With the power of conviction, there is no sacrifice.

<The Estherian Estate, Alpheridies.>

This bloody road remains a mystery. 
This sudden darkness fills the air. 
What are we waiting for ? 
Won’t anybody help us ? 
What are we waiting for ? 
We can’t afford to be innocent 
Stand up and face the enemy. 
It’s a do or die situation – we will be invincible.

Caer sat with her back against the wall, Toms arm draped around her shoulder grinning as they watched everyone interact in the same room. Neirov and Dyme chuckling and teasing one another, Xaishen and Raiyden chatting quietly over a couple of books.  Ayliah chatting animatedly with Arten about something Miraluka related and Arten listening avidly as the younger Seeker in training gestured about something or another.  Kheniath, Remi and Lato were nowhere to be seen; Caer assuming that each of them had found their own pursuits of leisure.

Idyllic. So idyllic that Caer had a moment of gut clenching panic that it wasn’t real and that this was some trick of Anubis to lull her into a false sense of security. She looked around slowly as if expecting the shadows to begin writhing and twisting, revealing the face behind the painted mask.

Raiyden looked up at her with concern and she gave a soft shake of her head as he sent a brush of query to her mind, the twins concern coloring his voice in her mind. She assured him she was fine, that she just had a moment and that was all. She somewhat pointedly ignored Toms question murmured in her ear, giving him a soft “I’m fine” before breaking into a strained grin as Dyme and Neirov mock battled in their new living quarters.

Idyllic.

Caer was content to take it for as long as it lasted.  The chance to breathe without worrying if someone was hurting or suffering was a weight off her chest and it felt strange to feel the freedom she did. Strange but not unwelcome in the slightest.  Her brother was healing and recovering with the aid of their little family both related and not related and she was proud of how well he stood up to the weaknesses he felt. She knew that Raiyden loathed any weakness in himself, never minding the weaknesses in others.

Her shoulders relaxed as Tom gently massaged her upper arm, sometimes making comment to the silliness that was happening around them. Raiyden and Xaishen throwing wads of paper at the various people hanging out in what was called the living room. A nice large room with several couches, chairs and a fireplace that was against one wall. Regular lighting had been put in for those with eyes and Caer was happy to see people taking advantage of the room. Fresh cut flowers gave the room a nice sweet smell that wasn’t over powering. Large rugs adorned the floor making the room seem cozy and well lived in without looking messy.  Pillows were strewn about on the various couches and blankets lay folded along the arms and backs of the couches for anyone who felt chilled.

She heard the small chime of the holo-mail on her datapad and frowned a little. The only people who had any reason now days to even contact her were all in the room or in the house.  Pushing away from Tomuraan she excused herself and said she wold be right back. Most did not take notice and so she slipped out of the room unquestioned.

Tugging the device from her pocket, she switched it to the receive message and arched her brows in surprise at the untagged holo. It was highly unusual for her to receive something and she half wondered for a moment if it was from her sister Lyrae’a or maybe a council summons for a mission.

It was neither.

“Hey… Theres no easy way to say this. If you’re getting this message I’m either dead… Or worse. I’m hoping if you’re reading this I’m dead. Forgive me if I’m sending this to all four of you with the same holo. This is hard enough to make as it is. Making it four times would be.”

Caer listened to the message the contentment she felt just a few scant moments ago ebbing from her body like heat leaving the body in the middle of a blizzard. Her stomach clenched and she bit down on her tongue to keep from swearing out loud.  The lump in her throat rose up along with the hint of bile as she forced herself to breathe again. She hadn’t even realized she’d been holding her breath.

“I’ve some details that will need taking care of. I’ll be sending each of you a packet of information. Its not much, and I ask that you please take care of it. I’ll love and miss you all. Great Skipper guide your trails to great fortune. Oakfell out.”

The beep of an attached text message almost didn’t register as she pressed a hand against the wall her arms shaking as she tried to absorb what she’d just heard.  She quickly read the text that had been sent to her and only her and she felt the lump rise in her throat again.

Sure her and Oakfell had never really gotten along. Both had been horribly pig headed and stubborn and looking back now she realized that he could have been a great ally if she had just moved past his stubborn nature.

But Caer remembered a night in particular. It stood out stark in her mind to the point that she could almost smell the bar on Nar Shaddaa and the smell of questionably washed bodies around her.  She could almost hear the voices around her of various conversations.  She recalled the conversation between her and Hud, recalling he’d reached out to her for help and in those days… those days where she wasn’t bitter, full of suspicion and dare she say it, hate, that she’d taken him back to her ship to recover from his latest round of alcohol induced rage and self pity. He’d trusted her and she had trusted him to be alone with her.

He had trusted her.

Caer exhaled and padded quietly towards the exit and jogged towards where the ships were all landed on the private property. The Miraluka at the door didn’t question her as she went inside, and boarded her ship. She made her way up the stairs, waving off the droids greeting and heading to her sleeping quarters. Opening up the cupboard, she dug through the back of it until her fingers brushed against a box. Pushing aside the other boxes that held various trinkets from her travels she pulled the box to her and held it in both hands.

It was such a small box, not really any bigger than her hand. It was a soft silver color and held no markings or anything to indicate what was inside. Using her left hand she gently- mindful that she still had trouble with the cybernetic- pried the box lid open and stared at it’s contents.

There was only one thing inside of the box really and he had given to her all those nights ago. Before Voss, before Tomuraan, before anything that had led up to the current events.

The little control box was a simple thing and the only reason she saw it at all was because she had imprinted her force presence on it so she could see it.

“If I ever … y’know… if ever somethin’ goes really wrong… i want ya to push that. You hear me? It’s th’only way to stop me.” His slightly drunken slurring echoed in her mind. “I’m trusting you.”

Caer clenched the box in her hand and bowed her head, her jaw clenching with the sorrow that clawed up her throat. She shook her head and growled at her own ridiculous behavior.  He might not even be dead, she reasoned with herself. He might just be in a boat load of trouble and that would mean that she would need to do the right thing.

Shoving the controller back into the box she stuck it back into the cupboard and shut the door.

Hudgaar would need help.

Turning back, she headed out and walked back towards the house where the other were waiting. She’d just have to find a way to convince the others that it was necessary to save a man who she had once acted so childishly towards.

So soon, too soon. Caer prayed to the gods that they would understand.

 

Won’t anybody help us ? 
What are we running for when there’s nowhere 

Nowhere we can run to anymore ? 
We can’t afford to be innocent 
Stand up and face the enemy. 
It’s a do or die situation – we will be invincible. 
And with the power of conviction there is no sacrifice. 
It’s a do or die situation – we will be invincible. 

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