The Meeting

Part One amalgamation of twists and turns that can plunge a person
 along a path so completely unexpected it makes them stop and wonder
 what is really happening. The event itself could be such a minor
 thing that the individual shrugs and gets on with their life or it
 could be something large enough to stand up, slap you in the face,
 and force you to take notice.

 An event had definitely occurred, but as of yet the individuals
 involved really hadn't  considered the long reaching ramifications
 and chain of events it was unleashing in the Galaxy. Imperial plots
 countered by Rebel plots countered yet again by Rebel
 become subplots countered by subplots with contingency plans. But
 that belongs to the future.


 The conference room was full...every available member of the house
 was present including Kylie, the Jedi trainee. Darana watched as
 Kylie and Rachel intently searched through planetary charts. They
 were looking for systems that could match the one both Rachel and
 Darana saw. It wasn't much to go on but it was something.  That
 combined with potential members of the 33rd Rogor Slashers,
 Mechanized Regiment.  The unit commanded by major Rose was another
 clue. They had another hope for Serris; Rachel's psychometry.

 Rachel gazes at the map through half-closed eyelids, barely seeing
 it.  My mind's eye is firmly focused on the images I received from
 Serris, irregardless of the pain; my concentration is adamantine.

 A flicker of memory intrudes on me; and for a moment, I see myself
 as a child, sitting crosslegged opposite my favorite "aunt"--the
 gentle Jedi healer whose dark skin and startlingly blue eyes are
 framed by long, white hair.  Her mind is firmly shielded against the
 telepathy I've been using for as long as I've been speaking, and
 with the same ease. Thinking hard about the piece of candy I've been
 promised, I touch each of the Jedi's closed fists. Something seems
 to lights up inside me when I touch her right hand. I tap on that
 hand and straighten, looking expectantly up at my mother's best
 friend. Her slender brown hand opens to reveal the piece of candy,
 which I snatch up triumphantly. It's hard to tell which one of us is
 more excited about my having managed to focus my wild  talent...

 Impatiently, Rachel stuffs the memory in a drawer and slam it shut. I have no
 time for such sentimental nonsense now. Nothing matters now but
 Serris.  I trace the patterns of the star systems lightly with my
 fingertips, fiercely willing myself to *feel* which planet the Jedi
 healer's cry for help might have come from. It doesn't matter that
 my psychometry is an untamed, unreliable Gift: I will force it to do
 my bidding. I will accept no alternative.


 Kylie felt the slight frown on her face as she watched Rachel work,
 and let it fade on her next exhale.  "Work" was the right word, and
 in Kylie's opinion that was the problem; but her opinion had not
 been solicited, nor would it be helpful to express it at this
 point.  The fierceness and grim determination with which Rachel
 seemed to approach the Force, and indeed her own identity, were more
 in evidence than ever--and, to Kylie's mind, setting up even more of
 an obstacle to the woman's goals and destiny.

 But this was the wrong time to speak.

 Eric caught Darana's attention and handed her a Data Pad. "Avon's
 trying to get a trace but it is unlikely. The signal was too short
 and travelled through too many transmission points."

 Darana frowned then paled as she read the message. "Can I have
 everyone's attention please," She paused briefly then began reading
 the transmission.

 Good Morning Rebel Alliance:

 My group has obtain six of your personnel.  One being a Major as
 well as a  Jedi knight by the look of her.  We have one Captain and
 one Lt.  The rest are  unlisted personnel.  If you would like to
 have them in one piece you release  Rose and Kyra Matthews into our
 custody.  Otherwise your personnel will be  sent back to you once
 piece at a time in a body bag.  You have one day to respond before
 we start chopping and killing.

 Please respond to X215215885545.

 Have a nice day.

 Supporters To Free Rose X215215885545

 If anyone ever questioned Darana's darkness, they wouldn't now. The
 thought of these terrorists making such demands infuriated her.  Her
 muscles tensed, making her mood obvious. Slowly she scanned the room
 looking for everyone else's reactions.

 Shade, as usual, was considering the situation carefully, "They
 don't specify what condition Rose and Matthews need be in. Kill them
 both, Rook and I will deliver the bodies and begin the slaughter as
 the rest of you get Serris back."

 Eric glanced at Shade, a smile touched Eric's lips and he shook his
 head.  "That might be a little rash, Shade.  For Matthews at least I
 need her alive, and you should know it.  She is currently working
 for me, or rather us and it would be very wastefull to kill her out
 of hand considering the information we've been getting from her.  I
 would rather not see her destroyed, at least not yet."  Eric looked
 toward Darana.


 Rachel remembers the capture of Cololonel Kyra Matthews very well: It
 was part of the final proof of her loyalty to the Household and the
 Empire, and her break with the Alliance. It was Rachel's knowledge
 of her inner demons that enabled us to take her down. Afterward, I'd
 visited the Colonel in her cell. A flicker of grim amusement almost
 passes over her face  as she recalls the little playlet the two of
 them acted out. Rachel is sure she freaked her out a bit with the
 cruelty of some of her words. But she'd also deliberately left the
 Intel operative with the impression that she might not have joined
 the Household of her own free will. It seemed like a good idea at
 the time...

 On the other hand, while she know that Eric was handling Kyra, She
 doesn't know anything about her current situation. Rachel imagines
 she was re-educated and sent back to Intel to spy for us. It's what
 she would've done with her. anything about her current situation.


 Darana noded her agreement. "The Colonel is too useful to waste in
 this manner.  Rose on the other hand, I have no such use for."

 Eric shruged, "couldn't care less about him."
 Rachel glanced up from the map. "That Rose should have been plucked
 a long time ago," she agreed darkly, remembering the visions of his
 people slaughtering the two Alliance captains and their units. Anger
 emanated from her in nearly palpable waves, causing nearby Kylie to
 wonder at the sudden increase in temperature in the room.

 "The only problem is digging him out of whatever hole the Alliance
 has been hiding him in. I know they had to put him under incredibly
 tight security just to avoid anyone from the _Alliance_
 assassinating him. If we can't trace this transmission," she
 continued, with a brief glance at Avon, hard at work, "how are we
 going to find *him*?"

 Shade once again spoke up, "Darana, how difficult would it be to
 show me how to inhabit Rose's body? I'd go in as him, keep Matthews
 alive and get a signal to you as to where I am. *Then* begin the
 slaughter once Serris is safe."


 Rachel  stares down at the map. From her time melded with Darana's
 darker half, she knows that this is a skill she does has never
 taught! And back when Darana was first put back together, Rachel
 suspects that Shade had been getting closer to her than Darana
 liked. Would Darana really allow him close enough to learn that
 devastatingly powerful trick?

Go to:
Part 2