Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Smoke and Mirrors

*What Actually Happened*

~Hold completely still. If you move, you will die.~


Shialsha had never been so terrified in his life. A street merchant with no friends and no family on this desolate world, he was only here because all Ithorians underwent the Journey eventually. The Journey, a ritual by which a mature Ithorian left his or her Hive Ship and traveled the galaxy until they felt ready to return and take their place in society.

Shialsha had felt ready for years now; he just hadn't felt capable. Returning to the Hive required several things, chief among them a ship capable of doing so. He did not have the credits to even book passage on a vessel, much less buy a craft of his own.

That sad truth was why he was still on Tatooine years after he should have been home and why he had taken to selling hydroponic vegetables from a street stand in Anchorhead to survive. The slim margin of profit he made off each sale was his tiny glimmer of hope; with each credit earned, he was a little bit closer to leaving this terrible place.

Unfortunately, it was his need to make at least a sliver of profit from his sales that got him in trouble with the Scarlet Wake. He'd refused to give one of their agents a jamb-fruit for free and in return, he'd been forced to watch at blaster-point while the man and four others devoured their fill of his wares and then beat him into unconsciousness.

Now he was here, staring up at a masked man and listening to a voice in his head. Holding still was not at all a problem. He'd have been hard pressed to move at all, honestly, so remaining stationary was an easy request to grant.

When the cut came, it was a shallow one that only stung for a moment. The blade came within a hair's breadth of his head, ran down his chest, and cleaved open the bindings around his wrists. He was bleeding now, but it wasn't a serious wound.

~Fall and remain motionless. When you are out of here, go to my ship and retrieve the speeder out of its aft bay. Get to Mos Eisley, sell it, and get off this rock. Never come back.~

Shialsha could only echo his gratitude mentally. He did not dare react physically since, if that stroke was supposed to look as serious as it felt, he should probably be dead. He did not understand how a shallow slash over his chest would fool anyone, but he wasn't going to question the man who'd just spared his life.

When he stopped rolling, Shialsha waited a short time before spitting sand out of his mouth and struggling to his feet. He did as he was told, finding the man's ship easily even though he hadn't consciously known what it would look like. He just knew which one it was and even how to pull the speeder out of its compartment. Luckily there were no guards on the landing bay; everyone was inside for some reason.

He didn't question his good fortune. He just started the speeder, headed to Mos Eisley, and thanked the Green Mother that he was free. When he reached his Hive, this would be a story worth many, many retellings....

-----------

While Kyvo was reacting with startled surprise to Jeht's violent execution of the Ithorian, Jeht was struggling to maintain concentration. This was the most elaborate use of the Force he'd attempted in a long time. The ability to make others see what he wanted them to see was a trick he'd learned on Almas but it was a gift for the subtle. Subtlety wasn't really his area of expertise. Thus, this was very, very difficult. He would not be able to maintain it for long.

That's why he used the Force to also affect the minds of the guards around the Ithorian. "Throw him outside, where garbage belongs." It hadn't been a suggestion; it had been a Force-imbued command. That got the body out of line of sight, allowing him to end the illusion and recover his senses before going inside.

Even the trail of blood would be real. He'd regretted having to cut the Ithorian at all, but real blood lingered in the sand long after a mental image would fade.

As they went inside, Darrus recovered his wits. Breathing deeply, he regained his focus even as his mind began to turn on what he'd just done.

"You know, just killing the alien would have been easier. You can't afford to let yourself get weakened like this before the real battle begins. It's just one alien, after all. Some sacrifices are worth making."

Jeht struggled inwardly to silence that voice, but it remained in the back of his thoughts as everyone proceeded into the sandstone villa and the inevitable meeting below...

1 comment:

Zay said...

Or I could be complete wrong! Go Darrus! *heart*