A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Quaxo9
Arksynn

It took everything he had to step away from that bed and watch the forcefield fall back into place. How did it come to this? He just didn't understand. Arskynn rested his palm on the surface of the field, eyes locked on Reyth.

"No, this is a better life. She just...doesn't see that yet. She'll come around. You'll see. She'll come around..."

His voice trailed off as his hand dropped down to his side and he stepped back to face Siralai.

"I'm going to go get us something to eat - and then I'll come back and wait for her to wake up."

The boy made to leave, but paused. "You were right...I knew Reyth might be dangerous to other people...but I didn't see how she could be dangerous to herself. Now I know." Arksynn exited the ship as fast as he could without sounding like he was running away.
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Monkey Kitty
Siralai Mahr

Siralai couldn't blame Arksynn for needing some space. The young man was handling this remarkably well, showing wisdom beyond his years, but this was a lot for anyone to take. And, from a practical standpoint, by now Reyth was surely in need of something to eat and drink. She allowed Arksynn to depart with a nod of thanks.

When he had gone, she began placing holocalls to several learned people on Tython, hoping to find someone who could succeed where she had failed. Surely one of those wiser and more devout people would know just what to do to help turn Reyth's situation around... It was an abject failure, on even the most basic level. Not only did she get no useful advice, but every holocall ended swiftly when she realized that none of her contacts understood why she wanted to help Reyth in the first place, or saw any value in preserving the youth Sith's life. Siralai sighed, defeated.

Lana happened to be passing by to drop off some medical supplies, and squeezed her arm reassuringly. "Piece of unsolicited advice from a Sith?" she asked lightly.

"Yes, please, absolutely!" Siralai agreed. "Whatever you can provide."

"Keep doing what you're doing. You're on the right track. There's no easy way of this. It will take time. But you're doing fine. Just keep it up."

"Thank you, Lana. I... that really means a lot."

Siralai sat down by Reyth's bed - just outside the forcefield - and began singing a lullaby that her children had grown up with. Unlike Rossi, Siralai had a good singing voice. A calm song seemed suited to the moment, even if the future was uncertain.

***

The intruder waited till Lana had left... then used a small device to copy her code and reenter it into the ship's airlock controls. With a hydraulic hiss, the ramp descended again. Once he was aboard, Gaius strolled inside, looking for signs of life. As he had hoped, it was only the Jedi he was seeking and the Sith girl who was his target, conveniently trapped inside a forcefield. Perfect. This would be easy.

Sensing his presence, Siralai turned to face him. Seeing a stranger on the ship where he clearly didn't belong, her lightsaber was instantly in her hand. "Who are you?" she demanded. "What are you doing here?"

Gaius smiled. His hands were buried in his coat pockets, which made Siralai nervous. "I'm here to negotiate," he said. "Your daughter ruined my little project, you know. Cost me quite a lot in the arena. I should kill her for that. But I've decided not to hold a grudge. I'm not going to take revenge on that other Jedi either, even though her shield made my purchases useless to me permanently, and they were expensive. No, I'm a forgiving man. A man of business. And I'm offering you a hell of a deal. I'll take this Sithling off your hands for you. She can replace my missing merchandise."

Siralai was already standing between him and Reyth, and when Gaius spoke of the young Sith, Siralai's lightsaber moved into a position of more active guard. "Stay away from her," Siralai growled. "I know who you are and what you did. You're a torturer. I won't let you anywhere near any of my people."

Gaius put up a hand. "A point of order! I didn't torture anyone. I purchased them that way. What was done to them was necessary. The bond is fed by trauma, pain, and fear. So I think this little Sith will do quite nicely." He glanced around at the shattered med bay and raised an eyebrow. "I see she's caused you quite a lot of trouble. We can put an end to that right now. Shall we say... twenty million credits? That's above market rate - you won't get a better offer. And I have a few interesting artifacts I can throw in; it's pretty unique stuff, the Jedi will definitely want it back."

"Definitely not."

"You drive a hard bargain. How many more credits must I add to change your mind?"

"Not for any price."

"Oh dear," Gaius said sadly. "That is disappointing. I was afraid you might say that. So I have a backup plan."

Siralai was prepared to deflect an attack. She was not prepared for a bomb. It was small, localized - but it would serve its purpose. Siralai moved toward Gaius, using her body as a block between him and Reyth, shielding the Sith. A blinding pain enveloped the side of her face. Instinctively she put her hand up, and it was immediately covered with blood. She could feel a piece of shrapnel somewhere in the vicinity of her eye, but couldn't tell if the loss of peripheral vision was due to damage to the actual socket or the result of bleeding and swelling. For now, it didn't matter. She had to defeat this man. She had to protect Reyth.

That was easier said than done, when she couldn't see well out of her left eye and she was losing blood fast. Her swings were more desperate than usual, and less accurate. She took several hits squarely that she normally could have blocked. But ultimately, she had the training of a Jedi... and Gaius had lost his stolen connection to the Force. Siralai was panting, staggering... but Gaius lay dead at her feet. Siralai assumed the commotion had woken Reyth up. She hoped the young woman hadn't been too frightened. The forcefield should have blocked all the shrapnel, at least.

"Reyth, are you alright?" she asked worriedly. But her voice sounded odd, and her head was swimming. Siralai realized she was about to pass out, and she lowered herself to the ground before that could happen. She clamped her hand to her eye to slow the bleeding. I'm going to be alright, she reassured herself. The bleeding isn't that bad. I won't bleed out. Arksynn will come back, or Lana, and they'll find me... With this comforting thought in mind, she slipped away into darkness.
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Quaxo9
Reyth

She'd awoken to the sound of a familiar tune. A song made from a distant memory. It was...comforting. So much so that she didn't want to move and risk the song coming to a close before its time. Reyth focused on the melody, fighting against her brain's desire to revisit her most recent memory - one that she could sense shame in. She didn't want to go there. She wanted to stay in the song.

It ended prematurely anyway. Her initial annoyance with the man's interruption quickly gave way to real concern. As much as she'd been angry at being locked up - and despondent enough to want to leave life behind - she didn't want to become this man's experimental toy. Just someone else who wanted to use her anger to their advantage. It really wasn't going to end. There would always be someone like Anewe seeking to make her nothing more than a puppet...she had been right to think that there was only one way out.

She lay back, waiting for to be sold. Maybe she'd pretend to go along with it and then surprise him. Or perhaps she'd simply boil the blood in her veins...

The Jedi's tone made her sit up. She was...defending her. Reyth had done nothing but threaten her and her daughter's life - and rip apart her ship - and yet she stood between the man and Reyth. It would make sense if the Jedi were hoping to use her as well, but the tone of voice...that tone suggested otherwise. It was raw-edged emotion. It suggested that she cared. Just like the Pureblood girl had said. She hadn't believed her, of course, but she also couldn't tally up all the things the two of them had done for her on the side of personal gain.

When the bomb appeared, she assumed that the Jedi would step back to protect herself from the blast. Much to her surprise, the woman took the full impact herself - Reyth could smell the blood before she could see it streaming down Siralai's face. The desperate battle that ensued brought the Sith to the edge of the bed, wide-eyed. It was inconceivable. That a Jedi would fight for someone as useless and horrible as she was. That she won the fight in her condition was nearly as surprising.

And then she asked if she was alright.

The question rocked her. Siralai was clearly in dire straights and she was asking if Reyth was alright. As the Jedi slumped to the ground, she put out her hand as though she could stop her. Stop time. Heal. Something. How pointless. Even if she weren't behind a forcefield, there wasn't much she could do. Behind it, she couldn't even call for help. What could she do?

Kneeling on the floor, Reyth assumed a meditative position. And for the first time in years, she made a sound. A hum. The melody of the lullaby.
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

Post by Quaxo9 »

Quaxo9
Arksynn

He'd had every intention of just going to get food but his limbs suddenly seemed so heavy and he sank to his knees in among a copse of trees. The tears flowed silently as he came to terms with what he had just seen. He still didn't understand and he wasn't sure he would. Reyth had always existed in a different space - but this felt different. How was he going to reach her?

By still being her friend. The answer came so clearly that he stood in shock and looked around, unsure if someone had spoken those words aloud. It was the right answer, though. He knew it. He could reach reach her by being there for her until she could see the truth for herself.

Thus calmed, he realized he hadn't the first idea where he was going to procure said food. In the end, there was only one familiar place - Pyrran's ship. Arksynn stalked aboard and began rifling through the cupboards looking for rations or anything else edible. He'd found a couple of emergency packs when Teizi poked her head in the door, informing him that he'd have more luck at the house and to talk specifically to her padawan for a couple plates of whatever was on the menu for the evening. She'd surprised him, which he didn't appreciate, but he had his mission and a promising new target so he simply bowed and left the Jedi behind to tend to the zabrak woman.

He begrudgingly admitted that Teizi was right to send him to the house when he caught the aroma coming from the kitchen. Still, he wasn't sure if he'd be accepted in the house with the children...he knew he wouldn't trust someone like him. Waiting for the padawan to leave, Arksynn ducked in through the window and grabbed two bowlfuls of whatever was on the stove. He hopped back out and found a canteen which he filled with what seemed to be clean water before making his way back up the slope to the Jedi's ship.

Both bowls hit the floor when he walked into the medbay. A man - dead - lay on the floor. Blast marks marred the floor. Siralai lay in a pool of blood. Arksynn was frozen in place as he tried to figure out what to do. A tapping sound made him look up - Reyth stared at him from the other side of the forcefield. Once she had his attention, she pointed at Siralai and simply signed "Holo."

Of course. He leaned over the woman's body and took the holo communicator from her belt, sending a signal to the nearest communicators. "I need help. Siralai has been injured - I don't know what to do."

Violence he could contend with. Controlling angry Reyth - absolutely. Inflicting injuries was easy. But Arksynn had very little knowledge of what to do to patch someone up. He looked up at Reyth again, who picked up her hand, covered it with her robe and placed it forcibly on her face. He hesitated only a moment before mimicking her action - gathering up the stray edge of Siralai's robe and pressing it to her wound, covering her hand with his.
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Monkey Kitty
Trystan Mahr

"We'll be right there," Trystan replied to Arksynn's frantic call. He wasn't surprised to hear that Siralai had been hurt. Appropriately concerned, of course - especially given the urgency of the summons - but not surprised. Siralai had known what she was getting into, helping Reyth. They all had. He knew Siralai would consider it worthwhile. Trystan wasn't angry at Reyth for what she presumably had done. It was all Reyth had ever been taught, all she knew. He just hoped it wasn't anything too bad.

When he, Lana, and Visper arrived in the med bay of Visper's ship, however, Trystan realized immediately that his assumption had been wrong. The presence of a dead stranger made it clear that Reyth was not the culprit. Trystan and Visper rushed to help Siralai, while Lana surveyed the scene. Visper gently probed the injury.

"There's a lot of blood, but the bleeding isn't life threatening as long as we treat her right away. I'm concerned about her eye, though. I don't think she'll lose it, but there may be lasting damage to her vision."

Trystan nodded understanding. "Please, just do whatever you can."

"This man was at the arena today," Lana said, examining the corpse. "He fought a bout against Neva. He must have followed one of us here. But how did he get in? Visper, may I access your ship's security logs to see if there's a weakness he exploited?"

"Please do," Visper replied. "The last thing I need is hostile strangers finding a way onto my ship."

Trystan turned to Arksynn and Reyth. "Are you two alright? Did you get hurt at all?"
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Quaxo9
Arksynn and Reyth

When the others arrived, Arksynn had scooted off to the side and relinquished his place to Visper. Unable to directly join Reyth, he knelt as near to the forcefield as he could and watched the three adults work. The two shook their heads in unison when Trystan asked if they were injured. Reyth wasn't certain if she should say anything. There was no way that any of them would think the Jedi had made the right move. They would probably laugh and then try to sell her to some other party before Siralai woke up. She didn't deserve it. She didn't deserve to be protected.

tap tap tap

It was Arksynn - returning the favour. This time she needed to be brought out of her thoughts and he, of course, asked the question that was hanging over her head.

"What happened?"

She paused, then decided it was better to get it over with and began to sign. Her eyes lowered, she willed herself to stick to the facts. To her dismay, Arksynn began translating. It was better this way. Tear the scab off and let it bleed. Maybe if she brought up the other people who were to blame, they'd be mad at them instead and forget about her.

"She says - the man said that the Pur...Rossi stole something from him. He couldn't take it back because the Jedi broke it. So he wanted...he wanted to buy Reyth...Siralai said no."

The translation wasn't exact, but she'd allow it. It wasn't like it mattered. She was certain that in minutes they'd be tracking down the next hunter in the market for an angry, damaged Sith. Part of her welcomed the release from the confines of the beautiful lie she was living in - the other part mourned the loss of it.
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

Post by Quaxo9 »

Monkey Kitty
Trystan Mahr

"Tried to buy Reyth?" Trystan repeated, shocked and horrified. "That's... it's sick. It's disgusting. She's a person, not some object to be passed around..."

Visper was upset by it too, but her voice was calm, reassuring. "We'll protect her, Trystan. Now that we know, we can be watchful, provide extra security in case anyone else gets that sort of idea."

Trystan nodded. Visper was right - now that they knew, they could come up with a plan.

"Thank goodness Siralai was here to stop him. I'm sorry that happened, Reyth. It must have been very frightening and disturbing. We'll do our best to make sure you're never put in that situation again. We'll protect you. I promise."
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

Post by Quaxo9 »

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Reyth and Arksynn

To say she was shocked was an understatement. Neither of them blamed her. Neither of them wanted to sell her. Of course, once the other Sith returned, she might have other ideas, but for now...she was safe. Why.

"Idiot. She should have taken the credits."

Reyth sunk back on her heels and glanced at a scowling Arksynn who was refusing to translate her words. She mimicked his expression, then flicked her hood up to obscure most of her face. She needed some time to think and she didn't want her thoughts to be coloured by Arksynn's view of the situation.

Arksynn wasn't impressed with Reyth's offhanded remark - partially because he saw that some part of her meant it - and he wasn't about to inflict her opinion on the Mahrs. He was more concerned about the things they were - how the man got in and if there might be someone else coming along after him. For the first time, he really looked at the corpse. The agent was right - it was the man from the arena. So why was he here? What was the connection?

"What do you think he was talking about? What did Rossi take?"

'and which Jedi? he finished in his head. His money was on Lin. She seemed the type to put her nose where it didn't belong.
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Quaxo9
Neva Xolte

Free. She was finally free. Her metallic footfalls echoed off the walls of the corridor as she ran. The red lights illuminating the hallways threw long shadows behind her. The hallways that never seemed to end. Neva picked up the pace. Was she back at the beginning? She must have made a wrong turn. The maze of tunnels before her, she selected a new route - this one would surely lead off the ship. And back in the room with the bed and the restraints.

Neva backed away, feeling the breath catch in her throat. Back down the hallways - right, not left at the fourth turn - almost there. Almost there.

No. It couldn't be. She was still stuck here? No, no, no. She wasn't doing this.

Neva raced through the labyrinth again. And again. Again. She knelt on the floor, panting. The hood suddenly felt restrictive. She yanked it down and breathed a sigh of relief. When she opened her eyes, she was staring into her own eyes. Except her face - her face was covered with scars.

~~~~~~

Teizi Lin

She opened one eye just in time to watch Neva's body grow still inside the Kolto tank. This was the second time the auto-sedater had activated. Unfolding her legs, she stood and approached the tank, eyes assessing the still body before her. The bruising from the restraints was starting to come through on her arms and legs. There was no telling what kind of damage remained untouched inside her body. And inside her mind.

Teizi knelt in front of the tank. She would continue to meditate. Perhaps she could bring some peace to Neva - even vicariously.
Quaxo9
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Re: A Pleasant Day at the Beach

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Monkey Kitty
Trystan Mahr

"I believe he was referring to two people Rossi rescued," Trystan said. "A pair of twin Pureblood girls. Someone had been keeping them in boxes - more like coffins, really - and siphoning their Force energy to use their powers. Tremendous damage had been done to the twins, both physically and emotionally. Apparently that was necessary for his horrific scheme to work. Even after Rossi rescued them, the person was continuing to draw on their power, so Visper used a shielding technique to protect them from him. It seems the shield had a more permanent effect than we realized, blocking them from him entirely so he could never use them again, which was fortunate. We were still trying to figure out who was responsible when Neva was taken, and finding her was an emergency. I guess he saw Reyth as a potential substitute. Thankfully, Siralai was able to stop him. We'll do our best to make sure no one else gets the same idea."

At that moment, Lana returned from the bridge. "I discovered the security weakness, " she said briskly. "The intruder was able to copy my security codes from the panel and reenter them. I patched the system so it will not allow that to happen again. I apologize for my unintentional role in this."

"It's not your fault, Lana," Visper assured her. "He would have done the same to whichever one of us happened to be there. It was only by chance that it was you instead of me. Thanks for fixing it."

Lana simply nodded - but seemed a trifle relieved not to be blamed.

"You two must be hungry," Trystan said to Arksynn and Reyth. "Why don't we try again to get you something to eat? And Arksynn... through the door next time, not the window, please?" He punctuated this with a smile to show he was amused, not angry.
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