Krynn knocked on the Diva’s door loudly holding the clear laminate print outs from the ship’s encyclopedic recorder. He had looked up the terms: Force, Sith, and Jedi. He needed to talk to her immediately.
She’d been sleeping, enjoying a dreamless sleep while stretching luxuriously on her silken sheets. But no one would sleep through that knocking. Since modesty was rarely an issue with her, she slipped out of bed and walked naked to the door, pausing only to check her reflection to make sure the mark was fading like Ures said it would. Sliding the door open, her expression settled into a peculiar mix of acceptance and annoyance at the sight of Krynn on the other side. “Have we given up on sleeping now?”
Krynn pushed past her into her room without asking and began pacing back and forth clearly agitated to a point she had never seen in him before. His red eyes reflected the soft light in the room as he held up the sheets for her to see. “Is this in jest? Did your friend load these documents into the computer to make me look foolish, or am I supposed to believe in fairy tales now?”
Her eyes flashed in sudden irritation as she took the sheets from his hand. “Ures didn’t place anything anywhere. You wanted to know about the Force. There it is. Believe what you will.”
“So, I am to believe that this is real. That men could do such impossible things by the use of some magical power? I may come from a different place, but I would think if such a thing were possible that I would have seen it before coming here. And that one of these… Sith not only still live, but somehow have decided that we are… are what?”
“I don’t know, Krynn.” She turned away from him and went back to her bed, drawing the covers back up around her body. “Sith are supposed to be all dead. But if Bralor thinks we have a Force problem then I tend to believe him.” She shook her head, orange hair falling over her face. “I have to admit, some of this Force stuff is hard to believe… but something did lead you here…”
Krynn stood silently there in the dark thinking about it. She was right. He had known it was right from the moment he read the documents, but he couldn’t process it. His whole life was about control and supremacy. Now, he was being forced to admit these… beings could exist. That these.. Sith were real. That the Force was not just a trick. But how do you dominate and kill something that can lift objects with but a thought, run faster and farther than any man, and hurl lightning? He had read that the Jedi fought with the senate in the days of the war, and he had seen Ures’ picture next to many of them. He would know what he needed to learn. He could teach him how to fight something like that. If this Sith was their new enemy then he would need to prepare. Perhaps even seek out information on the Jedi’s tactics. Train himself in their ways to fight if needed.
Krynn murmured, “Maybe, I could be a Jedi…”
“Why?” The Diva stretched and leaned back against her pillows. “They’re gone too. Hunted down and destroyed if the stories are to be believed.” Not understanding his new-found obsession with this, she closed her eyes, ready to sink back into sleep.
He pondered her words again. She was right. The Jedi in the history files were traitors and disposed of by the same union that they once claimed to protect. They had failed in their duty. But then what? Perhaps this is what the visions had meant. That there was something out there that needed a predator stronger than a Jedi. Something new. Krynn curled a broad smile that glinted in the night.”There are preparations to be made.”
With a sleepy sigh, she shifted in her bed and opened her eyes again. “There are?”
He looked down at her and knelt at her bedside cupping a hand to her cheek. “This could be it. We could be destined to take the Jedi’s place. To destroy the evil they could not.”
Her hand closed over his before pulling it away from her skin. “Destroy what evil?” she asked, suddenly frustrated. “I kill people… just because my master tells me to. I’m not destined for anything. I was just here for you to find.”
He leaned in and genuinely kissed her. “What is a few lives compared to what I read in these files? Killing the weak and the corrupt means nothing in comparison. What if we are destined for more? What if I was sent to you so that we can fulfill what others were too weak to accomplish. With my might and your cunning. There is no one who could stop us. Not even a Sith.”
She tasted her own bitterness in his kiss, hating herself for needing to be reassured like this. But she wasn’t going to let herself believe. “What if you’re picking the wrong side? We’re killers, Krynn. What if we are the evil?”
He thoughtfully placed a finger against his lip and thought about it a moment. Then he smiled at her wickedly. “Then what will it hurt if we are prepared for our rivals? Either way, we’ll be free and unstoppable.”
Aidenne suddenly grabbed his hand again. “You came to me. Something led you here.” She was clutching at him, tired and afraid of what she was needing from him. “Just don’t…” For a moment she almost pulled him closer.
“Don’t… what?” He asked.
Her amber eyes burned as they looked into his red ones. She could still hear the Zeltron’s words ringing in her ears, along with another voice. Smooth and suave it too had spoken of freedom and she’d believed so easily. But she was older now. “If you’re just using me, if you’re planning to leave me behind… just let me know now.” Her delicate chin lifted imperiously. “I’ve been promised freedom before but I’m still here, still being used.”
He looked into her eyes deeply and caressed her cheek. “I am here to serve you. I make no promises, I only follow orders. Your orders. If you wish freedom, give the word and I shall cut down any living thing in the way or until death claims me. You, for now, are my chosen master. If you are behind me it shall only be because I shall face what you cannot.”
She could hear her heart beating hard and fast in the silence of her room. Her gaze remained locked on his for a moment longer then, with a low growl, she grabbed onto his shirt with both hands. Though there was nothing her strength could do against his she pulled hard, dragging his body to hers before piercing his lip with her teeth as she kissed him.
The two lay quietly in her bed wrapped in each other’s arms. Krynn stroked her smooth skin. “There is so much I still need to understand…” He reflected more to himself than to her.
The Diva nodded, her eyelashes brushing across his blue skinned chest as she listened to him breathe. “You’re new to this part of the galaxy. It’ll come in time.” Her lips curled in a smile. “Then you’ll really make people nervous.”
He raised an eyebrow and looked down at her. “What do you mean?”
She shifted against him but didn’t raise her head. “You’re powerful, Krynn. It’s apparent from the moment you walk into a room. But right now there are still things you don’t know… like this Force stuff.” She paused, trying to sort out exactly what she was thinking. “I think it’s like knowing your enemy. The more you learn out here the more unstoppable you’ll be.”
He stared at her a moment. She understood him. He hadn’t expected this so quickly, and it was a bit shocking to be engaged with someone else on this level of thought without needing to hide who he was or what he felt. He guessed it must have been like this for her when he had arrived. Getting past his shock, he rephrased what he has asked. “I make people nervous?”
Tilting her head to look up at him, the Diva shrugged. “Yes. No one’s sure what to make of you,” she answered honestly.
Krynn raised an eyebrow and pondered that. “But I have been going out of my way to be helpful, to provide support to the crew, and showing the proper respect due to my superiors on the ships crew? Is this not the proper protocol?”
Aidenne bit her lip as the tried to think of a way to explain. “It is… except this isn’t exactly a protocol sort of place. Things are a lot more casual here. Ures calls us family.” She shook her head against him, sunset curls traveling along his skin. “You are very polite and formal… and abrupt. I think they’re just not used to it yet.”
He stared at her and nodded, but only because he had trained himself to do that. Her words had meaning and he understood what she meant, but at the same time he couldn’t process it. He didn’t know how to express his own dysfunction so that she would understand it, but his master deserved to know. He stammered a bit as he tried to relate to her. “I think… I can’t.”
She’d never heard that word from him before. Her delicate fingers gently touched his cheek. “There is nothing you can’t do, Krynn,” she told him firmly. “But if polite and formal is what you are then there’s no need to change it for them. They’ll get used to it. I did.”
He took her hand and leaned in close so she could see his eyes as he tried to explain further, “It gave me order to follow, rather than… punishment and pain.”
For an instant she felt an irrational surge of anger that anyone would dare punish him. She couldn’t imagine him ever failing or needing to be reprimanded like she herself had. “I…” She paused, amber eyes lost in his red ones. “You are unexpected. But that’s not a bad thing. It’s an advantage. Use it. Don’t worry about what the crew thinks.”
“Is their trust not something required to perform our duties and missions? When operating as a unit each man is only expendable after his usefulness is expended. Until then, teamwork is required to attain greater victory.”
“But…” She closed her eyes as she struggled with finding a way to make herself understood. “I can trust that they’re going to do what it takes to complete whatever mission we’re on without really trusting them. It’s different.”
Krynn raised an eyebrow. “What trust is there above duty?”
She groaned softly and resisted the urge to bang her head against his shoulder. “Personal trust. We’re not soldiers out here, except for Ures. So personal is all we have.”
Krynn just stared at her vacantly. He saw such a concept as being foolish. to trust that another would put others above themselves for no greater purpose or oaths of servitude seemed to invite death and pain. Better to be the one with the power and anticipate the weakness of others so you can survive and thrive. There was only peace through strength.
“That didn’t make any sense at all, did it?” she asked him softly, looking away. Perhaps their connection only went so far.
He lowered his head sensing disapproval, “It’s my failure, mistress. Punish me if you wish.”
“No.” She pulled away from him, almost horrified that he would suggest it. She was sure she’d never heard him anything other than confident before, even in confusion he had still been self assured. “I’m not going to… that’s not how it works here. Family, not soldiers. Remember? Family doesn’t punish like that. Do they?” She was starting to feel confused herself.
Krynn shook his head calmly, “I have no family.” He sat at attention and looked at her. He was obviously doing something wrong as she was getting agitated. He wasn’t sure how to fix the problem. “Perhaps I should read about them and the accepted social norms in your part of the Galaxy. I am sure i can train myself to the appropriate customs.”
Aidenne gathered the sheets up around her body, looking at him with a resigned little smile.”Everyone has family,” she corrected softly. “But it’s not something books or training will help you with.”
He shook his head and replied, “No, not everyone. But, I’ll try to fit in more adequately.”
For a moment she almost sighed. “Yes everyone. But you shouldn’t have to try.” Her amber eyes brightened suddenly as a new idea struck her. “You said earlier that you… you chose me to be your master now.” Even in the middle of this discussion the thought still gave her a shiver of delight. “Well Ures isn’t my brother by blood. We chose to make each other family. And it didn’t happen right away. We worked together and came to trust each other over time…” She broke off and looked at him hopefully.
Krynn looked at her and narrowed his eyes. “That is ridiculous. You cannot choose family, and it’s nothing anyone needs. A family is just something that puts you at ease and makes you weak before they betray and abandon you.”
She opened her mouth to disagree but found herself silenced. Turning her head quickly, Aidenne hid behind her orange hair as she thought it over. Ures was the only family she’d claimed and he’d never abandoned her. But everyone else? She couldn’t tell Krynn that she trusted him; that would be a lie. Maybe she’d just been listening to her brother for too long. “I don’t… ” Her voice was soft behind her hair. “I don’t know who’s going to abandon or betray me next. It could be family or a stranger. I think it doesn’t matter.”
Krynn smiled and took her hand. He gently squeezed her fingers saying, “If you wish to test the loyalty of my actions I will not take it as a personal offense, but as an affirmation of my duty to you and your allies.”
“I’m not going to test you, Krynn.” She looked down at her tiny hand in his. It was lost in an ocean of blue, and she was content. A smile finally tugged at her lips as she finally met his gaze again. “And to think, that crazy bitch actually had the nerve to call you a psychopath.”
Krynn shook his head, “No, the medical division removed that designation from my service profile when I was twelve.”
Since she was relatively certain he was incapable of joking about something like this, Aidenne had to believe him. It occurred to her that she should probably be scared, or at least concerned. Instead she began to laugh, finally laying back down in the softness of her welcoming bed. “Did we answer all your questions for the night?” she asked, still chuckling.
He smiled and shook his head, “No, I have many more.”
She ran her slim fingers down his spine. “Well? I’m still awake. Go right ahead and ask. Not that I’m likely to know the answers.”
Krynn laid on her bed and enjoyed her hands on his body. “Tell me about this human Empire everyone keeps talking about.”