A Walk Down Memory Lane Part III

By Dora Furlong, Patrick Furlong, and Amanda Wilcoxen


Topaz waited for Victoria to leave.

"You know, I usually don't have to write my contracts so that
protection from one's self is included."

Tara let out a short laugh, "Yeah well it wasn't intentional." She
moved past him, preparing to TK the wreckage into one pile," Besides
it happens in training from time to time. It's nothing serious, it
will not effect my abilities and I will heal..." She paused, she had
almost said 'my father', "My instructors put me through far worse in

"I hope it was worth while," he said softly."I would ask that you do
your best to keep yourself as healthy as possible.  Allowing your
self to be injured like this will be a hinderence should we face some
sort of problem," he continued in a normal tone.  "Will you be
needing anything else tonight?"

His words echoed in her mind. She tried to let it go, but failed.
The years of denial and supression of her anger towards her fathers
death crashed in on her. Tara turned to face her protector. "What?"
She snapped, "Am I supposed to stop training because I could get
scratched? I assure you I have done nothing to myself that will be a
hinderance nor will I do anything that would become a hinderance." If
she thought it would do any good she would have offered to spar with
him on the spot. But it wouldn't.

Instead, she briefly turned back to the ruined droids, drew upon her
pain and anger, and crushed them into one solid mass. It drained the
last of her strenth. The anger had left her, despair remained in it's
wake. Topaz was only looking out for her. She knew that. It was his
job. And he was right. If only he had never found out. Weakly she
faced him again. "I'm sorry." She apologized quietly. She had never
felt so lost and hurt. "I.." She stopped, not sure of what to say.


Topaz was unprepared for the sudden outburst.  He had instantly
reached for his sword when Tara had mashed the bits of droid to
pulp.  When she turned on him again he was still falling into a
combat stance his right hand behind his back, reaching for his

When she turned back to him, he was instantly abashed.  He had not
been prepared for her reaction.  He suddenly felt very self conscious
for the first time in many years.  He hid his reaction, he was sure
Tara had seen the flush rising at his colar.  He relaxed and
straightened up in one movement.

"The fault is mine, I am out of place.  I apologize.  Will you need
anything else?"

"No." She replied, her voice still low, "You were right. You're just
doing your job." She paused and pulled herself upright, "Please take
me back to my quarters. The maintenance droids can handle the rest of
that." She generally indicated the crushed and twisted metal.

Topaz stepped forward and offered his left arm to her for support.
This would put him at a disadvantage should there be violence toward
the contract, but he felt relatively safe in letting himself be at
that small disadvantage in these surroundings.

Surprised by his offer, Tara accepted. Grateful for the assistance
she allowed herself to be led back to her room.

Topaz guided her though the mostly empty ships corridors.  As always
he was unconsciously scanning with his eyes all around him.  His
other defensive systems were ever vigilant.

Topaz brought Tara to their quarters and helped her to her bedroom.

"You will be all right."  It was mostly a statement, but also had the
slight ring of a question to it.

She nodded to him, to tired to speak. She walked to the bed and collapsed
from exhaustion. 

Topaz left.  He closed and sealed Tara's quarters.  He sent commands
to the ship's security system to let him know when she was up and
moving again and if she left the room.

Topaz went to his quarters next door, he could have used the
adjoining door but felt better having inspected the outside door
himself once it was sealed.  He stripped out of his combat rig and
laid it out so it was easily accessible.  He crawled into bed and lay
on his back.

"Well that was dumb," he said out loud to himself.  It had been a
long time since he had spoken to a contract that way.  It also had
been along time, he admitted to himself, since a contract had
deserved it as much.  Still, that didn't make it right, he knew
better than to point out a contracts flaws to them.  Especially when
they were in such a secure environment, if they had been on tatooine
still it would have been different, but...  Ah well nothing to be
done now.

Sleep would not come on it's own.  Topaz had two adrenilin rushes
tonight, the first from Victoria's alarm, and the second from his
daring to talk back to a contract, and the very real chance that she
was going to attack him.  He didn't know what to make of that.  He
had misjudged her.  He had never been very good and understanding
Force Users.  The things they went through, and the power they
wielded were mysteries to him.

Topaz drew in a deep breath.  He needed to sleep, these thoughts
could wait for another time, long down the road.  He began to cycle
through the meditation and relaxation exercises, taught to him long
ago to bring sleep in tense situations.  He was soon sleeping, or as
close as he ever came to that state.

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