Disclaimer: No person and no component universe that went into the making of this ficlet belongs to me! (Except for the Jedi and one other person at the moment) Hope Y'alls likes it!
A sigh rang out across the town. Not that you could hear it over the chaos of the night, one that was supposed to be a night of joyful scavenging. Two women looked up at the sky with sadness in their eyes. Then they looked at each other, willfully ignoring the large distance and multiple obstructions to their line of sight. They gave each other commiserating smiles; one insane, one displaced, both in ornate, beautiful dresses. Neither ever truly understood, their worlds ruled by emotions more powerful by far than anything most would ever conceive of.
And both were technically dead.
The one on the street sighed as she turned her attention from the stars to the street. "A girl's work is never done." she said softly to herself.
She made quick work of the small creatures around her, never killing, before regally walking off. She closed her eyes and let her senses run amok, both on the settlement she was obviously in, and inside her own self, ignoring the small part of her mind that said she shouldn't exist after that pretender's strike. What she found startled her.
Outside, she found evil presences spread about, with a fairly enormous one hiding in the ground under a certain building. A concentration of evil that would no doubt attract people and monsters like honey does flies. Another inside a certain building, with a high intelligence and an odd feeling of cleanliness about it. Well, cleanliness of the body, she amended to herself. The mind, heart, and soul on the other hand...
Several sources of power were scattered about. One was the aforementioned concentration of evil; one was an odd mix of light and dark, reminding her of duality; one was a slightly darker source with the intent of protection and a refusal to use lethal force, which brought a smile to her face; there was another building that felt like a place of learning, like an academy. The power there was more natural but it felt a bit, wrong. She would have to investigate that later. There was another power source, one similar to her own nature. A defender, but this one had traces of what seemed like interstellar travel, in a way that she had never encountered. She'd have to investigate that as well, perhaps after recruiting the dark force who refused the dark and the lethal. Or at least, never wanted to use them.
But the inside both surprised her most, and not at all. There was another being inside this body. Correction, there was a third being that resided in this body at this point in time, one with far greater claims upon it than she herself had, but not nearly as strong a claim as the powerful soul she could feel lying dormant.
She sighed. Such was the lot of a ghost: you couldn't stay long and you could never help enough.
A scream and a half-familiar sign of power wrought her from her brooding. A powerful young girl crying out in fear.
She ran to the girl, arriving in time to send her attacker flying with a wave of her hand. For some odd reason, it reminded her of a dog, or perhaps one of those creatures on that world of ancient trees and ancient darkness.
She turned to the creature clinging to her in relief. A small assortment of terms came forth from the ether to describe her, and she settled on 'female felinoid'. "Are you hurt, young one?" She asked gently.
She shook her head and gave me a glowing smile. "No, thanks to you, Master Jedi."
She was startled at the proclamation, but kept my reaction to a raised eyebrow as she gave her mind a cursory glance before she responded. A part of her wanted to rebel, to make the young creature see the error of her ways through simple reason, explaining how the Jedi were nothing more than a cult, but she held her tongue as she reminded herself of the creature's youth. She gave the young one a warm smile and began to speak. "I have never encountered a creature such as yourself, so if you'll forgive my asking, what are you?"
The smile never faltered as she said, "I am a Cathar, oh great Jedi."
Her own smile didn't fail at all as she rolled her eyes at the younger one's antics. "Well, my young Cathar friend, I believe that we have need for local knowledge. Perhaps you could accompany me on my journey for knowledge?" She gave a small smile at the way the her eyes lit up in joy.
"I would be delighted to help you on your quest!"
"Then shall we be off?" At the young Cathar's nod, they began to walk, moving towards the dark force working for the light.
Idly, she cast a glance up to the sky and saw a power, and an odd contradiction of one at that. One with the power of flight and raised in a culture of warriors, and yet, beautifully naïve. She sent it a light compulsion, not nearly enough to be called true control but more than a tiny nagging in her mind, to find the source of the 'darkness' and to wait for them there.
When they arrived, her mouth quirked into a smirk, which she studiously kept from the creature she planned to have as a student in the near future (too powerfully sensitive to be left alone). In front of her was a half-demoness with a soul and a creature from another planet capable of blasts of solid energy, except that her body's core soul was comprised of solid universal energy. Stuff that managed to remind her of what she could feel when traveling to visit new planets back home. The odd feeling of embarrassment she could feel from further identifying them was a bit odd, but she ignored it in favor of speaking with them (and allowing them to introduce themselves instead of scaring them away by already knowing too much about them).
"Hello there." She called out to the two. "I am known as Ragnos, a defender of the realm."
She paused at the sudden apprehensive look on the cloaked raven-haired half-breed. "Marka Ragnos?" she asked flatly.
The woman thought about that. "Well, yes, I suppose. But I have always thought that simply 'Ragnos' would do as an identifier. Why?"
"Marka Ragnos was an evil creature, bent on ruling it's galaxy in tyranny." She could feel the hostility leaking out of her studiously flat voice from 10 feet away, even without her enhanced sensitivities. She also noticed the way that it oscillated slightly.
'Odd, why not simply express your feelings?' She thought for the millisecond before raising her eyebrow at the hostility. Upon noticing the suddenly fearful look on her student-to-be's face, she did a quick overview of all their minds. The Cathar had heard rumors of many such evil creatures with similar powers and pasts, having grown up on Korriban, a desert graveyard of a planet, covered with tombs and artifacts. The creature of energies was on guard, knowing nothing of her, but taking the half-breed's word that she was dangerous. But what she saw in said mage's mind made her struggle not to laugh, a battle which she quickly conceded in order to maintain sanity.
She was trying her absolute best not to blush through her copious amounts of white makeup as she cursed the one she loved (but was too much of a coward to admit it, even to herself) for forcing her to play a game based upon a successful series of movies, which was based upon an epic series of stories in written form. A game called "Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Academy". A game that the soul of the body she was inhabiting reluctantly revealed to have played the full way through on both paths (light side and dark side) and had, secretly, played with the character creation until she was sure she had the most appealing, and revealing, character she could make with those templates: a Twi'lek with hanging tattooed head-tails, colored pink and wearing a corset with one full arm covered and high boots that go from foot to mid-thigh (or the knee. It has been a long time since she'd actually played). At the time, she'd blamed it on hormones.
When Ragnos finally calmed down, she wiped her eyes of tears and slowly stood up from the place she'd rolled about on the ground. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist." She sighed happily from the levity high. Then she turned a bit more serious. "But, no, I am not that Ragnos. That was a copy, infused with a darkness that I believe you to be quite familiar with in order to give the abomination life."
"Wasn't the original Ragnos a Sith?" the girl (the soul's mind provided the description of 'Goth') asked warily.
Ragnos shrugged. "While, yes, I was labeled a Sith, and as such, was trusted throughout the galaxy, I consider myself to be far closer to what you would think of as an average policewoman rather than a Jedi or a Sith, as you perceive them. Which, honestly, if that's how they are existing, then most wielders are idiots!" She gave them all a comforting smile, the greatest concentration of comfort going to her Cathar.
As she emanated her comfort and calm, one part of her mind was trying to swat another part of her mind (specifically, Lust and Propriety), while she was completely unaware of the little mental tussle. After all, even if she actually was
falling for the cat, she would be going a bit too far by claiming her to be hers, just like that.
Suddenly, she was blinded by a 1000 megawatt smile from the energy 'alien'. "It's nice to meet you Ragnos. My name is Starfire." She reached out to shake her hand, and Ragnos complied immediately, adding in a bright smile of her own.
"Nice to meet you Starfire." She turned to the Cathar. "This is... Actually I don't know her name." She admitted, smiling sheepishly, which may or may not have added to her small collection of brownie points that she was being given by the other two.
"Azira." She said softly, getting all flushed and embarrassed at all the attention being directed at her.
The goth simply humphed and started walking away.
Starfire noticed. "Raven! What's wrong?"
Ragnos smiled softly as she stopped the non-human from following. "I'll answer for her. It's simple after all. She just doesn't trust me." When she saw Starfire getting ready to argue, she added in her point of view. "I don't blame her. From what she's been through (that I've seen) and what she's heard of me, including the fact that Marka Ragnos was a guy - not sure what happened there. - " She said musingly. She shook her head and got back on track. "Now, I'm not the first to throw stones here in such a situation. In fact, there was this one group of guys; I was completely paranoid about them. They kept showing up everywhere I went, and occasionally went out of their way to mess with me. Turned out I was making life-long friends."
Starfire's eyebrows, every follicle in those tiny little dots, rose to meet her hairline. "Really?"
Ragnos smiled and nodded. "Yep. I never stopped being paranoid about them, but I ended up liking and trusting them, to an extent." She shrugged off the matter. "Now, let's go and deal with the source of tonight's mischief, after picking someone up."
She looked confused at that. "Why not just go around, protecting people?"
Ragnos shook her head. "That won't help. We're here in other people's bodies and the same has happened all around the settlement. If we don't get these people back to their original 'housings', then the havoc we have will just continue to happen."
She seemed taken aback at that. "I'm not in my own body?" She asked uncertainly.
Ragnos shook her head. "Neither am I. Nor is Azira or Raven. All you need to prove it is a window." She put her hand on her shoulder. "However, that's not the important part. The important part is that we contain this. If we do this, then we can protect the greatest number with the greatest efficiency. And besides, going after the source of this mayhem will protect many more than helping them one by one, even if we somehow had someone to coordinate us." She pushed up on her chin to make her look her in the eyes. "We can't be everywhere Star. People die. It's a fact of life that we can't avoid. Just as we can't avoid making enemies, or getting shot at for being an enforcer of peace. And I don't mean that shit that the 'modern Sith' would think of as peace, that 'Peace through Order' shit. Living beings are Chaotic, after all. If there was no chance for Chaos, then sentient life could not exist. It's one of the banes and blessings of existence."
Star's eyes began tearing up, obviously touched by what Ragnos had said.
Ragnos smiled. "Now before I get all mushy on us, I think we better grab Raven; then we can deal with the Chaos that follows."
They left, not knowing that they were one person short.
As they wandered, Ragnos let her senses spread. This time, she was after a catalog of what the local denizens felt like.
There was about three different types of wrongness: wrongness of the soul, wrongness of the body, but the kind that you can let live, and just plain wrong. Wrongness of the soul would be criminals that have gone seriously bad, or people who sold their souls. Wrongness you can let live seemed to be demons, but they weren't a nasty, vicious, sort. In fact, she was having an out-of-body experience right now as she watched the demon known as Clement, Clem to his friends, climb out of his car and put away his groceries. Sure it was a few hours ago, but did that really have to matter? Nope! Didn't think so.
The just plain wrong category. You'd think it would be self-explanatory. There are a few exceptions, but for the most part, it's kill on sight, unless you need to bargain.
After cataloging every single native and filing them away, Ragnos let her mind wander. She checked on Azira, partly surprised that the teacher-student bond already existed after only an hour, and scanned her mind. What she saw made her pity her to an extent. She was a desert cat, made for tough living and tough habitats, but she'd had a rougher life than what she was made for. It was a bit of a miracle that she was still around. She made a decision that if she somehow managed to still exist and go home, she would go find Azira and get her to a place where she would thrive. Give her something that will allow her to mature and grow into the beautiful woman she was becoming.
She was startled at the amounts of 'noise' she was suddenly 'hearing'. She examined them closely, and saw that they weren't creatures, but artifacts. Weaker ones, more powerful ones, objects and places that terrified her to an extent. She'd have to collect a number of them, make sure they never meet the wrong hands.
Every single drop of her awareness was suddenly drawn to a small feline not 5 feet away from them. Small, black, green eyed, almost average for a small black house cat.
She cocked her head. Why, exactly, would she focus so completely on this creature?
Ragnos never got around to puzzling it out as there were the sounds of a commotion up ahead. She hurried, just in case she was needed.
She smiled when she saw that she shouldn't have bothered. It was Raven, her eyes glowing with barely held rage, hands glowing with otherworldly - though genetically tied to her - power, and body moving in more lethal ways than the girl would prefer to use. After a quick scan of the creature, Ragnos figured that Raven had reason to. A) It had no intelligence beyond base and instinctual behaviors, meaning it was little more than an animal; and B) It was going to rape and eat her. Not necessarily in that order. Not that it would actually care either way.
Ragnos' smile had the warmth of a friend or a mother, or at least that of a fellow soldier watching a future troop-mate working a punching bag or a lethal public enemy. It was obviously cathartic for the mage, and she had no thoughts on helping her. She held Starfire back when she came up.
When the creature was going through its death-throes and beginning to disintegrate, she let Star go on ahead, giving her a slight caution in her head to be cautious, but not fearful, and treat her like someone who'd needed this. Which was exactly what the situation was in her opinion.
A thought ran through her head while Starfire made her way over slowly, making her slightly uncomfortable as it wasn't really deniable. 'I need to get a life so that I'll finally shut up.'
"Are you feeling better, friend Raven?"
The half-breed shrugged noncommittally while nodding. Ragnos could easily feel her emotions as well, and could definitely confirm them.
A thought struck her. "Raven?" Ragnos called out softly. When the goth turned her attention to her, she continued. "What, exactly, do you know of magic?"
Another non-committal shrug. "Some."
"What would you say of what you can feel, right now?"
Raven paused as she cast out her magical senses. "A hellmouth." She snarled, then paused. "A slayer." Neutral voice, pause. Throat working as a slight reaction to something best left to collect dust. "Chaos magic."
Ah. That would make sense. Sithspit. Ragnos ignored the internally raised eyebrows as she nodded and said, "Huh. Possessing others through costumes would
generate much chaos."
"Possessions?" Raven asked, not knowing what to make of that statement.
Ragnos nodded absently. "I found a cult that worshiped a chaotic deity once. They wanted power, and to get the power they were promised, they wanted to create chaos for the being, since Chaos was his domain. And while true magic isn't often found in my original galaxy, this cult had managed to find a wellspring of it, and used it effectively enough to create such chaos that I required help for the first time since, well, since my apprenticeship. One of the tricks they used before I found them was making everyone someone they weren't, much like this trick. Halloween made real." She looked at them directly, coming out of her reverie. "After all, Halloween is, as some might say, 'Come-As-You-Aren't-Night'. So those who wore costumes depicting us became us, our consciousnesses transferred."
It took Raven a minute, but she figured it out on her own. "So, I'm not in my own body?" Ragnos nodded. "Then we should stop this and return the others to their original bodies."
Ragnos nodded again. "Do you think you can find the exact source of the disturbance?"
She nodded. "I can. It'll go faster if I travel."
"I'll come with you, if just for my peace of mind. I know how absentminded a person can get when searching like this."
Ten minutes later, the beginnings of a familiar migraine began to assault her. Except, this time, she had next to no warning before it ripped right through her. Images flashed in front of her. A giant stone ring with water, except that it was standing straight up, in gravity. Flashes of gunfire, of war, and of snakes came after that. A feeling of needing to be there, but not yet, and not as Ragnos. Good people. Bad enemies.
A town falling in on itself, but early in comparison to some plans. Too early by a few years.
A smile of friendships from the least likely of places. Three places, in fact. Odd that it would be so specific.
And then her life came back to the immediate present, and the pain in her brain complained.
"owowowowowowowowowowowow." She muttered softly as she held her head. She really hated future-vision fueled headaches, especially the trouble the visions often caused. Even if they were
most helpful in keeping certain messes from happening. Of course, because of the pain, she didn't really notice the fist coming towards her face from the peroxide-blonde undead creature until she was already on the ground.
She lay on the ground for a moment, pretending to be knocked out (as the vampire had probably intended) as she got her mind and information straight.
She began to grin and giggle. Then she did a half a flip and landed on her feet before sending herself into a low flying kick that reminded her of a few cheap b-movie kung fu actions from her host's memories. Basically, flying kick bodily formation, gliding across the ground ignoring the laws of physics and the fact that the ground is all of two to six inches away from the bottom of your dress. She was glad she'd been wearing high heels. Otherwise, she wouldn't have those vibro-shivs to slice through his kneecap. She had always hated formal apparel. Too hard to properly hide good weapons, at least without using underwear as hiding places. But high heels? As uncomfortable as they are, they're useful weapons, even without adding a vibrative modification to the heel.
She climbed to her feet, helped by the two women that she'd recruited as friends, if only for the night. She idly scanned the vampire's pain-addled mind and then idly thanked her lucky stars that she'd subconsciously decided to keep up her little 'Chameleon Field', as one student had named it. If she hadn't, he'd recognize her. She battened down the hatches to stop her giggles, but left the amusement clear on her face. "You know, if you run now, I won't make my pacifistic friends kill you." Her face lit up in a smile. "Wait, I don't need to threaten you with friends, I can threaten you with myself!"
The obvious insults made it through his pain and allowed him to respond. "Sod off!" Albeit, unintelligently. If he'd had intelligence, it would've been a bit less crude/all-purpose.
Ragnos smiled sweetly and raised a foot before slamming it down on his unhurt knee. Since a vibro-shiv was in both heels, it was assured that he'd get hurt either way.
After she'd taken it out of his knee and his brain had come back to something resembling working order, he studied her for a moment, and his intelligence won out. He began to crawl off, not regaining his apparent sapience until he was safe and the chaos was over.
When he was out of view, she collapsed against Raven. They dragged her over to a bench, concern flashing across their faces.
Well, over Star's face and through Raven's mind. Raven, apparently, didn't believe in facial expression.
She smiled weakly at them. "I'm okay." Raven raised a disbelieving eyebrow. "I'm a little overtaxed from getting a vision, but I'll be alright." When Raven didn't lower the eyebrow, Ragnos fessed up. "Okay, so I may be a little exhausted, but I'll be perfectly fine. I may have been working nonstop for the entire time we've been here, and trying to learn all I could with what I had has
put a serious drain on my stamina, but I'll be in good condition after a short rest." A stray thought came from the top of Star's head and made me giggle. I pointed a finger at her and said, "I heard that. And I am not as stubborn as a double-headed Feerxan from Vandibloor. That's your mother. I'm only about as stubborn as you, from that little memory." She tried to sit up, then stopped when the world began to do a perfect imitation of ocean waves in the middle of a violent tropical storm. She vaguely heard them say that they'd come back for her. When the world stopped it's impression of an ocean and returned to it's impression of a lake, she was staring at the stars, with a bit of wood in the way. She moved a hand, rather than her head or body, to check her bedding. Apparently, she'd missed being set on the ground.
A figure came into view. Womanly, attractive, older (comparatively), and gave the impression, to her at least, of danger and strength, combined with skill, stealth, and ability to protect. All in all, perfect for a possible girlfriend, if she were so inclined. And if the nagging feeling of disgust with herself didn't mean that the woman was a relative of some sort.
She saw her on the ground and, with a look of pity on her face, moved her from the ground, to sitting on the bench. She turned to leave and was about to do so when Ragnos called out a "Thanks." She paused, but didn't turn around.
Soon after, all the world went black.
A/N: Yeah, I know, I have other stories that I need to update. But I can do them at the same time as this. I'm a little unsure as to exactly what's going to happen next in my Girl Clad in iron story, other than her going to Metropolis to sightsee and end up meeting Lois Lane (and maybe Lana). In my SG-6 story, I'm going to have a dinner party, of a sorts, and any suggestions you can come up with will be appreciated. As for this, I have a few good plans for it. It's not going to be quite as amazing or intricate as scribbler's Terran Jedi series, but I think it might turn out well. Especially if I do it right. And yes, I know, I didn't clearly show the connection to SG-1 yet. I will try to do so next chapter.
All in all, a good day has happened here. Hope you liked this little beginning, and I hope to get you more to read soon!
Love ya! (And please don't forget to review! Reviews are like love! And if I don't get reviews, sometimes I get a little lonely! And if I don't feel lonely, I'm more likely to be better motivated to get you more reading material faster! It's almost Genius!)