|Attack of the Clones
Author: Amme Moto PM
Carth didn't believe Connan when she said she'd been dragged to the future. What's he got to say when he gets pulled into the future along with her? Now they've got to find their way home while protecting Senator Padme and Anakin. Now complete!Rated: Fiction T - English - Adventure/Romance - Chapters: 14 - Words: 59,537 - Reviews: 110 - Favs: 34 - Follows: 26 - Updated: 09-30-07 - Published: 08-27-06 - Status: Complete - id: 3126340
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Whatever she was lying on, it wasn't very comfortable.
For a second it felt like she was wafting on a cloud, her lightheadedness had attributed to the drifting feeling. The next moment she was thrown face-down onto the rock hard ground, as if she'd been falling instead of floating.
The pounding headache she was feeling didn't help much, either.
It felt like she'd been under immense pressure for some time and suddenly ripped away from it. How had she gotten like that?
She shivered inwardly; she didn't trust her body to move. Her chilled skin was being beaten into submission by the scorching air around her. It had been a bit cold where she had been; now it was almost unbearably hot. She wished there could be a nice, cool, middle between the two extremes she'd experienced.
But why had it been so cold? Where had she been? Force, if only she could remember….
Then someone turned over and righted her, and she fully grasped the situation she was in.
A sense of panic almost overwhelmed her system as she willed herself to open her eyes, to talk, to breathe, to do something. She struggled hopelessly against herself, but couldn't find the initiative to start her body into movement. It was futile.
Connan was trapped.
Carth pressed his lips to Connan's instantly, exhaling into her mouth. He pressed his clenched fist to her abdomen and shoved at it with both hands, desperately trying to get her respiratory system to reawaken.
"Get Bastila!" Carth heard Jolee order. Candorous turned and bolted.
Carth repeated his last actions frantically, forcing himself not to break down. Connan was alive. She had to be. She wouldn't survive the death of an old friend, a fight with a tarentatek, and her battle with Malak just to die by some unheard-of monster in the stupid Sea of Naboo. He refused to believe it.
Again Carth repeated the procedure, mentally begging Connan to show him she was alive.
Jolee knelt down by Connan's side and grasped at her wrist. Carth paused and stared. Jolee closed his eyes, as if thinking.
"It seems she's got a pulse," He informed, a little anxiously. Carth let out a breath. "But it's so small; I've only felt it twice in half a minute."
"What's wrong?" Bastila came running from the Ebon Hawk and toward the group of people. "Why are you two wet?" She stopped as she saw Connan's state. "What the—"
"Exactly!" Candorous growled. Bastila leapt to Connan's side and placed a hand on her forehead.
"Well?" Carth asked after a few seconds of silence.
"She's there," Bastila still had her eyes closed. "This is similar to when Malak blew her ship up. Though her mind isn't destroyed; it's trapped."
"Yes, trapped." Bastila nodded. Jolee groaned, slapping a hand to his eyes and rubbing as hard as he could.
"Only the lass would have such a thing happen to her," He shook his head.
"Can you get her out?" Carth asked before pumping more air into Connan.
"Yes, but I'll need Juhani to come and help. Jolee, too, for that matter."
Connan couldn't move. She tried to scream instead. The air wouldn't come to her when summoned. She felt as if in a bubble; separated from the rest of existence and doomed to be in this torturous state of nothing.
It felt slightly similar to how she'd felt when Anakin went into that rage, when he slaughtered the whole tribe of Sand People and she was forced to watched from his side, even though she was miles away in the home of little Ani's step brother. Then she'd been too shocked to breathe, let alone speak or move. The lightheaded feeling had come from the lack of oxygen, but had gone away when Ani's anger released her from its clutches and she slammed back into her own body.
Here it felt largely the same. Even though she wanted to, she couldn't speak, move, and she definitely couldn't breathe.
She felt something upon her lips, forcing air into her system. Then there was a pair of hands driving it out again. As the process repeated, another set of hands clutched around her wrist. She prayed she had a pulse, even if it was a small one. If they thought she was gone, they'd leave her in this state and she'd be confined in this dark, breathless, immobile space forever.
A hand lay across her forehead and a voice broke through the void, piercing her mind and making her try to cringe. She couldn't understand a word of it.
She focused on the words as hard as her oxygen-less brain could, and wished the person would speak quieter and more clearly.
That was clearer. And it was almost a whisper. Maybe this person could hear her thoughts!
Thank the Force! Someone could hear her. Maybe they'd get her out of this place before she went crazy, on the verge of death but unable to die.
Connan quickly recited what she could remember to herself; that they'd been underwater and she'd nearly died before the Byssual came and pulled her out from under the water. Then she turned a bit panicky as she remembered she couldn't breathe or move.
"We'll help. Hang on."
Connan was still on-edge, and who wouldn't be? At least now she knew that someone was coming for her, and she wouldn't have to spend the rest of her days in this insane life of a blind vegetable.
Bastila exchanged glances with Juhani and Jolee before closing her eyes and focusing on Connan. It made Carth wonder exactly what they were going to try and do.
It had been hastily explained to Carth that Connan was in a sort of mental bubble, and she wasn't capable of moving or breathing inside it. It was a sort of sickness that Jedi got sometimes, when they were on the verge of death and quickly escaped it while unconscious. If they didn't get her out of it, she wouldn't die, per se, she would be stuck in her mind until her body gave out on her; living inside her mind in immobile, airless, and blind reality, driving herself nearly insane under the torturous conditions of her life of dying but living, always despairing to the point of insanity but not being able to break.
The thought of such an illness made Carth glad he was not a Jedi, for once.
It would be simple to get Connan out of it, they'd said, since they'd seen other people do it before and the procedure of how to do it had been written down in the archives. They simply had to find some way into her mind and pop the bubble she was ensnared in.
Luckily for them, the easiest way in was Bastila, whose connection with the unconscious Jedi still ran strong.
For about ten seconds nothing happened, and the apprehensive side of Carth took over again as he pondered what was happening.
Connan probably wasn't enjoying being enclosed in her own mind. She'd often told him how much she hated her own mind, and to be trapped within the walls of the loathed psyche in question would probably be maddening.
Not to mention the fact that Connan also hated being trapped in anything and everything, and would no doubt be trying to tear down her own mental walls simply to get out. If she could move, that is.
The piercing feeling left Connan, and she knew the voice had left. She hoped it would come back. The pressure in her head was almost killing her. For a moment she wished it would. She wanted it to just let her go completely unconscious and become one with the Force.
"You don't really want that, now do you?"
Connan knew it wasn't the same voice talking to her. There wasn't any sort of pain in her head. Through the darkness, the outline of someone appeared in front of her and crossed its arms. Though there was a hood around the person's head, Connan could tell their eyebrows were raised. The white apparition shook its head and chuckled sadly.
"You always get yourself in the strangest situations, Revan dear."
Connan recognized the voice of Kreia. As soon as the voice registered, questions popped into her head. How come this time when someone talked to her, it didn't hurt? How come she could see this one? Could she be getting better, to be able to see people outside of her mind as apparitions? But Kreia was dead.
Oh, no. That wasn't good. Did that mean that Connan was—
"No, Revan. I daresay you're still you're alive."
If Connan was still alive, what was happening? How come she could see Kreia if she couldn't see anything else?
"I'm in your mind, Revan." Kreia insisted. "Your friends are trying to find their way in to get you out, but I'd prefer it if you had the ability to make it out of such a situation yourself."
It'd been at least ten or more years since Connan had had any kind of training with Kreia. She found it a bit amusing that even though her Master was dead, she was still trying to teach her things.
Wait, did Kreia just say that her friends were coming?
"Yes, they're coming to find you." Kreia explained. "Jolee and Juhani are using Bastila to get into your mind and to take down the bubble that has chosen to form itself around you to keep you from dying."
Good. At least someone was coming for her. This torture wouldn't last for much longer.
Then Kreia held a hand out in front of Connan, her
"Stand up, Revan."
Kreia was crazy. She was out of her mind. Dying had made her insane. Couldn't she tell that Connan couldn't move?
"Mind over matter, Revan dear. Stand up."
Connan couldn't even see, let alone stand. What was Kreia thinking?
"I raised you to be independent of other Jedi, Revan. What makes you think that since you have a new identity and friends that you can count on you don't have to know how to get out of situations by yourself?" Kreia asked. She shook her hand patiently. "Now stand up, Revan. Come on, there's a good girl."
Aw, what the hell? Connan focused almost all of her energy on moving her feet. They refused to comply.
"Come on, now," Kreia encouraged. Connan tried again, imagining her feet twitching from disuse as she set them both on the ground and grasped Kreia's hand. She tried to make her images become veracity and her legs cramped up, warning her not to push herself.
"Once more, dear. Stand up and take my hand. You can do it. Make yourself do it."
All right, Connan decided. Once more. She was going to stand. She would balance on her own two feet and take hold the hand offered to her by her Master.
She grew angry.
"If I tell you to stand up, you're going to stand up, damn it!" She screamed. Before she knew what happened, she was on her feet with her hand firmly placed in the cool, wispy hand belonging to Kreia.
Connan blinked twice before trusting herself enough to look around. She still couldn't see anything, and there was nothing to breathe even if she could pull in air, but at least she was mobile and could speak, if only in her mind.
"Whoa," She said. "This is weird."
"Don't let go of my hand or you'll lose sight of me," Kreia instructed.
"What now?" Connan thought to her Master, tightening her grip on the hand.
"Normally I would have you break the bubble yourself, if you had done anything but drowned." Kreia started. "But since you always have to do things the hard way, you'll suffocate from all the water in your lungs if you take down the bubble now."
"If I'm going to suffocate anyway, what was the point of trying to stand?" Connan growled.
"Calm down," Kreia ordered. "You're just going to tell your friends to take the bubble down and the moment it's down, they've got to get out and make Carth resuscitate you."
What a day. First Carth and Connan get into a fight and Bastila has to go play therapist, then Connan's about to drown on the hottest planet in the galaxy, and now Bastila in trying to find Connan within her own mind.
At least she wasn't dead. That would have been an unnecessarily cruel blow to Carth. The poor boy's already paranoid enough since the death of his wife, and Bastila got the feeling that Carth couldn't handle someone else he loved dearly dying.
Bastila gripped the long, light blue string attached to her chest and slid along it, following the connection to where Connan would be. She felt to pairs of arms on her shoulders, holding on as she navigated through the black abyss of Connan's mind.
If they were in the mood for talking to each other in this dark place, they all would have commented on how empty it seemed. The darkness felt almost crushing, as if it would tack them to the ground and hold them there if they stopped moving.
This thought alone kept Bastila going. It wouldn't do anyone any good if the only three Jedi left were stranded in the mind they were trying to save.
At last it seemed the light blue connection between Connan and herself came to a close, and Bastila nearly collided against a wall.
"Well," She stared, "I guess this is it."
A large thud sound flittered throughout the large space of Connan's confinement.
"Your friends are here." Kreia answered Connan's unasked question. Connan nodded, and refrained from cupping one of her hands around her mouth as she realized she couldn't speak for lack of oxygen.
"HEY GUYS!" She thought as loudly as she could. Kreia cringed next to her and jerked her hand slightly.
"That was loud," She insisted.
"Good, then maybe Bastila and them heard it." Connan took a step, pulling Kreia along with her. "Will I be able to see them?"
"The only reason you're able to see me because I'm dead and I once had a very close relationship with you. As none of them are dead, I'd say not."
Connan stood and waited for a reply, listening as intently as she could.
"Connan?" Bastila's voice never sounded so good to hear! "Since when could you talk?"
"Long story." Connan called back. "Now look, you're going to get me out of here, right?"
"Yeah," The answer came.
"Then I need you to do what I say."
Bastila listened intently to Connan's instructions. When Connan was finished giving instructions as to how they were going to get her out of her own mind alive, Bastila nodded. She quickly relayed the message to Jolee and Juhani, both of whom nodded their agreement.
"All right," She called. She reached around her body with her mind, collecting the Force around her and she knew Jolee and Juhani were preparing. "This is going to be a rough couple of minutes."
After a few moments of collecting all the Force around them, Bastila, Juhani, and Jolee reached back with all their power and thrust their Force against the bubble surrounding Connan.
With a start Jolee opened his eyes, nearly gagging on his coughs. Juhani came around seconds later, slumping to the ground and hacking into her hand. Bastila fell completely over, her shoulders heaving with each spasm of her lungs.
"Get Connan!" She managed to splutter to Carth before being thrown into another fit of coughs.
Carth was on Connan in an instant, breathing into her and pumping it out furiously, hastily repeating the procedure, almost pleading for something to happen.
Connan was knocked backwards when the bubble went down. She let go of Kreia's hand and the apparition disappeared. But Connan had other things to worry about.
Her lungs were filled with water, practically choking her as someone tried to get her to breathe. Her chest ached with the pressure difference from her sustained stay underwater. Her nose burned, as if some of the horrible sea water had gone all the way up into it. Her eyes stung fiercely.
"Breathe," She ordered herself. "Mind over matter. Breathe, damn you, breathe!"
It was then that her lungs decided to oblige her, almost spitefully. They sucked in a huge gush of air and immediately sputtered it out.
Carth moved out of the way just in time as Connan lunged forward, throwing water up out of her lungs and spluttering around wildly for air. She took in large gusts of air and hacked them out all in the same motion, and always with water coming out. She must have swallowed a lot of water, Carth thought.
Connan snorted and the water came pouring out of her nose, too. She shook her head back and forth fiercely and coughed one last time before opening her eyes and looking about.
"It's all right," He told her, taking her shoulders as she steadied slightly. Her shoulders were still shuddering from slight coughs. "You're okay."
He said it more for his comfort than for hers. After all, she knew she was alive; she didn't need anyone to remind her of the fact. He, on the other hand, had half-expected her to be dead for the last five minutes of his life.
Connan nodded, as if understanding why he said this. She coughed again and Carth took her in his arms.
"Thank the Force that Byssual came when it did," He said.
Connan tensed. She'd expected him to figure out what had happened and get angry at her for not telling him how they were supposed to get home. The possibility that Carth wouldn't figure it out hadn't crossed her mind once.
"Yeah," She agreed, coughing again. "Good….thing."
"I tell you—" She stopped to cough. "I tell you I'm fine! It's just a little bit of water!"
"A little bit of water!" Carth growled, shifting his grip on her as he carried her aboard their ship. It felt good to be home, Connan admitted to herself. The smells were familiar and homely. The sights were comforting. By instinct, she put her fingers in her mouth and whistled. A large, loud bark rebounded through the ship and the sound of padded feet running told Connan that Æliesha was coming.
"You nearly drowned, Connan." Carth argued. "And I won't let you just act like nothing happened! I refuse to let you go about your own way this time. I simply refuse."
Carth set Connan down so she was standing on her side of the ship for sleeping.
"You're going to change clothes and get into something dry before you catch pneumonia and I end up with a sick Jedi on my hands, and you're going to sleep." Carth ordered. "If you get up before I deem you to get up, I'll tie you to the bed."
"Okay!" Connan growled, rummaging through her closet for a change of clothes. "Okay, Mr. I-Want-Everything-My-Way. I'm going!"
"Good," Carth crossed his arms.
"What happened now?" Mission's voice trailed. She and Æliesha appeared in the doorway at the same moment. "Did that evil-looking thing come back?"
"It did," Connan answered from the closet. She whistled and her Kath Hound bolted to her side. "We've been gone for around four months." She pointed to her sopping-wet bag. "The datapad's in there; see if you can get T3-M4 to fix it, since the water probably messed it up."
Mission nodded and picked through the bag, clasping around the specific datapad.
"I'll tell Zaalbar to bring you some food, Connan. I bet you're hungry." She said as she left.
Connan clothed herself in new Jedi Robes and dried her hair with a sheet from the closet.
"You could have asked for a towel, you know," Carth insisted.
"This was closer," Connan excused. Carth scowled. She just didn't want to ask anyone for help. It drove him nuts.
"All right, now," He said. "Time to sleep." He led her to the bed and pushed her onto it before she could protest. Æliesha leapt up onto the bed beside Connan and laid down, already asleep.
"But… I'm not…" Carth placed a finger over her lips to stop her from speaking. They stared at each other for a moment, and Connan's shoulder jumped as she stifled a few more coughs.
"Yes you are, Connan." Carth whispered. "You're exhausted; you just don't want anyone to know. Just lay down for a while. I'll be in the Main Hold, so if anything happens just call me, okay?"
Connan frowned, but laid her head down atop the pillow and closed her eyes. In moments she was out.
"What happened this time?" Jolee asked Carth as the man came out of his room, dressed in dry clothes and drying his hair with a towel. Carth took a seat at the table Jolee occupied before answering.
"We went to the future," He explained dully. Candorous sat next to Jolee, and Carth could see Juhani and Bastila listening to him from behind the Mandalorian. "Ten years after the last time Connan went." He glanced around. "Where's T3-M4?"
"Fixing that datapad," Mission walked in and sat on top of the table Carth was sitting at. "He said it shouldn't be too hard to fix, so he's starting on it."
"I guess I'll just tell you what happened, then." Carth shrugged.
As he told the story, he made sure not to leave a single thing out. He told of how Senator Padmé had almost been killed by an assassin, then of how they accompanied Anakin Skywalker and Padmé to Naboo, where the two fell in love.
"No doubt thanks to Connan, I'll bet," Bastila snarled. Carth shook his head.
"I'm sure if we weren't there to help them, they would have fallen in love anyway."
He continued his story to when they went to Tatooine to find Shmi, Anakin's mother. He told how Connan's Precognition turned against her for a few minutes as Anakin snapped and massacred the whole Sand People Village. Then he told of the message Obi Wan had given to his apprentice Anakin to send to the Jedi Council on Coruscant. In the message Obi Wan had been captured by the Geonosians of Geonosis. He smirked as he recalled how Connan had outsmarted Master Windu and told him she understood the order, but didn't say she would comply with it.
"That sounds like her," Jolee scoffed. "She always did take orders a bit literally."
Carth ended with how they were captured to, and how they battled their way away from a tarentatek and other monsters and raced down the evil Count Dooku and how Connan faced off with Malak. As he reached this part, everyone paled.
"You mean he's still alive?" Mission whined.
"No, no," Carth shook his head. "They'd pulled Malak moments before they caught us to get onto the Star Forge. When Connan stabbed him, she wiped his memory of his adventures in the future so he wouldn't mess with her head on the Star Forge."
Then he told how she'd used too much of her Force and was bed ridden for a few days. After that they spent two days on Naboo and were attacked by the Cannoks and sea monsters, and wound up back home.
"I see," Jolee scratched his chin, as if trying to sort out pieces of the puzzle. "You're saying that when Connan stabbed Malak, the Byssual came to collect him?"
"Yes," Carth clarified.
"And when Connan cracked her skull on the seawall, the Byssual showed again?"
"Correct," Carth nodded. Jolee frowned.
"You don't think it'll come back, do you?" Mission interrupted their thinking.
"I hope not."
Everyone turned. Connan stood in the doorway, popping her knuckles. Æliesha stood at her side, yawning and showing off all of her pearly, white, sharp teeth.
"Connan, you should be in bed. It's only—"
"I've been asleep for around three hours, thank you." Connan corrected. She strode forward and set herself on Carth's lap. "I've had plenty of rest, seeing as how all of you have been sitting in here talking about me since I've been asleep."
"We couldn't wait for T3-M4 to finish fixing your 'pad, Connan." Mission excused. Connan shrugged.
"So you really think it won't come back?" Juhani's accented tone pulled them back into their old conversation.
"Well," Connan crossed one leg over the other. Carth wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. "I think Darth Sidious is the one controlling it, and he wants me to turn to the Dark Side. Since I don't know who Darth Sidious is, I can't know if he's dead or not. If he's still alive, he's definitely going to try and pull me and others back again."
"So what are we going to do?" Jolee asked. "This is a race against time we're in, Connan. Carth said it's been ten years since the last time you were pulled there, when it's only been a week to us. He could call you back at any time and you would have no clue when he would be pulling you to. He's got the advantage over us in both times."
Connan smirked, fiddling with her hair, which she decided to keep down for once. It trickled down her shoulders and Carth could smell the sea salt in it still.
"That's why we're going back to Nar Shadaa." She answered. Candorous frowned.
"We don't know when that bastard's going to jerk you back to his time again, and we're going to Nar Shadaa?" He asked. Connan nodded.
"Of course. I talked to Kreia while I was there. She said she was going to find information about the Byssual and give it to none other than the beautiful, intellectual, seriously boring, Donella Segora."
For a moment there was silence. Then Bastila spoke.
"We have to find the Exile…. Again?"
"A bit ironic, isn't it?" Connan asked. "But it'll give us something to do, other than look around for some unknown scepter like a common tomb robber." Connan stood, stretching. "Beside, Kreia said that Donella Segora would meet me in the Jek'Jek Tar on Nar Shadaa."
"It'll take us ten days to get to Nar Shadaa!" Mission argued. "Is Don Don going to wait that long?"
"Kree said she'd be there twelve days after Carth and I returned. That's ten days to get there and two days to sleep." Connan calculated. "I need to know about this Byssual thing so I don't do something stupid and make it angry or worse, fatally wound it the next time it attacks and it dies while we're in the future. If Donnie has the answers, I say we go find them."
"What about the scepter we were so interested in finding?" Juhani questioned. Connan waved it off.
"What are the odds of someone ever getting their hands on that thing?"
Connan sat on her bed, which she had conveniently put in a corner. She leaned onto the corner, with her knees brought up to her chin. She absentmindedly petted the top of Æliesha's head, earning content growls from the Kath Hound.
A knock came at the door and Connan looked up to see Jolee standing in the doorway.
"You gave us all quite a scare a few days ago," He said. Connan shrugged.
"I wouldn't have died. I will only die from—"
"Old age, I know," Jolee finished. "But that doesn't mean you still can't be wounded, or crippled for the rest of your life, and then dying by anything other than old age will sound better, right?"
"Point taken," Connan smirked. "So what did you want to talk about?"
Jolee opened his mouth and then closed it, as if trying to sort through what he wanted to say.
"You…." He frowned. "You meant to die when the sea monster dragged you underwater, didn't you?"
Connan paled for a split second before throwing up an innocent face.
"Whatever do you mean?"
"Oh, come on now, lass." He closed the distance between them and sat on her bed. "I know you better than that. You've got it figured out, don't you? The Byssual comes right before you die, doesn't it? That's why it took Malak after you stabbed him, and not some random time before. You knew you couldn't go home without trying to kill yourself."
Connan crossed her arms defensively.
"I certainly didn't know it the first time, thank you." She snarled. "When the Hssiss attacked me, I thought they were going to kill me, since it was four-on-one. When I figured out that it would appear when I came close to death, I tested it and came home."
"Carth doesn't know, does he?" Jolee asked. Connan shook her head.
"I'm not stupid enough to tell him we have to practically commit suicide to get home again."
"So you set both of you up." Jolee inferred.
"I didn't want Carth to get hurt," Connan confessed. "So I did the next best thing. Almost get me killed and while the Byssual's chasing me down, throw Carth in the line of fire. Then I can die at my leisure and Carth wouldn't have to do anything."
"Oh, lass," Jolee crooned. "What a thing to hide."
"I know, I know." She hid her eyes with her hand.
"You know you're going to have to tell him," Jolee suggested.
"No I won't," Connan argued.
"Connan, if you get pulled in again, he's going to go with you. The man's stuck to you."
"He doesn't have to go with me." Connan countered. "I can stop him,"
"I still think you should tell him," Jolee insisted. "Before you actually kill him with a heart attack because you keep insisting on killing yourself."
"All right, all right!" Connan agreed.
"You'll tell him?" Jolee clarified. Connan rubbed Æliesha behind the ears before answering.
"Look, if we get pulled into the future again—both of us, not just me—I'll tell him." She held out her hand and Jolee shook it. "But if it doesn't happen, this revelation of yours stays between us, deal?"
Jolee thought about it. It was safe to say that the next time the Byssual came, whether it was tomorrow or years after, Carth would be going with her. So he smiled and answered.
The end, guys. I can't believe I actually updated on time! I'm so proud of me! And a week before contest season, too.
Sorry it hasn't been as good as Phantom Menace, but we can all agree that the Attack of the Clones is the worst of all six episodes. The next one will have a lot of psychological stuff in it, apparently, and a few big fight scenes. Heh... Please stick around for it?
I want to thank everyone for reviewing me all the time; this story's got close to 100 reviews! I love seeing three digits in the review slot!
The next story will be up around next Sunday sometime, and will be titled as such:
The Revenge of the Sith
I know, you're shocked. I am too.
Again, I want to thank all of you guys for reviewing, and I want a big thanks for the lovely Estora for helping me out with how to kill them both in the last chapter! ((hands you all cookies; Estora gets two))
So until next Sunday, guys!