Cost Of Family
Chapter 1: The Endar Spire
"Done," I muttered connecting the last wire, glad that I'd finally finished that bastard of a repair job, I pulled back from the droid as I closed up the case taking several hours of my life away with it. Wiping the back of my hand across my forehead to avoid spreading any oil or grease onto my face, I relaxed for a moment. It wasn't anywhere near as easy as mechanics made it sound to repair a droid, and I had only ever done this kind of thing as a hobby rather than as a form of employment. The skill was handy during long periods of waiting between critical points of a mission, and could calm nerves. That however was not the case on the Endar Spire, Maintenance here was over-loaded with droids, over over-loaded, with more than enough droids to send the last mechanic insane. Which is the reason that I am here now, well, that and the fact that I needed something to do until we got to Taris to reinforce the Republic base there.
Those were the orders at least, I'm not sure what we really could do to help them with only a single ship. The strange thing was though, that I – Quisa Leah Korr – was requested by name to join this mission, and the Jedi where the ones to put in that request. Jedi generally did not bother with my kind of people, most of them choosing to pretend that we didn't exist and only accepting us when it came time to put us in our places. So I guess it was lucky that I still came under the heading of Republic soldier, though only just, and because of that I was stuck on this ship while we travel to some back-water planet. At least it sure as heck beats prison.
I stretched my muscles, and leaving the droid to run through self-diagnostics, moved onto the next device to be fixed. What had the Jedi been thinking when they singled me out? How did they know that old name of mine? Could they have gotten my service records, though they were so classified that even some of the Fleet Admirals didn't have clearance to see them? Then again, it is the Jedi; force knows what they are really up to, though I can say for sure that it has nothing to do with whether I'm force sensitive or not, 32 is just too old for Jedi training.
Suddenly the ship rocked, sending items sliding from one side of the room to the other, the sound of explosions echoing from outside. Before I could even guess what was happening the ships alarms started ringing, a loud piercing sound that could probably wake the dead, a sound that only had one meaning. It was like a switch had been flicked when the noise reached my ears, the soldier in me immediately snapping to attention and hurrying off to follow unspoken orders. In the halls I passed military and civilian personnel alike as they each hurried off to their positions, there was an eerie calm in the air mixed with the weight of dread.
My blaster was gripped tightly in my hand, this ship was going to become a battle ground within moments and though I wasn't comfortable with the weapon, it was the smart choice here not to mention the only weapon I happened to have on me at the moment. I chanced a moment to hope that Bastila had not been taken by surprise with this attack and would be able to use her Battle Meditation. That hope was likely to remain unfulfilled as I was sure the Sith were attacking us, and I knew their tactics too well. It was simply a matter of overwhelming and conquering.
The ship rocked violently, throwing everything loose to one side of the hall. My hands flung out to grab something so I wouldn't be sent flying into a wall, but there was nothing I could plant a strong grip on before the force of the ship rocking threw me against the wall. Distantly I heard the sound of my head slamming against it as I slumped to the floor.
"Hey, hey you, soldier. Can you move? We need to get out of here, they've ordered everyone to the bridge. The Sith are about to overrun us," a voice said looming over me, I blinked my eyes a couple of times, looking up at the soldier above me.
"I'm not a soldier," I muttered running my hand over the tender side of my head. "How far are we from the dorms? I need to get my equipment..."
"The dorms are on the way to the bridge from here," the soldier said looking around as the sound of blaster fire echoed down the halls. "We have to hurry though, Ma'am." He held out a hand to me so I could stand up, I grabbed it and wobbled slightly on my feet before standing straight again. We moved quickly down the twisting halls of the Endar Spire, the metal of the walls scorched and melted in places from the fighting. Bodies lay all along the hall, both Republic and Sith, blood pooling under them.
Swallowing the bile that built up in the back of my throat, I focused harder on what I was doing, trying to forget the memories of other dead people that flooded my mind. I'd seen too much death to completely forget it though, that kind of forgetfulness could only be found at the end of an air lock.
"This is my dorm here," I said to the soldier as I walked into the room. I kicked open the footlocker at the base of the bunk I had claimed, and reached down to grab my small pack and sword – the few things I'd had since then.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?" a voice questioned from behind me, the fear in it almost tangible. I slowly turned around holding my hands out where they could be seen, trying to show the person behind me that I wasn't planning on hurting them. Crouched behind the sofa opposite my bunk was a civilian crew member, or the blaster rifle in their hand leaned on the top of the sofa, pointed in my direction.
"It's okay, we're on the same side. I can help," I calmly spoke to them, warily watching the blaster they had pointed at me. "We're friends."
"What's going on in there?" came the booming voice of the blond soldier I had left outside, as he stepped heavily into the room. "What's-" a blaster bolt melted straight through the soldiers chest. The body crumpled as it fell to the floor, the dull thud of flesh against the metal the only remorseful sound for the loss of another life.
"I didn't mean to do that! I didn't mean to do it!" the extremely scared civilian shouted, throwing the blaster away from them, as if there was something immediately dangerous about it. The blaster spun across the floor, stopping against my foot. Stunned, I slowly leaned down to grab it. "Please, I didn't mean to do it... I didn't mean to..."
"It's okay, calm down. We've got to get out of here; we'll deal with this later, once we get out of this space battle," I said trying to remain calm myself, carefully stepping towards him holding the blaster and my hands in the air in a nonthreatening way. I stopped in front of the seemingly small man, and leaned down placing the blaster firmly back into their hand. "I trust you with this; now let us get out of here."
It wasn't long before we were running along the long halls of the Endar Spire; we had passed some Sith troopers on the way to the bridge and were drawn into a fight only to flee when more Sith arrived. My companion, the civilian crew member – Arar – was better with a blaster than most, beginner's luck I called it and made sure to keep an eye out that I didn't catch a stray bolt when the luck ran out.
As we got closer to the bridge, the distinct hum of energy beams grew louder. The sound felt familiar, but as another group of Sith troopers rounded the corner I had no time to think between watching out for Arar and watching out for the Sith. At possibly the worst time my blaster faulted, the damn thing unable to keep up with the firing demand. Cursing I hid behind a couple of crates that had been stacked together, as I swapped out the now useless pistol for my sword. Waiting for a pause in the enemy fire, I moved out from behind the crates and ran at the closest Sith, ready to take them down once I got within range.
I sliced through most of the Sith easily enough as Arar continued to fire from a distance, when suddenly the ship rocked again, something exploding and echoing throughout the bowels of the ship. A number of panels exploded nearby, the Sith screaming and scrabbling for safety as many of their group were taken out. Taking out the last of them, I turned to see the charred remains of Arar burnt in place against a jut in the wall panels.
"Damn it," I muttered at the sight of the body, and immediately shut the door on that part of my mind, wishing not to get weighed down by that in such a place.
I stepped over the dead body of a Jedi as I left the bridge – Bastila hadn't been there, and I knew that if she wasn't onboard this ship anymore then the Sith had no reason not to blow it up. Hoping that she had already escaped to the planet below, I took my chance at surviving, and headed straight to the escape pods. The path to the pods seemed to be completely clear, give or take the small amount of dead soldiers, until I came to a closed blast door. There were voices coming from the other side of it, I went to put my ear closer to hear who it was when my comlink started to buzz.
"Damn it." I moved away from the door before answering. "What is it?"
"Officer Korr, I'm following your position through the life-support system. Be careful there is a whole squad of Sith in the room ahead of you." The voice of Captain Onasi crackled through the low quality comm. system , I tried not to roll my eyes at his obvious statement, glad that the comm. system wasn't visual.
"Can you do anything about them from where you are, Captain?" I asked as a strange humming noise appeared behind me. A shiver went down my spine as I sensed a dark presence move closer. Turning defensively, I put my hand on my sword hilt, watching the other end of the hall carefully. "Sooner would be better than later, sir."
"Just give me-" An explosion sounded from the room behind me. I turned around fast, punched the controls and ran through the door. The footsteps echoed behind me, but I didn't dare turn to see who it was, I felt that I didn't want to know. As I entered the final room before the escape pods, I sensed that the figure behind me was getting a lot closer in a pace faster than a run. Pulling my sword out, I slammed the sharp end of it into the door controls, effectively cutting the figure off as the door short circuited. Sighing in relief, I leaned back against the door to catch my breath, only to jump away when a solid energy beam pierced straight through almost taking my head off with it. I paused against a wall as my brain processed what the energy was.
Cursing, I pulled away and ran into the other room as the red 'saber started cutting a hole in the door.
"Great, you made it just-"
"Not now, Captain," I cut him off, pushing him into the nearest escape pod. Looking back at the door one last time before I stepped into the escape pod, I saw a dark clothed man step through the door, a glowing red lightsaber in his hand. Stepping into the escape pod, I barked, "Get us out of here."