They shared a suite of rooms with an adjoining common area. Tara showed Victoria the areas she could go and warned her which were off limits. Her skills as a thief kicked in and she had the areas memorized quickly. Who knows it could prove useful later on down the line.
The rest of the day proved uneventful. Victoria spent it going over the light saber theory, she was eager to build one for her own, while Tara and Topaz had wandered elsewhere.
Victoria entered the practice area to find her mentor had already arrived. Mentally Tara acknowledged Victoria's arrival, "I'll be done" pause, dodging of blaster bolts, "in a moment. " More dodging of blaster bolts.
What appeared to be several battle droids surrounded the edge of the room, which had been arranged into an elaborate obstacle course. Each droid fired randomly as Tara wound her way around the last half of the course.
Tara carried no light saber or offensive weapon of her own. It was clearly a practice of concentration and avoidance; concentrate on the task at hand while avoiding external influences. She was in her element. The course was arranged in such a manner that even the most skilled of acrobats could not reach most of the obstacles. The feats were impossible without use of The Force.
Victoria watched as Tara finished the course. The final obstacle held a small transmitter which, when activated, caused the droids to line up against the back wall, shutting themselves down. Tara finished it with the same practiced ease as the rest of the course. Picking up a towel she joined her apprentice on the side.
"Nothing like a good work out to center the mind. Eh Victoria?"
The other girl nodded absently, focusing on the last of the droids.
Tara smiled briefly, " Not enough to kill. But certainly enough to send me to the medical wing if I got hit."
Victoria's lips parted in a silent "oh".
"We have to face the reality of our situation. If I am out somewhere trying to accomplish a task and I am ambushed," She laughed remembering her own training, "There's no benefit of a weapon set on stun. And if it is set on stun, then I guarantee you, what will await you when you wake up...it won't be pretty."
Victoria's gaze settled on Tara, then she nodded.
'A creature of few words.' Tara thought to herself. 'Well time to dig.'
"Victoria," She began hesitantly, "Why do you believe your father killed your mother?"
The response came slowly and was backed by a large amount of anger. "Because he wasn't home that night."
Not exactly what she was looking for. New tactic, "He was out of town wasn't he?"
"No." Victoria responded emphatically, "He always told us when he was leaving and he didn't tell us he was leaving."
"I see." Was all Tara could respond with. There were a million reasons why he may not have told his young daughter he was leaving town. And a million more why the mother may have also kept it a secret from her daughter. If the pair were separating or he was doing some work for the Alliance.
Although the records did not indicate that either of them worked covertly for the Alliance. Nor did the police report or any of the other records she had found in both Alliance's records and in Imperial records show any reason for the husband to kill his wife. Besides, the waitress at the bar had placed him there at the time of the murder. No there were too many unanswered questions. There was no way to tell anything. Perhaps the waitress was the husbands mistress and vouched for him. Why was the police report so vague. Did he buy someone off.
Tara looked back over to Victoria. "What do you want to do about this situation Victoria?"
Tara held her breath. Had she read the girl wrong?
"Find the truth."
She hadn't. The teenager was just in a lot of pain. And that pain would have to be dealt with one step at a time; beginning with her mother's death. "I am going to give you the ability to find that truth. It won't be easy. In fact it will be long and difficult."
Victoria looked up at her, "How?"
An almost predatory smile spread across Tara's lips. Then instantly she leapt into Victoria's mind.
Victoria started, then relaxed. She looked up and met Tara's silver eyes. The sheer force of her invasion was unnerving. But even more so, was the realization that somehow, if she wanted to, Tara could shred Victoria's mind beyond repair. She would be beyond the help of any Healer.
The Alderson inheritance. The real family secret. Few Alderson children with the ability survived into their teenage years. The family 'gift' destroyed them before they could master it. The lucky ones simply had their force potential burned out by it. The unlucky ones left behind living husks and weeping kinsman.
Slowly and gently Tara guided Victoria into her mind. " You will need to learn to do this easily without benefit of our link."
The pair spent the next several hours working on this technique. Finally Tara was satisfied with Victoria's progress. "That's good Victoria. Why don't you go grab a bite to eat and meet me back here in one hour."
Victoria nodded her agreement as Tara rose and left the room with Topaz following close behind.
During her 'lunch break' Tara wandered down to the detention level. Normally Tara would not use a prisoner as a training tool but, Victoria was going to need an uncooperative subject. And you could count on a prisoner being the most uncooperative of subjects. Especially when it came to waltzing through their minds.
"I will need a Non Force Sensitive." She told the Duty Officer, "If you have something, preferably in a rebel."
Using a prisoner was also a test for Victoria. If she balked at the cruelty and injustice of it all, then a problem would exist. However, if she does as Tara suspects she will and simply sets herself to the task at hand, then all is fine.
The Duty Officer explained to Tara that such a person was available. They had captured a group of rebels and one of them was still on board. Apparently there had not been enough time to transport him to proper facilities. In fact, he was proving resistant to standard interrogation methods. By pure luck this exercise would be to both their benefits.
Tara asked Topaz to check the prisoners restraints while she checked him out of the detention facility. He did so but shot her a look that said she was going to hear about this later. Briefly she wondered why he stayed with her as her body guard. Tara finished the paperwork and set up the workout room's monitor on the duty officers console. He would have a full log of everything that transpired. She wasn't pleased about this but felt it was necessary. She would want a visual record of Victoria's progress for later review.
The appointed time came and Victoria entered the room once again. Her eyes were drawn to the immediate left corner of the room. There sat a man in a tan uniform, gagged, and very thoroughly immobilized. His presence explained the addition of the guards outside the workout room.
Victoria noticed that Topaz had taken up position on the far wall. He looked relaxed and neutral as always, but there was something about his demeanor that told Victoria he was not a happy bodyguard.
"Ah Victoria. Good. Ready to begin?" Tara asked.
She nodded her agreement.
Tara nodded back, "Now just as you entered my mind without the link reach out and feel his mind."
Victoria looked between Tara and the prisoner. Unsure of what to do.
"Move closer and touch him if it will help you."
She moved in slowly and sat down next to him, placing her hand on his left knee.
"Good Victoria, now feel his energy."
The man was glaring up at her. Somehow she felt detached from him, from the whole process. This didn't last long. As soon as she entered his mind she found herself standing in a sand pit wondering how she had gotten there and why.
Tara's voice came to her, "This is his way of defending himself."
"What do I do?" She asked, confused.
ear down the image it isn't real."
"Tear it apart with your mind."
Victoria sighed, wondering how she can tear it apart. Tara was being less than helpful.
Suddenly Tara appeared next to her in the sand, "See this as nothing more than the false image it is and punch a hole through it with your mind." She paused, "Rip it apart like a piece of paper."
Ah finally something Victoria understood. She focused on the scenery in front of her and imagined it ripping apart. It started to rip but then just as quickly repaired itself. With each set back Victoria began again. She was determined not to be defeated. She would find the way.
Tara offers a few more suggestions to add increase the strength and power behind her attack. Victoria does so and soon panicky thoughts begin to creep into the air around them. She pauses to listen to the prisoner. He is frantic wondering why he is there. What is about to happen to him. Is she going to kill him. He is glad that he has some strength left to fight her.
Tara urges Victoria to explore his mind, "Go in further and see what deep hidden secrets he has that he does not want you to know."
Listening to Tara, Victoria shreds the remnants of the sandpit and goes deeper into his mind. She can sense that he is physically fighting against restraints . Somewhere he has found the courage to summon up the memories of his most recent interrogation session.
Victoria is hit by overwhelming sensations of pain and anger. Briefly she sees herself in the interrogation chair, drugs dripping into her from an IV, all supervised by one officer and an interrogation droid. She grasps the pain and makes it her own. Using it to delve further into his mind. It hurts her and is difficult.
Again, as if from nowhere, she senses Tara's thoughts, " Catch the pain and emotions and hurl it back at him as you would throw a ball back to the pitcher."
"Like throwing my pain at him?"
"Exactly, throw back at him what he is trying to give to you. Double his agony"
It is difficult for her at first but she starts to make him feel her pain. The pain that he had been feeding her. He lets out a scream around the gag, his body trembling and shaking. Soon his mind is crippled and open to her. He crumbles beneath her steady onslaught.
Tara makes a mental, next session, don't drown your subject.
For the first time the prisoners mind was essentially an open book to Victoria. She eagerly sought out the thoughts he was trying to hide form his previous interrogators. They were questioning him about his raid on an Imperial outpost. This was the raid he had been captured on. Yes the interrogators were asking him about his contacts. How has he gotten onto the world. It was their a brief flash, an image, then it was gone. He was still showing some resistance, trying to hide it. That glimpse was enough though all she needed. Victoria's memory was perfect. It was a young man, well dressed, appeared to be of high standing in community...someone she would pick out to steal from.
"A name, I want his name." Victoria hurls her thoughts at him forcefully. They are like a sledge hammer breaking glass. The name comes to her. The man is Devon Kaga, an independently wealthy academic. He has been helping alliance personnel to infiltrate various posts on the planet for the last year. This comes to her in a combination of thoughts and images.
Victoria, satisfied, begins to pull out. She hears Tara's voice once again, "Knock him unconscious. I don't want him screaming all the way back to detention."
"Use your anger." Tara counseled, " The anger towards your father and Octavia. Overwhelm him with them as he was trying to do to you."
Unsure of herself, she begins to throw angry memories at him.
"No" Tara stops her, "Not the memories. Only the feelings. Never give yourself or any insight into you to your enemies or those under your power. Not like this. Use the memories for your benefit but throw out only the feelings."
Victoria stops in mid-stride and immediately throws out the feelings only. The prisoner screamed involuntarily, then slumped into the corner.
The session had been more productive than Tara expected it to be. She gained a wealth of insight into the young girl. She held more pain, anger, and frustration than anyone Tara had ever seen. She actually felt pity for the prisoner hit with all of that. Victoria was a girl torn up on the inside.
Victoria opened her eyes as Tara called for the guards to remove the prisoner. Tara waits to speak until after they leave, " How are you feeling?"
She considers the question for a while, "Weird...very weird.."
Tara nods, "Describe it to me."
"It was intense, new," She spoke in low tones, recalling everything that happened, "It was strange to use my anger and pain against another"
"Yes it would be." Tara recalled her first session like this. It was strange and intense. But there was something else she thought she saw, "Did you enjoy it?"
Tara watched Victoria very closely, monitoring her words, her body language, and her feelings. A smile touched her lips, "Yes" she paused, realization coming to bear in her mind, " I actually enjoyed..it.."
"Victoria look at me." Tara waited for her to comply before speaking further, "You are in control of your life now. This is only the beginning. No one will abandon you. No one will be able to betray you now. You will hold the power of life and death in your hands. You must learn to control it and you must also learn to respect the lives which you will hold."
Victoria stares at Tara, into her silver eyes, taking in the information
"This" Tara emphasizes, " is how you will learn the truth about your mother."
Victoria displays a half smile at the mention of finding the truth.
"Enough for now you need your rest. You should keep a journal record the your sessions; what you did, how you did, what you found easy, what was difficult, and how you felt about these experiences."
The girls nod was barely perceptible. She was off somewhere else, "Alright."
"We will review it every month together. There are to be no secrets between us in regards to your training."
A barely audible, "yes" escaped her mouth.
Tara's brows furrow, "It is important. For me to give you the fullest training possible that this happen between us." It was evident that Victoria was reliving what she had just been through. Nothing she said right now was permeating very deep into Victoria's mind. Tara had no doubt the young girl would remember everything she said and follow through but it was enough. She lightens up and relaxes.
Once again smiling, Tara stands and holds out her hand to help Victoria. Which Victoria distantly accepts.
"Go back to your quarters; clean up and rest. It has been an excellent session."
Victoria nods and stands.
"I'll wake you for dinner if you are not up by then."
Again, a shake of the head.
Tara watched as her apprentice headed out the door. It was going to take some time and work to get through the emotions balled up in that one. She was also going to have to be very careful to keep further sessions at a lower level of intensity. Overall though it had been good. In time, Victoria would be the answer Tara sought.
Victoria laid curled up on her bunk. The time she spent with Tara as she trained was new and hard. Victoira was in deep thought, thinking about Hurting another with her own feeling and emotions it was kind of neat. For all that time dealing with her mother's death and father always lying to her it was a new way she thought she could get back at him. This really was going to change. All she wanted was justice for her mother's death.
As she thought, Victoria thought if there was a way she could of saved her mother. Her father, Marcus was indeed acting strangely. There must of been a way if she saw it coming her mother would still be alive. Victoria couldn't explain it, for a certain unknown reason she felt it was her fault that her mother died.
Police reports said that her mother probably died in her sleep, but she didn't believe it. Her mother wasn't sick, and she knew her father was behind this or knew about it-either way her father had known. In the end Victoria knew she would hopefully find the truth.