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Author Topic: Port of Call  (Read 676 times)

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Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #15 on: 07/31/17, 07:18:10 PM »
"This is just..." Kamren began, shoving a heaping fork-full of meat into his mouth. Gravy dripped from the edge of his chin, and he wiped it away with his sleeve. "...the most incredible peppered Bantha Steak I've ever had."

Medley, with her head propped up on a palm that cradled her jaw, stirred the mashed potatoes on her plate. She stared at the food, which she had barely touched, and glanced at the comm sitting on the table beside her plate. Anonymized. Not even coded to Free Spacers channels. Just something she had kept in her Rampart, on Vash's advice, just in case. Another scream erupted in her mind, and she felt the fear ripple through her body; a deep, primal fear, that seemed to light her senses aflame. She grabbed the comm.

"I need to call my sisters." She said.

Kamren dropped his fork and reached out for her hand. He forced Medley's fingers open, and took the comm from her. "We talked about this. We don't know if they're in on the attack on you. We just need to lay low. Wait things out."

Medley sighed, and slid her plate away from her.

"That mine too?" Kamren said. "Oh, Med, the rations you brought us were star-sent, but nothing beats a cantina-cooked meal."

Medley watched as Kamren shoveled forkful after forkful of food into his mouth, alternating each with a gulp of Corellian ale, and turned away from him. The two were tucked away at a table on the upper level of the Blaster's Path cantina, which seemed strangled by shadows to her. It was dark; far too dark; and she wondered how the potted ferns even survived with a complete lack of sunlight.

"Damned Jedi." A large figure, dressed in heavy combat armour emblazoned with the insignia of the Nova Blade pirates, glared at her as he walked past.

"Gonna take that?" Kamren asked, looking up from the plate he had taken from Medley.

Medley closed her eyes and tried to slow the beating of her heart. Which was beating faster faster faster so much faster so much anger so much fear so much hate...

"I'd shoot him for ya, but, this is my first real meal in over a year." Kamren said. Medley could hear him chewing between words. "And I don't have a blaster."

Medley followed the figure as he walked across the room. Her eyes narrowed, watching him as he approached a table with a lone occupant. A female Rattataki, with chalk-white skin, a bald head, wearing flowing black robes. With a lightsaber clipped to her belt.

The Nova Blade sat down and said something to the woman, to which she laughed. A loud, sharp, arrogant laugh. And as she turned and locked eyes with Medley, Medley heard the screams in her mind build. But not in a painful deafening manner. They were giving her strength; she could feel the fear within her permeating her every pore, heightening her senses.

"Pretty sure that Sith is mocking you." Kamren said. "Pretty sure she hates you."

Medley clenched her jaw and focused on the room. To her left, a young Death's Claw pirate. She could sense the girl's conflict, with one hand on her blaster and her eyes fixed on the Tonvarr cyborg at the table beside her. An older man at the girl's table motioned towards the girl, but she shook her head. The man began yelling at her, and seized her by her ponytail, wrenching her head back.

"Not right for a man to do that to a lady." Kamren said. "You must feel the hate towards him."

Medley wrapped her hands around both of her lightsabers. She could feel the anger building within her. Calling to her. Strengthening her.

She watched as a Rodian with a blaster rifle led three Wookies, all shackled with irons that bound their wrists and ankles, their heads bowed, up the stairs from the cantina's lower level and through the exit.

Medley felt their shame.

She watched as two pirates clinked their mugs in a 'cheers', downed the contents, and then approached a Twi'lek entertainer who was seated at the bar, eating quietly. The two men stood at either side of her, leering, but the girl calmy patted her lips with a napkin, stood, and walked away.

Medley felt the anger from the two men.

But then she saw a tiny Mirialin girl enter the cantina, carrying a basket of flowers. The girl looked no more that six years old, and wore a grey dress that seemed three sizes too big for her. She would have been almost invisible in the dim light of the room, were it not for her short, silver hair, which was tied in a stubby ponytail at the base of her skull, while a thin, beaded braid trailed from the edge of her bangs and across her forehead.

Medley felt her hope.

Kamren stopped eating, and laid his fork down on his plate.

The Mirialan walked table to table, holding up the basket to the cantina's patrons. At the first table, two elderly pirates laughed, bought a flower each and handed it to the other, laughing and smiling at the girl. They handed her a small amount of credits, and she walked on.

Medley could feel her happiness.

Kamren wiped another trail of gravy from his chin, and stared at Medley.

At the second table, a young, overly-round human wearing a flightsuit and seated by himself, tried to ignore the girl by staring off into the distance. The little Mirialin stood attentive at his side, her bright green eyes staring at him. The man continued to pay no attention to the girl, and so she plucked a single flower from her basket, laid it on the table in front of the man, and walked away.

Medley smiled.

Kamren looked locked eyes with the Sith across the room, and nodded.

Just as the little Mirialan approached. The Sith Rattataki placed a hand on the girl's shoulder, and seized the basket of flowers with her other, ripping it from the girl's hands. The Sith erupted in a cackle, and she threw the basket across the room. Flowers scattered across the floor, and the girl scrambled to pick all of them up.

Medley drew her lightsabers and stood bolt upright. The screams seized her mind, and while she shook her head and closed her eyes in an attempt to clear her thoughts, all she could feel was the fear. The fear from the little Mirialan, as the girl ran for her basket.

"Gonna let all this evil happen, Med?" Kamren said. "Or are you gonna finally give in?"

The Sith stood and faced Medley, drawing her lightsaber. The blade glowed red.

The pirates in the room all drew weapons. Blasters charged. Thermal detonators beeped as they were primed. And tables skidded aside as they all prepared themselves for the coming battle. And while almost all had seen a Jedi fight a Sith in their travels around the Galaxy, most ran for the exit when they felt the room begin to shake.

Medley leaped into the air and landed in place, sending a shockwave that overturned chairs and shattered glasses. The Sith stumbled backwards, off balance, and ducked just as both of Medley's lightsabers zipped over her head, boomeranging back into Medley's hands as she advanced on the Rattataki. The Sith gripped her lightsaber hilt with both hands and raised it to protect herself, but Medley batted it aside and then stabbed the Sith through the chest. The Sith's lightsaber rolled out of her dying hand and clanged to the floor.

"You're not quite finished, dearest Medley." Kamren's voice. So distant, but so close.

The little Mirialan ducked behind one of the ferns, and watched as Medley advanced on the pirates in the room. They fired blaster bolts at her, but she deflected them easily. They raised chairs to bludgeon her, but she cut through them with her lightsabers. But one particularly crafty pirate snuck up behind Medley with a vibroblade raised. The Mirialan stepped from behind the plant, and threw her basket at the man. It struck him in the temple, and he cried out. Medley spun around and cut the man in half.

"Good. Good." Kamren stood. "You've always seen the evils of the Galaxy. Felt them. The anger. The betrayal. The fear."

Medley closed her eyes and shook her head violently, trying to shake both the screams that were plaguing her mind, and the piercing sound of Kamren's voice.

"Do you see what you have done here?" Kamren said. He sweapt an outstreched arm across the dozens of bodies that were crumpled on the floor, and walked a wide berth around Medley, towards the corpse of the Sith. "Everyone here deserved the fate that you dealt them. As many more do."

Kamren stopped when he was halfway between the corpse of the Sith and the Mirialan, who was crouched on one knee beside the potted plant. His arm extended slowly towards the corpse, and the Sith's lightsaber initially trembled, then shook, then rocketed through the air and into his grasp. The red blade extended, and he pointed it towards the girl.

"Don't!" Medley screamed, watching as the girl scrambled on her hands and knees to get back behind the plant. Kamren reached with his free hand towards her, and Medley could feel the Force extend from his outstretched hand and seize the girl, pulling her towards him. The girl clawed at the tiled floor, trying to resist being pulled backwards.

She turned to face Medley, as tears erupted from the girl's eyes. Medley was overwhelmed as she felt the girl's fear but...but...

"Take your rightful place with us, Medley Qu'or! Our Masters live through the Force!" Kamren said, with madness in his voice. "And they are greater than the Republic! Greater than the Sith! Stronger than the Alliance or the fallen Eternal Empire or any Empire that will come! Together, we can remake the Galaxy."

The girl lost her hold on the tile and was lifted into the air, moving slowly towards Kamren and the red blade of the lightsaber in his hand.

"You have been destined to join the Acolytes of the fallen Dread Masters. It is time to take your place!"

Medley's eyes were still locked with the girl's, but she forced her eyes away and looked directly at Kamren, saying, "No."

Medley tossed both of her lightsabers into the air, and reached out to the girl, seizing her, breaking Kamren's hold and pulling the girl towards her. The girl flew through the air, and right into Medley's outstretched arms.

"I gotcha." Medley said. She set the girl down and ushered her with an outstretched arm towards the stairs leading to the lower levels of the cantina. "Hide."

The girl ran towards the stairs, but stopped at the top and ducked behind the apex post of the railing.

Kamren advanced on Medley. "All this time! Under the thumbs of your sisters. Enslaved on Tython because the Jedi fear you." Kamren glared at Medley. "But have to ever stopped to ask why? Why they confine you?"

"I was never confined!"

"Oh but you were." Kamren sheathed his lightsaber. "My love, the fondest thing to me in all the Galaxy, in all of every Galaxy, you have always felt the call. A call to something greater." Kamren paced around the room, stopping when his back was to the exit of the cantina.

"You have always felt the pain of the wars. You are a legacy of one of the most terrible wars to ever grip the galaxy, a war in which your mother was murdered."

Medley followed Kamren's paces, coming to a stop when she was directly between the Zabrak and the girl.

"Ziost. Zakuul. Iokath. The Dread Masters may be dead and one with the Force, but their legacy lives. Their goal lives." Kamren reached out with an outstretched arm, and threw the potted fern towards the stairs.

Medley leaped in front of it, and it crashed into her back. She cried out in pain and collapsed to the ground. The Mirialan ran to her side.

"End all wars, Medley Qu'or. The goal is to end all wars. But you waste your time with..." Kamren glared at the girl beside Medley. "Invalids. Idiots. Orphans." Kamren reached out again, at a table across the room.

Four forks and four knives darted through the air towards the girl, but Medley raised her arm and the cutlery embedded itself in her armour.

"I loved you, Kamren." Medley said, struggling to stand.

"You loved nothing but a shadow, silly little girl." Kamren grinned a sadistic, evil smile at Medley. "Come and get me."

Kamren ran from the room towards the exit, and disappeared through the alcove. The girl helped Medley stand, and looked up at her.

Medley turned to run after Kamren.

"Don't!" The girl yelled.

Medley, five strides towards the exit, stopped.

"Don't go." The girl said.

"I-I have to." Medley said. She glanced to down at her feet, and saw the girl's basket a few yards away. She picked it up, and walked towards the Mirialan. "Here."

"Your name is Medley?" The girl asked.

Medley smiled and ran towards the exit the cantina, turning around to smile and nod at the girl just as she passed out of sight.

"My name is Aiyma..." the girl said to herself, suddenly in an empty room surrounded by nothing but corpses. "...it was nice to meet you, Medley."
« Last Edit: 08/04/17, 08:55:01 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #16 on: 08/04/17, 10:03:40 AM »
They were too late.

Too late to intercept Medley's Rampart, which had lifted off from the East Dock of Raider's Cove, chasing an S-13 Sting from atmosphere into orbit, with her blasters lighting trails of fury at the faster, more agile starfighter. With Consonance's Warcarrier acting as a tug, and Sariyah's ship disabled, they were unable to pursue. Two stranded observers, able only to watch as both ships jumped to hyperspace. Sariyah cursed under her breath as she watched Consonance's repair drones work frantically to repair the engines on her Pike.

"How long?" Sariyah asked.

"Maybe like..." Consonace crawled under the Pike and stared upwards a the ship's engines. "...a half hour?"

Sariyah crossed her arms and grumbled. A grey mouse droid skittered towards her, and when it was close she kicked it. It tumbled through the air and landed in the water below the dock. "We must contact the Fleet."

"I was afraid you'd say that..." Consonance said. She crawled out from under the Pike and jogged to catch up to Sariyah, who was walking briskly across the rope bridge that led from the dock, towards the dockmaster's office.

The pirates and assorted do-nothings of Raider's Cove gave them a wide berth as they walked, alternating glances from the lightsaber hooked to Sariyah's back, the pair of lightsabers clipped to Consonance's belt, and the ground beneath their feet. None made eye contact with the pair; the vendors silencing their cat-calls advertising their wares. Sariyah could feel their anxiety, a feeling which only magnified when they entered the dockmaster's shack and watched as he drew a blaster on them, while cowering behind his desk.

"Don'...don' do anythin' rash." The dockmaster said with a quivered voice. "Don' need more Jedi trouble in 'ere."

"Trouble?" Consonance said. She raised her hands in the air above her head, as if signalling surrender. "We actually just need ta borrow your hyperspace comm for a quick sec."

Sariyah felt the man tense, and with a quick flick of her hand, ripped the dockmaster's blaster from his grip. It darted through the air towards her, and after catching it, she twirled it around her index finger. "Please."

"For serious, her ship," Consonace jerked a thumb at Sariyah. "is just having quick repairs, and we just need to tell our friends that we'll be on our way super soon."

The dockmaster slowly stood, and Sariyah tossed the blaster back to him. He holstered it, and nodded at the pair. "Apologies little ones. Folks are a mite skittish 'round the Cove right now, what with the Jedi incident 'en all."

"Jedi incident?" Sariyah asked.

A little Mirialan girl, cradling a basket of half-broken flowers, crept into the shack from the rear entrance, with a worried glance darkening her green complexion. "Mister Qaraah sir? I-I need more---"

"What didja do t'my wares?!" The dockmaster yelled. He took two steps towards the little girl, who cowered against the frame of the door.

And in a fraction of a second, Sariyah drew her lightsaber. Both blades extended, casting a violet glow across the shadows of the room. The dockmaster froze and glanced back at her out of the corner of his eyes.

But Sariyah couldn't help noticing the reaction of the little girl. She stiffened and dropped her basket, and stared wide-eyed at the lightsaber blades. There seemed to be a recognition in the way her face lit up at the sight.

"Like we said buddy. Please. Like, super please. Without any lightsaber-ing." Consonance said. She dropped into a seated crouch, and smiled at the Mirialan. "It's okay sweetie, there won't be any yelling going on, right, Mister...Qaraah, is it?"

The dockmaster nodded and shoo'd the girl away. She took one last look - a long, thoughtful look - at Sariyah's lightsaber before vanishing through the door. "Damned Jedi. One alike another, and all the same farkled mess."

"Why all this hate?" Consonace asked.

"All 'cause one a yer own slaughtered a dozen perfectly law-abiding customers o'the Cantina not more 'en a half hour ago. Went into some kinda rage after cuttin' down a Sith." The dockmaster motioned with a sweep of his hand at the comm console.

Sariyah retracted the blades of her lightsaber, but kept it firmly in her grip. "Explain."

The dockmaster recounted the events that he had been told about the slaughter in the Blaster's Path. A human female Jedi had picked a fight with a Sith who was, by all accounts, minding her own business. The Jedi had cut the Sith down in seconds, and then turned on everyone in the room, methodically executing each and every one. Aside from one, that is.

"That little mutt you jus' saw in 'ere? Left 'er alive. Kinda thing only a crazy does. Leave a little witness to tell tha tale. Even turned on 'er date, and chased 'im all the way back ta tha docks 'fore he had enough and zapped the crazy with some nasty lightin'. Got away in an Imp starfighter, and she chased right after 'im."

"Crick." Sariyah said.

"Double crick. Triple even." Consonance added.

"I must ask that you leave the room." Sariyah walked to the comm console and began keying in an encryption sequence. "We require privacy."

The dockmaster did as told, yelling as he left the shack, "Aiyma! Aiyma! Blasted orphan...where in tha krick are ya?!"
« Last Edit: 08/04/17, 10:24:14 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #17 on: 08/04/17, 11:29:57 AM »
"A compelling proposal, Captain. And one, I imagine, you knew we could not decline." The holo of Admiral Parnett said. There was a subtle contempt in his voice.

"Nor we. As I am authorized to speak on behalf of the Council, so long as you honour your end of the arrangement, you have our approval." The holo of Master Nattara said.

"Provisional approval." Parnett added.

"Don't worry gents, we'll put that cruiser to good use." Meagan smiled, and struggled to restrain the glee that was flooding her heart and mind.

Too easy. She thought. Meagan stood at attention in the Hydian Breaker's communications room, alternating glances between the two holos with her hands clasped behind her back. Alexandra stood at her side, and gripped Meagan's forearm. Meagan could feel her trembling.

"Just get that damned thing off of Corellia. It's starting to attract attention." Parnett said. "I'll work on the Fleet registration, and change Song Squadron's port of call, with the Council's blessing, of course."

The holo of Master Nattara nodded.

"Thank you, Admiral. We're around...how long, Xaan?" Meagan turned to face Arin, who was seated at one of the comm stations.

"Bout a week, Captain."

"Thank you. Around a week away from finishing off repairs. Just one sub-light engine, and a few tiny things, left." Meagan said.

"I'll need a ship name to process it." Nattara said.

Meagan felt all sense of joy abandon her. Only one person was allowed to name ships in their family. It was the rule. She could still remember the day of her graduation from the Republic Naval Academy, shortly after her eighteenth birthday, when she was given her Pike. Brand new, fresh from the line of the Rendili shipyards, and only flown during flight testing. Meagan had been seated in the cockpit, fiddling with the seat positioning, when she saw fifteen-year-old Medley running across the hangar towards her. In her hands, a gleaming blue bottle of Senator's Choice champagne - one of the best and most expensive available - which she smashed against the hull of the Pike.

"I Christen you The Boat!" Medley had exclaimed.

"Captain!" The holo of Admiral Parnett yelled. It snapped Meagan away from her memories.

"Sorry, what?" Meagan asked.

"Your sister." Nattara stated plainly.

Meagan cringed.

"As I said, Master, there is no cause for concern. The Fleet is pursuing certain leads on her whereabouts, and as I'm sure you know, the Free Spacers are quite adept at locating errant ships." Alexandra said. "I need to remind you that our arrangement is contingent on both of you notifying us should you cross paths with her first."

"Yes, yes, fine." Parnett said.

The console in front of Arin began flashing red. "Incoming transmission, Captain, from Song 4."

"Good to hear gents. Now if you'll excuse us." Meagan said. She tapped a button on the holoprojector console, and both blinked out before either Parnett or Nattara could say another word. "Put it through."

A single holo stuttered awake, with the projected image of a tall Togruta and a short Twi'lek standing at attention.

"Where are you two?" Alexandra asked.

"Captain." The two said together.

"Report, now!" Meagan said.

"We have a problem." Both said, in unison again.

Sariyah spoke for the pair, with Consonance occasionally repeating words. The attack by the Flashfire squadron. The damage to her Pike. Medley's slaughter of the Sith and the pirates in the cantina. And her subsequent pursuit of Kamren. "He is a Sith, Captain."

"No he's not." Alexandra said. "He's worse."

"Master?" Consonance said.

"Get in the air. I want both of you to make a single hyperspace jump to these coordinates." Meagan shoved Arin aside and tapped away at the communications console. "Forget trying to obscure your trail."

"Imperial space?" Consonance said, studying the hyperspace route on her datapad. "Last I heard there was kind of a war brewing between us and them."

"They're the least of our worries right now." Meagan turned back to face the holo. "Why are you still standing there? Go!"
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #18 on: 08/04/17, 04:22:06 PM »
Medley sat cross-legged on the bed in her quarters on her Rampart, with a small holoprojector nestled on top of a pillow in front of her. She could barely see the image through the tears that drowned her eyes, but didn't need to. She had watched it so many times that it felt like it was a part of her. It was a recording taken so very long ago, from a medical centre security cam in the now-destroyed Jedi Temple on Coruscant.

The maternity ward.

The holo ended and began again. Medley wiped her eyes with her sleeve, the ridges of her armour grating across her face, and stared at the image. The only sound from the holo was a soft, occasional beep from the monitor mounted to the wall beside the bed. Though it projected a fluid scene, it was almost static. Lying on the hospital bed with a crisp white sheet drawn up to her collarbone, a woman. Her thin, blonde hair tied at the base of her skull with a violet ribbon, and her eyes - so blue, so very blue - seemed to be overflowing with happiness, even though the creases at the edges seemed tired and strained. A small, silver, chain-link necklace trailed down, the two strands forming at the nape of her neck and welded to a violet Kyber crystal.

In her arms, she cradled a baby. With wisps of hair on its head that mirrored the shade of the woman's ponytail. The baby was motionless, but its eyes - so blue, so very blue - were wide open. It had a subtle smile on its face, almost imperceptible. No one else watching, either present or simply reviewing the recording, would have known.

But Medley knew her own smile.

Tears erupted from her eyes again, as the beeping from the monitor was drowned out by the voice of the woman. Soprano, so soothing and soft.

Her mother singing to her, as she did every single night after Medley was born.

"What do I do, mom?" Medley asked, wiping her eyes again.

She had been able to track Kamren's starfighter through three consecutive hyperspace jumps. From Rishi to Nar Shaddaa space, then to the Quesh system, and finally to Voss, before losing his trail. And before feeling like she was losing her mind.

Visions had stabbed at her thoughts like knives piercing her happiest memories. The corpses of pirates on a tropical world, dead at her feet. Younglings fleeing from her as she walked calmly towards them with her lightsabers drawn. Her sisters standing across the courtyard of an ancient temple, Alexandra pointing her lightsaber at her, while Meagan fired both of her blasters.

And in each, a common figure: Kamren, with a red-bladed lightsaber in his hand.

I was so stupid... Medley thought, clenching fist-fulls of her blanket in her hands. Thinking back to her mother's funeral. Then her father's. And to Master Korwin Dulius, who had been seduced by the Dread Masters into betraying their family.

Until Medley had killed him, avenging the deaths of her parents, saving her sisters from an ambush, with Kamren at her side.

Kamren... They had fallen for each other at that time, and fallen further faster fuller in the months and years after. During Medley's 'crash landings' onto Belsavis. With her sneaking him and his supposed group of humanitarian relief workers from the minimum security wing into the Ancient Prison. Supplying them. Watching over them. Caring for them.

And all the while she was blind to the truth. A painful truth that Kamren was far from a relief worker. Far from altruistic. He was nothing more than another minion of the Dread Masters, the vile beings who were nothing without the Phobis Devices. Ancient artifacts that could project fear into the hearts and minds of their enemies. A group whose art of battle meditation almost destroyed the Republic Fleet and doomed the Galaxy into an eternity of Sith rule.

A group who her parents, Ela and Cado, had helped defeat and imprison on Belsavis. A debt due that the Dread Masters had never forgotten, as they targeted the sons and daughters of those who stood against them, seeking to punish their captors by enslaving their children. And while they had been returned to the Force after many assaults on their lair on Oricon, their minions strived to recover their legacy.

They never concerned themselves with Alexandra, who was too stubborn to be swayed. Nor Meagan, whose only connection to the Force was through the thoughts of her sisters.

They wanted Medley. The little one with the strongest connection to the Force. The most erratic. The little girl in a shadowsilk dress, running across the park on Coruscant, towards her mother's open arms.

"Mom?"

Medley stared at the holo, willing it to respond. She tried to slow her breathing, to force herself into a meditative state, the way she was taught on Tython. To focus on her center; to give her mind, heart and soul over to the Force. To trust in it.

She closed her eyes, and felt her heart rate begin to slow. Felt herself drift, as if leaving the confines of her Rampart and floating through space...

...and then she heard her mother's voice.

@>~~~

Alexandra pressed her hand against the small of her back and groaned. The weight of a thousand patients, lifted, turned, palpated, seemed compressed into the muscles that edged her spine. Most physicians let the droids handle the ambulatory work, but in her entire medical career, she had never trusted in them. They were cold, impersonal, and the last thing a dying patient wanted as her or his last memory.

The lights were dimmed in her quarters aboard the Hydian Breaker, so that she could study the three-dimensional floorplan that was cast from a small holoprojector in the center of the room. A Valor-class cruiser. Once a battleship as part of the Republic Fleet during the initial days of the war against the Eternal Empire, and now so much more. Alexandra narrowed the holo in on the deck below the bridge, to the two rooms that angled off from the turbolift.

Home... she thought. They had never had a home together. Not when their parents were alive, nor after. Though Alexandra had spent months saving the small salary that Coruscant General paid her for her work in the E.R., just to buy the apartment overlooking the Senate Plaza, the only day her and her sisters had shared it was the night they moved in. Long after their parents were dead.

The eldest of three sisters, Alexandra had been turned over to the Jedi Council at a young age, and while she was able to remain under the care of her mother, her father busied himself with duties to the Free Spacers Fleet, and after, to the Republic Naval Academy. Away from them. Something that continued after Meagan was born, with her accompanying their father, and Alexandra locked away studying in the classrooms of the Jedi Temple on Coruscant, surrounded by her fellow Younglings, and then Padawans, yet all alone, aside from her mother.

That changed when Medley was born.

She was strange from the start. She didn't cry, didn't so much as fuss. But Alexandra could still remember the first time she held her. A tiny little thing that was as much a part of her as anything in the Galaxy. A little thing that she instantly loved, as if it was instinctual and programmed into her soul by the Force. So much so, that she would wait until well after the curfew bell rang in the Temple, and sneak into Medley's nursery, just so she could sit beside her bed and hold her hand while she slept.

And then the Sacking. The invasion of Coruscant and destruction of the Jedi Temple. Alexandra tried to force the memory from her mind, but it refused to relent. She could still see herself cowered in a corner of the Archives with Medley cradled in her arms, as their mother fought off three of the Sith insurgents, trying to protect them. One fell. Then a second. But the third...the third...

Tears welled up at the corners of Alexandra's eyes.

The third had run Ela through her heart with his lightsaber.

And as the Sith advanced on her and her sister, Medley had saved them both. But Alexandra had felt the darkness in her from that moment forward.

Alexandra tapped a few keys on the holo's console, and the floor plan blinked out, replaced by a recorded video of a woman lying in a hospital bed, with a baby cradled in her arms. Singing.

"What do I do mom?" Alexandra asked the holo.

...and then she heard her mother's voice.

@>~~~

The Hydian Breaker dropped out of hyperspace into a storm of blaster-fire, missiles, and mines. Meagan smiled.

"Nothing like a warm welcome, eh folks?" Vash said, and the crew on the bridge all cheered. A wide grin enveloped his pudgy face, and he stood at the command console at the fore of the bridge, staring out into the space between the ship and the planet below. "Give 'em hell!"

"Get Liberty Squadron out of the frickin' hangars to deal with those fighters!" Meagan commanded. She stood just behind Vash, and watched the same scene play before them. Four dozen starfighters, both Imperial- and Republic-made, moved in and out of attack position as the Free Spacers Fleet formed up. The Fleet's turbolasers incinerated a dozen of them, and continued to fire volley after volley of covering fire for the Pikes that launched from the Hydian Breaker's hangar.

Meagan watched as Liberty Squadron broke off into three groups and formed up, encircling the attacking starfighters.

"They're running, Ma'am!" Lieutenant Garea said, calling out as he studied the ship proximity sensors on his navigation console.

"Keep after 'em!" Vash said. He turned to face Meagan. "Good call on that formation, Captain Qu'or."

Meagan smiled. "Thank you Uncle."

"Your father would be proud."

Father... Meagan thought, as images of the tall man with tanned skin and slicked-back black hair clouded her mind. This is all for you dad. And for them.

Cado Qu'or, her father, once stood on this very bridge. Staring out into the void of space, grinning as the Hydian Way blockade was broken, changing the course of the war against the Empire. She remembered every single story he told of that battle, and knew which ones he was embellishing, and which ones were truth. Meagan had studied the battle logs, and knew every single one by heart.

She had also studied the holo logs of her father's travels. From his time as Captain of the Hydian Breaker, to his acceptance of an offer to join the Republic Naval Academy as a flight instructor. To the many love notes he sent to her mother.

And to her birth.

Meagan once thought it odd to be born in the Jedi Temple, given that she had no affinity for the Force. It's not that she  didn't believe. She had seen what her elder and younger sisters could do, as well as their Padawans. But in her travels, in all her dealings both with them and the Jedi Council, she had realized that there was far too much the crystal-swingers didn't know. Refused to know.

Two Quarell gunships, having been chased from their nests by a volley of cluster missiles from three ships from Liberty Squadron, vanished in a flash of sparks directly in front of the bridge. One of the ships crashed directly into the hull aft of the command deck, piercing the shields and ripping a hole into the logistics deck.

Like that. she thought.

"Ma'am, two ships coming out of hyperspace, right behind us!" Garea said, practically screaming out over the warning sirens.

"Identify." Meagan said.

The lieutenant traced his fingers along the console in front of him. "Putting it on screen but..." A holo flared to life in front of Meagan and Vash. "It's Song 4 and 5!"

Meagan watched the two ships slide alongside the Hydian Breaker. A Pike and a Warcarrier. And watched as the Pike took up a defensive position in front of the cruiser, while the Warcarrier deployed a repair drone which latched on to the hole in their hull.

"Miss us?" Consonance said, as the comm channel opened up.

"Skip the theatrics, Song 5. Both of you get to the surface." Meagan said. "We'll meet you down there."

The remaining enemy ships either scattered or were destroyed, and Meagan patted Vash on his shoulder before walking from the bridge to the turbolift, and riding it down to the hangar. A group of the ship's hangar ops crew were prepping a shuttle for departure, but just beside it, she saw her Pike. And the dent in the port hull panel from where Medley had smashed the bottle of champagne.

Meagan could also see, thorough the cockpit window, a small, silver, chain-link necklace, the two strands welded to a violet Kyber crystal, hanging from one of the sensor knobs.

Her mother's necklace.

Meagan felt her eyes moisten. "Hope your with us, mom."

...and then she heard her mother's voice.

@>~~~

And all three heard the same words, at the exact same time:

You know what you must do. Be strong, my lovelies. My daughters. No longer shall you be alone; you must unite. You are three instruments in an orchestra whose song will forever chase the darkness from your hearts. Always remember: there is no death, there is the Force. My love is still with you. It has always been with you. And it will forever be with you. Singing through your souls.

Medley leaped from her bed and sprinted to the cockpit of her Rampart, quickly keying in hyperspace coordinates while wiping the tears from her eyes.

Alexandra ran from her room and into the turbolift, emerging to see Meagan running up the boarding ramp into a shuttle.

Meagan bolted for the cockpit of the shuttle, ignoring the pre-flight check of the ship's systems and preparing the ship for departure.

All three were bound for the same destination.
« Last Edit: 08/08/17, 07:47:02 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #19 on: 08/04/17, 09:25:48 PM »
The screams. A twisted chorus of fear and dread. Awakening every painful memory that Medley had ever experienced, both real and dreamed. Calling to her, increasingly louder.

The holo of Medley's mother singing rested on the co-pilot's seat beside her, on repeat. But as she drifted through hyperspace, as the parsecs dwindled down, the soothing voice was drowned by anger and fear. And as Medley's Rampart dropped out of hyperspace and Oricon loomed before her, she felt herself struggled to force her eyes open.

As she did, a blockade loomed before her. Frigates, starfighters, cruisers. And a debris field that surrounded them; not chunks of asteroids, or the ruins of satellites. Wing-tips floated aimlessly around the ships, as did engine turbines, blaster canons, and even bodies still in their flightsuits, which a legion of astromech droids diligently scooped up.

The comm console on Medley's Rampart flashed before her, accompanied by a soft chime. She was being hailed. She smiled.

"Lady Qu'or, I presume." Vash said, his voice booming through the Rampart's cockpit speakers. "We prepared for your arrival, as you can see."

"Uncle!" Medley said. She felt a pang of guilt wash across her, and eased her Rampart alongside the Hydian Breaker. "How did you---"

"Once a Qu'or, always a Qu'or." Vash said. "It is gorgeous, is it not? All of those parts and pieces just bouncing around space? Yeah. Idiots. Thinking they can take the Free Spacers Fleet head on."

Medley covered her mouth to suppress a giggle.

"A few Imp strike fighters jumped out of hyperspace while we were scrapping. Appeared to be escorting a scout."

"Was it an S-12?" Medley asked.

"It was."

Medley shook her head, knowing exactly who was piloting the scout. It hadn't taken her long, after hearing her mother's voice, to figure out what he had meant when he had said, "come and get me." All along, he had been leading her to Oricon. From the moment she had sprung Kamren from Belsavis, to the moment he revealed his true nature in the Blaster's Path cantina, to the methodical but predictable way his hyperspace jumps had traced a trail directly to this system.

"I'm...I'm scared, Uncle. I know I need to be here but---"

"You are not alone, Lady Qu'or." Vash said. He gestured towards an ensign at the weapons console. "We have all seen the burden that you have been shadowed with. Tried to comfort you in your trials. To ease your fear, and help you come to terms with a loss that you were far too young to understand."

Medley thought back to that moment on Coruscant, when her eyes snapped open for the very first time, at three years' old, seeing her mother run through by a lightsaber. The screams tried to seize her mind, but as they erupted, she focused her memories on the holo of her mother craddling her, singing to her, and the screams fell silent.

"We know you have to do this, Lady Qu'or. And we will rain hell down on the planet to make sure you do."

With a wave of Vash's hand, the ensign tapped at his console. Turbolasers from every canon on every ship in the Fleet erupted, raining bolt after bolt down onto the surface of Oricon. Three Pikes formed up beside Medley's Rampart, and as she glanced out of her cockpit, she saw their flight markings. Liberty Squadron.

"I have to go, Uncle..." Medley eased the yoke of her ship forward, diving towards the planet. "...thanks for the escort. I love you."

"As I said, you are not alone." Vash said. He watched as Medley's Rampart, accompanied by the three Pikes, broke atmosphere and disappeared from view. "And I love you."

Vash paused, and tried to dismiss the worry in his mind, then added, "May the Force be with you."
« Last Edit: 08/08/17, 07:28:34 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #20 on: 08/08/17, 11:38:04 AM »
Medley descended the ramp from her Rampart with her lightsabers drawn, the violet glow from their blades shimmering across the cracked and twisted surface of Oricon. She had landed at the outskirts of the Tangled Grove, no more than two-hundred meters from the entrance of the Dread Fortress, which was being enveloped by the orbital turbolaser fire from the Fleet. Stealth at that point, she realized, was useless.

It would only delay the spilling of blood.

Rage boiled within her mind, and she trembled not only because of it, but also because of what seemed an insatiable thirst to slaughter every living thing on the planet.

Then there will be more... Medley thought. She stared past the gates of the Fortress, her eyes following the towers upwards and into a clouded sky that tumbled with wind and lightning. ...Senator Picus...the Imperial Fleet...the Council...they will all---

"No!" Medley cried out. She fell to her knees and dropped her lightsabers at her sides. "Please no...stop!"

She struggled to force the hatred that was plaguing her thoughts, the burning desire for revenge against anyone and everyone who had ever crossed her and her family. But it was powerful, oh so powerful. And so very tempting. It would be so very simple to sneak into Senator Picus' office on Coruscant, to slice the security locks on the door, slip in and...

"Someone help me...please..." Medley whimpered.

"Ask and you shall receive." A male voice. Footsteps. Boots stomping one-two, one-two, on concrete.

Medley looked up, and saw them. Four of the Dread Guard Hosts, with an Acolyte in flowing red robes leading them down the steps of the Fortress. "My Master has been expecting you. So good of you to finally join us."

"No! I am not here to join you!" Medley exclaimed. She picked up her lightsabers, and forced herself to stand.

"Then what exactly are you here to do?" The man stood at attention with his hands folded together in front of him. He held a small, dagger-shaped stone, which seemed to split Medley's mind like a walnut every time she glanced at it. The man gestured towards her, and the four Hosts advanced on Medley. "Acolyte Qu'or?"

Violet waves suddenly surrounded Medley, arcs of lightning that crackled across her armour. She screamed and thrust herself forward into a spin, violet blades extended from her whirling form. They cut the first two Hosts clean in half at the waist, and before the remaining pair could so much as draw weapons, Medley stabbed both through their chests.

"Good. Very good." The Acolyte said. He had a small smirk on his face, and Medley wanted nothing more than to use that as a target for one of her lightsabers; to permanently etch the man's sneer into his corpse. "My Master was wise to continue to pursue you."

"I want his head!" Medley said through clenched teeth. She took two steps towards the Acolyte, but a splitting pain overcame her thoughts. The screams sent shockwaves through her mind, and she collapsed again to her knees, clutching the sides of her head.

"Such feistiness!" The Acolyte said. "Do you know what I hold in my hand, Medley Qu'or? Or is it Elariel? No matter. Your attempts to hide the crimes of your parents, to burrow yourself away from the debt that you owe, are all for naught."

Medley struggled to stand but could only scream in pain.

"Do you know what I hold in my hand? You do, don't you. Our former Masters, of course, were collectors, shall we say? Relics from the glory of the Sith, each imbued with power that no mere mortal could comprehend. This..."

Another shockwave rippled through Medley, and a wave of tears flooded her cheeks.

"...is quite similar to the Phobis Devices that the Dread Masters used to subjugate your Republic Fleet. That is, before your dear, dead parents intervened."

Another shockwave, and Medley felt herself on the brink of fainting.

"Though this operates on a much smaller scale. It must be targeted. Chosen, if you will. And my Master, and this device, has chosen you."

Medley curled into a fetal position, pulling her knees as close to her chest as she could while laying on her side. She felt like her mind was skipping seconds, only catching every second moment that was occurring; drifting in and out of consciousness. If she could summon her voice, she would beg for death, for an end to the pain, to silence the screams. She could hear the Acolytes footfalls as he slowly approached, and then heard a lightsaber blade extend.

But as Medley drifted second-to-second out of consciousness, she realized that she didn't just hear a single lightsaber.

There were four.

The Acolyte cried out in agony, a vicious roar that seemed to shake ground beneath her. Medley could hear the thump as his body crumpled to the ground, mere feet away from her.

Then she felt two small hands grasp her arms just below the shoulder, and lift her to her feet.

"We gotcha, Master." A female voice. Familiar. So familiar.

As the stream of consciousness settled back over Medley, she struggled her eyes open. And even through her blurred vision, the green-skinned Twi'lek was un-mistakable.

Consonance.

"Okay so, you really need to teach me how to sneak around like you do. My Master is just---"

"Shush!" Another familiar voice.

Medley looked over Consonance's shoulder, and saw the tall, lithe Togruta standing a few feet from the steps leading up to the Dread Fortress, the dual blades of her lightsaber glowing violet.

Sariyah.

"Master, I have brought you adrenals to assist with your fortitude." Sariyah said. She walked towards Medley and gave her a series of injections in her neck, tilting her head carefully as she did so.

Medley winced with each injection, but she embraced the surge of energy, and the return to clarity. "So if you two are here, then where are---"

"No time. Like super zero time." Consonance said. She turned and began walking up the steps, with Sariyah in tow.

Medley hurried to catch up to them, but stumbled at the top step and fell forward. Sariyah and Consonance spun around and, with their hands outstretched, lifted Medley back to her felt. She felt the Force embrace her.

"Not long, Master." Sariyah said.

"Just stay with us." Consonance added.

The outer promenade of the Dread Fortress was empty. No guards, no technicians, not even an astromech. Fires burned at almost every side along the thoroughfare, the flames tickling the iron cages that were suspended from the walls above. The Fortress had been ravaged by the turbolasers from the Free Spacers Fleet, but as the trio crossed the promenade and onto the bridge that entered the Fortress proper, Medley felt them coming.

"We have company!" She yelled. Two squads of Dread Troopers, all with their rifles drawn, took up positions at the end of the bridge. The three drew their lightsabers, anticipating the storm of blaster fire that would follow.

And follow it did, though not from the troopers. Bolts seared the air, and the armour, of the Dread guards, from behind them. Before Medley could even realize what was happening, the last of the troopers fell dead to the ground. And from behind the corpses, lit by the fires at either side of the stairs leading into the Fortress, Medley saw two figure approaching. On the left, she could barely see the outline of a girl with two blasters raised in her hands. And on the right, a taller, slim girl, with a violet lightsaber in her hand.

Medley burst into tears of joy as she watched her sisters hurry towards her. Alexandra and Meagan flung their arms around Medley.

"Didn't think we'd let you do this all by your lonesome, did you Small?" Meagan said.

"You should have told us." Alexandra said.

"I know I-I just..." Medley squeezed her sisters tighter. "I didn't know who Kamren was."

"Well we know now." Meagan broke the embrace and turned to face Sariyan and Consonace. "Okay kids. You two good to hold it down out here?"

"Yes Captain." The two said in unison.

Medley stared upwards at the Palace Tower, and at the maelstrom of energy that swirled around its apex. "Kamren is powerful. And he has these...devices. I think that's what they've been using to try and get to me. It might...it might make be vulnerable up there."

"Might be the case, and he can use all the Force junk he wants, but you have something that he doesn't." Meagan said.

Medley stared at her, puzzled. "What's that?"

Alexandra responded. "Sisters."
« Last Edit: 08/12/17, 06:13:41 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #21 on: 08/12/17, 10:32:21 AM »
The annex leading to one of the many Dread Palace throne rooms was lit only by the dancing light of torches, mounted several feet apart to the stone walls that towered above the hall. The three sisters' bootfalls echoed in seeming endless, empty waves, while the only other sounds came from the dozens of Dread Guards who lined the annex at its sides, watching the three girls pass.

"I have a bad feeling about this." Meagan said. Her head swept left to right, eyeing the guards. They stood motionless, but gripped their weapons; at the ready.

"For once I agree with you." Alexandra said.

When the three were halfway into the annex, the black durasteel doors at the end swung open. The three drew their weapons, and advanced cautiously into the throne room. It was empty, aside from a massive, ancient stone altar at the opposite end of the room, behind which towered five polished obsidian statues. Five human figures, their robes and crowns carved with intricate precision, but which reflected the torch light in a way that seemed to twist the shadows of the room.

"Beautiful, aren't they?" A male voice asked from behind them. The three girls spun with their weapons drawn.

Kamren. He strode into the room, wearing long, flowing red robes that were inlaid with metallic gold threading. He had a smug, confident grin on his face, and his eyes glowed subtly red.

"A monument we had commissioned, as a tribute to the Galaxy's better days." Kamren said. "What do you think?'

Alexandra and Medley ignited their lightsabers.

"Oh, ladies. Such fire runs through the veins of the Qu'or family. But, there is no need for that." Kamren said.

"I think there is. And a farkled lot more." Meagan said. She primed her blasters. "Only gonna give you one chance, buddy. Lay down on the ground and put your hands behind your head."

Kamren let out a quiet chuckle, and began to comply, only to stop midway and stand bolt upright again. "Kidding, kidding. I'm not the one who's here to submit." His eyes narrowed on Medley.

Meagan chuckled. "It's three against a wretched, pathetic, ugly one."

"Quite the contrary," Kamren began. He reached into his robe and pulled out a dagger-shaped stone. "I believe the odds are even."

Medley screamed out in pain, as ripples of energy bored into her very soul. The screams erupted in her mind, but settled into a chorus that enveloped her heart with feelings of anger, fear, dread. She struggled to focus, to reclaim her mind, but could only stand paralyzed as her sisters moved in front of her.

"Stop this madness!" Alexandra yelled. "Can't you see what you're doing to her?"

"Can't you?" Kamren responded, calmly. A platoon of Dread Guards marched into the room and took up position behind Kamren. He pointed the stone at the three girls. "Your family owes a debt to us, as payment for your parents' assistance in capturing our Masters."

"We owe you nothing!" Medley tried to yell the words, but they came out muffled through her clenched teeth.

Kamren paid no attention to her words. "There are two ways you can honour this debt. Because, believe it or not, I do adore and cherish the three of you, you may take your place among us. Join us willingly, and be part of an emerging force that will end all wars in the Galaxy. Forever."

"Sounds a lot like the Eternal Empire to me." Alexandra said. She turned to Medley and cupped the sides of her face, trying to comfort the girl. "And the Sith."

Kamren laughed. "Both controlled by a corrupt Emperor who could never see beyond his delusional desire for immortality. The Dread Masters broke from his control because they saw the taint in his ways. They realized that the only way to stop the endless slaughter and suffering was to unite the Galaxy under one banner. To eliminate the lines between Sith and Jedi, the Empire and the Republic. To unite."

"You mean enslave." Meagan said.

"Hardly. If I'm not mistaken, the three of you supported the Alliance, did you not?"

The three said nothing.

"You did, didn't you? Such a noble endeavour. Unite the remnants of two warring factions under a single banner, and rise up and defeat an oppressive army. Such ambition!"

Medley forced her eyes open and gripped both of Alexandra's shoulders. She whimpered, "you need to run...please."

A look of shock and subtle anger washed across Alexandra's face.

"But where has it gotten the Galaxy?" Kamren continued. "One war ended, and now it's back to the status quo. If you think Iokath is nothing more than a flash in the pan, you are sadly mistaken. It is a spark. The Alliance will crumble, and trillions will suffer when war once again ignites between the Empire and the Republic. We are not conquerors. We are rulers, and with you three at our side, we will end all wars. Last chance ladies. Join us."

"We'll take door number two." Meagan said.

"A pity."

Kamren gripped the stone with both hands, and waved it subtly in the air in front of him. Medley felt her mind calm, but it wasn't her mind. Not the one she seemed born with, grew up with, matured with. It seethed with a thirst for vengeance. She clipped her ligthsabers to her belt, and pushed past Alexandra and Meagan, walking towards Kamren.

"Small?" Meagan reached for Medley, but felt a wave of the Force push her back.

"Medley!" Alexandra exclaimed.

Medley walked calmy and stood at Kamren's side. She took his hand in hers, while she stared blankly at her sisters.

"You had your chance, but in truth there is only one Qu'or who we - who I - desire." Kamren smiled at Medley. "My dearest we are not quite finished here."

"What's left?" Medley asked, though her words seemed distant, and alien to her.

"What was that saying you always loved to use? 'Leave no trail of berries, lest the Uxibeasts follow you home'?"

"Yes, Master."

"Well, I see two berries before us, don't you?"

Medley watched as her sisters tensed. She felt a pang of sympathy, of caring, of love.

"Fight it, Medley!" Alexandra screamed.

"Look upon your eldest sister. Do you remember how she cowered with you in the Temple Archives during the Sacking? How she was too cowardly to fight, to help your mother defeat the Sith who inevitably took her life?"

She was trying to protect me... Medley thought. Other memories of her and Alexandra flashed through her mind, but one in particular stood out: an image of Alexandra, who seemed no more than five years old, knelt at the edge of Medley's crib. The memory seemed impossible, as the perspective was from someone who seemed to be standing at the edge of the room, watching them. How...

You see through my eyes... A female soprano voice whispered in Medley's mind.

Meagan set one of her blasters to stun, and pointed it directly at Medley. "Small, you need to focus. You're stronger than this."

"And what would your life be without the taint in your family. The poor, hopeless pilot, bereft of the Force. A sister who abandoned you on Tython to chase fame and fortune among the stars." Kamren said.

She had to...and she came back for me... More memories played across the screen of Medley's thoughts, and again, one in particular emerged to the fore: Meagan, perhaps four years old, creeping into a darkened room with a small, metal cage in her hand. And in the cage, a tiny Fiery Grophet, which squealed softly as the cage was set on the floor beside Medley's bed. A Grophet Medley had woken up and subsequently adopted. Spinach...

You feel through my heart... The woman's voice said.

"Now, Acolyte Qu'or. Kill them." Kamren commanded.

Medley's lightsaber blades extended at her sides, and she took two steps towards her sisters. Meagan fired a stun bolt at her, but she deflected it. Alexandra waved her hand, and two shimmering, translucent bubbles enveloped her and Meagan.

No... Medley thought, and froze mid-stride.

"Do as I command, Acolyte!" Kamren yelled, and pointed the stone dagger at Medley.

Fight him! The woman's voice commanded.

Medley felt all fear and anger flee her mind and heart, and she looked upon her sisters. They stared back at her, unblinking, and Medley smiled at them. In a blur, she spun around with a lightsaber raised in the air. Kamren had no time to react, and could only watch in horror as Medley's lightsaber sliced clean through his outstretched hand, cutting the stone dagger in two.

"No!" Kamren stumbled backwards, but recovered quickly. "Your debt will be repaid with death!"

Kamren thrust his wounded hand in Medley's direction, sending her somersaulting backwards through the air. She collided with the wall behind the altar, and collapsed to the floor. As Meagan opened fire on him, he extended his other hand, and ferocious arcs of lightning shot out and enveloped both Alexandra and Meagan. The two screamed out in agony, but Alexandra wrapped her arms around Meagan and leaped into the air, the pair crashing to the ground behind the altar beside Medley, who struggled into a crouch beside them.

The Dread Guards opened fire on their position, blaster bolts searing the space above their heads.

"Well this is a little farkled." Meagan said with a whince. "Everyone okay?"

"I am now..." Medley began. "...I heard---"

"No time, Small." Meagan peaked her head above the altar, and ducked down just as a blaster bolt singed her ponytail. "The only way outta here is through them."

"Kamren is too powerful..." Alexandra said. She struggled to sit up, and pressed her back against the altar. "...we have no hope against him."

"One of us does." Medley felt her body coil into tight knots, ready to pounce.

"Then what about the Guards? They'll cut us down before we even get near him."

Meagan looked around the room, and saw nothing of use. But then she looked upwards, at the statues of the Dread Masters that towered above them.

Alexandra followed her eyes. "I can't throw those. They're too heavy."

"Maybe not." Meagan smirked. She primed her blasters. "But you can throw pieces."

Alexandra's face lit up with a grin of comprehension.

"On my mark, Large."

Alexandra nodded.

"You ready for this, Small?"

Medley extended her lightsaber blades. "Let's end this."

Meagan turned and pointed her blasters up at the statues. The barrels folded up, revealing charged hypercells that glowed violet. What started as a hum from the blasters escalated to a high-pitched whine, and then to a near-deafening scream.

"Now!" Meagan screamed.

The nozzles of her blasters erupted with a hailstorm of bolts, and the heads of the five statues shattered to pieces, raining debris down on the three girls. Alexandra extended her arms and froze them mid-air, then stood and shoved her palms outwards towards Kamren and the Dread Guards. Chunks large and small rocketed in their direction, and they scrambled into crouched positions to shield themselves from the incoming obsidian storm.

Kamren managed to deflect the larger pieces from hitting him, but he was so distracted in the act of doing so, that he failed to see the girl, airborne, leaping towards him. He felt her before he saw her, realizing too late, and looked up at the girl in horror as two violet lightsaber blades descended on him.

The blades converged, and Medley trisected Kamren from helm to heel.
« Last Edit: 08/12/17, 10:44:53 AM by Ela »
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@

Offline Ela

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Re: Port of Call
« Reply #22 on: 08/12/17, 01:12:46 PM »
@>~~~EPILOGUE~~~<@

The message was nothing short of cryptic. A series of coordinates that, when plotted into the hyperspace console of Medley's Rampart, pointed to an uninhabited system at the edge of Republic Space. The only text included with the message was a single line:

Come home.

Medley leaned back in her pilot's chair and drew a slow, deep breath. It had been almost a week to the day since she had heard the screams; they had fallen silent the moment Kamren's soul had rejoined the life spectrum of the Force, and they had not returned. She couldn't help but smile, relishing in the tranquility that her silent mind provided.

Yet she could not help feeling a small trickle of fear. Was she free of their influence? Was the death of Kamren truly the end of their vendetta against her family? The Acolytes of the Dread Masters still lived on, as did the legacy of the Dread Masters themselves. Kamren was merely a servant of that twisted legacy.

The Rampart shuddered out of hyperspace and into an almost-empty void of space. Distant stars glimmered, as pin-pricks of light in the void before her, but the only object within the immediate vicinity was a ship. It was a Valor-class Republic cruiser, and it looked freshly-painted, with the characteristic copper striping that ran mid-ship, from bow to stern. But even though it seemed cosmetically sound, Medley could see that one of the four sub-light engines was as dark as the space that surrounded the ship.

Medley eased the bomber's throttle back, and tapped at her console. The ship had no Republic registration; no name.

"Unidentified Republic cruiser, this is Master Medley Elariel of Song Squadron. Identify yourself." Medley spoke into the comm.

Nothing but crackled static came through the speaker in response. Medley primed a barrage of seeker mines, and transferred her ship's power from the engines to the shields.

"I repeat, unidentified Republic cruiser, this is---"

"Lady Qu'or, I presume?"

"Uncle!" Medley exclaimed. Were it not for the belts that restrained her to the pilot's chair, she would've have been hopping up and down in the seat.

"I apologize for the upcoming curse, but our comm system is slightly farkled at the moment. We have our techs investigating." Vash said. His voice was crackled with static, but his words were clear enough to understand.

"What is that thing? A new ship for the Free Spacers Fleet?" Medley said. She accelerated - slowly - towards the cruiser. "And why all the fussy secrecy to get me here?"

"Allow me to transfer you to hangar ops. They will guide you aboard, and we can have a chat over a drink." Vash said.

Medley heard a series of static-interrupted beeps.

"Song Three, this is Ensign Libretta with hangar ops. Change heading to point-three-nine and maintain current speed. You are cleared for landing in main hangar." A girl's voice said. "We have a spot all picked out for you, Master."

Medley did as instructed, and guided the Rampart towards the starboard hangar bay. The force-shield shimmered with a blue thatch pattern, but as she approached, she could see the ships that were inside.

A Warcarrier bomber, with two ordinance cranes lowering mine and repair drone payloads into the wings.

The first Pike, with an astromech on top of the stern of the hull, its welding torch showering the ship with sparks.

A Flashfire scout with crates of medical containers resting beside it.

And the second Pike, with a dent on the hull that was roughly the size of a champagne bottle.

Medley recognized the four ships immediately:

Song Squadron.

The Rampart touched down beside them, its landing feet grinding softly on the durasteel floor of the hangar. Hydraulic steamed hissed from the vents as Medley lowered the ramp and bolted down it. She spun around, looking from ship to ship, and then froze when her eyes locked on the old freighter that was parked on the other side of the hangar. The Convoree. Her father's ship, that now belonged to Meagan.

"You might want to change outta that flightsuit. Make you a bit more comfortable for the festivities." Arin Xaan, Song Squadron's administrative assistant, yelled out as he walked from the hangar's turbolift and towards Medley.

"What in the krick is this?" Medley, wide-eyed, asked.

"I'm not allowed to tell ya. The Captain...uh...Admiral wants to break it to ya."

"Admiral? Who's in command of this ship?" Medley said. She ran back into her Rampart, into her quarters, and quickly removed her flightsuit. She changed into a plain white and grey dress, and slipped on sandals.

"Let's go find out." Arin said, watching her come back down the ramp from the bomber. He led Medley to the turbolift. "First we need to pop by the nursery."

"What kind of warship has a nursery?"

The turbolift doors swooshed shut, and the lift began to ascend. Medley had to force back question after question after question, and bit her lip to keep her mouth sealed. The ride upwards seemed to take an eternity, but as the lift finally settled into a stop and the doors slid open, she almost had to plug her ears as she heard the squeal.

"Medleeeeeeeeeeeey!" The little girl shrieked. The little Mirialan girl. She ran full-flight and practically leaped into Medley's arms.

"Aiyma?" Medley said, embracing the girl. "But how..."

"I apologize, Master. The little one stowed away on my Pike when we left Rishi." Sariyah, who was seated at a study table at the opposite end of the room, stood. "It will not happen again."

"Oh yeesh, Sariyah, lighten up." Consonance said. She peaked her head out from behind one of the many bookcases and smiled at Medley. "Hiya Master!"

Medley set the girl down and stared in awe at the room. Based on Arin's words, she had been expecting playpens, cribs, and mobiles hanging from the ceiling. But the room was far from a nursery; it was a library. With study tables, desks, and holo archives. It reminded her of the Temple Archives on Tython.

"Yeah this was my idea." Consonace said.

"No fibbing! Fibby-fibberson!" Aiyma said. She pointed a finger at Consonance. "It was Master Alexandra!"

Medley cupped a hand to her forehead and closed her eyes. "This is...a lot to process."

Arin laughed. "Come on kids, into the lift. One more stop before the party."

They all boarded the turbolift, and Medley felt a slight tug at the hem of her dress. She looked down, and saw the little Mirialan grinning up at her, with a fist-full of shadowsilk in her hand. Medley laid a hand on Aiyma's shoulder and smiled back. A deep, strong smile that lit her blue eyes with warmth.

"I couldn't stay there." Aiyma said.

"I know." Medley responded.

"You're one of the first strangers I haven't been afraid of."

"Bwaaaa!" Consonance erupted with a cackle. Sariyah gripped her in a head-lock and, as the turbolift doors slid open, dragged the Twi'lek into the room before them.

A room with soft, pillowed couches. Red carpeting that seemed so new that there were no footprints etched into it. A soft light cast down from the arrangement hanging from the ceiling, shining down on the abstract paintings that hung from the walls. And in the center of the room, a fountain. Medley walked towards it with Aiyma still clinging to her dress, and read the plaque that was mounted on a thin, bronze pedestal at its edge:

When I dream, I dream of you.
When I love, all I love is you.
When I fight, I fight for you.
And when I sing, my soul sings to you

Medley burst into tears and collapsed to her knees. Those words, so clear, and so embedded in her memories that she felt like she was born with them etched into her heart. Even as she read them, she could still hear the voice that sang them. A voice that had freed her from Kamren's control. A beautiful, soprano voice. And Medley could almost feel the arms cradling her as she lay swaddled in a nanosilk blanket.

"Medley? Medley? Medley Medley Medley Med---" Aiyma was trying her best to shake Medley from her memories.

Medley wiped the tears from her cheeks with the back of her palm. She turned to Aiyma. "Can you read those words, little one?"

"I've read those words over and over and over and over since I got on this ship." Aiyma said.

"Do you know where they come from?"

Aiyma looked down at her feet, and let go of Medley's dress. "They're from your mom."

"That's right." Medley said. She stood, and took one of Aiyma's hands in hers. "It's the first verse of the song she used to sing to me. And it..."

"Holds a great deal of power." Sariyah said.

Medley nodded, smiling as she glanced at her Padawan. "The power to take whatever you're scared of from you heart."

"Sorry Small, someone should've warned you about that." Alexandra, emerging from the bend of the corridor at the end of the room, snapped two medical gloves off of her hands and dropped them into a wastebin. She was wearing her physician scrubs. "The plaque was Medium's idea. One of her better ones. She thought those words would give comfort to those waiting for their friends and loved ones."

"Waiting?" Medley said. She walked to Alexandra and embraced her. "Large, I---"

"I know. I know." Alexandra said. "But the tyrant of an Admiral who commands this ship won't let me tell you a thing. I'm  just allowed to give you the tour."

Medley grumbled under her breath. Whoever the Admiral was, she was determined to give her or him a piece of her mind. Or her lightsaber. "So what's the story with this deck? Isn't this supposed to be the officers' deck?"

"This," Alexandra swept her arm across the room. "Is the waiting room."

"Waiting for what?" Medley asked.

Alexandra smiled a thin smile, and tucked errant strands of her short, straw-blonde hair behind her ears. She took Medley by the hand, and led her from the waiting room. "The rest of you. Wait."

The corridor was unremarkable in design, much like any other Valor-class cruiser, but remarkable in how sterile it was. It stank of antiseptic, but the edges of the walls all gleamed with a polish. An elder, female human with tanned skin and close-cropped hair, wearing pale blue nurses' scrubs, walked towards them with a white and blue astromech droid at her side.

"Doctor." The woman began, handing Alexandra a datapad. "He stabilized. Good call on that stim course. I've measured out the units and they'll be flowing through his IV for next couple of days. We should be able to medivac him to Coruscant General by then."

Alexandra smiled, and after quickly skimming the datapad, handed it back to the woman. "Thank you, Fathania."

The nurse nodded and walked on, and Alexandra took Medley by the hand and stopped her just outside of a set of durasteel doors at the end of the corridor. On each side of the doorframe was a silver, metallic sink which Medley had seen many times before. Sterilization basins.

"Wash your hands." Alexandra said. She took the basin opposite of where Medley scrubbed away, but watched her youngest sister as she seemed to neurotically grind the antiseptic soap underneath her fingernails. "I taught you well, Small."

Medley smiled at Alexandra and held up her hands, palms towards her. Alexandra bumped her hip against a panel on the doorframe, and the durasteel panels slid open. Within Medley saw what her mind could only register as a miniature hospital: Kolto tanks. ECG and EKG monitors mounted onto the wall, and medical droids scurrying from bed to bed. There were twelve beds in total, three of which were occupied. Large bay windows covered the far wall, and Medley could see the rear stabilizing fins of perhaps half a dozen Fortitude-class shuttles.

"Welcome to the ICU." Alexandra said. "I wanted more than twelve beds. I have a feeling we'll need them at some point."

Medley was silent, her mouth agape as she stared at Alexandra.

"The opposite corridor leads to the operating theaters. State of the art, and almost better than Coruscant General." Alexandra said. She walked towards one of the occupied beds, which was being attended to by a protocol droid that seemed to have been converted for medical service. She studied the man who laid motionless, with probes and wires running under his hospital gown from the panel at the head of the bed, and several IV lines pierced into his skin. She spoke to the droid. "I'll be on the bridge. Page me if anything changes."

"Yes, doctor." The droid said.

"One deck below us is the lab, infectious disease ward, and morgue." Alexandra said, matter-of-factly. The pair walked back to the waiting room, where the remaining group stood in the turbolift. "I'm hoping to add a dedicated maternity ward. Just a small one. Just in case."

Alexandra walked into the lift, but Medley stood her ground outside of it. "I am not going anywhere until someone tells me what the krick is going on!" She screamed, her fists bundled into little balls at her sides.

"You're about to find out."

The turbolift doors swooshed open and they group emerged onto the bridge deck. It bustled with activity, as various personnel tapped away at computer consoles, while others studied star charts. In the center of the room, a massive planetary holo display cast soft light across a group of figures who stood with their backs to Medley, in quiet discussion.

"Officers on deck!" Vash was one of the group, and turned around. Everyone at their stations stood bolt upright and at attention, and turned to face Alexandra and Medley, who led the group out of the lift.

And then the figure at the center of the planetary display turned, and Medley grinned.

"Welcome home, Small." Meagan said. "At ease." She commanded, and the bridge personnel returned to their stations.

"Admiral, shall a fetch the refreshments?" Vash asked.

"Admiral?!" Medley stared at Meagan with her eyes wide.

Meagan laughed. "It probably more ceremonial than practical, but yeah, the goofs in the Fleet actually gave me the title. Probably figured it would add a bit more legitimacy to me taking command of this old, beautiful ship."

"I need a drink." Medley said.

Vash returned with half a dozen service droids in tow, each carrying platters. The wonderful charred smell of roast Bogwing filled the room, as did the sweet aroma of Alderaanian nectar fruit. Vash popped a bottle of champagne - Senator's Choice, the expensive stuff - and began pouring the contents into fine, crystal glasses. He handed one to each of the assembled group, as well as a glass filled with a blueish juice to Aiyma, and raised his bottle of Corellian air in a toast.

"To being home." Vash said, and cheers erupted on the bridge.

Medley down her glass in one gulp, then held it out for a refill. A service droid promptly responded, and before it could scurry away Medley downed that glass in another gulp, and held it out for more.

"Whoa! Someone came here to party!" Consonance said. Aiyma giggled.

"Sorry to keep you in the dark, Small, but you were sorta missing. And then possessed." Meagan chuckled. "As Uncle said, welcome home."

Meagan led the group to the head of the bridge, and stared out through the windows and into the void of space.

"We've been working for quite awhile to find a place that we could call our own, and to get you free and clear from goofs on Tython." Meagan said.

"Meagan." Alexandra said, coldly.

"Right. So anyway, Uncle found this ship burnt and broken. It used to be called the Varactyl, and fought against the Eternal Fleet in the battle for Alderaan. Didn't go so well." Meagan chuckled again. "For her old crew, anyway."

"But...this is illegal salvage. Doesn't the Republic Fleet want it back?" Medley asked.

"That is the wonder of your sisters' brilliance, Lady Qu'or." Vash said.

"Thank you Uncle." Alexandra smiled at the man.

"We'll give you the rest of the tour and introduce you to her crew, but let's just say neither the Fleet nor the Council had much choice in the matter. The Republic is still desperate for medical supplies, but with Iokath, and now rumblings from some backwater planet called Umbara, they need something a lot more." Meagan turned to face the group. "They need a hospital."

Realization dawned on Medley. "And they need Song Squadron inna air!"

Meagan smiled at her younger sister. "Even though this lovely lady is still armed, with the BEST starfighter squadron in the Republic Navy, we're not allowed to shoot at anyone. One of the conditions of our command."

"And so we shouldn't. We're a medical and humanitarian relief vessel." Alexandra said.

Sariyah rolled her eyes.

"Well I'm still hoping someone shoots first." Meagan said. Consonance cackled. "But in the meantime, we're the first commissioned battle hospital in the Navy. And we're assigned to the Free Spacers Fleet when we're not deployed."

Medley ran her hand along the smooth, wooden railing that surrounded the Captain's console. She was home. And more importantly, reunited with her sisters. No more hiding on Tython, or sneaking around from planet to planet. "But..what's her name?"

"Ah! To the festivities!" Meagan clapped her hands in excitement. "Uncle, do you have it?"

Vash nodded as a service droid approached. It handed him a sealed bottle of the champagne, which he handed to Medley.

"Oh krick..." Consonance said. She led Aiyma behind one of the command consoles beside Medley, and the two crouched down.

"Probably a good idea." Alexandra followed them.

Meagan laughed, but took several steps back from Medley. "Only one Elariel is allowed to name ships, remember?"

Medley grinned, with what felt like one of the warmest smiles she had ever managed in her life. She looked from the bridge crew to Vash, from Aiyma to Consonance, to Sariyah, to Alexandra, and to Meagan. She turned the bottle in her hand on end, gripping it be the stem, and raised it over head. She aimed for the end of the Captain's console, and as she brought it down to bare, she slowed its descent almost to a stop. The bottle clinked harmlessly against it.

"I christen you home. I christen you hope. I christen you love." Medley began.

"And I christen you:

The Orchestra

((Fade to black, and then this song plays...))

@>~~~End and Beginning~~~<@
| Alexandra 70 Sage | Meagan 70 Sharpshooter | Medley 70 Sentinel | Sariyah 70 Shadow |

@>~~~ SONG SQUADRON ~~~<@