This is the result of listening to a lot of Metallica in between playing a lot of KotOR II. I'd like some extra feedback. This has become a prequel to a play-through. LSF Exile
I knew intimately the feeling of life slipping through my fingers. No soldier survived the Mandalorian wars clean of that taint. I knew how it felt to snuff out a light in the Force with my bare hands. I had killed to protect the innocent, killed in the name of war, and killed to protect myself. At this moment, however, I had never felt more helpless in my life.
The seat beneath me felt cold, hard, and unyielding. The straps on my arms were tight, cutting off blood flow to my fingers. The mask over my eyes hid my gaze from the angry glares of the witnesses. They blamed me for the death of their son. Water dripped down my hair and onto my clothing.
I could hear a strong voice before me giving what must have been a very dramatic speech. I could hear gasps and murmurs of assent rising through a crowd that lay hidden from my view. They had filed in after I had taken my seat in the place of honor. Well, if it's an honor to die before a jeering crowd. I wished I could tell what he was saying. Every syllable was enunciated with perfect clarity, but they did not find a place of understanding within my mind.
I did not know what he was saying. I did know why I was in this room, sitting in this chair, waiting for death to take me.
I had hoped to refuel, or at least restock my food supplies. The sparsely populated world looked rather pleasant. I could find no ports at which to land, no places where I might buy fuel, and only a few small settlements. This planet definitely seemed backwoods: only a handful of systems lacked hyperspace travel. I could think of no other reason why a planet would have no place to dock.
I tried to make a landing in an open field outside the only settlement I found that might qualify as a city. I must have miscalculated my descent, because before I could even react, a siren was blaring and I was plummeting to the ground at a terrible speed. Fortunately, the cockpit was spared the bulk of the force that might have crushed it flat with me inside. Sadly, the rest of my ship was not so lucky. I cursed; my crash site would be far too easy to find.
I freed myself of my safety harness and scavenged what supplies I could. Hesitantly I stepped off the smoldering remains of my ship into the bright sunlight, and was immediately greeted by a friendly looking face.
He was human, pretty much like all of the other humans I'd ever seen, so this world might have once been a colony. Maybe the settlers had crashed, or their transports had fallen apart after decades of disuse.
The young man had a cheeky smile that made me grin in return. Smiles were a rarity in exile; nobody seemed to know how to smile at me, and my face had all but forgotten the feeling. The boy had light brown hair, bright blue eyes, and skin a little darker than my own. He seemed interested in all that I had brought with me. He laughed at my vibroblades. He puzzled over the wreckage of the small ship I'd arrived in. It would have been a magnificent story for him and a moment of mirth for me, had not the others arrived.
They seemed almost to ignore me as they spoke, but the argument was clearly about me. I found it interesting that although they seemed to have no notion of space travel, it was a vicious reworking of the classic blaster that found its way into the fight. The new fellow took one shot, and life as I knew it ended.
The weapon's roar ripped through my ears. I looked down, but I was unharmed. Then, I looked to the boy. Blood blossomed through the laughing boy's fingers. I rushed forward to try and stanch it. The man with the weapon fled, but I clipped his ankle with my blaster as he ran. He stumbled but did not fall, and disappeared behind a corner. I tried to block the frantic feeling in my heart from reaching my face as I looked down at my new friend.
The boy looked at me in confusion, and held his bloodied hand to my cheek. I screamed for help, but none came. The streets held an eerie silence. I held him as he died, my hands stuffed into his wound; I had long since run out of kolto. He bled out faster than I could have imagined. So many battles, and I'd still forgotten how quickly life fades. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I sobbed like a child.
Moments later, we were surrounded. Someone pulled my hands out of the wound. I felt the cold metal shackles bind my wrists. They didn't have stun cuffs, and they weren't even real durasteel, which I found painfully ironic. I was no Jedi, so iron was more than adequate to bind me.
They didn't throw me in a force cage, but an iron cage. I was disarmed, and my scant possessions were tucked away. I tried a few times to find a common language, but it was hopeless; I was alone. At that realization, a fragment of my humanity died.
They brought me food, more food than I'd had to eat in a long time. I could almost feel the gauntness fading from my face.
For the first two weeks, I was alone in my cage. I was used to being alone, but it felt different when I was actually surrounded by people. Others passed through often enough, but they never met my gaze.
I was bored and lonely, so I did my best to exercise. I was just starting to feel fit and healthy when they added my first cellmate.
He was a big brute. He wore his dark hair short, which drew attention to the myriad scars peppering his scalp. When he first saw me, I noticed an evil glint in his dark eyes. A wicked grin came over his face as his eyes raked over my body. Immediately he began to disrobe. Ten minutes later he was naked and whimpering on the stone floor. They carried my cellmate out on a stretcher.
Over the next three days, this event repeated two times more with only slight variation in the details.
They must have given up on pairing me with male cellmates; the next was a woman. She had blonde hair and green eyes. We were content to ignore each other.
I picked up crying in my down time. I never cried loudly, I just allowed the tears to silently flow.
It was while I wept that I noticed a lovely woman with the same kindly blue eyes as the laughing boy. She had a longer version of his light brown hair, and her skin was just a little lighter than his had been. Almost as though the Force was speaking to me, I knew that this was his mother. Her eyes were filled with tears as well, and she spoke a few words to me. Up to that point, I thought I had wished I understood what was said to me. The feeling took on a whole new meaning as I tried vainly to interpret her words. I approached the edge of my cage, grasping one of the bars. She took my hand, and we wept together. My crying turned into wailing, and I only stopped when I realized that it was the mother who was comforting me. We attempted an awkward hug which didn't really work with the bars in the way, and she departed.
They took another two weeks before my trial finally began. Maybe the guy who was assigned to defend me wasn't an idiot, but I immediately got the impression that he was. A few images of my bloodied face were shown on a large screen, a few more of the laughing boy. My old cellmates spoke against me. I groaned inside; I knew there was no way I was getting out of this mess.
A dozen or so strangers left the room to deliberate my fate. They were back within a half hour. I looked to my defender, and saw the defeated look in his eyes. I was devastated, but this time I could not cry. I suspected that I would never leave this planet, never hear a kind word, and never be free again.
My suspicions were confirmed as they placed me back in shackles. They weren't exactly gentle before, but they nearly dislocated my arm from its socket as they cuffed me. They didn't bother letting me get my footing before they started to drag me back to my cell. I couldn't understand the words, but I understood the laughter as I was thrown, still cuffed, back into the cage. I couldn't break my fall, and I landed on my face.
When I woke, I was free of the cuffs. The bloody spot above my left eye had been roughly bandaged. My cellmate was gone.
I couldn't believe that after everything that I had survived, I would die here not comprehending a single word spoken to me. In fact, I didn't believe it until a week later when they strapped me to that infernal chair.
I could still hear the rolling voice of the man; clearly he was used to making long speeches. He probably would have sounded compelling if I had understood a word of it. I tried again to listen to the intonation, hoping to hear something I recognized.
As they prepared my body for death, I grew angry. How dare they? It's the Force, or the gods that be, that decide who gets to live or die. How could they make that decision for me? My anger rose, and then fell. I thought a bit harder. I'd made that decision for many.
I pondered this question, but was forced to discard it in shame. Fear still gripped my heart.
I thought back to my time as a child. I had only one memory of my parents. I couldn't see their faces, but I could remember them teaching me how to pray. I don't even recall to whom we were praying, I just remembered the feeling. In my time of need, I prayed. I pleaded to the Force, the gods that be, anyone that would listen. I prayed that they would be shown the truth of that day. I knew by then that it was too late to save my life, and yet I persisted.
Nothing changed. I prayed for a miracle.
As I pondered my life, I decided that I was in fact guilty. I did not kill the boy, indeed I mourned him, but I could not proclaim myself to be innocent.
My mind stretched out. If I can't feel the Force, will it accept me in death? I couldn't remember what my masters had told me about it. Was I so self-centered that I had never thought to ask?
The voice rolled on, and I could tell that he was nowhere near finishing. I'd attended enough Senate meetings to know when a speech was only beginning.
My patience wore thin. What are they waiting for? In horror I realized that I was anxious to die. Did I always feel this way? Was I just playing my part, hoping that I'd die?
I felt a new energy as this thought surged through me. Still the voice continued. Whatever he had to say, it couldn't have been that important. Now is not the time for speeches. You can give them over my grave. Just get this over with!
His speech continued. I didn't know what to think. I was anxious to embrace death, to finally be reunited with the Force.
"Just do it! I'm sick of waiting!" I shouted to the crowd. A hand snapped across the back of my head, and I held my tongue. They wouldn't hasten my departure. They would make me wait.
An eternity passed as unfamiliar words droned through still air. Then, silence. Finally, the man had finished speaking.
I listened for the flick of the switch that would bring about my death. I listened for it, and sure enough I heard a clicking noise.
I could feel static electricity building around me. The little hairs on my arms stood on end. They flipped a second switch.
I heard two more clicks, and I remembered seeing that it took five to power up their death machine. I braced myself as I heard the final click.
What's taking so long? I was beginning to panic. Why can't I just die?
The crowd was murmuring, but one familiar voice rang out from the rest. The voice was chanting something, and then I heard the voices unite in repeating those same words. "Free her." Until that moment, I'd assumed that they'd drag me outside and shoot me. But then, I felt hands release the straps that held me bound. The hood was lifted from my face, and the chanting died down as the witnesses filed out of the room.
My prayer had been heard.
I did not question why I'd been saved, or why I was granted the miracle of understanding. It was the will of the Force, and I only hoped that one day I would be reintroduced to its majesty.
I walked back to the shattered remains of my ship, wondering where next to go. The boy's mother followed. "I'm sorry," I told her, "I didn't mean for this to happen."
She smiled sadly, and replied, "His name was Evan. I could tell from the moment I saw you that you didn't kill him. He would have wanted you to be free."
She handed me a bundle in which all of my possessions had been stowed. I placed it on the ground and embraced her. We required no more words. We cried together, and together we started to heal.
Our moment was broken by bright lights, as a Republic shuttle landed gently next to the corpse of my ship. A young man in the garb of an ensign boldly stepped out, and then hesitantly whispered, "You're the Jedi Exile, right?" I frowned and nodded. He straightened and declared, "General, I have orders to escort you to Citadel Station at Telos. I'll take you to the Harbinger when your business here is complete."
I didn't know why I was important enough for the Republic to rescue, but it was the will of the Force that brought them to me. I picked up my bundle and approached the boarding ramp of the shuttle.
"I'm Lexi," I told the woman.
"I'm Lisa," she replied.
I looked back one last time, and then boarded the shuttle.
The shuttle ride was brief and uneventful. As we boarded the Harbinger, a feeling took root in my soul. I almost didn't recognize it, and then I wasn't sure I believed it. I felt hope.