Slayers of the Old Republic
Book VII: Levithian
By Michael Weyer
Sorry for the long delay between updates. Hope this makes up for it.
“B?” Faith slowly pushed the bulkhead door open, looking at the figure lying on her side on the small bed. “B? You…ok?” She licked her lips as she stepped forward. “B?”
“Shouldn’t you be calling me R?” Buffy’s eyes remained closed but her voice was strong and sardonic as she answered.
“Aw, come on, Buffy, don’t start that,” Faith said as she moved to her friend. She reached to rub her shoulder but Buffy batted her arm away.
“Why not?” the blonde snapped. “I’m not her, Faith. Not really. I’m Revan. I’ve always been Revan. Buffy’s….just a memory they plugged into this body.”
“I don’t believe that,” Faith said. “I won’t believe that.”
“Believe it or not, it’s the truth.” Buffy sat up, opening her eyes and Faith was thrown by how much colder and older the gaze was. She briefly wondered just how much older than Buffy Revan had been and how much the Jedi had needed to take off to trick the Slayer.
Buffy continued. “They…” She closed her eyes and shook her head. “I remember, Faith…I remember what she did…what I did. The battles, the attacks, all the deaths I’ve caused…” She failed to keep the tears from leaking from her eyes. “God, Faith….what I’ve done…”
“What she did,” Faith was quick to state. “Her, Raven. Not you.”
“Faith…I am her.”
Faith shook her head. “B…I’ve known you a while. I’ve been hanging out with you for months now since Taris. I’ve fought with you, laughed with you…Still working on getting hammered with you…” The tiniest hint of a smile came to Buffy’s lips as Faith went on. “And in all that time, I never got one hint I was hanging with some Sith Lord. I was with Buffy Summers. As far as I’m concerned, I still am.”
Buffy looked at her feet. “I don’t…I don’t know if that’s true anymore, Faith…I…I don’t know who I am…”
Faith reached forward to hold her shoulders. “You’re my friend,” she whispered. “I’m sorry if I haven’t said that enough, B, but it’s the truth. You’ve given me more chances than most people ever would.”
Buffy shook her head as she looked up. “Faith…I’m a killer…a monster…”
“So was Angel,” Faith gently said. “But he’s not that anymore. I’m not that anymore. I don’t think you’re that anymore either.”
Buffy rubbed her face. “I don’t know what to do now. Seriously. Malak’s got Bastila and the Star Forge is still out there and…” She sat on the bed. “I don’t know how to handle it.”
“The same way you handle everything else,” Faith said. “Go head-on at it, figure out a plan as you go.”
There was a knock at the door as Janar stuck his head in. “Um…hi. I….I wanted to…”
Faith looked at him, then at Buffy and then started backing up. “I’ll…let you two…you know…” She headed out, shutting the door behind her.
Silence reigned as the two stared at each other. “Well, this is awkward,” Janar said.
“I remember you now.”
He blinked. “What?”
Buffy held her head up strong as she gazed back at him. “I remember you. From the war. You were…one of my best generals.” She smiled sadly. “I admired you then, your fire, your tactics, the way you went full-on with every attack. Up to…”
“Malachor,” Janar softly said. “I know. I remember.”
“That’s why you left, wasn’t it?” Buffy asked. “Why you didn’t want to be a soldier.”
Janar looked away. “After what I did…ordering Boa-Dur to unleash that weapon…blasting a planet apart just to achieve victory…I didn’t want anything to do with war anymore.”
“Funny how the universe works,” Buffy said. “As in French cinema funny.”
Janar sat across from her, shaking his head. “I…I didn’t know about you. Never suspected for a moment the truth, really.”
“No one did,” Buffy stated. “Except Bastila. She knew all along…”
Janar nodded slowly. “I know that’s hard for you. I’d like to think that her attitude to you was changed. She probably thought of you as just a weapon, a source of info on the Sith. But as she got to know you…she realized you were your own person.”
“But she still lied to me,” Buffy softly said. “She could have…trusted me.”
“I think she wanted to,” Janar said. “But you must know how tight she was for Jedi Council rules and doctrines. They gave her a mission, she’d stick to it.”
Buffy rose to her feet to pace around the room. “I guess that’s why she lied.” She turned to him, her face solemn. “What’s your excuse?”
Janar sighed, knowing this was coming. “I’ve already put up with Carth’s feelings on this.”
“Yeah but Carth hasn’t been sleeping with you,” Buffy fired back. She paused and winced. “Great, another image I didn’t want in my head…”
Janar brushed his hair back. “I’ve gotten used to keeping up the image of just a regular smuggler-pilot. Once you lose the connection to the Force, you have to adapt to a lot of changes in your life. One of them is keeping your past quiet.”
“You could have told me later,” Buffy softly said. “At the Temple, on Kashyyk, anywhere. You…you could have told me before we got involved and you sure as hell should have told me after we did.”
“I don’t ask about your past,” Janar snapped. “I know you haven’t been honest with us about all you went through on your home world, wherever that is. I know there’s a lot about yourself you’ve been holding back.”
“No shit,” Buffy muttered. “That includes holding back from myself.”
Janar was quiet for a long moment. “So…what now?”
“I don’t know,” Buffy admitted. “I really don’t. I know Malak has to be stopped but I’m not sure if we can handle it.”
“I meant about us,” Janar said. “What now with us?”
Buffy glanced away. “I don’t think there is an us now,” she softly said.
Janar took that in and slowly rose to his feet. He carefully marched over to the door and opened it. He paused at the doorway to speak. “It wasn’t all a lie, was it?”
“No,” Buffy replied, staring at the wall. “If it was…It wouldn’t hurt this much.”
Janar took that in before leaving. Buffy kept staring out at the wall, trying to reconcile the thoughts in her tortured mind.
For a Cathar, mastering emotions was a difficult task at best. A Cathar Jedi had a more difficult struggle with it, particularly one who had tasted the Dark Side already. With all that had happened in the last day, Juhani felt meditation was her best option.
She sat cross-legged in her quarters, staring out into space as she kept her breathing steady. The Force had always come easy to her, even as a child. But the control…that was the tricky part. Especially given the wild range of emotions on the ship right now.
She felt the shiver of rage just before Carth passed by. “You should not listen to it,” she called out.
He paused by the doorway and frowned as he looked inside. “What?”
“The anger. The hate. The pain.” Juhani turned her head to him. “I know too well what they lead to.”
Carth glared at her. “You jumping on the ‘let’s save the Sith’ bandwagon too?”
Juhani simply stared back at him calmly. “You are forgetting, Carth. It was Revan who saved my family and myself from slavers. She set me on the path that brought me here. I owe her more than just my life.”
“How can you be so calm about it?” he demanded. “She’s a mass murderer, Juhani! If it wasn’t for what the Jedi did, she’d have killed us all without a second thought! Now that she remembers, she may well do it!”
“She will not,” Juhani flatly stated.
“How do you know?”
“I know.” Juhani turned back, settling down. “Faith will agree with that. That should mean something to you.”
Carth looked away. “It doesn’t.”
“You’re too good a man to lie like that,” Juhani noted. “She means a lot to you, Carth. You should not lose her over this.”
“I’ll lose her because she’s siding with the enemy,” he snarled.
“There is an old saying, Carth. A saying that comes from several planets. The only enemy that can truly destroy you…is the one within. Do not let that happen.”
He simply mused her words over as he left.
“I want to know why.”
Jolee stopped in the hallway near Mission’s room and took a deep breath. He turned to see Faith standing before him, arms crossed and anger on her features. “Why didn’t you tell us?” she bit out.
“It wasn’t my place.”
“Like hell it wasn’t!” Faith marched over and pointed a finger at him. “You knew all along about this and you never told us, Jolee! I trusted you, we all trusted you and you kept this hidden from us! Why?”
Jolee ran a hand over his bald head. “It wasn’t the right time to say it. Call it a cop-out but the fact is, there was a time and place for this to happen, Faith. Admittedly, I would have liked it if it had been better circumstances.”
“No shit,” Faith snapped. “Dammit, this still wasn’t the way to do it! You should have told us!”
“Kid, when you get older------“
“Do not play the senior citizen card!” Faith interrupted. “Do you have any idea what she’s going through now? Don’t say you do because there’s no way in hell you can! She’s found out everything about her is a lie, Jolee! You had a right to tell us!”
“So I could ruin it sooner?” the elder Jedi snapped back. “Do not lecture to me, girl! I have been through hells you cannot imagine!”
“Oh, trust me, you haven’t,” Faith stated and something in her voice made Jolee believe her. “And especially not a hell like she’s going through.”
“I thought it’d be better this way,” Jolee said.
Faith sniffed. “Funny, I think that’s what the Jedi and Bastila said.”
“Faith.” The two turned to see Buffy stepping into the hallway. Her eyes still seemed to have dark circles under them but she appeared stronger somehow than when Faith had left her. “Get the others together in the main room. I need to talk to the crew.”
“B? You okay?” Faith asked.
“Just get everyone together,” Buffy said as she marched by them. “Everyone.”
Faith and Jolee looked at each other and shrugged. “Sounds like we’re getting another interesting wrinkle into things,” Jolee noted.
“Good cause we needed more twists,” Faith said in a tired voice as they walked off.
Buffy made her way to the mechanic area to find HK standing by a recharging unit next to T3. “So….you’re mine, huh?”
“Statement: That I am, Master. It is more gratifying to see you again!”
“Makes one of us,” Buffy sourly stated as she pulled out her lightsaber. She examined it, making sure it was still in working order. “So…I built you?”
“Clarification: No, Master, my actual construction was handled by someone else. But you did personally program me and installed my personality and protocols. As well as adding all I needed to know to fulfill my duties as a killer. Query: Have I already thanked you enough for that?”
“Can you explain the meatbag thing?” Buffy asked.
“Explanation: I made a comment about it to your apprentice, Master. He took exception to it but you found his reaction humorous and thus added it to my programming.”
“So Malak was the original meatbag, huh?” Buffy managed a chuckle. “I kinda like that.” She paused, biting her lip. “HK, did I ever tell you about the Star Forge?”
The droid’s head swiveled. “Regretful statement: No, Master. You did not share that information with me. You kept some things secret from all but Malak.”
“Hmmm….how did you end up on Tatooine?” Buffy asked.
“Explanation: You had sent me to eliminate a planetary governor, Master. I was to return but then Malak launched his attack upon you. As per your instructions, my temporary memory wipe was activated. I passed from owner to owner for a year before being sold to that inferior meatbag.”
Buffy nodded. “Guess it’s better than if you landed with Malak.”
“Statement: Your apprentice struck me as a ruthless and amoral creature with a unsated lust for death in as painful a manner as possible. I rather liked him. But had I known what he would do to you, Master, I would have not hesitated to tear his body apart limb from limb!”
“Thanks for that,” Buffy said. “You better get to the main room, I’m addressing the crew.”
“Statement: As you wish, Master. Know that whatever path you choose, I will be at your side. Plead: Master…please let it be the path most bloody?”
Buffy watched him march off then looked to T3. “It says a lot that you’re probably the most well-adjusted person on this ship.”
The droid’s head rose and fell, which was apparently his version of a shrug.
She felt their eyes on her as soon as she stepped through the doorway. The entire crew was assembled, all staring at her with various expressions. Jolee, Juhani and Canderous were patient. Mission and Zaalbar seemed excited. Faith and Janar were supportive. And Carth…Buffy had to close her eyes to push back the wave of pure hatred he gave out.
She cleared her throat before speaking. “You all know the truth now. Yes, I was Revan. In some ways…I still am. I remember things she…I did. I remember the worlds that got burned…I remember fights and battles…It’s not all clear, though.”
“Just bits and pieces?” Mission asked, hopefully.
Buffy nodded. “So far. I still can’t fully remember the Star Forge or what it does. I do know it’s vital to the Sith’s plans. Which means we have to find it and destroy it.”
“What about Bastila?” Janar asked.
Buffy sighed. “She knew…what would happen. She gave us the chance to get away. I won’t waste that.” She brought her head up, steeling herself as she spoke. “We all got pulled into this in different ways and for different reasons. None of us asked for this. But it’s the hand we’ve been dealt and we have to play it.
“I know you’re all worried about me. About Revan coming back. Right now, I’m not talking as Revan. I’m talking as Buffy Summers. I’m going to find that map. I’m going to find the Star Forge. And I am sure as hell going to kick Malak’s ass so bad it’s gonna scare off any potential Sith for the next few centuries.” Her voice remained at the same volume but the strength in it had grown. “I can’t do it alone. I’m asking you more than anyone has asked anyone else before. I’m asking you to trust me. I’m asking you to be willing to risk your lives for…No, not for me. For what’s right.
“The Jedi on Dantooine did what they thought was best. They pressed for me to retrain, to try and be the model Jedi again. They’re dead now. They’re dead and their temple is rubble. What we’re doing is more dangerous than ever. But I’m going, no matter what. The Sith win, we all lose, that’s a fact. Lives, freedom, justice, it all goes down for who knows how long. Someone up there chose me to fight evil. That’s what I’m going to keep doing, no matter who I am.
“So all I have to know is…Are you in? Or are you out? Who’s willing to come with me? I’m not demanding it of anyone. I tried that once. I tried to be the hard as nails leader and I almost led a group of untrained girls to their deaths. I’m asking you….if you want to come…tell me.”
A long silence followed her speech. It was broken by Mission. “You…If you don’t remember,” she began hesitantly. “Then…I shouldn’t be worried. You remember being Buffy more than being Revan…that’s no problem for me.”
“Or for me,” Zaalbar rumbled. “I swore a lifedebt to the person you are, not the one you were. Where you go, I go.”
Buffy looked to the stocky man next to them. “Canderous?”
The Mandolarian brought himself up straight and when he spoke, his voice was truly reverent. “Your command of warfare was greater than any of us have ever seen. You beat the best Mandalore offered and slew him in combat. None have defeated us like you did. How can I not follow you?”
“You saved me, Revan,” Juhani stated. “I owe you everything. I am with you all the way.”
Buffy looked to Jolee who simply smiled. “I knew about you all along, kid. Course I’m with you.”
Buffy glanced toward Janar. They simply stared at one another in silence. He finally gave a nod, which she answered before looking to Carth. “Carth…”
“You bombed my world,” he snapped.
“I didn’t!” Buffy yelled back. “I never targeted civilian population centers! Malak was the one who ordered the whole planet attacked and I made it clear I didn’t want that. How the hell do you think he lost his jaw?!”
Carth crossed his arms as he fixed her with an icy stare. “I’ll be watching you. And if I see a sign…”
“Do what you have to do,” Buffy said. “In fact…I’d welcome it.” She gazed to the last person there.
Faith’s smirk had vanished. “I tried to cut down your leadership once, B. We know how that turned out. I’m there, no matter what happens, to the death and all that shit.”
Buffy nodded. “Thanks, Faith,” she whispered. Taking a deep breath, she began to give out orders. “Canderous, Carth, get the repairs done as soon as you can. Mission, Zaalbar, you handle supplies. Janar, Faith, make sure we’ve got all the ammo and tech we need.” She turned to head to her quarters. “We’re headed into the heart of the beast, folks. So make sure we can bite back.”
She passed a reflective panel as she marched and for the briefest of moments, she thought she saw a flash of a red-haired figure smiling back at her.
Thanks for putting up for the long delay. Hopefully, won’t be as long until the next one comes. As you can tell, things are different now so keep the comments coming.
Next: Book VIII: Korriban