"May I ask where you are taking me?" Mira questioned.
"Follow me." Was the reply she was given.
She was led to a door, the guard opened it and motioned for Mira to go inside. Mira hesitated for a brief moment then walked inside. She glanced around the room stopping when she saw Talia there memories of their first encounter came back to her. What was she doing here? How did she get here?
Talia picked up every emotion that Mira gave from her eyes widening slightly to the increase in her breathing She was scared and trying to block something, she would let it go for now.
Talia regarded Mira in a calm professional manner. "Please sit down commander."
Mira couldn't move her feet at first, she glanced at the guards then slowly walked over to a chair and took a seat, keeping her back straight in the chair.
Talia nodded to the guards, "You may wait outside."
They look at each other, clearly unhappy but it was also clear they had their orders. Then turned shutting the door behind them leaving Talia and Mira along.
"You know who I am? You remember?" Talia questioned.
Mira watched the guards' actions out of the corner of her eye realizing she would receive no help from them. She turned her attention back to Talia Matthews. "Yes, I remember you. Why are you here?"
"Good." Talia sat down. *Tell me why you think I am here.* Talia sent to her.
Mira jerked at the sound in her head she hated that. *I don't know* she thought, shaking her head at Talia. She needed to get her nerves under control, too much time in a cell alone.
*Then why are you nervous?* Talia asked watching Mira.
"What do you want?" Mira asked outloud. *Because you're in my mind.* Mira thoughts were clear as Talia picked them up.. "Why are you here?"
*No You were afraid before I entered your mind Commander.* Talia stated evenly. *Tell me why you were afraid then.* her mental tone changed to that of an order.
*Because I know you can invade thoughts, you're a force user ... you ... * Mira shook her head it wasn't going to do to lie to this one, she would just dig til she uncovered what she wanted. *Escape.* Mira looked at her. *You will tell them, that I'm lying.*
*So then your offer to come to work for them was indeed a ruse?* Talia monitored Mira to make sure she was telling the truth and nodded upon finding her statements were true.
*Yes, NOW get out of my head!* Mira protested. "What do you want!" Mira hissed verbally IT was all confusing to her mental questions was she talking or thinking?
Talia smiled, *How do you know I am not here to kill you? How do you know that the Empire has not sent me here to either get you back or kill you?*
Mira shot Talia a look. 'home' crossed her mind. Was there a chance she was here to get her out of this prison to return her to the ship she had served on. Mira pushed all hopes out of her mind. "I don't see them letting me walk out of here, so I can only hope it's quick." Mira whispered as she sat back in the chair, thought of the Emperor, Xanatos, OffWorld even Telos ran through her mind. She would never see them again. Her should slumped slightly.
*That honestly depends upon your answer to the next several questions I have for you. Are you a loyal Imperial?*
Mira Smiled. "Yes, always will be."
*Would you recreate your poison again?* Talia sent quickly.
*If the Emperor wishes it yes, only I would have to improve on it.* Mira's thoughts answered quicker than she could speak them. She was honest in her reply though sad, she knew the damage her poison had done on Arridor and to improve it would make it worse. But if it was the Emperors desire, then she would do her best to full fill it for him.
"You have regrets?" Talia's voice is neutral and nonjudgmental.
Mira nodded. "I am not without feelings, yes I have regrets. But I have a duty to the Empire, to the Emperor. Do you not have regrets?" Mira answered.
Talia smiled, *If you have regrets then you must ask yourself if you are truly where you belong. One must not follow duty blindly.* Talia sent. After along silence Talia asked. "What are your regrets?"
Mira looked at her. "I am not naive, I know the risks that my work presents." Mira paused remembering creating the poison then presenting it to the Emperor. *That I was careless and that Imperial citizens died.* Mira's eyes hardened. *Imperial citizens died.*
*Yes. So, learn from mistakes what were those lives to you?*
"Nothing," Mira hissed as a slight smile crossed her face. *I would do it again, if given the chance, only I would find a way to keep Xanatos away from it.* her thoughts overshadowed her verbal reply.
*Of course you would...he mind controlled you and gave you no choice.*
Mira met Talia's gaze. *I had a choice for a while.* she thought, *for a while.*
*How do you know you had a choice? That is the point of mind control and being controlled you never know it is there or become aware of it.*
"Perhaps, I don't know, its all confusing". Mira shrugged. "That's the past, what of now, what will you decide?" Mira moved her hands looking at the cuffs that held her. *If you tell the Alliance I'm lying what difference would it make?* Mira closed her eyes briefly. 'Would she tell them? Wasn't Talia an Imperial as well?' she asked herself.
*Why is it confusing?* Talia questioned keeping track of Mira's answers both verbal and sent.
*What was and wasn't my choice. It doesn't matter, that is the past. I'm concerned of the future, My future, the future of the Empire's, of Off World of Xanatos.*
*What about Xanatos?* Talia asked. *why are you concerned for him?*
Mira hesitated. "I have to find him." Mira's tone was one of concern. "you see he isn't use to this time."
*So? He controlled you, he would sell you out to save his hide. Why do you care?*
"BECAUSE he's FAMILY!" Mira spat she looked around the room then sat back. *He'll survive, he's smart.* she thought
*What of Mikala Volaris?* Talia asked.
Mira's eyes narrowed with confusion. *Who?*
"Mira, while Xanatos controlled you, what else did you work on for him?" Talia asked, it was time to try another avenue.
"Contacting those of OffWorld, and fixing his DNA, the cyro was failing when I found him and had done horrible damage. He was mainly concerned with his force ability, and his strength."
"How did you fix it?"
"By making a serum from the Force users, something in their blood, as well as medication repaired him, made him stronger, especially if they were ... younger, or stronger. He tried to explain it to me."
Talia surpressed a slight emotional reaction. "What is the value of another sentient life to you commander?"
Mira wondered just how much more she should tell this woman, then decided it didn't matter, she was force sensitive, she would just take the information from her. "Normally high, but in times of war or for the progress of science, it sometimes has to take a back seat."
"Why do you believe that?" Talia asked with genuine interest.
"At times, you need to know reactions, more than what a computer can give you. It's not a common practice, but at times the betterment of science is worth a few ... lives. War speaks for itself, there are causalities." Mira answers were calm and without hesitation. 'There are exceptions to every rule.' She thought.
Talia tilted her head, "But science and war are not always connected, there is no way to tell the difference between an imperial or a rebel." She watched Mira. "Is it worth the lives the poison took?"
"No, they are not always connected," Mira glanced around the room again. "NO it wasn't worth the lives, it did nothing to profit the Empire, it only served to give Xanatos and I a way to escape."
"So your loyalty is to Xanatos?" Talia asked. *A family member over the Emperor?* she sent mentally.
Mira shook her head. "NO never, I would have never released the poison, I didn't release it!" Mira rose from her seat. Her eyes wild with hatred. "NO! NEVER! I CHOSE no one over the EMPEROR!" Mira realizing what she had done sat back down.
Talia walked over to Mira and released the manacles as she sat down next to her. Mira tensed at the closeness, at the way Talia smiled at her. *But you are willing to risk putting yourself back in his direct control again ... over the Emperor's.* Talia sent.
Mira rubbed her hands shaking her head. *No ... my loyalty is always to the Emperor and his Empire.*
*And if the emperor ordered you to kill Xanatos?*
*Then I would do so.*
Talia nodded knowing it was the truth that Mira spoke. *What about science?*
Mira looked at her a bit confused. "I don't understand ... science?"
"You are first and foremost a scientist are you not?"
"Of course, what I've always been," Mira answered looking at Talia. "That is why I never gave up my position on the board."
"Then what are the principles of science that you live by?"
"What do they have to with the Empire? Nothing comes before the Empire or the Emperor's wishes."
"It's a simple question Mira....please help me understand.....you are a scientist ... what are the principles of science that you live by?"
"To create, understand, explore. Cause and effect. For the labs to stop famine, or make soil better to grow things. For the Heresiarch it was to improve interrogation methods, as well as invent things that gave us the upper hand."
"And what do you want out of life?" Talia watched Mira carefully.
Mira let out a chuckle. "To go back to work, to live."
*To be a tool of either the Emperor or Xanatos? A tool to blind obedience?*
Mira hung her head, she had never considered ... slowly she shook her head no. *Obedience to the Emperor she thought, but it could never be blind.*
*Not blindly?* Talia sent *Where is the line?*
"One does not defy the Emperor, I will have to know and realize that whatever I'm called to do will ... could result in death and pain."
"For you or others?"
"For either.." Mira whispered.
"Then, do you follow even if you not want to?" Talia asked.
Mira fell silent, her emotions were so confused, she had lived her life to serve without question, but ... how could she answer Talia. To refuse the Emperor ... your ship captains' orders was treason ... Regardless of what she started out as, she was an Imperial Officer. "I ... I honestly don't know." Mira stated softly. For the first time in a long time she was uncertain of how she would react, much of what she had learned here had shown her the other side of the coin, *I don't know.* was all she could think.
*Why do you serve people who do ask you to do that which you do not wish to do? And if you do not want to become controlled to do so?*
Mira saw pointless genocide ordered by the Emperor that Talia sent to her. Lowering her head, Mira didn't say anything. *Serve the Empire or the Alliance, there is nothing else.* she thought.
*That is not true. Many people do not serve the empire or the Alliance.*
*What are you talking about ? mercenaries? I'd do better with Off World.* Mira's thoughts were one of disgust.
*No. I am not talking about that. I am talking about living a life for yourself.*
*Good talk, but in case you forgotten I haven't. I have a price on my head, by both sides. I'm trapped with one or the other, I made my choice.* Mira thought the woman before her was crazy. What was she hoping to do, to have Mira admit she was going to betray the Empire?
*The empire would only like to think that their reach is everywhere but its not, and the Alliance would never force you to work for them. You can easily retire to a planet and live The life you wish.*
Mira crossed her arms the words sounded so nice, but she was an officer, an Imperial officer ... didn't she swear her loyalty her life to the Empire didn't the Emperor scan her mind to test her loyalty. She never saw the Alliance allowing her to go free, "What do you want me to say?" she asked at last. 'To say I had a life on Telos, a husband, a career all before the Alliance and the Empire brought their war to Telos and destroyed it all.' Mira's thoughts ran through her mind as if they had a life of their own.
Talia placed a hand on Mira's shoulder. "Whatever you want to ... or nothing. "
"You offer pipe dreams, something that is out of my reach? You can walk out that door and leave, I have a cell and an upcoming trial. I am and always will be a prisoner." Mira spat as her eyes hardened once more. "I want to go back to my cell, I'm tired of all this fantasy talk."
Talia bit her lower lip, looking at Mira as if she was considering something. *Then I will give you what you wish.*
Mira felt the connection to Talia grow stronger on her mind, she went to cry out but she couldn't. She could feel her heart as well as the air as it entered her lungs. Mira stared at Talia knowing she was doing something to her. She was going to kill her, and kill her slowly. She looked at Talia in surprise as it dawned on her, she was going to die.
Mira tensed at the connection fighting Talia's violation of her body and mind. Talia quelled Mira's mental activity forcing a meditative state. Mira struggled to regain control of her body, all the nice words, all the mindless talk, it was a way for Tali to gain control of her body, Mira realized that now.
*Relax, I will not harm you.* Talia sent softly.
Somehow Mira knew Talia was telling the truth, the strength of the bond allowed them to share that much, Mira tried to relax allowing her to trust Talia, though fear still lurked threatening to take over.
Talia knew of Mira's fears and over came them, she continued her work, gently, easily until Mira's body was deeply repressed, her biological signs became undetectable. Talia split her own mind and held Mira's essence on the astral plane safe. While she took care of things in the room.
Mira's body slumped forward, Talia rose and called for the guards.
"Alert the Colonel." The guard yelled looking at Talia. "What happened?"
"We were just talking and she collapsed." Talia replied evenly. She stepped back and watched the guards and medics work on Mira. She looked up as Cheverra entered the room.
"I believe she's had a heart attack, an autopsy will tell how this came to be." The Medic announced. "Either way Commander Lexor is dead."
A team of four entered the room. A slender woman entered at the lead that was just activated, sweeping into the room. She nodded to Che and looked at Talia.
Talia waited for Che to arrive, the house had been prepared for surveillance as well as the guards outside the door. On the bed layed the body of Mira Lexor, she turned when Che entered the room shutting the door behind her.
"Are you ready for this colonel?" Talia inquired of Che. ,p> "Have at it." Che stated.
Talia nodded then began to slowly revive Mira, she made sure it was not done too quickly she didn't need her going into shock. Instead she made sure it was as natural as if she was waking from a restful sleep.
Mira opened her eyes and looked around "Where?" Talia broke the connection once she make sure that Mira was alright, she settled back into a chair, she was quite tired.
"A safe house." Cheverra stood where Mira could see her.
Mira glanced from her to Talia and sat up slowly, surprised to find her hands were free. Quickly she glanced around the room. "Is she going to be all right?" Mira asked looking at Talia. She wasn't sure why she was concerned, but she was. "Why am I here?"
"She'll be fine."
Talia smiled wearily, "I told you...I was going to give you what you wanted...your life...this is the best that can be done for now." Talia stood. "Yes, I will be fine."
"Why?" Mira questioned. "What do you want from me?"
"To give you your life. If you'll take it." Cheverra stated.
Mira stared at Che, "Your price?"
"Live it as best you can." Was the reply.
Mira shook her head. "Just like that?" suspicion was easily detected.
Che shook her head. "Your comings and goings will still be restricted. You'll have access to your work. Whatever time you need." Che paused. "You don't have to work ... Not if you don't want to."
"No requirements?" Mira asked surprised not believing a word of it.
Talia smiled at Mira, it had barely been a year and half since she had been imprisoned in the household....just as Mira was about to begin her life a new here in the same manner she had hers.
"No requirements." Cheverra assured her.
Mira walked over to the window. Something was lurking in the back of her head. "Is this place force null?" Mira questioned remembering Xanatos words to her. 'We have a connection, I can find you anytime I wish.'
"Perhaps a force null chip can be implanted in Mira to keep her from being detected." Talia suggested picking up on Mira's thoughts.
"Why not one that she can carry or wear?" Che questioned.
"Easy to be forgotten or destroyed." Talia answered.
"I agree, the only way to keep Xanatos from finding me," Mira stated slowly. "Who knows I'm here?"
"Absolute need to know only."
"Guards?" Mira asked.
Mira nodded. "Just them and me huh?" she questioned.
"I'm afraid so." Che answered.
Mira turned to face them. "Can I ask for a tour of this place? and to be aware of the house rules." She seemed to be calmer than when she was in her cell.
"I will wait here." Talia said sitting down and closed her eyes. She needed some rest.
"Absolutely." Cheverra shows her the facilities. They included a small but decent lab."
Mira will look at Che. "It's a nice place, am I allowed to go outside?"
"No outside contact."
"I see." Mira wondered if she was going to be able to adjust to this, and what of the Emperor and her duty to him?
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