Like kissing the head of a kid, Kayden?
Calls a choice voice as the lightning suffers a split, lets off a little bit as the factory suffers a shift.
Things were beginning to move like tectonic plates and it was enough to make a Sith a tad irate.
If this keeps up I might just have to stop playing nice.
Can we have cheesecake instead of rice?
KAYDEN MY EYES.
Sometimes Kay hates the voices.
Sometimes he loves them.
Like he both loves and hates this boy.
Hate was a fool’s game.
Rage had its place.
Fear tasted too plain.
But then there was pain.
That was true feeling. Passion.
That was true emotion!
And what better way for a Sith to feel than to feed off the feelings of others?
Swallow his screams, Skyler!
Alll that passion!
“I can feel you, boy!”
Lightning cackled. “At the peak of PAIN!”
Kayden cheered as milliseconds stretched into minutes, minutes became days, days gave birth to millennia, and time no longer had meaning because time meant nothing when you were having fun!
With pain came rage, the hate of being hurt.
This boy was getting angry, getting pissed, might be pissing his pants any minute.
That’s when Kayden realized he had made a mistake as his cheek began to spurt.
He turned to the right, turned to see, and he saw...
The gurney was like the floor so the girl got up.
Steel fills a hand, fills another.
It’s a hilt and the Jedi has two.
A purple light sparks in the dark, a green light marches alongside the purple.
Amethyst and emerald.
A girl begins to make both lights twirl and whirl.
Lem’s own saber swings from the Jedi’s right.
Time to make the Sith go the way of the Trandoshan.
A red light dips in between the Sith’s hip and the purple light.
Her opponent had resisted but he had not been ready.
Purple pushes back, bending that red blade the way one bends an elbow back.
Green pushes past purple and red and slashes a nasty gash across the chest.
The man screamed.
Leh’Min did not think.
Fingers unfurl from hilts, push against the Sith.
The Force catches on and flings the Sith away from the Jedi.
Lem was still weak, though, and her enemy would not fly far.
So Lem screamed as well.
The Jedi bellowed.
The boy was weak, but stronger with the girl.
If he could lift his hands one more time, pull the Force from one end to the other, then they could slingshot that Sith all the way to the end of a dead hallway.
Then they could make their escape, and be free from this cold dark place.
It was too much. Everything was… too much. He could tell the Sith was enjoying it, but what could he do about it? It was all going to end here, him, Kayden, Lemon…
The lightning stopped, and he looked up to see red, violet, and green. Through his haze, he could barely make out what was happening. But he could hear everything perfectly fine, and the one voice was unmistakable.
“Lemon! You’re alive!” He struggled to get to his feet, wincing as he did, but he no longer felt the decapitating pain from earlier. He'd never felt more relieved than he was now— this was the best turn of events he could have hoped for. “You’re back!”
Then he realized that the Sith was still standing, and the anger from before promptly returned. When Lemon Force-pushed him, Quin joined in to help, channeling a burst of energy from inside and pushing it all out at the man to send him across the hall. Despite the circumstances, he couldn’t help a small smile of satisfaction as he realized that both Sith had ended up that way. But the moment of triumph wouldn’t last long as the factory shook again.
His gaze immediately flicked to the emergency ladder on the wall, and he grabbed Lemon’s hand.
“Come on! Let’s get out of here!” And up and out they went, until Quin saw their pilot standing on the ramp as their shuttle hovered above the building.
“Hurry! Grab on!” Quin obliged, letting Lemon go first before he was pulled up too. Finally, they would be able to escape, and hopefully that Sith would burn with the rest of this place.
Down the hall, up the ladder, but the Jedi did not need rungs to climb.
One hand fills another, grips it, not the way a monster does but the way a friend does.
The Force propels the boy and girl as their hands push against the shaft's walls in unison.
It gave the two Jedi four wings, they wrapped around one another to form just two, and as one the Padawans flew from the dark and into the light.
They weren’t weak, they had each other and they had the Force, and a Jedi’s power was tenfold and at its peak when the cord was three.
The Force propels the girl as she leaps from the mountain rock to the metal ramp hovering above her.
The boy is next, but his flight comes with the fire of explosions as the factory breaks down, breaks apart.
And the ramp rocks.
“I GOT YOU!”
Lemon cries as her hand snatches air but misses Lin’s.
No matter, the Force was Lem’s friend, and Lin’s too as she pulled him to her and held him close.
Wind hurls around the freighter, the world quakes as a power plant booms and fire engulfs the sky, soon to smoke it, soon to shroud it, leave it behind.
“It's mosey time!” called Chuk-Chuk from the cockpit of his freighter as the ramp closed like a maw too raw to stay agape.
In a very real way, one Ishi Tib was the real hero here, no mistake.
The freighter flew, took two birds with it, and one of them was a purple peacock.
Somewhere aboard the ship, in a cold dark place, Chuk-Chuk turned the heating on and then the light.
Lemon opened her eyes, found herself sitting on the sofa, warmth and light bathing her face, making her feel like a babe; an infant bloomed from the womb, and the Padawan wasn’t far off.
The ship hummed, maybe the way a mother hums when she holds her firstborn, and Leh’Min’Ayd remembers Nan, a mother close enough, and remembers the cave, remembers the womb.
But all Lemon hears is Lin’s heartbeat as she rests her head against his chest and pretends to go back to sleep.
Lemon made it aboard the ship, but the second he jumped, the roof below him exploded. He barely noticed it though— all he saw was Lemon’s hand. It missed the first time, but with a little push and pull of the Force from both sides, he grabbed on and was pulled onto the ship. The ramp closed, and despite it shielding the two Padawans, Quin still held close to Lemon as debris crashed into the side of the ship.
“Thanks, Chuk-Chuk.” We owe him one. Or two.
The pilot smiled back, and when he went to turn on the light and heat, Quin picked Lemon up with what little energy he had left to bring her a short distance to the sofa. He felt nothing but relief that Lemon was safe again, and now the pair could rest easy.
As Lemon’s head rested on his chest, Quin’s arms were still wrapped around her in a warm embrace. Looking down at her sleeping form, he couldn’t help smiling at how peaceful she looked. Even after all this…
“Those Sith won’t hurt you again, Lemon. I won’t let it happen. I promise.” He hugged her tighter. Quin, Lin, Pad, whoever he was, he would make sure he would keep it.
It wasn’t the Force that calmed the kid, kept her calm, eyes closed like black curtains, but they could not swallow the light.
Nope, it wasn’t the Force that painted Leh’Min'Ayd her serene setting on the setti, filled her soul with tranquility she might not have ever known until that moment, that moment right there and then.
It was a voice.
Not Master’s, definitely not that mad man’s, but a boy’s.
Lin’s voice. His voice.
He promised to keep her safe.
A boy wouldn’t break that promise, a girl knew. I’ll beat the brown hair off his head if he does.
He knew that too—or would.
A girl shifts her head on a boy's chest, subtly, trying to give nothing away, almost like a cat grazing the leg of someone bigger, someone stronger. Our strength—together.
What was this, though?
A girl had never felt this way before.
Kid was a donut at the best of times.
Now Lem gets tears in her eyes, poor kid.
One rolls away, slips beneath the lid.
Now a finger runs beneath the nose, have to wipe. Lin…I’m sorry, Lin…
The girl sits up, wipes her eyes, looks down, looks at her feet.
They had not been bare for some time and it feels good to wiggle her toes on cold floor. By my own choice this time...
“The Sith… The Sith are evil… They crave power past its peak, and Sith like those two use their power to cause death and suffering. For Jedi, power is just the means to keep everyone else alive, keep ‘em from getting hurt, especially from monsters like Sith...”
Leh’Min’Ayd would hate the Sith if a Jedi could afford hate, but there was no room for it, not right now.
There was…something else in Lemon’s heart right now…something that grew tighter, heavier, with each painful heartbeat, like that of teardrops threatening to break the dam and unleash the flood.
“That’s where I come in, Lin.”
She wanted to say those words, wanted him to know that Leh’Min’Ayd would grow stronger, had to.
But Leh’Min’Ayd did not want to say these next words.
For some reason, in some way, they hurt the girl more than lightning ever did, more than a Sith Harlot's tongue ever could.
“I have to go, Lin. On my own. Alone.” Again. A girl has to get stronger.
A girl KNOWS!
The girl rose from the sofa, fought off a quivering lip, saw Lin’s strong face, her friend’s face, how it was lit.
Light shined on it, but behind her eyes Lem could only see that light as a thousand fractured shards, then a million, like broken glass, cracked.
A girl must have looked so silly to a boy.
A crybaby, a Padawan crybaby named Lame. A Jedi should not feel, Master said…
“I have to go away and I don’t know when I’ll be back.” I don’t know when I’ll get to see you again, Lin, and I don’t know why that hurts…
But before either of them could speak, Lemon turned around, all but running to her quarters, and that is where she cried, intending to just lie down.
It was the tip of the boy's little green friend that had cracked across Kayden’s chest, charred it red.
Yet, were the man not so gallant a hero of the sparkling stars then he would be crawling across the corridor by now, but not by far.
There was no time to double back.
The ladder was out of the game now and it was time to ask the audience.
The wall wasn’t much of one but one door looked sturdier than the other and sounded a lot less boring.
It also looked locked more than most.
So the Sith thrummed a blade from the drum of its hilt and did what a Sith does best.
And the door became a fountain of red as the blade created a doorway.
The man granted himself a chuckle through gritted teeth. Have to remember to chain them to the gurney.
Then again, what good are stuncuffs if you have no hands or feet to wear them?
The wounded man all but shuffled into the room, the agony that ran from his missing nipple to his kissable hip only fuel to the fire and fins for his feet.
He saw a room full of computers, of broken stasis pods, of bloody operating tables, of life and death, and the dying. And the crying. And the screaming. And the bleeding.
That one had a growth on his face that looked ten times worse than whatever the whatzitsuch was pussing on Kayden’s cheek.
A man was eating another man’s face starting with his feet.
Over there was someone who looked old enough to be that Padawan boy’s best friend. Albeit with suspiciously severed lekku and only one leg, I guess.
On any other day, Kayden would have made a circus out of these malformed freaks.
He would have invited them aboard Silence, not as prisoners but as part of the crew, and added their tongues to the bucket before they sang to him.
Today he had no time for any of that.
A melty woman sobbed on the floor.
One hand crawled her along as the other reached out. “H-Help m-me!”
Kayden heard her squeal as her fingers got stuck between the floor and his boot. Got to get to the tank, Cap'n Kayden. Time’s a’wastin’.
It was something of the sort.
An ovular capsule was forgiven for being larger than himself as it stood in the center of the gruesome scene, still so pure and pristine with its perfect white coat so clean.
Metal that looked as thick as walls plated the beautiful egg whose control panel revealed it to be empty.
No. Not empty.
Waiting for me!
Kayden would leave the voices behind him, the ones that begged him to come back or just for their flesh to stop melting.
After all, he already had plenty of voices to keep him company.
Those ones begged the man to release them, to let go of their screams, but they were his, he made them, so he would not.
Pocketing his hilt, Kayden took out his comlink and sent Cheriss a message.
He told her about the boy and the girl, left out the part about how this was all her fault for not killing the girl to begin with.
He told her about Sevenmoon, about Gravenell, about the master data tucked away in that city and on that moon—and much, much more.
And, of course, he told her that she shouldn't wait because one Sith would be late but, wait...who were the Sith to wait?
The door opened, the man climbed in, closed the door, found a switch.
The iron egg was designed to give someone a bacta bath. But so much more…
Before Kayden Skyler, others had been in this capsule.
Evidently they were the ones who were now writhing on the floor outside.
Oh well, I guess.
It’s this or the kiss of death, my friend.
We agree, yes.
So Kayden made sure to avoid these controls while tampering with those controls.
There was another feature that sent the whole vessel lowering into the ground, slowly and leisurely, though its occupant was in no real rush.
The egg began to fill up with liquid but it was too dark to see, like counting dust at night, or like dead stars in a black sky, or a black eye on a sea of blood.
Kayden heard noises, loud ones, great rumbling roars, but as though he heard them from a submarine.
He felt the planet thrash out around him, wail against him, rock him like a lunatic in a rocking chair or a kitten in a hurricane.
Maybe the world was telling him that it did not want Kayden Skyler inside it. Kark the world.
Then he was back in the womb, back on Silence, because that was all that Kayden could hear, that was all that Skyler could see.