Sunday, October 01, 2006

Chapter Six: Temper, Temper

Sentinel woke early the next morning. She had spent the night in Vader’s room, snuggled up to him. For her it was as if she were snuggled up to something warm and cuddly. For anyone else… well, they would have likely been more comfortable getting cozy with a rancor.

Vader was asleep, looking peaceful. He had told her, last night, that when she’d been with him 5 years ago, he had had the best sleep in years. She hoped his sleep this past night had been free of any unpleasantness.

Before they had become close, she had happened to get a glimpse of what his normal sleep was like. His nightmares could curl the tail of a womp rat.

Sentinel sighed. She knew she wouldn’t be able to stay with him. The band needed to move on. Vader would need to return to his duties. And Sentinel... Sentinel would need to go with the band and remain in hiding.

Admittedly, singing in a band would seem like a poor choice of methods to hide. But Bantha Fodder wasn’t exactly popular enough to appear in the holo news feeds yet. And somehow, she didn’t think the Empire would ever even look for her there. How many Sith Lords joined bands?

About as many Sith Lords who go to parties, and go dancing, apparently, Sentinel mused, staring lovingly at her Dark Lord.

She got out of bed, careful not to wake Vader. She went into the fresher, shooing out the medical droids that were in there. Vader went nowhere without his medical necessities.

After a short shower, (water, not sonic... she never felt clean enough after a sonic shower), she exited, hair piled up under a towel. She dressed in last night’s dress and heels, not wanting to walk back to her quarters wearing a robe. She left the towel hung on the back of a chair, next to her robe.

Sentinel paused at the door to Vader’s quarters, and looked back at him longingly. She wanted to wake him up then, with a passionate kiss. She wanted to spend the entire day there with Lord Vader, having room service, and much more intimate time alone.

But her friends would be worried about her. And more importantly, she had promised to help Javel to find the creature who was murdering innocent citizens and stormtroopers alike. If she were to spend the day with Vader, it could be at the cost of yet another innocent life.

Sentinel exited Vader’s quarters, using the Force to lock his door after it auto-closed behind her. She walked down the long hallway, and through the maze of connecting hallways that made up the guest quarter’s area. She reached the suite that the band was staying in, and used the Force, rather than her door key, to unlock and open the door.

There, sprawled on the couch in the suite’s common room, lay Kip. She was snoring quite noisily. Several empty brown bottles lay on the floor next to her. Someone had draped a blanket over Kip’s torso. Sentinel was pretty sure Kip hadn’t thought of doing that... she was too far gone.

The common room was a mess. The band had had a rather large party in her absence. She sighed a little sadly. She always enjoyed their post-gig celebrations... well, all except for the hangovers the next day.

Sentinel entered her room, and proceeded to change. She put on a pair of light black pants, and a light black tunic. She put her lightsaber down on her bed, next to a dark green knapsack. She braided her thick hair into a long tail down her back. She was putting the finishing touches on her braid when someone knocked on her door.


Kalira walked in. “Thought I’d heard you come in.”

“I thought you were all still asleep. And hung over... well, all except Drej.” Sentinel grinned, then coiled her braided hair snugly to the back of her head.

“Unlike the others, I didn’t have much to drink.” Kalira answered. “And Drej succumbed to temptation after you went off with Vader.”

Sentinel frowned. “Oh, poo-doo”, she muttered.

“She started talking about just having a small drink. We tried to talk her out of it. We thought we had succeeded. But she found out, well before the rest of us did, that each of the suite’s rooms has it’s own mini-bar.” Kalira flopped down onto a chair near Sentinel’s made and unslept-in bed. Sentinel sat down wearily on her bed and sighed.

“Did you make sure she was sleeping on her side?” Sentinel asked. If Drej was true to form, she would have had enough to drink, on her first night of binging, to make herself sick enough to vomit, and drunk enough to not wake up when she did vomit. She could literally end up choking to death that way. But if they made sure she was sleeping on her side, she would probably be ok.

“Yeah, when we put her to bed, we propped her back to the wall. I was just in to check on her... she’s fine. But she’s definitely not going to be happy when she finally wakes up”, Kalira said, shaking her head.

Sentinel sighed again. She was disappointed with Drej, but felt hardly in the position to judge. On several occasions, Sentinel had come so close to succumbing to the Dark Side in the past 5 years, it made her head spin.

“Where are you off to, anyway? Going to spend the day with Mr. Tall, Dark and Asthmatic?” Kalira asked, smirking.

“If I’m not, are you going to see if he needs your company?” Sentinel asked, half teasing and half serious.

Kalira rolled her eyes. “Hey, I thought he was interesting. But I’m not after him.”

“Yeah, right. You were fawning all over him last night.”

“Oh, please. There’s nothing wrong with a little flirtation”, Kalira said.

“You were taunting me, you little imp!” Sentinel said, hands on her hips.

“It was fun. It was alot of fun... to be dishing it out instead of on the receiving end, for once.” Kalira grinned.

“You’re idea of revenge for a little playful teasing is to flirt with a dangerous Sith Lord? Remind me never to truly piss you off!” Sentinel chuckled.

“How dangerous can he really be? You’re dating him... that must mean he’s not all bad.” Kalira responded.

“No, he’s not all bad. But you don’t want to toy with him.” Sentinel said while tucking a few stray hairs under her braid.

Kalira got a mischievous grin. “Maybe I wasn’t entirely toying.”

“Ahah! I knew it!” Sentinel stood up, pretending to be outraged.

“I couldn’t steal him away: he’s obviously in love with you, and I wouldn’t do that to you, anyway”, Kalira said, pretending to take Sentinel’s outrage seriously.

Sentinel got off the bed and walked over to primp in front of the mirror over the dresser. She looked at Kalira in the mirror. “Then why did you do it?” asked Sentinel.

“He’s fascinating, and I was enjoying myself.”

Sentinel shook her head. “He is fascinating, but he’s also dangerous. I thought you were the smart, levelheaded person in our group.”

“I am. I was just being... friendly.” Kalira said, smiling. “Anyway, what are you trying to say? Only you get to play with fire?”

Sentinel snorted at the last comment. “Just don’t get too friendly, Kalira.” Sentinel crossed her arms across her chest.

Kalira tilted her head at Sentinel, and laughed. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you were being possessive and jealous!” Kalira exclaimed.

Sentinel’s door slid open, and Vader strolled in. Both women turned in unison to stare at him, struck silent.

Vader looked at the two of them. “Ladies... please. While I am honored that you are fighting over me, perhaps you could do so in a more civilized manner?” Vader held his lightsaber out to Kalira.

Kalira turned bright red. Sentinel chuckled.

“How much did you hear? Were you standing outside the door this entire time?” Sentinel asked.

“Actually, no. But I could read both of your emotions when I was walking on my way here.” Vader said. Before either could say anything more, Vader said, “Sentinel, where you going? And why did you... sneak off this morning?”

“I have a promise to keep... a task I must complete for a friend.” Sentinel said.

“And you didn’t think you could confide in me regarding this task?” Vader asked.

“I told Commander Javel that I would help him with something.” Sentinel said.

“What does he need your help for?” Vader asked.

“He needs my help to capture and in all likelihood kill the murderer that has been plaguing the nearby town. Many civilians have died. Any anyone, Troopers, etc., that he’s sent to try to find this… person… have also not survived the task.”

“Why did he not contact his superiors for help? Why does he find it necessary to put you in danger, to bring public attention to your presence here? It’s bad enough that you were seen last night with the band.” Vader rumbled.

“Because he’s had poor results from asking for outside help. He needs someone more specialized, and someone who won’t brutalize the local populace in order to find this murderer,” Sentinel said.

“I have my spies monitoring all communications from this base. So far, we’ve been lucky, and no mention of you and all your various names have come up. But if you go out there, in public, using the Force, you’re going to make your presence here well known,” Vader said. “And I might not be able to spirit you out of here in time to hide you from the Emperor.”

“I will be in costume. I will be dressed as a Stormtrooper. And I won’t use the Force in any obvious manner unless I’m pushed into a corner and have no choice,” Sentinel said. “Oh, and by the way, Commander Javel has instructed his people that while some might see in me a slight resemblance to Sasha Yod, I am in fact simply ‘Jeru Cantel’, the backup singer of the band Bantha Fodder. So you are unlikely to find any communications regarding my presence… at least from any people on this base. They trust Commander Javel. Implicitly.”

Vader stood silent for a full minute. “You seem to have covered your tracks.”

“I think I’ve taken care of every contingency,” Sentinel said.

“All but one. I refuse to allow you to go on this foolhardy mission,” Vader said.

“You what!?”

“You will stay in your quarters… or my quarters, if you like. But you will not go running amok among the general populace.” Vader hooked his thumbs into his belt, as if to emphasize the non-disputability of his directive.

“I will be in trooper uniform… no-one is going to see me…” Sentinel said.

“I don’t care. It is still too big a risk.”

“I’m not working for you. You can’t command me to do anything!” Sentinel exclaimed, her voice rising. A vial of perfume on the top of the dresser wobbled slightly, as if in response to her rising anger.

Kalira stood up, and moved closer to a wall, away from the Sith Lords. She found herself staring at the perfume vial.

Vader seemed somehow to grow taller. “I can command you to do anything I wish. I command the Empire. I am second only to the Emperor himself. You would do well to remember that.”

“I do remember that. I am merely trying to help Commander Javel out of a desperate situation,” Sentinel growled.

“Commander Javel should have gone through normal channels to obtain assistance,” Vader rumbled. He promptly turned, and pressed several keys on the communications panel next to the door. “Commander Javel, report to the band’s quarters. Immediately.”

A tinny voice responded. “Yes, m’Lord.”

“He’s already tried normal channels in similar situations. The results have been disastrous!” Sentinel said.

“More disastrous than having it be known that he requested the assistance of the ‘Mystery Sith’? What will that do for the man’s reputation? It already must have been shot to hell by some ineptitude of his, considering the fact that he’s been in the same position for 5 years.”

“He’s been offered multiple promotions. He’s declined them to stay here. He and his wife are very fond of this planet and the people who have decided to call this home,” Sentinel said.

“How very charming.” Vader’s voice dripped sarcasm.

The perfume vial tipped over. The stopper remained in place, however. Kalira felt her eyes drawn upward towards the mirror above the dresser… which seemed to ripple as if it were a pond and a stone had just been dropped in it.

“He cares about the people here. If he leaves, he’s not sure who they will get in his place. He tried to ensure it would be someone he trusted, but…”

“But his incompetence knows no bounds,” Vader said.

Sentinel merely growled in response.

Kalira watched a hairline crack form in the center of the mirror.

Commander Javel came through the open door to Sentinel’s bedroom, with a bleary Kip trailing him. Kip had opened the door for Javel. Sentinel was guessing Vader hadn’t needed anyone to open the suite’s door for him.

Vader whirled to face Javel.

“M’Lord, what can I do for…”, Commander Javel said, and then promptly started choking. He dropped to his knees, as if some invisible weight had pushed him there, and started scrabbling at his neck. He acted as if he was being both held down on his knees and yet held upright so that he couldn’t fully fall down.

“Why did you deem it necessary to send Sentinel out to risk her life, and further expose her presence here?” Vader said, almost gently.

“Release him!” Sentinel yelled.

Javel merely gurgled, and his eyes bulged. Both his hands were pulling at his collar, and frantically searching his neck for the source of his strangulation.

“Vader, release him! It’s me you want to throttle right now. Don’t take out your anger on him!” she said.

Vader turned to face Sentinel, and to Sentinel’s relief, she saw Javel collapse on his side and gasp for breath.

“Very well…” Vader said. His hand shot out and just missed Sentinel’s throat as she jumped back a full 2 meters, knocking into her nightstand when she landed.

Vader advanced on her, his anger fighting with his reasoning… his anger winning.

“Since you wish to live dangerously, Sentinel, let me show you what true danger is.” Vader reached out his hand, squeezing the empty air.

Sentinel stood unmoving, unblinking. Her eyes sparkled dangerously. She blocked the Force-choke with ease. Her own anger, which she had held in control these 5 long years, came dangerously close to the surface.

The perfume vial rolled off the dresser onto the floor, cracking. The room began to reek of it’s sweet essence. Other objects in the room began to vibrate, to tremble in place, as if a tectonic disturbance was in progress. The room’s walls and floor shook, and the mirror above the dresser went from being slightly cracked to fully broken, depositing glass shards on the dresser top and the hardwood floor surrounding it.

Sentinel had not called upon the Force in anger in a long time, and her anger was causing the power to spill out.

Sentinel had a single rational thought just then, before her anger took over. She stared at Vader, keeping her gaze locked on him. Without changing the focus of her attention, she said, “Kalira, get out.”

Goto Chapter Seven


Blogger Kenya Starflight said...

Two words:


This is NOT good! Javel's in BIG trouble and Sentinel's going dark side again!

I just hope Javel and Kalira can get out in one piece!

Yikes, what a cliffhanger. (Then again, like I'm a fine one to talk...) ;)

10/03/2006 7:30 AM  

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