My Pillar, My Beacon

Chapter 13

Right. He didn't want to know why she thought that, but it was obvious that she was probably right. "What's your plan?" He asked, and she gained that empty, distant stare.

"Need a bike. No matter how we get one, we get one. It's the only way, Carth."

"Right." Her increasing focus was contagious, and he quickly dressed, strapping his holster belt on. It was an ingrained habit to check his weapons, shrug into his jacket, and be ready to go. The night before was something he'd consider when he had the luxury of time, when it was dark. When it was quiet. When he was alone. "Then we go get one." He was just going to close his mind to how... he was an honest person, but she was right. If they had to steal one, then they stole. If they had to kill...then they killed. This was war. Bastila was a military asset that they had to recover. "Start pushing, and I'll back you up." They couldn't keep resting on subtlety.

"Right. I push." She dressed, her back to him, and he frowned. She spared no movement, usually, but her palms rested on her thigh, her whole stance that of someone who was missing something, lost something and trying to remember where she had last seen it at.

"Whatever it was, you don't have it at the moment." He stated, and she jumped...caught. "And I brought everything you had with you in the pod..." Which hadn't been much at all, just clothes and a standard issue blaster, hardly what she should have had if what he understood about her was correct.

"I was asleep when the attack began. I...may have left..." Her voice faded off, and he strode up behind her, dropping his hand on her shoulder. If that was so, it didn't matter what it had been. The Spire was down, gone. Anything left on board, gone. "Something." She sighed, grazing fingertips over his skin. "Which means I didn't leave it on the Spire, I'd remember forgetting it."

That made more sense than it should have, and he shook his head. She was wearing off on him, or he was simply grasping just how she worked. "Shhhhh." He moved closer, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and burying his face in her hair. "How long have you been out of the hospital?"

"I can do the job." She growled, and he grimaced, the expression safely hidden from her.

"How long?" He repeated, and she sighed, resting her cheek against his arm.

"Three months." She finally admitted, and he nodded. It really was as bad as he was afraid of, but that couldn't be helped. She should be doing something easy on Coruscant, she should have been nowhere near the Endar Spire, nowhere near Bastila Shan. The very idea that this had been put on his ship annoyed the hell out of him, but it wasn't as if there was anything he could do about it then. But it was time to go do something, anything. He stepped back away from Sarah, and waved towards the door. She only nodded, squared her jaw, and headed out into the cantina to begin that push.


Failure. It was all an amazing, terrible failure, and it was all hers. Bastila focused on the ceiling above her, trying to push it all back. The Endar Spire had been carrying two very precious passengers, and now...what? It wasn't arrogance to view herself as one, that fact had been pushed into her for years now. Without her gift, the Republic was doomed to be crushed under the massive Imperial onslaught moving inexorably forward...pushed by a man who had once been one of their own. Once been close, once been trusted with their greatest secrets... Malak. And just for a few months, it had seemed like they had finally gotten a break. A glimmer of true hope; something to drag them up onto firm strategic ground... and Bastila had lost it all. It was over.

The glimmer wasn't dead, in fact, Bastila was certain that she was alive, and close-by. Had these imbeciles also managed to capture Revan? The lamed, harnessed Revan that Bastila had been responsible for? If so, that was just another crime, Bastila had played a massive part in crippling the woman, been instrumental in holding her, keeping her, using her. If she was being abused here, unable to tap into her abilities, then that was Bastila's fault. If the stress of being captured was enough to break the chains wrapped around her release the true, whole Revan, then that was Bastila's fault.

I'm just a padawan. Surely it was foolish to believe that she was capable of keeping a leash on one of the most powerful force users alive, even when that one was shattered and barely glued back together.

"Revan knows how the Empire is constructing these ships. Revan knows where the shipyards are. Revan knows the Empire's secrets. And we hold Revan..."

Bastila growled. She had not saved Revan for this. Surely the Council had to understand just what they were Revan. What they were doing to Bastila, now inextricably linked to Revan. Using Revan, relying on that link, was using Bastila. I'm sorry. I didn't mean for this to happen.

It had been reflexive, desperate, sealed and strengthened by the dying Dark Lord...

"Who are you and why are you here?" It wasn't truly even a voice, it was dark, anguished, echoing and ominous syllables breathed out from an inscrutable mask. This had once been an ally. A sister, a bulwark for the Republic. Bastila could feel the rest of the strike team quail, their resolve fading when the Dark Lord's fixated attention fell on them. Darth Revan exuded outrage, anger, and more than a little contempt, in spite of the numbers arrayed before her, and doubt crept into Bastila's heart. There were six Jedi behind her, and that didn't seem to be nearly enough. We can't take her...

The sound of a lightsaber igniting was second nature to all eight of the people left on the bridge, its sullen crimson glow echoed by the emergency lighting, trapped in the wafting smoke. Bastila ignited her own lightstaff, taking comfort in its sharp, yellow shine...hearing her strike team make the same answer behind her. Revan stepped into a guarded position, and Bastila gathered her resolve, her wits. She could do this. They'd come all this way to get Revan, and that was Revan right in front of her. It was time to get the measure of the woman the Council held so highly...

Bastila launched herself into her first attack, trying to get deeply into Revan's guard, to overbear her, come in from above...

The response was easy enough to be insulting, as the Dark Lord ducked gracefully out of the attack, waving Bastila away as if she was nothing, not even worthy of full attention as Revan powered into an attack centered not on Bastila, but two of the strike team behind her...while holding a fourth at bay by elevating him into the air and force choking him with a dismissive wave. He landed at Bastila's feet, a crumpled, empty body, dead.

This can't be happening. Please, please, something stop her!

Revan tore through the two she was focused on, every move spare, controlled, rationed, before she turned that empty faceplate back to Bastila. "This is all you brought?" Her voice was mocking, yet tinted with curiosity, and Bastila had to swallow down panic. This was not going the way that they had planned, not at all...

Revan stood on the apron of the front control bridge, her back to the viewport, and all Bastila could do was stare. It was a terrifying, majestic sight...the fleet action beyond, and that...right in front of her. It was time to die, as a Jedi...doing the right thing...

The explosion was massive, stopping Bastila's heart for several beats. Her ears popped, followed by a ringing, buzzing deafness. Flames rushed by her, and she instinctively covered her face with her arm. She couldn't breathe through the change in pressure, and her surroundings obscured from acrid, billowing smoke, and a dizzying display of warning lights. She stumbled backwards, trying desperately to see the oncoming scarlet of the Dark Lord's lightsaber. There was plenty of crimson lights, banks of them, all blinking, but none were large enough to be what she dreaded.

"Emergency atmospheric filters, engaged." A calm, mechanical voice noted over the speakers, and indeed, the smoke began to clear. "Forward bridge defect, sealing."

Forward bridge defect? Bastila trained her gaze on where Revan had been standing. If the explosion had come from Bastila's front, it would have been at Revan's back. There was a pool of shadowy robes there, where the Dark Lord had stood, and Bastila warily inched closer. It was a trap. It had to be...

Blood glistened against the anti-slip flooring, black in the emergency lighting, and Bastila touched the edge of the spreading wet. Revan was down, Revan was dying...and taking everything she knew with her. "No!" Bastila hissed, yanking the mask away, exposing the face of a rather ordinary looking woman beneath. Blood trickled from her nose, from her mouth, her eyes were closed, her breathing agonal. She was limp when Bastila gracelessly gathered her up into her arms, heavy in spite of her suddenly small size. "No!"

The woman's eyes opened, stunned, dilated, the same color as the ones that Bastila saw every time she looked in a mirror. "Malak. You bastard..." She breathed, and Bastila pushed the bloodied strands of very dark hair off of her forehead, locking eyes with her. Somehow, Bastila had to touch her, to hold her...stripping away the gloves and tossing them behind her, nearly crushing the woman's chilled fingers in her grip.

"You have to hold on." Why, why, why wasn't she a healer? Revan was dying in her arms, and nothing was going to stop her. "You have to stay with me. Look at me! Stay with me!"

Bastila sighed, shaking her head at the memory. She'd been willing to do anything, give up everything, to keep Revan alive. And the force had answered that plea, bonding Revan to her, and yes, bonding her to Revan. If Revan failed, stumbled, remembered...then Bastila was lost. She had few illusions that she was strong enough to keep herself whole if Revan returned to the dark side. She'd be dragged down with her, swallowed up, drowned.

I know you're here. She'd know if Revan was dead, the bond would be severed. She'd been warned that if that happened, it would be traumatic, painful, possibly even fatal to her. If anything, Bastila felt better, calmer, safer, and healthier. Revan was awake. Unafraid, here on Taris. And she'd be coming after Bastila, driven by the force bond she no longer had the training, tools or memories to comprehend.

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