By: Shadow Chaser
Author's Warning: This fic is rated R for graphic violence, torture, and imprisonment.
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the Star Wars characters except those of Akiba Muune, Lieutenant Dysune Tayib, and Captain Falco Avin.All other characters belong to Lucasfilm and their respective authors.I am not making a profit out of this story, it is only written for fans to enjoy.
Author's Notes: The concept of political houses on Alderaan for subsequent chapters is based off of a very good fic by Diana DeRiggs called "The Rise of the House of Celchu" and can be found on www.wookieehut.com
He was in a dream world, drifting in and out of consciousness...He saw faces swarming above him, faces that he didn't recognize.At least most of them were all elderly faces and they looked down at him with concern.
"...taking so much..."
"...have to keep him sedated..."
The voice kept drifting in an out and though Tycho barely had an inkling of what was going on, he could feel that his battered, bruised, and abused body was healing...very slowly, but healing nonetheless.
He drifted along the planes of his subconscious, dreaming of a better time...
Laughter permeated through the walls of the secondary school yard as the upperclassmen of 16 and 17 year olds of the school played a furious but fun game of Speedball.It wasn't so much as scoring a point in the game, but the game itself.
"Hey Tych!Over here!" Tycho glanced up at his classmate, Dravin who was running down the court, arms outstretched to receive the foamy ball.He wound up and threw with all his might and watched as the white ball floated in the air...dropping to the ground...straight into Dravin's arms.
"Goal for Blue Team!Blue Team leading ten to six," their physical education teacher called out, a grin on her face, "come on Gold Team, get those points back!"
The whistle blew again and the jump ball went to the Gold Team.Tycho ran across to the right side of the gym and jumped up in the air, swatting the ball to one of his teammates.He grinned at the thrower of the ball, a Gold Team player, who glared at him.
"Remember you have to pass the ball to a girl before you score, or else it won't count!" their gym teacher shouted as the ball made its way deeper into the Gold Team's area.
He suppressed a snort of derision...who in the Sith made up that rule that there was fair play and especially passing to a girl on their team was probably high on glit.Sure there were a few girls on his team and on the others who were rough-and-tumble, playing with all of their heart, but most of the girls in his gym class were complete airheads, always standing around like statues just talking and looking at their nails.Some were talking about the actor Face Loran and how cute he was to be their age, while others just gossiped about political news and different philosophies.
While Tycho did like philosophy, as did any of his classmates, he also liked to have fun at times...and resented the fact that these girls were just standing around...maybe hitting a few of them wouldn't be so bad...
"Arston!" he called over to one of the Gold Team players who was also one of his good friends, and nodded his head in the direction of the talking girls who were totally oblivious to anything going on in the gym.Even their teacher had given up hope for the girls, resorting not to call them to play or make an effort to play.After all, it was near the end of the school year, and close to their graduation.
There was a buzz about this year's graduates and their placements to higher education, as there were a few talented ones.Tycho knew that some of his classmates hoped to at least get an attach spot with the current senator of Alderaan Bail Organa or even the chance to be elected Senator when Organa resigned, but he had a feeling that Organa's daughter Leia was to be chosen as his replacement.
Long ago, Tycho was a good friend of Leia and her best friend, whose name he had long forgotten, but they had grown apart after they moved to the inner posh section of Aldera City and had enrolled in a private institution.He knew that his mother's sister was one of a surrogate Aunt for Leia Organa, changing her name of Rab to Rouge in the presence of Leia and kept in contact with the Organas, but even that was somewhat strained at times.
"What's up Celchu?" Arston asked, coming over while also keeping an eye on the ball, "damn you peoples...get it out of there!" he shouted to his teammates and Tycho grinned.
"We are so kicking you ass to the Core worlds," he gave a good-natured slap to his friend's shoulder.
"Oh shut up Celchu.Just because your team is winning doesn't mean you have to gloat about it," Arston smirked, "so...what did you want to tell me...surely you didn't call me over to taunt me?"
"Maybe I did," Tycho replied but then shook his head, "how about we give those girls in the corner a bit of a wake up call?You know...like an early graduation present?"
Arston glanced at the group of girls huddled in the corner, giggling at something and his grin deepened, "Sure thing...I'll tell the others, since everyone's down at our end."
"Just don't tell the girls that are playing.Ny and the others will probably object," he warned his friend who shrugged.
"Yeah, yeah...don't hurt your poor little girlfriend and stuff," Arston waved his concerns off, "don't worry..."
The memory faded away and Tycho faintly remembered the aftermath of their little plan.They did get the girls to pay attention and even their gym teacher was relieved that someone had the audacity to literally knock some sense into the girls, but as a result, he, Arston, and a few others received detention in which they had to discuss and write a five page paper on philosophy with their extremely boring philosophy teacher.
"I think he's coming to..."
"...let him rest..."
The voices broke into Tycho's foggy thoughts and he listened to them with a certain degree of curiosity.Who was talking?He could discern concern in the voices speaking...were they talking about him?He was perfectly fine, thank you very much...at least...he thought he was.
He mentally shook his head...he vaguely remembered something...Wait!He was a prisoner...somewhere...
He slowly opened his eyes, feeling as if duracrete was holding them shut.The light blinded him temporarily and he squeezed them shut, the headache he had before returning back full force.Wait...he had a headache before?When?
Tycho dismissed his rambling thoughts as he slowly opened his eyes once more...this time cautiously.He saw a dim outline of a ceiling above him...with a few stalactites hanging down.He could hear a distant murmuring of voices...and the rumble of what sounded like engines but he wasn't too sure.The smell though, it picked at his senses.
Musty and damp was what the place smelled like.Its deep earth-enriching sense reminded him of his times in his family's Crevasse City estate.He tried to move his fingers and found that they were lying on the ground...in fact his whole body was on the ground, and a blanket was covering his naked chest.The dirt on the ground dug small craters on his exposed back but he didn't mind as it felt warm and soft...
Suddenly a face looming over his obscured his vision of the ceiling.Tycho could see that the person was male, judging from its long beard growth.He had yellow teeth and dirt smudged face, but his crystal light brown eyes were friendly.It was also then that he realized that the man looming above him was saying something.
"Hey...you all right buddy?" the man asked.
"I...think so," Tycho replied, at least tried to work his mouth to reply.He could feel a numbing agent all over his body...dulling some of his receptors, but not enough so that he couldn't move.
"Don't try to move too much, you'll just bruise yourself again," the man murmured, placing a firm hand on his shoulder, stopping him from trying to prop himself up.
"Bruise?" at least that was what Tycho thought he said as his tongue felt heavy and his mouth tasted like he had wads of cloth stuck into it.
"Yeah...bruises..." the man looked away for a second and he caught a flash of anger and sympathy in the man's eyes before he turned back."Here...drink some water...it'll do you good."The man held a cup to his lips and poured some water in.He greedily sucked at the water...and nearly gagged on its horrible taste.It tasted like sewer mix with dirt...a rotten taste all over his mouth and he choked slightly before he was forced to swallow it.
The man kept pouring water in and Tycho tried in vain to shake his head.He didn't want anymore of the foul water.Spitting what the man gave him, out, he turned his head to the side and coughed, trying to get rid of the awful aftertaste.
"You shouldn't do that, you know...it's all we've got," the man replied a bit sadly, but Tycho looked at him from the corner of his eyes while still trying to spit out the aftertaste and saw that he had set the cup down somewhere out of the range of his vision.
"S-Sith...spit..." he managed, letting his cheek rest on the cool dirt, "the...h-hell was...that?"
"Water," the man replied in a simple but firm tone.
"Taste...like...bantha shit," Tycho replied slowly, feeling the ache and cotton-like feeling in his mouth slowly go away.Even if the water was foul it still helped moist his parched throat.
"That's what they all say kid," the man's voice rumbled with a gentle laugh, "former Rebel Alliance Lieutenant Dysune Tayib at your service."
Tycho turned away from his cool dirt-pillow and stared up at the man who had fed him the water.He noticed that the man who called himself Dysune Tayib was a lot older than he was, probably in his mid-forties, and a few mites crawled from his beard to different places.
He nodded a greeting and tried to remember what was the proper way of addressing his captor, after all, he probably was a prisoner and didn't even know this person.He didn't even trust the fact that Dysune was what he claimed to be, a Lieutenant with the Rebel Alliance.
"Tycho...Celchu," he swallowed past a dry patch in his throat, "Captain, New Republic Space Force...serial number...68970024."
Dysune stared at him for a second before bursting out with laughter.The laughter hurt Tycho's ears and he winced, but after a few seconds, he got used to it.He watched as the man laughed himself to tears before subsiding after a few more seconds."Sorry kid, but I know...you don't trust any of us," he gestured beyond him and for the first time, Tycho noticed with his limited vision, through the dim earthy-room that there were at least more than fifty people in the room, some doing their own business, others just staring at him curiously."But, tell you what...you can cut that P.O.W. act when you're around us, after all, we're also prisoners, like you."
Tycho didn't answer and instead stared at Dysune who grinned his yellow teeth again and disappeared from his sight only to reappear a few seconds later, this time with another scraggly man behind him."Celchu...this is Jan," he introduced the scraggly man, "Jan...Captain Tycho Celchu, New Republic Space Force officer."
"New Republic?" Jan's voice sounded a bit winded, but strong and Tycho was struck with an odd sense of familiarity.He had heard this voice somewhere before...but he didn't really remember where."What happened to the Alliance?"
He didn't know if he could trust these people, but after all, they did heal him...He decided to be truthful and if they were Imperials or if they were bounty hunters that captured him, the truth wouldn't hurt...too much, he hoped."Rebel Alliance...defeated the Empire at Endor...killed the Emperor and Vader...turn to New Republic..."
The dryness to his throat had returned and he wished that he didn't spit that mouthful of water out to the side, even if it tasted horrible.It seemed that Dysune read his mind as he produced the cup of water and poured some into his mouth.He swallowed gratefully, trying not to gag on its terrible taste.
"By the Emperor's black bones..." Jan sat back, a stunned expression on his face.The expression lasted only for a few seconds before a joyous one replaced it and he smiled from ear to ear."Yes, yes, yes!" he hissed cheerfully before leaning forward again, "this is true isn't it?"
Tycho nodded slowly wondering what had gotten into this wizened old man.A gut instinct told him that he could trust him, and even trust Dysune, but he wasn't too sure.He wondered where he was...and though a thought kept nagging at him, he didn't really dwell on it too much.
"Thank you for the wonderful news," Jan patted him on the shoulder, but Tycho couldn't feel too much of it because of the numbing agent in his body."I'll be talking to Urlor Sette, Dysune...see if you can make him comfortable and give him painkillers at every interval," he turned to Dysune before crawling away.
"Painkillers?" Tycho found that speech was a lot easier after the second drink of water, but his mind was still fuzzy for all details.He could sense that there were gaps of memory that he couldn't remember, and everything seemed to be in cobwebs.
"You were beaten badly, kid...the reason you really can't feel anything is because we've pumped at least lots of painkillers into you," Dysune lifted one of his limp arms and Tycho blinked at the masses of bruises and welts on his exposed skin.At least his entire arm was covered with discoloration of the skin.
"Where...am I?" he wondered.
"You're Alderaanian, aren't you?" Dysune didn't answer his question.
"Yes..." he replied in a steady voice.
"Sorry about your planet, kid," Dysune replied with a sincere sadness that confirmed Tycho's suspicion.He had heard many people speak to him about Alderaan because of his accent and could tell the difference between false sincerity and actual sincerity.Dysune's voice was that one of regret...
"Not...your fault," Tycho replied.
"But it is..." Dysune looked resigned, "I...was a part of the Tantive IV crew...Vader captured us above Tatooine and if we had been better...the Princess wouldn't have been captured and Alderaan wouldn't have been blown up..."He trailed off as he withdrew into himself.
But if Alderaan hadn't been blown up...then I'd be one of the Imperial's greatest pilots at this moment...not stuck in this prison.But I wouldn't have met Winter...Wedge...the others...He was tempted to say these things, but he wasn't too sure if anyone who was an Imperial would be listening...He didn't want to give away the people or information that would be a weakness to him.
Instead he settled for repeating his question, "Where am I?"
"Oh..." Dysune looked a bit perturbed but then glanced to somewhere unseen before picking up his limp arm again, "Hmm...I think you need another painkiller soon."
He grabbed something out of the line of vision for Tycho and he saw that it was needle of sorts.Injecting it in his bare arm, he didn't really feel anything, but soon, he could feel his muscles relax.His mind told him to sleep...to get some more rest and he felt himself obliging it.But he realized that Dysune hadn't answered his question and wondered if something was wrong...
As Dysune's face swirled around and faded to darkness, Tycho could hear the nagging voice in his head whisper something like a mantra.
Winter started slightly, her eyes popping open in surprise as she stared for a few seconds, unseen into the darkness that was her temporary quarters.For a second she wondered where she was until she remembered that she was on a mission...on Courscant...tracking down Soontir Fel's wife, Wynssa Starflare.Though not many people knew, she was one of the few people to know that the famous actress Starflare was Wedge Antilles' older sister, Syal.
And she intended for the secret to stay that way.Of all of Cracken's agents here on Courscant, she was the only one who knew Starflare's true identity.Not even her partner, in the guise of Ella Westerly, knew the truth.
She had been given this assignment after Kapp relayed some information to her during the night of the dinner held by Rogue Squadron.She left two days later for Courscant.
There Ella met her and they coordinated information regarding Fel's wife and the general news about the population mood of the planet they had ferreted out.Winter's cover was that was a secretary to one of the highest business administrators.A socialite, her cover was keen to talk to journalists at times, but never gave out any incriminating evidence against her employers.As Miss Wynne Scarisa she was a secretary that knew all, but told rarely.
She rolled off from her bed in the small apartment that was cozy and near the mid-upper levels of the citywide planet, and glided over to the refresher station.Not bothering to close the door behind her, as she was the apartment's only occupant, she splashed some cool water over her face and stared at the stony reflection of herself in the mirror.
Her short white hair was gone, covered up by a tight fashionable dirty-blonde wig that fell in tresses down to her shoulders.Right now it was matted and frayed in different places as sleeping normally did to thick hair.She brushed a lock of dirty-blonde hair away and sighed softly.
Along with the reports and rumors about Ms. Starflare, there were reports of Lusankya agents erupting all over the place.Winter knew that this had to be an after effect of the chaos that had erupted around Ciutric concerning the death of Sate Pestage and the rise of power to Admiral Krennel.Of course only the agents created by Ysanne Isard, Iceheart, would dare show their faces to reclaim order around the Empire and the Imperial capital of Courscant...but those rumors were also enough to bring shivers in Winter's mind.
She fervently hoped that Tycho's mission, wherever it was, did not take him remotely near the Imperial capital.This was a dangerous place to be in.Already, she had been at Courscant for the last month and a few days and just roughly three weeks ago, received a report from Ella that one of their agents had been captured by Imperial forces.
Apparently the code that they had tried to clear didn't work out, alerting the Imps to the agent's position and place.They had tried to find out what had happened to the agent, but nothing came back and Winter knew that after a week of searching the agent would probably never be found.
Blinking, Winter looked at her tired expression for the last time and then headed out of the refresher.She glanced at the bed that she had occupied a few minutes ago and decided that sleep wasn't going to be coming to her easily.Something was bothering her...and she really didn't know what.Focus Winter...focus...
She sat down at the desk that was in her room and switched on the holo-pad, letting the briefs and reports that her boss gave her fill the air above the desk.As Wynne Scarisa, there was a lot of work to be done and she had to hold these over from last night because of a few emergency reports that she had to tag and file away for her boss.Someone in the company expressed high interest in defecting to the New Republic, or Rebel Alliance as they still called it in the Imperial Center, and her boss felt that he needed to shut the worker up.
As security teams were heading up to detain the worker, she had discreetly typed a message to Ella saying to rescue the worker from certain death and to put him to good use for the New Republic.She didn't know the outcome of the mission, but then again, it wasn't her problem anymore.
Another click on the holopad and she brought out the recent report she had been typing.Halfway done, she only needed a few more paragraphs before the thing was completed.Her eyes scanned the files that were appropriate for the report, but Winter didn't need to see the files.With her holographic memory, she knew everything to finish the report, but she did it in case someone was watching her in her apartment.
As she began typing away, her thoughts wandered and she wasn't surprised as her thoughts focused on Tycho.She wondered if his mission was completed already...She had figured out he was sent on a mission a week into her placement into Courscant, but didn't know the nature of it.She guessed it from the way he acted back before she left on her mission.He wasn't usually stressed so badly after a mission, though the attacks in the Tion Cluster were great enough to render some pilots into a state of restlessness; she knew that Tycho would be strong and weather it out.
She wondered if he was back with Rogue Squadron, or maybe the whole of Rogue Squadron had been assigned to the mission, she didn't really know the details, and what was he doing right now.Was he on a short reprieve?Resting and thinking of her?Thinking of his lost family on Alderaan?
During the too few times they had with each other they spent it talking about their lost homeplanet and also about what was in the present and now.They had only made love twice for all the times they were together, but each one was as passionate as if they weren't going to be with each other forever.They never talked of the future for the fear that one day; one of them won't be there to support the other...
Winter wiped her eyes as the holo-projection blurred.She looked in wonderment at the tears that were on her hand.Why was she crying?She didn't cry...at least only twice had she cried...tears for Alderaan and tears for almost losing her love...
She stopped her typing and stared at her hands...Why at this time did she feel unease for Tycho?She glanced out into the planet's night skyline...Tycho...can you hear me?
*Cackles evilly* So love torturing peeps in their minds and stuff.Wait till the next few chapters...things are gonna get worse.Hee hee...Shadow Chaser signing off...4/21/03.I would like to thank Cathy Rowsell for supporting me in this fic.I would also like to thank all those who reviewed!I am so on a writing streak!^_^x