My Pillar, My Beacon

Chapter 57

She was Revan. No...she was Amasri Idarn, the Revanchist, known as Revan. Revan had never been her name, it had been her title, what she'd been called when she'd cast aside her status as a Jedi Knight. She'd given up everything she had, everything that she was... No. Now was not the time for that. It would have to wait for later, if there was a later. The drugs would make it all too easy to let her brain meander, to close her eyes and let go. But she couldn't. Mission was loose and things would happen quickly. She had to keep it together. If she didn't, Malak would kill her. He'd kill Carth and Canderous. And he'd take Bastila, Mission and Zaalbar. "Carth, talk to me." He had to keep her awake. Without the entertainment value of one soon to be dead Sith Admiral, the fog was rising behind her eyes. Now that Carth's agony was fading, that push for her to remain awake was also fading. It was not fair to ask it of him, she should be strong enough to keep herself awake, to purge herself of whatever the hell this was, but she wasn't. Eventually she would have to sleep it off...but she didn't have that luxury. Even the pain and discomfort of how she was hanging wasn't enough to keep her jarred awake.

"Ah, about what?" He sounded like hell, stumbling over the syllables, the sound muffled by his knees. "Am I missing something?"

"No." Bastila said, "She's fighting to stay awake. She wants something to focus on. To keep her attention. Otherwise, we'll have to carry her out of here."

No, not that. It can't happen. I need to be up.

"One of you tell me a story. I don't care which." She sounded petulant, she knew it, but she was so damned tired.

"How about I tell you a story of how we get you out of there, ad'ika?" Canderous, and his voice was something to focus on, something to do. For him to be audible on the brig comms, they must be loose. Mission had done it. "Mission has remote access to the interrogation room controls. Did you want us to try to make it to you three, or to secure the Hawk?"

"You're not going to make it here. Remotely override the cages and go for the Hawk." Worse case scenario, that would give them a chance to get out of this. "We're headed for the bridge." Mission could do only so much with what she'd been given...they were going to need to control the bridge to get the Hawk cut loose. And she'd promised Carth Karath's blood, something she fully intended to deliver on. Karath was a dead man, guilty of so many offenses. He'd betrayed her, it had been his ship that had fired on her flagship, after she'd given him that very ship. It had been that very ship which had bombed Telos into dust, against her explicit orders. Somewhere along the way, Karath had decided that backing Malak was in his best interests, and that was a fatal mistake. She had not been spouting hyperbole, she fully intended to drag him down and destroy him...all of him, body and soul. And if that made Carth content as a side effect, all the better. Well, more content. He had a whole lot of reasons to be less than happy at the moment... and she was one of them.

I am Revan.

The cages vanished and Bastila surged to Carth's side, but he waved her away before she could get there. "Get her down." He growled, "I need a moment. Just a moment, and then I need...her."

He still wants me. He still needs me.

"Right." Bastila turned, staring at Sarah for a moment. She felt resigned, yet concerned. Would Sarah...Revan...still stick with the plan? The Star Forge? Supporting the Republic? And it was a solid question, would she? I know I am Revan, but I don't remember how. I don't remember why. How did I fall? Why? That's still just as obscured as it ever was. But without that plan, what did she have? What was she then? Darth Revan? That made precious little sense, even with the anger and outrage coursing through her. It was one thing to go against those who had betrayed her, harmed her and others...

I never gave the order to bomb Telos. I know that. I didn't kill Carth's wife, his son, his world. I wanted Telos. I needed Telos. Intact.

"Agggggghhhhh." She hissed, clenching her teeth when Bastila released her ankles. It seemed like such a small thing to complain about, compared to what had been heaped on Carth, and even Bastila, but every muscle screamed dissent. Her ankle throbbed discordantly, almost in time to the bitter flow of pins and needles under her skin as blood returned. But it faded, much too quickly, numbed by the pharmacy flowing through her veins. A second later and she was free, nodding sharply at Bastila. She just had to stay focused and keep going. They didn't have time to lick wounds and sleep off drugs... She stumbled into motion, heading towards Carth. They just had to hold it together.

"Come on, big guy." She whispered, running her fingertips down Carth's trembling shoulders. It was cruel to expect him to move, to get up, to do anything useful, but he had to. They couldn't carry him and she wouldn't leave him. She just wanted to gather him up and make it all better, but that was sheer foolishness. He stank of sweat and urine, overlaid with scorched flesh and she fought down a new surge of rage. "Let's go kill Karath." They could work out the other issues later, time was a luxury they did not have. Malak was close. She could feel him, like a storm front closing in.

Carth tilted his head, staring at her over the rise of his shoulder. "You're pissed." He managed, awkwardly shifting until he could get his knees up underneath him. "That's a new look for you."

She was afraid to grab him anywhere to help him up. The first fine tracings of redness and blisters were rising on his pale skin and she gritted her teeth. Healing was one of those things that the masters at Dantooine had skimmed over, and her head was too fuzzy to trust with an instinctive response. And it had been made pretty clear that it was also not Bastila's strong point. "What do you mean?" She had a suspicion that she knew exactly what he was referring to, but he said it so matter-of-factly. He'd gotten his arms braced under his shoulders and slowly pushed up, wobbling for a moment before he got it all sorted out. She was almost afraid to look him in the face, the eyes, but she had to. It was the only way that she'd know if things were still salvageable.

"Your eyes. They're yellow."

And his were darker than she'd ever seen them be before, nearly black under his brows. The warmth she'd come to expect in them was gone, fled. "Yeah, well, you don't look your best, either. Let's get you up. Bastila... I feel my lightsabers through there..." She waved her hand towards the door that Karath had fled through. "Go get them while I get him up and moving." It served two purposes, it would arm her, and it would spare Carth the indignity of having Bastila around while she got him up and on his feet. "Canderous, we're going after the bridge."

"Understood. Almost to the Hawk. Good luck." Canderous sounded completely at ease with the idea of the three of them on their way to take an Interdictor's bridge...the Imperial flag's bridge. Thank the Force she had him. He was a rock foundation of competence and unflappable experience, exactly as the meaning of his name suggested. There were few things she could throw at him that he hadn't been through before...

Except maybe learning you're Revan...

Ugh. Ugly idea. She had apparently led the effort which had defeated the Mandalorian assaults. She had apparently been the mastermind behind... Her stomach clenched at the idea. She had not ordered the bombing of Telos, but she had ordered Malachor V.

Carth stood finally, with great caution and a wide grimace, spitting blood onto the decking. "I'm up. I'm up." He growled, taking a couple of wobbly steps forward before he got his balance. He was about as good as he was going to be until she could get him someplace he could be cared for at. Time to put some clothes back on him, and put a blaster in his hand. They were going hunting.

The door opened for Bastila's return. She carried lightsabers...hers and Sarah's... and clothes. "Found them." She stated grimly, her gaze avoiding Carth. "What's the plan?"

"Canderous, Mission, Zaalbar...they're almost to the Hawk. We have no chance of running unless we can cripple the bridge, and bonus points if Karath happens to be there. So we take the bridge. Kill Karath. Disable the fighter launch bay doors and the guns." They simply didn't have time to destroy the ship, not with... "And run. Malak is almost here." None of them were in any condition to face that one down... not now. Not here. She had to fight to keep upright and focused. Carth was in a sorry state. Bastila, a padawan, was their most combat capable member at the moment. It was definitely not the right time to confront Malak.

I don't want to confront Malak at all.

Again, not the time for that. It would all have to wait. If she was Revan, then she'd been close to Malak. Just how close? "Malak is Squint, isn't he?" She asked aloud, and Bastila froze in mid-motion, half turned to offer Carth his clothing back.

"Malak was Squint. Once." Bastila stated, and finished the motion. "He isn't anymore, Sarah. He will kill you. He's tried before. He'll kill Carth, or worse."

I've exchanged one programming for another. She's going to use Carth as a leash...a leash I braided and tied around my own neck. But...she is correct. Malak tried to kill me. He'll try again. And he will destroy Carth.

"Uh huh." Sarah muttered, throwing her clothes on. They were unimportant, she could fight her way out of here without them... but the lightsaber, no. She had to have it. The offhand one, the one she had not built, was replaceable. But hers, no. It was supposed to be with her for this, all of this. Until the end.

She turned to help Carth dress, nodding sharply as she settled his jacket over his shoulders. It was time to go do this. She let him go with just the faintest touch of fingertips to his face. He had to be okay, he just had to...

He caught her hand, pressing her palm to his cheek. "We'll get through this, Sarah." He stated firmly. "Go. Do what you do best. I have your back."

Good. Good. She strode for the door, the deck plan of the ship forming in her mind. The Coruscate and the Leviathan had been sister ships, produced one after the other by Sienar Systems. Once that had been a nod to the relationship she had shared with...him. The destruction of one of the ships at the guns of the other had shadowed the betrayal she'd suffered at Malak's orders.

Not important now. The only important thing is that you know the way to the bridge.

Bastila undoubtedly knew the layout as well, she'd been on the team to board the Coruscate. The strike team would have made for the bridge straight off. Carth would be familiar with the layout as a matter of course, but probably had not actually served on an Interdictorclass...

"You remember the way?" Bastila demanded when the doors opened in front of Sarah.

"Yes. I remember the way. And anyway..." Sarah grinned, pointing unerringly down the hall. "Even if I didn't...Karath is that way."

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