Warning: The following chapter contains mature subject matter, which may be triggering to some readers. Reading discretion is advised.
Relsor watched the holomonitor, as Perce entered the room where Knarf was being held in stasis. He looked up at Knarf. Knarf scrunched his nose at him.
‘Are you scoffing at me?’ said Perce. ‘What’s that for?’ Knarf shrugged. ‘Now, tell me, you locked me into that room back there when you and your friends were on your rescue mission to free Clan Leader Talyc.’ Perce pointed his thumb in a diagonal direction. ‘How did you do it?’ Knarf gave no reply. ‘Answer me!’
‘I’m not talking to you, Perce,’ said Knarf. ‘I’ll only speak to Relsor.’
‘Relsor.’ Perce narrowed his eyes, looking up at the holocam Relsor was seeing through. ‘Fine.’
Perce stormed out of the room, and shortly after entered the monitor room, his anger and impatience oozing from every cell in his body. Relsor could barely contain his laughter. Perce gave him a pointed stare.
‘Well, you heard,’ he said quickly. ‘You talk to him.’ He stormed off.
Relsor left the monitor room and made for Knarf’s holding cell.
‘You know,’ he said upon entering, ‘if you all behave well, you might earn yourselves the right to be unbound from stasis and just be imprisoned in these rooms.’
‘That would be more comfortable, yes.’
‘So why do you only want to talk to me?’ asked Relsor, genuinely curious.
‘Well because I respect you,’ replied Knarf matter-of-factly.
‘Well, yeah!’ He made it sound as though it should be obvious. ‘I have no respect for Perce. The man can’t even slice through something I threw up in a few seconds, which should have taken him so much less time to slice through. It was just a small thing to slow you down, really. And then there’s me who can slice through anything he programs. He’s a pretender; I have no respect for people like him. A pretend-slicer and a pretend-Sith! Whereas you, well, you trained me for a time. Sure, I deceived you, but then you deceived me too, so we’re even on that front.’ Relsor nodded slowly, actually agreeing somewhat.
‘Despite the fact that we’re enemies,’ Knarf went on, ‘you were still my master for a time. Our level of deceit is equal: you thought I had turned to the dark side, my illusion for you; I thought I had killed you, your illusion for me. Regardless what else I might think of you, we share a bond that Shadie, Brenum and Trylia don’t have with you, because it’s the bond an apprentice shares with his master, that I as your once apprentice share with you, my once master. You taught me things, important things I will always remember. You can be the worst criminal in the entire galaxy, if you speak truth, who am I to ignore that truth?’
Knarf paused and Relsor pondered his words. Then he concluded.
‘So, it doesn’t matter that we’re not on the same side of the war or that we’re trying to kill each other; I respect you, and that’s that.’
Relsor thought a moment more. This was interesting indeed. He did feel a certain bond with Knarf, one he did not have with the others. He had acknowledged this bond to himself; that Knarf felt the same way pleased him greatly.
‘Do you miss my training?’ he asked.
Knarf contemplated. ‘Sometimes, I must admit,’ he said. ‘Shadie can be, I don’t know, rigid, at times, demanding. And Talyc doesn’t have the Force, despite the Mandalorian training having prepared me for yours. I do appreciate the time I learnt from you, it was very valuable to me.’
‘You know, Knarf, I want to believe you, but you lied to me in the past.’
‘I know, Relsor. But I was lying mostly to Gourd. He was the target of my deception, truly.’
Relsor pondered that. He could still teach Knarf, use him, somehow, if he was willing.
‘What are you saying exactly, Knarf?’
‘I’d like us to set our differences aside and be civil with each other, let bygones be bygones. I’m not saying I’ll be on your side or anything like that, but while I’m here, we might as well enjoy the relationship we have with each other, one of master and apprentice. I’m not asking you to train me, since we’re not on the same side, but I wouldn’t mind if you desired it. Help me better myself through your teachings.’
Relsor let out a one breath laugh and shook his head. ‘Oh, Knarf, I want to believe you, I truly do.’
Relsor stared at Knarf intently. He could have him again as his apprentice. Knarf wouldn’t turn on Shadie, but maybe they could both turn to the dark side. Knarf was craving Relsor’s teachings, which was already a step in the right direction as far as he was concerned, but there was that doubt that Knarf was lying and he could not, nor would not, take any chances.
‘What can I do to prove to you I’m being genuine right now,’ asked Knarf, clearly sensing Relsor’s inner conflict. ‘As long as it doesn’t involve me hurting my friends, I’m willing to do what it takes.’
‘Oh, there is something,’ said Relsor, rubbing his chin. ‘You can tell me, and instruct Perce, how you sliced my uncle’s superlasers to implode on themselves, to shoot inwards and destroy my uncle’s ship.’
‘Planning a test of some sort?’ asked Knarf.
Relsor thought quickly, he could tell Knarf the truth and sense if he was onboard with proving himself or not. He decided to test his former apprentice and sense him through the Force.
‘If you must know, I plan on sending Supreme Chancellor Emain a message, hopefully one that will see his end.’
Knarf nodded very slowly, then more quickly with what seemed to be understanding. Relsor reached out to him with the Force and sensed that Knarf was not alarmed or disappointed, but truly wanted to be Relsor’s apprentice again and that was at the forefront of his emotions. If Knarf had previously lied because of Gourd, then Relsor perhaps could take that chance, now sensing Knarf’s conviction. If Knarf went through with his plan and brought it to full fruition, then Relsor would know and he could apprentice Knarf once more.
‘I understand,’ said Knarf. ‘It’s because of those ships the Supreme Chancellor was planning on sending as an ambush, isn’t it? Fair enough. Let me gather my thoughts and see how this can be completed in the most effective way possible.’
Knarf closed his eyes and hummed, as though pondering.
* * *
There was a clicking sound coming from the corner of the bunker. Fane looked around, lifting his cards, glancing from Talyc to Lian. Talyc smiled at his man who simply blinked back. The three of them had been at the same game of Sabaac for hours, no clear winner yet, but it had lightened the mood, after all that Chiss and Force talk they had had earlier. Talyc was glad they could relax without worrying about the Force for a bit. There was another series of clicks.
‘What is that?’ Fane asked. Talyc looked around; Lian shrugged. It clicked again, repeatedly this time.
Talyc suddenly realised. ‘My helmet!’ Fane called it with the Force and placed in on the table. Talyc pressed a key inside and then listened while a voice spoke through the comchannel.
‘Okay, so let me repeat this once more just to be sure I have this down right, so that I can do this for you without any flaws.’ It was Knarf’s voice; it sounded far, and not very loud. Talyc held his breath. ‘Without me actually doing it, you want me to instruct Perce how to slice the superlasers in the shuttle, so that they detonate upon command. You’ll be watching from a holoscreen when the Supreme Chancellor enters to investigate, as the distress signal will specify the decoy will only speak directly to him before exiting the shuttle. The detonation will have to be timed precisely, but the decoy will have to be remote if they don’t wish to be killed in the blast, and the superlasers will have to be programmed to detonate without delay, and simultaneously. Given they’ll be very close together, they can’t destroy each other, because it could stifle a detonation and that might cause a delay or a malfunction and then Emain could survive the blast. So they have to be programmed to detonate with each other, as though they are all one massive superlaser, rather than several of them.’
‘I know it’s a bit more than what you did with my uncle’s weapons,’ they heard Relsor’s voice saying, ‘but you’re the best slicer I know. Even Perce can’t deny that. Do this, and then I can watch Emain die.’
‘And then I’ll have proven to you I was telling you the truth,’ said Knarf conclusively.
The helmet clicked and it went silent.
‘Did he use the Force to power on the internal comchannel?’ asked Lian.
‘The barve so did!’ exclaimed Talyc, his excitement mounting. ‘He’s got something up his sleeves. An idiot’s array. We can’t let his plan go to dust, or he’ll be space dust next. He’s clearly using Relsor.’ Talyc shivered. Hearing Relsor’s voice had brought on a wave of dread.
‘You okay?’ asked Fane.
‘Yes, his voice, just…’ Talyc trailed off, attempting to stop his thoughts from continuing in the direction of trauma-based memories.
Fane nodded as he stood up. He walked to the console, Lian and Talyc right behind him, and called Supreme Chancellor Emain.
‘Supreme Chancellor,’ said Fane.
‘Please, Emain will do. What can I do for you at this late hour?’ Fane looked back at the others.
‘Knarf used the Force to activate his helmet’s comchannel for a brief moment, enough for us to hear a conversation between him and Relsor. He wants to prove himself to Relsor, I think he’s planning something. In order to prove himself, he plans on slicing some superlasers in a shuttle. The plan is for you to enter the shuttle and die.’
‘Oh, my!’ Emain didn’t sound worriedbut rather intrigued.
‘Do you have any impersonator droids available? It’s imperative that Knarf’s word is proven true to Relsor. He had us hear that for a reason, and together we can ensure that the plan fails, but appears to be a success.’
‘Yes, well, Shadie did assure me that if I heard anything as though they were turning on the Republic or the Jedi, that it would be part of their ruse. This is good!’ Emain sounded excited. ‘As a matter of fact I do have a droid. I have just the droid!’
* * *
‘But sir, I will be turned to scrap, melted!’
‘Hush now,’ said Emain, ‘you’ve been wanting an upgrade for years. I have your memory core duplicated as a precaution and everything’s in place. Just look like me and sound like me. We’ll have you back up and running in no time and you’ll remember the whole thing. I understand that as a droid who impersonates me, you must retain all your memories. I have ensured extra backup to avoid any mishaps. I promise you, Eight-Oh, you’ll be fine.’ Emain looked up at Jedi Josur, as he approached. ‘Good, you’ve arrived. Any word from our friends on Tython?’
The Mirialan shook his head. ‘Not yet. Fane has not sensed it Relsor’s thoughts recently, meaning the plan isn’t yet in place, not fully.’ Emain began to walk with Jedi Josur. ‘However, the transport is ready for us to hide in and the Jedi have a bunker waiting for us on Tython.’
‘Good,’ said Emain. ‘I’d love the chance to fool Perce, just like he fooled me for so long.’
‘Relsor and Perce will be none the wiser,’ said Josur. ‘They’ll think you’re dead, for as long as Shadie remains a captive. When Shadie and Knarf, Brenum and Trylia, have been freed, then we can reveal to the galaxy that you are indeed still alive.’
‘Whatever they are planning out there on Relsor’s ship, they must be able to succeed,’ said Emain. He stopped walking and turned to face Josur. ‘I know they have the galaxy’s best interest at heart. If pretending I’m dead can help defeat Relsor and Perce in some minor way, I’m all for it.’ He started walking again. ‘It’s high time they be put to justice.’
* * *
‘All seems in place,’ said Perce. Relsor stood next to him, holding Knarf in a Force stasis, though a mild one in order to allow Knarf to move his arms. Knarf was watching and instructing Perce. It was simpler than through any monitors.
‘You’ve misaligned the second superlaser,’ said Knarf.
‘What?’ Perce turned his head to look at Knarf.
‘Line 17 of the code.’ Knarf pointed at it. ‘Remove this part and replace it with what you have down here.’
Perce rolled his eyes, but turned back and obliged. Relsor laughed in amusement. Knarf was giving Perce orders and Relsor was loving it.
‘You’re enjoying this way too much,’ said Perce complaintively.
‘You talking to me or to Relsor,’ said Knarf, ‘because, I assure you, my Master and I both share the same feelings regarding this situation: amusement.’
‘Already calling him your master? He hasn’t even accepted you as his apprentice yet.’
‘Yes, he has,’ said Knarf. ‘Look, just because we’ve been at war, doesn’t mean I stopped being his apprentice. We’ve just rekindled the relationship, but I was always his apprentice. He’s the only master I’ve ever had.’
‘Shadie’s not your master?’
‘She’s my Lady, not the same thing. I obey her because, well, be with a woman long enough and you learn quickly to obey her commands. Though that part is more mutual, of course. It has many great benefits.’ Perce turned to look at them, incredulous. Relsor smiled. Knarf was smirking, his mouth ajar.
‘I know what you mean,’ said Relsor. ‘If we want passion from our woman, we must yield at times.’
‘Don’t let Jassahmi hear you say that,’ said Perce.
‘Oh?’ Knarf looked on, Relsor could sense his interest had been peaked. ‘Why is that?’
‘Jassahmi is not the woman I obey and never will be,’ said Relsor. ‘The source of my passion is gone and we will not speak of the matter further.’
Knarf nodded. Relsor was not ready to reveal any deep secrets to Knarf. He felt annoyed; Perce had overstepped his ground. At least his apprentice knew his place. Relsor thought back to what Talyc had told him regarding Perce. Perhaps the Mandalorian had had a point, but Relsor could trust Perce. He would have to ensure to keep him in line.
‘Everything is set…now.’ Perce wiped his hands on themselves.
‘Good,’ said Relsor. He sensed Knarf’s turmoil. ‘Something troubles you, my apprentice?’
‘Well, I’ve not told Shadie. She’s going to be very upset.’
‘That is a good thing, yes?’ Perce smiled slyly.
‘Perce!’ Relsor stared at him a long time. What was he playing at?
‘Wait,’ said Knarf, ‘why would you want Shadie to feel anger? Towards me? This is not part of our agreement. I’m to prove to you my trust, but I said I would not do it if it meant hurting either Shadie, Trylia or Brenum.’
Relsor pressed his lips together and inwards. He had to fix this, and he knew the way to fix this was not something he liked.
‘You may tell Shadie about the plan,’ he told Knarf. ‘I will give you five minutes with her.’
‘Will I be able to speak with her properly?’
‘If you mean without stasis, then yes.’ Relsor let Knarf go in the Force. The Jedi landed on the floor, bracing his impact. ‘Follow me.’ Relsor glanced at Perce as they exited the room. When they arrived at the where Shadie was being held, he sent lightning towards Shadie’s stasis pylons and released her from their hold. ‘Five minutes.’
Relsor left them and returned to Perce. ‘What are you playing at?’
‘I’m doing you a favour!’ said Perce.
‘By revealing my secrets to Knarf?’
‘No, now he has to tell Shadie himself what he is doing to her Republic, to prove to you he wants to be your apprentice. How do you think that’s going to go?’
Relsor pondered that a moment. ‘I hadn’t thought of that.’ Relsor smiled internally. ‘I’m still annoyed at you, Perce.’
‘I’m used to it.’
* * *
Knarf took Shadie in his arms and kissed her fiercely. ‘My Lady! My gorgeous Lady.’
‘My handsome mister.’ Shadie looked around. ‘So what’s this all about?’
‘I need to prove to Relsor that I’m telling the truth in wanting to be his apprentice again.’
Shadie nodded, sensing the cunning plan. ‘Go on.’
‘He wants me to slice some of his superlasers to implode in on themselves in a shuttle to kill the Supreme Chancellor.’
‘We can’t let that happen! You have to rig it.’
‘I can’t rig it,’ said Knarf, ‘I had to instruct Perce. It has to look legitimate.’ Shadie shook her head, her heart beating fast with worry. “Had” implied it had already been done. Knarf brought her in really close and held her, pressing his face in her hair. He whispered. ‘I’ve managed to use the Force on my helmet while I spoke with Relsor about the plan. I heard Talyc hit the activation on his helmet. It was subtle, I was humming, it passed unnoticed.’ Her questions being answered, Shadie squeezed Knarf gently in acknowledgement. ‘I know that at least he heard the details. They can help ensure the plan works, looks real, but save Emain.’ Shadie closed her eyes. Knarf continued. ‘Perce revealed a few interesting tidbits Relsor didn’t want me to find out. As his apprentice, I can know more. I think he wants to turn you to the dark side.’
‘I’ve been suspecting that too,’ Shadie whispered.
‘We can do this, my love.’ He pulled away gently, taking her face in his hands. He kissed her again. ‘I love you. I’m sorry, but it’s already been done. The supreme Chancellor will die.’
‘Why?’ said Shadie, trying to act as shocked as she could, letting the worry she had felt be heard in her voice.
‘Because he’s my apprentice once more,’ said Relsor entering the room, ‘for real this time.’
Shadie was angry and shocked that they were thus interrupted, so she let that surface.
‘I’m sorry,’ said Knarf.
‘I’m sorry too,’ said Shadie. She pushed him away with the Force, knowing he’d know she was apologising for acting upset.
‘Behave, Shadie!’ Relsor lifted her with the Force and put her back in stasis. ‘If you do, I may let you spar with your friends as an exercise for my apprentice.’ Shadie took a deep breath and nodded. ‘There’s a good Jedi.’
‘I’m sorry, my love.’ Knarf looked so handsome, he was being so brave.
Relsor turned to go and commanded Knarf to follow. Shadie closed her eyes, relieved and worried at the same time.
“Healers of the Force” is written by Celinka Serre (2021).
Disclaimer: The Characters in this Fan-Fiction are new and have original names. The story is an original written work. The story is derivative and consistent of Fan-Fiction since it borrows the franchise world of Star Wars. Certain jargon and places, or concepts mentioned, along with the SW Old Republic universe belong to Lucasfilm Ltd. and Disney. No characters or story lines from the films are used. No story lines or characters from the games or books are used. A handful of characters from the games may be referenced, but are not the main focus in this fanfic story. This fan-fiction story falls under Fair Use.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.