Monday, June 05, 2006

Chapter Two

Sentinel rose out of a fevered sleep. She had dreamed of being pinned in a cramped, dark room with the Dark Lord, trying to be as quiet as possible. Sounds of yelling, searching. Feeling hunted. Hunted? The Dark Lord’s breathing had been... strained. Raspier.

She shook the dream off, went into the lavatory, and got cleaned up and dressed for the day. She ate her breakfast rations on the way to the cockpit. Vader was not yet there.

A quick glance at the Navputer showed they had a few days of travel yet. She sighed. The past day of travel had been less than interesting.

Vader’s presence had left her at a loss for conversation topics. She was Sith, but she enjoyed sharing her counsel with others. She realized she was probably the friendliest, most approachable Sith in existence. And she was traveling with the most foreboding, easily angered Sith in existence. Bad recipe.

She had tried to get him to open up about his past. No luck. Tried to talk about her own past. He had requested silence, then abruptly left her alone in the cockpit for the next several hours. He had returned, and ordered her to her quarters! He had stated that her presence would not be needed until the morning.

She felt very much like a young girl being sent to her room. But it afforded her some time to catch up on sleep lost due to jet lag from traveling to Coruscant. And gave her time to eat and perform other bodily functions.

But still, it was rather humiliating.

Now she was back in the cockpit, and no-one to talk to. She missed her Carg Dragon, T’Ching... he would have curled up happily on her lap, and purred constantly as she pet him and talked to him. Or gone chasing after toys she threw for him. Maybe she should have smuggled him with her on this trip.

“Oh where, oh where has my little Carg gone. Oh where, oh where could he be?” she sang softly. She checked the instruments... environment control: within normal operating parameters. Engine operating without any problems. Fuel was good. Everything was fine. No missed communications from Coruscant.

Meditation time. Focus. Stretch out the senses.

Her perception crawled through the ship, and eventually had covered every inch of it, feeling it, the weak points, the strong points. But she avoided the section where Vader’s quarters were.

She extended her perception outside the ship, sensing the currents within the Force. Not surprisingly, their presence was causing many ripples. Who else could perceive them? Couldn’t avoid it easily... or maybe they could. Then again, she sensed the biggest cause of ripples was from that area she was refusing to stretch her perceptions to.

Curiosity got the better of her. What WAS he thinking and/or doing at the moment?

Her senses stretched out, tentatively entering his domain.

RAGE!!!!

She quickly pulled back, feeling herself cower in her seat.

Wonder if this vehicle has any lifepods?

She waited... the rage hadn’t felt like it was necessarily directed towards her. Cautiously she stretched her feelings out once more.

Anger. Rage. Sadness.

Pain.

Loneliness.

Nightmare.

She probed deeper, and suddenly felt as if her skin were peeling off, and an intense heat consuming her. She yelped, and pulled back completely.

Maybe it was best not to know the bad dreams of dark lords who are never seen outside of their masks?

“He must have been burned alive”, she murmured to herself. She shuddered. It explained alot.

She tried to calm herself, but the sensation of being burned was rather... unsettling.

After a while she composed herself and began to meditate, but looking inwardly this time. This was usually not a comforting thing for her to do, however. Her Master, her teacher on Korriban, was constantly telling her to look inward and develop her power. Take those moments from her life where her rage, sadness or passion had been most finely honed, and use that to gather more power to her, to feel it coursing through her body.

She had often had success with this technique, and had seen her Sith powers expand exponentially. But she had often also seen herself sink into depression from doing this. No matter how many times she tried to exercise the technique of looking at her acts objectively, without the judgment from her conscience, her conscience still would often take over and show her, in great detail, the magnitude and incredible variety of her many sins.

Her Master told her it might take more time for her to work through this. But eventually she would beat her conscience down. Her problem was her unwillingness to embrace the full truth that absolute power has absolute right.

Her Master warned her that her compassion and mercy would be her undoing. She found it ironic that her Master would tell her things that were, by the very nature of being a forewarning, a compassionate act on the part of her Master! But she kept that thought to herself.

After about an hour of channeling the Dark Side, and feeling her own power and importance growing, her conscience got the better of her and left her feeling a dark despair. She changed her focus to simply feeling... her body, her breath, the beating of her heart. The swirling energy, the brightness of the light of the Force. This was not something she was taught to do, although they did teach modification of bodily functions... everyone in her class, herself included, could hold their breath for an hour at a time thanks to these skills. But this exercise, the appreciation of the Force, of it’s interaction with all Life... of the harmony and generous mercy of the Living Force....

The Living Force. That was a Jedi phrase. She was slipping again. She had heard the litany of the Jedi, “Once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will...” She had never been face to face with Yoda, but she had heard his speech mockingly imitated by her Master on Korriban. “Yoda would have sang a different tune had he ever met you!”, her Master had told her once!

Yeah, she was some future Sith Lord. But she had better ideas for her future, ones she kept to herself.

She gave up on her meditation. Where was the Dark Lord, anyway? Surely he must be awake and up and about by now. Hmph.

Should she go check on him?

She contemplated extending her feelings towards him once more, but his nightmare of being burned, and her rather up-close-and-personal experiencing of his pain made her shy away from that idea.

Just as she was about to go find him, a warning light began to flash on the dashboard. Great, there was an intermittent electrical connection between two things that shouldn’t be connected. Sigh. She eased out of her seat, opened the access panel to the rather tight-fitting alcove in the wall behind the co-pilot’s seat, and started examining circuitry. Just as she thought she had the problem isolated, she heard the cockpit door open, and in stormed Lord Vader.

He literally growled as he entered the room, and the negative emotions emanating from him were practically blinding to any Force Sensitive. She found herself instinctively becoming smaller, insignificant, below his notice... melting into the alcove as far as she could. He was being noisy, and she found it ironically easy to slide the alcove door nearly shut. Just in time, too, as he whirled around the cockpit to ensure he was alone.

After this cursory examination of his surroundings, he pointed at the cockpit door, and the door shut in what she could have sworn was double the speed it was actually set to run at. If it had been of the swinging variety, she was sure the slam would have jarred her teeth.

She soon realized his anger was not directed at her, but at... everything. She had a flash of a second nightmare, and realized, without knowing the details, that it had somehow been worse than the first one.

Vader gave an exasperated sigh, and then screamed! The waves of rage coming off of him made her somehow shrink even further into the cramped space.

She flashed back to her nightmare of that morning... but while the space had been cramped, it hadn’t been the same. She hadn’t felt as if she were in danger from the Dark Lord. She had felt instead... protective... Very strange.

She looked out through the small crack she had left in the alcove door. Vader was now seated, elbows on the dashboard, masked head in his hands.

He was... sobbing.

Her fear was still through the roof, but her heart was suddenly in her mouth.

Without thinking about what a foolish move this was, she quietly opened the alcove door, and approached him. She tentatively stretched her right hand out to his shoulder.

Without knowing quite how she had gotten there, she found herself instead sitting in the co-pilot’s seat, with her right hand on his left arm, and his left hand securely tightened around her throat.

“What do you think you are doing?” He growled.

With his tight grip, she could barely breath, but she managed to whisper, “Talk to me.”

“TALK to you?” His grip tightened.

She felt her fear widen, like some great gaping maw directly under her that she was about to fall into. With every ounce of control she calmed her heart, and reduced her need for oxygen. She couldn’t breath at all, so she merely mouthed her response. “Yes, talk to me. Tell me what is bothering you.”

“Why should I trust you with such a thing??” He exclaimed? His grip tightened further and started to cut off the blood flow to her brain.

“Because you can ... trust me...” she mouthed as her world grew dark.

The darkness grew deeper, her vision became more tunnel-like, until all she seemed to be able to see was the “nose” of his mask, when he suddenly released her. She fell backward in the seat, gasped for air like a fish out of water, and started coughing. Vader watched her regain her composure.

Holding her right hand to her throat subconsciously, rubbing a small bruise that was forming there, she said “Talk to me. Please.” She withdrew her hand from her throat, and placed it upon his left forearm. His left hand clenched into a fist upon the dashboard. “Please...” she repeated.

“Why should I?” he softly rumbled.

“Because you need to. Because I will listen and not judge. Because I will not use what you have to say against you.”

“You seem to have me confused with a friend”, he responded... but his gaze did not leave her face.

“I sense you could use a friend, right now.” She said tentatively.

He looked away, out the window at the starscape. After what seemed like several minutes, he said “You presume too much. Leave me.”

Sentinel instantly snapped back into her role of subordinate. There was nothing else she could do... she had been given an order. “Yes, m’Lord”, she said, as she rose out of her seat and went towards the cockpit door.

She paused there, turned, “m’Lord, there’s an electrical short in section B of the...”

“LEAVE ME!!!!”

She turned back to the now open cockpit door, and practically ran out. The minute she had cleared the doorway it snapped shut.

She stopped outside the closed door, sighed, straightened her hair. “Well, that went well.” She headed back towards her quarters. “I’ve done some pretty stupid things before, but trying to comfort an irate Sith Lord in the middle of a nervous breakdown... that one takes the cake.”

She sat at her desk in her quarters, pulled up the information on their upcoming mission, turned on some music, and started studying.



Goto Chapter Three

5 Comments:

Blogger Kenya Starflight said...

Whoa.

I LIKE. I like a lot.

Poor Vader.

I like Sentinal. She's not the sadistic, heartless type of Sith OC I've seen in many stories (possibly because of her experience with the light?). The fact that she tried to befriend and talk to Vader raised my appreciation of her, even if it was a tad suicidal on her part.

Are we going to learn a bit more about Sentinal's past? I'd like to know what planet she came from -- if she even knows, of course.

6/05/2006 7:57 PM  
Anonymous anne arkham said...

Awesome! You go, girl!

6/05/2006 9:01 PM  
Blogger Sith Snoopy said...

Wow! Glad you guys like it so far! :)

Uhm, yes, you'll get to know a bit more about Sentinel. Of course. :)

You know, this whole writing thing is weird. Sentinel is becoming kindof a real person to me. I care about what happens to her.

'Course, I'm on Chapter 17, and you guys are on Chapter 2, so.... ;)

I hope, by chapter 17, you'll care what happens to her, as well. :)

The story feels like it's taking on it's own life. Huh. Maybe we humans are actually more predisposed to telling stories than we think we are. Maybe it's part of our natural, genetic makeup.

6/05/2006 9:47 PM  
Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

No "content" suggestions for this chapter; seems fine to me. I did find myself wondering why Vader wouldn't detect Sentinel "hiding" in the cockpit alcove. Though I'm not sure you need to change anything in that respect.

Might want to change the phrase "jet lag" to something more hyperspace-oriented. And consider creating a long ago / far away replacement for the Earth-based "little Carg gone" song.

Continues to be a fine, engaging story!

6/09/2006 9:22 AM  
Blogger Sith Snoopy said...

1. Vader was emotionally distraught, plus Sentinel was shielding herself like crazy, becoming one with the alcove! :) I could probably make it clearer that she was using the Force to hide her location.

2. Jet lag... yeah, hmmm. You have a point.

3. The "Little Carg" song was intentional. :) But maybe not so appropriate to the Star Wars universe.

Thanks, guys, for the feedback!

6/09/2006 7:21 PM  

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