I still remember the smile when you tore me apart- Part 1- Taken.

The hour was late, she’d sent her guards off some time ago assuring them that the paperwork would pose no threat to her. The trooper had nodded, though he’d seemed unsure. She’d sent him off with a wave of her hand, the stylus poised between her fingers telling him to have a good night.  The paperwork might not be a threat to her, but the words on them could be. The people responsible for keeping things funded and afloat for the Republic to continue to function on Voss had wanted reports on everything from the supplies she ordered to the  food they ate to even how many fuel cells were used.

Everything was to be accounted for down to the last man or woman who fought or worked under the Republics banner. Caer had not realized this when she’d taken the massive task of being the Ambassador to the Republic for Voss, and worse it felt like she had been given no preparation on how to deal with all the paperwork as well as the meetings and the other little things that added up quickly. That wasn’t even to speak about having to deal with Kruven or Kyic; both of who she had opposing opinions on. Kruven was smooth, charming and every bit the diplomat and politician as to in Caer’s opinion, Kyic was only useful in terms of being a giant Sith meat shield for the Empire. She saw little in terms of redeeming qualities in the brute.

Sighing, she signed off on yet another order for medical supplies, staunchly refusing to allow a bunch of stuffy shirted idiots who probably never knew what it was like to see a man bleed out in a field let alone never had more than a cut on their finger tell her how many bacta patches she could or should have there. Besides, Caer didn’t particularly give a damn one way or another when it came to what the Senate particularly wanted. Her troopers came first, her people came first. Damn what some bureaucrat wanted. Tucking the data pads away into a safe, she shut the mag-seal door and slumped against her seat. Her senses told her it was well past dark; she considered coming up one of the troopers for that escort they usually insisted on then realized they were likely bunked for the night and that anyone sane on Voss would be in bed or supremely drunk by now. Well, no help for that now. Besides it wasn’t as if there was anything going on that would cause her any issue she couldn’t handle herself.  That and she could really use a drink, and who knew maybe someone might be in the Diner to chat with before she turned in.

Making sure the office was locked up, Caer headed down the lit pathway, where a few Voss guards nodded in curt greeting to the woman, Caer nodding back before turning down the path that would end at the Diner.  The Port Nesh Diner was always open, night and day and Caer was grateful for that due to her odd hours and the company she tended to keep.

This night there were only a few patrons, a couple Voss who were having a quiet discussion in one corner and two other humanoids speaking  to one another, pausing when Caer entered the room. They regarded her with a cool expression before turning back to their drinks. Caer regarded their auras for a moment, noting that they didn’t seem out of the ordinary from anyone else.  The two Voss chatting in the corner nodded in greeting to Caer, she recognized them as students of some sort and was likely discussing Voss philosophies in preparation for some sort of test or whatever it was they did. Their unique vocalizations carried over the near silence of the Diner.

Approaching the bar she smiled to Saligon who greeted her somewhat gruffly- though she knew that it wasn’t anything personal. He greeted most gruffly. “What’ll it be tonight, Ambassador.”
“Just a small slice of cake and my usual wine, Saligon.” She responded warmly. Despite his gruff sounding voice, he was normally a pretty decent guy, for a Bith anyways.

While waiting for the server to return with her ordered items she removed herself to the couch she favored when visiting.  Saligon had the droid send the drink and food and she slid her credit voucher for it to be charged to her account before settling in to attempt to relax before the long walk back to her quarters so she could sleep.

“Excuse me.” A man of indeterminable age approached her. Caer couldn’t tell exactly what species he was other than humanoid and he spoke refined basic. He could have easily been Corellian or something else, not that it mattered. Caer spoke to anyone when they approached her at the Diner, whether it was Ambassador Kruven himself or one of the Voss workers.

Caer nodded to the man and offered them a tired and genuine smile. “Greetings, how can I help you?”

“I heard that bartender there say you are the Ambassador?” The man gestured to Saligon who’d gone into deep clean mode, obsessively cleaning the bar counter as if he could possibly purge all evil from the galaxy by rubbing the bar counter down to nothing.  Caer suppressed a smile and nodded.

“Yes, I am Ambassador Caer Estherian.”  The Miraluka sat up a bit more, trying to at least look somewhat more professional than her slouching position would indicate.  Caer immediately noticed the man had a light scent about him, as if he did his best to mask how he smelled to others, lacking most people’s smells of heavy sweat, armor oils, weapon oils or the other assorted types of scents most sentient beings possessed. She did notice however, he seemed to have a light scent of something sweet on him, as if he carried possible  hard candies that were sometimes favored by the troopers she knew.

The man regarded her with silence for a moment before taking a seat across from her in one of the other chairs without her saying anything. When he spoke, his voice was cultured and somewhat soft; It was clear he was educated and came from a rich background. “Greetings, just the person I was looking for. I have been seeking someone here who would be willing to possibly assist me. You see, I have been stuck here on Voss for weeks with no way to contact my people.”

Caer regarded the man, watching his aura through the force, and she nodded as she listened, noting that his aura only fluctuated slightly. He wasn’t telling the entire truth, she realized. He obviously wanted something and she started to come up with a dozen of the standard responses she’d been told to give when these sorts of things came up.  Before she even opened her mouth the man spoke again.

“I know as an Ambassador that you cannot do much other than direct me to the port master and perhaps submit certain forms, but you have to understand, I have someone very near and dear to me on Coruscant that I need to see immediately. I fear she is dying and I want to at least have a chance to say goodbye before she goes.”  He spoke quickly, his tone full of sorrow and desperation, the man’s voice wavering only slightly as he fought to keep the control he seemed to barely have over his emotions. Caer instantly felt bad for the man and sighed inwardly.  She hated this part of her job and she wished that she could just say that she was sorry but she wasn’t on the clock. Unfortunately, being an Ambassador meant that she had to be there for the people no matter the time of day or night.

“I’m sorry, but I cannot do anything. I hope you understand, but the most I can do is try and see about getting you onto the next passenger shuttle but that is days away yet.” Caer took on as much of a sympathetic expression as she could yet remain neutral.

The man nodded and tried not to look taken aback but Caer could tell through the way the force shifted around him, he was annoyed, upset and generally the standard emotions of a man who had just been told no. He got to his feet awkwardly and bowed to Caer. “Forgive me I had hoped, but I understand.”

Caer bowed her head and murmured an apology; she did feel bad and frustrated that her hands were tied. She watched him shuffle off out the door without any other commentary before she took a final swallow of her wine and got to her own feet. She nodded to Saligon, who was now the only person in the Diner besides herself. The other patrons had left at some point during the rather brief conversation with the man who Caer now realized she had never learned the name of.

Waving to Saligon, she made her way outside, where the cool night air hit her. It felt good and she smiled to herself as she made her way down the path and towards the bridge that would lead her to the area where her quarters were. It seemed like a pretty good night to enjoy a walk to her quarters in the warm night air.  Taking her time, she thought about the day and how much she’d accomplished and the conversation with Neirov and Raiyden she’d had. They’d even gotten a meditation session in.

Punching in the code that would allow her access to her quarters she paused as she sensed another presence. Frowning slightly, her fingers brushing against the hilt of her saber as the door slid open to allow her into her darkened quarters.

Caer had no time to react or cry out as a body flung itself at her, a fist connecting with the side of her head, jarring her ‘vision’. She grunted and opened her mouth to call for help, when another blow to her face silenced her. Caer only hoped that the noise this person was making trying to take her down would draw the curiosity of the Voss guards.

As Caer fumbled for her saber, willing it to her hands through the force a second aura entered her field of vision. The man from the Diner! She snarled as she wrestled with her first attacker for her saber, the being sitting atop of her and aiming well placed blows to her head, disrupting her ‘vision’.  The second man- Candy man as she called him leaned down and plucked the saber from her grasp.  Effectively disarming her yes, but that didn’t mean she was without her own tricks.

Summoning up the force, she placed her palms against the first man’s chest and used the force to push. Caught off guard, he grunted and flew backwards, slamming into the door. The second man was on her in a second, something sharp and painful jabbing into her neck as he inserted a needled into her neck. Caer froze, her fear of needles momentarily overriding her fight or flight instincts.

It was enough for the first man to come back, shaking his head dazedly side to side and grab her ankles while Candy man tossed the injector into the grass nearby and grasp her arms.

“She’ll be out in three minutes.”  She heard Candy man say. The other man nodded, saying nothing at all.

Caer tried to speak, but was quickly gagged  by a cloth pulled from the Candy man’s pocket that smelled of the same candy like smell. She counted the seconds which turned into minutes as they hauled her back towards a rocky outcropping behind the place she was staying at. One minute turned into two, two turned into three and eventually six minutes passed before Caer even started feeling the effects of the stuff they gave her.

In the interim, Caer heard no conversation pass between them, she could not figure out what direction they were going in. The last thing Caer remembered was being loaded onto a ship that smelled distinctly sanitized before the drug he gave her took hold of her.

Her last coherent thought was of Neirov and Raiyden, knowing they’d be waiting for her to return.

Caer fell into darkness, succumbing to unconsciousness and into the hands of someone who had just taken the Ambassador off of Voss undetected.


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