A/N: Fic was written for the KFM duelling challenge, theme being 'Desire'.
Legacy of Malachor
The first time I really noticed her was just over ten years ago. She was standing on the bridge of the Republic battle cruiser, the Paladin, her hand pressed against the observation window, her face wan and drawn. The Mandalorians were pushing back at us, hard, and I longed to see them die, to suffer for what they had done to my people, to my home world. If I'd only known the consequences then. I was young, impulsive and the lust for revenge ached in my heart. She saw it, she felt my anger, but that's no surprise, she was a Jedi and I was just a tech.
That was the past, and it doesn't pay to dwell on it. I don't like to talk about the War, it reminds me too much of…
I can hear her laughing. Since Malachor, since Kreia's death, she is always laughing. I don't know what happened down there, on the planets surface, but she is changed. It was subtle at first, I…almost didn't notice it. Mical did, but then he was always sensitive to her. He tried to warn us-I guess we didn't listen then, and I refused to see it. She was, is the General and I've fought at her side and seen the goodness in her, in her actions and in her compassion for others. But now? Now I don't know.
She has been teaching me the way of the Force, I was reluctant to learn, but she can be persuasive if it suits her needs. Her influence is everywhere; I see it in the others, Atton, Mical and Mira. They follow her, as do I, but their cruelty-especially Atton's makes me doubt her, because they are changing, too…
The ship is in a bad way, I've been at the repairs for three months now. I suppose it's what you expect for crashing into Malachor-I'm surprised that we're still in one piece. As I turned back to the scaffolding I glanced over my shoulder, expecting to see my remote-it's a habit of old, and I shrugged and turned away when I saw that the small droid wasn't there. Just another creation of mine, used and abused; another legacy of Malachor.
I heard footsteps behind me, and I watched as Mical strode across the garage. I'm shocked by his appearance; the changes in him are even more evident than in Atton. It's in his face, the way his cold eyes pierce mine. I turn away quickly in case he sees the horror that I feel. The tread recedes into the distance, and I know where he has gone. To her, my General. Already I hear their pitiless laughter echoing hollowly through the dormitory.
I… am starting to have doubts. About myself. I can't seem to help it. She has shown me things through the Force, things I didn't want to know. I've been able to resist so far, but it's hard fighting this mental battle with her and I'm growing tired. Her voice whispers to me, tainting my mind with images that I don't want to see. I feel her lust, her anger and I try to push away, but it grows more difficult day by day. I question what has become of her, why she is doing this, but I know. Deep down I know. I just don't want to admit it.
I walked to the workbench to retrieve my spanner, glancing up as Mira sauntered across the room. She leant against the workbench, her elbows resting on the surface of the table cupping her chin, her green eyes sparkling mischievously. I wondered if I could reach her, to warn her as Mical once tried, but then I notice the faint grey lines on her delicate pale face, and I knew it was too late. She smiled at me; it was a predatory smile without warmth. I suppressed the shudder that I felt as icy fingers trailed up my back, chilling my skin. Her cold palm snaked its way around my shoulder and I felt her breath hot against my neck.
Mira glared at me fearfully as I thrust her hand away, her slender wrist trapped in the metal glove of my left hand. I stared down at her, watching as she bit her lip nervously-a habit she had when she was uncertain of things. I smiled as I welcomed the rush of power that I held over her flow through me. It awoke a desire of old, a need to punish, to hurt others, as I'd been hurt many years ago. I could break your wrist, crush every bone… the alien thought invaded me and I dropped her hand in shame. Is this how it starts? She was silent as she watched me, amusement dancing merrily in her bright emerald eyes. I had to move, to get away from her before I did something.
I grasped the hydro spanner tightly and turned away from her with effort. I felt her eyes boring through my back, through the shirt that I wore, as I walked uneasily back to the scaffolding. I closed my eyes and sighed with relief as I put distance between her and myself. Mira was becoming strong, and it was getting harder to resist her, despite knowing what her intentions were. She wanted to break me before the General did.
I'm afraid. I'm frightened for them, and what they have become…
My presence will only be tolerated for so long. They still need me to work the repairs on the Hawk. Would it be easier to give in, to join them? I shook my head at the thought, no…no, that is not the way. I glanced across the room, my skin prickling. Mira had gone, but she'd been replaced with someone far more ominous.
"Bao-Dur. Come to me. Now."
The General stood in the doorway, her figure dwarfed by the height of the circular entrance. She was robed in black, and she looked small and lost standing there, that for a moment I was reminded of the Jedi I first encountered on the Paladin all those long years ago, but then she smiled, and the illusion was shattered. My feet betrayed me and I neared her, my breath catching in my throat, my lungs quivering as I tried to exhale. I'm more frightened of her than I realised.
She stood close to me; her head bowed demurely, just an act of feigned innocence, which I find disturbing in this once good-natured woman. A lacquered nail slowly, seductively trailed its way up my chest, and I flinched at the unwanted touch. She raised her head, her long hair falling across her disfigured cheek as she looked up at me. I gazed past her, not wishing to see the unspoken horror in her eyes.
She placed her hand on my chest, her palm soothing its way to my neck. I grimaced as her fingers touched my skin, and I held myself rigidly still, telling myself that it would be over soon, that she would grow tired of this seduction for the day. I was wrong.
A finger caressed my cheek and trailed softly across my lips, and I froze at the sudden dark compulsion that ran through my mind. Her thoughts brushed against mine in my weakness, and as she smiled, I knew that she had read the thought that ran like fire through my mind. Her other arm slipped around my neck, and I fought the inner turmoil that her forbidding presence had awakened. I was weakening, and my lack of self-control scared me. Confident fingers touched at my consciousness, filling my head with visions of passion, hate, rage and remembered revenge. I struggled against her, pushing her from my mind as I regained some semblance of inner calm, and I sensed the loathing and petulant anger as she withdrew from my mind. I shut my eyes and breathed deeply, not caring that she saw.
Her hands slipped down my chest, as she stood back. I warily opened my eyes, and looked down at her, seeing the inky black tattoo that marred the side of her neck. She turned her head away from me, her pallid hair spilling down her shoulders. Abruptly, she laughed, the sound ghastly to my ears, chilling the blood in my veins. I stepped uneasily away from her as she turned to face me, the blue veins that lined her features stood out starkly against the grey pallor of her skin.
"You will be mine, Bao-Dur," she whispered, "Be sure of that."
I found my voice, buried in a shroud of secret longing, "No…I will not join you," I replied hoarsely.
She stepped closer to me, and I recoiled as her cold lips touched my cheek and travelled to my jaw. I wanted it to end, but she is too strong. As she kissed my lips, I struggled against the desire that tore its way through my senses, blinding me to all reason.
I pulled her to me, and kissed her savagely.
She placed her hands against my chest, and pushed me away from her. I felt confusion and disgust for what I had just done settle like brittle ice in the pit of my stomach. She smiled knowingly as she strode past me, her shoulder brushing against my arm. She stopped and looked back at me with flat dead eyes.
"I have more pressing matters to attend to, but I am sure that you will wait Bao-Dur. I am not finished with you. You will see the truth, instead of the hypocrisy and lies that the Jedi feast upon. And you will join us."
I watched as she left the garage, and angrily wiped my mouth against the back of my hand. I cursed myself for my momentary lapse of weakness, but I knew that it was already too late. I had let her in, the General, and now I felt the seed of corruption that she had placed within me sprout as it reached towards her dark taint, as a plant reaches to the sun for its nourishment.
That was a week ago, and now like the others, I am changing. I stare at the reflection that looks back at me with dark bloodshot eyes. The first tracings of pale blue veins line my ashen skin. I rub a hand across my forehead, and frown at my mirrored self. There is still a small part of me that tries to fight against what I am becoming, but it is diminishing, receding as I grow in strength.
I pause as I walk from the mirror. My time has come, but even now, I cannot help but feel a sense of apprehension as she calls my name, summoning me to her. I dare not refuse her call; she is my General, and I obey her now, as I did at Malachor.