"We should kill her," Atton waved aggressively at the unconscious form of the injured Handmaiden from the doorway of the med bay. "We should kill both of them," he amended.
Anakin almost sighed. "I'm not going to kill them without a reason, nor in cold blood." T3-M4 whistled in approval.
"Come on, Anakin," he exclaimed in frustration. "They were trying to kill us."
"We have no proof."
"What about the gas mines in the vents?"
"They could have been removing," Anakin knew his own voice lacked conviction. He honestly knew he was grasping at straws.
"You don't know that!"
"And neither do you, Atton," agitation crept into his voice. "Only HK-47 knows."
"Why else would he attack them?" Atton shot back. "Would he just kill them for fun?"
T3-M4 piped up before Anakin could respond, whistling and beeping. He looked at T3-M4 in surprise as he grasped the little droid's meaning. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Atton also staring at the droid.
"You're joking," Atton said. "He would?"
T3-M4 beeped affirmatively. Glance over at Atton, Anakin tried to keep a straight face at the comical expression on his companion's face.
"You're not helping!" Atton rounded on him again. "Why are you playing the Sith's advocate?"
"Because, even if they were trying to kill us, Atris is the one to blame, not them."
"That'll be a small comfort when we're dead," Atton muttered.
Anakin walked away from the unconscious form of the older of the two Handmaidens. "How soon until we arrive at Dantooine?"
"Five hours," Atton answered, stepping out of the doorway. Anakin nodded his thanks as he walked past him into the main corridor. Turning, walked towards the main hold.
"What're your plans for when you get there?" Atton asked. He was glad that Atton had seemed to drop the subject. "See if any Jedi Masters are left?"
"No." He saw frown on Atton's face. "I am looking for lightsaber parts."
"What, you lost your old one?"
"After a fashion. The Jedi Council confiscated it when the exiled me. Now that it seems my enemies include a Sith Lord, I'll need one to defend myself. Plus, since I started using the Force again, I've felt the absence of my old one."
"Makes sense." Atton nodded. Stopping in the doorway to the fore-part of the Ebon Hawk he looked Anakin in the eye. Bracing himself, Anakin took a deep breath. It would seem Atton wasn't willing to drop it, yet.
"Look," Atton began. "I know you don't like the idea of—"
"Atton, I don't want to hear it."
"We don't need to kill them," Atton pressed on, "at least not the one in med bay." Anakin felt the palpable silence grow the longer he looked into Atton's cold, killer eyes.
"I do not," He fixed Atton with a heated glare he had perfected years before when dealing with insubordinate soldiers, "want to hear you say such a thing again. It still is murder."
"There's a difference," Atton protested.
"No there is not, Atton. It was logic exactly like that that caused Revan to fall to the Dark Side in the first place."
Atton stiffened in anger. Opening his mouth, he inhaled to expel a heated retort, but he caught himself. Closing his mouth, his face settled into a hard frown.
Anakin held his glare for a few more moments, before taking a deep calming breath.
"Look Atton," he began in a calmer voice. "I know you do not like it. In truth, neither do I, but this is what we are going to do."
"If you don't like it, then why are you doing it?"
His mouth worked for a few moments, as he suddenly found it hard to voice the reason. "Because, the Force is prompting me to let them stay."
Atton stared at him silently for several moments. His face perfectly still, except for the confusion flickering in his eyes. "I don't understand you."
"At least understand this," he almost plead, "Anytime the Force has prompted me to do something, I have never regretted following it. Even during the Mandalorian Wars."
"Think on it Atton," Anakin's shoulders slumped a little in exhaustion. So far, it had been a long day. "In an hour we'll discuss this as a group." He walked away, heading for the starboard dormitory with the plan of catching a brief nap. Glancing over his shoulder, he saw Atton still standing in the same spot.
The Lesser Handmaiden leaned against her prison door in thought. She had tried to escape her prison, which in reality looked like a regular storage compartment that had simply been emptied, and then the door locked. Little did she know that T3-M4 had watched her antics through security footage before labeling her highly unlikely of breaking out. Her skills at hot wiring doors, those that she had, were hardly adequate to do anything.
She had been thinking of giving up, when she had heard the conversation between the Exile and Atton. She had heard their voices and at first she had been inclined to ignore them, but you never knew when you might learn something. She had learned something.
So, the Exile didn't want to kill her or her sister. In her heart she had suspected the reason. She had suspected it for a while. The Exile had not fallen to the Dark side. Not like Mistress Atris had claimed.
Somehow, realizing that her Mistress was wrong did not affect her as much as she thought it would. It could be because the more she had learned about the Jedi, the more she felt that something seemed, off about Mistress Atris.
Her older half sister would have scolded her for such thoughts. Teneem definitely would have called those thoughts traitorous. She smiled fondly at the thoughts of her older half-sister. Even though all her other half-sisters looked down on her for what the her parents had done, Teneem had chosen not to. Instead, the older Handmaiden had treated her like a younger sister.
"What am I going to do?" The Lesser Handmaiden sighed in frustration as her thoughts returned to the matter at hand. Leaning her head back on to the door to her 'prison', she began to ponder her situation.
"Well, I am a prisoner and my sister is injured. At least one of the crew members wants to kill us, and right now we do not have a way off the ship," she muttered to herself. "Have I missed anything?" She paused for a moment. "Ah, yes. The Exile won't kill me or my sister because the Force told him not to." She frowned. "Actually, he said that the Force had told him to let us stay. Why stay? Why not just spare and drop us off the first chance he gets?"
She stopped suddenly in her train of thought. Why would she want to leave? She had always wanted to learn more about Jedi, maybe the Exile would be more open than Atris. Of course there was the problem that Atris didn't want them to learning more about the Jedi Order. Brianna felt her desires conflicting, she wanted to learn more about the Jedi, but she did not want to betray the trust of her Mistress.
"What should I do? It would have been so much easier if only Mistress hadn't been acting the so un-Jedi like. She sat torn for several moments unsure what she should do.
"That's it," she whispered, raising her head off the door. "I can watch him, and ensure he hasn't fallen to the Dark side, and if I happen to learn something along the way…," she smiled tightly. "Yes, that will work."
"…and so I have decided to let them stay with us if they choose." Anakin looked around the Ebon Hawk's garage at his motley crew. To say that they were excited about his decision was a stretch.
"Are you certain about this General?" Bao-Dur asked. Anakin looked at the Zabrak engineer, who was still only vaguely familiar to him, and nodded. "Then I'll follow your orders General."
Anakin nodded and turned to looked at Atton. "Atton?"
Atton returned Anakin's gaze. "I've already told you what I think."
"But will you except my decision?"
Atton sighed. "Yes, I will. But if they try something—"
"I'll take care of it. It's my decision, my responsibility."
"Well whatever, I'll help you clean up your mess."
Anakin nodded, "thank you." He inhaled a lung full of air before turning to his final organic crew member. "Kreia?"
Kreia was quite for a moment. "If that is you desire, then yes. Indeed, what is one more worthless sentient compared to our journey?
Anakin felt his patience slipping. How Revan ever survived being this cryptic controlling person's apprentice he would never know. He was half certain that it was this woman's constant air of disapproval that had driven his brother to the Dark Side. "Thank you Kreia," he answered, taking her words at face value.
"If you are done here, I will be in my chambers." She turned and glided from the room, a shadow of arrogance personified.
"By all means," Anakin replied to her retreating back, waving her on. Looking away from Kreia, he caught Atton glaring daggers at her back. Apparently she was very good at winning friends amongst his motley crew. "Well," he met his companion's eyes, and photoreceptor, "let's go free our prisoner."
I apologize for the delay, but I am beginning to work on this story again.
As always, I welcome constructive criticism and suggestions. I hope you are enjoying my little twists and turns that I am putting in.
Also, I am officially announcing a strong desire to rewrite my first story. Just saying, one of these days (maybe this week) the first chapter of my first story will change.