take into account your arrival, so if you would like me to take you on a tour of the ship, or if you need to rest, you have a full day at your disposal before you are expected on duty.”

I shook my head. “I think I’ll take you up on that tour. I’d like to meet the crew and see for myself what we need to do. First, I’d like to go by my quarters to get my paperwork.”

He nodded. “We’ll have your possessions taken there and bring you a data pad. I can outline the important details for you.”

“Then let’s go. What would you like to show me first?”

-----

I was taken to the bridge first. It only seemed natural because it was where I would be most of the time. There were various crews from both the shipyard and my crew. I was surprised how many control panels were still being built, despite how close the ship was to being finished.

“Why is the bridge still under construction? This is naturally one of the best areas to organize the construction.” I asked.

Vostrikov answered. “Many of the components were not able to handle the amount of data that came from a particular system. Far too often, we are forced to improvise with less than is available. Burnout's and computer crashes are slowing down the work, but we have to train the crews and technicians at the same time we’re trying to deal with defective parts and incompetent yard crews.”

I stared at him as though he had to be exaggerating. “It can’t be that bad, is it?”

“It is. The reason you were selected for this is because we have to train our gunners, engineers, repair teams, and support crews while not interfering with the shipyard personnel. Each side work alright among themselves, but don’t work well when they have to depend on the other group.”

“What do you mean by that?”

He sighed in disgust. “When training our technicians, we often require the shipyard crews to have certain systems online at a given time. Far too often, we have crews sitting around doing nothing because the deadline was not met by the other side. We have enough manpower to make our deadline, but can never have everyone working because they are waiting for others to get their job done.”

I went to observe one of the shipyard crew at work on a computer council. “I’ve gone over some of the work schedules in your report. Have you thought about integrating both sides to take part in the construction?”

“Yes, but I found construction crews are not able to teach while doing their work. And even our repair crews have difficulty working alongside yard crews because they made mistakes that forced them to go back and correct it.”

“I think it can and should be done. There are many tasks that are repetitive, such as configuring laser turrets, fastening hull plating, and placing power conduits throughout the ship. All the yard crews have to do is teach the proper way to do the job and the repair crews just have to repeat the process for the rest of the way.” I reached into my knapsack for another data pad and sorted through to find the right one. When I found it, I showed it to Vostrikov. “Here is a work detail that is being squandered because they are doing grunt work when they should be assisted by heavy lifter droids. We are going to need to place an order for about two dozen of them so that we can free up those men for other work.”

“We don’t have the means to order more droids. The shipyard managers have to make a profit for Aritech and can only give us so much to work with.”

I crossed my arms sternly. “It would not cost much to operate lifter droids compared to using manual labor. If they are interested in making a profit, then they would not squander so much money on grunt work from humans.” I handed him a pad with a list of requested equipment, men, and resources. “I would like you to arrange a meeting with me and the project managers as soon as possible. Give them that pad and inform them that those resources are going to be needed if we are to make the most out of what we have. Tell them that we, the Republic military, will also contribute our own personnel to compensate for whatever they spend over their budget. If they have questions, I will go through it with them.” I grabbed another pad. “Now as for...”

“Wait a minute! A few hours ago, you told me that you were not ready for this job and wanted me to help you adjust to the situation at hand... now you are making significant alterations without so much as asking my advice. There is only so much that you can do with the authority you’ve been given. We have to work with Aritech to negotiate for these resources and equipment. And you have to work with the managers of the yard crews before any joint venture is made.”

I calmly spoke matter-of-factly. “We need to make these changes because what we’ve got isn’t enough.” He tried to protest, but I stopped him. “We have too many skilled laborers doing jobs that don’t utilize their expertise... we have to trade them for droids to save on operating costs. Our crew can supplement for yard crews while training on the job. It would do them good to see what they will be working with and it would allow us some power to re-negotiate if we agree to perform some of the work that they were contracted for.”

He stared at me for a long moment. “Captain, I think you are already more qualified to take command than I. I think it would be appropriate for you to...”

“No. I know of how to find inefficiencies, but I don’t know much of our crew’s talents or capabilities. I’m going to need you to help coordinate our efforts so that we can train them while also make the looming deadline for launch.”

“I’ll do my best.”

I smiled. “Good. Now will you show me to the reactor control center?”

-----

The Negato was equipped with a new class of reactor that utilized an artificial singularity to power the ship. The extreme mass of the singularity exerted a huge gravitational pull that would have crushed the vessel had it not been for the hypermatter reaction. When injected into the singularity, the hypermatter neutralized the gravitational pull and generated a huge surplus of energy in the process.

I had recommended Bao-Dur for the job of the reactor officer because there were really no experts on the artificial singularity generator. Because there were no experts, naturally I would want someone able to adapt to a new technology more than whomever came up with the technology in the first place.

When Vostrikov took me to main engineering, Bao-Dur had been working on his own while several of his support crew were just standing around, chatting about personal subjects. I approached them. “Excuse me, but we have much work ahead of us. If you two are on duty and don’t have anything to do, please report to your commanding officer. There is always more work that must be done.”

They looked at me nervously, but one spoke up. “Excuse me Captain, but we did. When we tried doing our original job, he relieved us and didn’t assign us another task.”

I nodded. “Who is your commanding officer?”

“The Iridonian.”

I sighed in disappointment and then faced Vostrikov. “I’ll speak with him.”

“Captain, this is not the first time we’ve had a problem with the Iridonian. He...”

I interrupted. “He has a name. Either use it, or address him by rank.”

“He is not officially an officer, nor does he pass off for one. You recommended him for the position, but he has been given a team of which he doesn’t work with.”

“Bao-Dur knows more about the operations of the reactor than anyone else.”

“That maybe, but if he can’t work with the reactor team, then he is not qualified to be the reactor officer.”

I just stared, but didn’t respond. Despite what I thought, he was right that Bao-Dur couldn’t do the job alone. He had to be able to coordinate others in order to deal with emergencies where time was critical. “I’ll speak with him about that.”

-----

I found Bao-Dur dissecting a computer council in the secondary reactor control room. He didn’t really notice me as I entered, but when I approached, he was quick to realize I was there. “Commander?” He rolled on his side and stood up to face me. “I wasn’t aware you had arrived. I thought you were expected tomorrow.”

“I arrived on schedule.”

“Oh... I’m sorry. I’ve been working a few all-nighters and must have lost track of the date.” He smiled. “But it is good to know you’re here.”

“It’s good to see you as well.” I paused for a moment. “However, I’m afraid that this isn’t a social visit.”

“I assure you that I’m doing the best that I can. This reactor is much different from anything I’ve ever worked with before. I want to be sure that everything’s working properly before I bring it online.”

I sighed grimly. “You know that you’re not alone? No one’s expecting you to do this by yourself.”

“Well I don’t have the means to teach this to the others... I’m still learning how it works, myself. I can’t count on anyone else to get the job done.”

“Bao-Dur, you can’t do this alone. As reactor officer, you will have to coordinate your efforts with them. Obviously, you are the most capable, but no one man or droid can operate this by himself. If you can assign tasks to your team, then you may not have to pull all-nighters to make looming deadlines all the time.”

He sighed and tilted his head downwards. “Commander, I don’t think there is enough time to do that. I’m trying to get the reactor online. Once it’s up and running, keeping it running would be easy.”

“How much longer are you expecting it to be before you can start designating tasks?”

He stared at a control panel and went into deep thought. “Another two days and I think we can start the reactor tests.”

“Very good. I also want you to include the members of your team in this. Even if you’re doing all the work, it’s better that they observe than just stand around. Agreed?”

He sighed and nodded. “Agreed.”

I patted him on the shoulder. “I don’t want you to be locked up in main engineering all the time. Tonight, we’re going to have dinner in the officer’s mess and I expect you to be there.”

He stood like a strutting tin soldier and saluted me. “Aye Aye, Captain.”
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