Chapter Five: You're Scaring Me.
Note: I love Carth, I really do, but he DOES have a bit of a reputation as a whiner…
Other Note: This is kind of sad, but in four years, this is the second multi-chapter story I've actually managed to finish…
Disclaimer: I do not own KOTOR.
When they got back to Citadel Station, Mandalore immediately said, "Okay, let's just leave before someone else accuses me of being in league with the Sith and tries to arrest me."
"I thought that was just the Exile," Atton said, confused.
"I wish," Mandalore snorted. "But it's a surprisingly common misconception, especially…on planets…the Exile visits…" he turned to glare at her.
She just shrugged and asked innocently. "So hey, don't you need to be getting back to Duxn? Where are the other Mandalorians anyway?"
"Oh, I sent them back ahead of me," Mandalore replied.
"Wait, you're staying?" Atton asked, alarmed. "Why?"
"I still need to kill that witch," Mandalore explained. "I'll show her who's playing soldier…"
"So, uh, any idea why Visas has been practically comatose since we left the Ravager?" Atton asked, a little disturbed by the sight of the Mandalorian leader muttering to himself and attempting to strangle the air.
The Exile glared at him. "Gee, I don't know Atton, maybe it's because we JUST KILLED HER LOVER! Show a little more sensitivity, Force."
"Sorry," Atton apologized. "Sensitivity-training really isn't offered when you're a Sith Assassin."
"Well, that's okay then," the Exile said, her eyes softening.
But before anything actually romantic could happen, Lieutenant Grenn ran up to them. "I…hope I'm not interrupting?" he asked, getting the strangest feeling that perhaps he should have ignored that impulse to find them at that very second.
"Not at all," Atton said through clenched teeth.
"Now, Admiral Onasi has decided that now that everything is all over and Telos is saved and you probably have a million other places you'd rather be, it's a perfect time to force you to talk to him, on pain of death."
"On pain of death?" the Exile repeated, eyes wide.
"On pain of death," Grenn affirmed.
"Isn't that a bit…extreme?" she asked.
"You'd think, wouldn't you, but most people tend to avoid spending time with the Admiral if they can help it."
"Exile…" Atton began hesitantly.
The Exile rolled her eyes. "Oh all right, you guys can go back to the ship and leave me here alone to deal with someone who is apparently so long-winded that they need to threaten people in order to get them to meet with him."
"Okay, great, bye," Atton waved as he, Mandalore, and Visas practically ran back to the Ebon Hawk.
"Traitors!" the Exile shouted at their retreating backs as she followed Grenn to Carth.
"Hello, Exile," Carth greeted her. "I've been wanting to meet you for some time."
"So I've heard," the Exile said with a tight smile.
"Come on, I'm not that bad; I knew Revan!" Carth told her.
"So did half the galaxy, it seems."
"But I can prove it! Here, listen, I was on the Endar Spire with her. Of course, I didn't know it was her at the time. She was calling herself Raven and-"
"Wait, wait," the Exile interrupted. "She was calling herself Raven?" As in, she just switched around two letters in her name and you didn't figure it out?"
"Well, no one did," Carth said defensively. "I tell you, she's a genius."
"Wither that or she was surrounded by imbeciles…" the Exile muttered.
"Would you believe she used to say that all the time? Anyway, so we wee on the ship together and she was in a mysterious coma and the Jedi wouldn't let anyone near her and kept calling her 'Rev-I mean, RAVEN' and then she didn't actually seem to know anything about it when I asked her about it on Taris. Oh, but we technically met on she ship by the escape pods. Well, actually I called her a bit before to warn her about the Sith. I mean, I called Trask, who was with her at the time, but he died, so-"
"Admiral!" the Exile interrupted. "Is it really necessary to tell me every little thing that happened?"
"Yes, I think it is," Carth nodded.
"But…didn't the Endar Spire get destroyed, like, nine months before the war ended?"
"Eleven," he corrected.
"Oh, Force," groaned the Exile.
Fourteen hours later, Carth's tale concluded. "And that's how we became heroes of the Republic. So, what'd you think?"
"I…hate you, old man," the Exile glared at him.
"Old? I can't be much older than you if you fought in the Mandalorian Wars!" Carth protested.
"Actually, I'm twenty-one," she informed him with a smile.
"But the Mandalorian Wars ended ten years ago!"
"I was a very precocious child," she said innocently.
"Can I go now?" she asked, looking longingly at the door.
"I guess…" Carth said reluctantly. He obviously didn't get a great many visitors. "Wait! Should you happen to see Revan-"
"Why would I see her? She's hiding. From everyone. And the Outer Rim is a big place. Do you say this to everyone?"
"Well, yes, actually," Carth admitted. "But IF you see her-"
"Tell you?" the Exile guessed.
"No. Drag her back here so I can stop going to therapy!"
"Um, if I happen to bump into her while I'm not actively looking for her, I'll let you know…" the Exile promised him before sprinting out of the room.
"So, I'm thinking we should just hurry up and go to Malachor," the Exile said, walking into the cockpit.
"Why?" Atton asked, turning around to face her. "You don't really believe that if Kreia kills herself, you'll die, too, do you?"
"I don't know," the Exile shrugged. "I'd just feel really guilty about leaving a poor old woman like Kreia all alone on Malachor V with that horrible Sith Academy there."
"Wait, there's a Sith Academy there?" Atton asked. "How do you know?"
"Um, duh, I've BEEN to Malachor before. Remember, Mass Shadow Generator?"
"And you think that Kreia went to the Academy?"
"Of course," the Exile nodded. "After all, it's the only building on the planet and Malachor doesn't have the best weather."
"And you still don't think she's a Sith?"
"I still don't think she's a Sith," the Exile confirmed.
The Ebon Hawk was coming in for a smooth landing when, all of a sudden, the ship jerked and crashed into a cliff.
"What the hell was that?" demanded the Exile angrily as she stormed the cockpit, followed closely by the rest of the crew. "Force, Atton, your landings usually aren't THAT bad or I would have fired you by now."
"You're not paying me," Atton pointed out. "And it's not my fault! I was about to land it when this…thing…came out of nowhere and jumped on my head." He indicated an innocent-looking gizka.
"Hm, thought we got rid of all of those," Mandalore muttered.
"All I know is, I am not leaving this ship," Atton announced. "I really don't care what happens to that old witch."
His sentiments were quickly echoed by Bao-Dur, the Disciple, Visas, Mandalore, and even T3. HK, G0-T0, and the Remote had mysteriously vanished.
"I don't really care about Kreia," Mira announced. "But seeing as how no one ever goes to Malachor V anymore, I'm sure the various indigenous specious will be worth a fortune! I'm going hunting."
"I thought you were just a bounty hunter," Bao-Dur remarked.
"I'm not picky," Mira shrugged.
The Remote, who was wondering outside the ship for reasons unknown, all of a sudden received a message from its creator.
"Hey, listen, we haven't destroyed a planet in awhile, and sitting here having a string contest with that gizka is getting kind of dull, so I figured, why not blow up THIS planet? Since the first time the Mass Shadow Generator was activated, it killed all life, or at least turned them all into Sith, if we activate it again, it might blow everything up. Um, yeah…I swear, I sat down and worked this out and my logic is impeccable! It would take too long to get into, though, so you'll just have to take my word for it. I'm really not sure what the Mass Shadow Generator does, so you'll need to go to four crashed ships and mess around and see if you can stumble across some way to activate it. Good luck!"
Great. And the Exile, when she left, announced that, in the hope of getting the Sith to spare Kreia, she was not going to kill anything until she got to the Academy. And Force knows MIRA couldn't be counted on to kill anything. And he really didn't have any weapons capable of felling some of the beasts found here. This would not go well.
Right as the Remote was about to activate the fourth crashed Republic ship (and it was really fortunate, might it be noted, that only four were needed as there only appeared to BE four crashed ships on the planet), when all of a sudden, he found he couldn't move. Had he run out of fuel or…?
"Ha ha ha," G0-T0 laughed as he entered the ship. "Having a little difficulty moving? Of course you are. Somehow, despite the fact that you are always with that mechanic fixing the ship and he never sleeps, I have managed to modify your programming. Without you noticing. Or leaving any signs for the Iridonian to notice. Come to think of it, how much maintenance can one ship POSSIBLY need? Surely he can take a break once every few days or something?
"But anyway, I've decided that the destruction of one obsolete planet that a group of Sith are using as a hideout would go against my ultimate goal of galactic stabilization. I say this despite the fact that I made it clear earlier that I want either the Jedi or the Sith to be completely wiped out because I have decided at the last minute that any group that managed to form a person like the Exile does not deserve to exist.
"I've also decided to just use my power of you to paralyze you and not attempt to, in any way, sabotage your attempt to restart the Mass Shadow Generator and, as the planet will not blow up, will just wait here with you for all of eternity, NOT blowing anything up."
Mira got up off the ground right outside the ship and yawned. Maybe twenty feet away from the Ebon Hawk hadn't been the best place to take a nap, but she was tired. And couldn't be bothered to back in there with that crazy gizka on the loose.
She began walking around and, within five minutes, had a strange feeling that someone was following her. Maybe it was her new Jedi powers 'sensing' it. Or it was entirely possible it was just the heavy footsteps she heard behind her. There was only one person she knew who walked as if he weighed as much as a Hutt.
"Hanhaar," she said without turning around.
"You should have killed me when you had the chance," he growled back.
"I tried," she said, deigning to look at him. "In fact, I left you there to slowly bleed to death. How you survived that is beyond me."
"You tried to kill me!" he cried, outraged, as he lunged at her.
"You try to kill me every day," she responded, drawing her lightsaber and making short work of him.
He fell to his knees. "You have to kill me."
"Do I?" she asked, crossing her arms.
"Yes," he told her. "Or I will keep hunting you. I will never stop following you no matter HOW many restraining orders you take out."
"Well, okay then," Mira shrugged. "Bye."
"I mean it I-" Hanhaar stopped speaking as he suddenly and unexpectedly died. It was very sudden and unexpected, although the lightsaber sticking through his chest might have had something to do with it.
"Well, this is no fun; I'm heading back to the ship…" Mira muttered, retrieving her lightsaber.
The Exile, meanwhile, had finally managed to fight her way to Sion. It was a long, tedious journey to that point and she had had to slaughter the entire Academy, but the details of how she'd stayed in the room she had been in, opened the door, and stuck her hand into the next room to Force Lightning everyone to death simply wasn't very interesting and consequently, is not going to be elaborated on.
"You shouldn't have come here, Exile," Sion told her.
"I know," she nodded. "But Kreia did, and she left so suddenly and without saying goodbye that I just had to come!"
"But she wants to kill you," Sion told her. "Surely you've realized that?"
"Okay, I'll bite," the Exile said patronizingly. "Why would she want to do that?"
"Because she's a Sith."
"Have you been talking to Atton?" the Exile asked.
"Who is that?" Sion asked her, confused.
"No? Well how about the Disciple? Bao-Dur? Mira? Mandalore? You must have talked to Visas. Or, well, basically everyone I've met seems to think she's a Sith…It's a conspiracy, I tell you!"
"Just…go back to the surface and die, okay," he told her wearily.
"That's not very nice!" she huffed.
"I'm telling you this for your own good!" he protested.
"You want me to go and die for my own good?" the Exile repeated skeptically.
"Well, if you put it that way-" Sion began.
"No, that's how you put it, too," she assured him.
"Well, I just think that going and letting yourself be torn asunder will be better than-"
"TALKING to Kreia?" the Exile supplied.
"You're insane," she told him.
"Well, if that's how you want to do this…YOU SHALL NOT PASS!" he declared dramatically and swung his lightsaber at her.
Five minutes, later, the Exile had defeated him. "Can I go now?"
"No," Sion snapped.
"But I beat you!"
"But I'm not dead and still can't allow you to see her."
"You're just a sore lose," she accused.
"I am not!" Sion insisted.
"Yes you are, but never mind that. Did Revan build this place?" the Exile asked.
"No, Revan was weak," Sion told her.
"Um…run that by me again?"
"Revan had all this power and gave it up and ran screaming for the Light Side," Sion told her matter-of-factly.
"I'm not sure that's exactly how it happened. I mean, I heard there was some brainwashing involved," the Exile explained.
"Exactly! Revan is weak!"
"Despite the fact that Revan is, apparently, the most powerful person that ever lived?" the Exile asked skeptically.
"Yes, despite that," Sion nodded.
"You don't make any sense!" the Exile complained.
"Now you know how everyone else feels when they talk to you," Sion told her, and attacked again.
Within another five minutes, the Exile had defeated him again. "How about now?" she asked.
"But I keep defeating you. I've done it three times now and I think that that proves that you just can't beat me," the Exile said.
"I can just wait until you wear out. After all, I'm immortal," Sion said smugly.
The Exile wrinkled her nose. "Well, yeah, but come on, who would want to be immortal when all it is is an eternity of getting inexplicably mutilated everywhere you go. I mean, if you were really old I could understand how wounds like that could have occurred, but, as Admiral Onasi was so kind to remind me, the War ended only ten years ago. What were you even DOING for those ten years?"
Choosing not to fill the Exile in on what, exactly, he'd been doing, he said instead, "You're right it wasn't worth living. Now that I've realized that I have suddenly and inexplicably become mortal again. And I also have faith in your ability to kill my Master, despite the fact that nothing has changed since I thought you couldn't."
With that, he died.
And the Exile realized something disturbing. "Wait…Kreia's you MASTER?" Most people would take such a statement to be further proof that Kreia was, in fact, a Sith, but not the Exile. "You and Kreia…oh dear lord…I feel nauseous…"
When she had sufficiently recovered, the Exile finally entered the elusive and mysterious Trayus Core to FINALLY get a chance to check up on Kreia. She was really starting to worry about her.
"At last you have arrived. Is Malachor as you remember?" Kreia asked.
"Um…not really. There's a lot less dying Republic soldiers and Mandalorians and a lot more of me singlehandedly killing scores of people," the Exile responded.
"You no doubt have questions," Kreia said. "I would be a poor teacher if I did not answer them."
"How did you manage to convince Atris she fell?" the Exile asked curiously.
"I never did anything, she was the one who fell, I merely stripped away the illusion," Kreia explained.
"You're not making any sense…" the Exile told her. "Don't worry, though, I pointed out how being told she was secretly a Sith did not necessarily make her secretly a Sith and so she's fine, now. In fact, the last I heard, she said she was off to go get some teaching lessons or something, so she's better than fine."
"I see…You are merciful, Exile."
"Oh, I know. But you'd have to be REALLY evil to let Atris go out there, forcing her lousy teaching abilities on poor unsuspecting people…Oh! And Atton wanted me to ask you this: 'Why me'?"
"Because you can kill the Force," Kreia informed her.
"Oh come on! I'm not that bad!" the Exile protested.
"You are a dead spot in the Force and, as such, beautiful to me."
"Um…I'm starting to feel uncomfortable…" the Exile said and quickly changed the subject. "So, um, what now?"
"Now you must kill me," Kreia said calmly.
"Okay, so…Wait, what?" the Exile screeched. "Why?"
"Because the apprentice must always kill the master. It is the way of the Sith."
"Oh not you, too! How many times do I have to tell you people: I am not a Sith!" the Exile declared.
Kreia looked puzzled. "I know. I was talking about me."
"Kreia," the Exile said patronizingly. "You're not a Sith."
"What? Of course I am?" Kreia snapped.
"Name one Sith-like thing you've done," the Exile challenged.
"I've been manipulating you from the moment you awoke!"
"Uh-huh. Right," the Exile said skeptically.
"I did! And I used you to distract the Sith Lords, trick them into revealing themselves so they could be killed by the Republic, reveal Atris's corruption, kill the Jedi—"
"Kreia, that wasn't your fault," the Exile said soothingly. "Trust me, I know what it's like to have unfortunate things like that follow you around everywhere." She paused. "Mostly because all of that did follow me around everywhere. But that does not make you a Sith."
"Enough!" Kreia thundered and lunged at the Exile.
"Talk about being in denial…"
When the fight was over, Kreia fell back and said, "It is done. At last it is done."
"OH FORCE! PLEASE TELL ME I DIDN'T JUST KILL YOU!" the Exile cried, hysterical.
"Don't worry, it is enough what you have done. In fact, to reward you for killing me, I'm going to tell you about the future," Kreia told her.
"The future?" the Exile asked, perking up.
"Yes, the future. Ask me anything."
"Hm…Okay. I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm still concerned that you're DYING, but I kind of have a thing for fortune telling, so…How about we start with my friends?" the Exile suggested. "What happens to them? Does Mira every stop chasing me?"
To her surprise, Kreia began to laugh. "You travel with them for so long, yet you do not know them, still."
"Well, that's probably for the best. There are all very strange and disturbing people," the Exile confided.
"They are the lost Jedi, the true Jedi, upon which the future will be built," Kreia began.
The Exile looked horrified. "We're all screwed, aren't we?"
"Yes, yes we are. Now, to answer your question about Mira, yes, she will eventually stop hunting you, but only after five more years. Then Mandalore's bounty will be high enough for her to pursue him instead."
"Great," the Exile groaned. "Five more years of this…Maybe I should have taken Sion's advice, after all…"
"Mandalore's bounty will go up because the Mandalorians will plague the galaxy on-and-off for the next 4000 or so years, but they will never wage a war that is quite so successful at the one you are a veteran of. That's not to say that they won't try every twenty years or so, but-" Kreia broke off as she noticed the Exile had gotten down on her knees and was banging her head on the floor. "Stop that!"
"Oh alright…Every twenty years…I need to retire within the next ten, then. Hey, what about Visas?"
"The Disciple will force her to serve with him on the New Council and they will eventually get together, no doubt helped along by the fact that Visas is blind."
"So he'll eventually get over me?" the Exile asked hopefully.
"Damn. What about Atton?" the Exile said, moving on to a more pleasant subject.
"He is, as always a fool, and the Force watches out for fools."
"Does he love me?" the Exile asked.
Kreia stared at her, unable to believe she didn't already know this. Then again, she refused to believe that she was a Sith, either, so maybe it wasn't that surprising. "He is of a fool, of course he does."
The Exile swallowed and asked nervously. "Do you love me?"
"I would have killed the galaxy to preserve you. You are not a Jedi, not truly, and that is why I love you," Kreia answered.
"Seriously, you're scaring me," the Exile said, backing away a bit.
"Well you asked," Kreia shot back, defensively. I do not know what will happen to Bao-Dur or the droids. And now…and now I am really dying…" she gasped out.
"You've been dying for the past ten minutes," the Exile remarked. "I'm kind of used to the idea by now."
"Ungrateful little…" Kreia murmured as she died.
"Well, if that's all," the Exile said and turned to leave.
"Hey, what are you guys doing here? This place is gonna blow!" the Exile said, as she entered the ship G0-T0 and the Remote were waiting it.
"I can't leave until that button is pressed," explained the Remote.
The Exile shrugged and pressed the button, "Now can we go?"
"NOOOOOOOOOOOO!" G0-T0 wailed as he followed the Exile and the Remote back to the Ebon Hawk.
"So, Atton, I was thinking that maybe now we can finally-" the Exile began, but was interrupted by Atton kissing her.
"Yeah," he said. "Me too."