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12 August 2009 @ 01:21 am

          “There’s some kind of cave system here!” The shout went up from the first trooper to sight the half-hidden hole in the ground, and Anakin bolted ahead of the pack of troopers escorting him, paying no heed to their concern at their master’s reckless actions. She was down there. Time was critical.
          I will not lose her. Anakin snarled and leapt through the opening, kicking up sandy dust when he landed some twelve feet below. He gritted his teeth, pushing his senses outward into the tunnels. They had lived on the coast for more then a year, they should have known these were here. Old lava tubes from the days when Mount Acheron had been young still crisscrossed the surface, but years and forced terraforming had made them an invisible lattice hidden under the ground. And somewhere in these caves his soulmate was dying.
          He pushed through the settling dust, igniting his sabers as a reflex. A figure approached him from one of the tunnels, it’s decaying form held together by Sith Alchemy. The furious black haired boy didn’t even bother with his sabers; he reached into the glowing lines in the force that held the gory contraption together and tore them out. Meat sloughed off and the undead monster was no more.
          Anakin pressed on, heedless to the obstacles in his path, tearing his way to the central cavern where her life force flickered alarmingly. When the ceiling arched overhead, he rushed again; lights were set about the walls to provide illumination to what has clearly been a torture chamber. On the far side of the room he could see a crumpled form on the floor. His heart plummeted and he raced to her side, obliterating a Sith Zombie that stepped into his path without even seeing it.
          He stopped above her, and gently knelt, assessing the damage. A normal human would have long since been dead; Halley clung to life like a sailor in a storm swept near overboard would cling to the railing, refusing to let the sea claim them. The bones of her forarms were battered, one completely shattered as if she’d been warding off blows. The damage was nothing next to the cracks running through her scull like starbursts. The weapon had been blunt; the skin was unbroken but the damage underneath was extensive. There was a good chance she’d never regain higher brain function. Never think, never laugh, never smile again… He gulped hard, fear and pain rising till it hit the indomitable black wall of consciousness that was Vader. For a moment the personalities warred for control, Anakin terrified that the dark half of himself would leave her to die in a quest to stop Maul’s escape.
          ~Anakin.~ The other’s voice was laced with a thick Coruscani accent, certain and resolute. ~You don’t have the control; you don’t have to focus to help now. Your panic will kill her. I can do this. I will do this.~
          ~She is my wife. My love, my other half, my soul mate. I CAN’T-~
          The otherself pushed HARD, his physical body locked in place as they battled. ~She is mine too.~ Anakin’s will crumpled; Vader’s voice betrayed two things. Love and fear, the latter directly tied to the potential loss of the former. Anakin yielded, and the black wall took over.
          With their inner struggle done, Vader gently settled his hands on either side of her head, focused on the shards of bone that were scrambled below her skin like a dashed puzzle made entirely of pieces in the same rough color, shape and size. He slowly reassembled them one at a time, carefully fusing them back into place. Time was running out; her heart faltered and breathing slowed to almost nothing, but he could not afford to rush the job. If she died in his arms, he would force her body to live again, whatever it took.
          Behind him there were footsteps and shouts as the troopers filed into the room, finally catching up. Obi-wan was with them, and Vader could feel his horror at the sight of the little woman laying in a pool of blood , body broken like a child’s discarded toy. Her hair, normally crisp white, was stained every color from orange to red-black from the other injuries she’d suffered. Kenobi doubted she even still lived; Vader snarled when that feeling reached him and the lights closes to him dimmed. The air wavered like a heat-mirage, and everyone close to a reflexive step away from the enraged Sith.
          Finally the last pieces of the puzzle fitted in place, and Anakin gently ran his senses along them to make sure the fuses were clean. It was satisfactory. In her chest, her heart gave one last fluttering beat before it surrendered to the massive strain of carrying on life in a body to broken to survive. Vader gathered her up in his arms, looking into her soul at the very core; a tiny flickering flame left. As he looked in it died, nothing left but a tiny glowing ember fading into darkness. He closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and gently blew on the ember. He fed it with the force, slow and steady.  It didn’t work. There was just too little left, too much damage.
          “NO.” He growled it, loud and furious.  Vader, the monster half, wept tears of frustration at his shortcoming. He’d fixed the worst of it, it couldn’t end like this. Not in a cold damp hole in the ground, not by Maul’s hand.
          ~My turn.~ Anakin usurped control in an explosion of will, hold on the woman in his arms gentling, cuddling her close. “Halley…” He whispered it, lips pressing to her forehead. He didn’t bother trying to heal, he just poured love into their bond. Memories, thoughts, and wishes for the future all blended to form the call back from the other side. “…if you don’t come, I WILL cross to the other side and drag you back.” The ember brightened, spread. In the force he watched her reignite like tinder, heart sluggishly beginning to beat again, lungs expanding to fill with air. His eyes stung with tears, infinitely thankful to the Force. He stood and turned to those watching, stepping up to one of Halley’s angels. The trooper was visibly shaken to see her so badly hurt; she had a very special bond with her personal guards.
          “I need you to take her to the surface. Carefully. Meet up with Imma, fly her to the hospital up north.”
          Obi blinked. “If you bamf-”
          “-it would kill her.” Anakin cut him off, eyes gold and rimmed in jagged lines of crimson. He turned back to the trooper. “Believe me, you hold my reason for living in your arms, guard her well.” The trooper nodded, filled with apprehension and pride from Anakin’s faith in him.
          “Where are you going?” Kenobi sounded more concerned.
          “This will never happen again. He will NEVER touch her again.” Anakin looked up into the sky through several meters of rock, up into space where Maul’s ship was trying to reach enough distance to jump to hyperspace.
          “What are you going to d-”
          He bamfed before Obi could finish the question. The older Jedi would not approve.


          If one knew what they were doing, a hyperdrive engine could be disabled with little difficulty. Causing the entire thing to explode took a little more work, but the angrier Anakin got, the more the Force bended to his will. He appeared inside the ship’s engine room, and put a hand on the hyperdrive. A simple nudge to a tiny critical system started a chain reaction. The ship would blow soon; but that would not be Maul’s end. He deserved far worse.
          Anakin staked towards the forward cabin just as Maul was walking back to see why his hyper drive was suddenly screaming for attention. The red and black skinned Sith balked at the sight of Anakin in his path, but the younger of the two snapped out an arm, metal hand closing about Maul’s throat. He bamfed them off the ship before it could blow, and in the span between two heartbeats they were standing on the northern pole of Astrum, on the edge of a glacier that was slowly expanding it’s way down a mountain range.
          Or rather, Anakin was standing. Maul appeared with his feet off the ground, held out over the edge. The once glossy black and red tattoos had faded since his death; parts of his body that had near rotted off had been stitched back into place to reduce the draw on the undead Sith’s willpower. Holding his form together after death was difficult, only his hatred made it possible.
          His hatred, however, was as insignificant beside Anakin’s as a candle to the sun on a clear summer afternoon. There was no division between light and dark; Anakin’s disparate personalities were fused in the resolve of what MUST be done.
          “Find her yet?” Maul’s voice was the hiss of air forced through dead vocal chords, barely conveying his smug attitude.
          Anakin pushed him out a meter from his body, palm out, suspending the Sith in midair, spread eagle. “Yes. And saved.”
          “I won’t waste words debating with a dead man.”
          “Death? Death is NOTHING.” Maul cackled, fighting the restraints of the force as snowflakes slowly drifted down around them. Nothing he did mattered; Anakin’s will was as immovable as the mountain under them. “What is it the Jedi say? There is no death, only the force.” He laughed harder, Anakin’s lack of facial expression becoming unnerving. “Go ahead and destroy this form, I will return. Another day, another body, maybe I’ll possess one of your own children, murder you behind the eyes of your own flesh and blood.” He sneered.
          “No.” It wasn’t a denial out of fear; there was no emotion to be had. Anakin’s voice was as cold as the glacier. He spoke from absolute surety.
          Dead eyes showed a flicker of doubt. “You can’t stop me.”
          “I made a black hole once, did you know that? It was an accident. I almost got sucked in myself. I looked into the heart of it, raw power, and do you know what I saw?”
          “Nothing.” Anakin smirked. “I saw matter, and light, and the force sucked in and pulverized into absolutely… nothing.” He sobered, and shook his head lightly. “You are too dangerous to me and mine; you will be a threat as long as you exist. I cannot allow that, therefore you cannot exist.”
          “What, you’ll throw me into a black hole?” Maul sounded incredulous.
          “Of course not, that would be a waste of effort.” He shrugged, and his fingers spread. Around them the snow stopped falling; it hung in the air on invisible strings as if the whole world paused to watch the spectacle presented to it. Maul jerked, and looked to his hands, one after the other. Watching one’s physical form pulled apart atom by atom was a horrific sight, though it wasn’t terribly gory. There was an elegance in it; as his body expanded from his extremities inward into an ever expanding cloud of molecules. He looked at Anakin, shocked by the raw power.
          Anakin focused on the will animating the already dead form, separating it from the Force around it like a doctor cutting out a cancer from a living body. He isolated it, pressed his thoughts inward, and unraveled it.
          Maul’s first reaction to the violation was shock that Anakin could do such a thing. Second came fear and the desperate attempts to flee, but there was nothing he could do, nowhere he could go. And Anakin’s power ripped into him like a black hole eating the dying remains of a star. His terror was shrill; realization of death was far less frightening then the realization that one was being UNMADE. Vader savored the taste of his horror like a well aged wine; revenge was sweet and he would share the memory with Halley when she awoke. It would be one of the greatest gifts he’d ever given her.
          Maul’s terror faded as he lost cohesion, thoughts became confused and transparent. Anakin felt no sympathy for the last shreds of his own enemy; the elder Sith had condemned himself the moment he’d brought his decaying frame to Astrum with his sights set on Halley. He’d spent the Sithling’s early years hurting her to get to Anakin, this was the inevitable conclusion of his sins.
          Anakin shredded the last of Maul’s consciousness, allowing the completely harmless inert Force blend with the field around it. Nothing of Maul remained apart from the atomized dust cloud still hanging in the air in front of him. He frowned and pulled it back together into one hard, small rock, and dropped it into the gulf before him. It was nothing, now; just another lump of carbon to be swallowed up by the advancing glacier. Anakin closed his eyes, and turned his thoughts back to the living. He bamfed silently away, and the snow began it’s leisurely fall once more.


          He reappeared on a ship in flight, Halley’s body on a repulser sled, lightly held in place an inch above it by gentle cushioning fields of energy. No jolt or turbulence from the ship would have any effect on her; she was essentially in freefall above the table. Her forearms were splinted; the shattered one carefully reassembled. Imma sat beside the table, eyes closed and hands over her charge, pouring healing energy into the young woman. Anakin took the seat on the opposite side; dizzy from the aftermath of using so much power. “How is she?”
          “I don’t want to lie to you.” Imma frowned softly. “Her chances of survival are good, but the damage to her brain…” She closed her eyes a moment, drawing in a deep breath. “Pouring force into her right now is like pouring water into a sieve, nothing is sticking. Her chances of ever waking up again are incredibly slim.”
          “She’ll live.” Anakin nodded with absolute certainty, ignoring exhaustion to help add power to Imma’s healing.
          “I can’t pr-”
          “SHE. WILL. LIVE.” Anakin’s eyes sparked gold, the power passing through him increasing to the point that Imma cringed back from the darkness. Anakin ignored her retreat, taking over healing Halley. She was more responsive to dark side healing anyway.


          Getting Halley off the ship, into the hospital and into a bacta tank passed as a dizzying blur. Anakin vaguely registered outrage when they shoved the tube down her throat and attached the mask to breathe for her; only Obi-wan’s calm voice stopped him from crushing the droids and doctors alike. He had to admit once the worst of it was passed that she was breathing far better with the tube, and it increased the effectiveness of the bacta when they could easily change her air supply to pump accelerants into her lungs.
          She was receiving the best care the universe had to offer, on most levels he could recognize that. What he was unwilling to admit was that his inability to reach out and touch her, inability to stroke her hair back and whisper encouragements to heal faster, inability to hold her…
          It was enough to drive him to the edge of sanity.
          He slept in a chair by her tank; refused to leave her side. Obi-wan came and went, trying to convince his former Padawan to lay down in a proper bed for a few hours, but Anakin only snarled at the suggestions.
          Anakin woke three days after they had put her in the tank, back aching incessantly. A hand was on his shoulder, a hunk of bread placed in his hand. He blinked, and looked up at his old master. “I’m not hungry.” In truth his stomach was a sharp ache, one that had been getting worse over time.
          “Eat it. And move, they’re taking her out of the tank.” Anakin jolted to his feet, moving back to allow the droids to pull the tall tank out of the wall and tilt it on its side. It slowly drained, glass cracking over her and smoothly sliding down into the back of the cylinder. Her silvery hair pooled in a slick mass over the back of the tank, moved about a bit as they carefully slid the tube out of her throat and let her breath on her own.
          Anakin nibbled the bread, trading that spike of pain in his gut for a wave of nausea. He ignored the physical discomforts to follow the repulser bed as they took her to one of the large personal hospital suites. He watched stoically as a nurse gently wiped her down, washing off the goey bacta left over. She caught his eyes, and smiled sympathetically.
          “You’re the husband?” Accent was Naboo, though the pudgy little woman didn’t look familiar. Anakin didn’t know if she was one of the refugees he and Halley had personally met. If her mind was still in there somewhere, Halley would know. He gulped hard, eyes stinging.
          “You wanna help, sonny? Even if she’s in a coma, I believe having loved ones close helps us find our way home…”
          Anakin blinked, and slowly nodded. It helped, being able to touch again, helping get her cleaned, dried and in hospital pajamas. Once she was settled on a soft, comfortable bed, he climbed in with her, nuzzled close. He was so, so tired, even grief couldn’t keep his eyes open.  He fell asleep with Halley in his arms and slept like the dead.


          He wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but something changed, and his mind charged back to consciousness. He blinked, the diffused light coming in from the window enough to see by, but not blinding. Her looked down at the form in his arms.
          Cobalt blue eyes stared back.
          Anakin barely dared to breath, lips parted a little. How did one ask if their lifemate remembered them? How did one ask if the brilliant mind they loved so dear was still there? How-
          “Force, Anakin, you look like hell.”
          And all of a sudden, all Anakin could do was grin.

22 July 2009 @ 01:33 am
The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Sites
17 March 2009 @ 10:33 am
To quote a Jedi, Size matters not...

          Serianas Adria was at the back of the line to leave the ship. The other refugees were climbing out of their cabins almost the moment they left hyperspace; the entire ship was just glowing with excited energy. The feeling that nearly choked the air was pure, unadulterated hope.
          When Naboo was glassed, millions fled her surface in anything that could leave the ground. The Sith attacking hadn’t seemed to care in the least about the ships escaping; the planet was being burned to send a message, not to commit genocide. The mass murder was a side effect of machinations being carried out on a galactic scale between very powerful people.
          Serianas had little interest in the hope onboard the Valiant. Her husband had died of a bad heart years before Naboo was murdered. She had escaped the planet with her fifteen year old daughter on board a rickety ship with twelve other families. The year was unkind to them, and by the time the word went out that there was salvation beyond the stars for the survivors of Naboo, she no longer cared. Their escape vessel had landed on Tatooine. Her daughter, Jaelyn, had been taken by the hutts to serve as a slave in their palace. Her life has lost meaning.
          She followed behind the crowd, a shell of a woman, barely noticing the huge grass field they landed in, or the scent of summer air on a planet that had never known pollution. She barely noticed the huge lights set up to illuminate the tables where young men who all looked the same were kindly checking people in, handing out packages, reassuring families.
          Then someone walked onto the elevated platform at the far end of the field, and Serianas noticed HER. She was tiny beside the troopers, but something about her presence seemed to fill the field, and a hush fell over it. Even from the back of the lines it was easy to see how blue her eyes were, and long hair fell about her shoulders like liquid white fire. She looked too perfect to be a real creature. A man followed her up on the platform, and Serianas stared in wonder. He was taller even then the troopers, with black hair that curled about his face and back into a ponytail. A streak of white fell from the center of his forehead, and his sapphire eyes glowed. The crowd stared at them, they stared at each other. There was a magnetism between them that was palpable.
          “Naboo fell.” The woman spoke, and she needed no microphone to carry her voice. It was lower then Serianas expected for her stature;  it filled the air and hung there. “Her people stumbled.” She spoke softly, the crowd stirred, and Serianas frowned. Wondered what the woman was on about. “There is no shame in sadness for what you lost, we all have the right to mourn her. This planet,” she paused and looked at the man, who nodded gently. “This planet is not Naboo. We are not here to replace the world you lost.” She stepped forward, hands upward, outward, as if holding up a precious gift. “In honor of your lost world, we are building Novus Astrum in her image, in her honor.” Her eyes glistened, and in the dead place where Serianas’ heard had been, something stirred as if called by a primal force. The crowd was silent, hanging on every word.
          “Novus Astrum.” She said it softly like a proud mother, lips lifted in a gentle, loving smile. “She is not Naboo, but she is our home. And now, if you will have her, she will be your home too.” The crowd stirred. “Oh, lost children of Naboo, will you have us?” The crowd roared assent. She smiled, and unashamed tears rolled down her face; passion poured over the crowd. “Welcome home.” The cheers rolled to a cacophony, and Serianas was startled to realize she was cheering too, carried in the wave of homecoming. Only that dead place inside pulled her back, and she watched the man slide his arms around the woman. He smirked softly and whispered something into her hair. She grinned in response and gazed up at him. He reached out to brush the tears from her cheeks, forehead pressed to hers, and the crowd fell in love with their new King and Queen.

          “Nice trick.” Anakin smirked softly and slid his arms around Halley, nuzzled in close. “I haven’t seen vocal force amplification on that scale since the last time I watched HIM address the senate.” She grinned up at him, and he chuckled. “And don’t think I didn’t feel you pulling on the crowd's heartstrings there, little miss.” He lifted his hands and wiped the tears gently off her cheeks.
          “They need hope, they need a direction. Most force powers aren’t good or evil, it’s how you apply them.” She grinned, and nuzzled in close, high on the adoration of the crowd. Anakin leaned down again and kissed her hair.
          “Just be careful.” He looked out over the crowd and watched as the troopers stepped up and started directing the assembled people to sign ins.
          Halley frowned, and drew away from Anakin, scanning the crowd. He blinked down at her, and raised a brow. She looked up at him, looking through him like listening to a far away sound. “You feel that?”
          “Feel what?”
          “Guess that’s a no.” She turned, jumped down, and headed into the crowd like a hound on a scent.  Hands reached out gently to touch her as she passed, inquiring almost, and she took the time to offer quiet reassurances as she walked. Anakin followed close, one hand on his saber. They didn’t touch him, he received a quiet respect, deference due a King. Halley stopped at the far end of the crowd, and her eyes fell on a sad, middle aged woman in the back. “Hello.”
          Serianas blinked, astonished. The enchanting woman and her dark, dangerous mate were standing there, attention fully on her. She gulped and moved to kneel, but the woman reached out to catch her with a little shake of her head.
          “There’s no need for such things.” She smiled softly, and offered her arm. “Will you come with me?”
          “Why me?” Serianas squirmed under the woman’s kindness and the man’s unfathomable gaze.
          “I feel something from you. A darkness, a hole inside. Something darker then just a lost world.” She frowned, and Serianas closed her eyes. Tears made their way down her face.
          “It’s nothing you could help with.”
          “Seri.” The woman purred, and Serianas froze. The woman knew her name. Pale blue eyes shifted to liquid gold and her hair seemed to stir as though immersed in wind, though there wasn’t a breeze to be felt. “Never underestimate what we can help with.”
          The older woman gaped, and slowly nodded. “Okay.”

          “They just… took her. She’s only fifteen, she was so scared.” Seri closed her eyes, grip tight on the mug of caf that had been offered. The man, Anakin, stood by the doorway of the tent and ground his teeth loudly enough to be heard. The little woman, Halley, sat across from Serianas. She stared into space, one hand over her mouth.
          “Do you know the hutt’s name?” She asked after a lengthy pause.
          “Jabba. They said his name was Jabba.”
          Halley looked at Anakin, eyes still gold. “This has to stop.”
          “There’s always going to be slavery, Hals, you said it yourself.” He frowned, and fumed internally. “I’m as sick of this nonsense as you are.”
          “Fifteen. Even I know that’s unconscionable, and I’m a force damned sociopath.” Halley stood, and paced, arms crossed. Seri watched her, uneasy.
          “We could take the Gale.” Anakin shrugged slowly. “And give them a demonstration.”
          “The fleet-”
          “Hals, lets be realistic.” He walked over, nuzzling close, an almost predatory look on his face. “Do we need a fleet to rescue a little girl and leave some collateral damage?”
          She looked up and sighed gently. His smile was contagious. “This is going to piss Obi off.”
          “Shit, Halley, what doesn’t piss him off?”
          “Granted. Just don’t say I never warned you.”
          “Deal.” He drew back, and glanced at the women. “We’re going to need you to come with us in our personal ship. When we get your daughter out, we’ve got to make sure we have the right girl.”
          Serianas nodded quietly, and looked into her mug. “I’ll come with you, but,” she glanced at the Sith, and sighed. “No one takes on the hutts and lives.”
          Halley quietly chuckled, and leaned against Anakin. “We have a history of beating the odds.”

          The Gale was a pretty ship to behold, small beside the other ships in the fleet but with a grace that put her larger sisters to shame. Seri had been deep in the shuttle carrying the refugees to Novus Astrum; she hadn’t seen the massive fleet hanging in space around the planet on arrival. Knowing it was there put a deep sense of security in her; but they left it behind quickly and the sense of safety it provided vanished too. The Gale made the two week trip in a matter of days, and Seri did her best to stay out from under the Sith’s feet as they quietly planned and plotted their strategy between bouts of adolescent behavior and passion that left her unnerved. The troopers onboard were a quiet constant to the Sith’s mood swings, and Seri spent much of her time speaking with them.
          To the troopers, the Sith’s antic were the norm. From the angry arguments to them running about the ship like five year olds playing chase, the troopers didn’t bat an eye. To mealtimes interrupted by the larger Sith simply hoisting the smaller one over his shoulder and carrying her, cackling madly, right out of the galley; the troopers only smirked quietly and shook their heads.
          By the time the Gale exited over Tatooine, Seri was honestly enamored by the idea of living on a planet primarily inhabited by the clones. Even with the passionate Sith as their leaders, there was a rightness to it all. Seri felt as though she was part of something much bigger then herself, keeping company with souls who could affect the outcomes of star systems. Kill planets.
          Birth new ones.
          It was like keeping company with young, fickle gods.

          Tatooine looked like a tumor from space, a sickly tan baking under the fire of angry twin suns. The space around it was filled with debris from generations of failed expeditions trying to glean some kind of wealth from the planet, and ruined ships from failed smuggling runs and successful pirate attacks. Anakin frowned, and piloted carefully around a huge ship and what looked like the bones of a space station in construction over the sand ball. “This is new.”
          Halley nodded, reading a data pad. “Looks like with the war over, Jabba is expanding. Seriously, who the hell bothers building a space station over Tatooine?”
          “Guess he’s trying to remake Nar Shadaa? I don’t know, he’s a giant slug, Hals. His motivations make no sense to me, unless he’s trying to make a shell.”
          “That’s snails, not slugs.”
          “And yet it would still make more sense then him building a space station over this shit ball.” Anakin sighed, and looked down. “Have I mentioned lately that I hate sand?”
          “Sixteen times since we left Astrum.”
          “I’ve been counting, it’s a new record for you. Last time it was thirteen.” Halley stood and brushed a kiss on his forehead. “I’ve already sent word to the troopers and my contacts, I’m going to send Jabba the request to buy Seri’s daughter back, and give him our conditions.”
          Serianas looked over at the Sith; she’d requested their permission to be in the cockpit when they left hyperspace. “How much are you willing to pay to get my child back?” She hated asking it, but she feared Jabba would ask more then the Sith were willing to part with.
          Anakin smirked; Halley burned bright, he smoldered darkly. “Whatever he asks for. You’ll see. This will be the last day your daughter spends on Tatooine.” He looked at Seri, dark promises in his eyes. “And you will have vengeance for what she’s already suffered.”

          The conditions were simple, an exchange out on the sands of Tatooine, several miles from Jabba’s palace. As his sail barge slowly moved out towards the meeting place, the palace sat quiet in the midafternoon heat. A guard posted by the slave pens yawned, bored by the menial duty. His life ended with little fuss as the butt of a blaster rifle caved his scull in.
          Specialized covert troopers moved through the palace, quietly removing the helpless slaves and killing anyone who could raise an alarm, and by the time the sail barge reached its destination, they were gone, the palace seemingly undisturbed.

          Jabba chortled at the sight of the Sith waiting for him; they had landed their ship and stood side by side on a wing. They were dressed entirely in white, both of them, and their only company was in the form of a middle aged woman in brown and troopers standing in the sand beside the parked ship. Each of them stood behind an open metal case filled to overflowing with credits.
          The hutt licked his lips and waved a pudgy hand. Two guards dragged the scantily clad slave girl out in front of him, and the woman in brown on the Sith’s ship cried out her name. The girl’s head snapped up, and she pulled against their hold. “Momma!”
          The hutt slid his hoversled to the front edge of the barge so he could addess the Sith directly. “I trust it’s all there?” He spoke in huttese, half expecting them to need translation. His men exited under the barge, and set up positions opposite the troopers, in an uneasy standoff.
          The taller Sith snorted. “Of course. Send the girl across and you can have your money.”
          “Ah, Skywalker. Surely you aren’t so foolish as that.” Jabba looked to the girl, and she made a disgusted face. “Maybe I want to rethink the deal, keep the girl and the money.”
          The dark-haired boy nodded at the white-haired girl, and she vanished. Jabba blinked. Anakin smirked. “Bad choice of words, Jabba. Though we expected as much.”
          Beside him, the guards made terrible noises, and the girl yelped. The captors on either side of her had brightly colored lightsaber blades jutting from their chests. They crumpled, and the girl vanished in a blur of white. She reappeared on the Sith’s ship beside the woman in brown, and they clung to one another, sobbing, as the little Sith rejoined her companion. He held out his hands and she took them.
          The sand behind Jabba’s men erupted and troopers started firing like trap-door spiders on the attack; the holographic decoys on the far side of the cases vanished. Nothing remained of Jabba’s ransom money apart from silver holographic projectors in the shape of metal cases. He shouted in rage and ordered the attack, but troopers already swarmed over his barge like ants at a picnic. The few shots fired at the Sith proved useless, and Jabba felt fear boiling over. The dark haired Sith simply deflected the shots with an outstretched hand.
          When the sand settled, Jabba glared at the troopers standing around his hoversled, guns pointed at his head. “So what do you want? To kill me? The hutts will never allow-”
          “Shut up, you disgusting, smelly, pompous slug.” Anakin growled it, eyes bright gold. “If we killed you, some other hutt would simply step into your shoes. None of you care about one another unless there’s profit in it.” He spat, and the girl snickered. “But no, you ridiculous bloated bag of offal, we’re not going to kill you. You want our demands? Here they are.” He narrowed his eyes. Beside him, the woman quietly concentrated. The sands shivered ominously. “The refugees of Naboo. If you find them, ANY of them, put them on a ship and send them to the starbase we’re building over Naboo. We’ll take care of them from there. Anyone in any way associated with Astrum you will treat with quiet respect. You will warn the other hutts to do the same.”
          Jabba laughed, hard. When he caught his breath, he tipped his head. “What makes you think I’ll agree to your terms?”
          Anakin ignored him, turning to the little woman in white. Her eyes were shut tightly, hands balled into fists. He gently lifted them, unclenched them, and laced his fingers with hers. “You have it?”
          “Mmhm.” She nodded, tightlipped. “I have a hold on it, need you now.”
          He lowered his forehead to hers, eyes gold and rimmed in red. “Open your eyes.” She did, hers just as gold. They locked with his, and he followed her thoughts, her power. Their bodies were nothing, simple specks of dust in the winds of the Force. Anakin left it behind with ease. He tugged their new toy experimentally, and felt it shift. Her power waned; he needed her to hold the shape of it so he could do the heavy lifting.
          Jabba frowned as his barge listed. The Sith’s ship rocked a little, and the sand rushed away from the two vessels in a radius centered on the two Sith.
          “Halley.” Anakin pulled himself back, saw with his eyes again.  Halley was at the absolute limit of what she could handle on sheer willpower; she needed something else. He pulled her up flush, growled against her lips. Felt the surge in her passion and power. “I need you.” Vader’s voice.
          Her power snapped into clear focus, and the sand blasted away from them, lifting and whirling as though they stood in the center of a hurricane. She wasn’t struggling anymore. Anakin laughed like a boy half his age; threw himself loose of his mortal frame and chased her power up, up, up like a targeting beam. It was so easy when he let go.
          He grabbed the interdictor she’d outlined so prettily in orbit by it’s tip.
          He dragged it through space effortlessly; there was no air resistance in orbit, everything was in freefall anyway. He ripped it towards the planet, through the center of the half-built station.
          He pulled the whole mess of it into the atmosphere.

          Anakin opened his eyes and laughed, even though it was almost painful to force that much passion and power back into a little tiny human frame. He looked about, and laughed harder. “Halley.” Almost sing-song. He hated to do it, she was gorgeous unrestrained. She was a force of nature; the hurricane around them. She was the sunbeams pouring through the eye of the storm, the radiating heat of the planet he was born on. She was a goddess unchained and she belonged to him.
          She opened her eyes,  and pulled herself back at his behest. Blinked mortal sanity back into gold eyes. “Yes?”
          “I want him to see.”
          She nodded and held out her hands. The sandstorm ended, and the sand fell like heavy rain around them. When it finally stilled, she smirked. He chuckled, and turned to the sail barge. “Your incentive to agree to our terms.” Anakin pointed in the direction of Jabba’s palace. The Hutt turned.
          Turned to watch a ball of fire and metal fall from the sky. The explosion was massive, a tidal wave of sand a mile high rushed down on them in moments. The Sith lifted their hands in unison to shield the barge and the ship from harm as the wall of sand passed around them and left silky white sand in it‘s wake that hadn‘t seen sunlight in thousands of years. As vast and extraordinary the feat of strength was, it lasted mere minutes. Even a space station dropped from the sky could only do so much damage to a planet already ravaged to sand. In the stillness that followed the explosion, Anakin watched genuine horror imprint on Jabba’s face. He gave it time to settle before he jumped through space to stand before the hutt.
          Jabba cringed away from him, more afraid then he’d ever been in his entire life. He was traumatized beyond the ability to speak. Anakin leaned forward, a demented grin on his face. “This? This was nothing. This was child’s play. If you don’t agree to my terms, I’ll drop Nar Shadda on Nal Hutta, and then throw the entire mess into your fucking sun. Are we clear?”
          Jabba trembled, and slowly nodded.
          “I never want to hear a peep out of your disgusting slug race again as long as I live.“ The Sith drew back, and made a face. “Force you reek. Come on, boys.” He vanished back to his ship, and the troopers withdrew. The terrified hutt was left alone, on a barge covered in corpses.

          The flight back to Astrum was a quiet one. Seri wanted to thank the Sith for what they’d done, but only once did she see either of them; it was in the galley, and it was late at night. She was almost afraid to approach the boy, who swayed on his feet. “Master Skywalker?”
          “Hnn? Oh, Anakin, call me Anakin, I hate titles.” He stumbled back into a seated position on the table, and Seri winced.
          “Are you all right?”
          “Mmm? Will be. In time. It’s always like this after we cut loose.” He yawned, waving at the caf press. “Was gonna make Halley a drink.”
          “Here, let me.“ Seri moved up and took over. “That was amazing, what you did on Tatooine. I didn’t know anything like that was possible. I saw it with my own eyes and I still can’t believe it.”
          Anakin chuckled, and bowed his head. “Yeah, we can do some crazy stuff when we push it.”
          “The exhaustion?”
          “Normal.” Anakin shrugged, and yawned widely again. “It’s hard to come back. It’s like… trying to take a star and squish it into a coffee bean. If you can even wrap your mind around the concept, and actually get enough willpower to do it, you gotta make sure the bean doesn’t burn from the inside out.”
          “The bean in this case being your bodies?”
          He nodded and smirked crookedly. “Funny, the one thing I do well is restrain myself. I can handle it. Most of my power goes to keeping Halley from burning out.” He bit his lower lip, looking absurdly young. “It’s kinda scary knowing the only person in the universe who truly understands you is only hanging on by a thread.”
          “I’m sorry.” Seri bit back tears. “I’m so sorry I caused this.”
          “Whaaaa? No, wasn’t you. The hutts have been pushing a long time, this was going to happen sooner or later. This big power blow out, the exhaustion after, it happens a couple times a year like a neutron star erupting. Little burps of power to keep it from building up to a point where we go nova.”
          Seri blinked. Hard. “You consider making a crater in the sand the size of a small country to be a little burp?”
          Anakin blinked, started to laugh, and scrubbed his face with his hands. “Crazy, innit? But that’s what it is. That was bigger then usual, but it serves the same purpose.”
          “If you say so.” Seri smirked, and poured the caf into little sealable containers. Anakin wandered over and carefully mixed sugar and cream into one.
          “Gotta make hers just right, she loves me for it.” He grinned like a little boy in love, and capped the drinks.
          Seri put a hand on his arm, and bit her lip. “Thank you so much for saving my daughter.”
          “Oh, how is she?” Anakin blinked, wobbling a bit.
          “She’s fine, actually. Scared a bit, but relieved to be free and excited about going home.”
          Anakin grinned and tipped his head while in thought; Seri hovered to make sure he didn’t tilt so far as to fall over. “Astrum is home.”
          Seri nodded. The Sith grinned, and his beautiful face lit up.
           “Halley’ll love hearing that.” He whispered conspiratorially, almost like a drunken confession, and stumbled back out into the hall towards their room.
          Seri smiled softly, left alone. Powerful children in danger of going nova; children who could throw moons into planets and planets into stars.
          “At least they’re on our side.”
03 March 2009 @ 01:12 pm
Ya it has a name now. XD Longest installment so far, too...

          “Right here.” Cade nodded as his ship dropped out of hyperspace above Kessel. Ahead of them a space dock hung in orbit, decorated with dozens of derelict ships tethered to the main hull. It wasn’t the only satellite in orbit, but it certainly stood out as one of the only privately run ones. Jaing sat forward, raised a brow, and looked at the younger clone.
          “This is a joke, right? That’s a repair dock you’re flying to.” Below the dock sat the prison world’s single moon, and beyond that the misshapen world of Kessel itself. It sat like a dried husk in space, it was a dull grey from orbit and appeared lifeless on the surface.
          “This station is one of the best there is out here.” Cade shrugged, pulling into one of the hangers. “Ever been to Kessel before?”
          “Can’t say I have.”
          “It’s an interesting place.” He powered the ship down; fingers lovingly slid across the dash almost absently before he stood up. The clone walked out of the cockpit, clicked on his belt and shouldered a blaster rifle with easy practice before he headed down the ramp.
          Jaing followed, curious. The boy had grown up a lot since the last report he read; he was similar the troopers in that regard. Being a clone was like being dropped into a footrace already half over without preparation; everyone around you already hit their stride but you found yourself stumbling to keep up while you tried to figure out where the hell you were and why the hell you were running. He eyed the boy’s gun up, and frowned again. “That looks like a WESTER-M5.”
          “You have a good eye for blasters.”
          “Haven’t seen too many of those held by anyone who wasn’t an ARC trooper.” Jaing tensed, but the boy shrugged.
          “It used to belong to an ARC trooper, now it’s mine.” Cade paused and looked at his shoulder where Jaing’s heavy hand had fallen. The trooper looked mad as a hornet dodging thrown shoes.
          “Where the HELL did you get that blaster?”
          The Sith clone looked him square in the eyes, his own sapphire pair dark. Fully grown he stood a little taller then the older-looking clone, but not enough to glare down at him. “He was dying. I tried to help him.” He shoved Jaing’s hand off his shoulder, and bared his teeth. “Not that it’s ANY of your business, you got that? You said you’d stay out of my way, so get out of my way.”
          “If I find out you had a hand in killing an ARC-”
          “I didn’t, okay!? He was part of a team. When the clone of Palpatine died, everything fell apart. An army slapped together of clones and separatists split down the middle. No one knew who to follow, who was in control. My wonderful DNA donor killed off the head of the organization and just… sauntered away without looking back at the chaos he left behind. Within a month the clones had reorganized and started searching for the Astrum, so they could rejoin the closest thing to leadership they had. Darren… the ARC… was leading a scouting party of regular clones to try and find the Astrum. It’s like their promised land.” He sighed, looking at the blaster. “I found them after a pack of droids shot their ship down. Darren was the only one who survived the landing, and he had a splinter of metal bigger then my hand jammed all the way through him.” Cade’s shoulders slumped.
          Jaing blinked, not expecting… this. “He-”
          “I tried to heal him, okay? I did but I don’t-” He trailed off, sniffed and steadied himself. “I don’t have Rem’s touch for it. I couldn’t save him. He asked if I was Skywalker, and I kinda just blabbed the truth. I promised to use his communicator to send the coordinates of Astrum and the map of the hyperspace route to his Commander. It was all I could do.” Cade stared off into space, haunted. “He gave me his blaster, said he wasn’t going to need it anymore. Said I’d earned it.”
          “Did you send them?”
          “Yeah, about three weeks ago. They’ll be showing up en masse any time now.” He sighed, eyes red. Trying hard not to let the emotions boil over. “I didn’t know what to do.”
          “You did right. The Astrum has a better infrastructure; they’ll know how to get the new troops settled in. This,” He paused, nodding. “This is a good thing, and I’m sorry I snapped on you. I AM an ARC.” Cade blinked, surprised. “Technically anyway. I’m one of a handful of Null-class ARCs, a failed experiment. Thinking you might have killed one of my own and looted his corpse like a common thug hit me hard. Knowing he died well, and gave that blaster to you; that means a lot.” He looked Cade in the eyes, the first hints of respect showing there.
          Cade snorted. “I could be lying.”
          “Please, kid.” He snorted. “You can’t lie for shit.”

          “She’ll be done in an hour, Master Skywalker.” The chitenous Colicoid curled it’s fingers together, looking over at the docked ship.
          “Not Master, please, just call me Cade, okay?” Cade lifted a hand, scratching at his hair uncomfortably.
          “As you wish.” It nodded it’s head, and stalked towards it.
          “And be careful!” Cade winced, balled a fist and turned away; headed into the station. “There’s a bar here, just don’t drink too much.”
          “That’s funny, coming from you.” Jaing snorted, a smirk on his lips.
          “Haha. I mean it, Colicoids have a bad habit of eating humans. Drink too much, or drink something that could have something slipped into it, you disappear and wind up on a dinner plate.”
          “You’re serious?”
          “Yeah.” He looked back at the ship, fidgeting. “But they’re good at what they do.”
          “What do they do?”
          “Business.” Cade shrugged, and headed for the bar.
          “You never did tell me the name of your ship.” Jaing followed, one hand lightly resting on his blaster pistol. The way Cade prominently displayed his rifle made him nervous, but the locals seemed to stay out of their way, so he had to assume the kid knew what he was doing.
          “No, I didn’t.”
          “Well?” The blond boy stayed quiet. “Oh come on.”
          “Lady Remy.”
          “You’re kidding.”
          “No, see, this is why I didn’t tell you.”
          “You’ve got it bad for this girl, don’t you?” Cade shifted uncomfortably.
          “No. I don’t know, maybe.” He sighed. “She gave me the ship, so it makes sense.” Jaing laughed, shook his head and pointed a finger at the younger man.
          “No. Oh no. You don’t name your ship after the person who gave it to you. You name it for what it means to you. What it evokes in you.”
          Cade scowled, ducked through the grey corridors, stepped over debris and ignored outstretched hands from the denizens too poor to leave, too crafty to be eaten, but not cruel enough to get shipped down to the prisons. “It doesn’t. I mean. Aargh.” He scowled. “The ship means freedom, to me.” He looked over.
          “So why not name it ‘Freedom’? Even if it’s been taken before, it’s not like you can’t register the name anyway.”
          “It didn’t… I thought about it. But it didn’t fit. When I was with Rem, all I could think about was freedom. And now that I have freedom, all I think about is-” He trailed off softly, thoughts dropping to the picture in his pocket.
          “Ah.” Jaing nodded. “You’ve got it bad for this girl.” He held up a hand, forestalling comment. “That’s not a bad thing. It doesn’t mean you should go running back there, heart in hand, begging her to forgive you for leaving her.”
          “You think she’d even care?” Cade sighed, heading into the dimly lit bar. “You know, just once I want to walk into a bar and think ‘Gee, they must spend a fortune on lighting!’”
          Jain chuckled and took a seat at the bar, ordering up a shot. “Yeah, she’d care. She gave you a ship.” He rolled his eyes and knocked the shot back, sucked his teeth and shook his head. “Strong stuff.”
          “I guess.” Cade sighed and downed the same kind of shot without a single reaction. “I kinda thought at the time that she was sick of me. Gave me the ship to get rid of me, and so I took it and ran. I never even thanked her.” He hung his head.
          “And now?”
          “Now I’m starting to realize she’s just as new to all this as I am. But where I get mad, she’s patient. Where I’m confused, she has an answer. She’s everything I’m not.”
          “You are dumb.” Jaing looked over, and nodded. “Really dumb.”
          “Thanks.” Cade glared, and drank another shot.
          “Sadly, you’re also brilliant.” Jaing looked at his second shot, and moved it in a little circle on the bar. “You’re adapting faster then any clone I’ve ever met. And that’s saying something, I know a lot of clones.” He smirked, and downed the shot. “Assuming-” He exhaled, and looked over. “Seriously, do you not have taste buds?”
          “I drink a lot.” Cade muttered, hunched over his third shot.
          “Assuming she hasn’t shacked up with anyone else yet, when you do go back, stake your claim. Mark your territory, make sure she knows you’ll be back.”
          “How do I-what do you mean she shacked up with someone else?” Cade stood up; Jang grabbed the back of his jacket and tugged him back down on the seat.
          “Cool it, hot shot. I didn’t say she is. You just left her without even a hint that you might ever return. Women don’t wait forever, and she’s a spectacular woman.”
          “I’m gonna shoot you.”
          “Oh knock it-”
          “No I’m really gonna shoot you. Say it again, come on.” Cade pointed the M5 at him, the gun whined as it powered up, and everyone at the bar scurried back a few feet. The sound of a glass breaking and frantic whispers were all that filled the gap that the abruptly stopped music left.
          “Oh, put it away.”
          “Say it again. Tell me how spectacular my wom-”
          “She looks like Halley.” Jaing looked up. His expression was neutral. “And Halley lives to taun-”
          “Taunt the troopers. SHIT.” Cade put the blaster back down with a huff, and glared at the bartender, who was backed all the way to the far end of the bar. “What are you looking at? Two more.” He banged the bar with two fingers.
          “Your woman looks like Anakin’s eye candy, and you left her heartbroken and alone on a planet covered in troopers. I‘m not saying anything would happen to her, we‘re not programmed for it, but I guarantee you she‘s gotten offers.” The music started back up; their little scuffle was apparently business as usual.
          “Ugh, I am dumb.” Cade drank the third and fourth shots back to back.
          “Remember the people-eating bugs.”
          “I can hold a lot more then this.” The younger clone sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose.
          “You said ‘my’ you know.”
          “What?” Cade looked over, bordering on drunk and well into annoyed.
          “You said ‘my woman is,’ or you would have, if I hadn’t cut you off.”
          “Did they give out awards in trooper school for being annoyingly observant?” Cade made a face and finished the last shot.
          “Yeah. I have a bachelor’s degree in smartassery, too.” Jaing smirked. “Pay the man.”
          “Fuck yourself.” Cade scowled, counted out the money for the drinks, and slapped it on the bar.
          “Did you leave a tip-”
          “Yes I left a tip, force, what are you, my mother?” The blond rolled his eyes.  He stood up to get his bearings. “Not too drunk.”
          “See, that’s funny, ‘cause neither of us had a-”
          “Okay, back to plan ’A,’ I’m gonna shoot you.”

          “She is finished, Mas-”
          “Nnnnnnngh.” Cade held up a hand, eyes closed and teeth clenched. “Thank you.”
          “We would appreciate if you would pay for the services rendered in Nar Shadda.” He bobbed his head and Jaing raised a brow.
          “Yeah, that’s fine. Where.” The drunker of the two clones took the offered data pad and waved farewell, stumbling to the ship.
          “What? They’re making you fly to Nar Shad-”
          “Awww… Captain Observant Smartass miss what just happened there?” Cade grinned tauntingly.
          “You’re a smuggler.” He dropped his face into his hand. “They just loaded up your cargo.”
          “And he wins a gold star!” Cade chuckled, walking up the ramp. He stumbled through thr rows of boxes, checking them against manifesto he was handed. “We’re good to fly.”
          “If the Colicoids run this place, why do they need smugglers?”
          “Independent company. They’re dodging the taxes and dues that they’d have to pay using the major company’s shipping.  It’s illegal for them to hire outside contractors though, so they have people like me come in for ‘repairs,’ load up on cargo, and go pay for them at the drop off. Neat and tidy as long as you don’t get caught.”
          “What if you do get caught?”
          “I thought I already explained that they eat people?”
          “Oh. Right.” Jaing frowned and followed Cade to the cockpit. He took over the copilot station as Cade powered up the ship. “You sure you’re okay to fly?”
          “Will you trust me? I know my limits, I just willingly blaze past them on a regular basis.” He snorted, taking them out of the hanger. “On to Nar Shadda.”
          “Where to after that?”
          Cade frowned, and stared into space as the stars elongated. “After that… home. I’ve got a long overdue ‘thank you’ to deliver.”
          Jaing nodded and reclined the seat. “And noses to break.”
          The younger clone looked over and chuckled, relaxed back into his pilot‘s chair. “You’re probably right. If I get into it with someone for,” He paused, trying to find the words. “For hitting on my Rem. Will you back me up or stand against me?”
          “Son, I’m on your side come what may.”
          “Good.” Snort. “But don’t call me son. Ever. Ever ever.”

28 February 2009 @ 12:18 am
Here we go again....

          Cade woke with a groan, his moderately lit surroundings slowly coming back into focus as he blinked. He worked his mouth and groaned again, it felt like someone had stuffed cotton into his mouth while he slept. He reached up to rub his temples; consciousness brought with it a splitting headache, and the lights didn’t help any. “Where am I?”
          “We’re on your ship.” The gruff clone’s voice came from his left, and Cade slowly sat up, cringing.
          “Can you turn off the lights?” They dimmed, and he dropped back down. “Ugh. Thank you.” A bottle was pressed into his hand, and he sniffed.
          “It’s just water, kid. If I was going to poison you I wouldn’t have let you wake up.”
          Cade nodded and sipped the water slowly; it would be a bad idea to set off his stomach. “Where is my ship? We‘re flying.”
          “We’re in orbit over Tatooine.” His voice held a smirk, and there was the heavy sound of him sitting in a chair near Cade’s bed. “Impressive, most people can’t tell when these ships are in freefall.”
          Cade shrugged, sipping the water again. It helped clear out that dry taste, but his stomach still wasn’t too thrilled about it all. “I’ve gotten to know the ship. It’s not as smooth as the Gale…” He lifted a hand and touched the metal wall by the bed. “She hums. Softly. When we’re flying she has a roar to her… below the threshold of human hearing but I can feel it. When we’re parked on a planet, she’s silent and peaceful. When we’re in freefall, with just enough power going through her to keep us in orbit… she purrs.” He licked his lips, closing his eyes and listening. “Sometimes I sit in orbit over a planet for hours just listening to it.”
          The trooper lounged back, watching him. “Your girlfriend is like the Sith princess, right? She can p-”
          “Remy isn’t my girlfriend.” He sat up, ignoring his stomach’s protests.
          “What is she?”
          “How the fuck should I know? We met when we were less then a year old. Already fully grown physically, but emotionally, mentally, we were barely developed.” He frowned, rested his arms on his knees and sat on the side of the bed, hanging his head. “We trusted instinct and I knocked her up. We’ve spent the last year of our lives, basically our entire lives so far, dancing around each other with no idea what we were doing, and trying to raise kids that are almost as old as we are.”
          “They didn’t tell me what happened with the kids.”
          “They’re fine. Skywalker’s step brother and his wife have them, now. They might adopt, I don’t know.” He sighed, head in his hands. “I love those kids. I do. I don’t want them to suffer, but I’m not fucking ready to be a dad and help a child develop into a person, I’m not even sure who I am yet.”
          “Apart from a drunk who runs from his problems.”
          Cade looked up, too hungover to get mad. “Yeah. Apart from that.”
          “Look. I’ll make a deal with you. I won’t treat you like a child. I won’t keep you from getting in trouble if that’s what you want to do.” Jaing crossed his arms and shrugged. “All you gotta do is agree not to run from me.”
          “And why would I agree to that?”
          “You get free backup. I’ll stay out of your way. You wanna drink yourself half to death? Fine. You wanna stick your d-”
          Cade held up a hand, pinching the bridge of his nose with the other hand. “Please… drop the talk about my sex life, okay? I’m here searching for myself, and the last time I went looking for myself in a woman, I left babies. I’m really not interested in going through that again.”
          “Okay. Makes my life easier.” Jaing smirked. “Do we have a deal?”
          “For now? Yes.” Cade sighed, rubbing his shoulder. “I do have a habit of biting off more then I can chew, I can’t really argue that you could come in handy.”
          Jaing stood, nodding. “Do you have another destination in mind?”
          Cade nodded, checking his wrist device. “Yeah, I gotta make a pickup from Kessel.”
          “You’re a SMUGGLER?”
          “What do you think? I get bored easy, at least smuggling is something I can do to occupy my time. It’s fast paced, and it leaves me little time to think. Good pay, though I spend a lot of it on alcohol and ship upgrades. I don‘t like using the Sith’s money.”
          “Good for you.” Jaing nodded, oddly impressed that Cade managed to be so self-sufficient. “Where does the rest of the money go?”
          Cade blushed a little, looking at his hands. “I’m saving it.”
          “For what?”
          “None of your damn business.” Cade frowned, over the hangover enough to be surly again.
          “Fine, fine.” Jain rolled his eyes, unimpressed. “I’ll plot a course for Kessel.” He stood and walked out of the room.
          Cade frowned, reached for the lights, and raised them just enough to see by without sending pain shooting through his head. He stood just enough to pull the piece of parchment out of his pocket, and sat back down. He stared at Remy’s face, struggling to understand the emotions it evoked. She was beautiful, he never doubted that. His instincts were to violence, hers were to love. It’s no wonder he fled her arms; the idea that he might hurt something so precious to him in a fit of rage woke him up at night.
          It didn’t mean he didn’t love her.
          He couldn’t tell Jaing that he dismissed other women because they lacked something he needed. It was more then physical; he needed an emotional connection to even open up to touch. Remy was the only one who could ever reach him like that. At times he missed that more then anything else, but he couldn’t return to her. He wasn’t ready. If he went back now they would have days, or maybe even weeks of happiness, but within a month he’d be pulling away from her again.
          He couldn’t take the guilt of watching her heart breaking all over again. Somewhere in him was a sadist, a cruel need to break beautiful things. Her sorrow was both painful and intoxicating to him, and until he learned to control it he couldn’t allow himself to be near her. Even if his absence pained her, it was better then the alternative.
          He debated what to do with the picture. He should have destroyed it to keep her safe, but he wanted to cling to it, be able to look at it like checking a compass when he’d lost his sense of direction. He debated tossing it in his secret box, beside the other little precious things he kept. Beside the little silver ring with it’s red stone that he’d bought for her and never given her. Someday, when he could give her the heart of a whole person, he might give her the ring, but for now it was just one of his secrets.
          He sighed and slipped the picture back in his pocket, and headed for the cockpit to make sure Jaing wasn’t crashing his ship somewhere. Trying to decide was hard.
          Running away was easy.
26 February 2009 @ 09:39 am
Lizzeh... dis muse, it bit hard....

          “Pour me another.”
          The bartender looked at the young man leaning on the bar, frowning as he dried a glass. “You’ve had quite a few already, son.”
          “I’m not your son.” The boy spat, glaring through overgrown curly blond bangs. “Pour me another.”
          The man sighed, reaching for a bottle of brandy. “You sure you’re old enough?”
          “You saw my ID already, want it again?” He sneered. The bartender shook his head and poured the shot before moving down the line to another customer. Cade sighed, looked down at the shot and reached for it. The leather gloves he wore had the fingers cut off, and the glass felt chilled under his exposed fingertips. The room was already tilting, but he could still think. He needed more. He lifted the shot and threw it back with casual abandon. It tasted like fire.
          He set the glass down and closed his eyes. Always a fruit brandy. The taste reminded him of a night on the beach, a bottle of wine and-
          He killed the thought and looked around. The faces all looked sinister, dark; the bar stank of so many alcohols that it blended into something closer to rubbing alcohol then anything else. There was a sabbac table near the back of the room, but he didn’t feel like throwing away any more of his money. Cade looked to his right, dizzy. The woman sitting beside him had her back turned, and reddish hair caught his attention. He frowned, and rested his chin on his hand, propping himself up on the bar and looking at her hair. Picturing a lighter shade. Longer, almost waist length, and shiny. She’d turn to look at him and smile, summer sky blue eyes lit with promises. Full lips that curved up in a silly smirk, the faintest blush on perfect ivory skin.
          “What’re you lookin at?” A voice slurred off to the side, and Cade came up out of his reverie to see two burly, stinking men leering over the redhead’s shoulder at him. She’d turned too, not at all the vision he’d conjured up. In fact she looked to be twenty years and half a mouthful of teeth off.
          That’s what I get for picking a bar on Tatooine to get drunk in. Cade scowled, and blinked. “You and your friend should learn to mind your own business.”  Then he squinted, confused. There was only one man, now. “Where’d he go?”
          The man snorted and moved to grab the boy’s jacket in one hand. Even drunk, Cade’s reactions were catlike; before he knew what was going on his fist slammed out and into the bigger man’s face with a satisfying crunch. The man reeled back, and the redhead started screaming. Cade winced and stuck a finger in his ear, glaring at her sideways. 
          “Harpy bitch.” He stumbled for the door, annoyed as the floor rose up like the deck of a ship in a storm. It took work just to cross the room without falling. He leaned in the doorframe a moment to gather himself, till something heavy hit his back and sent him sprawling into the sandy earth outside the bar. He groaned when he hit, looking back at the doorway and spitting sand out of his mouth. One of the burly men… no, both… no just one of them was intent on continuing their fight. “Great.” Cade groaned and got on his hands and knees just in time to get kicked in the stomach hard enough to flip him onto his back.
          “You picked the wrong fight, son.” There was that word again.
          Cade stood up, gritting his teeth and glaring through his hair. “I am not your SON!” A ball of pure energy exploded out of him and threw the other man into the building. “I’m NO one’s son.” He turned to stumble away.
          The sound of a blaster whine as it powered up stopped him. He slowly turned, looking back. The redhead was pointing a blaster square at him with the expertise of one used to shooting moving targets. “The bounty on you is higher if you’re alive, Skywalker, but I’ll sell your dead parts if I have to.” The man snickered, sitting up.
          “Told you the red hair would get him.” They knew. They knew he wasn’t Anakin.
          And they knew about Remy.
          “Are his eyes supposed to be changing color like that?” She looked over, and the man swallowed hard.
          “I don’t know. He’s not supposed to have the powers, just the DNA.” He scowled, drawing his sidearm. “Move and you’re dead, Skywalker.”
          He didn’t see them. Hear them. All he could see was red. He stood under the Tatooine suns, trembling with the force of rage that was trying to get out. “….you… want to run now.” He could barely speak, his jaw was trying so hard to clench.
          “Shoot him Arly, better safe then s-” The man froze, and the blaster dropped from nerveless fingers. The woman looked over, confused, just to see that her accomplice had a vibroblade sticking out of his back. As he toppled over, she yelped and fired her blaster at Cade.
          Cade drew his lightsaber, ignited it, and deflected the bolt in a backhanded grip all in one smooth move. She snarled and aimed again, but didn’t fire.
          “That’s enough… Arly, he said? Put the blaster down nice and slow.” The voice was male, and familiar somehow. She groaned, tossed the blaster into the sand and raised her hands. Cade blinked, and raised a brow. A hand came out from behind her to grab one wrist, and then the other; a metallic click signified that cuffs were secured. She got dropped into the sand and Cade finally got a view of the man who assisted him. It was almost hard to recognize the clone soldier in bounty hunter gear, black hair overgrown to almost chin length. He had a long scar from his forehead down to his chin, and the eye in the socket was pure black; a bionic replacement eye.
          “Yer one of the clone troopers.” Cade slurred; now that the adrenaline was wearing off the alcohol was kicking back in.
          “You could say that.” He knelt, pulled his vibroblade out of the man’s back and started searching his pockets.
          “What are you doing here?” Cade frowned, unsteady on his feet.
          “A favor to a friend.” He tugged out a billfold, and leafed through it. “Bounty hunters.” He spat off to the side, and pulled something out of the folded leather. Cade opened his mouth, and then closed it. This guy certainly wasn’t ACTING like a clone trooper. The man looked up, and stood. He offered two pieces of parchment. “Because you’re walking around with Skywalker’s genes, chances are someone’s going to try to bag you for any one of the dozens of bounties on his head, trying to pass you off as the real deal.”
          Cade took it, and looked down at it, heart doing a little flip in his chest. One was just a picture of him looking surly. The other was a picture of Remy staring off into space, probably taken in the Astrum’s main market. She had the faintest little smile on her lips, like someone had just told her a joke and she was being polite. He frowned, trying not to lose his balance as his ungloved fingertips gently traced the curve of her cheek. He looked up to see the clone staring at him. Sizing him up. “What?”
          “Nothing.” He turned back to the woman, and Cade stuffed the picture of Remy into his back pocket before ripping up the one of himself.
          “So who are you doing a favor for?”
          “Captain Rex. Heh. Commander now.”
          “So you got a name? Or a rank?”
          “Name yes, rank no. Call me Jaing.” He frowned.
          “So you didn’t serve?” Cade scowled, and leaned against the side of the building. “I didn’t think they made clones that didn’t serve.”
          “Lets just say I have other priorities. One of them being to keep your ass alive.”
          “Why? If you don’t serve, why take a mission?”
          “It’s complicated, okay? Shit, they said you were the quiet one.” Jaing snorted, and offered a hand up. “These guys aren’t alone, we gotta get you out of here.”
          “No, I go alone.” Cade snarled, and snubbed the hand. He stood up, and stumbled in the general direction of where his ship was settled. There was an annoyed sigh behind him, and he felt a prick in the back of his neck. The boy made a face, and reached back to pull a dart out of his neck. The world tilted alarmingly and the sand rose up to meet him as everything went dark.
          Jaing walked over, put away the dart gun, and knelt. He picked the boy up and slung him over a shoulder, resuming the walk towards Cade’s ship.

          A few minutes later, the bounty hunter in the sand finally looked up and spat sand out of her mouth. “Hello? Hello??”
          To her dismay her only company was the body of her dead partner; the drunken boy and his dark partner were already gone.

10 February 2009 @ 11:15 am
"Both Rowling and Meyer, they’re speaking directly to young people. … The real difference is that [Harry Potter author] Jo Rowling is a terrific writer and [Twilight author] Stephenie Meyer can’t write worth a darn. She’s not very good."
- Stephen King tells USA Today

01 February 2009 @ 06:10 am
OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

05 December 2008 @ 09:37 pm
Cause I know you check every day in the hopes that I'll post something about you...

25 November 2008 @ 06:03 pm
At random decided to check in on a journal I occasionally peruse... and am reminded, once again, the power of the human brain.

Delusional is one thing, but to look back on a time when you were being a terrible, immature user and abusing someone else, and actually convince yourself YOU were the victim... honey that takes skill.

You will never grow up and have a healthy relationship until you can accept your own shortcomings. I am in the place you were for years, where you "suffered, and were bullied, and abused." And you know what? We have an AWESOME, hilarious, supportive relationship. One fight in a blue moon, and we find the problem and fix it seamlessly every time without a single hitch. Either she grew up overnight, or you would rather lay on your back like a kicked puppy for sympathy without acknowledging you bit the hand in the first place.

When SHE finally replied to the repeated "Ohnoes, I've ruined everything, WAAAAAAH" with a "Yes. Yes you did," you had no idea how to react. We watched as you flew from one end of the spectrum of emotions to the other, not understanding why none of your tricks were working. I held together the broken pieces you used to smash over and over and watched her heal herself brilliantly, while you chomped at the bit and named me demon.

Then I watched you move on to a new friend, watched her fall down the same slope. When she broke away, I cheered. You were at a disadvantage there; we broken children are amazingly resolved when we need to be.

Time and time again I watch, silently, saying nothing and reserving my attacks. And you find no one is looking at you anymore, no one cares. And suddenly the victim returns, crying about how she was abused.


So FUCK you. I hereby lift my moratorium on speaking ill of you.

And the very first thing I get to do is laugh my fucking ass off at how pathetic a human being you are.