Slayers of the Old Republic
Book II: Taris
By Michael Weyer
Buffy and all characters owned by Joss Whedon and Ten Thirteen Productions
Star Wars owned by Lucasfilm
Knights of the Old Republic created by Bioware.
Once again, to KOTOR fans, careful with spoilers in reviews for the Buffy folks who haven’t played the game. Once again, all comments are welcomed, hope you enjoy.
Buffy’s jaw remained open as she switched her lightsaber off, staring in shock at the woman before her. “Faith? I…what are you doing here?!”
“Me? What about you?” Faith moved in and embraced Buffy hard. “Oh my God, Buffy! You’re alive!”
“Yeah…you too,” Buffy said as she hugged back. “I…how did you get here?”
Faith backed up, wiping at her face. “I, um….I was trying to get you when the Hellmouth collapsed. I was moving in, slid on a fallen roof and next thing I know, I’m landing in some heap in the Lower City.”
Buffy’s jaw dropped. “You’ve been on this planet for two years?”
Faith nodded. “Yep. Took a while to get used to the language and get the heads up on what was going on. I’ve tried to adapt ever since.”
“Excuse me,” Carth gasped as he got back to his feet. “You two know each other?”
“Faith, Carth Onasi, Commander in the Republic fleet,” Buffy introduced. “Carth, this is Faith Pryce.”
“Formerly of the Taris security forces,” Faith said.
Buffy’s eyes widened again. “You’re with the authorities here?”
“Yep, me as a cop. Whoda thunk it?” Faith smirked. Her smile vanished as she threw the helmet onto a table. “But there’s no need for us now that the Sith are in charge.”
“The Sith?” an alarmed Carth exclaimed. “The Sith are on Taris?”
Faith snorted. “On it? Buddy, they invaded three weeks ago, wiped out the Republic contingent, took over their base and have the whole planet under quarantine.”
“Three weeks?” Carth demanded. “But we’ve been checking in regularly and gotten a-ok reports all during the trip!”
“They must have been using the old codes to send those signals,” Buffy mused. “Damn, they’ve been leading us into an ambush all this time to get Bastila!”
“Who’s Bastila?” Faith asked.
“My Master,” Buffy matter-of-factly stated.
Faith drew back. “Well, damn, B…I never woulda guessed you swung that way…”
“Not that kind of Master, Faith!”
Carth couldn’t resist a chuckle. “She means Jedi Master.”
Faith whirled on Buffy, truly examining her for the first time, taking in her outfit, the braid and the lightsaber at her hip. “B, you’re a Jedi?” She chuckled. “Damn, you still gotta outdo me.” She jerked her head to the man in the bed. “So who’s he?”
“Vance Jarcen,” Carth intoned. “Former smuggler turned Republic scout. He does freelance work for us.”
Buffy frowned. “You know all that off the top of your head?”
“Well, Bastila requested he be transferred to the Endar Spire just before we left,” Carth explained. “It was pretty unusual but then again the Jedi were throwing their weight around a lot. Hell, they practically took over the whole ship.” He glanced at Buffy. “No offense.”
“None taken,” Buffy said. “We can push it in terms of arrogance.”
Carth sighed as he sat on a small chair. “Okay…Faith? What’s the situation on the planet now?”
“Well, for starters,” Faith began. “Taris used to be a nice place. Whole planet is practically one huge city. We’re in the Upper City where most of the nobles live, merchants and cantinas. Aliens aren’t exactly outlawed but they’re also not exactly encouraged to come up.” A sour look came over her face. “That’s one rule the Sith are all too eager to keep going.”
Buffy and Carth nodded, both aware of the anti-alien bias the Sith had. “The Lower City,” Faith went on. “Is dirtier and nastier and more alien-populated. It’s mostly made up of gangs of swoop riders but at the moment there’s two big ones: the Black Vulkars and the Hidden Beks. The Beks used to be the prime player but then the Vulkars started to boost ranks and it’s been ugly since. We used to go down there practically three or four times a week to break up violence but eventually, the higher-ups just decided to ignore it all and issue warnings to folks to stay away.”
“What else?” Buffy asked.
“Well, the Undercity is the lowest of the low. The people there are Outcasts, denied entry to the city above. Taris judicial system is pretty extreme and there’s really only two punishments. Execution or exile to the Undercity.” Her face darkened. “From what I can tell, most folks prefer execution. Only been down there once but…ugh, that was enough.”
“So the Sith are in total control?” Carth asked.
Faith nodded. “Fraid so. If you’re gonna get around, you’re gonna have to do it carefully.”
Carth sighed as he sat on the bed. “Dammit. Okay, we’re still exhausted, Vance is probably going to be out for a while so I guess we should get some rest and tackle this whole thing in the morning.”
“Good idea,” Buffy said. “You can take the other bed, I’ll take the floor.”
“You don’t have to do that.”
“It’s okay. I won’t sleep long anyway.”
Carth shrugged as he slid off his jacket and put his blasters on a side table. He lay back on the pillow and within moments was asleep.
Buffy turned to where Faith was studying Vance. “Is it me,” she asked. “Or does he kinda look a bit like Angel?”
“You see it too, huh?”
“Well, they say everyone has a double somewhere in the world. Why shouldn’t it be certain that they have one in the universe?” Faith smiled at her fellow Slayer. “Damn, B, it’s good to see you again.”
“You too,” Buffy said, smiling back. “It’s been so crazy trying to handle being away from everyone. Willow, Giles, Xander, Dawn…”
Faith nodded. “I know…it was tough for me too. I found myself right back to being on my own, having to fend for myself. It wasn’t a pleasant experience.”
“You look like you survived okay.”
“Yeah, well, still got the Slayer stuff.”
“You do? Well, that’s one up on me.”
Faith was surprised. “You…you’re not a Slayer anymore?”
“Well, I still consider myself one,” Buffy quickly said. “But I guess the trip sucked most of it out of me somehow. Took a while to get used to being semi-normal again.”
Faith smirked. “Says the Jedi gal.”
Buffy shrugged as she sat down on the floor and folded her legs under her. “It’s not too bad. I’ve actually gotten good at it with the Force and all.”
“Interesting,” Faith said as she sat across from her. “How come you can use it so well?”
“Maybe it’s to make up for the Slayer powers,” Buffy mused. “Or, again, that leap in the portal. I sort of stopped thinking about it myself and just learn to live with it.”
Faith chuckled. “Same old B, going with the flow.”
Buffy smiled briefly before closing her eyes. Taking a deep breath, she let herself drift into a restful meditative state. Seeing what she was doing, Faith set herself back on the floor and tried to drift off herself, reflecting on the new events.
One thing’s for sure. Life on Taris just got a whole lot more fun.