Chapter Seven

Medical Technician Bonnie White wiped her hands on a towel and turned to the man Ahlon, Hann, and Xanni were dragging in. His face was covered with sweat and blood, and his nose was oddly misshapen. Having got the call minutes ago, Bonnie had already set up the man's special room and readied the injections she planned to give him. Somebody had tied his mouth shut in a gag, and fit a blindfold over him: Bonnie suspected they had to hold the man down just to do it, for he was still struggling, making animal noises and grunts muffled by the gag. "Room 8-1 with do," she said stiffly, gesturing down the long, white hall. "Don't forget to lock the door behind you before you take off the blindfold."

Xanni nodded. His bright, mischievous face was sheened with sweat. "Quiet!" he snapped, kicking their intruder in the back of the knee. The man crumpled foreword from the near-perfect blow, saved only by Xanni's tug on his hair.

"Hey!" Bonnie said. "No! Don't do that! You can kick him when he's released. Now, march!"

Gesturing madly to the direction of the corridor, she returned to collecting all of her sedatives and truth serum. "Five-Oh, grab the rags and let's go."

"As you wish, madam." The silver-plated protocol droid lifted the clean stack of rags off of the counter and followed behind the old woman as she turned and headed towards 8-1. The halls, a brilliant, bright white trimmed with black, seemed to go on forever. Viuex had insisted on one hundred medical bays for Force-knows-what, and it drove Bonnie insane, having to cart around her supplies room-to-room. She had placed the man in the 8th wing, near the center of the medical complex, where the most confusing set of halls were. Though old and wrinkly, Bonnie never stopped fussing over her patients, and had let Viuex know how time wasting it was to have all this empty space. He, of course, paid no mind.

Bonnie huffed and made sure the blue box containing the supplies was securely in her hands before setting out. Some old woman she was. She had twice the amount of white hair one could expect in a normal human, and had piercing grey eyes that left room for no debate. Her mind was quick and sharp, and her large glasses did enough to keep this fact in the air between her and the patient. She was too old to go on missions, the Council had told her. They had sent her to the Med Unit to stay out of trouble. Padawans hated her. Knights treated her like a fragile piece of glass. It was sickening. Though, of course, everyone knew never to upset Bonnie White, or your next visit to the clinic would be unpleasant.

5-O stopped her from continuing down the hall. "The 8th wing it to your right, madam," he said in his artificial, nerve-scrapping monotone of a voice. "And if I may suggest, I think your memory units need a tuning up."

"Droids don't think," Bonnie muttered. "If you're so smart, lead the way."

"Certainly, madam. I will lead." 5-O's silver plating made her eyes hurt as they passed one of the overheads.

5-O continued down the hall at a quick pace. Bonnie scowled and set off after the droid. Too much stress was bad for an old woman's heart, they had told her. Well, she'd show them who the old people were. She was just as young as when she was twenty! Others said she was mad. That was true, Bonnie was mad. Always caught talking to herself, especially after her husband died. Her boy, Brunaai, had taken her up on her talk-out-loud habits.

The door to 8-1 was not numbered, and Bonnie had to recall from memory which one it actually was. The complex of halls were confusing, and she resolved to have another talk with Vieux. Grumbling, she slammed open the door and locked it behind her, something the others had not done. The man lay on the bed in the center of the room, strapped down by super-tight restraints, which must have been cutting off his blood circulation.

"Release him!" Bonnie cried out. "Do you want me to treat swollen limbs, too?!"

"It's okay," Ahlan said from his little private corner. "The guy's a Sorusan. They're able to compress their bones to fit through small spaces. That's why he looks like a squashed tomato."

Bonnie looked back at the haggard man and saw that he indeed looked as thought he had been smashed flat. Pursing her lips, she deftly removed his gag and blindfold. He squinted in the bright light, involuntarily trying to bring a hand up to shield his eyes. Bonnie started fussing over him, dabbing the blood off of his face rather hard, ignoring the grunts of pain from where she touched his crushed nose. His entire face was swollen, and he had at least eighteen small cuts from all over his body.

Taking a pain-killer out of her light blue box, she injected it into his shoulder. "Now," she said, "do I have to sedate you, or will you corporate?"

"Try me," he sneered.

"Gladly," Bonnie replied dryly. Turning around to take the truth serum out, she noticed that all three Jedi were watching her. "What?" They looked away. "What??!"

"Nothing," Xanni said. "Go on."

"You're right," Bonnie said. "Go on, get out! Shoo! Go investigate the Mystery of the Missing Sandwiches or something. You're clogging up breathing space."

"But—"

"Now." She left no room for argument. The trio of Jedi sullenly marched out, and she rolled her eyes. Reaching for the truth serum and held it before the man's eyes. "Do you know what this is?" He grunted in acknowledgement. "Do you know the sideffects? No? Good. I suppose you like surprises. Now, either tell me what I want to know, or this will circulate around your bloodstream and force you to tell me."

"I'm immune to that stuff anyway," he grunted. "Go ahead."

"You're only immune if you have enough willpower," Bonnie stated. "I, on the other hand, have the Force. This will only help me out."

"Do it, then."

Bonnie shrugged. "You're funeral," she muttered. She injected the fluid into his bloodstream and placed a hand on his temple, taking care to stay towards the side where he couldn't spit at her and break her concentration. Taking a deep breath, she entered the deep calm of the Force. All of her troubles melted away, and it was only her and this man, floating in a cloud of dust.

"What is your name?" she muttered.

His brain sent out waves telling him not to tell her, but she quickly dampened them, sending soothing thoughts into his mind. It's okay to tell me… Isn't it something you want to get off of your chest? Aren't you bursting with excitement? Planting these feelings into his thought pattern made it easier than expected.

He opened his mouth and made a low, groaning sound. "My name… Ghez…"

"Good…" she cooed. She started rubbing his forehead like she would to a child. "Who sent you?"

"The BlackHawks… Their captain needed me to… perform a job…"

"Who is their captain?" Bonnie whispered. She leaned in close to his ear. "He smelled like death, didn't he? Cold, and wild… You knew there was something wrong with him, but it was credits. You needed those credits for your baby, is that right?" Tears swam in his eyes. She was getting through. She pressed harder, drawing the memories from his mind. "Your baby is sick, and you're afraid… Your wife passed away, and you were broke… He found you, coaxed you into performing this one job… you couldn't refuse…"

She frowned. The memories after that were shrouded with darkness and fog. She tried to penetrate, digging deeper and deeper. She cried out in pain as an unseen force slammed into her consciousness. Her hand disconnected from Ghez's head, and to her own. She found herself falling against the wall, breathing hard. Wimpering. She cried out again as another block of pain hit her, and struggled to disconnect her mind from Ghez's… but she wasn't in his mind anymore.

(You have touched my mind, human… Why? Is that you, Rogan?)

"Yes!" she cried out. "Yes!"

(No… you are not Rogan Strife… Ah aha… Jedi Knight. I despise your kind.)

"Why?" she sobbed. "Why did you send him? Let me go!"

(No, not yet. Tell me what you pulled from the whelp's mind.) She didn't answer. She couldn't answer. The tears ran in rivers down her wrinkled cheeks. She was half-aware of a distant voice crying out for help.

(TELL ME!!!!)

"NO!"

(You dare invoke my wrath??!! Shame upon shame! The disgrace of humans is far greater than I have realized! You will pay!)

Bonnie knew she was going to die. She was aware of somebody calling her name. She opened her eyes, trying to see through the haze of pain. Xanni's pale face could be seen just beyond the fog, calling for her to wake up. She reached out a hand and touched his head. "Rogan Strife…" she said throatily. "Find him."

And in one more, sharp pain, Bonnie's eyes glazed over. She looked past Xanni, and to the still form of Ghez, who was desperately trying to turn his head in her direction. "I am sorry…" she whispered, "for Andrea…"

She continued to look at Ghex as she slowly, ever so slowly, sunk into oblivion.

--

On the other side of the Galaxy, and large, reptilian male with purple eyes stared into space, and smiled.