A/N: Hello! I'm finally posting something KOTOR related because I really need to distract myself from the clusterfish that was Mass Effect 3's ending, am maintaining writer's block on my CM and CM/Psych stories and I miss having reviews. I don't even know if anyone trolls the KOTOR fics anymore, but, well, I don't care.
So here's a write through of the first game, replete with Anna Kyjjl, a smuggler with severe retrograde amnesia, a thing for a pilot wearing a disgustingly colored jacket, and a severe screw-the-rules-I'm-doing-what's-right attitude.
I don't know how often I'll be updating. Surprisingly about half of this is written in one way or another, and it'll all depend on how insane this summer is for me.
BTW, the title is a play on Schrödinger's cat if you didn't know: a cat in a box may be alive or dead depending on an earlier random event, but until you open the box it's simultaneously alive and dead.
Prologue: Schrödinger's Memories
Bastila swallowed hard, her breath coming in short waves. There was one small opening in her opponent's stance, and she took it. He fell at her feet – but not in time.
The figure they had come for stood framed in the window at the front of the bridge, hand extended. Their sole surviving Republic soldier collapsed to the deck, one hand still wrapped around his neck in death. Running feet behind her announced the regrouping of her companions.
The silent mask of Revan turned toward them. He made no move. Bastila swallowed. With Revan, that could mean anything. Revan is dangerous, Revan is the brains of the – There is no emotion . . . "You cannot win, Revan." There was a hollow laugh from behind the mask. "Surrender and the Jedi will be merciful."
There was a pause, almost as if he was turning the idea over in his head. But his answer came quickly – a single red saber ignited in his hand.
The Jedi around her charged forward, trying to dog pile the Sith Lord. Bastila stood ready, lightsaber held in front of her. Vrook had warned her of this, of Revan's capabilities. She yelled at the other Jedi to fall back, but they fell even as she struggled to draw on the Force and heal them. And Revan's silent mask turned to her.
"This is your last chance, Revan."
There was silence. He took a quarter-step forward.
Something beeped wildly on a console nearby, and he half-turned to the window. Bastila dropped to the ground and covered her head as two green streaks powered for the bridge.
"Malak . . ." he groaned, sounding – sad? Exasperated? She felt something fly up in the Force just before the explosion.
Bastila looked up when the debris stopped flying. Miraculously, the bridge wasn't destroyed – just heavily damaged. Revan lay, face-down, at the front of the bridge.
As warning bells rang and the ship dangerously listed, Bastila crawled towards the Sith's body. Mission to capture. Must make sure that . . . must know that he . . . she reached him, taking a deep breath as her fingers gently latched onto the sides of the mask, undoing the buckles that held it in place. She carefully lifted it off – and gasped.
The face that met her was a woman, red hair carefully braided back, loose tendrils framing a gently shaped face. A long, jagged wound cut from her forehead to a little above the nape of her neck, blood turning the black cowl on her robes even darker.
What was more surprising was that she was alive. She wouldn't be for long.
Before she could think, she pulled out a knife and sliced down Revan's robes, pulling them open to the loose jumpsuit underneath. She pressed her hand against her forehead, pushing the will to live through her into Revan, feeling her stabilize – even if slightly. Ripping strips off the black robes, she wrapped them around the Sith's head then gently pulled her over her shoulder in a fireman's carry, leaving the robes piled on the bridge. She was surprisingly light – if she weighed more than fifty kilograms and was much taller than one and a half meters, Bastila was a Sith. And Bastila was certainly not a Sith.
Almost in hindsight, she grabbed the mask off the floor before sprinting past the bodies of her comrades and Revan's bridge crew, slamming her hand on the controls for the bridge doors as she ran for her ship.
Seconds later, Malak fired again. The bridge exploded.
Bastila wasn't sure why she had been called there.
One more private area of the Temple medical wing had been sealed off, allowing only Council members inside. And she was the only person (apart from the Council) in the entire galaxy that knew why.
Over the past week, her name had been scurrying around the holonet as a hero, and Revan as dead at her hand. She hadn't worried about correcting them, and neither had the Jedi Council. The news that the former Sith Lord still lived – kind of – would pose too many problems for the Order.
She walked into the room, the eerie blue light of the kolto tank reflecting on the walls. Revan hadn't been removed yet. Scars of varying ages traced her skin, including several that bore the telltale cauterization of lightsabers – some of which were still deep black from the duel on her flagship. The Council stood facing the tank in a crescent, hardly noting her entrance.
"— proposition, Vandar!" the lightest-blonde Atris protested. "You cannot seriously believe that we can just –"
The small green Master held up his hand. "Patience, Atris. You have already been overruled by the Council."
Atris quieted, but her frown indicated her continued sulk. "Then what do we do?"
Vandar looked up at the woman floating in the tank in front of them. "It will be a long and tedious process, but we must seal whatever mem—ah, Padawan Bastila."
"Masters, you summoned me?" Bastila clasped her hands behind her back as they turned.
"There has been a development," Master Kavar said. "Master Vandar and I have developed a . . . strategy to use your successful capture of Revan to the advantage of the Jedi, and the Republic."
"There are ways," Zhar added, violet hand resting on the tank. "Ways to construct an identity through the Force."
"You plan to rebuild Revan's identity?"
"No!" The Council said, almost in union. Vandar softened his tone. "No, Bastila. Revan is much too dangerous. The plan is to construct a new identity for her – and to use the bond that has developed between you to draw out the identity of the Sith superweapon."
Bastila bit her lip, studying the nearly-dead woman across from her. The past week had been difficult, with Revan's consciousness weighing on her like a tedious link, flashes of memory transferred to her at random. Memories she couldn't begin to understand. And . . . what were the ethical implications of reprogramming? It was a question she wasted no time in asking.
"We cannot be bothered by ethics," Atris retorted. Vandar held up his hand again.
"Revan is too dangerous," he repeated. "Were Revan to return, the galaxy may never recover."
Bastila moved her eyes back to the tank. "Then what must be done?"
"It will take . . . time," Kavar said. "We have a Jedi who has done extensive research on this topic, and when assisted by Master Dorak, Master Atris, and Master Vandar, he should be able to create a new identity for her."
Zhar stepped forward, gently resting a hand on Bastila's shoulder. "Because of your new bond with her, you must associate with her. We will arrange a scouting mission with the Republic, and you will be placed in command."
"You must use Revan's memories to extract knowledge of the Sith superweapon. That is your primary order – how it arrives is for the Force to decide." Zhar stepped back. "Clear all thoughts of Revan from your mind. When you next see her, you must know that she will have a different name . . . and a different purpose."
It was the stench of kolto – a scent she knew well. But she couldn't smell it – yes, there was the breathing mask. So it was the feel of kolto – a feeling she knew well.
It was demeaning to be shrunk to a person who could neither move their own limbs nor come up with proper tactile/olfactory distinctions, especially when said person had just held the galaxy by the throat.
The thwack she'd gotten on her head still stung – Force-cursed Malak, jumping the gun as always. And through the connection that had unexpectedly developed with the Council's precious Padawan, what little sense she still had understood what they were planning on doing.
It was not exactly what she had planned on. But it was no matter. It was merely time to adjust the strategy.
She carefully bundled herself up, like she had whenever the Council had poked around in her head, shoving her memories deep into herself. Thank the Force she'd reacted in time to shield herself from Malak's blast or her injuries would have been far worse, as would the destruction of her memories.
Memories of her family, her friends, her . . . trip . . . were shoved deep, locked down. They were mostly irrelevant. She layered the rest – the Star Forge, the Maps were placed out of reach of the Council, but prepared to return when necessary, her gambit shoved deeper underneath them. The Mandalorian Wars served as a buffer between the two.
And on the surface with the Maps and the Forge remained the knowledge of her identity, prepared to return whenever triggered; and before that, knowledge of her training, poised to unlock immediately. The Jedi would send her after the Maps and the Forge – Malak still had time to remember their plan, if he had not gone entirely insane with power. They were to leave enough to save, to strengthen, to fortify . . . to retaliate . . .
The kolto started to drain, something she recognized by the way her body unconsciously slumped with the lowering liquid. With a brief, mental sigh, Revan sucked herself inward, to the deepest recesses of her memory, where even an intensive probe would not find her.
And hopefully the Force would be merciful, and her reprogramming wouldn't distract the game for too long.
Someone set her down on a bed. A cold hand pressed at her head, and a telltale steel wall started to weave up in her mind. Revan swore, flying back to the surface. The fools would hide everything behind the damn wall they were putting up – they would go the whole way with this stupid thing, after all. Damn! She pushed her surface memories – stopping at the Maps, the Forge, her training – around the wall before it sealed her off.
They would not be able to reprogram her personality, her skills – only her memories. And the one thing Revan knew was herself. She knew she would be devastated to learn of her identity, and forced herself to remember the regret she felt as she shut herself from existence, leaving it at the top so her new self would some day find it again.
Commander Carth Onasi tapped his foot, straightening his flight jacket.
The Endar Spire was the closest thing the Republic had come to in terms of a scouting mission. Taris had been the most recent world to fall to the Sith . . . and then Revan was killed. So instead of scouting out Taris, to see if it was a proper time to try and retake the planet, they were going to Manaan. And the Jedi had insisted on taking control of the mission for some Galaxy-knew-why reason and for some equally unknown reason, Dodonna had agreed. So now, the damn Jedi were taking over the ship, and the commander of the mission – Carth glanced down at his datapad for her name – and the soldier they'd requested transferred were late.
The Spire's captain seemed unmoved, at least. A shuttle zipped over their heads, and Carth glared at it. They could be back on the stupid ship by now.
He looked back down at the datapad, studying the two names he wanted.
The first was the Jedi in charge – Bastila Shan. Carth frowned. She was young, still a Padawan. And if he wasn't mistaken . . . He looked closer at the datapad. Yes, she was the leader of the team that had killed Revan. He scratched the back of his neck. Maybe the Jedi knew something they didn't.
Maybe this was his chance to find Saul.
He moved to the next file. A young-looking, attractive woman stared drowsily up at him with gray-hazel eyes. A shock of bright red hair had fallen over the left side of her forehead. He moved to her information.
Anna Kyjjl, 25, Human. Security Consultant. So she was a bodyguard or something? Carth snorted, making the captain jump. Like a Jedi really needed a bodyguard.
Carth waved him off, looking back at her information. Homeworld: Deralia. Deralia? Where the hell was that?
The captain straightened next to him, and Carth looked up. The Jedi he recognized from the datapad was hurrying toward them, three other Jedi and one non-Jedi following her. She drew to a halt. "Captain, I apologize for our delay. The Council—"
"It's okay, Mistress Jedi," the captain said, saluting. "Our mission has no specific timetable."
"Only the timetable of stopping Malak," she said, eyes settling on Carth. "Commander Onasi. We are fortunate to have your expertise on this mission." She motioned to the other Jedi, introducing Carth and the Spire's captain to them in turn. Her hand finally settled on the redhead's shoulder, and she looked up, meeting Carth's eyes. "And this is Anna Kyjjl. The Council asked for her to be transferred to this ship as part of our party. She is an expert in . . . security and defense," Bastila finished with a slight frown.
"Hi." Anna gave a half-hearted wave. She was either confused or sulking. Or both.
"We really should be getting to the ship. The sooner we leave, the sooner our mission to Taris can be underway."
Carth closed and bolted the shuttle door behind him. The only seat left inside was next to the mystery soldier, who was staring blankly at the seat in front of her. He strapped in, glancing over at her. Her hair had shifted, and he thought he could see something white underneath the part.
"I didn't catch your name," she said immediately. Carth frowned. She seemed disoriented.
"Carth. Carth Onasi." He caught Bastila frowning at them from across the way.
"Oh. Yeah." She nodded. "Commander, right? Did a lot during the Mandalorian Wars?"
Yep. Bastila was really glaring now. Anna seemed to have noticed. "Yeah."
She returned her eyes to the seat in front of her, and Carth rubbed his forehead as the shuttle prepared to dock with the Spire. Hopefully this would be a short mission. He needed a break.
Like you'd take one, Onasi.
Carth walked onto the bridge, caffa in his hands. The older he got, the worse mornings were. Vicious cycles.
"Really, we should be in a hyperspace route over here," an unfortunately familiar female voice was saying.
"But this is the main route." Carth joined the captain and what's-her-name by the navicomputer.
"Yes, and since it's the main route, the Sith know about it." He didn't miss her ever-so-subtle eye roll. "Seriously. One good Interdictor could pull this ship out of hyperspace like that." She snapped.
"As soon as we're able, we'll pull out of hyperspace and change lanes," the captain said. Carth groaned, and he snapped to attention. Kyjjl didn't bother.
"Why are we changing lanes?"
"You deaf, Commander? There's a lane next to this one – leads to the same place – but it's not as traveled and . . . well, it's not as well known."
Carth narrowed his eyes. "So how do you know about it? That's an Exchange route."
She glared, but seemed shocked for a second. "You know what? I'm going to go check on my charges, because I'm here to do a job." She turned and, braid swinging, strode off the bridge.
"You'd think she was a general with the way she trots around here," the captain muttered. "But she makes sense, Commander."
"As soon as it's safe to, follow her recommendation."
Carth rubbed his forehead. The Jedi had all but taken over the ship – go figure – and their consultant was no better.