My Pillar, My Beacon

Chapter 7

Carth took a deep, long breath and held it. What in the hell was going on? She didn't know Bastila? How could she not? Had she been hurt so badly in the crash that she was having true memory problems, some sort of traumatic amnesia? She seemed almost fine, her responses to almost everything was spot on...until this. "Sarah?" He asked softly, trying to read her expressions. "What's going on?" Something was. He could feel it, sense it.

"Nothing."

"You lie better than that." She was a consummate actress, he'd seen her in action. That was a pathetic attempt, at best.

"I don't know why I was put on the Spire." She spread her hands. "It was supposed to be my return to service... I had an illness. I was in a coma on Coruscant...and since then, my memories haven't been quite right. I should have let you know sooner, I guess. But I swear, I do not remember meeting Bastila. All I get is a flash, a snippet..."

"Of?"

"Of a woman who matches that description telling me I have to stay with her. I have to hang on. But there's nothing with it, no context, no sense."

"Maybe you met her after you were already sick? It sounds like that to me." Why, why, put this on the Spire? Was Bastila responsible for her care? Watching over a charge that she had helped save from a terrible illness, but doing it from a distance? That made sense, and he was willing to take anything that even remotely made any sense.

She frowned thoughtfully. "Yes. I was sick. Very. Well, since it seems that Bastila helped save my life, all the more reason to go get her."

"We need Bastila back. The Republic needs her." Bastila had led the assault team that had killed Darth Revan, giving the Republic a rare victory, a rare blow against the Empire...to deny them Revan, their Dark Lord, their commander, their strategic mastermind. Bastila also possessed the essential force gift of battle meditation, one of the few weapons that the Republic could field against what seemed to be an insurmountable Imperial fleet. For every ship they destroyed, three more appeared... their only real edge was Bastila's gift. And now, she was down somewhere here on Taris. He had to find her, recover her, bring her back to the Republic. It didn't really fit into what he was comfortable with, truly adept at, but he...and Sarah...were the Republic soldiers in place to do this. Unless other members of theSpire's crew showed up, they were the only ones who could find Bastila. "Let's go."

She nodded, her expression a study in calm acceptance. He only wished he could feel the same, but he'd never been a serene sort. His soul railed against injustices, fought against the darkness around him, struggled for peace on a daily basis. "Somehow, we have to find a way down."

"We will." She gave him a fleeting touch on the arm as she moved around him. "You'll see."

Hmmmph. He'd see. He fell into step slightly behind her, shadowing her progress. She seemed to think she knew where she was going, and that was more than he could manage. All he knew was he wanted to go down, and he knew that the most obvious way to get down would simply get him killed...one way or the other.

He heard voices, raised, angry, and she stopped in her tracks, her head tilted thoughtfully as if they were telling her so much more than they were telling him. She nodded, gave him a slight 'go ahead' motion at her shoulder, and stepped fully into the hallway just short of the ruckus. She had committed him, and he moved up quickly to cover her, getting a quick view of the situation. Sith patrol...and he was on the heels of a woman openly toting a blaster. Great. Fanfuckingtastic...

"Hey!" The closest of the Sith, obscured by the shining, segmented silver armor favored by patrol troops, yelped. "You two shouldn't be here, you're...humans!"

His patrol partner was faster on the uptake, already raising his blaster towards Carth. "They must be Republic spies!"

How he'd come to that all too correct assumption, Carth had no clue. He'd been very careful with his own gear, shedding everything that marked him as the captain of the Endar Spire, as Carth Onasi, as a Republic officer. And Sarah had been wearing nothing...absolutely nothing...that would have marked her as such when he'd gone over her unconscious body immediately following the crash. No implants. No tags. Of course, she was supposed to be insertion, it would only make sense that she maintained an unidentifiable, untraceable body.

She had developed an odd expression, puzzled and lopsided, like she smelled something bad, but couldn't figure out just what it was. Her first shot hit the trooper drawing a bead on Carth, and the Sith dropped without a complaint. Carth immediately switched his focus, he knew dead or unconscious when he saw it. No need to shoot the immobile, currently nonthreatening trooper when the other one was still kicking. A second later, he'd stopped that kicking altogether, and stunned silence reigned.

"Nice job." He breathed, moving closer and dropping his attention on the third form in the corridor, a shaking Duros with his hands up. "None of that." He muttered, motioning for him to drop his hands. It gazed at him out of blank eyes and he gave a sheepish shrug. They were damned difficult to read, and Carth had never been particularly adept at that anyway.

And he apparently wasn't that adept at reading females of his own species, because Sarah's expression was still oddly inscrutable... she still had that look, whatever it meant. "You shoot like a Jedi." He said, half hoping to please her, and half to get her to shift out of whatever this mood was. It was like she had taken a step away from him, from everything around her, and he didn't like it.

"Jedi aren't known for their blaster skills." She muttered, but the rebuttal did seem to shift her back into the here and now. "You're fine." She told the Duros, and it certainly didn't sound like any sort of question. It was a little harsh and commanding to be a simple observation, more like a parent considering whether or not to scold a shy child.

"I'm fine." He agreed, "Thank you for your intercession. I will...dispose...of the bodies."

"After we're through with them."

Unfortunately, Carth knew that was coming.


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