My Pillar, My Beacon

Chapter 27

Mission was blessedly, sulkily silent for the rest of the trip, dropping into step behind Sarah once they'd appeared in the Upper City. It was one thing to listen to her when things were good, but Sarah needed focus, her mind free of distractions. Getting the droid was not a problem, the anxious Twi'lek at the shop was more than happy to take Canderous's name and Sarah's money as good. That gained Sarah a T-3 unit to go along with her agitated young Twi'lek companion.

"Are you certain you won't think about this, again?" Mission hissed when they stepped back out onto the streets of the Upper City, Sarah's attention planted firmly across the way...where all of the Sith seemed to be coming from, and going to.

"I'm certain. You'll be fine." Why she thought that, truly, Sarah couldn't say. Carth made it obvious exactly what he considered Mission to be, and not be. Too young, just a child, something for him to protect, not an adult, not a true part of this, not a team member. Logically, Sarah saw it, but there was something in her that rejected it out of hand. When I was her age, I was...

And as quickly as it had been there, teasingly on the tip of her brain, ready to form, ready to be born, to make sense out of the senseless, it was gone. Sarah fought down the scream of sheer frustration that boiled out of her damned close. She had almost had it!

"Whoa! Enough with the killer glare, okay? Sorry I asked." Mission grumbled, waving her hands in surrender. "What are we waiting for?"

Yes, exactly what are we waiting for? The question formed, but Sarah remained stubbornly in place, watching the sallyport that led into the Sith enclave. Too early. Not time...not time for the main shift patrol...

"We've got to wait for the main patrols to start their shift. It'll give us the least amount of personnel in the base."

"Ah, that makes sense. How do you know that kind of stuff? I mean... you and Devid, the swoop race, and now... the Jedi..." Mission looked thoughtful, then suspicious. "You aren't what you told us you were, are you?"

Sarah bit her lip, her gaze still on the corridor. Now was not the time to have to coddle Mission, she didn't have the time for this. "Listen to me very carefully, Mission." She breathed, her tone perfectly even, deadly calm. "I trusted you enough to bring you to this. Put my life, and the lives of the only people I have in your hands. Treated you exactly like an adult with that." And that's what Mission Sarah would give it to her, use it against her. "Everyone else around us figured it out a long time ago. Gadon knows."

Sarah tore her gaze from the sallyport, from counting patrols, and stared at the young Twi'lek. "So, what is it, Mission. You with me for this one, or not?"

Not is not an option. Don't make me... Make me what, exactly? Another one of those threads that popped up when she was focused, stressed...always in the times when she didn't have the luxury to try to follow them. Silence followed, and Sarah sighed. It was time to play dirty, then...

"Or is Devid right? Are you too young for this?"

"I'm not!" Mission wailed, and Sarah merely nodded, returning her stare to the opening.

"That's good, then." She breathed, resting a hand on her hidden weapon. "Because it's time to go... Teethree."

The droid hunkered beside her hummed for a moment, then replied with a strident cascade of whoops and beeps. "Good." Sarah chuckled, resting her palm on its upper casing. At least the droid was in... "I'm coming." Mission muttered, pushing her lekku back and giving Sarah a stubborn, nearly sulky, stare. "This had better be worth it."

It's your only chance to live. It's Zaalbar's only chance. Everyone here is doomed, they just don't realize it, yet.

"Uh huh." Sarah replied, agreeably.

Sarah strode through the sallyport, into the wide open space beyond. There were fewer people here, this close to the Sith base, but it wasn't empty enough to make her stand out any more than necessary. Mission was another story, but Sarah made certain to walk boldly, possessively, in front of her. She doubted if the Twi'lek even realized what she was doing, even sensed the palpable aura of ownership that preceded her. Rather than trying to blend, to hug the sides, she simply walked to the panel... "Do your shit, Teethree." She muttered, and the droid cozied up to the wall, linked in, and a split moment later, the door opened. It was time to knock heads and beat shit up...

Sarah hit the hallway at a near run, feeling that focus pop into place again. Without Carth to hold her leash, she could just let it happen... Mission wasn't strong enough, confident enough to try to sway her. She didn't care enough about how the teenager viewed her to change her gut reactions... the first shot took the twi'lek receptionist out before that one got even a syllable out.

Had her foot over the alarm. Now, where are we going?

"Get me into that..." Sarah pointed with her chin towards the receptionist's display, pushing the limp body out of the way to give Mission an easier time of it. "Tell me where the secured database is."

Down, of course.

Of course...but she'd like a few more details. "Teethree. Lock those doors behind us."



"It's down. There's an elevator in the back of the complex... I've disabled the interior alarms..."

"Good job." And this was why it needed to be Mission. And Sarah would repay the debt, by saving her at the end of this. But now... she moved into the corridors, afraid of losing impetus. They couldn't stay for long, but hopefully she could sweeten the trip by finding some better weaponry, at least. One standard Republic issue blaster was simply not to her tastes, it just felt wrong. What she needed was a, two blades. And she was certain this place had an armory just chock full of anything she'd need, or want.

Not quite.

Not now. Sarah growled, powering down the hallway, the teenager and the droid trailing after her.

The armory. Sarah grinned, glancing back at Mission. "Go for it, Mission. Whatever you want, and can carry." She breathed, throwing open metal cabinet doors. There. Better blasters. Vibroblades that sat in her hand with a friendly weight and growled a promising hum. Grenades. They had this.

And it definitely seemed like through most of the place. Even the Sith governor in the database room had not been her fact, he'd been a fool...choosing to come after her with blades as well. The fight had been a vicious joy, a dance that underscored what she was called to do...blade in each hand, one on one. He held on for a long time, meeting blow with blow, whetting her appetite, getting her blood and rage flowing unchecked. Her heart pounded in her head, her breaths in her was a brilliantly focused reality, much like sex with Carth had been. And where that gave her release and joy, reversing her cut, moving beneath the governor's guard, and slicing his throat back to his spine brought nearly the same thrill.

"Mission...the codes." She breathed, staring down at the still form crumpled on the flooring plates.

"Got 'em."

"Great. Let's get the hell out of here...while we still can." She pressed the button on the elevator, and nothing happened.

"What?!" Mission stared at her out of wide, suddenly terrified eyes, and Sarah sighed in disgust.

"Whoooboop?" The droid inquired and she shrugged, prying off the faceplate of the panel with her duty knife and peering in. Locked out. No, locked in. Trapped. Caught like an animal. That shouldn't evoke the indulgent amusement that it did. It should bother her. It should scare her. It should have her trying to wire the droid into the elevator, immediately. For it to have locked itself down after Mission had disabled the security systems...

"Mission. Send Devid the codes, now."

"But. But. How?" But. But. How? The answer to sending Carth the codes was easy, with as much disabling as they'd done to get down here, the droid could send it right to the datapad he was carrying. No jamming, nothing to block or intercept the signal. The bigger but, but, how was the elevator...

"Droid." She muttered, pulling the primary circuit plate out and letting it hang by its wires. "Contact his datapad. Send the codes. It's..." Imperative that Carth and Bastila got that information. Ah, the secondary board...exactly as it should be. Behind that should be...

"Okay." This time, Sarah didn't blame her for the desperate tone. "Sending it now... He should have it."

Good. No matter what happened then, this was a success. Even without Sarah, without Mission, they could still pull this off.

"Sarah?" His voice, intensely concerned, amazingly sexy, came out of the droid, and she took a deep sigh. "What's going on?"

"Run into a little hiccup." She found the tertiary panel, sunk deeply into the inner workings of the elevator. "It's a just in case thing, Devid. We're still on schedule." She pulled the panel out, flipping it over. Yup. Just right where it should be. She rubbed the tiny thumbnail screen with a finger, waiting for it to come to life.

Command override code: It read, blinked, and the words vanished, leaving just a row of underscores. Eleven of them, under a squintingly tiny alphanumeric pad.

"What? No, no, not just tell me that, Sarah!" He didn't bother to hide any of the rising panic in his voice. "Where are you?"

"Mission, do you have a pinpoint stylus on you?"

"I do." She proved it by passing it to Sarah, moving close to watch. "Wait, there's an override in these things?"

"Absolutely." Sarah took a deep breath, studied the pad, and hit the first eleven letters and numbers that exploded into her mind, the same string she had used to yank control of the Sith armor with. It was a leap of faith, a trust in those memories she knew she had...but didn't.

Command override accepted.

Mission crowed in triumph, slapping her on the back, and the doors to the elevator cycled open. "Hiccup dealt with, Devid. We're on our way back."

"I' to you when you get back."

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