One of the Third Imperium
Slave on Kessel
Episode One

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: What does one put here? I don't own the freakin' thing, 'cept for Briar, Cris, Cye, Reina, Xel, Gavin, Raye, *I don't own India or Charlie, cuz de're my chat buddies* or the new people who show up. So, if you wanna sue me, you can't, so DEAL WITH IT LIKE A CIVILIZED WOOKIE YOU DIMWITTED HYPOCONDRIACT! AND GET SOME HELP WHILE YOU'RE AT IT! Oi there I go.....COFFEE! COFFEE!


Two years later...

"Get moving kid!"

Quatre Gunner winced as a whip lashed across his back, leaving deep cuts. He opened his mouth to respond, but felt the lash again & cried out instead, stumbling onto the slave ship to take him away to Kessel for a month.

He felt anger seething out his ears. His parents, the bitch & bastard that they were, had sold their only son off to slavery, along with his little sister, Katre. Both were blonde haired & had bluish green eyes, along with their own personal......talents.

Katre had a beautiful singing voice, talented in many ways. She could hit any note, high or low, & was often used by her parents to earn money. She had the looks for it, that much was obvious, but she no longer enjoyed it. After being forced to sing until she couldn't talk, she never sang again.

Quatre's talent was very different. He wore simple clothes; a white long sleeved shirt & loose fitting gray pants. But within his clothing were millions of blades & other weapons, such as a carbine blaster that was always at his hip.

At the moment, he dared not even think of pulling out his blades to free himself. The chainlink whip Master Jeri was using on him hurt too much to risk it. And the Bothan would more than likely use it on Katre if Quatre gave him any trouble.

He sat down in the cargo bay along with many other slaves. Katre sat close to him, clinging to his arm. "Quatre, this is scaring me.......what's going on...?"

Quatre hugged his little sister reassuringly. "Shh, don't worry Katre, we'll be alright. Okay?"

"Okay."

The large ship lurged forward, sending many other slaves sprawling onto their faces. Quatre held himself up, along with his little sister, & set his jaw. He would get out of this alive.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"I'll give you......8,000 New Republic credits for it."

"What the crap? You're just a kid!"

"Take it or leave it bucko. That ship has got India Skywalker written all over it."

The smuggler looked down at the brown haired 19 year old woman standing in front of him. A grin spread across his face. "Alright sexy, you just gotta earn it first."

India rolled her eyes & whistled. "Saber! Come in here!"

A small dragon scampered in & leapt onto India's head. "What? Can I chew his brains out?!"

"Sure, go ahead."

"Yay!" The dragon sailed through the air & started chewing on the smuggler's head.

The man screamed. "Alright! Alright! Take the ship you little bitch, just get the lizard off my head!"

India laughed & gave her hair a toss. "Alright Saber, let's go. This ship kicks some serious butt ya know."

"Touche` Indi," Saber said, grinning ear to ear, & scampered after her, little fangs glinting.

India stepped inside the ship & scanned around. "Hmm," she murmered. "Not bad. Not bad at all. Looks like I ripped that idiot off back there. He didn't charge me enough for this thing. Now let's see if it starts up."

"That would be a plus."

India smirked & sat down in the pilot's seat, charging up the ship's engine. She grinned at the dragon in the copilot's chair next to her. "Yup, it works."

Saber hopped onto India's shoulder & peered at all the controls, blinking her large rock dragon eyes. "OooooOOOOOooooooh," she cooed & leapt onto the console. "Lemme press buttons!"

"No!" India hissed & plucked Saber off the reverse lever, which would have sent them into lightspeed. Backwards. "We don't want to do that hon."

Saber pouted & swished her tail cutely. "Can I go to sleep then?"

"Yah, go ahead, I gotta go pay a visit to my dear older brother, Luke. Wonder if he even knows I'm alive...."

"Weren't you a test-tube baby Mom?"

"Kinda. Anakin Skywalker IS my father, but my mother was a Terrias from Corellia. I'm a DNA experiment." She winced & took off into space, leaving Tatooine behind.

Master Ganders, she thought sadly, staring out at the stars as they wizzed by. Master Ganders, where are you when I need you?

Saber hopped onto her serigent mother's shoulder & bit her ear gently. "Hey, Mom, what's the matter?"

"Nothing Saber, just thinking about Master Ganders is all."

Saber remained silent & hopped onto the chair again. "G'night Mom," she said softly, then curled up, sleeping.

India smiled. "Good night Saber."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Briar sat up in her hotel bed on Coruscant, stood up, & walked over to her mirror, brushing out her neck length black hair.

It was 6:30 in the morning. Almost time for the Senate meeting. She sighed & leaned against her vanity, toying with her engagment ring offhandedly. She smiled to herself, wondering what Cris was doing at that moment. Probably getting drunk with Cye & his buddies, she thought with a giggle & put her ring back into its box.

She turned on her holo cam, watching the daily news on the HoloNet. She sat down in her sweat shirt & jeans(kinda), eating a nerf sausage from the food processor. The carpet was comfortable & soft beneath her feet, & she sighed contently, watching the screen.

"....and in other news today, a young couple on Tatooine sold both their children off to slavery on Kessel! To the spice mines! Quatre Gunner & Katre Gunner were only at ages 17 & 13 when the ship left yesterday morning. Slave Master Jeri Equin says, 'The parents sold the children to me, believing that they would be able to hep me with my work. I assured them I would treat their kin as kindly as I could. They are being well taken care of.' Critics disagree however, & are planning to go in & confinscate the children, seeing as they have been repeatedly passed around throughout their lives as slaves. Quatre himself has been a slave since he was 3 years old, & has never had his tight, chain collar removed from his neck. Katre, his younger sister, has been a slave since 6 & has also never had her collar removed. The question is, should they be slaves, or free?" He stopped, then continued. "And in other news, Chief of State Jaina Solo, Ambassador Zekk Solo, & Lieutenant Briar Solo are scheduled to appear....."

Briar switched it off, feeling sick inside. Sending kids off to slavery? I don't think so.

She dressed quickly into her military uniform & slipped on her boots, tying her hair back into a low pony tail at the base of her neck, then strode from her room toward her cousin Grace's.

She tapped the door. "Grace? You awake yet?"

She heard a moan, then her cousin opened the door & let her in. "Yeah Bri, just WAKE me up at.....okay so you CAN wake me up. Come on in."

Briar smirked & walked in, her badges jingling with every step. Grace took off her night shirt & began dressing into her Jedi robes. "So, what's up lil' cuz?"

"You know that a kid our age & his little sister were just sold to someone by their own parents?"

"What!?" Grace dropped her night shirt onto the ground in surprise. "Slavery!? You've gotta be kidding me!"

"Nope, it was on the HoloNet this morning."

Grace sighed & shook her head slowly, sitting on the edge of her bed. "I don't even want to know what sort of sick person sells his or her own children off to some slave master exhists out there."

Fauna poked her head out of her room & smiled. "Hey Bri, what's up?(yeah, she ain't a snob anymore, deal with it.)" Briar waved her in & patted the bed beside her. "Someone just sold their kids off to slavery. Think I should bring it up at the Senate meeting today?"

"You bet!" Fauna said sharply. "I can't STAND slavery!"

"Agreed," Grace affirmed. "We're behind you all the way."

Briar smiled. "Thanks."

There was another knock on the door. Briar grinned. "Come in." Charlie stuck her head in, a boy named Alex Kenobi with her. Briar smiled & waved them in(Grace is decent, don't worry).

"Morning Bri," Charlie said with a happy sigh, plopping down onto the carpet, Alex beside her. "Sleep well?"

"Yup, you?"

The 13 year old Jedi grinned. "Yeah. Tie started barking in the middle of the night though. Kinda got on me nerves."

"Got on mine too," Alex mumbled. "I had to use the bed across from you remember."

"You were SUPPOSED to feed her...."

"Hey, it's not my dog!"

"Ah shuddap!"

Fauna & Grace giggled & exchanged grins. Briar patted Alex on the head. "Yer kawaii squirt," she said with a wink. "Dating my cousin already eh?"

"What?!" both Alex & Charlie screamed.

Briar tossed her head back & laughed again. "This is fun! I gotta to get Cye to make this gang complete!"

"No you don't!" all of the others yelled together.

Briar yelped & grabbed a pillow from Grace's bed, giving Fauna a hearty whack on the head with it. Fauna "eeped" & grabbed her own pillow & swung at Briar. Briar ducked & the pillow hit Grace squarly on the nose. Fauna grinned & soon all 5 of them were in a desperate pillow fight, ending up with both Charlie & Briar beating everyone else down onto the carpet.

"We win! We win!" they chanted, dancing around the room triumphantly.

Grace, Fauna & Alex pried their heads out of the carpet & stood up, punching their pillows. Both Briar & Charlie gulped. "Ooops."

(In case you're wondering, "kawaii" means relatively the same thing as "cool" or "cute" in Japanese.)

* * * * * * * * * * *

Cris chalked up the pool stick & slid it between two of his fingers, leaning on the pool table carefully, eyeing the white ball. Cye leaned on the other end of the table, chewing on the straw to his cherry, watching his soon-to-be-brother-in-law. "C'mon, Crisso, nail it."

"He'll never make it," Anakin said, standing beside Cye. "He's thinking about his wedding night."

Cris gasped & completely messed up the shot, sending the eight ball flying toward Anakin's head. Anakin reached up & caught it, grinning at Cye. "See? I told you he wouldn't make it."

"But you cheated!" Cye argued, thumping his uncle on the head. "You can't just openly discuss his personal life like that!"

Anakin grinned. "Oh well, he's gonna get married anyway isn't he?"

"Don't talk about his wedding night!"

Anakin snickered.

Cris rolled his eyes & picked up a glass of brandy, taking a swing of it, then set it down. Wiping his mouth, "When did it become your business what I do on my wedding night eh?"

Cye shrugged. "It's my sister remember. You'd better be good to her, got it?" Cause if you're not, I'll grind your head into the ground with my bare hands.

Cris smiled. "Don't worry 'bout it Cye."

Anakin felt a smile creep onto his face, then turned to leave. "I'll be in Jacen's room, bothering him & Tenel Ka if you need me. Catcha later, weirdos." He left.

Cris grinned. "Well, let's go get ready for the Sentate meeting, eh Commander Solo?"

"Of course, Senator Ganders." He attempted a courtsy, but Cris looked at him strangely, & Cye burst out laughing, both young men leaving towards their doorms.

* * * * * * * * * * *

{Some time into the future again....}

Reina pulled the thin blanket off her body that morning, running a hand through her hair slowly. Is it over? she wondered hopefully, but winced as a shell collided with the top of the base, sending a shower of rubble over her head. She sighed.

Xel blinked & sat up beside her. He frowned. "Reina? You okay?"

Reina wiped the dust off her head & stood up. "Y-yeah, I'm fine. You?"

"Yeah. Raye, Callie & Gavin are already in the main chambers. Saber's still sleeping, like always. Should I wake her up?"

Reina shook her head & turned Xel's head away. "No. Go away, I gotta get dressed." Xel smirked & stood up, walking towards the door. When he reached the frame, he turned around, grinned, then stepped out into the hallway.

Reina stood up & pulled on her skin tight leather pants & black tank top. She sighed & leaned back against the stone wall.

Ever since Jeruu had betrayed the New Republic, there'd been nothing except pain & chaos. And now that the New Republic had lost, the Third Imperium had risen to power, with Jeruu's son Brakiss, named for the Sith knight, as the new Emperor. She clenched a fist. "Sonnova (censor), Brakiss," she muttered. "I'll kill him."

She started down the hall & entered the main hall, scanning around. She spotted the feminine-looking Gavin first & wandered over to him. Gavin smiled. "Hey there Reina, how are ya?"

Yup, he's gay. "Fine, you?"

"Good! Hey, I finished the time machine you needed!"

"Gavin you're a genious!"

Gavin beamed. "I know that already Reina-hon, just relax kii? I'll have this thang set up in a jiffy!"

* * * * * * * * * * *

Two hours later, the slave ship touched down on Kessel. Quatre jolted awake & prodded Katre beside him. "Hey, Katre, wake up, we're there."

Katre moaned & opened her eyes, sitting up. "Already....?" she complained. "I was having a great dream too...."

"Shh, don't think about it. We've gotta stay alive now. Okay?"

End of Episode One

___________________________________________________________________________________

Since there's gonna be more than just three, the episodes are shorter. Deal with it.

eponagirl@netzero.com


Two of the Third Imperium
Quatre's Secret

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: Don't own anything, 'cept the obvious. You can't use Briar, India, Saber, Reina, Cris, Cye, Xel, Gavin, Callie, Raye, ummm.......Cene(if I ever use her again) or any of those others in your stories or I'll sue you. Yes, I will sue you. The only person who has permission to use my characters is Charlotte Leia Skywalker, India, Saber(yah another chat pal), um......that's about it! ^_^ Chow all! "Oh, no, say it ain't so. I will not go, turn the lights off..."


* * * * * * * * * * *

*SMACK*

Quatre winced & opened one eye to see Jeri towering over him, chainlink whip in his grasp. "Get up," he growled.

Quatre hid his rage & slid up against the wall, keeping his body between Jeri & Katre, who slept behind him. "Yes, Master," he forced out savagely.

"I don't like your tone!" Jeri thundered & punched the younger man in the jaw. Quatre's head flew back into the wall & smacked there, leaving a slightly bloody splotch on the metal. Jeri scowled. "Look what you did to my SHIP!?" Another punch was delivered, this one in the belly.

"Stop it!" Katre moaned & tried to pull the whip away from Jeri as hard as she could. "You're HURTING him!"

"Silence!" Jeri spat. Fists flew, & Katre crumbled to the ground beside Quatre. Jeri smirked & waved over two Gamorreans, who picked up the two Tatooinian children by their scalps & yanked them out of the ship, along with many other people.

Kessel was freezing. Literally. Cold to the core. Quatre let out a gasp of surprise as the icy air bit at his limbs. "Oh-" he tried to cry out, but was cuffed in the back by another guard.

Katre kicked out at the Gamorrean carrying her brother. "Put him down you jerk!" she screamed shrilly. "He didn't do anything to you-ahhh!"

Quatre looked off at an angle, not wanting to see what was being done to his sister. Katre, he thought miserably. Can't you just be quiet?

An hour passed & he & his sister were separated into boys & girls chambers. Quatre found himself in a damp, smelly little room with a boy about his own age with light brown hair & green eyes.

"Hi," the boy said sullenly & offered Quatre a weak smile. "Welcome to Kessel. I take it the welcoming committee brought you here, ne?"

"Basically, yeah." Quatre extended a hand. "I'm Quatre Gunner. What's your name?"

The thin, pasty-looking boy took hold of Quatre's hand firmly & shook it. "ID number 89887. But the others just call me Tao."

"You were born with a number too?"

"Oh, so you've been in slavery for a while yourself then?"

Quatre nodded. "I'm ID number 65009 to anyone who doesn't know me. But, my parents decided to name me. I'm Quatre. Gave myself the last name. Interesting eh?"

"Yeah. I take it you're related to that new girl, Katre, then right?"

"She's my little sister."

"Oh. Well, the younger they are, the shorter they last. I hope your sis has got some stamina. We've lost four lives this week."

Quatre swallowed. "Katre's going to live. Because I'm going to get us both out of here. You're free to come if you want to, Tao."

Tao coughed. "I'm sick. I'm scheduled to be 'done away with' soon. Oh well. Life goes on for everyone else, right?"

"You won't be done away with. I told you, I'm getting out of here."

"I hope you've got a better plan than the last guy did."

"Last guy?" Quatre sat down on one of the cots, touching the back of his head tenderly. "What last guy?"

"ID number 78779, or as we called him, Derron. He thought he'd found a way out. Course, I knew better than to follow him. Derron has always had a reputation for exhageratting the truth, ect. Got himself shot in the head, 'long with quite a few others." Tao smiled faintly. "Hope you live longer Quatre. You're the only friend I've had since I came here when I was 8."

"Eight!? You've been here that long?"

Tao nodded grudgedly. "Born a slave from a test tube. No parents. No siblings. I was grown, you might say. Home grown slave. ID number 89887. Least you had actual parents pal."

"Hey, my parents have been selling me off to all sorts of slavery communities. Along with Katre, but we always get out." He grinned. "I'll get us outta here, don't worry."

There was a loud bashing on the door & a guard shouted, "GO TO SLEEP IN THERE, OR YOU'LL BE WHIPPED!" Tao gulped & pulled his covers over his head, whispering, "G'night Quatre. See you in the morning."

Quatre looked at the guard through the barred window & gave him a snarl. The guard growled at him & went on. Quatre, satisfied, pulled his cot over beside Tao's & lay down. The cot was uncomfortable, but it was comfortable enough that it allowed Quatre to sleep & regain his thoughts.

Revenge.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jaina, Zekk, Briar, Cris & Cye stepped up onto the platform for the dinner banquet. Zekk bowed his head, his long, lucturious, black hair tied back at the nape of his neck, the pony tail tumbling down his back. He spoke smoothly into the microphone, looking out at the crowd of bustling courtiers & other house members from the New Republic planets.

"Good evening."

A chorus of good evening's was the response.

Zekk smiled & tilted his glasses up the ridge of his nose, cleared his throat, & began to read from his holo pad, sitting it on the altar.

"It has come to my attention as Ambassador of Ennth that the slave industry has begun to gain popularity amongst the Outer Rim planets. I believe that this is influencing other systems to do the same. The New Republic Guard refuses to do anything about this sudden appearance of unwilling labor, therefore I propose a solution.

"We have found out about a certain man named Jeri Equin, a Bothan who is doing illegal trade with the remaining shreds of the Empire. He is linked to certain officers we believe may endanger the New Republic's hold on power. Are there any suggestions on how to end this mad man's slave trade peacefully?"

An uproar of murmers rose, sending chills down Briar's spine. She looked at her father, gleaming in the spotlight, & couldn't help but feel pride in being related to him.

He had been a Sith, at one time, aswell as a street scavenger. He'd taken a liking to Briar's mother, Jaina Solo, the day he'd met her. She smiled. Her dad was one in a million.

No one replied to Zekk's request. At least not at first. Then, a sharp nosed human with white hair raised his hand.

Briar looked at him. He was very handsome, yet there was something different about the way he looked at Zekk. Revoltion was obvious. This man appeared to have scented an extremely foul stench, & made Zekk out to be its source. "Erm, Ambassador?"

Zekk cast a searching glance over the white haired man & waved him to continue. "Yes, your name please?"

The man smiled a sneaky, hyena smile. "Will Jeruu, Ambassador," he said humbly, bowing his head. "I am honored to be in your presence."

Zekk forced on a false smile & turned to look back at Jaina, muttering, "This guy is a bat out of hell, get security on stand-by, will ya?" Jaina nodded & flipped a switch under the table.

Cye lifted his eyebrows & looked comicly at Cris. "Goin' well, ain't it?" he said with a snort. Cris grinned. "I suppose. That Will guy bugs me though. I'm getting a bad vibe off of 'em."

"So'm I," Briar whispered faintly. "Wonder if he knows something we don't?"

"Probably does," Cris agreed readily. "'Scuse me, I must sound a litte apprehensive...."

"Hah," Cye chuckled & leaned back in his chair. "You sound anything except apprehensive, Crisso."

"Where the hell did this 'Crisso' come from?" Cris grumbled angrily, kicking Cye under the table. "I am not a breakfast cereal."

"You forgot about last summer on Endor already? You cross dressed! Remember? Anakin got so pissed of because you came into one of his lectures wearing a girl's night gown. And I don't wanna know how you got it." Cye shifted his gaze to Briar, who turned her flaming eyes on Cris.

"You went through my room?!"

*CLANG*

Cris blinked a few times & fell back out of his chair, the last thing he saw being Briar with a mallet that seemingly came from no where.

Briar cleared her throat & put the mallet away(like Akane, you never know where those mallets or kettles of hot or cold water come from.....they're just always.....there....ya know?), looking at her father's baffled expression.

"Bri?"

"Hehe." *sweat drop*

Zekk rolled his eyes & turned back to the audience, holding up his hands. "That is all for now. Cene shall be taking over for now. We shall be retiring for the day. Good day." He stepped down & strode over to Briar.

Briar eeped, her father's eyes about the size of peas. She gulped & shrank back into her chair. "Uh, hehe, hiya Dad......gulp...."

Jaina stood up & grabbed hold of Zekk's arm, making him wave good bye to Cris, Briar & Cye. "Come ON dear, it's time to go HOME now......"

Zekk blinked & scratched the back of his head. "Oh-oh yeah, it is, isn't it! 'Scuse me."

Briar hung her head. My family has the same mental capasity as a freaking rock. Someone help me before I turn into them.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"That's Yavin IV?" Saber chirped, her face pressed against the front view port. "That's it? That's it? That's it?"

"Would you lay off the cough syrup already!?" India moaned & plucked the dragon off the console, setting her on a chair. "Yes, that IS Yavin IV. Now shuddap before I lose my mind."

"Um, Indi?"

India sighed. "Yeah?"

"You kinda already did that."

"Did what?!"

"Lost yer mind."

"Shut up."

Saber giggled & hopped to the ground, trotting into the cabin areas. She sighed. Her adopted mom was really cool, in her opinion, but sometimes Saber wished she could have met her biological parents. She hung her head & let her tail curl around her feet for a moment.

I guess I'm fortunent that Indi found me when she did, she mused, or I'd be dead. She forced a smile onto her face & picked up her small satual in her mouth, scampering back over to where India was.

India stood up. She wore dark purple pants with a sleevless turquoise top, her long brown hair hanging loose around her face. A blue cape was attached at her shoulder blades, concealing her various weapons.

"I got clearance Saber-chan," she said, smiling, & scooped up the little dragon in her arms. "We're going to meet Luke now!" Bro, you're gonna wish you'd never met me. I'm the little sister from hell, & I can prove it too.

"Indi? Yoo hoo? Wakie wakie darlin', yer about to enter the atmosphere without putting the shields up."

"ACK!"

* * * * * * * * * * *

(Future thingie)

Reina circled the time machine slowly, looking it over skeptically. "Gavin, are you SURE this thing is fool-proof?"

"Absolutly. Couldn't be surer."

Xel tapped his shoulder. "Erm, Gav?"

"What?"

"Surer, ain't a word."

"Well, neither is 'ain't', but I'm not pestering YOU over it am I? Hmm?"

Xel shook his head & walked off. "Damn queer...."

Gavin bristled. "I heard that you-"

"SHUT UP!" Reina shouted & peered inside the time machine carefully. It was crafted beautifully, with a scarlet colored interior. She touched the fabric. Hardly fabric at all it was so soft. She liked it. "Great work Gavin, this'll bring them to our time ASAP. I'm sure of it." Gavin grinned triumphantly at Xel, who muttered a random curse at his sister.

Callie & Raye sat at a computer desk, going over strategic stratagies for when their ancestors arrived. Callie furrowed her eyebrows again. "The kung-fu couldn't hurt. We could all use some brushing up on the basics no da."

Raye nodded & double clicked on it, saving it. "Anything else?"

"That's about it I guess. So, who's your father again?"

"Not saying."

"Tell me something about him then."

Raye sighed & ran a hand through his blonde hair. "My father was from Tatooine. He was a slave, but managed to become free. I dunno how he met my mom. I guess it's just fate, ya know?"

"Yeah. Sounds romantic."

"Don't go on one of your romance kicks again Cuz."

"Don't worry, I won't."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Quatre woke up the next morning with the worst crick imaginable in his back. He gave a low groan & sat up, wincing. "Damn......what the crap do they build those bloody beds out of anyway....?"

"Metal & ronto hide."

Quatre glanced up & saw Tao at the window, watching the guards pace down the torch lit halls. The pale young man swallowed hard, looking at the food the guard was carrying. He moistened his lips. "First thing I do if I get out of here......raid their kitchens bare...."

Quatre chuckled & stood up painfully. Never, in all his years of labor, had he slept on such a poorly built bed. He kicked it & strode over to Tao, muttering, "Piece of bantha crap."

Tao grinned wryly, then peered at the cell across from them. He drew back & closed his eyes. "Jalin."

"What is it Tao?" Quatre asked, staring at the other cell. "What's wrong?"

"Jalin's dead."

Quatre felt his insides harden considerably, & he walked back over to the crude hearth, sitting in front of it. "Your companions die often?"

Tao nodded, closing his eyes. "A lot, actually. They give us bad food & water & work us to exhaustion, just so they can export their bloody illegal drugs. I swear I'll kill 'em all someday."

Quatre closed his eyes & focused his inner eye, as he called it, around the room. Let's see, he thought to himself. If I'm going to carve a way outta here.....where's the best place to start..?

Beside the hearth, the dirt wasn't as hard, he realized, then continued his way around the room. Near the door.....near the door the earth was loose. He'd start there.

"Tao, I've found our way out of here."

Tao looked up at his new room mate in disbelief. "You're joking."

"No joke. But if I show you something, you have to swear you won't freak out or tell anyone. Because I'm not like normal people. I was trained to conceal hundreds of hidden weapons at one time."

Tao blinked & stepped back. "Alright, show me."

Quatre held up one hand, his fingers spread appart so Tao could see. Then, he snapped his fingers back together tightly, & spread them again, razor blades in between each of his fingers, each blade reaching out at least one foot in length. He snapped his fingers together again. Spreading them found the blades gone.

Tao gasped. "Holy.....what ARE you?"

"I was trained, as I told you before. Now, shall we escape?"

End of Episode Two

___________________________________________________________________________________

Yup. That's the secret. Whoopie. I'm tired & I wrote this one in two days. Spare me the critisizm folks, my ego is fragile. C-ya.

eponagirl@netzero.com


Three of the Third Imperium
Death By Starlight

By: Briar Solo

Author's notes: Enjoy. It's not much, plus I'm a horrible author. This one is mostly about Quatre. Deal with it.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*


"Okay, Gavin, hit it!"

"Sure thing Reina!"

*ZAP*

* * * * * * * * * * *

Something smacked into Briar, Cris, India, Saber, Charlie, & Quatre, right where they stood. Nothing moved, except they vanished, no longer there. Time where they had been froze, not moving forward, not moving backward.

The last thing Quatre remembered was a vibroblade slicing his little sister in half. Pain, such pain, then he vanished.

Cris remembered losing a sabacc game, then all was black.

Briar remembered dropping a bowl of dog food meant for Dente.

India & Saber remembered nothing more than their ship just stopping within Yavin IV's atmosphere.

Charlie remembered throwing something sharp at Alex.

The next instant found all 6 of these nearly complete strangers crammed into a small capsule, pressed tightly against one another.

Quatre & India opened their eyes, staring straight at eachother.

They screamed.

"YOU PERVERT!" India shouted & smacked him hard across the face. Quatre went flying back(if that was possible) into a very astonished Cris, who pushed him back, staring at India. "Indi....?"

India blinked at Cris. "Ganders? Is that you?"

Cris laughed. "Hey! Indi-O!"

India growled. "I told you not to CALL me that!"

Cris beamed & looked at Briar. "Bri, this is India Skywalker! I knew her when I was on Corellia."

Briar nodded, not looking at Cris, but around the capsule. "Where..... where ARE we....?"

"Good question," Quatre murmered & sat up, rubbing his head. He gave India a hard glare & muttered, "I think that my collection of broken bones has been updated."

Briar saw the collar around his neck & gasped. "Oh my God!"

"What?" Quatre asked quietly.

"You have a collar on!"

"Oh," he said softly & tugged at the collar painfully, sitting back against the scarlet fabric of the capsule. "I-I've had it on since I was little. I'm a slave......in case you didn't know...... but please, don't whip me...."

India looked at Quatre for a moment, feeling extremely guilty for hitting him. She sat forward & patted his arm. "What's your name?"

"Q-Quatre Gunner."

"I knew it!" Briar exclaimed loudly, getting in Cris's face. "See!?" She pointed at Quatre. "See? See? See?! Didn't I TELL you he was real!?"

"Yeah yeah yeah," Cris muttered, pushing Briar's hand out of his face. "You win, you win. Anyway, who's going to get out first?"

"EEP! Get OFF me you stupid dragon!" Charlie's shrill scream could be heard from just beneath Saber's unconsious form. India laughed & picked Saber up by her tail. "Weird dragon," she muttered.

Charlie clung to Briar's waist, crying. "IT TRIED TO SQUISH ME-E!" she whined loudly. "AND.....AND.....SEE?! IT ZAPPED MY BRAI-AIN!"

"If I could do THAT, kid, I'd be in a different line of business!" the dragon snarled, curling up on India's head.

Quatre peered out the black window & barely made out the form of a black haired woman who looked like Briar, sitting near the capsule. He tapped on the window & yelled, "HEY!"

The girl looked at the capsule, then grinned & slammed her hand down on a small button. The door to the capsule opened & all 6 occupents came tumbling out into a small heap on the ground.

"Ooof!"

The girl stared down at them blankly, then sent a glare at a horned man with blue eyes. "GAVIN! YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO MAKE SURE THEY WERE ADULTS!"

"Ooops."

Quatre sat up & stared at the other people around them. He saw two people who were relativly identical, be them not of different genders, a man who appeared to be about 24, a girl with firey red hair, & a man with horns coming out of his hair. "Um, where are we?"

The black haired girl looked at him. "You're in the Third Imperium. We're the Rebels. Welcome to Echo Base II."

Briar gasped & pulled herself to her feet, looking at Reina. "You....you look just like ME!"

"That's because I'm your grand daughter, only years in the future. You're in the future Bri. Welcome to the present that Will Jeruu created. This is his son, Brakiss's work. Yes. Brakiss. Named after the original. Wonderful little level of hell, isn't it?"

Cris let one hand rest on Briar's shoulder & looked from Reina to Xel. "You're Briar's children's children?"

"And yours, Cris."

Cris looked at Briar & blushed. "Um......Reina.....me & Bri aren't ready for.....THAT......yet...."

"Of COURSE you're not!" Reina assured him. "That's why you'll GET ready for it. Here."

Briar promptly fainted, landing in a heap in front of Quatre, who caught her. "Erm, Miss Solo?" He shook her. "Gulp..."

"Medic!" Raye yelled back toward a group of men, drinking beers. Two of them sauntered over & picked Briar up, waltzing away with Cris jogging after them.

Charlie yelped as there was another bright flash in the capsule behind them & Alex tumbled out, crashing into her. Both children fell down flat on their faces.

Callie looked up. "Grandma! Grampa!"

Charlie & Alex exchanged glances & blushed.

Saber hopped onto Charlie's head & shouted, "CHARLIE LIKES ALEX! CHARLIE LIKES ALEX!"

"How'd you know my name?" Alex snapped. Saber grinned. "I got my ways dude." Charlie, Alex, & Saber drifted to one end of the room arguing, leaving Reina, Quatre & India alone in the center of the chamber.

Reina grinned. "So, you two are probably wondering why you're here, right?"

"Yeah," Quatre said quietly & shoved his hands into his pockets.

Reina sighed. "It's hard to explain. But basically, after Jeruu & Zekk started doing negotiations, Jeruu kept asking for more & more power. Eventually, Zekk realized tha Jeruu controlled a great deal of the military forces for the New Republic & tried to get him to stand down.

"Jeruu lead an all out assault on Coruscant. Zekk held them off as long as he could. Briar & Cris were old enough to handle some things, their kids being about, say, Charlie's age. Jaina said that she's take Jeruu down personally & went out to challenge him.

"Jeruu......killed Jaina. Zekk was heartbroken & did a kamakazi into Jeruu's largest Star Destroyer. Jeruu was killed, yes, but his son, Brakiss, lived & lead the rest of the attack on Coruscant, wiping out the entire population. He was so very young too. Sith raised, poor boy.

"The rest of the New Republic threw themselves against Brakiss's wrath, but faced defeat. Han Solo, who had lived for so long, died at the hands of Brakiss himself. Jacen, Tenel Ka, Anakin, &.......Cris......died from a chemical explosion on Endor. Briar &......Grace.......were raped by Brakiss.....then murdered brutally.....Fauna survived, for a while, & hid out on Mon Calamari until Brakiss found her there & killed her. Eventually, there was no one left except Quatre, India, Saber, Tori & Ara.

"Tori & Ara were Briar & Cris's daughters. Ara was older by four years. Tori was twelve when Briar & Cris died. Cye died from cancer so......anyway, Quatre, India, Ara, Tori, Saber, & Lusa & Raynar's son, Gabrev, escaped to this place. Thus," she spread her arms, "We came about. Me & Xel are Tori's children. Gavin is Gabrev's son. Yeah, a couple others followed. Ara died soon after she showed up here. A sniper got her. Tori practically LEAD the revolution, but she died too. And then Raye is- oops!" She cut herself off & grinned. "You'll see. Anyway, we've gotta get you guys to your rooms, don't we?"

"That would be nice," Quatre said, looking around.

A shell crashed down on top of the shelter, making the lights flicker for a moment. A technichion stablized the base, then looked at Reina. "Hey, Ganders! Get our guests to their rooms, will ya?!"

"I'm working on it!" She looked at Quatre & India. "We've gotta put you two in a room together. Sorry. Briar & Cris are going into a room with Charlie & Alex. Then Saber is going to stay out here with us."

"Why can't Charlie & Alex stay with us?" India demanded.

"Because Charlie & Alex don't know you."

"What about Saber?"

"She's going to help us, I told you that."

"But-"

"Come along now!"

Reina lead Quatre & India to a small, damp room with two sleeping pallets laid out. There were two blankets & a small window, facing out over the ruins of Coruscant(I forgot to tell you that that is the planet they're on. My bad).

"G'night!" Reina chimed & locked them in.

"HEY!" India yelled & lunghed at the door, bashing her fists against it. "Don't leave me alone in here with this PERVERT! He'll molest me or something! Won't you? Eh?" She blinked, looking at Quatre.

He was leaning against the windowsil, gazing out over the ruins, the moon casting a pale glow across his face, his hair apearing silver. He quirked a smile & laughed. "I don't even talk to girls that often. Let alone other people." He sighed & tugged at his collar again, a small stream of blood trickling from the metal.

India frowned & walked over to him. "Hey." She swatted his hand back from the collar. "Hey. Don't do that." She blinked at his wrist, noticing a large red gauntlet on each hand. She pointed. "What're those?"

Quatre looked at his wrists & smiled grimly. "When I was young, I was whipped so bad that my wrists were cut & my throat was nearly severed. A doctor stitched my throat back together, but he had to put these gauntlets on my hands to keep me from bleeding to death." He winced. "They hurt though. They're connected to my wrists to keep the wound from opening. If I were to lose these gauntlets.......well, I'd be done for."

India covered her mouth with her hands & shook her head. "Quatre, I had no idea that you......you went through so much....."

Quatre waved one hand slightly. "Doesn't matter. Hey, wanna see something cool?"

"Sure." She sat down on one of the sleeping pallets. Quatre sat down on his, across from her, & held up one hand, spreading his fingers. "See my hand?" She nodded, & Quatre continued. "Nothing out of the ordinary, right?"

"Seems normal to me."

Quatre grinned & closed his fingers together, then spread them appart, revealing a blade in between each finger. India gasped. "Whoa, you're, like, a walking Swiss Army Knife!"

Quatre grinned & held up one arm, flicking his other hand over his sleeve, hid that hand behind his back, then brought it back around with a violin. He lifted his eyebrows slightly, waiting for her response.

India smiled & clapped quietly. "Neat trick."

"Thank you."

"Can you play the violin?"

Quatre nodded. "Yup." He set his fingers on the instrument & ran the bow across the strings once, a beautiful A minor chord rising up off the strings.

India's head tilted to the side, listening to the violin. "Play something. I never get to hear any music these days. Plus, it might cheer me up a bit."

Quatre nodded & stood up, adjusting his posture, then began playing the strings slowly & softly(that song on Titanic when the ship is about to sink).

Five minutes later, he stopped playing the violin & set it down on the ground, then took a bow as India applauded him, whistling softly. He grinned & sat back down. "Like it eh?"

"That was wonderful! I wish I could play like that."

"Want me to teach you?"

"Sure. But, can you do one of those little blade thingies really quick?"

Quatre thought. "How about a different sort of trick this time? Variety is always good."

India shrugged. "Sure," she agreed & leaned back against the wall.

Quatre stood up, walked over to her, & crouched in front of her. He flicked a hand out in front of her ear & opened his hand, a little flower petal appearing in his grasp. India gasped, then smiled, giggling. Quatre let a small grin creep onto his face & stood up. He lifted his eyebrows & held the petal out where she could see it.

India watched, perplexed & amused. He was a slave?

Quatre closed his fingers around the petal & extended a hand to India. She took his hand & stood up. Quatre placed her hand on his & snapped his fingers. "Take your hand back," he said. India nodded & withdrew her hand. Quatre whipped his other hand down onto where her hand had been & brought both arms in front of her. Then, he drew back, revealing a white rose in his grasp. One petal fell off, but the rest glistened in the moonlight, captivating India completely.

"Wow......that's amazing," she whispered & reached for the rose. He pulled back, held up a finger, & shielded it from her vision for a moment. When he removed his hand, the rose was a dark purple on the tips, growing lighter as it went closer to the stem. He smiled & threaded it into her hair. "Good night Indi," he said quietly & lay down on his sleeping pallet, pulling the covers over him.

India reached up & touched the soft, silky petals with her finger tips, then looked down at Quatre's form. She could see scars on the back of his neck, & along the parts of his back which she could see. She winced for him & sat down on her sleeping pallet, admiring the rose he'd given her. She smiled & drew it from her hair, inhaling its sweet floral scent. She closed her eyes & set it on the ground beside her bed & fell asleep.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Briar woke up with two of the worst things imaginable: a PMS spell & a migrane. The migrane didn't help her "time of the month" much either.

She looked at Cris, snoozing beside her, & smacked him with her pillow. "Wake up," she grumbled & scratched her head, her hair a mess.

Cris moaned & sat up, shaking out his unruly black hair. He saw Charlie & Alex, slumped over on the other side of the room. He smirked & stood up, yanking Briar up after him. "Come on, Bri, let's go see what that India person did to poor Quatre."

"I pity the poor sap."

They stumbled out of the hall & down the passageway to the room that Quatre & India shared. Cris & Briar exchanged glances, then peered in through the small window in the door.

Quatre & India were both awake, talking casually beside the other window.

India lifted her coffee up to her lips & sipped it gratefully. "Sleep well?" she asked Quatre friendly. Quatre shrugged, his loose hair hanging around his eyes, shadowing them. "I slept fair enough. I wish that I hadn't had nightmares-" He cut himself off.

India frowned & tilted her head. "Nightmares? Of what?"

Quatre flinched. "Before I came here.......my little sister died....."

India reached out & patted his arm. "Oh Quatre, that's horrible..."

Quatre gazed distantly out the window, feeling his insides harden. "She was murdered in front of me Indi. Sliced in half for talking back to Master Jeri."

India gasped & set her coffee down, hugging him gently, aware of his beatings. "Quatre.......I'm so sorry....."

He pushed her back after a few moments & sat down on the bed roll again. "I don't want to talk about it......please don't make me...."

"I won't talk about it if you don't want to," India said & placed a hand on his shoulder. He seemd to flinch, as though in pain, & shrugged her hand of gently. "It's early. I'm going back to sleep." He shivered. "Cold."

India nodded. "Yeah, it is a bit chilly, isn't it?"

"You can have my blanket if you want."

"It's alright, I'll live." India sat down on her sleeping pallet & pulled her covers over her shoulders.

Quatre sat down on his bed roll & picked up his violin, playing a few minor chords softly. India found herself listening yet again as he began to sing in a soprano voice, even though the words were in a language she couldn't understand. She rolled over onto her stomach, listening to him play.

He continued to play the mellow tune for 15 minutes. Briar & Cris had long since gone to the main chamber for breakfast, leaving only Quatre & India still in their rooms. India smiled & sat up. "You're very talented Quatre," she said, then shivered. "It's getting colder."

"Yeah....it is."

She stood up & sat down beside him.

"Indi?"

"Yeah?"

"Did you know your family?"

India frowned. "Kinda. I knew my mother for a little while, but my brother & sister were born a lot earlier than I was. I was raised by Cris's father you could say. When Master Ganders vanished into battle with the Regnas.......he must have...." She trailed off.

"India, you don't have to talk about it if you do not wish to."

"Quatre?"

Quatre forced on a fake smile & tilted his head back against the wall of the room. "I got a bad feeling now Skywalker. I think we're going to be attacked."

"How do you know?"

Quatre shrugged. "I dunno. It's kinda a nack I've picked up. I can sense things like that before they happen. Some people call me a freak. I think it's just a talent. Lots of people have it, I believe."

"It's called the Force. Jedi use it."

"Je-di?"

India laughed quietly & grinned. "Don't worry about it. I'll tell you more when we get back into the regular time."

Quatre shuddered suddenly. "C-cold....."

India grabbed his arm. "Quatre! Are you okay?"

"B-Brakiss....." His eyes dulled to mere marbles & he forced himself to stand up. "I feel him nearby....."

"How?" India asked incredulously. "How is that possible?"

"Ever since I was younger, I could always sense when the slave ships were coming to take me & Katre away to another slave camp. We started depending on my sense to try to run away." He looked down, twitching. "We never suceeded."

India stood up & stumbled over to the window, staring out at the cloudy sky. She could hear the hum of jet fighters in the distance & bit her lip painfully. "Do you know if we'll survive?"

"Most of us will."

"What do you mean most?"

"Indi.....some of us are going to die."

India heard scratching on metal & hoisted herself up so she could peer around the wall. She saw nothing & came in, yelping as a lazer whizzed by where her head had been.

Quatre tackled her to the floor, a blade springing from his hand. "Indi, get DOWN!" he commanded & leapt to the window, his blade glowing a brilliant dark red. "Come on then!" he shouted, his eyes on fire. "Get out of there!"

There was a hard pounding on the door, & India opened it. Reina burst in & grabbed her wrist. "Let's go India! Quatre, what the hell are you doing?!" She stared at his form, dangling out the window. "Quatre! Get back here!"

"I'll meet you there, Reina!" he shouted, slicing a soldier's head from his shoulders. "Go!"

"Come on India," Reina said & dragged her down the hallway. India felt, for the first time that day, that part of her was missing as she jogged after Reina blindly.

"Systems are shutting down," Raye said grimly, flipping switches frantically. Everyone gathered in the main chamber, trying desperatly to regain power. The lights vanished. Briar looked up at the ceiling, feeling a growing anxiety in the pit of her stomach begin to erupt.

"I've got India," came a shout from the hallway as Reina came sprinting towards them. "She's alright."

"And Quatre?" Raye asked suddenly. "Is Quatre okay?"

"He said he'd be okay. He's guarding the window."

"He'll be killed!" Raye screamed & ran as quickly as he could toward the room where India had been. "Quatre!"

Something sliced through the air & connected with the gauntlet on Quatre's left hand. He screamed in pain & fell back, clasping his hand in pain. Raye skid to a stop in the doorway & spotted the enemy coming through the roof. "Die!" he shouted & flared his fingers at the man, black fire dancing from his fingertips into the man's eyes. The man died.

Tears poured down Quatre's cheeks. The pain! He'd never known such pain in his entire life! He was hardly aware of Raye scooping him up in his strong arms & rushing back to the others in the main chamber.

He heard a faint shout of fear. Indi....? he wondered his eyes glazed from pain. He saw a head of brown hair above him, two bright green worried eyes. He lifted his hand up to look at the scorched red metal. Blood trailed down his arm. He let his arm drop & drifted from consiousness.

"Will he be alright?"

"India, just calm down-"

"CALM DOWN?! Do you have any idea what he's BEEN THROUGH?!"

"I have a pretty good idea, since he spent the entire night with a violent tomboy like you!" Briar shouted, sending a glare of daggers & death sailing through the air into India's soul. "Poor sap probably wanted to KILL himself-"

"He had his sister killed in front of him Briar! He told me things you do not want to know."

Briar kept her face hard & turned away from this strange woman. "India, look, you can't go biserk now. Of all times, now is the worst time. Please, hold together for us okay?"

India turned her emerald green glare on the ceiling, blaming it for everything. Why, she wondered hatefully, do I even GIVE a damn about this slave?! I've known him for, what, max a day? And I already find myself begging for his survival? She closed her eyes. Thus are the bonds that tie one mortal soul to another.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"More tea, Master Brakiss?"

"Yes, Aaxe, I believe some tea would be good for my nerves."

"Of course, Master." The younger boy poured a pitcher of warm, brewing liquid into a cup & handed it to the elder man with the most stunning looks ever to appear on a man in his generation.

Brakiss Jeruu was a strikingly handsome man with sandy blonde hair & ocean gray eyes. Eyes that attracted many women from across the galaxy. He wasn't a muscular man. He was lean, but well built, with a smile that would make even Lando Calrissian bow down in defeat.

Brakiss wore robes of the brightest blue, with a silver tunic beneath. He accepted nothing below perfection. If it had a wrinkle, he had the launderer disposed of. Everything was in strick order.

As was his academy.

He strode down the platinum walled hallway of his Regna/Sith academy on Coruscant, fingers laced together in front of him, & pushed open a slide door to look at all of his trainees.

He smiled at the room, filled with young men & women & children, training under the Regna Code: Demolish Or Die.

One boy of maybe 7 years old was sliced in half before Brakiss's eyes. Passive as ever, the Regna lord closed the door. He wasn't thrilled that one of his possessions was gone. Nor did he paticularly care. He smiled charmingly. He'd never been very careful with his toys. They always broke.

He smiled as he neared one room. "Ahhh, my dear Ara," he whispered as he pushed open the door. A girl with sea foam green eyes & black hair sat, tied down, in a chair, glaring at Brakiss acidly. "Get away from me, you jerk!" she shouted & kicked out frantically.

Brakiss pretended to be afraid & furrowed his eyebrows. "Oh dear, Briar Solo's eldest daughter fights back against Brakiss's greatness. WhatEVER is a Regna warlord to do?" As he spoke, he was mere inches away from her lips, his mint-like fragrance slithering into her nasal passages.

She jerked her head away, lips curled in a vicious snarl. "Get lost, pervert."

"Pervert?"

"Yes."

Brakiss laughed & crouched in front of Ara, his robes pooling around him. He smiled at her. "Ara, we're the same age to the date. How can I be a pervert? I'm not molesting children, am I?"

Ara tried to kick him in vain & cried out, frustrated. "You'd be no better if you did!"

"Ara, my love, why do you fight me?"

Ara gave up her futile battle against the bindings. "Because you staged my death, then brought me here. You think I'd sleep with you on my own free will, you bloody bastard? Not even if my very life depended on it. You killed my sister, my mother, my father, EVERYONE! They didn't DO anything to you!"

"Oh but Ara, my dew drop, they DID do something to me. Merely by being a member of the New Republic. But, the Republic is no more. Only the Third Imperium. The Regnas & the Siths have allied together. And you, Ara, will learn to love me when you see that I am seeking peace." He turned & strode to the skyline window, gesturing widely with one arm. "You see that, my dear? The time for bloodshed has passed. If your neice & nephew would surrender, we could omit all those horrible memories." He crouched back in front of her, touching her cheek. "And invite in new ones."

Ara jerked her face back. "Don't you DARE touch me!"

"I understand. You are not ready to admit that you believe I am correct."

"Liar!"

"I believe that good things come to all who wait. You'll get what you want, Ara, as will I." He leaned forward swiftly & planted a firm kiss upon her lips, holding her head still with his satin gloved hands. Ten seconds passed, & he released her. She kicked out at him, moistening her lips on reflex. Brakiss smiled to himself. She might hate him, but she enjoyed that.

"Honestly, Ara. Answer me truthfully. Did you really hate that?"

Ara was silent, her eyes glowing with rage. "I will not answer you, Brakiss."

"You could kiss me back occasionally."

"I feel no need to express any affection toward the man who killed my family."

Brakiss stiffened. So. That was why she refused him. He smiled & traced his palm down her neck, watching his hand, but spoke to Ara. "If I could bring them back.....would you do me the honor....?"

Ara growled. "If you could bring them back, I'd kiss you. But you can't."

Brakiss smiled again & let one finger brush over her breast, just to feel the rage emitted off of her aura. "Ara, I can bring them back. Watch me. You will see your mother & father again before you know it." He tipped her chin up. "If I bring them back, you will give yourself to me. Understood?"

Ara winced at the thought & closed her eyes. Thinking about it, he was awfully hard to resist. He had the most picture perfect build & a wonderful face. She didn't know how she had kept herself from noticing before, but she couldn't allow him to.......to take her in that manner. Even so....

"Understood. Master Brakiss."

Brakiss smiled & kissed her again. "You'll find out that you will not hate me as much once I bring back your family. Remember your promise girl. Remember it."

"I'll remember it," she grumbled. "It's not like you'll let me forget."

He laughed slightly & stood up. "So true, my dear. I will not let you forget this promise. And you WILL be mine." With that, he left the room as swiftly as he had come, leaving Ara Solo to try & free herself from her bindings.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Reina leaned over Quatre's unconsious form, helping the medics to try & remove the gauntlets. "We can't get to the wound unless we remove them."

India fought Xel's hold on her viciously, until she finally snarled & bit his hand. He yelped, released her, & watched her kick the door down. "Reina don't!"

Reina looked up in bewilderment. "Don't what?"

"Don't take those gauntlets off!"

"India, if we don't he will die."

"If you DO he will die!"

Reina blinked. "What?"

India pushed them back from Quatre, standing in front of him, & began to explain. "He told me......that when he was younger, he was whipped so harshly had his wrists had been cut & his throat sliced open. To keep him from dying, someone stitched his throat together & put these gauntlets on his wrists," where upon she picked up one of his hands, "to keep him from bleeding to death. If you remove them, he'll die."

Reina looked at Raye, who was standing beside India. Reina mouthed, "Do we tell her now?" to which Raye shook his head, mouthing back, "Not yet."

Suddenly, a scream rang out in the base, & Briar slumped back against the wall in the hallway, grasping her shoulder painfully. Cris side stepped in front of her & threw a fireball at the attacker. He shouted to Reina, "They're in the base!"

Reina gasped & looked at India. "Don't leave Quat're, he's going to need all the defense he can get!" With that, she turned & sprinted down the hall, Raye & Xel behind her.

Cris hoisted Briar up onto his shoulders. "It's alright, Bri, just hold on now, shhhhh, I know it hurts, but you'll be okay......" He started walking down the opposite direction of Reina when something shot him & they both crumbled to the ground.

A cloaked man breezed by & scooped them up, then the attacks ceased. For the moment.

"Destroy the base!" the man shouted, then vanished.

India growled & ignited her lightsaber. Behind her, Quatre moaned, regaining consiousness. India looked down at him & put a hand on his shoulder. "Don't move, you'll make it worse."

"Wha......what's going on....?"

India swallowed. "You were right, Quatre. We are being attacked." And three men pushed through the door, charging her.

A sweep of her lightsaber ended two of them, but the last one grabbed her around her waist & prepared to plunge a vibroblade through her heart.

Something stopped him. India felt him tense, then screamed as a drop of his blood fell onto her hand. She turned around, pulling away, to find Quatre sitting up, one blade rammed through the man's chest. The slave pulled his weapon out & the attacker fell limp on the ground.

A wave of dizziness caught Quatre, knocking him back onto the bed he was resting on. India grabbed his hand & pulled him back up. "Quatre?"

He didn't respond, merely turned his head slowly to look at her.

"Quatre, I've got to remove those gauntlets."

Quatre drew his hand back weakly & slumped back down onto the bed roll. He barely breathed, "No.."

India sighed. "I can stitch you up, I know I can. Or I can heal you. But please.......just take off the armor.."

Quatre hesitated, then slowly lifted one hand up & unbuckled the latches that held the gauntlet to his wrist. It fell off, along with a few drops of blood. He did the same to the other, then tears began pouring down his cheeks from the pain.

Raye stood in front of the room where India & Quatre were. He refused to let anyone through. He could let them die, he couldn't. No matter what.

India took one wrist in her grasp & focused all of her energy on the wound. Slowly, the skin began to splice back together, the veins reattaching to one another. The bleeding stopped, & she released his hand, taking the other.

Quatre blinked a couple times & forced himself to sit up. India looked at his blood on her hands, swallowing. He looked up at her & smiled faintly. "Thanks Indi-O," he said & stood up. India shrugged. "Y-you saved my life so I-I guess it's only fair..."

He touched her shoulder. "I'd have done the same." He smiled, then looked out the door. "They need us out there," he said grimly, blades springing from his hands. India nodded. "Yeah, let's go."

Something caught Raye in the back. He whirled, but then it caught him in the chest. A spear pierced through his diaphram & rammed out his back. He screamed in rage & pain & collapsed to his knees.

India & Quatre gasped, then opened fire on his attacker. The attacker fell with blades & a casing of rock stuck inside him.

India knelt beside Raye & pulled the spear out slowly. She began to heal him, but gasped as she couldn't. She looked at his eyes. "Raye.....why can't I heal you?"

Raye coughed up a mouthful of blood. "H-healers can't be healed, remember the Terrias code....?"

India gasped. "You're Terrias?!"

Raye nodded & touched her face with a weak smile. "I wish that...I could have told you.....earlier.....Mother...."

"Mother?" India took his hand gently.

Raye coughed up another spurt of blood. He nodded, his head lolling. "M-Mother....." He looked up at Quatre, then his eyes glazed over & he fell limp in India's arms.

"NOOOOOOOOOOO!"

Briar lifted her head from her pillow, a wave of agony washing over her. "Raye....."

___________________________________________________________________________________

I'm not a good author, I know it. Don't rub it in okay?

eponagirl@netzero.com


Four of the Third Imperium
~Renegade Returns~

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: I only own, like, half of the things on here, lol. Raye, Briar, I don't really own Charlie, India, Saber & Ara because they're my RL(kinda) friends. Let's see, oiyah, Quatre, Jeri, Brakiss, um.....Aaxe, if he counts, & the rest of them. Yeah, even the gay guy, Gavin lol. Charlotte owns Alex, not me. Let's see...uh, I dunno. I'll keep you updated I guess.

Author's notes: What does one put here? My birthday is in October. SEND ME STUFF! There, I put something here.

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"RAYE!" Reina screamed & lunged toward him. Callie tackled her down. "No Reina! It's too dangerous!"

"Get off me Skywalker!"

Callie held her down. "I'm not moving until you swear you won't get up!"

"How can you say that?! Raye is more than likely DEAD now, thanks to our stupidity!"

"Reina.......he IS dead....."

Reina screamed, Terrias strength blasting from her hand into Callie, sending the girl back into Xel. Reina cried & curled up into a ball on the ground. "My family is NOT getting any shorter! YOU HEAR ME?!"

Xel blinked at his sister, feeling her pain. He sighed. "Reina....."

"They are NOT going to die! Raye is NOT dead!"

Charlie & Alex shrank back into their room, hiding themselves from the man who was poking around their room. "Oh God," Charlie whispered & hugged Alex tightly. "We're going to die!"

Alex shook his head. "We're not gonna die. We're gonna go home & you're going to see your mother & father again & you'll be happy like you used to be."

"What if-"

"There you are!"

Charlie screamed & sent a blast of silver water into the man's face. He fell back dead.

Alex gasped. "Ch-Charlie?!"

"I-I..."

India felt something wrench inside her chest. This boy....man....was her son? She looked up at Quatre, her eyes filling up with tears. "He......can't....really....."

Quatre crouched down beside her & looked down at the sandy blonde haired man. His eyes were blank, lifeless. Quatre quested out to him, but came back with nothing & shook his head. India bit her lip & whispered tightly, "Is this how it has to be? I have to watch my family die?"

"It doesn't have to be that way," Quatre replied softly. He inhaled & closed his eyes. "Look, we can either sit here & mourn one death.............or we can go & prevent others."

India looked at him, then at Raye. Pain caught her & she embraced her dead son's corpse. "Raye," she whispered. I hardly knew him....

Quatre stood up & scooped Raye up in his arms gently. "I'll keep him in the med room."

"Y-yeah...."

Quatre went in & lay Raye down, then went back to India. She was staring absently down the hall. "That man.....took Briar & Cris that way....."

Quatre placed a hand on India's shoulder firmly. "We can't do anything about it now. We've got to defend people who are here." When she didn't move, he spun her around to face him, catching her by her shoulders. "India! Listen to me!"

India blinked suddenly, catching his gaze. "What?"

"We have to at least TRY & save the people who are alive here. Now, let's go see if Reina & Xell need any help. Then I'm going to rest up for the next battle."

India nodded & they started down the hall.

Reina spotted India & Quatre coming toward her & waved them over. "Here," she whispered, her voice hoarse. "Tell them. Raye isn't dead, is he?"

Quatre swallowed, looking helpless. "Reina.....he....."

"NO!" she shouted. "NO! He is NOT DEAD DAMNIT!" She collapsed into a heap on the ground. "Gavin is already gone.....now Raye....? What next...?"

"Gavin is dead?" India asked quickly. Reina nodded. "Yes, he's dead. And now I'm down a friend & a family member. I'm asuming he told you Indi."

"That I was his mother? Yes." She closed her eyes, a tear rolling down her cheek. "I hardly knew him but he was still......"

Reina bit her lip. "India......did he tell you who the father was......?"

India blinked. "Um.......no, I don't think he did."

Reina looked at Quatre. "There is your husband, India. Right there. Quatre Gunner. Former slave, he rescued you from certain death. He sacrificed everything for you. He sacrificed his life for you eventually. He died to give you life." She kept eyecontact with Quatre. "Yes, this is your husband." She looked up at India. "There is still a way for you to prevent the Third Imperium coming about. But you need the help of Briar & Cris. And they were taken by Brakiss back to his base-"

There was another scream, & Charlie & Alex came running out of their room, a man following behind them with a blaster out.

Quatre spread his fingers & sent a blade flying into the man's head.

Charlie & Alex gasped, then sighed in relief, slumping down against the wall, enjoying life. "It's good to be alive Alex," Charlie said & flicked his ear. Alex winced & rubbed his ear. "Ow...."

* * * * * * * * * * *

"There, you see? I brought you your parents. Now you're mine." Brakiss threw Briar & Cris down onto the ground in front of Ara, who was still bound to her chair. Ara writhed & squirmed. "Those aren't my parents! They're too young!"

Briar looked up at Ara weakly. "We traveled from the past...." Her wound gushed blood onto the ground heavily.

Ara stopped & looked at Cris. "D-Dad.....?"

Cris helped Briar up & held her, looking at Ara. He smiled shakily. "I-I guess....."

"Good," Brakiss said sharply, then waved a hand. "Guards, take the prisoners away. They will be executed when I say." Two guards came & lead Briar & Cris down the hall harshly.

"What?!" Ara demanded, eyes wide with horror.

"I told you, Ara, that I'd bring you your parents. I never said that I'd let them live."

Ara let her head droop & cried out shrilly. "Mother! Dad! Fight them!" Please, she begged inwardly. Please, come back & set me free!

Brakiss closed the door to the room slowly, then turned to face Ara. She scooted her chair back hard, growling warnings at Brakiss. He simply smiled & stepped toward her.

"Let me go!" she shouted as he began untying her bindings. When she was free, she flew toward the door, but found it locked. In rage, her fists slammed against the wall, tears gliding down her face. "This can't be happening," she whispered, sliding down the wall to curl up on the ground. "No, this isn't happening. I'm at home with my mother & father & sister & no one is trying to rape me & I'm happy....."

"Believe what you want, Ara," Brakiss said, crouched in front of her. "But," he brushed a hand over her face, "I don't believe I'm raping you. You made a promise, didn't you? And we both KNOW we can't go back on our promises."

Ara closed her eyes, no longer wanting to look at his attractive gray eyes or his face. "Please," she begged. "Please.......don't make me do this...."

Brakiss cupped her face in his hands. "I did not ask for anything of you yet."

"You want something I don't wish to give."

"Ara Ara Ara......you're such a silly girl. A silly girl with silly dreams." He leaned forward & pressed his lips against hers, holding her against the wall so she couldn't move. He felt her resistance & her strength. He smiled to himself & traced his fingers down her neck & spine.

Ara inhaled sharply. Stop, she wanted to say. Please stop. But the words didn't come, only a moan that was, unfortunently, of pleasure.

Brakiss chuckled faintly & tightened his grip around Ara's waist. He felt her push back against him, & in return, pulled her closer. "Don't fight me, Ara. You promised."

Ara sighed & allowed herself to be kissed, unwillingly kissing him back. Never before had she felt so violated. But there was nothing that she could do. Either resist him & die, or accept him & live. She didn't feel like dying.

His hand started to roam. Tears streamed down her cheeks & she held back her scream. Oh God.....make it stop.....

* * * * * * * * * * *

Quatre felt a wave of dread blanket him. He slumped, grabbing hold of a table. "Something......is not right....."

Reina observed Quatre thoughtfully. "He has a telepathic link with the Solo's & Skywalkers. I knew it. Quatre, what's wrong?"

He barely breathed, "Rape."

Reina gasped. "I-is it Briar?!"

"No.....someone else......." He turned his eyes inward. "A......Ara Solo..."

Reina blinked. "Ara? That can't be, she's dead." Or......could it be possible that Brakiss could have......?

"Get down!" Quatre suddenly yelled as the blast of a lazer canon shook the base. India screamed as debris fell on top of her, crushing her leg beneath the stone. A green blaster shot sailed through the air & connected with Xel's shoulder. He forced the pain out of his mind & limped over to Reina, collapsing beside her.

A flood of men dropped from the huge hole in the ceiling , firing their weapons at random Rebels. One shot took Reina in the shin.

Charlie & Alex screamed in fear & started to flee. Callie grabbed them by their shirts & dragged them back into the shelter of debris. "Shh!" she told them & hugged them. "Don't be afraid, it won't make it any easier."

Quatre uncovered his head & crawled over the ground toward India. She was hiding behind the rock that had her leg crush, hugging herself to avoid lazer shots. He touched her shoulder. "Indi," he whispered.

A scream of pain was her response.

"India, shhh, hold on." He gripped the large concrete debris with his fingers. With a heave, the stone began to move, until he stood underneath its shadow, then launched it away.

A large canon charged up with fire power, then sent a wave of lazers at India, seeing her exposed. Quatre saw her struggling to move out of range. No, he thought.

The last thing India remembered seeing was a flash of blonde hair pushing her out of the way of the lazer, then that blonde haired boy getting blown back into the wall of the base. She opened her mouth to scream, but nothing came out & she was consumed by darkness.

Four days passed until India woke up in the ruins of Echo Base II. She was bruised all over, but alive. Beside her, Xel lay, unmoving. She saw Reina on the other side of him, breathing shakily. Charlie, Callie, & Alex lay in a puddle of growing blood, coming from Callie's side.

Quatre.

She whirled quickly & gasped, seeing a bloody splotch on the remains of the wall, then let her gaze travel down to the body, barely concealed by the debris.

The sky above her was bleak, gray & depressing. She tried to stand, but her leg gave out. Pain shot up her nervous system, causing her to scream in pain.

The Kessel slave twitched. She hid her pain & dragged herself along the sharp, shramble-filled ground toward him, the blood sliding down the ridge of her nose or dripping from her forehead into her eyes blinding her. She cursed.

Quatre didn't move in the pile of stones & dust. India pushed the debris from his chest & legs & shook him. "Come on," she begged, teeth clenched. "Come on, don't leave me to go through this by myself!" He didn't move, sending anger & fear into India's blood stream.

Then, his blue-green eyes opened.

India's breath caught in her throat. "Quatre?" she asked & shook him again. He blinked a few times, registering his surroundings, then lifted a hand for her to stop shaking him & sat up.

"Damn.......what happened?"

"I-I don't know.........I guess Brakiss's men came in & destroyed the whole base.......Xel's dead..........Reina's barely alive. I saw Alex, Charlie & Callie in a heap of blood. I'm asuming that Charlie & Alex are alive." She swallowed. "I can't find Saber anywhere."

Quatre stood up & offered her his hand. "Come on. Let's look for them." India blinked in surprise, but took his hand & stood up. Once weight was put on her leg, however, she screamed & started to fall again.

Someone warm & stranglely appealing caught her before she hit the ground & held her up.

She looked up & saw concerned eyes meeting hers. "India? Indi, are you okay?"

She cringed. "Yeah.......just my leg is a bit sore........that's all..."

"We'd better set that break," he murmered & carried her over to a semi-flat rock, lying her down.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Cari."

"Yes, Master Jeri?"

"What kept you, Emperor Brakiss has been calling for us since we arrived through the time transfer."

The younger man bowed. "I am sorry, Master Jeri. But.....the icon was blinking. Perhaps, sir, Quatre Gunner has been transported into this time aswell?"

"Don't be ridiculous. What use does Emperor Brakiss have for that sleeze ball? Good for nothing slave, who needs his type...."

Cari winced slightly, but agreed as they strode together down the halls toward Brakiss's chambers. He smirked. "Erm, Jeri sir, I believe that my son might actually be in this time."

Jeri frowned & looked at Cari. "Are you positive? You might be my second in command, Cari, but we are Regnas. We can't be sentimental over our kin. If he fights us, we must kill him."

Cari laughed. "I have never been sentimental over my bastard son. Feh, so I slept with his mother. Helped concieve him. He knows. Of course, after I left, his mother found some other sap to get laid by & magically, Katre came along. Oh well. Quatre isn't worth the time, nor the effort I put into it."

Jeri grinned at his friend's mild humor. "I agree, Cari, I agree. Quatre does give you a bad name, doesn't he?"

"Yes, I believe he does. Well, at least only you & Cen, his mother, know about my relation to him. Heh, he's a Regna."

"Yes. He is. Perhaps......we could turn him.....?"

"Shall we speak with Emperor Brakiss, concerning the matter?"

Jeri smiled. "Yes. And we still have another problem to settle."

"Solo & Ganders?"

"Precisly."

They smiled & continued down the hallway.

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Bum, bum bum bum BUM! Don't you just LOVE me & my cliff-hangers? HAHAHAHAHA!

eponagirl@netzero.com


Five of the Third Imperium
~Strange Memories~

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: The usual. Use any of my characters without my concent & face my womanly, unmerciful wrath. Hey, dude, I've got connections. I'll have Cris over there in a hearbeat to wipe that sorry smirk RIGHT off your face! Borrowed Quatre's name from an anime series. But he's NOT the Quatre you know. I just like the way his name is spelled lol.

**Cris: Why I put up with her, I do not know.

*glare glare glare*

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SMACK

Briar flew back in her cell, crashing into the wall. Blood dripped from her face onto the slick metal ground with an unsettling "plop."

Cris swung at the droid which was abusing them. It ducked nimbly, bright red eyes flashing. "Destroy."

"I don't think so, pal," Cris muttered & sent a fireball hurtling straight into the droid's main power box. It exploded in a flash of light, sending a spray of sparks all over the room. Cris smirked & popped his back. "I kicked that piece of shit's ass, damn I'm good."

"Don't get too cocky, Zippy," Briar snapped, standing up. "We've still gotta get that Ara person & head back to Echo Base II."

"About the base......Bri, I've got a bad feeling....."

"Don't start, Ganders," she retorted sternly, using that voice she aquired when she was deadly serious. "We've got to focus on getting back right now. Nothing else."

"R-right."

* * * * * * * * * * *

India winced, biting down on her lip as hard as she could. Why it hurt her so bad, she didn't know. Weren't Terrias supposed to be stronger? She looked at Quatre as he popped the bone in her leg back into place. Sweat creased around his eyebrows & his hair line, his eyes intense & focused.

She screamed. It hurt more than it should have, & she knew it. Yet, she screamed, her voice piercing even into the ears of the unconsious, making Reina stir in her restless slumber.

Quatre cried out & covered his ears in pain. India stopped screaming & looked at him. Her scream had effected him that much?

She noticed, for the second time, the collar around his neck & reached out, tugging it gently. He winced & drew back. "Please.....don't touch...."

"Sorry," India said quietly, then looked down at the blood from his collar on her finger, & blinked. Lavender....? Lavender blood? Why is his blood colored? I thought only Terrias had colored blood.

"Quatre, your blood.......it's lavender...."

"Don't ask why."

"O-okay."

They sat in silence for a moment, Quatre splinting her leg, obviously contemplating something. India tried to tap into his thoughts- & found a well guarded wall blocking her path. She frowned again. What...?

"We should get some rest," Quatre suggested & stood up. "Need help to a room?"

"Yeah." She reached out with a hand & he, instead of taking her hand, scooped her up in his arms & walked lightly over the rubble toward a room which hadn't been too badly damaged. He found a bed roll there & set her down. "Get some sleep," he murmered & draped a blanket over her shoulders, sitting down beside her.

"Thanks."

"Don't worry about it."

Silence.

Quatre tilted his head back against the metal of the wall, closing his eyes. He was putting her in so much danger.......she didn't deserve what she had recieved.

India stared up at the sky out the window, hearing raindrops as they drizzled to the ground. She sighed. Xel, Gavin, Raye, all dead. Briar & Cris? She didn't know. Saber? If anything had happened to her......Charlie & Alex? She closed her eyes & curled up on the sleeping pallet, trying to sleep.

About three hours passed. She woke up to find Quatre sleeping beside her, one arm resting over her shoulder. Instinctivly, her cheeks flushed, but she didn't try to make him move. He'd had a rough day. Her getting angry with him wouldn't help any.

She sighed & unconsiously scooted closer to him, welcoming the warmth his body gave off.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Brakiss strode out of Ara's quarters, locking the door behind him. He smiled at the door, then turned around, hearing the soft foot falls of both Jeri & Cari.

"I see that time travel hasn't caused you any problems. Anything I can do for you gentlemen?"

"No, Emperor," Jeri said solomnly. "We are here to do things for you." He bowed his head. "And, I was curious. Have you by any chance seen a young blonde haired lad around these parts? He's a slave of mine who my assistent, Cari, here believes has also traveled into this time."

Brakiss thought back. He had, indeed, seen a young blonde man back at Echo Base II. He looked at Jeri blankly. "No, I'm afraid not Master Jeri. Now, do come to the cafeteria. Would you like some tea? Excellent. I'll show you to your quarters later then, shall I?" He smiled.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Saber twitched under the rocks, her small tail flicking. Memories of Karla the dragon slayer flashed before her eyes. About the way Karla had murdered her family back on Aznareps......

She woke up with a start, glancing around. The destruction was aweamazing. She could smell the drying blood of many men & women, staining the debris. She saw Charlie & Alex lying on the ground, unconsious. Callie was beside them, the sickly sweet smell of death lingering on her breath. Xel was sprawled out under some rocks. Reina was scouting around, checking the bodies.

She could smell both India & Quatre. They were asleep.

Struggling to her feet, she fumbled along the rocks toward the small shelter where she could sense her adopted mother & her companion. Please, she thought frantically. PLEASE be okay Mom......& you too Quatre....

India sat up, her hair clinging to her head, an oily mess. Quatre was fine tuning the strings on his violin. She peered at him sleepily. "Wh...what are you doing?"

Quatre set his violin down gently & shifted his weight so he was facing her. "Just fixing my violin, that's all. How's your leg?"

"It's fine, thank you."

I could heal her, Quatre thought for a brief moment, then chided himself. Stupid arse, don't tell her!

India looked at his expression. She frowned. What's going on with him? Ever since that last battle, he's been acting like the world was crashing down on him. She touched his shoulder gently. "Quatre...."

He jerked as though she'd injured him. Quickly, she withdrew her hand, frowning. "Are you hurt?" She looked at her hand. His lavender blood trickled down her fingers & down her wrists. She looked at his shoulder. "You ARE hurt.......Quatre, what's wrong?"

"Indi, I'm fine. Just......get some rest. We're going to need all of our energy when we go to rescue Briar & Cris."

A little dragon clambered onto India's lap, startling her. "INDI!" the dragon wailed. "I thought you were dead!"

"Saber?" India picked up the small dragon & hugged her tight. "My God, you're okay!"

Quatre closed his eyes & twitched. Katre......I'll kill him.....I'll kill him for you, Katre. Both of them. Both Cari & Jeri.....I promise.....

Saber squeezed India tightly, whimpering. She remembered Aznareps, her mother, father, siblings, & their slayer, Karla. She frowned. Why do I think of Karla now?

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Shorter, yes. Nessessary? Not really, but I just didn't feel like writing more onto this episode. And NO, I don't want problems over Quatre's name. I just like the way it's spelled! Don't harrass me over it, gawd!


Six of the Third Imperium
~Airon Ganders~

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: The usual.

Author's notes: Gee, I wonder what this episode could be about.....

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Eventually, Ara worked her hand free from its binding behind the hover chair. Her mouth had been gagged shortly after Brakiss had left, preventing her from screaming in fear & terror. Now, all that pulsed through her veins was hatred.

Brakiss, she thought acidly, I will kill you.

She sprang at the door, merely to find it locked tightly. She whipped her hands to her sides, & cursed herself. Her lightsaber had been removed for obvious reasons. Wouldn't want Brakiss's pet to escape now would we?

She curled her lips back & focused her half strength Terrias skills on the door. Crunching her fingers, the metal began to wear away, very slowly. There was a hole in the door now, just wide enough for her to pass through. With a leap, she sprinted toward her parent's signal.

She spotted two figures ahead of her. One was male, supporting a female on his shoulder who stumbled along beside him. She gasped. "M-Mother....?"

Cris squinted ahead, then blinked. "Briar....look.....it's that girl."

Briar lifted her head weakly. "A-Ara....?"

"You know her name?"

"Yes.....k-keep going...."

Ara sprinted towards them, tears streaming down her cheeks. They weren't her parents, yet they were, & she threw her arms about Cris's neck & sobbed into his shoulder. "Dad!"

"This could take some getting used to....."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Brakiss seated himself at the head of a long table, situating both Cari & Jeri to his left, offering them plates piled with gourmet food from all over the galaxy. He smiled brightly. "Endulge, my friends," he urged & took a delicate bite out of his own meal.

Cari looked to Jeri, who nodded, & both men began their meal cautiously.

Brakiss set his fork down gently & laced his fingers together, an elegent smile on his porcelain face. His eyes twinkled in the light of the room. "Concerning our friends from the past........I believe that Briar Solo has returned? Along with her 'fiance`' Ganders, am I right?"

"Yes, Emperor." Jeri took a sip of his cherry & kicked Cari under the table. Cari gave a faint yelp & nodded. "Yes, Emperor. Erm, there is a problem, sir. It appears that others have traveled with him...."

Brakiss waved a hand. "My dear comrads, I have the Solo & her lover confined within the compound, no need to fear them."

"Of course, sir."

Brakiss smiled again. "Gentlmen, if you would like to ask any questions, by all means question to your hearts content."

Cari started, but Jeri gave his foot a nice long kick, silencing his companion with a soft cry.

Brakiss sipped his wine & smiled. With any luck, he'd have his revenge on the Solo's & wipe out the Terrias while he was at it. He found the idea invigorating, his eyes glowing with a evil glint. There's more than one way to skin a cat- or Terrias, as I have learned.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Quatre coughed, a cold breeze whipping his short blonde hair around his face. He was freezing. He'd been raised on Tatooine, it was never this cold there. He shivered & stood on a tilting piece of rock, scanning around. There was a light snowfall, he could feel it hitting his skin. Again, he shivered.

Reina came up behind him & offered him a mug of something warm to drink. He took it gratefully & sipped it. Reina smiled & put a hand on his shoulder gently. "We'll be needing those blades of yours, Quatre. Try to stay alive."

He blinked. "How do you know-"

She laughed. "Hey, you're forgetting who you are, Gunner. You're in our family."

Quatre laughed faintly & looked back at the survivors. He sighed & looked up at the sky. "It never got this cold back on Tatooine. Always warm there."

Reina shrugged. "Well, it's not always cold here. When my mother was little, it was beautiful here. She told me all about it, all the sunshine, the arcades, seeing the academies. I wish that I'd been born in such times, you know?"

"Yeah, so do I." He sat down on the rock & shivered, glancing back at India & Saber, who were bandaging Charlie & Alex's wounds. He sighed. "So, what's the deal about me & Indi getting married?"

Reina sat down in front of him, a trail of copper blood sliding down the side of her face & down the ridge of her nose. She sighed. "Basically, you two hooked up at some other point in time. But now, we had to ruin that because of all this. We didn't want it all to end, the New Republic & all. So......we had to call all of you back here to save our lives." She closed her eyes. "Unfortunently......I've just put all of our lives in danger, yours included." She twirled her finger in her own drink. "I've even put my own exhistence on the line. With Briar & Cris gone.....I'll probably be gone soon too. And now Xel is-" She stifled a cry & stood up. "I-I'm sorry." She hurried over the rubble & away.

Quatre sighed & stood up. Every time he tried to help, something always went wrong.

"C'mon, Cal, don't give up on me now," India whispered, looking at the pale faced girl on the ground. "Come on!" She bit her lip & checked for a pulse. She found none. "O-oh God."

Charlie bit her lip & hugged Alex. "Th-this isn't fun anymore," she whispered in fear. "People are dying...."

"And many more will die unless we do something now," Quatre said firmly. Alex looked up at him, baffled. "How? We don't have any weapons, how do you expect us to even SURVIVE it here?"

"You all have Terrias blood, right? Use it."

"Charlie & Alex don't," India said quietly & looked at the numerous bodies spread out all over the rubble. "Reina & I are the only ones. Cris is in Brakiss's base. And he can't help us from the inside."

Quatre furrowed his eyebrows. "We can't give up hope though. We can't. Let's get some rest for now. We're all exhausted from working so hard, what with the ambushes & all, plus our wounds need tending. Find a place to crash & stay out of the weather."

When the crowd of survivors had thinned, Quatre caught India's arm. She looked at him. "Hmm? What is it?"

"Indi, I've got something I need to tell you." His face was grim, twitching with discomfort.

"Tell me."

"Indi, I'm a-" He was cut off as a ship spiraled down from the sky above & crashed into the ground. India yelped & jumped back. "Holy shit!"

Reina, Charlie, Alex & Saber limped over, joining Quatre & India. All of them looked at the crumbled ship & waited. Suddenly, the boarding ramp fell off & a gruff-looking Corellian man of maybe 45 years jumped down, running a hand through his short, silver-black hair. He looked around. "Gee, this is quite a welcoming committee. I find a warp point, think it's a hydrogate, & boom. I end up in Sewersville. This can't be Coruscant."

"Airon?" India asked flatly.

"Hey, it's the Skywalker girl!" Airon Ganders announced, grinning. He walked over to her & thumped her on the back. "Bet you didn't expect your old master to show up at this point did you?"

India laughed & hugged him tightly. "I can't believe it! I thought you were dead!"

"Heh," Airon mumbled. "So did I. Living off brandy & crackers ain't a good existence, believe me."

Quatre scratched his head & looked from Airon to India. They know eachother? Weird.....

India sighed & looked at the rag tag group of rescuers Reina had put together: Reina, Saber, Charlie, Alex, Quatre, India & about 6 other random men & women. She grinned up at Airon. "So, Master Ganders, ever think about Cris?"

"Indi, don't remind me about him, he died."

"No he didn't."

"He didn't? O Lord, thou hast blessed me...."

Quatre sighed & walked away from the Rebels, standing on a large piece of concrete that overlooked all of the remains of Coruscant. He lifted his chin faintly, but winced as his collar tore his flesh. Gotta have that taken care of, he reminded himself thoughtfully. Oh yes, & kill Jeri & Cari. Can't forget that.

"Thinking about something Quatre?"

Quatre heard India's voice behind him, but didn't turn around, merely answering. "Yes."

"What about?"

"Nothing important."

"Like when you're going to tell me why you have lavender blood?" She came around him swiftly, a hard glare on her face. "Don't tell me you don't know," she hissed, pointing a finger at him sharply, "because I know that's a lie. And if you don't tell me, I'll just find out another time. It's all relative."

Quatre sighed. "India, I....."

She lifted her eyebrows hopefully. "Yes?"

Quatre turned away & sat down with his back to her. "I can't tell you. You've been through enough. If I told you this, you'd be torn."

"Quatre-"

"Listen," he said suddenly, holding up a hand. There was a faint humming in the air, growing stronger.

"What is it?" India whispered, staring at the sky. "Sounds like one of those big cruisers......only smaller."

"That's exactly what it is," Reina said, coming up beside them, her light saber drawn & ignited. "We've got a fight coming up."

"Oh goody, I drop outta a warp hole into this 'paradise' & I'm plunged into a war. Someone shoot me." Airon moaned & pulled out two large blasters from his ruined ship. He grinned. "Always room for a little ammo when ya need it."

Charlie & Alex pulled out their respective lightsabers & got back to back, scanning around. Saber lept from the ground onto India's head & sat there, scanning around.

The ship came into view, heading straight toward them. Reina growled. "Probably coming here to finish the job. This place doesn't stand a chance."

The ship landed on the rubble smoothly & three men, surrounded by storm troopers in black armor accompanying them down the ramp, strode out into the wreckage. One of them looked at Quatre & pointed. "There he is."

India blinked & looked at Quatre, confused. "What? What're they talking about?"

"Allow me to introduce myself," the man said with a bow. "I'm Cari. No last name is needed. Just Cari. And this is my friend, Jeri Equin, who you know." He looked to the last man & bowed.

The man smiled. "Perhaps you don't know me, but I'm Emperor Brakiss." He looked Quatre over carefully, his eyebrows scrunched. "Hmm......so Jeri.....this is your slave?"

"Yes sir," Jeri said quietly. "That's Quatre."

Brakiss smiled. "Well......he's in good shape, relatively stubborn.....& I'm sure that Cari can tell us a little more about his own son."

Quatre winced, feeling so many eyes turn upon him. India gasped. "Quatre! H-he's your father?!"

"Yes," Quatre choked miserably. "He met my mother on Tatooine, laid her, then left. I was a bastard." He closed his eyes & clenched his fists. "But I'd rather be a mutated bastard than have YOU as a father!"

Cari pressed a button on the little clip he had on his wrist. Something glowed around Quatre's collar, then it began squeezing. Quatre's eyes widened & he clawed at it suddenly.

"Apologize," Cari said bluntly.

Quatre gritted his teeth & closed his eyes, coughing out, "Never."

"Then you must die." He made to flip another switch, but Jeri caught his hand. "Release the boy. He's still my slave, be your son or not."

"Yes sir," Cari mumbled & released Quatre from his death hold.

India grabbed Quatre's arm gently & inspected the blood dripping from his throat. "You're hurt," she said painfully & tried to heal it- only to find she couldn't. Startled, she looked at his face. "Why...?"

"If he's my son & I'm a Regna, what does that make him India?" Cari asked in a sing song voice, half frustrated at not being able to do away with his son & half sickeningly over joyed at being able to torment him in such a fashion.

India stepped back. "Y-you're a Regna?!"

"That's not all of it!" Quatre said honestly, turning his hot blue green eyes on Cari. "Tell them! Tell them who you are! Tell them WHY you became a Regna!" He stepped forward. "Tell them who you WERE!"

Cari's eyes flickered. "Shut up boy-"

"TELL THEM WHAT YOU WERE!"

"I can not-"

Jeri touched his companion's shoulder gently. "Just tell them, Cari. We hold nothing against you, do we?"

"Fine. Quatre's mother & I were Terrias."

Quatre lifted his head & narrowed his eyes. "See Cari? You're not a Regna. You're a Terrias." He thought. "Wait, you're not a Terrias. Because a Terrias wouldn't betray his people!"

"That's enough!"

"NO! No, it's not enough!" Tears pooled in Quatre's eyes & he twitched in anger. "You deserted us, me & my mother, but not before telling her that it would be wise to sell me off to slavery. Then you went & became my slave master's assistant! Just to make your own son's life miserable. No, wait, you already made it miserable. By making me a bastard."

India stared at Quatre in awe. He's Terrias......& he didn't tell me?

Cari sprinted forward suddenly & delivered a hard punch in Quatre's gut. Quatre winced & doubled over. Cari smirked & picked him up by his hair, letting him dangle. "Boy, you're no more a Terrias than I am. Just because you have the blood doesn't mean you're one of them. You're a Regna, as am I."

"NO!" Quatre shouted & slapped his father's face.

Cari growled & threw Quatre down into the stones. "Bloody rat!"

"STOP!" India shouted & threw a fireball at Cari's head. "Stop it!"

Cari delfected it easily, turning his gaze down on her. "Bitch. Now you'll pay."

Jeri & Brakiss came up on either side of her, their hands glowing. India swallowed & scooted back from them. "Get back."

"You struck at your superior," Jeri said wickedly. "Just as my slave did. Now, you will be punished, even worse than he will be."

"Leave her out of this," Quatre said tightly, forcing himself to stand. Cari turned to look at him, smirking. "Oh? So she's important to you is she?"

"I said leave her out of this!" Quatre shouted forcefully & forced himself between Cari, Jeri, Brakiss & India, pushing her back. "She's not involved!"

"Oh, but she IS involved. Merely by being your compainion."

India closed her eyes. "Quatre, just let him do what he wants...."

"No! I can't!"

Brakiss sighed & held up his hands. "This bickering is futile. Simply allow us to claim what we came for. And then we'll go."

India grabbed Quatre's arm & yanked him frighteningly close to her. "NO!" she shouted. "NO! I will NOT let you take him!"

Brakiss smirked & grabbed Quatre by his throat, jerking him from India's grasp. India's bottom lip quivered, feeling a lonely cold settling over her heart. Quatre.....

"Take him into the ship," Brakiss ordered & threw him at Jeri. Jeri sidestepped & Quatre smacked into a pillar, then fell back, unmoving. Jeri smiled & picked the slave up by his arm & started towards the ship.

"Quatre!" India sobbed & rushed after him. Brakiss swung his arm out & smacked her aside. "Be gone, Terrias," he mumbled.

"Ugh!" India coughed, stumbling back. A bit of golden blood dripped onto her fingers from her lip. She growled & sank to her knees, salty tears trickling down her cheeks. They can't take him from me......never.....

Cari looked down at the Terrias girl & smirked. "Bitch. You want him back?"

"I'm not a bitch."

"Oh." He softened his eyebrows. "My mistake. Whore."

"That's it you die!" She lunged for him, but Airon caught her arm & pulled her back. She glared at him. "What are you doing? They're taking Quatre away!"

"There's nothing we can do now."

"But-"

"India, we'll get him back, don't fret. Just relax for now."

India ripped her arm free of Airon's grip & bared her teeth at him in a horrid snarl. "Relax? Relax?! Okay then!" She threw her arms up & paced for a moment. "Let's relax! See?" She put her hands oher hips. "I'm relaxing. IT'S NOT DOING ANY DAMN GOOD!"

Cari laughed a cold, bone-chilling laugh, & gave Reina a charming wink. "We'll be back," he sneered, & strode after Brakiss & Jeri.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Cris & Ara dragged Briar gently down the corridor, Cris gazing fearfully at the maroon blood that dripped to the floor with each step his fiance` took. Ara whimpered & twitched, her thoughts drifting to the discusting activity Brakiss had forced her into. Gotta get clean. As soon as this is over........I have GOT to get clean....

An uneasy calm settled over Cris's conscious. Half of him wanted to let Briar rest, so she could recover. The other half wanted her as far away from Brakiss's headquarters as possible. But if he continued in taking her back to Echo Base II, then she would surely die, seeing as her injuries were excessively getting worse. And if he stopped, then she'd bleed to death. And he was exhausted, unable to carry her, even if he wanted to. And Ara was certainly too weak to carry the girl.

Not to mention how hungry all three of them were.

Briar moaned in discomfort, faultering in her step. Cris caught her & brushed a lock of hair back from her pale face. "Don't go dying on me now, Briar."

"Yeah, Mom, don't die on us. Otherwise........I'll be dead......& then who's gonna be around to annoy Dad all the time? C'mon, Mom, we've gotta hang in here." Ara took her "mother's" hand & squeezed it gently, noting the engagement ring on the left hand.

Footsteps. Cris turned, blaster out. Two guards came toward them. A brass knuckled fist connected with his jaw, sending him sprawling to the floor. Ara shrieked & jumped back as a guard made a lunge for her throat. Briar slumped to the ground, out of energy, fight, & the will to live. The guard gave up on Ara & slung Briar over his shoulder. "She'll do."

Cris jerked up, silver blood streaming from his lip. In a flash, the most frightening sight he'd ever witnessed played out before his eyes.

Brakiss's men had Briar. An unconsious Briar. Taking her away from him. Away from his protection. He made a jump for her, but felt a fist jar his chin, sending him flying into the wall.

Briar's eyes fluttered open just in time to see Cris crumble to the cold ground. She cried out & made a frantic reach toward his subdued form, but her efforts were all in vain. A dull throb pulsed in her chest, deeper than any wound could breach, deeper than a healer's fingers could mend, deeper than her very soul could trace. Such dullness, yet so painful. "C-Cris!" she screamed. He did not move.

Ara practically flew to the Terrias's side & cradled his unconsious head. "F-Father.....don't leave us, don't let Mother die...."

"Ara....?"

Ara jumped, shaking him gently. "D-Dad?"

Cris's teal eyes slid open slowly. "Where's.......Briar...?"

"The guards took her. "Dad, we have to go save her before they..... before they kill her."

"We don't have much time. Let's hurry."

_____________________________________________________________________________________

That's part six. Expect a pretty long saga.


Seven of the Third Imperium
~Saving Private Ganders~

By: Briar Solo

Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer. I own practically everything in here except for the Star Wars idea, the regular YJK people, & all those other things. I DO, however, own Jeri, Cari, Brakiss, Quatre, Briar, Cris, Reina, Xel, Raye, Gavin, Cene, & all those people. India, Saber & Charlie are not my characters. Give credit to THEM, not ME.

Author's notes: Hehehe, Saving Private Ganders eh? Well, I got inspired by the title of the movie, "Saving Private Ryan." Oh, I might add something else. My W button is super glued on & VERY flimbsy. Meaning that if I by accident forget to add a W into something, don't kill me. It's tilting back & forth & I have little control over it. Sorry.


* * * * * * * * * * *

Briar woke up chained to a chair about an hour later. Something was tied tightly about her neck & her eyes stung preventing her from seeing. She growled & shouted, "Where am I!"

Gentle hands rubbed her shoulders, warm breath on the back of her neck. She jerked back, but found the hands comforting & melted under the strong handed touch. "Who are you?"

"Relax Miss Solo. Brakiss won't have you killed."

"Answer my question."

The man laughed & slid his arms around her waste, planting a frighteningly cold kiss on her throat. Briar jerked her head back, teeth bared, & kicked frantically. "Get away from me!"

The man chuckled & kissed around to the back of her neck, then smiled. "Briar, relax. Don't you trust me?"

"I don't even know you."

"The name Blade Amaranth ring a bell?"

Briar stiffened. "The one who gave me the scar on my shoulder?"

Blade laughed & kissed her neck again, dragging his fingers through her long black hair. "You got it sister. But, I've changed ever since Jeri & Cari suggested I come with them. Jeri's like a father to me. And you are part of my deal. I kill the other Terrias, I get you. I get you, India, & that Reina girl. Mine, alla ya."

"I'm not a piece of property Blade." She jerked her neck back. "Get off me."

"Admit it. You enjoyed it."

"Maybe if it was Cris. But not you." She rubbed her neck as though she were dirty. "Not you Blade."

Blade untied the blind fold from around her eyes, taking the poisons that made her eyes sting from her eyelids & tilted up her chin. "Open your eyes, girl, & tell me what you see."

Briar gritted her teeth & opened her eyes slowly. The air hit the black pupils, stinging them for a moment, then cleared. And what she viewed terrified her.

Blade was no longer Blade. He no longer had the horrid sneer. He was identical to Cris in every way, except in his eyes, which weren't Cris's gentle teal, but an ice cold sapphire. He smiled down at her. "Do you like what you see, Briar? Somewhere in you, your mind tells you I'm Cris. And then in another part of your mind, it tells you I'm Blade." He laughed coolly. "You can make a choice Briar. Stay with me, your new Cris, or leave me, & your old Cris & your future daughter will die."

Briar chewed her lip raw & closed her eyes tightly. "Will you leave my friends & family alone? Forever?"

"Of course, Briar, Blade does not lie."

"How do I know you're not lying to me?"

Blade leaned forward & pressed his cold, gray lips against hers, tracing his icicle fingers down her cheek. When he ran out of breath, he pulled back & smiled at her. "I will not lie to you Briar."

Briar felt as though she was becoming an ice cube. But Blade's lips had tasted sweet, cold, hinted with mint. Though her heart told her otherwise, she found that she had enjoyed the sensation. Still, she didn't meet Blade's gaze.

Blade's fury rose swiftly, but he calmed himself. He couldn't let his anger get the better of him around his future bride. That would be a mistake.

He crouched in front of her & cupped her face in his hands. "Tell me you love me Briar. Tell me you want me."

"I can't lie," Briar choked & looked away, eyes closed. "I'm sorry."

Blade sighed. "It's alright Briar. I understand your feelings toward Cris. I'll simply have to convert them to me." He slid his hands behind her head & met his lips against hers again, deeply & passionantly.

Briar didn't respond. She didn't return his kiss. She didn't fight him. She just kept questing out desperatly to Cris, hoping against hope he'd hear her.

Cris....don't desert me now....

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jeri piloted the ship into the docking bay slowly, landing it with extreme expertise. Cari stood behind him loyally, watching as guards hurried around the area.

"What do we do with the bastard?" Cari questioned silently. "He is too strong to train. Stubborn aswell."

"Perhaps we should leave that to Brakiss to decide," Jeri murmered & sighed. "I know you have a small attachment to him, Cari, but you must forget it. He's not worthy of your time."

"Of course, Master."

Tied down to the ground in the cargo bay, Quatre lay prone, twitching in fear. Visions of Katre's death flashed before his eyes, making his insides go cold.

India. He tested the Force. India.

There was a faint response, almost an image. Quatre clung to it desperatly. INDIA!

......Quatre......?

He smiled & relaxed further into the Force stream. India, you heard me. Can you keep the others away from the base?

There was a faint hesitation. India was trying to respond. Quatre, I don't understand. Don't you want to be rescued?

Indi, I do, but it's too dangerous. I'm going to blow it up from the inside.

He felt her sadness through the Force & bit his lip. Come on, Indi, don't do this.

Please, Indi, don't come after me.

B-but what about Raye? If you die.....then he dies.

Quatre blinked. India?

Don't give up on me, Quatre. Come back to us.

I'll try. It was all he could offer. I'll try.

* * * * * * * * * * *

"Did you contact him Indi?" Saber asked quietly, nudging her seregent mother's hand. "Did you?"

"Yes," India replied miserably. "I contacted him."

Saber jumped. "So? Anything?"

India held her head in her hands & rubbed the sides of her skull. "He doesn't want us to help him. He's going to blow the base up. Killing himself in the process."

Reina, Charlie & Alex looked up. Charlie shook her head. "No, he can't do that! It's insane! Stupid! What does he think he's doing?!"

Alex yanked on her arm gently. "Cut it out, Charlie, there's nothing we can do to help."

"But there IS! There is!" Charlie protested desperatly. "We can go there & help them-"

"No," came India's bleak retort.

Charlie glared at her. "What, so you WANT Bri & Cris to die!? Cris, the LAST Terrias besides you? Or QUATRE? You want him to die aswell?"

No. India didn't want them to die. But if she went to save them, then Quatre would never forgive her. But he had said he'd try to live. Try to come back to them.

To come back to me, India thought placidly, feeling her heart ache from the agony of fear & uncertainty. She'd known Quatre only a few days, & now that she knew how important they were all to become to eachother, she didn't know if she could let go of that rose he'd given her. Not even if it meant sacrificing everyone else.

Quatre, she pleaded. Quatre, please forgive me.

"We'll go to them," she stated. "Even if Quatre doesn't want me to. We have no choice as of now. Either we rescue them, or Quatre blows them all up."

Reina sighed. "It's futile, Indi. Bring them back, then I'll send you back to your time." The horror in her truth was staggering, but Reina kept up her brave face & heaved a troubled sigh.

Alex blinked. "What? No, we can't. It's too dangerous, you people need our help."

Reina smiled sadly & shook her head. "It's too late for us. We've already created a paralell universe. Things won't change here. Go change things for our other decendents."

India looked at Reina's bleak face & bit her lip. "Are you sure?"

"For the Republic," Reina replied firmly.

India nodded. "For the Republic."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Jeri & Cari grabbed Quatre by his arms & dragged him from the ship swiftly. "Get up," Jeri commanded as they threw him to the ground.

Quatre clenched his fists & pushed himself up into a sitting position. Instantly, he felt the harsh rap of the chainlink whip bruise his back. "Get UP!" Jeri bellowed again. "Get up or I'll kill you now!"

"Jeri, calm yourself," came Brakiss's cool voice as he glided down the boarding ramp. Black armored storm troopers shuffled out behind him, pointing their blasters at Quatre's head. The Terrias's blue-green eyes flashed orange for a brief moment, & the storm troopers flew back into the side of the ship.

"Keep your damn hands off me!" he shouted & grabbed at the collar which bound his throat. "Stay back!"

Brakiss sighed & nodded to three red guards who stood behind Quatre. Quatre whirled to find the towering red giants. Their faces, if they had them, were concealed beneath the hooded cloaks. Bony fingers reached out to grab him & he felt a cold fear settle in the bottom of his heart.

A hand grasped him tightly around the throat & lifted him from the ground. Quatre's heart rate quickened, & a low cry escaped his lips as he saw one of the other red guards lift a lightsaber into the air, in the form of a scythe. It approached him slowly, the scythe slicing the air delicately.

"This is only because we can't afford to have you around, Quatre," Brakiss said solomnly. Then, with a laugh & a faint hair toss, he added, "And because we can't have you & that India girl having that boy, Raye. He could ruin things for all of us. And, you see, we musn't let that happen, you little rat. Terrias have to be.....eliminated."

The scythe was raised, far above the red guard's head. Quatre closed his eyes & quested out toward India one last time. Bye India.

Quatre, what's going on-

Down came the scythe.

Quatre opened his eyes when the impact never arrived. To his surprise, a silver colored blade pierced through the guard's middle. The scythe dropped to the ground, & the other guard threw Quatre down & turned on the newcomer.

Cris kicked over the corpse & flung his weapon through the other two. "Ara, get Quatre!" he shouted to a girl who came flying out of the base. Ara grabbed Quatre around his middle & dragged him back behind Cris, who made a few attempts at killing Cari, Jeri & Brakiss, all that failed.

Quatre!?

India, stay away from here.

I'm coming after you.

NO!

Quatre, please-

No.

You'll be killing Briar & Cris too!

I'll get them out first. But I have to settle something with Jeri & Cari.

There was no response.

Cris turned tail & motioned Quatre & Ara after him. They sped through the narrow passageways & ducked into a closet. Ara bit her lip. "D- Cris? Where's Briar?"

"Some guard has her," Cris growled savagely.

"Yeah." Ara looked at Quatre. "Are you okay, Gunner?" she asked softly. Quatre looked up at Ara miserably. "No....I'm not. But I don't want to talk about it."

Cris peered out of the key hole in the door as black armored storm troopers flew by, muttering, "Me neither. Alright folks, looks like we're gonna have to bail outta here. Get a weapon or something, brace yourself, & pray to every god you know of that we make it out of this alive." With those last(none too comforting) words, he kicked open the door & began firing a mass of bright red lazers into the mob of storm troopers.

Ara & Quatre leapt out behind him, weapons drawn, & began firing into the smoke. A green lazer danced out & grazed the side of Quatre's face, drawing a thin line of blood. Quatre cried out, but continued to fire hopelessly at the oncoming force.

And out of the darkness of the volley of lazers, a man dressed completely in white approached the threesome. But he was no angel; not in the least. The fighting ceased for a moment. Then, without any warning, the man drew a blaster & shot Cris through the heart.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

*gasp*

~You: WHAT HAVE YOU DONE YOU IDIOTIC BITCH?!

~Me: GAH! It's not through yet! I swear!


Part Eight of the Third Imperium
~The Return to Nowhere~

By: Briar Solo

Author's notes: Okay, I can tell you're all PO'd at me for "killing" Cris. GET IT STRAIGHT! My characters! MY STORY! Nya nya! Nuthin' you can do about it. PLUS, you think I'm gonna let a character who's supposed to represent MY character's husband-to-be just DROP dead like a doornail? Uh uh Smart One!

~You: Dah, what dat mean?

~Me: It means you have the IQ of a DUNG BEETLE! THAT'S WHAT "DAT" MEANS!!

~You: Eh? Oh....right.


* * * * * * * * * * *

Pain wracked through Quatre's skull. He watched helplessly as Cris's head lolled to one side, watched as he dropped to the ground, watched the silver blood pooling around his body. The blaster clattered to the ground from the young slave's hand.

"You.......killed him...." Quatre whispered, his eyes narrowing into dangerous slits. He shifted his now orange eyes up to the stranger. "You killed him!"

The stranger pushed the white hood back from his face & smiled at Quatre. Quatre inhaled sharply, looking from Cris to the man, then back to Cris. "Y-you're....."

The man spread his arms in a symbol of peace & stepped over Cris's bloody form. "Allow me to introduce myself," he said charmingly. "My name is Blade Amaranth. I had a score to settle with Crisso here from a while back." He gave his short black hair a gentle, yet seducive, toss. "You must be Quatre Gunner. Am I right?"

"You're right," Quatre spat, clenching a fist. "But I'm not going to give you the damned satisfaction of relishing that fact for very long." He raised his hand as though to strike Blade, but Ara caught his hand. Quatre looked at her & blinked, seeing the pleading look in her eyes. He furrowed his eyebrows. "But....why?"

Ara bit her lip & choked on her words. "H-he might be the only one who can bring my father back." She coughed, pained, & held her arms tightly. "Quatre, find my mother. Get back to Reina. Get out of here."

"Ara?" Quatre was puzzled.

"Just DO it!" she shouted & closed her eyes fiercly. "Just do it."

Blade smirked. "In order to get to Miss Solo, you'll have to go through me first." He motioned the other soldiers to his side & smiled placidly. "Quatre, just surrender to us before we have to kill you."

"Forget it."

"Very well then," Blade said with a sigh. He motioned forward his men. "Kill the blondie. The girl, I want. Do what you please with the body." He rubbed his skull. "I have a date with a little girl from Endor." He whirled & glided over the ground toward a door.

Quatre glanced at Ara, his eyes still blazing orange. She didn't meet his gaze, but sighed & allowed a guard to seize her. "Run," she mouthed.

Quatre looked down at Cris's motionless body, at the silvery blood, then at Blade's vanishing form. Something clicked inside his brain, & he grabbed one of the scythes that the guards carried & sprinted after him. "BLADE!"

Blade whirled & barried the blow of Quatre's scythe with his own lightsaber as the saber came down toward him. Quatre glared at him & bared his teeth. "Where's Briar?"

"In my room," Blade said with a jeer. "And she's going to stay there as long as I am alive."

Quatre gasped & stumbled back. Fear turned into anger. "What....did you DO to her!?"

"Nothing. Yet." He yawned. "After we're married......heh....."

"You.......ASS!" Quatre shouted & flung his scythe straight at Blade. Blade glanced up in surprise & took in a sharp breath of air as the scythe plunged through his middle, spewing blood & body fluids. With a grunt, he slumped to the floor & didn't move.

Quatre stared, sides heaving, at Blade's bleeding body. He stumbled back. "I.......I KILLED him......?"

Quatre! Please, ANSWER ME! I've been trying to talk to you. Oh PLEASE don't be dead!

Indi?

QUATRE! Oh thank GOD! Please, let us come AFTER you!

Quatre looked soberly at the man he'd just murdered. I'll be coming back in a few moments India. I'm going to get Briar &-oh. He had to tell her about Cris. India......Cris is...

Quatre.....he isn't.......dead.......is he.....?

Quatre touched his chest above his heart & bit his lip as tears trickled down his pale cheeks. Indi, someone shot him through the heart-

GET HIM BACK HERE NOW!

Indi, please, I'm trying.....

* * * * * * * * * * *

"India? India what is it?" Airon asked quietly, hurrying over to her side. "Are you all right?"

India twitched & bit her lip. "Airon......it's Cris......"

Airon stiffened. "C-Cris......what happened to him......?"

"He was shot through the heart......"

Airon's knees buckled & he collapsed to the ground. "Oh God...."

"Airon!" Reina shrieked & rushed to his side, clasping his elbow. Her eyes teared & she pulled him up partially. "Airon...."

* * * * * * * * * * *

Briar threw herself against the side of her cell, crying in pain. Cris's signal had faded from her soul. Again, she shrieked in pain & remorse & pounded her fists on the metal, screaming as loud as she could.

"CRIS! CRIS, WHERE ARE YOU!" she moaned & curled up on the ground in a ball. "Cris......"

"Psst!"

Briar sat up, silent. "Who's there?" The voice came from the door.

"It's me, Quatre."

Briar smiled. "Quatre! Great! Open the door & I'll get out!"

"Uh.....I was kinda hoping that you could open the door.....n' stuff."

Briar sweatdropped. "Eh.....damn."

Quatre thought for a moment, then snapped his fingers. "Briar, do you have your lightsaber with you?"

"Oh!" Briar peeped, then grabbed the cylinder at her side & ignited one end. "Okay, stand back 'kay?"

Quatre stepped back, putting his hands in his pockets. "I'm back."

Briar twirled the lightsaber over her head once, then plunged the blade into the metal, ripping upwards. The door fell away in two halves & she stepped through, a grim smile on her face. "Quatre......is Cris......"

"Bri.....I wanted to tell you...." He stepped forward quietly & touched her shoulder. "Cris was......was shot......"

Briar clenched a fist & placed it on her heart, tears trickling out of her eyes. "Quatre......go get him.....I want to go home....."

"O-okay."

____________________________________________________________________________________

Short chapter, but deal with it.


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