Specters of the Past
Mikala slipped silently out of the house. She smiled to herself. She had a few hours of solitude before the others woke. She had to admit she kind of liked having a family. Though she protested at all the fuss they were making over her, she was enjoying herself. She was dreading the though of having to leave this place. Her house on Nar Shaadda and especially her apartment on Coruscant were going to feel...empty.
She walked slowly into the gardens, the familiar weight of her lightsaber slapping against her thigh. She didn't notice the soft tread of feline feet behind her as Goldie shadowed her.
She picked at the strap to the sling that held her right arm close to her chest. She shifted it a bit and frowned as the cumbersome back brace that enclosed her torso dug into her ribs. Soon, soon, she would be free of these and very soon all the scars would be gone. She smiled to herself. She wouldn't have to worry about making sure the scars were covered to avoid the pitying looks or intrusive questions. She'd look like a normal human being again not like some kind of sideshow freak or medical experiment gone wrong.
Mikala looked around and found her steps had led her back to Keiren's garden. She smiled as she thought of the little boy...she caught herself, her little brother. He was a sweet kid. He was such an innocent. Sandy and her Father were right to bring in that Jedi to teach him. He didn't need his kind spirit tainted by their darkness. Her thoughts turned to the Jedi, Darien. He wasn't at all what she had expected of a Jedi. She sighed deeply feeling the back brace constrict her chest. She was finding many of her expectation of people had nothing to do with reality. Her Grandmother had lied to her just as much as her Mother had. That knowledge hurt her even more than DuCruet's betrayal had.
A dark shape settled behind the bushes at her back undetected, watching. Golden eyes following her movements with interest.
Mikala slipped her lightsaber free from her belt and ignited it. She slipped off the sling and tossed it aside. She carefully extended her right arm and smiled as it straightened out fully. It felt tight, but it moved. She stepped through a few simple katas warming up. She hurt, but she was expecting that and welcomed it. Pain sharpened her focus far more effectively than any exercise her Grandmother had taught her ever had. She drew the Force tightly around her guiding her movements and enclosing her in shadow, hiding her from prying eyes. She slowly, but steadily worked through the exercises. She didn't know how long she had been at it when the back brace finally got the better of her. She could barely move in it. She sighed Sandy would probably have her head, but if she was careful, she'd never know.
Mikala powered down her lightsaber and clipped it back to her belt. She eased off the heavy over shirt she was wearing against the chill in the night air and started tugging at the straps that held the bulky brace in place. She sighed in relief as the restrictive brace slid off. As long as she stood perfectly still, it didn't hurt too badly. She smiled tightly to herself standing still wasn't her plan. She wanted to see just how much movement she had back. The work the physical therapists were doing with her was all well and good, but she needed to see just how far she could push herself.
She started again, slowly, painfully pushing herself through the katas again. Her legs felt weak and wobbly, her back felt like it had been set on fire, and she could barely move her right arm, but she had done it. She sank to her knees, drenched in sweat. Her thin tunic clinging to her damply. She panted to get her breath and shivered a bit in the chill air. She let out a deep breath and closed her eyes, resting a moment.
She could feel the Force swirl around her. She reached out with her mind to touch it and it flooded into her, filling her. She let her mind drift away in its vastness. She let it carry her farther and farther. She felt something familiar and reached for it. She knew that presence. Anger flooded through her. The Jedi.
Mikala let her anger propel her forward to confront the other presence.
Sharra turned, guarding herself. She raised her eyebrows as she recognized the other woman.
*You,* Mikala said in an accusing voice. *You're the one who did this.*
*You attacked me,* she said, moving closer. *You tried to kill me. Why?*
*It was combat, you were on the other side, and you were certainly willing to kill,* she said coolly.
*Kill who?* Mikala asked in confusion. * That Alliance woman? Silo wanted her, not me. I was just there to intimidate her to cooperate.*
*You are an assassin, yes?*
*Yes, but I wasn't there as that. I don't just kill for killing sake.* Her voice dropped a bit. * I just wanted him back. I never intended that woman
*You attacked. Those were the consequences.*
Mikala stared, her indignation rising. *I never attacked anyone! You attacked me!*
*Protest your innocence and lack of involvement to someone who believes you.*
Mikala's anger grew around her dark waves. She tried to focus it, but she couldn't. Her anger seemed almost a living thing here.
*You don't understand this place yet. You should not be here. It's not
Mikala glared at her. *I swore I'd make you pay for what you did to me. You nearly destroyed me.*
*That wrecks the idea that you never meant to harm anyone, doesn't it? Nearly destroyed you? Hardly,* she snorted. *But if that is how you choose to perceive it, and that is the path you will take, so be it. You are a
*I never meant to harm that woman.* Mikala shook her head. *As for you nearly destroying me. Ask Master McNeil. Ask Master Suragar. They tried to put back together what was left of me.*
*I hurt you, but if you think I nearly destroyed you, you have never been the object of someone truly trying to do that. I don't care enough about you to try to destroy you.*
Mikala laughed derisively. *Oh, believe me I have.* She glared at Sharra. * I don't think I was much of challenge for you. Big bad Jedi attacking someone who had no training and didn't know what a mental shield was.*
*Like Hell you didn't. You had defenses. You are not an innocent, no matter how much you might like to believe you are. And I never said I was Jedi.* Sharra shook her head. *Go home, chiya, before you find something out here that doesn't care what you have to say and really will destroy you.*
Mikala's eyes narrowed. *No, the Jedi said you didn't belong to them, but you came with the Jedi. I never said I was an innocent. I just don't like to be accused of thing I didn't do." A small smiled crossed her features. "I'm not alone any more either.*
*Good for you. Bullies should always travel in packs.*
Mikala gave her a feral smile. *Then you must feel right at home.*
She shakes her head. *Chiya, you mistake your target.*
*I mistake my target? Just who would that be then?*
*Your own immaturity.*
She laughed. *Are you sure you're not a Jedi, you're starting to sound like them now.*
*Then it will be appropriate when I act for your own good*
Mikala felt herself being hurled back to her body. Sharra didn't follow or try to enter her mind. It was as if she just gathered her up and threw her back.
Mikala's eyes jerked open with a cry. She struggled to breathe and tried push herself to her feet, but her legs wouldn't move. She felt herself slowly topple onto her side. Pain sent jagged bolts through her back. She started to sob and hot tears streaked down her cold cheeks. She curled in on herself feeling the numbing cold seeping through her.
The light blush of dawn was starting to show on the horizon. She hugged her aching arm tightly to her chest as violent shivers shook her body. A dream, it had just been a dream, she told herself over and over again as sleep tugged her downward, soothing the pounding ache in her head and cold dulled the blazing agony from her back. She pulled the Force tightly around her to hide herself as she drifted into darkness, and prayed no more dreams would come.
Darien's alarm woke him before dawn. He quickly dressed and slipped out of the house. As he usually did when he was on Zoron he intended to spend an hour mediating in Keiren's garden.
He was just crossing the back patio when he felt a brief surge in the Force. He heard a small cry from out in the gardens and then suddenly a howl through the Force.
Who would be out at this hour and with Goldie? He asked himself as he started to run.
Birds started to sing softly as the sun crept up over the horizon. He scanned the gardens, finding only a general feeling that something was wrong. He closed his eyes and let the Force guide him. He felt something odd emanating from Keiren's garden. It was almost like a hole in the Force. A blank place. He took a few steps toward the blank place with his eyes closed, then opened them and started to run, drawing his lightsaber as he did so.
As Darien stepped into Keiren's garden he noticed that the feeling of peace had been disrupted. Then he saw Mikala's back brace, a shirt and a sling lying in a pile.
A soft whimpered moan came from the darkness of the shadows.
He turned, saw Mikala lying there, Goldie curled up against her, trying to keep her warm. He quickly put his Lightsaber away and ran to her side.
*Cassandra* he sent. He checked Mikala's pulse. Then he hit the security button on his comm link.
Mikala's dark hair was draped over her face nearly obscuring it. She shifted trying to pull tighter in on herself with a small whimper of pain and started to shiver.
*What is it Darien?* came Cassandra's answer.
*I've found Mikala lying in Keiren's garden. She's taken her brace off and I think she's hurt herself.*
*On my way*
Darien found a pair of unfocused dark eyes staring up at him. Goldie shifted so he could lift Mikala's head and place it in his lap.
"Get a medical team to Keiren's garden," he ordered security.
"C...c...cold," she whispered, shifting towards him and starting to shiver more
He draped his cloak over her. "You'll be all right. Sandy is coming. What happened?"
Her eyes slid shut a moment and then she struggled to get them open again. "I saw her," she said softly. "Talked. Threw me back." She sighed, her face scrunching up in pain. "Wasn't ready."
"'Wasn't ready?' What weren't you ready for?"
"To face her."
Darien heard a hum from the direction of the house and a moment later a grav ambulance landed in the garden. Two paramedics jumped out and ran over to them.
Goldie gave the medics a questioning look.
"It's alright, old girl, they're here to help," Darien reassured her.
He could feel Mikala tensing as one of the medics reached for her. He touched her arm and her eyes shot open in panic. "No!" she said shoving him away with the Force. "Leave me alone!" She struggled to sit, but couldn't. The bushes rattled around them in sympathy as her panic and confusion threatened to consume her.
"You've reinjured yourself. You need to lie still." Darien attempted to gently block Mikala's Force push.
There was more noise toward the house as the family started to emerge.
Goldie growled at the medic.
Mikala stared up at him with dark frightened eyes. "I can't move my legs," she said in a haunted voice.
"Your back is swollen. It's putting pressure on your spinal cord," the other medic said.
She nodded slowly and closed her eyes.
Sandy pushed her way past the medics and knelt beside Mikala.
Mikala opened her eyes to look up at her. "I'm sorry," she said softly.
"You should be," Sandy answered as she felt along Miakla's spine. "You've set you're recovery back by a couple of days. Its back to bed for you."
Mikala tensed, a tight moan squeezing out as Sandy touched the injured part of her back.
"Scan here," Sandy commanded the medic.
"How is she?" Taras demanded.
"She'll survive, I think. Why can't any of you believe me when I say take it easy."
The medic moved in to scan and then looked over at Sandy. "She's got localized swelling around the replacement vertebra compressing the spine cord and severe muscle spasms and strained muscles and ligaments through out her back and arm."
Sandy looked at Taras. "Could be worse. She'll recover from all of that."
"Five mg of vanacyn," Sandy ordered the medic.
Mikala shook her head. "No drugs," she said tightly.
The medic dug in his med kit, pulled out a hypo and a vail filled the hypo and handed it to Sandy.
She shook her head, shivering badly. "Not like her. Not again," she whispered.
"Not like who?
"Her," she said again.
Mikala squeezed her eyes shut tightly. "My mother," she said in a faint whisper.
"You need it now. I won't let you get addicted." Sandy said. "You should only need this one dose."
Mikala's gaze traveled from her face to the hypo and then back to Sandy's face again. She chewed on her lower lip a moment and then blinked. "All right."
Sandy injected the drug. "There that will let you sleep. We will discuss this tomorrow."
Sandy looked at the medics. "Take to the house and put her back in her bed and reattach her monitors."
Mikala slowly began to relax in Darien's arms, her eyes dropping shut as sleep stole over her.
As they lifted her off his lap, Darien spoke. "I think she was on the astral plane."
Mikala moaned softly as they shifted her to the antigrav stretcher and tucked a blanket around her for transport.
"Are you sure?" Taras asked.
"No, I'm not but I she talked about confronting some woman. I don't know who."
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