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SCD - The First Year
Posted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:25 pm
As the Jedi completed their task on the Nexus World, many of the Jedi were cast back haphazardly into the inhabited parts of space. Their stories are many, and varied, and didn't all begin at the same time. For one young Jedi, the end of one journey was only the start of the next. This is the story of her first year back, and the trials she endured on her long road home.
12 years ago
Fire blazed all around, but it wasn’t hot; it didn’t burn; it wasn’t flame. The Force was aglow like a raging forest fire all around the assembly of Jedi, but it didn’t rage as it blazed around them - it was pulsing with life!
That had been their purpose, to revive the heart of light that had called to them - it had called them to it in distress, and they had found their way to it, but now as the profoundly deep nexus thrummed with life, and swelled with strength, Mission knew they had completed their task.
The fog that had stirred up around the Jedi as they poured their strength into the nexus in that last great effort began to swirl, and glow. The girl caught a flicker of motion in the corner of her eye, but there was nothing there... nothing at all. Hadn’t Jaden been there a moment ago? Another flicker and she glanced. Caysen was gone. Mission tried to refocus her attention on the light, and the task. All around her the assembly of Jedi stood firm, pillars of blazing light racing between them and the nexus - and her. But where was... others were gone now. Her focus wavered for a moment, she felt a buzz of energy crawl over her skin, and suddenly she was rolled under by an overwhelming burst of color and sound. She raised her hands against it...
...and toppled over backwards down sandy slope. It was steep, and Mission flailed trying to stop herself, but she tumbled over a ledge and fell - crying out in surprised frustration - something like 20 feet before she slammed down another slope and kept tumbling.
“Come on!” She screamed, trying futilely to slow herself with her outstretched limbs. She just had too much momentum, and this red sand that filled her eyes and ears and nose and mouth was too soft. She summoned the Force to her as she flipped head over heels and unleashed a ball of pure willpower on the slope below her. Something like an explosion rang out just below her, and Mission’s momentum suddenly slammed her into the wall of a sandpit. It blasted the wind from her lungs, and she reeled for a moment, trying to gasp and spit the sand out of her mouth at the same time. Sand from the slope rolled down in smooth streams around her, and the redheaded teenager was half buried in sand the same color as her hair when a breath of air finally clawed it’s way into her lungs.
Mission stared at the ruby red sky above, breathing heavily, and felt that something had gone terribly wrong.
“What is this...?” She whispered, glancing around.
OOC: The turn of events that was fashioned to allow our characters an avenue of return into the events of the UFRP continuity was a pretty drastic series of events. It almost entirely derailed what my expectations of Mission as a character had been from the days I wrote her as a toddler storming around the Jedi Temple bare footed and giggling. She can't be that person anymore, so I needed to get to know who she had become in this continuity as an adult while I was away. I don't regret this change in her character developmental path, because she's turned out to be something much more of her own creation than mine, so I started thinking about who she is now, and that thinking turned into writing... which turned into a LOT of writing. So I'm going to post it here for everyone's reading pleasure as I work on it. It's not precisely a SCD plot, but this is the best place for it. I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I'm enjoying writing it!
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:39 am
All around Mission was desert. Red, arid desert, and the sky was no better. There didn’t appear to be anything but hot sand and ragged cliff faces as far as the horizon in any direction. Mission slowly extracted herself from the sandpit, and momentarily felt thankful for the light linen garments that covered her body. She would be cool enough in the whites and greys that composed her tunic and pants. Her bare feet could become an issue later, if she didn’t find something helpful in the desert, but as she curled her calloused toes and felt the fine sand under them, she remembered the forest terrain that her feel had learned to cope with... why had she been thrown away from there? She couldn’t sense anyone else near her, and she couldn’t sense any powerful Force anomalies like the nexus either. Why was she suddenly alone?
Mission could already feel her fair skin starting to protest the hot sunlight, so she needed to move. Beyond the massive sand slope, there were other lower stone projections rising up from the ground through the sand. She could already see what looked like bits of shade from here. Maybe there would be a cave where she could wait for night to fall.
That was the right thing to do, wasn’t it? Mission reflected on the stories her father had told her as she trudged in long, sliding steps down the slope. He had spent some years among the Zeison Sha, traveling the deserts of their home world Yanibar. He said they had normal broken camp in the evening, and traveled at night.
Mission continued gliding down the slope for several hundred feet before her foot caught on some stiffer bit of sand and she tripped.
“No!” She exclaimed, and leapt away from the ground. The Force welled up and burst through her, launching her into the air. She sailed nearly 50 feet through the air before plummeting back to the sandy slope and crashing down in her own sand slide. She sat still for a moment, hands outspread as though she might suddenly begin tumbling wildly downward again. Though she shuddered at the thought, she suspected she would have reached the bottom by now if she had never stopped her initial tumble. Would she have survived? She wasn’t sure.
As she pondered survival again, Mission’s thoughts turned back to the Nexus. What had happened? Where were the rest of them? She reached out with her mind again, she still couldn’t sense anything of note, much less anything familiar. She wondered what had happened to the others who had disappeared before her. Where were Jaden and Caysen? Maybe she’d find them in the desert. They’d all found each other last time.
Mission tested her luck, and leapt down the slope again. She made much better time that way, so she continued to do so, surging the Force through her body and launching herself up and out so that she began to plummet 70 or even a 100 feet at a time. Before another five minutes had passed, she was at the base of the slope, and looking up at the side of the next. Some of the shade spots she thought she’d seen turned out to be nothing but little pits of erosion in the sides of the stone projections, but there were plenty of projections ahead, and she was well hydrated for now. She could walk for a bit and find a proper shelter.
So walk she did.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Sat Jun 30, 2018 5:22 pm
Mission continued to search through the Force for a sign of anything helpful as she meandered through the desert, but nothing revealed itself to her. A weight began to settle in the pit of her stomach as she trudged through the low channels of sand, but she knew she’d start to panic if she entertained it, so she didn’t. Instead, she reached down and grasped the lightsaber hilt at her hip. It was inert without a focus crystal, but it was still a reminder. She was a Jedi, and she could endure. She already had.
Much more time went into searching than Mission had hoped. She was definitely starting to burn on her face, chest, and neck. Her feet felt hot, but eight years of pounding around bare in the woodlands and mountain ranges of the nexus world has toughened them enough to withstand some heat. Her feet wouldn’t be the first part of her to fail. She was sweating though, and she was thirsty. That would be a problem soon if she didn’t find plant life.
The low channel she been traveling opening up into a wider valley at last, and she found herself in a sort of basin. She picked a rocky projection to her left that looked promising and went to scout it out. It’s promises were lies. She picked another, but again found only disappointment when she’d completed a circuit of its base.
Knowing she had to press on, Mission headed for a third, and spotted something that looked like an actual cavity in the rock as she neared the side facing the basin. A spike of excitement surged in her chest, and she ran toward it. An actual cave! She mounted the rest of the small rise and rushed into the shady embrace of the cave. As the shadows touched her face, she glanced over at a point of light that caught her attention. Her eyes had just registered it as a control panel embedded in the stone wall when a blearing jolt of electricity stung her and blasted her back down the rise. She never knew where she came to a stop.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:34 am
The ground drifted by before Mission’s face. She hurt all over, and she could feel a tingling like a sunburn on her neck. Her feet felt burned too, strangely enough. She remembered walking on sand, and her senses snapped alive. The desert! She was being dragged up a hill right then! She looked at the two figured dragging her up toward the mouth of the cave she’d found. They looked like desert people. Her lightsaber hung on one of their belts. That wasn’t a polite thing to have done.
Tucking her knees toward her chest, Mission planted her feet and attempted to stand. One of the men felt the weight of her shift in his hand, however, and saw her try to rise. He shouted an exclamation and yanked on her wrist, causing her to trip headlong to the ground again.
“Ooh she’s awake? Get ahold of her!”
Both men pulled on her arms again, but this time Mission moved with their tugging, and managed to get her feet beneath her. She spun her arm so she could grab onto the wrist of the man at her right, then she twisted his arm back hard and shot her foot up into his ribs. The blow connected, and he stumbled back from her outstretched heel.
The other man was still a problem though. He was quite a bit bigger than her, and he clearly was smarter than the first man. She hadn’t managed to wrest her arm free of his grasp in the struggle, and he pulled her forward once more. She leapt off her left foot in the direction of his pulling and was preparing to duck in past his reach when his head swung down and slammed against her eyebrow. She felt a shooting pain and saw stars. The faster man shoved her, and when she spun to avoid falling, she found herself stumbling toward that man whose ribs she kicked. He returned the favor, driving his fist into her belly so hard it reversed her momentum. She fell gasping onto her back in the sand.
The man who’d punched her rubbed his side and laughed. “Damn, she’s got some fight in her.”
The second man laughed as well. “Some? She’d have handed you your ass if I hadn’t been here.”
“Shut up Breck, she just caught me off guard. I thought the fence had done her in.”
Mission continued gasping for air and tried to roll back up onto her feet. The one called Breck shoves her in the ribs with his heel, and all she succeeded in doing was rolling onto her other side. The one who’d punched her a second ago came and kicked her again, then grabbed her wrist.
“Carefully Tody, if you break her we can’t find out how she found us.”
“Oh, who gives a rat’s hide. She’s bad news. We should just hang her out to dry.”
Despite the ongoing protest, the two of them hauled Mission across the soft sand to the mouth of the cave, then Tody pressed a button on his wristband, and the shield that had electrocuted her earlier dropped away. She eyed the wristband and made note of the button.
“I think she might be fun to have around, personally.” Said Breck. “Maybe she can teach you a thing or two about paying attention.”
“Keep talkin’ Breck.”
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 7:50 pm
Mission tried to keep track of where the pair dragged her as they moved through the desert caves, but it was hard. Her brain still felt fuzzy, and her muscles still hurt from her run in with the shield, not to mention that the pair of them had beaten her pretty soundly with the of blows they had landed. Blood had run down into her left eye from a throbbing cut on her eyebrow, and seemed to continue running only as an additional insult to the injury that was making her eye swell shut already. After a few more twists and turns, she hung her head and just focused on not retching. Between the sunburn, the dehydration, the shock, and the beating, she felt as though she’d been rammed and trampled by some large beast.
“What have you got there?” Asked a third voice.
“Some girl who tried to walk in the front door. Gave Tody a good trashing when we went to pick her up.”
“She did not!” Complained Tody while the other two cackled. “She got a lucky hit. And I gave a lot better as you can see.”
“I’m thoroughly impressed,” said the third, slightly old sounding voice. “You defeated a teenage girl. With help.”
“A teenage girl with a lightsaber.” Tody corrected, trying to save a little face. The third voice made an intrigued sound.
“Can we drop her in one of your cages?” Asked Breck.
“Sure, go ahead. Normally I’d say she’d end up a meal for the Kath hounds but business has been good.”
“Well well little ginger snap, it’s your lucky day. You’ll have a cage all to yourself.” Breck tugged on her arm, and they dragged her left from the tunnel into a cavern glowing with natural light. She lifted her head when she heard a door swing, and they tossed her headlong into the corner cage. Someone kicked sand on her - probably Tody - and then they locked the cage behind her and walked away picking at some other bone of conversation.
Mission lay on the sandy ground for a few painful moments, waiting for something else to happen, but nothing did. The world simply continued to throb around her in silence.
She felt much cooler now, she realized. That helped, but only a little. Her abdomen still felt like she’d been climbing a cliff for the last 12 hours, and her eye had swollen almost shut by now. The bleeding had stopped, which was good, but it also contributed to the swelling.
Slowly, gingerly, Mission raises herself up on her arms, and pulled her feet under her. It made her stomach throb, but she pushed herself up into a crouch and stood up.
Two walls of her cage were rough-hewn sandstone, and the other two were metal slats that had been grommeted together. Judging from the state of the cage’s inner surfaces, she was indeed in a cage meant for Kath hounds. She had never seen one, but she had seen pictures when she was a little girl, and knew they were popular pit fighting animals. Reddish daylight filtered in through erosion holes in the walls and cast a bronze hue on everything it touched.
It reminded Mission of fire.
She had been surrounded by fire that day once before, in another place... and another lifetime too, so it felt already. This world was dry, and unforgiving. Not like the one she’d left behind. On the nexus world she’d had a life, a people, and a purpose. The Force has called her, and she had answered the call with all her might. But she had wavered at the last moment. Is that why she was here? Caysen has disappeared first, and she had never wavered in anything.
So why am I here?
She couldn’t fathom why the nexus had sent her to this terrible place, and these hateful men. She couldn’t imagine what they’d do to her if no one else arrived. Her eyes roved over the claw-scored face of the cave and she hesitated. She knew what they’d do to her.
Mission sank to her knees beside the sandstone wall and leaned her head against it. Her vision blurred, and she felt an ache in her chest that had nothing to do with an injury. The hopeless loop of thoughts swirled in her head again and again until she began to sob. Tears ran down off her face into the sand, and she covered her head with her arms as though she might block the world out and be safe from it. Only that morning she had sat in the company of so many and felt nothing but hope and a drive to stay the course. How it all had changed in an instant.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:43 am
A metallic tapping sound woke Mission from her fitful sleep. She was curled up against the sandstone wall, facing the entire room - with her right eye, at least. The left one didn’t feel swollen anymore, but it was clamped shut with dried blood. With her good eye, Mission took in the room in the diminished light of the erosion hole. The other two cages, the dark corner where barrels of something had been stacked, the entrance she’d been brought in through... and the man standing by her cage, tapping on the slats with her lightsaber.
“Goodness you’re a mess. I hope they didn’t screw your face up for good, that’d be disappointing.”
The man examined the lightsaber for a moment, and then waved it at her. “Speaking of which, this thing was a major let down. Breck doesn’t even want it anymore. Hey what kinda kid drops into the desert with no shoes and nothing but a busted laser sword on her?”
Mission watched him as steadily as her nerves could manage with her open eye, but she said nothing - her nerves couldn’t quite manage that.
The man eyed her a moment, still fidgeting with the saber hilt. “Not gonna talk huh? Too bad, I heard you creepy force-user types like to mouth off a lot.”
“Could I... have some water?” Mission’s voice crackled to life at last. It sounded even worse than she felt.
“Oh yeah, absolutely.” The man said as though she’d reminded him of something important. He walked over to the darker corner and she heard rustling, then he returned and opened the door to toss in something of an oversized dog dish. He shut the cage again, and then reached in and poured the contents of his canteen into it.
“There you go, knock yourself out little dowggy. They wanted to hang you out to dry, but I’m betting you’re worth more as you are. Especially if we can fix your face. I’ve got one question though. How’d you find us?”
Mission gazed longingly at the bowl, hardly caring how demeaning it would be, not to mention filthy. She found her body unwilling to come any closer to the door with the man still standing over her, however.
“You’re not chatty are you. Here’s what I’m looking for. ‘How I got here was...’?”
Again, Mission remained still, watching him with her good eye. She didn’t know what would be worse to tell him, the truth, or a lie.
The man chuckled and kicked the bowl with his toe. It slid an inconsequential distance closer to her and spilled a good portion of its contents in the sand. She wished she had said something.
“Well little dog, get comfy. We’ll sell you off in a few days but we’re not ready to go just yet.” The man smiled coldly and walked away whistling a tune.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Wed Jul 04, 2018 8:25 am
The second the notes of cheery music disappeared down the hall, Mission crawled forward across the sandy floor of her cage and scooped water out of the bowl with her hands and drank it. She drank until her throat didn’t feel like parchment anymore, and then she turned to the sand and focused her best to draw the moisture back out of it. She succeeded in producing only about a mouthful of water, but it was one more than she’d had before.
There wasn’t much water in the bowl, but there was enough to produce a reflection, and when she looked at hers, it wasn’t a pretty sight.
(OOC: At this my wife, reading over my shoulder, suggested I insert a few lines of “Reflection” from Mulan. But that would be copyright infringement, and genre binding... even though Disney owns SW now... moving on.)
Mission considered herself pretty tough. She’d always been able to keep up with Nomi and Caysen and all the other rough and tumble Jedi that had ended up on the Nexus world. But for all that, she was a bit of an easy bruiser. As she regarded her reflection in the water dish, she found that her face was no exception. Even after she spared a few drops of water to moisten and wipe away the blood from her face with the inside of her now sand-stained white tunic, she could see a nasty cloud of blue and purple had settled over her entire eye socket. When she tried opening her eye, it was stiff, and only came about halfway open. It would have to do for now.
There were a great number of uncertainties facing Mission as she sat there in the Kath hound cage, but one thing was certain. She couldn’t allow herself to be sold off by these black-market smugglers or whatever they were. They were the darkness she’d been warned about. Not the kind that wielded the Force maliciously, but the kind that brought out the worst in the world around them.
Mission got to her feet, feeling much better now that she had at least the beginnings of a plan, and reached around to feel the face of the lock. In the eight years she’d spent on the nexus world, Mission had seen some marvels of industrial knowhow be produced by the Jedi to improve their living conditions. They had cut stone, milled wood, and even smelted iron in a few cases. Her father had even managed to find the proper combination of time and scrap to build a puzzle lock to entertain the kids, and himself - not that there was a big difference. She had a basic grasp of how a lock’s bits and pieces worked.
Honing her awareness down as minutely as she could, Mission laid a hand over the lock and tried moving its inner workings. The pieces were small, but she could feel four pins. Her father had never made a key for his lock before, so if they had wanted to open it, they would be forced to open it with their minds. She grinned as she remembered the praline treats he had stored in the box he’d placed the lock on. It was their incentive.
The happy memory of what had been home for so many years now stirred up a mixture of fear and loss in Mission as she realized how suddenly her fun practice had become a dire need. It was distracting and made her lose her mental grip on the lock. Anger and sadness boiled up in equal parts and caused her to tear up again, and it made her black eye burn, so she pushed the memory of sweet treats and the happiness of home down as deep as she could and focused on the technique she’d practiced.
It took a few tries, but the lock finally slid free, and Mission pushed the cage door open as gently as possible.
“Okay I’m out... shoot.”
Mission wasn’t quite sure she knew how to get away. She wasn’t even sure where she was. But she had to go now. If the light from the erosion hole was any indication, it would be night soon, and she could escape into the desert... or she could take their ride.
Now that’s a plan
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:03 pm
Mission bent down and scooped up the water dish, polishing off its contents and then tucking the dish itself under her arm. It might make a good bludgeoning object, should the need arise. For once, her bare feet were entirely to her advantage as she padded soundlessly across the sandy floor and down the hall.
She wandered around the cave for a bit, discovering that it was quite a bit larger than she’d realized. She tried to recognize a few of the turns but it seemed her memories from earlier that day were mostly an addled haze. No matter, she could still manage. Mission continued wandering around the cave complex, avoiding voices as best as possible and searching for signs of any kind of vehicle. Her search produced a frustrating lack of results. When she rounded a corner and found herself staring at the back of a latrine, she ground her teeth, and decided to go back to plan A. She could still escape across the desert in the night if she got a good head start. When she came back out of the latrine, she was preoccupied enough with her thoughts that she almost bumped right into Tody, who was equally preoccupied with his search for the latrine.
Their past encounter had presented a viable theory that Mission had far better reflexes than Tody, and as they came face to face in the hall, Mission was determined to confirm it. As the big brute stepped back in surprise, she stepped forward in a bound and brought the edge of the bowl straight up against his nose, producing a satisfying crunch.
Mission had realized after the earlier tussle that she had made a mistake by trying to press her advantage over Tody before dealing with Breck, but she now had no one else to worry about, and was free to dance around the brute as she pleased. She rounded up for another kick as soon as she touched the ground and pounded Tody with her heel in the exact same place she had earlier that day. As he staggered back, Mission took another step forward and kicked forward at the side of his left knee. Tody screamed as his knee made a sound similar to his nose and fell to the ground grasping at the damaged joint. Mission jumped on the thug and pounded his head with the water dish a couple more times to stifle his racket. Unfortunately, the damage had been done.
“Hey, Tody are you having prostate problems or something?” Breck stepped around the corner with a grin on his face and paused when he saw Mission crouching over his senseless colleague.
“You, little...” There was actual laughter in Breck’s voice, but he came after her immediately, and he meant business. Mission glanced down at Tody, hoping to see a weapon on him, but she found nothing in the folds of fabric hanging on him, and even taking the time to check had cost her the space she’d have needed to get a head start on the charging thug. She snapped her hand forward and launched the water dish at Breck’s face. He ducked it and rushed on; perfect.
The charging smuggler’s face was a picture of disciplinary frustration as he neared Mission, but it changed to one of confused frustration when the water dish returned to strike him across the back of the head. Mission bounded the last couple of steps to meet him and jumped to throw her knee into his gut. It impacted with a solid whump, and then she smashed the dish against the back of his head again. This time she heard a clank when the dish impacted and realized Breck had some kind of helmet on under the fabric wrapped around his head. She compensated quickly and threw a knee into his face, but he caught her ankle before she could land the blow, and he threw her back.
Mission knew she kicked too much, but she couldn’t help it - she was tiny compared to this man, and she needed the extra power. But she’d had the issue enough in sparring that she wasn’t thrown off by being pushed back. She regained her footing quickly and waded back in. Breck was facing her now, though, and he was much quicker than Tody, so she had to be smart.
“Fiery little thing, aren’t you?” Breck edged closer as he bantered at her.
Mission felt an urge to quip back, to say something her father might, but she didn’t like these men, and she didn’t feel safe enough to open her mouth. She wished she had inherited her father’s size, instead of his sass. She decided to turn her energy into action, hopped toward Breck, so she’d have something to react to. It worked.
Breck reached out to catch Mission, and she smashed his hand head on with the dish in hers. Breck grunted and recoiled his hand, shaking it for a moment, but Mission could get no closer because he kicked at her when she tried - twice.
Suddenly Mission’s opponent rushed her and caught the dish when she swung it at him. He was too close for her to round a good kick on him, and before she could react any other way he had lifted her off the ground by the collar of her sand-stained tunic and slammed her against the uneven stone wall. She’d lost the dish, but she kept clawing and kicking, trying to break loose. It was to no avail, and when he back-handed her across the left side of her face - just below her throbbing black eye - she was stunned into stillness.
“You’re a pretty feisty little Sith child, aren’t you?” He said, moving his grip from her tunic to her neck. “They’re talking about selling you for some profit, but I have half a mind to just keep you here at this point.”
He leaned a little closer, and Mission glared as she caught his foul breath. “I wonder what else you’re good at.”
The “T” of his last word came out with a sharp punctuation as her knee slammed into his groin. The smuggler’s arm slackened for just a moment, and Mission heaved up with all her might, driving both fists square under his jaw and sending him staggering backward to trip and fall over the water dish.
Mission didn’t stop to try and finish him off, or even look at him, she just ran. She leapt over Tody’s unconscious body and headed for the corner. Just as she neared it, she heard a pop and a hollow rustling sound, and then a low buzz before something struck her, and everything went black.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Fri Jul 06, 2018 2:14 pm
Mission woke with a start and glanced around. She was back in the corner cell again, but this time her hands were bound behind her. She stood up and came to the door but found there were three tack welds on it as well now. She kicked the door in frustration and projected a telepathic scream into the Force. She strained her awareness as far as she ever had, but could only sense the men inside the cave complex. She wished she had noticed them before she had approached the cave in the first place.
The man who had questioned her before came, carrying the same water dish he had before, and leveled an amused smile at her.
“You’re gonna be no end of trouble are you?” He stooped and places the dish by the grating that formed the cage wall, then stood and stared at her again.
“Only if you keep me here.” She replied honestly.
“Oh, so if I let you go you’ll just waltz off into the desert and forget you ever saw us?”
“Talk about a waste. You’d dry up out there in two days, and worse than that there’d be nothing in it for me.”
Mission shrugged angrily. “Then take me to the nearest free port and I’ll pay you.”
“Or have me gutted by whoever sent you out here, more like.”
“Oh come on!” Mission exclaimed, her hesitancy from earlier forgotten. “No one sent me out here, are you looking at me? I don’t even have shoes, much less any survival gear. Why would anyone send me after you like this?”
The man shrugged. “Maybe to test you? I don’t know how you creepy Force acolytes do things. Or maybe they dumped you here because they wanted you to fail. Did you screw up lately? Dump coffee on someone important?”
Mission glowered at him but didn’t reply. In some deep corner of her mind, she still nursed a small fear that he might be right.
“Mhm, something like that I bet. Either way little lady, I think I’ll be hanging onto you. Don’t worry I’ll keep Breck off ya. Just be a good little acolyte and stay put.”
The den of smugglers was forced to endure two more escape attempts in the following days. The first time, Mission was able to find a notch in the metal slats big enough to catch her cuff links on, and twisted herself around a few times until the slat broke the link like a bolt cutter. From there it was a simple matter of picking the lock and breaking the welds with the Force. She ran across the cage keeper while looking for the entrance and got stunned again.
The second time was less successful. They had welded the entire door shut so she couldn’t sheer the weld points. She had realized after awhile of prowling around her cage that the slats composing the top were farther apart than those composing the walls. Mission could jump much higher than a Kath hound, so she did. Unfortunately her cuffs caught on the metal slat, and she was still wriggling out of the hole when the cage keeper came in to give her water and some food scraps. He pulled out his blaster and stunned her again through the bars as she frantically squirmed toward freedom.
When she came to after that attempt, she knew she’d run out of chances. It appeared that rather than open the cage back up to deal with her, they had simply run a length of chain in and out of a few holes in the ceiling, and then used it as a wench to lower her in. It was attached to a second length of chain, which connected the manacles on her wrists to the ones on her ankles. Even just to go get water, Mission knew she was going to have to either wriggle across the floor like a worm or get up and hop to the cage wall before crouching back down and sticking her head through the opening where the bowl had been left. If even possible, sticking her head through the slats for water felt even more demeaning now than it had before, now that she was trussed up like a pig. She wasn’t afraid of her captors anymore. She positively detested them.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Wed Jul 11, 2018 11:15 am
When the smugglers finally came for Mission, she was carefully probing the lock of her handcuffs around her wrists. She was also standing and leaning casually against the sandstone wall – as casually as one could stand with their hands chained behind their back and also chained to the ceiling.
“Time to go little lady,” said the old cage keeper. They appeared to have elected him as her handler since he’d had the most luck with containing her. He and Tody climbed up the side of the cage while the other two watched and began to unhook the chain that connected her to the cage. Rather than be yanked off her feet and then hoisted up like a dead body with her belly hanging out, Mission laid down on the ground and wrapped her feet around the chain. When they pulled the slack out, she came up feet first. After they were kind enough right her atop the cage, she proved to be steadier on her feet than either of them once they untied her feet, and she padded lithely over to the edge of the cage where she dropped down in a loud chorus of jingling chain.
After some grunting and grouching, everyone was ready to go, and go they did. Mission’s captors didn’t bother unchaining her at all, but the old one who kept the cages held onto the length of chain that had been her tether. They marched out of the cave and into the bronzy red daylight toward a vessel which sat in the middle of the large clearing she had been poking through some days ago.
“Yep, she’s cute as a button isn’t she. And she can use the Force?” One of the men at the ship broke away to come talk as the others continued loading supplies into the vessel.
“Yeah, a little bit at least.” Said Mission’s questioner from earlier. “She can pick locks and move stuff. Hasn’t tried any lightning or choking or anything scary yet.”
“Well let’s keep her trussed up just to be on the safe side shall we?”
The men stood and talked until the ship was finished loading. As Mission moved to step aboard, Breck pushed past and grabbed her backside. He dodged her responding bite by a scant inch. The men who saw it laughed and whooped in surprise at the exchange.
“She’s got some spirit, doesn’t she?” Said Breck. Mission regretted missing her mark. Even if she’d been beaten in return it would have been worth it to leave a mark on that pervert she’d been stuck in a cave with for the last week.
Perhaps it wasn’t the most Jedi sentiment ever, but Mission wished she could breathe fire on all of them right then. They were clearly all criminals. The cage keeper prompted her to a corner in the vessel as it took off and bumped her so she fell to her knees there. She spent the rest of the ride with her back and hands in the corner, glaring at them all as they chatted and occasionally eyed her. Breck did more often than the others, and she suspected he was doing it just to make her uncomfortable. It worked. She tried to avoid eye contact with him the rest of the flight.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Mon Sep 17, 2018 8:41 am
During the flight, Mission gleaned a few things. First, she was on a planet called Mon Gazza - she believed it was an outer rim world. Second, there was pod racing in this planet, which reinforced her conclusion about the planet’s location. Finally, she discovered that she had indeed stumbled across a smuggling den in the desert. Based on their conversations, they seemed to transport everything from illegal luxury items on up the list to weapons, drugs, and apparently people as well. At least in cases like this. When they arrived at port, there was already a man waiting for them - apparently to receive her.
“Now I know you’re gonna get good money for her - we both do - so cut me a deal here.” The man who’d questioned her stood a few feet off, talking with a taller man who wore black despite the sweltering heat. He eyed her, then glanced back at the smuggler.
“I can give you fair market value based on her looks and health; I’ll even overlook the injury you seem to have inflicted on her face. But I don’t think I can justify any weight to my offer just because she is some kind of force user. From what you describe she’s some manner of escape artist too. The risk of her getting away, I think, is a notable counterbalance to any supposed abilities she might have.”
“You’re shittin’ me right now, I know you are. You’ve got the kind of connections that can handle her easy, and I know you’re gonna get more from her than I will. Just cut me a deal here.”
The man in black eyed her for a thoughtful moment, pulling at the patch of white-flecked hair on his chin, and then seemed to think of something.
“You said she had a lightsaber before, didn’t you?”
“Yeah but it... yeah, why?”
“Well if you throw that in as proof positive, I can sell the two of them off as a matching set. The Woman and the Weapon, you might say.”
The questioning smuggler’s features appeared conflicted for a moment, but Mission could sense triumphant glee coming from him.
“Tell you what man, it is a lightsaber so don’t skimp on me, okay? I’ve seen market prices for em, we all have since The Disappearance. Give me a good price for her and her laser sword, and you’ve got a deal.”
The two of them shook, and then made the arrangements. Mission felt horribly objectified. She had become not just an object in their eyes, but a collectible novelty at that. Once money had been transferred, the man in black came over to take possession of her. Her cage keeper offered him the chain, but he scoffed and waved her off.
“Please. I don’t need such crude measures to manage her. Take them all off.”
The cage keeper shrugged and began unlocking her cuffs. As he did, the man in black slipped a thin silver collar around Mission’s neck that looked like ornamentation and closed it. The second the cuffs came off her wrist, he tapped a key on a small round device in his hand, and the collar stabbed a split second of blinding pain into her body. Mission didn’t quite fall to her knees, but she wanted to. She had an instant headache from the shock.
“Oops, I apologize.” He said with a grin, rolling the object in his hand. “At least we know it works, don’t we? Right this way please.”
Mission glared at the back of the man’s balding head as he turned away, but she had no interest in defying him just then - her body still tingled from the shock, and she guessed she would have been writhing on the ground after a couple more seconds of it. She’d have to figure out how to get it off later. She hoped she’d have a chance. As she stepped into the man’s transport a few minutes later, she let out another telepathic scream for help. It was pointless though, and she knew it. She was alone in this awful place. As she sat down in the seat she was directed to, she wondered what the others were doing right then. Were they packing up their little settlement? Had the nexus sent them home? She wondered, but it hurt to wonder too much, so she put it away. She had to worry about herself for now.
Re: SCD - The First Year
Posted: Tue Sep 18, 2018 8:58 am
As the transport lifted off, Mission watched the man in black inspecting her incomplete lightsaber.
“It doesn’t work, you know.” She said after awhile.
“What’s that now?” He glanced up at her as if remembering she was there.
“He swindled you. That lightsaber doesn’t work, never has.” Mission shrugged. If she could make some trouble for the smugglers, that would be something at least. She knew the questioning one had been excited to pull the wool over on the one in black.
“You don’t say.” He pointes the saber toward her and tapped the activation switch. Nothing happened, nor did it the second or third times he tapped it.
“Well how unfortunate for them. For you, it remains to be seen. I paid a fee worthy for a Force-sensitive child. Do you work better than your little dud here?”
Mission hesitated, wondering if she should tip her hand. The man grinned and turned to face her, brandishing the control to her collar. “If you’re not sensitive, then this lightsaber is worth more than you are even as a malfunctioning conversation piece. And more importantly, if you aren’t sensitive, then your dying moments would be worth more to me in entertainment value than your warm little body would be on the market. You might be an attractive little redhead but you don’t have any pr-“
Mission glared at him and reached her hand out. The lightsaber snapped out of his palm and into hers. He watched her for a moment, then leaned back with a pleased look on his face and stroked his beard.
“Smart girl. Now, if you please.”
The girl hesitated for an instant as the man in black held out an expectant hand, loath to give up her only piece of home. In that instant, he tapped his control ball, and white-hot pain surged through her nerves. She groaned and doubled over in her seat, but held onto her lightsaber.
“Are we going to do this right now?... very well.”
The man in black pressed his finger to the control ball, and left it there for a moment while Mission’s nerve impulses turned on her and threw her to the floor in a string of spasms. It felt as though white hot knives were being stabbed over and over into every muscle in her body. Her vision blurred through the pain, and after a couple seconds she couldn’t have let go of the lightsaber if she’d wanted to. Her whole body clinched into the fetal position on the floor of its own accord, and when the burning sensation let up, she was left panting and heaving on the floor.
The man in black reached out his foot and scraped the lightsaber out of her hand. When he stooped to collect it, he paused a moment. “I’m glad you’re not some weak-willed milk-maid’s daughter. But you’ll find that defiance is pointless in your position. Now get back in your seat, and wait for further instruction.”
Mission wasn’t sure if she could, but somehow, she did. She settled back into her assigned seat and spent the rest of the flight shaking, and trying to even out her breathing. She tried meditating, but her brain was still crackling with static from the shock she’d received. Her father and Aunt Kaytren had spent a good amount of time teaching her the basics of the healing arts - she could even heal cuts and bruises, though she didn’t seem to be very good at healing her own. Either way, she knew she’d be able to focus again eventually, so she tried not to panic. It was an effort with mixed results. It seemed every time she made progress, another obstacle arose to make further progress impossible.
Something would break her way - Mission knew this - she just had to be ready when it did. However long it took.