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  1. ((Armiena Draygo.)) Draygo couldn’t stop looking at the shape beyond Dark Sun Station. Even as stray rounds of flak detonated nearby and rattled the cockpit, slamming her head into the durasteel girders and cutting a miniscule gash into her unhelmeted forehead, the veteran Jedi couldn’t take her eyes off the malevolent shadow that the Scarab seemed to cast into the black. “S-foils ‘tack positions, shields forward. Um, Genesis? I am about to do something very stupid.” A series of metallic clacks and electronic beeps could be heard from her station as she worked at the control surfaces of the B-Wing. “My son’s under the guns of that monster. If I can peel away some of their forces, grab the attention of some of their fighters so our shuttles can make it to Dark Sun… I’m very sorry if I get us both killed.” During this time, while the B-Wing’s alarms were humming warnings of enemy batteries attempting to track their juking fighter, Armiena had been making an unorthodox and illegal alteration to their Identify Friend/Foe transponder. At the very end of her apology, their transponder code had been altered to reflect that of a neutrally-aligned vessel and the ship had been given a new name. She thumbed the ship’s comlink to transmit without encryption, so that anyone within range could listen. Armiena had found from decades at war that the mention of her name tended to provoke three types of responses: a sort of trusting devotion, murderous rage and blaster fire, or utter indifference. There were few exceptions to this rule: people generally would follow her into battle and trust her to get them through alive, or they would attempt to kill her, or simply try to forget that she had ever lived. At this moment, Armiena was counting on those highly polarized responses to peel away as many forces from the Black Sun fleet as possible. Her hands pulled back hard on the controls, sending the B-Wing into a steep climb. She dumb-fired a proton torpedo into a flight of approaching TIE Defenders, a blind shot guided only by the Force that she immediately forgot about--even when the warhead pierced cleanly through the canopy of one of the fighters thirty seconds later and painted the interior of the fighter with the viscera of its pilot. But that was a half-minute into the future, and Armiena was focused on grabbing the attention of every single Black Sun squadron that she could and surviving the next few minutes. She cleared her throat and screamed into the comlink: “Say my name!” Any sensor that targeted her would find that she had changed the name of her B-Wing starfighter to I Am Armiena Darkfire. The starfighter plowed into the fray heedless of numbers or escort, corkscrewing through the enemy fighters towards the Totenkopf II. In a moment, that ship could lock down the entire engagement and prevent the Jedi from withdrawing, dooming the entire fleet and her son to its guns. It needed to die, whether under her guns or under her lightsaber.
  2. ((I only just realized that I accidentally posted under this account for Bruce Slaughter. Apologies for the error. I’ll post the character that I’m writing for in every future exchange. Armiena Draygo)) “I sympathize. This will be a learning experience for both of us.” Draygo forced a smile and she punched at a compartment below her control surfaces. It fell open with a hollow clank, revealing a kilometer of optical fibre, a stack of circuit boards… and a single datapad. “Really,” she arched an eyebrow. “Only one operations manual for a two-seater?” She tossed it back towards her apprentice and laid her hands on the controls. “All these gadgets that built into starfighters are handy, but nothing beats instinct. I’ve yet to encounter a targeting computer that beats the Force.” Armiena closed her eyes and pushed her back into the firm cushioning of the ejection seat. The dull thrumming of its sublight engines pressed lightly against her right side, and the idling repulsorlifts vibrated lightly under her feet. Around her a surprising amount of energy pulsed through the fighter--the snubfighter clearly boasted an impressive weapons suite and a powerful shield array. An unfamiliar coiling ringed the cockpit, just slightly behind the back of her head. The veteran Jedi had no idea what function this mechanism played, but she would surely find out momentarily. She breathed in. The engines exhaled for her. “Yes. I can do this,” Armiena intoned, her voice having taken on a dreamy quality. Her hands played over the controls in a practiced motion, smoothly retracting the ship’s landing gear, triggering repulsorlifts, and the sublights to propel them from the hangar with an ease that more closely resembled a hardened pilot with many hours of experience. And then they were out in space, the hull of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer rapidly diminishing behind them. They formed up with the remainder of the fighters from the Mandate, approaching the Black Sun fleet. That was when the Star Dreadnought reverted from hyperspace. A tremor ran through the B-Wing’s hull as Armiena’s hand involuntarily twitched and deployed the fighter-bomber’s S-foils into attack position. “Oh.” That was all she had to say in response to the arrival of the Sith fleet. A flick of her left hand reinforced the B-Wing’s forward shields in preparation for the first cataclysmic exchange of fire with the Black Sun. ____ Many kilometers behind her, Master Sergeant Liliu Kamakaeha gawped at the mess of daggers, blaster power cells, and what appeared to be two low-yield thermal detonators that were left on the formerly pristine deck of her hangar. The curses that escaped her lips could not be recorded on this website, but they were primarily aimed at Armiena Draygo specifically, and the Jedi in general for not adhering to military discipline and leaving divots and explosives on the deck of her hangar.
  3. There was no need to give the order or to divert A-Wings; anti-missile drills were a familiar routine to every naval officer who served with Admiral Slaughter. The Incisor, a swift Warrior-class Frigate that crossed along the arc of the flagship’s bow, began blasting away at the incoming siege torpedos with her laser cannons and antimissile octets. Unless the torpedoes were composed of the hideously expensive diamond-boron alloy, very little would remain of them save for a magnificent explosion and jagged shard of steel housing flying at a respectable fraction of lightspeed. His attention, at that moment, was divided between the movements of the Jedi on their flank and the probing attack by the two DP20 Corvettes. Small, light, and maneuverable, the sister ships twisted their way through a hail of turbolaser fire with an agility that some starfighter pilots would have admired. Just like the flotilla behind them, they shifted their fire from the frantically weaving starfighters towards the incoming missiles, spattering the black with spots of red-orange fire and granting several of their starfighter escorts a reprieve from their evasive maneuvers. To their dismay, however, their missile launchers were unable to find targeting solutions on the incoming fighters. But they were dying. The ships were never intended for a prolonged engagement of capital ships, and each hit of a turbolaser on their shields was devastating. The port shields on the Audacity buckled and fell after being caught by a long-range hit, and though the agile little corvette immediately rolled to present an undamaged flank, it was only a matter of time before that other flank fell or the fighters strafed its unshielded port. Slaughter considered calling recalling the corvettes, but his line of thought was interrupted by another message from the crew pits. “Sir, another entry from hyperspace.” The Admiral felt a bead of cold sweat trickle down his back. “It’s the Scarab.” Had Slaughter looked off to starboard, he would have seen a vast, seemingly malevolent triangular craft rush out of hyperspace akin to the spearhead of an ancient polearm. But there was no need, as that dominating presence filled the holographic tactical pit dwarfed even the stylized, geometric symbols that indicated the presence of the allied and Sith ships. Few events focused the mind quite like the reversion of a Star Dreadnought from hyperspace within firing range. “Right, never mind the maneuvers,” Slaughter heard himself saying. “Just go straight at ‘em, flank speed. Don’t stop for anything. Even shields, all firepower to front. Whatever the Jedi shoot at, we blast ‘em.” The overmatched corvettes would not have to fall back, as reinforcements were coming to them. The sublight engines of the main line of the Galactic Alliance bloomed blue-white as they accelerated towards Dark Sun Station, followed by a wave of crimson rain that focused on the Sariel’s Judgement. That sheet of light was answered by the hundreds of pinpricks of fighters that had been allowed to slip from their hangars--first, naturally, the A-Wing interceptors, whose pilots floored their throttles with stereotypical aplomb and sent their craft racing above and below the dogfight in an attempt to catch the ARC fighter-bombers outside of the protective arc of their jamming projectors. The remainder of the fleet plowed into the fray with all the subtlety of an irritated reek charging into a tourist’s landspeeder. The Phalanx, an obsolete Dreadnaught, finally met a task suitable for its hull as a stable, heavily-armored platform as her myriad laser batteries blasted away at the squadrons of starfighters. The Kalidor added to the antistarfighter barrage and swatted missile after missile out of the void. Steadfast and Fidelity, true to Admiral Slaughter’s orders, stopped for nothing. The Misericordia, at the rear of the allied formation, was left behind. But the crew of Imperial II-class Star Destroyer had no intention of being left out of the glory. The black dagger turned towards the Adi-wan and her engines lit up to join her, both flanks alight in turbolaser fire. On her port, the barrage was focused on the Sariel’s Judgement; her vengeance was directed towards the Warspite on her starboard. Summary: Audacity and Surprise take significant damage due to being singled out by the Black Sun fleet, but are joined by the remainder of the fleet. A-Wings focus on ARCs responsible for sensor jamming. Lighter ships in the GA formation blast away missiles before returning to antistarfighter duty. GA capital ships focus turbolaser fire on the VSD Sariel’s Judgement and charge forward. ISD-II Misericordia turns to join the Jedi flagship Adi-wan and fires upon the Warspite in the Sith fleet. ((1))
  4. ((Armiena Draygo)) Armiena reached to her side and shut down the holorecorder, causing the azure ghost of her form to waver and fade. For a few seconds, she just placed her chin on the peak of her fingers and stared into the unfamiliar controls of the B-Wing. Sensor data, fed to the heavy starfighter by the arrays of the Justice’s Mandate, continued to waver as the ships of the formation danced their ballet of brinksmanship. Finally, she reached under her leg and withdrew a comlink. The device had been recording all throughout the meeting, beginning with the moment that the corpulent body of Bruce Slaughter had appeared. “We need to get on that station,” the veteran Jedi eventually declared. She climbed onto the wing of the fighter-bomber and shoved away the excess weapons she had gathered (“What the pfask!” shouted one of the deck hands at seeing her domain being littered.) “Minimal killing, might need to actually talk to someone there--oh, good, ion cannons. They’re going to vape the station the moment that Zinthos is clear. Can’t let that happen,” she continued, clambering back into the two-seater cockpit and checking the straps on the portable life-support vest. “Too much intel, too much creditflow, too much… people.” “Genesis,” she turned around, facing her apprentice with a grin. “You have any time in an A/SF-01? Sims or the real deal?” ____ ((Bruce Slaughter)) Bruce stepped away from the holocomm, the image of the Jedi Grandmaster and the ad hoc council winking out of existence along the wall. Behind him, a junior officer was waiting with apprehension written on the face of the Durosian, a comlink in his hands. That would have been the Black Sun commander, the dilettante who had answered when Slaughter had allowed his temper to get the better of him and idiotically mouthed off to the entire star system. “Yeoman. Standing order to the bridge crew.” Slaughter’s face twisted into a half-hearted attempt at a grim smile. “I am not to be allowed to transmit on a comlink over an open frequency. Ever. Wrestle it out of my hands if you have to.” The Admiral plodded towards the center of the bridge and leaned heavily on the tactical pit. Somewhere in the background, a comlink was still buzzing with the Black Sunner’s attempt to contact the Galactic Alliance flagship. It was time to give the commander their response. “Commence the attack.” At that moment, the starboard batteries of the Steadfast rained crimson fire along the flight path of the Audacity and Surprise, gently encouraging any starfighters and corvettes in their sector to take evasive maneuvers as the twin DP20 Gunships plowed into the breach with a wing of X-Wings. Steadfast and Fidelity then took a hard turn to starboard, bringing their portside batteries to bear upon the Holofernes. Seconds later, the twin capital ships of the Galactic Alliance opened fire with matching boardsides upon the Star Destroyer, their barrage accompanied by the lighter broadsides of the heavy cruisers within their formation.
  5. ((Bruce Slaughter)) Bruce Slaughter couldn’t have possibly missed the flash of recognition that briefly crossed the face of the former Jedi Grandmaster, despite the fact that the two had almost certainly never met. There was no mistaking the twinge of her lips as anything but utter disgust. But the Admiral couldn’t spare a moment to reflect on what might have inspired that glance of disgust; billions of lives were depending on the outcome of this battle. Thoughts of what the Black Sunners might do flit through his mind: yes, they might execute the Imperial Head of State, they might attempt a break-out, they might even scuttle the entire station out of spite. All of those were possibilities; what the Admiral knew was that to retrieve Zinthos, they would have to assault the station directly. The casualties would be enormous and they might not even reach their quarry in time. Unless… “No time for a siege or anything subtle, just take the station head on and try to reach Zinthos before they execute her. We’ll take our forces along the starboard and catch the Star Destroyers in a crossfire. Suggest that your Jedi spearhead assault and my marines will hold the door open. You can move more quickly than us--and if she is wounded, she may need a healer.” ____ ((Armiena Draygo)) For a few seconds, Draygo just looked at Alluyen, her stony expression affording her an appearance not entirely unlike that of an overgrown bird-of-prey. Then she glanced towards her side at a speaker not within the holoprojector’s field of view and a muscle in her cheek twitched. It was true, Black Sun was one of the most prolific purveyors of the most repulsive trade in the galaxy--few beings would regret any casualties required to bring them low and even fewer would mourn the destruction of the criminal syndicate. But she had seen this scenario before. Armiena hadn’t been present, but she had watched the sensor data, over and over and over until she wanted to tear her hair out. All she said was: “And the station?”
  6. Only a few seconds later, the holograph of Armiena Draygo appeared next to that of Sandy Sarna. Her face slightly distorted from speaking into a portable holocomm within the confines of a snubfighter cockpit, the veteran Jedi glanced about the room for a moment. She matched eye contact with Admiral Slaughter, and then she immediately looked at anyone other than the corpulent war criminal directly across from her. “I just listened to the transmission. Grandmaster, there isn’t much I can say. If our objective is to retrieve Zinthos, then we’ll take the offer and have an Osk-Dorn team standing by when she arrives. If we’re here to hurt the Black Sun, then…” Her eyes flickered towards Slaughter and her lips thinned. ((Osk-Dorn: OD, Ordinance Disposal.))
  7. “I don’t get it. They’re just sitting there,” murmured a pair of mechanics somewhere below Draygo and Genesis, the two loaders having a rare moment of quiet after the launch of the Mandate’s fighters. The older Jedi ignored them. In any moment the hangar would be rushing with activity to secure excess munitions and fuel ports--and the deck crews would be grousing at the two Jedi who still hadn’t taken that great hulking snubfighter out of the hangar and allow them to do their jobs. “Yes, he’s somewhere… out… there with the Imperial Knights. I never would have expected a child of mine would side with the blasted Empire,” that last word came out with a touch more venom than Armiena liked. Her eyes closed for a second and her chest rose and fell in a long, deep breath. “Not after what they did to our family, I mean. But I wasn’t much of a mother to him. I put out messages and feelers, but no luck. But if he was at Kashyyyk and Kuat, maybe…” What possibility the veteran Jedi was considering was never voiced. Taking careful grip of her second thermal detonator, Draygo pried the grenade apart and plucked out the priming charge. “Indistinguishable from the real thing, save for a gram of high-ex and lack of, um, boom. Sometimes all you need is a few seconds of the other side keeping their heads down.” Draygo picked up a tunic of black armorweave and made an examining tug at the stitching. The garment, though not quite as protective as a plastoid carapace, offered much more range of motion and could be worn in a snubfighter cockpit.
  8. Much to her surprise, while in transit, Draygo was guided not to the bridge of the Star Destroyer for a personal meeting with the commander of the flotilla , but to one of the numerous briefing rooms on the Justice's Mandate. Nonplussed by the announcement that the commander was simply too busy to meet with a single individual, the former Grandmaster had stammered incoherently for a few seconds before following the Ensign to their destination. "I... sorry... I didn't realize... beg pardon? Oh, yes, of course." Had been her discombobulated response to being shepherded into a briefing with the line troops of the Jedi fleet. There had been a time Draygo wouldn't have bothered asking--the former Grandmaster would have simply marched into Starlisk's office and bullied him into a personal briefing. With the rank came significant privileges, she mused while standing in the back of a crowded amphitheater, sandwiched between a Mon Calamarian marine and a Quarren medic. Then again, Draygo probably would have been at the bottom of the pit, briefing the fleet on the upcoming battle and trying not to wonder how many of the sapients looking down towards her would be dead within a few days. Lack of rank had its benefits. _____ The next day, Draygo shivered in the chill of one of the hangars aboard the Justice’s Mandate, a new Nebula-class Star Destroyer. She sat cross-legged on the wing of an unfamiliar B-Wing fighter--really, the entire fighter-bomber appeared to be a long wing--with an array of weapons and armor laid out around her. Armiena surveyed a thermal detonator, observing the munition in a manner not entirely unlike a massive bird-of-prey. Extending her senses into the weapon, she pried apart its seams with the Force, eventually removing the grenade’s priming charge from its cylindrical baradium core. What to do with the weapon? she asked herself. Without that priming charge, the grenade was little more than a baradium paperweight and a few blinking diodes. The powder within the priming charge was nontoxic and even used in some backwater planets as medicine against hypertension. She shrugged, plucked the pouch from its housing, and ate it. The cellulose pouch was flavorless and tough, but otherwise not unpleasant. She passed a blaster pistol to her apprentice, taking a few minutes to familiarize him with the vital functions of the weapon--safety, power and stun settings, and the magazine ejector and charging switch. “Stun settings mean that you get to say that you’re sorry afterwards. Direct hit’ll incap a hostile for at least five minutes, probably closer to ten. That’s a long time in a battle. Even a graze will numb them for a little while.” The blue-white streaks of hyperspace receded to the blackness of hyperspace, and the hangar immediately filled with frenzied activity. Dozens of pilots raced to their ships and the air above their heads was soon occupied by snubfighters racing towards the void. Draygo waited and extended her senses out into the void. There were innumerable pinpricks of awareness out there, along with the iridescent flares of presence of Jedi and other Force-Sensitives. One, in particular, was hauntingly familiar--for a moment, the Jedi veteran could have sworn that she had perceived a ghost. She started to probe into its general direction, only to withdraw when she realized the reason for its familiarity. Armiena couldn’t afford to distract her son in the middle of a battle. She continued on her lecture. “Remember, we’re Jedi, not soldiers. Our job isn’t to kill people or destroy materiel, it’s to complete our objective and rescue the Imp Head of State. When we have an opening, we’ll move in fast, hit as hard as we can, and get her out of harm’s way.” Armiena couldn’t push away the mixture of apprehension and excitement that welled within her. She needed to voice her concerns; Genesis deserved to know the cause of her distraction. “My son is out there.”
  9. This was agonizing work. If Genesis and Draygo slowed the heart too quickly, the periphery would die. Vice versa, she would either bleed out or the bloodstream would become so toxified with carbon dioxide and metabolic waste that she would drift into a hepatic coma that even bacta might not recover their patients from. And even if the trance was successful, her life was now in the hands of a surgical team that might have never operated on a cadaver since university. But the trance took, and the ooze of blood slowed to the barely-perceptible trickle of capillary action from their patient’s wounds.. Armiena reflexively took a step back as she withdrew from the Force presence of her apprentice. "Sorry, didn't give you much of a chance to refuse. I thought that under the circumstances…" She sighed. The veteran Jedi preferred to believe that she possessed sufficient control to not wander about in Genesis' mind like a psychic wrecking ball, but whether her fellow half-Miraluka had developed such discipline… Armiena was too busy attempting to not murder a patient to notice any such intrusions. She tapped in a brief note on the patient’s chart and summoned the medtechs. "I think she'll live. At least long enough to be stabilized, but… no telling after that.” Draygo led her Padawan out of the hospital and towards the refugee camp’s landing pads. “I’d prefer to look after her, but I’ve been sitting on orders from the Grandmaster to join the fleet. Something is brewing, and judging from the handwritten notes it’s going to get ugly.” A munitions freighter had been diverted from the Jedi Dojo on its way to Justice’s Mandate, and the two Jedi hitched a ride on it towards the orbiting Star Destroyer. From the wholly unfamiliar hangar of the Nebula-class Star Destroyer, Armiena found a yeoman to guide them towards the bridge and their briefing.
  10. ((Neural handshake much?)) Another day. Draygo would be roused from her nap four hours later, jolted to wakefulness by a heavy hand that slammed on the door of the landspeeder. She groggily stumbled out of the vehicle and blearily blinked that the waxing hints of sunlight that heralded the beginning of a new day. She staggered towards the perimeter of the camp, ignoring the shouts of the loaders who had awoken her. Draygo hated her emaciated body, hated the way that her robes seemed to hang from her frame and the tendency of her gunbelt to exhaust her over hours. She had been in peak physical condition during the war, but the indignities that she had suffered at the hands of CreoVive had caused all of that muscle mass to waste away. That needed to change. Physical training began anew. The refugee camp on the peninsula grew accustomed to witnessing her runs along the perimeter of the prefabricated city at daybreak, beginning with a brisk jog under the sweltering forest canopy. As her strength returned over the weeks, she would escalate to merciless sprints in plastoid armor, burdened by a soldier’s rucksack. If, over the course of the weeks, the veteran Jedi had managed to rally a number of sapients who emulated her habit of beginning their days with a punishing sprint, she gave no indication that she had noticed her followers. Another day. The days Still having not secured a berth, the Survivor’s Foundation had become accustomed to the sight of a dozing Jedi Master curled up in the copilot’s seat of their landspeeders, the cloak-enshrouded pile of robes snoring enthusiastically as supplies were delivered throughout the camp. Again, she was roused by a powerful fist hammering beside her head, but as Draygo pulled back the hood of her robe and blinked away the few precious hours of sleep, the wrinkled face of a similarly-dressed Gotal came into focus. The grayed sapient passed a sheet of flimsy into her hands. “Master Draygo,” Her healer nodded. “You haven’t been answering comms. Orders from Alluyen.”Not awaiting a response or her protestations, the Master Healer turned and left her to read the sheet of flimsi. You are required to depart and deploy with Nebula-class Star Destroyer Justice’s Mandate. Detailed briefing will be delivered by Commodore Lendran Neldis. Draygo crumbled up the piece of flimsi and ate it. Another day. Draygo had finally managed to secure permanent lodgings in the camp, a tiny-pressured sealed hut situated far from its landing strips and the constant stream of sublight traffic. Her face ruddy from physical-exertion and blood rushing to her head, she balanced upside-down on her hands and methodically repeated sets of push-ups. Her arms shook with every repetition and a puddle of sweat had pooled below her head, but she endured the burning of her limbs with a wolfish grin—this kind of pain was an old friend to the veteran Jedi. Her lips silently counting off the repetitions, Armiena glanced upwards as a familiar presence approached. Master Gloth opened the seal of her tent and the Gotal Healer stared disapprovingly at her. Armiena spat out a strand of hair from the beginnings of a short ponytail. “What… is… it?” “You had orders.” "I made a commitment to these people. I was going to help them, be whatever they needed me to be. Even if I would have preferred to be out on the front lines." "How much has this camp grown since you've took residence here? The influx of refugees hasn't abated--even if Borleias' government has refused to allow additional settlement, it hasn't been able to prevent it. Master Darkfire--hush a moment--these people need you a great deal more than they require a single mediocre Healer and her Padawan. They need the fighter.” Fighting to keep her voice steady despite the trembling of her arms, the veteran Jedi glared at the Gotal Healer. "My name is Draygo." "Tell that to your son." Her arms collapsed under her body. Somehow turning the motion into a languid forward roll, the veteran Jedi rose to her feet, grabbed the grim-faced Gotal by a fistful of robes and pressed the greypelt against the wall of the hut. Threats, justifications, and curses all competed for her exhausted breath, which was only capable of managing a strangled gasp that sounded vaguely like "you… you…" Then the screaming started. Suddenly aware of an explosion of pain that burst from the perimeter of the camp, Armiena set down the Healer and left the older Jedi behind. Not bothering to don her robes, she ran through the camp towards the hospital. Now a familiar figure to the staff, she was immediately led towards the surgical wards “Bring the worst to a private room.” She muttered towards the shift supervisor, negotiating her prosthetic hand into the gloves. “I need to be alone for this.” Completing the sterilization protocols, Draygo made her way into a private room with a gurney, blood dripping from the side. What she saw in this sapient was little more than a breathing corpse: a three-limbed body of blisters, burns, and abrasions, only recognizable as a Zabrak from the forehead horns. Perhaps the crash victim had a face, but it was obscured by swollen welts and bruises and implanted pieces of vegetation. Having been impaled through the cheek and shoulder with long shards of green plasteel, he was already fading. Draygo approached and laid a hand on the Zabrak’s chest just in time to feel his chest fall for the last time. She sighed. The veteran Jedi left the suite and made for her apprentice. Seeing him hesitating before a similarly wounded woman, Armiena approached and tapped him on the shoulder. “Bacta tanks are occupied. She won’t make it long enough without… assistance. Sync?” She asked, extending her Force presence in a teasing, hesitating manner. Remembering her mother’s rituals on Coruscant, Draygo shut her eyes and allowed her mental defenses to slip, permitting Genesis to potentially invade the most privately-held recesses of her mind. It was an amateurish emulation of her mother’s Force-meld, but it would between two closely-linked individuals. She spoke, but words were not quite necessary through the meld. “Morichro is a dangerous technique and has the potential to be abused, but it may save this woman. We’ll put her into a hibernation and slow her bodily functions to the point of near-death. Foundation is going to think that we’ve killed her, but we’ll implant a code-phrase so they can wake her the moment she comes out of treatment.” Draygo moved slowly, not quite trusting her abilities with this dangerous technique. Her senses permeating the crash victim’s flesh, she began the work of shutting down the woman’s body and deliberately killing her… so that she could live again.
  11. As focused as she was on the half-awake, half-competent medtech, Draygo never took register of the sly tip of the scalpel that slipped into her mind. She just quietly yawned and fought the temptation to count the hours. However, the veteran Jedi knew that she would be more useful after a few hours of sleep--actual shut-eye, rather than a Jedi rejuvenation trance that would restore the body without providing respite to the soul. And her healers had warned her of something--osteocalcititis or something like that--a potentially chronic condition that could result from her stint on Coruscant. She would be more useful after a few hours of sleep. In her present condition, she was likely to bumble into a medtech’s private neuroses and trigger a panic attack during a surgical operation. “Point. Been… eighteen? Nineteen hours since coming out of that bacta tank? Oh, finally she gets it.” Draygo pushed herself away from the window separating her from the surgical suite and grasped her Padawan by the shoulder. “I’ll leave this situation in… your…” She blinked slowly. “Hands. Make sure that you’re always on the move. And… you’re likely to lose someone at some point. Try not to blame yourself. I know that you will, but try not to and learn as much as you can.” And then she was gone. ___ Ten minutes later, Draygo reemerged from the Foundation’s hospital, having abandoned her scrubs for a freshly laundered set of robes. Feeling something wet splash against her face, she glanced upwards--again, Borleias’ tropics were gracing the refugee camp with one of the planet’s ten-minute showers. It only just occurred to Armiena that she had yet to secure berthing in the camp. No matter. Spying an unoccupied landspeeder that was unloading near the prefab buildings that comprised the Foundation’s hospital, she drew her cloak over her face and clambered into the vehicle’s cockpit. Glancing over her shoulder to find that none of the teamsters at the flatbed had taken notice of her trespass, Draygo then rummaged through the internal compartment for a piece of stikflimsi to scrawl a note to place on her forehead. It was only fair, that when one of the teamsters inevitably climbed aboard to find the snoring form of a woman with two lightsabers curled up in the copilot’s seat, that they were at least briefed: Yes its me. Wake if you need me. Loud noises--NO POKING.
  12. Weariness, physical exertion, mental exhaustion. Draygo took a deep breath and talked herself through one of the rejuvenation forms that she had been taught as a Padawan. The exercise was to little benefit, however; she was having difficulty focusing on the routine. There was simply too much to accomplish. Draygo brushed away weariness from her eyes and turned away, pausing only to glance at the Twi’lek’s medical charts. The identity code on the Twi’lek's chart suggested a past in the military, and while his middling age hinted towards at least several years in experience, his medical history was unusual only in its ordinariness: vaccinations, a few prophylactics that the Rebellion sometimes administered as insurance against biological attacks, but there was nothing left other than minor injuries that had probably been patched up by a platoon medic. He was, for all intents and purposes, a nobody. The veteran Jedi glanced at the sedate figure in the gurney and shrugged. She had already consigned this patient’s name to unimportant miscellany and would completely forget it by the end of this day. Whatever the Force needed from her, however, its demands had been met and she was free to pursue her own objectives. Unrecognizable save for the lightsabers at her waist, Draygo silently wove through the low-hanging corridors of the prefabricated structure, hands clasped and eyes focused on a point only a few centimeters before her nose. As a healer, her technique was crude--best described as “meatball medicine”--and she could only save one person at a time. As a Jedi, however, her talents laid elsewhere. Her consciousness expanded outwards, and she hunted down a cluster of sapients so dulled with exhaustion that they verged on unconsciousness… An hour later, a team of surgeons and an ancient 2-1B medical droid were closing up a patient after laboriously removing several pieces of shrapnel that had penetrated dangerously close to a major artery. It had been a delicate, dangerous operation, the sort of work that a surgical droid was better suited for than the fatigue-prone limbs of a sapient made of flesh. A millimeter of false movement could have sliced an artery or nerve bundle or muscle, necessitating a prolonged dunk in a bacta tank in order to save the Devaronian’s life; however, even after having labored for twenty-nine hours without more than a brief nap, the team of surgeons had performed flawlessly, having caught something of a second wind the moment that the first incision had been made into the patient’s leg. Chirrut Yen hummed an obnoxiously cheerful pop tune from his home planet as the final adhesions were applied, turning the gory mess of a leg into a neatly-sealed limb that only needed a few bacta bandages for a speedy recovery. Yen turned away from the operating table, pulled away his heads-up display and started upon seeing a figure with two lightsabers just within the sterilization field, casually leaning against a set of durasteel cabinets. Master Draygo had wandered into the operating suite without a sound and quietly stood by while the operation continued. “Who let you in here?” He attempted to demand, though the surgeon couldn’t quite muster the energy or outrage at the trespass. Her voice answered with a queer inflection, as though she was focusing on a rather enthralling daydream. “I… Hm. Good question. Well done, I’ll be going elsewhere if you don’t need me.” And then she was gone. Lacking an immediate objective, Draygo wandered throughout the emergency ward of the hospital, wordlessly passing from room to room and finding clusters of exhausted medicians to assist. Most of them were so focused on their tasks that it was simple for her Force-presence to sidle up to their honed consciousnesses--and so she offered a modicum of her power to them, giving herself to others who were far better qualified for this crisis. She never spoke a word unless required to justify her presence--and she wouldn’t quite meet the eyes of any medtech who demanded her to explain her intrusion into a private medical suite. However, few among the staff challenged her presence; even though the Jedi Master simply found a convenient corner and blankly at a wall, the rumple of teal scrubs was somehow a vaguely reassuring presence--even a slightly motivating one. So passed the next hour. Genesis would eventually find his teacher staring through the window of one of the operating rooms, frowning in exasperation at having to guide an exhausted surgeon through a routine operation. “No, you silly fool; she has a bacta allergy--check your charts… oh? Next thing I can teach you before I--don’t make me go over there. Sorry. It’s a little easy to… lose yourself in the battle-meld. Yes, there you have it. You have this now, yes?” Her mind withdrew from the alien’s presence and she finally devoted her full attention to her student. “I think we should start with something that doesn’t involve willfully inflicting Mern-Peth-Dorn on yourself.” She glanced back towards the operating suite, for the moment quite concerned. “I have no idea how mother does it… Anyway, Jedi Persuasion. Slew of techniques, all quite useful, whether you need to convince an obstinate individual to do something for their own good, or just prevent someone from recognizing you. Very versatile. “Easiest to…” She blinked slowly. “Easiest to read your target’s surface impressions, just quietly sidle along and figure out their motivations, then align your own presence alongside theirs. Contrary to what some very stupid and pessimistic and… um… dour philosophers have claimed, most people don’t want to be malicious or harmful--at worst, most people are just scared or greedy. it’s actually best to just impress upon them that what you’re suggesting is the most reasonable and beneficial course of action.” “There is a medtech unconscious in a storage room; I think Aurek Eleven-Two Besh. Would you please convince the poor guy to clock out and get some real sleep in an actual bed? At least three people have asked him to give it up--he’s done everything he can.” ((Mern-Peth-Dorn: MPD, or Multiple Personality Disorder.))
  13. The Foundation medtech had served with their mercy fleets for nearly a decade, and at this point, he had learned to recognize the signs that a surgeon had overexerted themselves and were about to collapse. The moment that the shivers came and the color faded from Genesis’ face, the teal-clad figure redeployed from its vigil at the Twi’lek’s face and stood patiently behind the half-Miraluka, waiting for the moment that his knees gave out… And the teenager fell into the hands of their more experienced assistant. It was a familiar routine at this point; the medtech caught him under the armpits and wordlessly dragged the Jedi Padawan away from the gurney, to be unceremoniously and delicately laid to rest in the middle of the burn ward. Draygo was so focused on their patient that she didn’t even look up until the medtech started slamming cabinets in search of stims--or smelling salts--or even a bottle of peppermint extract--anything that might be useful to rouse him. Having just added six hours to a day that had already lasted twenty-seven, the medtech’s frustration began to boil over and the search grew louder with a metallic clatter and mumbled curses. Draygo finally glanced up from the Twi’lek’s chest and blinked rapidly to clear the dryness from her eyes. “Hm? Oh, nuts.” A final cursory glance at their patient’s sensor readouts confirmed that he wasn’t actively attempting to die--but more importantly, Draygo’s feet didn’t seem to be rooted to a square meter of sterilized linoleum. She knelt beside her Padawan and cradled his head in her left hand. There was a trick that she had learned long ago: in most humanoid species there was a minute region of the brain, if gently stimulated with the Force, would abruptly jolt the subject to wakefulness. Draygo carefully probed about her Padawan’s brain and and gave a tiny portion of grey matter a metaphorical prod through the Force… Even if the nervous prodding roused its subject to full wakefulness, it was not exactly a wholesome method to maintain consciousness. It would never provide the refreshment and mental clarity of rest or even meditation. But it would awaken Genesis. “Try to lock your knees next time.” Armiena began when his eyelids began to flicker. “I think he’ll live. The Force isn’t poking me in the eye whenever I look away from him. “I’ll be going to Emergency next, see where I can lend a hand… if you can move?”
  14. Draygo knew little about Twi’lek anatomy, at least nothing more specialized than what she needed to know to be more efficient at taking it apart; but there were certain immutable laws of anatomy that all mammalian species obeyed. No track developed over millions of years of evolution would ever alter the mathematics of gas exchange or fluid dynamics. Ironically, Draygo never would have trusted herself to set the broken bone of a Twi’lek, but she was able to patiently regrow shrivelled alveoli and gently pluck away rigid scar tissue from his diaphragm to make way for flexible muscle. She looked up at her Padawan and smiled. Her lips couldn’t be seen under the breath mask, but the pale green of her eyes shone with satisfaction. “Steady. We have a long day ahead of us.” A probe of what Draygo surmised was probably the Twi’lek’s liver suggested that the organ was largely intact, and she diverted Genesis’ attention to the humanoid’s kidneys. They were utterly ruined by dehydration, so common in severe burn injuries--the Twi’lek was slowly dying of renal failure as waste products that would have normally been filtered were allowed to build up to toxic levels. A breath of a breeze stirred the air as one of the Foundation’s medtech’s, having realized that the two Jedi were determined to save a patient that was considered a waste of resources, came to offer assistance. “Severely dehydrated. Can’t very well create water out of vaccuum. I’m a Jedi, not a miracle worker-oh, motherfffff…” Armiena glanced upward. Only two seconds later, the sensor readout of the Twi’lek’s vital signs crashed across all outputs. “Must have thrown a clot, or we missed a bleed… or…” There were a dozen things that Armiena supposed that could have caused their patient to suddenly stand on death’s doorstep. She glared at her Padawan. “I’ll keep his heart going. You find whatever we missed… and unmiss it.” The veteran Jedi formed a loose fist around the Twi’lek’s heart with the Force and took a moment to study the faltering pattern of motion, even as the muscle gradually began to die. Conveniently enough, the heart appeared to be four-chambered, even if the orientation of the chambers was significantly different from a human’s and the pattern of the primary blood vessels were completely dissimilar. Still, it was a simple enough motion to replicate with a gentle application of the Force, to gingerly clench and relax the chambers with repetitive motions. However, even with Armiena forcing the tissue to contract and the medtech beginning to draw an oxygen tube down the humanoid’s throat, it was only inevitable that the Twi'lek would die without intervention. ((I’m going to leave this one up to you.))
  15. “Felucia, actually.” Armiena’s left eye twitched out of a mixture of anxiety and exhaustion. she cupped the mug of caf to shake the blonde Jedi Knight’s hand. With her metal right hand--her grip came with a surge of heat, it having been clasped around the walls of the scalding beverage. A mimicry of a smile made an attempt at appearing on her face. “It’s been a year of a… month? I think? I interrogated you about my son there.” No news had come from the Imperial Remnant concerning her son’s fate--though the silence was probably confirmation that Aidan had made it through Kuat unharmed, or at least intact enough that bacta immersion was unnecessary. His capture or death would have been trumpeted endlessly by the Sith. “I don’t suppose you’ve heard anything from him?”
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