CHIASMUS

MANAAN: HRAKERT RIFT: KOLTO MINING STATION (23:50 HOURS)

We found the last star map. I've transmitted the coordinates to Jolee and Zaalbar, back on the Ebon Hawk. I know they'll get it to the right people — they have to.

I never thought I'd see it ending it this way. In my imagination, it was always cleaner, more visceral. Not this coward's way out. She's not dead yet, but she will be. Soon. Her breathing over the comm is coming in weak and labored, her lungs struggle to find the oxygen we both know will never come. There's no talking now, no breath to waste. I have nothing left to say to her anyway. I just want this to end.

But once again she surprises me.

Carth…

Don't make this any harder than it already is.

I… just… want you to know… that I loved you…

Her words cut like blades. I don't answer her. I can't.

You can't block me out, Carth.

I won't need to.

It's not over yet.

No. But it ends here.

The readings on the console glow red for an instant before flickering green again, just barely. She has maybe a minute or two left before the oxygen runs out. And when it does—

What will you tell them?

That it was an accident. That you died.

Tell them I died to save you, Carth.

I…

They won't believe you otherwise.

I nod. We can't see each other, but I know she understands. The thoughts are coming weaker now, as if from a distance.

I'm sorry, Carth.

I'm sorry, too.

forgive me?

It hangs between us, unspoken.

Tears threaten to cloud my eyes. For a moment, I doubt. I desperately want to forget, to rush in, to open the airlocks and forgive. Her dark skin, her eyes, the taste of cinnamon on her lips. But I can't. If it weren't for Dustil, Morgana… then maybe we could have worked. But they're both dead, and she's the reason why. And I can't forget.

A soft beep from the console brings me back. The light's stopped flashing. It's steady now, one solid bright red spot in the dim light. Just one last thing to do before I leave. One last respect. I loved her, dammit, but I did.

I unlock the environmental room and begin the re-entry sequence; it takes awhile for the water to clear. Washed-out emergency lights line the corridor as I pace, both dreading and eager for what I will find. It was all so easy, in the end. The buzz of generators murmur in the background and the system lets me know the room is clear with a beep. The light over the door goes green. I step inside, briny water still dripping down pale walls, and I can feel my heart in my chest, almost light. There it lies: a brown, lifeless shadow in the gray, as still and unmoving as death. I approach her and lift the shell, gently removing the helmet, my fingers stiff and clumsy.

It's empty.

"Hello, Carth."

I turn. The voice is real, not just in my head.

She smiles, white teeth in the darkness. "Thought you'd get rid of me that easily, did you?"

And I realize my mistake.

"You kept me talking to distract me."

"Yes."

The blue of her lightsaber ignites, washes the durasteel walls in ice. Strange, the way shadows grow even darker in the light. It's what I've come to see, in the end.

"Any last requests?" She pauses, genuinely interested. The lightsaber's murmur fills the room.

"Did you really love me, in the end?"

Blue fires in her pale eyes are the only things that move as she considers.

"No," she admits. "I just said that to keep you talking."

The blade swings down, shadows writhing with her every movement. The pain is intense, like cold fire, but she cuts away from the heart. It's just enough to keep me alive for a little longer.

"Clean shot, no mess. You should have put a blaster to my head when you had the chance, Onasi."

"Revan…" My burned words choke in my throat.

She smiles down at me. "Don't worry. I'll tell them it was an accident. I'll tell them you tried to save me."

I manage to nod. Just one last thing to do before I leave. One last respect. I can already hear the soft sounds of Dustil and Morgana murmuring in the background. I don't want to leave her just yet, but…

I press the red button on my comm. The doors close and seal. The detonator beneath my jacket beeps, the sound unnaturally loud in the semi-darkness. Her sharp gasp echoes it as she realizes what I've done.

I didn't think I'd see it end this way, with all the hate and all the violence. We're not dead yet but we will be. Her face is dark and her pale eyes are silent, waiting. There's no talking now. We have nothing to say to each other anymore. I loved her, dammit, but I did. And now I just want this all to—

End.

A Note on theTitle: "chiasmus" is actually a literary term that refers to "A rhetorical inversion of the second of two parallel structures," but in this case, it has been appropriated to refer to the parallel reversal of power between the two characters. As Revan begins the story as a victim, and ends it as a villain, Carth, who seemingly begins as the "villain" of the story becomes a victim by the end. (Not necessarily of Revan, but of his hate and love.) Writing prompt was the March 2006 "Villains" Dueling Challenge on the KotOR Fan Media Site -- go check out the talent there!