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Sep 17, 2019 4:17 PM
Apprentice Deskyl and WWII Jean
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No. No. No no no no no no no. She's only barely recovered from last time they took her; she can't let them take her again.

If she draws her saber, she'll die. There's no doubt in her mind about that, outnumbered as she is and with her master right there. There's nothing she can do; he knows it, they know it, she knows it. They wouldn't do this any other way.

The flash of inspiration is more like a memory; the floating, disconnected kind that sometimes linger after... whatever it is that they do to her. It's never been quite like this before, but - she reaches into the Force, nudges it just so...

 

The burst of feedback - fear and rage and terror - overwhelms her; she reels, barely keeping her feet, distantly aware of the shouting, of her droid stepping forward to steady her. She ignores it as best she can, and continues nudging at the Force, carefully, carefully...

And then, suddenly, she's elsewhere.

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There's a small room with a bed and a desk and the floor strewn with papers and empty bottles, and a man sitting on the one chair working his way through a bottle with an attitude more of resolution than indulgence.

He doesn't react to her appearance.

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She staggers, catching herself ungracefully on the bed and then bouncing back to her feet in a way that suggests a rather more casual relationship with physics than most people manage to have.

She peers suspiciously at the man for a moment, then gestures to the silver robot that appeared behind her; the robot asks a question in an entirely unfamiliar language.

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He finishes his glass before apparently deciding that she is at least more interesting to look at than the bottom of it.

"And whose sister are you?" he asks, wearily. (In French, not that she'd know.)

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She squints, cocking her head consideringly. Then she takes a deep breath, looks into the middle distance, and - he's not drunk, any more.

She gestures to the robot again; the robot repeats her question.

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He glances between her and the glass and makes a face.

"What is the point," he asks, not particularly directed to her, "of getting drunk, if one just passes out and proceeds to dream of being sober?"

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She sits on the bed and closes her eyes.

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He doesn't object to this. (He does refill his glass and start back in on it.)

"And where," he asks, this time mostly in the robot's direction, "does Hel here come into--"

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She starts signing when he begins to talk.

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He stops short and throws the glass in his hand against the opposite wall.

It shatters. He stares blankly at the pieces.

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She startles at the noise; her hand goes automatically to the saber at her belt even before her eyes are open. She stops short of drawing it, though, peering irritably at him instead.

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He definitely noticed the motion. He's looking at her with a new intensity.

She doesn't need to speak his language to tell that what he says next translates more or less to I dare you.

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Really.

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"Coward. Fucking tease. Haven't got it in you to follow through..."

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She's very fast, and he's up against the wall with her hand around his neck; he can breathe, but not easily.

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He doesn't resist. He doesn't even bother trying to breathe.

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He'll pass out that much more quickly, then.

She lays him on the bed, takes his place in the chair, and directs the droid to search the room for books; she's asleep almost before she finishes the sentence.

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There are a few. All of them are well-read, but stacked neatly -- the only things in the room to be treated so carefully -- and most of them have brown paper cut to size and folded over them to protect the bindings. Les Fleurs du mal; Salomé; La Dame aux Camélias; Notre Dame des Fleurs; two issues of a newspaper headed Combat, preserved with care equal to the books.

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She begins looking through them, handling them carefully. She can, with some time, pick up a fair amount of things about the language that way - grammar, syntax, a bit of vocabulary, even some simple things about how it might be pronounced.

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She has time. He slips seamlessly from unconscious to asleep, breathing slow and even.

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She reads quickly, but not so quickly as to finish all four books before he wakes.

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When he does, he sits up, considers the continued presence of his two visitors, and commences giving her a crash course in French pronunciation by way of muttering an extended string of curses under his breath.

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That is, in fact, useful, but she's too busy waking her companion to make immediate use of it.

Soon the woman is sitting up, and once again he's neither drunk nor hung over.

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He appears to be resigned to his mysterious companions.

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The woman again closes her eyes, and this time the droid asks him: "Talk to us?"

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"Pouvons-nous étouffer le vieux, le long Remords,
Qui vit, s'agite et se tortille
Et se nourrit de nous comme le ver des morts,
Comme du chêne la chenille?
Pouvons-nous étouffer l'implacable Remords?"

(She may recognize this from one of his books. How can we choke the old and long Remorse/Which lives, and squirms, and fights/And feeds on us as worms upon a corpse,/Or, on the oak, its mites?/How can we choke the old and long Remorse?)

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