Disclaimers and Such:
I despise Author's Notes, so I'll keep this short. First of all... thanks for reading. Secondly, thanks for reviewing! Be honest! I know there are problems with this story, and I'll be disappointed if others don't point them out as well, because it means I can't even critique my own writing properly. :)
This follows the story of Knights of the Old Republic, but only up to the arrival on Dantooine. I doubt I need to say "Spoilers", since if you're reading this you're probably already familiar with the game. I don't own the characters, nor the franchise, nor the basic story. Bioware has shown a remarkable tolerance for fanfiction, and that's one of the things that makes that company so awesome, and one of the reasons why I shove my wallet into their hands with desperate fervour. "Take it," I say. "Take it and love me again, please."
Anyway, onto the story. Some events will warp considerably from the game – otherwise, what's the point? I've been true to the original dialogue in some places, and other points thrown it out the window. I hope you enjoy.
Overall, Bastila would have preferred to have been in space.
Onderon was a nice place, to be sure. It had a wild, untamed feel to it that the young Jedi found appealing. The beastmasters and their animals were a wonder to behold. And, as Master Vossa said, during such tragic times, it was important to appreciate times of peace, and remember what was being fought for.
But Bastila found it hard to think of such things – on Onderon, especially. She couldn't ignore the fact that the giant moon above was where the Mandalorian War had effectively started. The war that had birthed Revan and Malak and sent them on their slide to the Dark Side. It was an ominous omen hanging over her head, figuratively and literally.
She strode through a medical and research complex in Iziz, a dry and sterile building that contrasted greatly with the streets of the city, with its bazaars and merchants and roaming tamed beasts. The people she saw either nodded politely or pointedly ignored her. Reactions to Jedi on the world were decidedly bipolar. Some held animosity for the Order, since they dallied so long in opposing the conquering Mandalorians. Others adored the Jedi, for leading the forces which had eventually liberated them. Sympathies for the Sith were dangerously high; Revan and Malak, the leaders of the liberating armies, were nearly deified. Most of the population was too unsophisticated to realize that the two heroic Jedi had become... something else.
Bastila sometimes wondered how the population would react if they knew just what she'd been carrying when she'd come back from her recent mission. She had no real desire to find out.
What she desired was to be back out in space, helping stem Revan's invasion fleet. The Republic High Command had been overjoyed to hear that Revan had been defeated, and the effects had shown immediately; the Sith forces had ceased their advance, and in some places even fallen back. After two nears of near-constant defeats to the Dark Lord, any respite was welcome.
Yet Bastila knew that the Sith's internal struggle would not last long, and Malak would become the new Dark Lord. Then the assault would begin again. And Malak was not a surgeon, like his strategically-brilliant master. No, he saw no reason to cut when he could smash. The war would start again, and it would undoubtedly be more brutal than before. And Bastila needed to be there to stop him.
A pair of doors split before her, and she entered one of the intensive-care facilities. The room was filled with kolto tanks, each one capable of using the miraculous substance to heal a sentient from very near the point of death. But there were limits to their abilities – not every wound could be treated.
Only one of the tanks was occupied. It was nearly a physical effort for the Jedi Sentinel to approach it.
She took comfort from the presence of Master Vossa Ti'lk, the Twi'lek Jedi who had been on Onderon when she and her team had arrived, bearing an unexpected burden. He stood in front of the kolto tank, his yellow lekku arranged around his shoulders, looking up at the woman who floated within.
"You summoned me, Master Vossa?"
"Ah, Bastila. Thank you for arriving so promptly." He turned to smile at her. Vossa was known to be one of the more pleasant Masters in the Order, given to easy smiles and not one to favour titles and hierarchy. He was a Consular known to enjoy thought and debate about the nature of the Force, and the Jedi. It was certain he was one of the least preferred Masters by the Council to receive Bastila's prickly package, but he'd been the only one within range, and Revan's condition would not wait.
He handed a datapad to her. "You've had little time to actually observe her since you arrived, Padawan. I thought you might appreciate an opportunity to check up."
Bastila scrolled through the pad, mostly for form's sake. The medical terminology within was foreign to her. "How is she?"
Vossa looked up at the comatose woman. "Physically, she's almost completely healed. Mentally, it's difficult to say. The shrapnel caused extensive damage to her brain. It's a wonder you managed to keep her alive, Padawan."
"Did I, though? What's left of her in there?"
"What do your senses tell you?"
Bastila considered, stepping near the kolto tank, looking up at the closed eyes of the woman floating within. Her eyes were closed, and a breath mask obscured most of a face . She floated in the healing kolto, limply, not having shown the slightest bit of awareness in the ten days she'd been in the Jedi's care. She leaned in, looking over the strong, honed physique, the pale skin, and the short mane of black hair which formed a floating globe around Revan's head. Her face, attractive by any measure, was slack and unmoving. Her eyelids did not twitch... no dreams filled the void where her thoughts should have been. The veins and ashen tint to her skin, the signs of corruption by the Dark Side, were slowly fading. What did that mean?
"Nothing. No thought... no sense of her in the Force. It's like sensing an animal, or a newborn."
Vossa nodded. "I feel the same. I fear you may have saved Revan's body, Bastila, but not Revan herself."
Bastila's feelings vacillated between pity and immense relief. "But, then... we'll never know why, or how she did what she did..."
"Not unless Malak is willing to explain, and that seems unlikely." His lips twisted into a grimace. "He's already started putting down objectors to his new leadership, far more brutally than Revan would have. I fear what will happen when he's solidified his position. He lacks her cunning and artistry, but makes up for it in sheer brute force."
"Then we've gained nothing," Bastila nearly moaned.
Vossa raised a hairless yellow brow at her. His lekku shifted slightly on his shoulders. "On the contrary. We've gained time. The Republic now has an opportunity to align its forces, to strike and attempt to push them back while Malak's attention is focused inward. And we Jedi have a chance to try to find out where these fleets of the Sith are coming from, even if we are forced to do so without Revan's help."
Somehow, Bastila doubted that Revan would have been entirely helpful even if she'd been captured unhurt. The Jedi would have been far too occupied simply trying to contain her.
She shivered, remembering the confrontation on the bridge of Revan's flagship. For all her bluster - "You cannot win, Revan!" - Bastila had been sure she was going to die. It'd been a hard fight, getting to the command centre of the Leviathan, but Bastila had distinguished herself well; and with each victory, each fallen Sith, her spirits had risen. She had been sure that with with her Jedi partners, Revan would surely be overwhelmed, and would surrender before their righteous might.
Then, they'd made it to the bridge. And Bastila had stood before the Dark Lord, and her confidence – her arrogance – had evaporated, like a wisp of smoke against a starship engine.
Revan was no lowly soldier, no Force-adept bully with delusions of grandeur. Revan was power, like staring at the heart of the Force. Her dark power was overwhelming, terrifying; yet glorious and enticing at the same time. What had the Masters been thinking, sending her against such an opponent? She would have torn Bastila and her forces to pieces... or worse, captured them, turning them to the Dark Side.
If not for Malak.
Bastila sighed, amazed by the irony of it all. She owed her life, her purity as a Jedi, to the new reigning Dark Lord of the Sith. Truly, the galaxy was filled with surprises.
"Padawan?" Vossa prompted. Bastila blinked, coming back to herself. The Jedi Master did not berate her for her daydreaming. Unlike Vrook, Vossa encouraged such introspection.
"What will happen to her?" she asked.
"I honestly do not know. It'll be decided by the Council, I'm sure." He tilted his head, and his lekku twitched with restrained excitement. "This is something of an unusual situation. Assuming she's even capable of functioning as a sentient again, we can assume that her memories, her persona, are severely damaged... perhaps even destroyed."
He looked at Bastila, and his eyes gleamed. "If so, then we Jedi are placed in a difficult position. Is it right for us to judge her based on something she can't remember doing? Something she can't even remember the reasons for doing?"
"I think the survivors of Telos, Morrihavan, and the Ivinuk shipyards would be quite glad to judge her!" she exclaimed. She blushed, and forced her voice to a more even level. "Whether she remembers the actions or not does not undo them."
"Quite right. Justice must be served, yes? But justice and vengeance walk the same paths, Padawan." He looked at her, and for a moment she saw the hidden fount of wisdom that he kept hidden behind a cheerful manner and random speculation. "It is quite easy to mistake one for the other."
He clucked his tongue, shaking his head. "Forgive my rambling, Bastila. The philosophy of choice and consequence is one of my favourite topics, and so rarely do I get a chance to discuss it, much less see an example of it in such plain light. It is a surprisingly deep subject, particularly for those like you and I who rely upon the Force for guidance."
Bastila nodded her head, though she didn't really understand. "Master, has there been word from the Council about when I will be sent back out?"
Vossa quirked a smooth brow. "Actually, yes. The Republic task force you arrived with has already been sortied."
"What! Without me?"
Now his expression was slightly reproachful. "You will be required to escort Revan to Dantooine."
"Why me? She's a vegetable now. Anyone could do it."
"Not anyone, for precisely the reasons you mentioned moments ago. There are many who want justice' upon Revan for her actions. They won't care that the woman who committed those acts is effectively dead." He pursed his lips and looked at her thoughtfully. "I appreciate that you wish to aid the war effort and do your part, Padawan. But try to remember that that was all Revan and Malak wished to do, too."
The Sentinel blushed furiously at the admonishment. Vossa smiled again, taking pity on the young woman. "Come now. You've only got another two days here, and I doubt you've had a chance to really experience some of the more interesting Iziz cuisine..."
Something was wrong.
She didn't know how she knew this. Indeed, for a length of time she wasn't able to measure, she wasn't even aware of herself.
The healers amongst the Jedi had declared the damage to her brain catastrophic, impossible to repair. But they, more than any, should have expected the least expected of outcomes. The Force had a way of making the impossible possible... especially where one of the strongest of its children was concerned.
Confused and frightened, Revan woke up.
The name, had it been said to her, would have meant nothing. She couldn't remember her name, couldn't remember what a name was. Pain; betrayal. Those were the first concepts to leak through the damage done to her mind.
Grey eyes snapped open, darting about, seeing but not comprehending. Sound was strangely muffled; there was slight resistance as she attempted to move her limbs.
She felt the warm liquid bubbling around her and panicked, an animal's instinctive reaction to being immersed. There was something on her face, and she tore at it, heedless of the fact that the mask was responsible for bringing her air. Her sharp nails scratched the skin of her face, but she didn't care. Her legs flailed as she thrashed in the kolto, thumping against the clear sides of the tank, churning the healing liquid into a froth.
She managed to tear the breath mask from her face, and the tank's automatic systems, sensing this, automatically drained the tank before she could drown in the kolto mixture. She was dropped to the ground, her legs unable to support her. She lay on the slippery bottom of the tube, retching out the lungful of liquid she'd managed to inhale before the tube drained.
"What! Oh my! Oh dear. Miss, are you quite alright?"
A medical maintenance droid, responsible for monitoring patients and systems at night, tottered up to her. She shrieked at the mechanical figure, scrambling backwards until she bumped against the rear of the kolto tank. She managed to get her feet under her, remembering how to stand, trying to retreat further back than the transparent wall of the tank would allow.
"Please be calm, Miss. Confusion after a prolonged stay in a kolto tank is perfectly normal-"
The words only agitated her further. She couldn't understand what the shiny, twitching thing was, couldn't understand why it was making noise. She was helpless, trapped; and this ignited a rage within her. Her fists clenched, and her teeth clenched, her yells of fright changing to a hiss of fury.
"-If you give me a moment, I will summon one of the doctors to examine you-"
With a feral screech, she launched herself at the droid, knocking the slender machine to the ground with herself on top of it. She pounded on its head with all her considerable might, ignoring the pain it caused in her hands, the blood seeping from her knuckles. The droid wailed in electronic panic, and without thought, she wrapped her arms around the polished head, twisting with all the strength she could muster. To her own surprise, the head popped off, cleanly. Wires trailed between the head and the body, and she jerked the head away, tearing them loose. The light in the droid's eyes went out, and it ceased its squealing, which she found pleasing.
For long moments she merely sat there, straddling the headless body, her rage forgotten. She clutched the head to her breast, and her hand stroked the polished metal, finding the smoothness fascinating, the glint of the lights upon it nearly hypnotising.
A shape moved in the reflection, and she held it up, looking. Was that herself? Her face was distorted in the battered metal, and for some reason this bothered her terribly. With a cry, she flung the droid head away.
She had to escape... had to get away!
Standing unsteadily, she took a halting step, and then another. Some part of her recognized the door, and she approached it cautiously. It slid open at her proximity; she nearly fell backwards as she jumped away, and the door slid shut again.
She moved closer, and the door opened again; backing away, it closed. She repeated the process several times, making a sound, low in her throat, of amusement. Finally, she stepped forward, stepping slowly into the hallway beyond.
Unlike the medical bay, which had its lights lowered, the hall way brightly lit, and the light agitated her. She felt vulnerable, exposed; this angered her.
Nothing akin to rational thought went on in her head. There was only instinct and sensation. Her head hurt terribly. She was tired, and dizzy. But she could also feel that she was in danger... there were enemies about. Part of her wanted to attack, to kill... but another, dominant part demanded that she run... flee! Find safety, so that she could rest, heal, and recover her strength. Then she could return, return and destroy those who had hurt her.
So she ran.
The endless corridors of the installation confused her, and she picked directions at random. It was very late – though she didn't know this – and the halls were empty, with only a few sentients moving about. She ducked behind obstacles, finding hiding spots without conscious effort, watching the occasional wanderer pass by with a mixture of hatred, curiosity, and fear.
She did this for long minutes: running, hiding, becoming more an more lost within the labyrinthine corridors of the enclave. And as she did so her agitation grew, as if she was aware that time was running out, that every moment wasted increased the chances that the entire complex would come alive, and begin searching for her. The kolto mixture was drying, making her skin sticky, and her hair was plastered to her face, occasionally straying into her eyes. She was cold, and uncomfortable, and her head still hurt.
Rounding one corner to reveal another corridor, identical to the last, she was ready to screech with frustration. But something caught her eye; this corridor was not completely identical to the last. A set of symbols were drawn upon one wall, in a bright yellow paint. As she stared at the lines and curves, they seemed to dance, gaining meaning.
"Eh...ecks... exit. Exit." Her mouth moved of its own accord, and she rolled the syllables across her tongue experimentally, feeling the words out. She knew the symbols and the sounds were connected somehow, though she didn't know how she made that connection, and didn't much care. But there was something about the sounds, about the symbols, that promised safety, escape.
She dashed into the direction shown by the yellow arrow beside the words. She came to several more junctions, and each time she was able to find the same symbols and an arrow, which she followed. Until finally she came to the end of a corridor, occupied by another door.
The woman approached cautiously, wondering if this door would behave the same as the first she'd seen; it did, sliding open at her approach. Ducking to the side as it did so, she carefully craned her neck out, satisfied to see no one. With that, she slowly stepped out of the door.
It was very late at night, though she didn't know this, and the streets were empty. The stars sparkled above her, and she laughed at the sight, reaching up to try to grab them. She wanted them; they wanted her. Yet, how to reach them? She couldn't jump high enough!
Off to the left, there was a low, rumbling roar, causing her to duck into the nearest shadow. A large boxy shape, a dark spot in the starry sky, rose from the horizon. It hovered for a moment, then part of the shape became bright as a sun, and the object shot off into the sky, towards the stars she coveted. She watched this happen from the safety of her shadow, utterly fascinated.
Creeping from her hiding place, she made her way in the direction the ship had come. A few people passed her, and she would duck into an alley, or climb onto an object, until they were gone. Soon enough, she was at the spaceport, looking at the entrance gate occupied by a pair of bored human guards. It was brighter here, and there were fewer shadows to hide in. And there were none at all near the two men; frustrated, she was unable to find a way past them.
As she watched, a pair of humans walked up to the checkpoint. They held something in their hands, which they showed the two guards, said "Thank you," and proceeded inward. She didn't know what they held; she knew she didn't have it. But the words seemed appropriate.
"Thank... you. Thank you. Thank you." Perhaps it would be enough. She stepped forward to try.
It had been shaping up to be a guard shift like any other for the two Onderon men – namely, long and boring. Sunrise, and shift change, was a mere two hours away, and they were looking forward to getting some sleep. As a result, both had to look twice, making sure they weren't dreaming things, when a slender, attractive, half-naked woman emerged from the shadows, walking calmly toward them. She was curvaceous and graceful, her body and her movement showing the results of endless training and exercise.
One looked at his partner, confirming she wasn't wishful imagining. Offering a heartfelt thank you!' to the gods, he unconsciously straightened, puffing out his chest. Unfortunately, she showed no signs of stopping to seduce them or anything else; she made a beeline for the entrance to the spaceport, barely making eye contact with them as she approached the barricade.
The first guard cleared his throat. "Um... excuse me, ma'am? Before you leave I'm going to have to see your identification." He looked her over, acutely aware that if she had identification at all, she was hiding it in a very interesting place.
She nodded at him. "Thank you," she said in a raspy alto, but continued on toward the gate.
That wasn't the answer he expected. He blinked, confused. Looking at her more closely, he noticed that she stank of kolto, and the garments which barely preserved her modesty were standard hospital issue. Her neck-length raven hair was stuck to her face, and her skin was oddly pale. His erstwhile hopes changed to concern. "Ma'am? We need to see your identification, ma'am." He put out a hand to block her.
"Thank you," she said again.
"Ma'am, we can't let you through without ID. If you'll wait here-" He grabbed her arm as she passed by, trying to be gentle, but not allowing her to walk past into the spaceport, where he feared she might get herself hurt.
He worried about the wrong person; the woman growled and spun, locking out the arm which had grabbed her and smashing it with her other elbow in a sudden explosion of violence. She chopped him in the throat, cutting his sudden cry into a choked gurgle, and then seized his face. Knocking him over her hip, she drove his head into the ferrocrete ground with crippling force.
The second guard jumped away, shocked, as his partner was demolished in a heartbeat. He scrambled for his blaster rifle and aimed it at the suddenly deadly woman. The weapon didn't intimidate her; she looked at it and hissed – actually hissed! - at the man.
He braced the rifle against his shoulder, finger on the trigger. "Don't move! Get on your knees, hands on your head! Now!"
She looked at him, and nothing in her expression approached human. "Die."
Deciding enough was enough, he pulled the trigger. But she was already moving, darting to the side to let the bolt pass harmlessly past her into the wall of the checkpoint. Inhumanly fast, she was on him before he could fire again, seizing the barrel with both hands, pointing it away even as her elbow arced into his face. For a moment they struggled over the weapon, the woman proving to be astonishingly strong, her arms wrapped in corded, whip-like muscle.
Suddenly she reversed, pushing the rifle instead pulling. The guard had one brief, horrible moment to realize that the muzzle was under his chin. Then nothing.
She watched the guard crumble to the ground, confused and angry. Why hadn't they let her pass? What was identification'? The word was familiar, but the meaning wasn't coming to her, dancing just beyond the edge of her thoughts. Her actions when the one had grabbed her had come naturally, far more easily than the meaning of the words he's spoken. Now they weren't trying to stop her, and that was good.
But they had made noise, and she knew that others would be coming. Turning, she dashed through the checkpoint, bare feet making no noise. She found herself in a giant, open area, discomfortingly illuminated, and dotted with ships of all makes and sizes. There were more people here, and she ran to a corner of the tarmac, hiding behind a stack of crates and barrels.
Fortunately, none of the people noticed her. They were all too busy with their own tasks, preparing ships for flight, loading or unloading cargo, making repairs. There weren't just humans here, but Duros, Twi'lek, Trandoshan, and even a Bith. The names of the species came to her as she saw them, but she was far more interested in the ships. As she watched, another one – a tiny shuttle this time – lifted from the ground with a hum, and slipped through the sky over her head, disappearing beyond her view past the wall which surrounded the spaceport.
Far to her right, she saw a pair of humans loading some boxes into a large, boxy ship similar to the one she'd first seen. These humans seemed to be going out of their way to not make noise. They looked around them cautiously, as they stacked items onto a flat carrier which had extended out from the bottom of the ship. Intrigued, she crept closer, keeping to the darkness. Speaking to each other, one of the humans nodded and entered the ship via the boarding ramp. The other human stayed behind, operating a control, and the carrier began to slowly rise into the ship.
She made a split-second decision. Sprinting around to the far side of the ship, quiet as a whisper, she approached the carrier. The remaining human's own suspicion worked against him; as he looked over his shoulder for others watching him, she jumped and pulled herself up onto the loading carrier from the other side. Hiding from his view behind the boxes, she rode the loader up into the bowels of the transport.
Outside, the man who had entered the ship first leaned out the hatch and called to his companion. "It up?"
"It's up," he replied. "We've got an hour until the guard shift changes and they do their walkabout. Let's not stick around. Tell Hovas to start the engine."
The first man nodded, retreating back inside the ship. The second followed, hopping up the boarding ladder, then sealing the hatch behind him.
Within five minutes, the ship was rising into the air, bound for space, carrying more than just contraband.
"This is a disaster!" Bastila moaned. Again, she watched the monitoring camera footage of Revan emerging from her kolto tank and attacking the medical droid.
"It is certainly an unfortunate turn of events, Bastila. No-one is to blame here, though. We could not have expected this. Both our own observation and that of the doctors concluded that she would not wake up without intensive assistance from specialized doctors in the Core." Despite his words, Vossa looked nearly as upset as the young Sentinel. "If we're guilty of anything, it's of underestimating how much the Force was with her."
"Now she'll go back to the Sith. We rescued her from her own apprentice and healed her. I'm sure she'll be suitably grateful," she commented bitterly.
"I wouldn't be so sure of that." He gestured at the images on the screen. "Look at her in the video... she's almost feral. I'm not convinced about how much she might remember."
"She remembered enough to kill a guard and hospitalize another."
The Jedi Master nodded, unable to deny it. "Yet, from the survivor's account, she used no Force powers. He still has no idea that she is – or I should say, was – a Jedi." He rubbed a yellow-skinned hand across his head and paced away. "My senses still tell me that what escaped here was not the Dark Lord Revan, but whether she could become something like her again, I do not know."
Bastila looked at him, worried. "What do we tell the Council?"
He held up a palm to her. "We tell them everything. Do not fear, Padawan. The responsibility for this mess lies with me, not you. I'll make sure they understand that."
She cast her eyes down, ashamed. "That's not what I was worried about," she said, though secretly she knew she was – at least partly. "I'm more concerned about what we should do from here."
Vossa watched the video again, fascinated by the actions and expression of the almost-person it recorded. He watched her cower from the droid, and the raw fear and confusion on her face. "We do what we have to do... deal with Malak and his forces. As for Revan... obviously, the Force is not done with her."