Slayers of the Old Republic
Book III: Dantooine
By Michael Weyer
Buffy the Vampire Slayer owned by Joss Whedon and Ten Thirteen Productions
Star Wars owned by Lucasfilm
Knights of the Old Republic created by Bioware Entertainment.
Once again, all comments are welcomed. For KOTOR fans, be a bit careful so you don’t spoil things too bad for Buffy fans who don’t know as much about the game. Hope you enjoy.
Faith slowly walked into the bridge of the Ebon Hawk as the ship streaked through hyperspace. She stared out at the streaks of white in the blue tunnel. She’d never done space travel before so this was new to her. “What’s the stitch?” she asked in a tired voice.
Carth frowned but Bastila seemed to know what she meant. “I’ve set a course for Dantooine,” she stated. “There’s a Jedi Enclave there where we can find refuge.”
Faith stared at her, her anger broiling forth. “Lady,” she bit out. “I don’t know if you were paying attention or not but did you see what happened back on Taris? There wasn’t a building over two stories left standing! And now you want us to head to a planet of Jedi? Why don’t we just hang up a sign telling the Sith ‘Come attack Us?!”
“She’s right,” Carth said. “We need to keep moving.”
“Even the Sith would think twice before attacking Dantooine," Bastila said. "There are several powerful Jedi there - including several of the Order's most powerful masters. We'll be safe there.”
Carth snorted. “I hate to break it to you, sister, but there’s no such thing as safe. Not in this universe.”
There was a cough and they all turned to see Canderous in the doorway. “Sorry to interrupt,” he rumbled. “But I just checked with the droid in the computer room. We took a few hits on our way out. Shields are down to seventy percent, we’ve got burns on the hull, one cannon fried out and we may have some hyperdrive leaking too.”
“Dammit,” Carth hissed.
“We’re going to need to put down for repairs,” Bastila noted. “And the Academy is a great place of healing…physical, mental and spiritual. We could all use that.”
Carth sighed. "Maybe you're right. Not easy to witness the destruction of a whole planet. Mission's got to be taking it pretty hard.”
"She's stronger than she appears, and will find a way to come to terms with it. We can only give her time." Bastila rose from her seat. “I’d best check on Buffy and Vance.”
Faith watched her go, Canderous following before heading to the engine room to check on the hyperdrive. Faith moved to sit in the other chair, gazing at the space before them.
Faith realized Carth was talking to her and started. “Oh, uh, yeah. I guess.”
The pilot looked over the controls as he spoke. “I know how it feels. Seeing your home getting bombed like that.”
“I…I didn’t think of it as home,” Faith said, brushing back her hair. “I had a home already and I lost that. Still…”
“Still,” Carth agreed. “It’s not easy seeing it go like that.”
Faith shook her head. “It’s not just that, it’s…There were so many good people down there. Gandon, the Beks, Forn…they didn’t deserve to die like that!”
Carth nodded grimly. “I know. Funny, it looks like those Outcasts ended up being the best ones off.”
Faith looked away. “It’s not right. I’ve seen evil before but…how can any human being actually order a whole planet wiped out like that?”
“I think Malak stopped being a human being a long time ago,” Carth noted as he adjusted the controls. “Listen, Faith, I know it’s hard but you have to try to put it past you. You’re angry, fine, use it.”
“Like you have?”
Carth nodded. “I suppose so. I’m dedicated to stopping Malak and Saul, no matter what.”
Faith looked at her feet, fighting back her tears. “It…it hurts. I don’t want to hurt. I’m supposed to be tougher than that.”
Carth raised an eyebrow. “Really? You seem to be holding yourself up to some standard.”
Faith wiped her eyes. “Maybe. But…” She rose from her seat. “Sorry, flyboy, I know you mean well but I’ve gotta…get a walk.” She rose and headed out as the Republic soldier mused on what inner pain was driving this young woman.
Faith entered the hold to see Buffy and Vance sitting in the main room. Vance appeared a little shocked while Buffy had her eyes closed, breathing steadily. Bastila was next to her, a hand at her back, helping her out. “Are you guys okay?” Faith asked.
Buffy opened her eyes and licked her lips. “Getting there,” she stated in a hoarse voice. “It’s…God, I can’t describe how it feels, Faith. Every scream, every final thought, every mind snuffed out…I’ve felt it before but never…never like this…”
Faith bit her lip, unsure what to say. She knew how the deaths of innocents affected Buffy. She knew that, despite her every effort not to, the Slayer always thought of the faces of the people she couldn’t save, the ones who seemed to blame her for what happened. Buffy had taken such guilt on her when she was a relatively normal girl. Now, connected to the Force, it just made it even harder.
“B,” Faith began. “I…You’re right, I don’t know how it feels. And…I’ve never been that open to all this Force stuff but…” She reached over to put a hand on her friend’s shoulder. “If I know one thing about Buffy Summers…Jedi or not…I know she’s not gonna let herself get crushed with all that. She’s gonna use it.”
Buffy smiled at her. “Thanks, Faith.”
Bastila coughed. “Faith, perhaps you should check on Mission and Zaalbar? I would imagine they are having a difficult time with what happened.”
Faith knew a hint to get out when she heard it. In this case, however, she was willing to listen. Bastila knew more about this Force than she did so it made sense to have her help Buffy and Vance. She walked to the aft quarters.
Mission was sitting on one of the bunks, tears running down her cheeks. Zaalbar was behind her, stroking her back with a furry arm. “Hey,” Faith softly said as she entered. “How are you?”
Mission shook her head. “I…I can’t believe it’s gone. I mean…Taris may have been a pit but it was my home! It…it just can’t be gone like that.”
“I know how you feel,” Faith honestly said. She looked away. “Did you…have any family there?”
”Big Z´s my family, you know?” said Mission, a smile forming on her face as she nodded up at the Wookie. “My parents...well, I guess they’re dead. It was just me on my own until the day I saw Zaalbar in the Lower City. I could tell right away he was in trouble. This was before the gang war had started, but even then, the Vulkars were scum! A few of them were hassling Big Z, trying to pick a fight - but he wasn’t looking for trouble.”
“They wanted to pick a fight with a Wookiee?” Faith asked in disbelief.
“Hey, nobody said the Vulkars were smart!” Mission giggled, “But there were three of them, so maybe they figured they could handle him, I don’t know. Anyway, I don’t like the Vulkars for the best of times. And when I saw them picking on this poor Wookiee – all alone on a strange planet, overwhelmed by the big city – I just lost it.”
“She attacked them herself,” Zaalbar explained.
“I screamed out “Leave him alone, you core slimes!” and charged right at them. One of them saw me coming and slapped me so hard he just about knocked me cold.” She admitted.
“Smacking a kid?” Faith snorted. “Talk about no class!”
“Those Vulkars didn’t scare me. They’re nothing but cowards. I knew how to deal with them. Of course, I never got the chance. I guess Zaalbar didn’t like seeing me get smacked around. He let out this howl and yanked that Vulkar a meter up off the ground and held him there by his throat!”
“I don’t…like bullies,” the Wookie said simply.
Mission smiled as she continued. “The other two screamed and ran off. Can’t say I blame them. The first time you see an angry Wookiee up close it isn’t a pretty sight. I thought Zaalbar was going to rip that punk’s arms off and beat him to death with his own fists. The Vulkar was so scared, he fainted. Or maybe Big Z´s breath just knocked him out.” Mission thought out loud.
“Mission!” Zaalbar howled.
“Sorry Zaalbar, but I keep telling you to brush those choppers once in a while.” Mission shrugged, “Why do you think I won’t stand downwind when you’re talking?”
Faith couldn’t suppress a giggle as the Wookie glowered. “Anyway,” Mission continued. “I knew those Vulkars would be back with friends, so I grabbed Zaalbar and we took off. Ever since then we’ve been a team. We look out for each other, you know?”
“Mission always made sure we had a safe place to stay and enough food to eat. I was more of a lookout.” Zaalbar explained. “With some help from the Hidden Beks, we were fine.”
“Like I used to tell my brother – fast talk and slick words don’t get the job done.”
“You’ve never really talked about your brother before,” Faith noted.
“My brother’s a touchy subject, you know?” Mission said. She pursed her lips. “I...well, I guess I can tell you. I don’t want to seem snappish. See, I get a little touchy when it comes to Griff. It’s kind of embarrassing to tell people about him. See, I never knew my parents, I came to Taris as a kid, five or something. Me and my brother Griff were stuffed in a packing crate on a star freighter with just enough water and food to last the journey. Not exactly first class, huh?” she humbly asked.
”Use any means possible. Problems with the law?”
”I don’t know the whole story – I was pretty young. My brother owned a lot of money and the only way to get off the planet was to smuggle ourselves out.” She became aware of the look Faith was giving her. “See, this is why I don’t wanna talk about it! It makes Griff sound worse than he was! I don’t want us to sound like criminals...” She frowned. “Well, maybe my brother was. On Taris, my brother and I had a pretty good thing going. Sure, Griff had his run-ins with the law, but we got by okay.”
”What kind of run-ins?”
”He gambled, he drank...but he had a good heart, you know? Showed me how to slice into a computer, get into a guarded building undetected, pretty handy skills.”
”He’s family. You have to stick by family.”
”Yeah, that’s what I’m trying to say!” Mission nodded enthusiastically. “Without him, I wouldn’t be here with you today. But then Lena came.” Mission pulled a face at the memory. “She was a dancer at the cantina where he used to play Pazaak. Griff could be a real smooth talker to and soon, they were dating. After they’ve been together for a few months, he told me he and Lena were leaving Taris to get rich off-world. He promised me he’d return for me and then we’d all live like royalty! That was two years ago. I really miss him since he left.”
“Maybe something happened.” Faith tried to sound diplomatic.
“Oh, I know what happened!” Mission said, her face hard. “Once they left Taris Lena chunk her claws into Griff but good! She made him forget all about me!” Rage flashed through the girl’s normally innocent face before she sighed. “Sorry...I tend to get a little worked out when it comes to this.”
“I understand,” Faith said.
“You got any family, Faith?”
The Slayer shook her head. “None I want to think about. And they’re…well, my home world is a long way off. Except for B, no one from there is anywhere near here.”
Mission nodded. “Yeah, I hear you. I…Sorry, I just feel so…I’ll be okay, I just need some time.”
Faith nodded. “I understand.” She patted Mission on the shoulder before getting back to her feet. She looked at Zaalbar and frowned. “How about you, furball? Have you got anyone special?”
The Wookie shook his head. “I…came to Taris from my home planet. I…had reasons to leave there. It is a personal matter.”
Faith shrugged. “Fair enough.” She turned and left to head back to the main hold.
She was passing by the engine room and saw Canderous leaning over the hyperdrive. T3 was nearby, extending its arms into the engine. “How bad is it?” Faith asked.
The Mandalorian grunted. “We’ll get to this planet but we’ll need some major repair work afterward.”
Faith nodded. “Looks like this ship is pretty put together.”
Canderous nodded. “My guess is, it’s been through several owners in the past. I’m willing to bet each one of them put their own unique stamp on it, giving it additions the original designers never dreamed of.”
Faith pursed her lips as she took in his calm manner. “You don’t exactly seem broken up by what’s happened.”
Canderous kept his attention on the hyperdrive. “I’ve seen worlds burned before. Hell, I’ve burned several myself. This is war.”
“Those people were innocent,” Faith snapped.
“And innocent people die in war. It’s something of a prerequisite,” Canderous replied in dry dark humor as he turned to face her. “You should know that.”
Faith was taken aback. “What do you mean?”
“Please,” Canderous sniffed. “I know a warrior born when I see one. Your friend, the young Jedi, has it and so do you. Although, I somehow feel it comes more naturally to you.”
Faith raised an eyebrow. “Now, I know you’re not trying to hit on me.”
Canderous actually laughed out loud. “Girl, I’ve looked at this ugly face of mine in the mirror enough times to know that the only way I’ll get someone in bed is to pay well for it. I don’t do romance and certainly not in a situation like this.”
“Good to know,” Faith said. “Course, if you tried, you know I’d have to kill ya.”
Canderous just smirked as he turned back to his work. Faith brushed her hair back as she headed to the other quarters on the ship to try and grab some sleep.
“How are you feeling?” Bastila softly asked. Her face was turned to Vance but Buffy knew she was being talked to as well.
“Better, I guess,” Vance said. He was sitting on a small seat by the hologram projector, rubbing his temples. “I wasn’t…I wasn’t expecting that at all. All those faces and voices…It’s been…”
“A trying experience,” Bastila interjected. “Yes, I can imagine. This connection you have to the Force is another important reason we should be on Dantooine. I believe the Council must be told of this as soon as possible.”
Buffy bit her lip. “Isn’t this rushing things a bit, Bastila? We just got out of a global genocide with our skins barely intact and now you want to throw him into Jedi training?”
Bastila’s face took on resolve. “I will do what I think is right, Padawan. I am the senior Jedi here, if you recall. On Dantooine, the Council will be told of what is going on and it will be up to them to decide our next course of action.”
Vance looked the young Jedi. “Ah, what am I getting myself into?”
Buffy took a deep breath, ignoring the look Bastila was giving her. “Let’s just say, after an hour with the Council, you may wish you were back on Taris.”
Bastila frowned at her. “Padawan, I wish you would show more respect for the senior members of the Order.”
Buffy sniffed. “And how many of those senior members have been in the field lately, Bastila? Come on, you can’t go through a fight like the one we had back there and still think they’re all-wise and all-knowing!”
Bastila looked at Vance and leaned in toward her apprentice. “Please, Padawan. Not in front of him.”
“Might as well give him the heads-up off the bat, before he goes into the lion’s den.”
Vance frowned at Bastila. “Do you have any idea what she’s talking about?”
Bastila sighed. “Quite often…I think that may be a good thing.”
Buffy just pouted as the ship roared on.