********** 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 training." "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 weapon. 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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