Everything Changes


Rebecca Miller and Renee Gunn

Mikala palmed the entry code on the house. She just wanted to get inside and find some place to sleep. Someplace to get away from-- She sighed deeply as the door opened and she slipped inside out of the Nar Shaadda night.

Zeruah followed her inside, watching her with slight unnoticeable concern.

Mikala shuffled into the house and shucked off her jacket and let it fall to the floor followed quickly by her boots and belt. She headed to the couch and dropped down on it wearily, curling into a ball on the soft cushions.

Zeruah tilted her head and slowly starts to pick everything up and put it up neatly. She moved to a closet and pulled out a blanket carrying it over to Mikala. "Do you need anything?"

She shook her head, her dark hair obscuring her face. She shifted and her far too loose blouse slid down over a bony shoulder.

"I'll have a tray of food brought up and some tea." Zeruah said. She gently covered her with the blanket.

"I'm not hungry," Mikala said, pulling the blanket around her shoulders. "Thank you though."

Zeruah raised an eyebrow. "You are far too thin. You need to eat something."

She sighed softly. "I don't feel well, alright. I'm not hungry. Though--" she paused, shifting to sit up. "Some tea would be nice."

Zeruah watched her. "Some tea and broth. You need nourishment."

Mikala pushed her hair back from her face. "Fine."

Zeruah bowed slightly. "Would you like a bath drawn for you?"

She pondered that a long moment and then nodded. "That sounds nice. I need--" she looked down at the clothes she was wearing and shuddered. "I need to get into things of my own."

Zeruah moved to her closet and removes some of her more comfortable lounging clothes and a robe. "I will draw you a bath if you wish to take those things off. If you leave them over there I will have them destroyed."

Mikala got up slowly and started to disrobe. "Thank you."

Zeruah watched her for a moment and frowned. "Do you wish to discuss anything?"

Mikala cinched the robe around her and kicked the last of the clothing the medical personnel on Sharkardour had given her away from her. "I made a fool of myself, Zeruah. I let a man use me and I was fool enough not to see it."

Zeruah picked up the clothing listening to her. "He will pay for his indiscretions. We shall see to that. You were blinded, but you were not the only one."

Mikala gave her a weary, questioning look.

Zeruah moved to another room to draw the bath before returning. "He is a deceiver. It is his way. He has deceived many before you and will continue to do so. However, he did not count on you being so strong."

Mikala gave a derisive snort, cradling her left wrist in her right hand. She looked down at the faint scar on the inside of the wrist. "You're wrong there, my old friend."

Zeruah watched her, "We all have a moment of weakness, but only those who are truly strong, come back."

She nodded slowly. "You did what I told you to do? Used the ring as I told you to?"

Zeruah nodded, "It was done."

She nodded. "And I've taken care of the other errand that demanded immediate attention. Did you take care of Hudak as well?"

"It has been handled." She moves to the door and checks the bath. "Your bath is ready."

Mikala nodded and got up slowly. What little color that was in her face drained and she swayed on her feet. She took a moment and gathered herself before heading into the 'fresher.

Zeruah stepped closer, watching her carefully.

Mikala headed into the 'fresher and closed the door firmly behind her.

Zeruah readied her bed for her and turned the lights low and put on some soft music. She left briefly returning with hot tea and broth for her, setting it beside the bed, some warm bread on the tray as well, should she wish it. She waited the clothes laid out.

It was close to an hour before Mikala finally emerged, her pale skin flushed and nearly raw from scrubbing and hot water. Her hair was wrapped up in a towel, dark ringlets escaping to hang about her face.

Zeruah stood, still waiting, the broth and tea and bread still warm.

Mikala sighed deeply and headed to the small vanity stand and let the towel fall to the floor and she picked up a brush and started brushing out her tangled wet hair.

Zeruah watched and headed over to her taking the brush from her and brushing her hair. "You will rest and eat once your hair is brushed."

Mikala nodded and closed her eyes. "All right."

Zeruah gently brushed her hair. "We were concerned for your well being until we received word from you."

"Were you?" she asked wryly in a tired voice. "Were your really worried or just concerned where your next pay check was coming from?"

"I can not speak for the others, but I was concerned for you."

"Why?" Mikala asked in a bewildered oddly flat voice.

"I would not like to see you harmed after you saved my life those many years ago."

She sighed and said softly under her breath. "Obligation."

"I consider you to be a friend."

Mikala turned slowly to look at her. "Why? What have I ever done that would make you want to be my friend? You were forced to be here because you were a slave. I freed you, but I made you stay and be my assistant. I never asked you what you wanted. I just told you what I wanted. A friend doesn't do that."

"You have never mistreated me. You have given me everything. I never have need to ask for anything. And I believe were I to need your help, you would give it freely." Zeruah watched her. "Now, tell me from the beginning so that

you may began to heal."

Mikala looked up at her standing there, her pale green eyes filled with concern. She could feel her concern pouring off in waves. Genuine concern and not just something she was pretending to be polite.

Before she realized what she was doing, the story spilled out of her from when she first met Xanatos to his capture and her joining up with Matthews to try to free Xanatos to the attack by the Jedi that had nearly ripped her mind and soul apart. Her pain and confusion after the attack and the reunion with Xanatos when he tried to ease her pain and promised to care for. The trip to Shardarkour and the Healing by Master Serris Sugerre and confusion of feelings the Jedi had awakened in her. The trip to the cabin and Xanatos' sudden strange, distant attitude to her and her subsequent breakdown and attempt on her life. She hadn't really meant it, but she just had had not idea what else to do. Then of the Jedi healer who had saved her and Xanatos' warmth and care while she was in the medical wing. She told her of the proposal and then his revelation that he had shared his bed with another and she carried his child. His profession of his love for both of them and the dagger of pain his words had shoved into her heart. His betrayal of her trust and love. Two things she had not shared with another since her grandmother's death. Two things she thought had died with her Grandmother. He took those and used those to his own purpose, to satisfy his own ego and appetites.

Zeruah listened thoughtfully and carefully. "We will see that he pays for what he has taken from you and done to you. He will regret having have ever attempted to harm you. Now come and rest."

Mikala nodded mutely, tears slipping down her cheeks as Zeruah helped her to her feet and guided her toward the sleep couch.

Zeruah frowned watching her. She was unaccustomed to experiencing a emotional display like this from Mikala. She was uncertain as to how she should handle this. She only hoped that by handling it as she would with others, it would

work here.

Mikala sniffed. "Why are you being so good to me? You've always been good to me."

"I do not know, it is merely how it has always been. You have been good to me, and I will always be good to you."

Mikala gave her a small smile. "I don't ever think I've ever thanked you for anything before."

"You have not, but it was understood." Zeruah settled the tray in her lap as Mikala settled in the bed. "Eat and drink the tea. It will help."

She nodded and nibbled at the bread and took a few sips of the tea.

Zeruah watched her. "I trust you have plans for this Xanatos?"

She nodded slowly. "I want to make him pay. What I've done so far will hurt him, but he'll recover. His joining up with Alderson will make things more difficult. He's got more leverage than I do right now. I need to find a way to even the playing field."

"Do yo have a plan?"

"I'm working on one. I need to learn to control my Force ability before I go much farther." Mikala looked over at the vanity table and

a small glass perfume bottle rose slowly and the abruptly shot across the room to smash into a wall. She frowned. "That was supposed to come over here."

Zeruah raised a brow. "Training will help then."

Mikala sighed and leaned back into the pillows behind her wearily. "I'm not sure who to even try to contact to find out who. There's no way on Hoth I'm going to ask the Jedi for help."

"Perhaps one of the renegades."

"But how to get in contact with one."

"Put out a general transmission?"

She shook her head. "No telling who would pick that up." She thought for a long moment. "Of course," she said abruptly. "Sonya Wells.

She's soft headed enough to respond to a sob story and would have the contacts to find a someone."

"Would you like me to contact her?"

Mikala nodded. "Yes. Let her know I'm looking for someone to train someone in the Force. Let her know some of the details about Lord DuCruet but nothing specific, draw on her sympathies."

Zeruah nodded, "I shall do it right away."

Mikala shifted the tray away. "Thank you." She looked at her. "I'm going to try to remember to say that to you from now on."

Zeruah smiled, "There is no need. Now, rest and I will take care of that transmission."

Mikala shifted the tray for Zeruah to take it. She took it and stood up. "Rest and I will come check on you in a bit."

She nodded and shifted down under the covers, turning her back to Zeruah.

Zeruah watched her quietly before leaving.

Mikala shifted restlessly before finally settling down into an exhausted sleep.


Zeruah entered Mikala's room and gently drew the drapes after setting a tray of food on the table.

"Good morning," Mikala said from where she sat in a dark corner of the room.

Zeruah nodded, "Good morning. You are not in bed anymore?"

She shook her head.

"And did you get some sleep?"

"Some," she said, shifting to get up. "Did you send the transmission?"

Zeruah watched her. "Yes I did. I have not yet heard back. Eat something."

Mikala drifted over to the tray and picked up a piece of toast. "Do you know where those things from my Grandmother's place were stored?"

Zeruah nodded. "I do."

"Can you get it for me?'

"I shall."

She nodded, nibbling on the toast, wandering over to the window to look out at the gray dingy light of morning.

Zeruah watched her. "Why do you wish them now?"

"I don't know," she said softly. "I haven't though about my Grandmother in a long time. I guess I just want to see what I can jog my memory with ."

"Would you like it now?"

"Yes," she said and then belatedly added, "please."

Zeruah bowed and exited to retrieve what Mikala wished to see.

Mikala was showered, dressed, and sitting at the vanity table when Zeruah returned. She handed her an old battered wood case.

Mikala took it and carried it over to the small table by the window and opened it. She set out the few things in it. A small plastine box, a weathered wooden carved bantha on wheels, all but one of the wheels broken off, a battered pile of data cubes, and a faded ribbon of gimersilk. She sighed. So few things to mark ones life. This was all of her life with her Grandmother that remained.

Zeruah watched, "Would you like to be alone?"

She sighed. "No, it's alright." She smiled a little, holding up the little bantha. "This was one of the few toys I had growing up."

Zeruah smiled watching her. "What are you looking for?"

"I don't know," she said. "I've just been thinking about my Grandmother a lot lately." She shook her head. "I haven't given her much thought in years." She opened the battered plastine box and gave a small exhalation of surprise. "I thought this was gone."

"What is it?"

Mikala pulled out a ring on a broken chain and held it in the palm of her hand. A coat of arms decorated the simple ring. "This was my father's," she said. "I thought my Mother destroyed it when she took me from my Grandmother's."

"Your father. Is he alive?"

She shrugged. "Who knows. I don't even know who he is."

"Would you like to know him?"

That question took Mikala off guard. She had never given her Father much though since she was very small. "I don't know," she said truthfully. She rolled the ring around on her palm. "My Grandmother use to tell me the most wonderful stories about my Father. How he was great Lord of some system and that someday I would find him and be a great Lady." She chuckled. "Fairytales to make me behave."

"Fairytales can come true sometimes. If he is alive, perhaps we could find him."

She sighed deeply. "What good would that do now?" She looked down at the ring. "I know nothing about him other than his name, Torin Stellas, or at least that's what my Mother said his name was. She told me about him once. He wasn't a great Lord, like my Grandmother told me. He was a poor farm kid from a back water planet. He had gotten hooked up with the Rebel Alliance and that's where she met him. She said she tried to find him once, be he had been killed by the Empire."

"You have a name and a background. Now we just need to have the right people to get the information, which we do. "

Mikala ran her thumb over the coat of arms on the ring's face. It was a signet ring. That wasn't something a poor farm boy would be likely to have. "My Mother could have lied about him being dead. She lied about so many things over the years, what's one more thing?" She looked up at Zeruah. "See what you can find out about this and what you can find out about the name Torin Stellas."

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