Attira — Marauder, the Alliance Commander, married Malavai Quinn
Nayel — Sorcerer, her right hand, Malavai’s cousin, romances Theron
Mili — Operative, Malavai’s younger brother
Nil’awr — Attira and Malavai’s son, six-year-old at the time of the story
The story is written with the assumption that my Sith Warrior (Attira) is the Outlander, not my Inquisitor (Nayel). He worked for her on Odessen.
Note #2: Since it turned out no companions return in KOTET at all, this story takes place after the end of KOTFE, but before KOTET. I refused to believe Malavai Quinn is so stupid that he can’t find his wife, in spite of actively searching for her, after the whole galaxy knows where she is.
A few months later Malavai’s return was announced, so the story is now completely defunct. Still, it’s a look at “what could have been”.
“Where are you going?”
Attira turned to look at Lana. “To find him,” she simply answered.
“You can’t leave!”
“The immediate threat has been stopped. There are people to deal with new recruits. There are people to run the daily matters. Nayel will take care of things in my absence. I was taught a general does not micromanage.” She turned away, and resumed her walk.
“You can’t leave!”
Attira span on her heel furiously, and glared into Beniko’s eyes. “Stop me, I dare you, stop me!” she shouted angrily, her hand hovering dangerously near her lightsaber.
Lana surprisingly didn’t say anything. Atti thought it was the first time she remembered when Beniko did not try to have the last word with a patronising underlining.
She quickly walked to the hangar bay. Mili had promised the Fury was fully prepared for the task. He also had provided her with a lot of useful data, and information she had to sift through on her way to Dromund Kaas, where she intended to start her search.
What no one but Nayel and Mili knew was that she wasn’t going to look for just one person, but for two. It wasn’t only about Malavai, but also about Nil’awr. The last time she had seen her son he had been barely one-year-old, and now her heart ached at the thought he didn’t know her. Even more at the thought that he… could not be safe.
She shook the terrible thoughts off. Mili and Nayel had seen him less than a year ago, and they both claimed the boy was fine. That couldn’t have changed since.
Malavai: Undisclosed location
The immediate danger had passed but Malavai was still weary of his surroundings. “Anything?”
Vector inclined his head a bit, as if listening, and then shook it. “No,” he replied. “The road is empty.”
“It shouldn’t be empty.” Malavai put his microbinoculars to his eyes, and once more scanned the path in front of them.
“We don’t see or smell any presence,” Vector assured him.
“Can they smell droids?”
Vector smiled slightly. “Yes. Oily, artificial impression. Malavai, it’s not the first time we’re doing it. We can recognise skytroopers.”
“Yes, I know. I’m sorry, it’s just… unusual to be so quiet.”
“Shall we go?” Vector rose to his feet, then stretched his hand toward Malavai, who promptly grabbed it to be pulled up.
“Let’s take that blasted generator down!”
They moved forward, surrounded by their invisible army. Malavai glanced at Vector from time to time, studying his face. He knew the Joiner would tell him immediately if anything changed in the circumstances, but a facial clue would give him that intel before Vector even opened his mouth to share it, and that kind of split second difference could be a matter of their lives.
It was calm, though.
The trek to the generator facility was uneventful. Thanishar was already waiting for them at the door.
“Hacked in,” she grinned. She opened the door, and they entered a dark, cold room.
Malavai, walking in as the last one, held the door open for the swarm to fly in. At Vector’s cue, he let it go, and it shut down quietly.
As they had planned, Shar and Vector moved down the corridor, while Malavai stayed by the entrance door, watching a security monitor for any sign of trouble.
He had an impression he’d felt a movement of air around him, but ignored it. He could never tell if it was his awareness he was surrounded by tiny insects, so imagining sensations, or they really caused it, but since it was not a threat, he did not dwell on it. The difference was immaterial.
“We’re in,” he heard Shar’s voice in his earpiece.
He looked at the monitor that broadcast the visuals from the generator room. To his surprise, the swarm was visible in the low resolution holo picture, looking like waves and ripples of the air. He thought it was the first time he actually could see their helpers, and integral members of their team.
“Malavai, something’s wrong,” Shar said in his ear. He took a quick glance at the readings, and knew before she finished. “The shield is fluctuating.”
“I will go to the shield room to check it out,” he said, bringing up the blueprints of the facility to quickly locate the room he needed. He had already checked and assessed that visual access was somehow blocked.
Then he took his blaster into his hand, and quietly moved toward the shield room.
The fact that the shield room was without any visuals told him that there was a strong possibility someone was in there, and didn’t want to be noticed or observed. In a facility like this one — almost fully automatic with little stuff — leaving such a blatant mark ‘we’re here’ could go unnoticed, but he thought it was still quite reckless.
As he approached the room that had a wide entrance but not a door to speak of, he heard faint sounds of keyboard clicks. Slowly, trying not to make any sounds, he looked into the room, widening his view, until his field of view included a Cathar at the main shield console. He deducted the creature was trying to lower the shield. He also recognised the armour he wore.
Like a soundless shadow he motioned to the Cathar, put the blaster to the back his head, and said calmly, “Stop what you’re doing”.
The alien froze but didn’t take his hands away from the keyboard.
A figure left shadows. It held a blaster pointed at Malavai’s head but it was quickly lowered. “Malavai Quinn.” A statement with a doze of surprise.
He recognised the voice, but it took him a couple of seconds to place it. “Theron Shan,” he said eventually.
The SIS put his blaster back on his hip, and raised both hands in a defensive gesture. “Look, Quinn, we need to take this generator down. I’m sure you’re no friend of Zakuul, so you shouldn’t mind. For all I know, you could be here for the same reason.”
Malavai observed him for a moment. “Tell your Havoc friend to step away from the keyboard, or I will make a hole in his head,” he replied.
Shan nodded at the Cathar, and the alien, growling, stepped back with his hands raised. The SIS approached Malavai. “This generator is one of a whole series that —”
“I know what it is, and what it does,” the Imperial cut him off.
“So you understand the importance of shutting it down.”
“I do. But you’re trying to shut down the shield, not the generator.”
“There is no way of getting inside the generator room. We tried to find one, but couldn’t. The only way to take it down is to shut down the shield. The radiation the shield is protecting the generator from will envelope it, and in the result destroy it. That’s why we need to take down the shield. Help us. We’re on the same side, aren’t we?”
“You cannot take down the shield. The generator is being shut down as we speak.”
“How?” the Cathar asked.
“I have people in that room. You’ll kill them with radiation, if you lower the shield.”
“That’s impossible!” the Havoc major exclaimed.
Theron added, “We tried to find a way inside, but from the information we’d managed to gather we assessed it’s impossible to get in from the outside. The only way to open the generator room’s door is from the inside. They have special droids in they activate for that purpose.”
“That’s true,” Malavai confirmed.
Theron observed him for a moment. “How did you do it?”
“Obviously, my resources are better than yours.”
“You’re telling him too much,” the Havoc Cathar said.
“He’s one of us, Jorgan. He doesn’t realise it yet, but he’s coming with us.”
A high-pitched chuckle escaped Malavai’s lips, while his eyebrows knitted. “It’s going to be a lot harder to take me captive than you expect,” he said.
Theron smiled. It was a friendly, warm smile. “You must go with us, because she’ll shred me to pieces if I tell her I’d found you, and didn’t bring to her. That’s not a prospect I’m looking forward to.”
“Whoever your superior is, she’ll have to do without an Imperial prisoner.”
“I won’t bring a prisoner, I’ll bring a husband back.”
Malavai’s eyes narrowed, while his heart skipped a bit. If this was a ruse, it was too cruel, so Shan was dead already. “Who is it exactly that you’re working for?” he asked in an even voice.
“A Sith,” the Cathar said. “We’re actually co-operating with a Sith, as hard as it can be to believe.”
It didn’t escape Malavai’s attention that Jorgan had said ‘co-operate’ instead of ‘work for’. Not fond of his superior, apparently.
“We’re part of an alliance,” Theron interjected. “Both Imperial and Republic citizens united under one…unique individual. The only one that can end this madness. You had to hear about the Outlander by now.”
He had indeed. Everybody had. Someone hunted by Zakuulan knights. Someone who had taken down space stations over several core worlds, and other planets. Someone whom the enemy had been so desperate to lure out that they had glassed five worlds in a cruel blackmail. Someone who had been held captive in carbonite by Zakuul for five long years.
He had had shy thoughts who that could be but he’d never shared them with anyone. They were insane. Everyone, including his own family, kept insisting his love was dead, so he wouldn’t dare to share his timid idea that she was the only person he could imagine capable of such victories. He had had enough of quarrels with his brother and cousin without sharing that hope. They wouldn’t call it deduction, they’d call it desperation.
Theron observed his face. “You know, don’t you,” he stated. Not asked but flatly stated.
Malavai looked at the Cathar. “What’s the name of your superior?” he asked.
“Most of us address her as Commander, but many Imps call her the Wrath. Only two call her Attira.”
The Imperial’s eyes returned to Theron’s face. The SIS smiled again. “I understand you can’t drop everything, and just come with us right now, but you must come to Odessen. I’ll try to contact her in the meantime.”
“Finished. We’re coming out,” Shar’s voice said in his ear. He raised his hand to his earpiece to press the transmission button.
“Acknowledged,” he confirmed. Then he looked back at Theron. “ ‘Try to contact her’?” he repeated the agent’s words.
“Well…I couldn’t find you for such a long time, nor could Mili using his wide contacts —” Malavai tried not to show his surprise that his brother was involved too. “— so she decided to take the matters in her own hands. She took off to find you.”
“So you don’t know where she is.”
“No, technically no. But she’s in contact. Only temporary circumstances would make her unavailable for the duration.”
“We have another Sith, crazier even than she is, in charge in the meantime,” Jorgan the Cathar added.
Malavai didn’t need much to see the man was not a fan. Apparently in his eyes defeating Zakuul was so important that he was ready to get in bed with hated Sith.
“It’s Nayel,” Theron said, which drew Malavai’s attention back to him. “He joined us a few months ago.”
It would seem his whole family was on Odessen but him. Everyone reunited with his beloved…but him. He desperately needed a distraction or tears would feel his eyes, and make him look like a wimpy fool.
“I want to talk to someone for proof before committing to anything,” he said.
“Where would I get so much information about your family otherwise?”
“You’re SIS, you have access to information. I am no one in the Empire, but Darth Nox, and Sith Intelligence high ranking officer who’s been in command since that incompetent woman had been fired must be known to you.”
Steps behind him told him Thanishar, Vector, and the Kilik swarm joined them.
“We still have two more generators to shut down,” Malavai said.
“It’s being taken care of. We sent three teams simultaneously to lower the risk of getting caught or being interrupted.”
“Understood.” It was a cautious but good idea, he had to admit.
“Will you tell us now how you got inside?”
“No, not yet.”
“Fine. Let’s meet with team two.”
“Mili is in charge.”
He hadn’t seen his brother for many a month.
He frowned. This looked too perfect to be true.
“What’s going on?” Shar asked.
“I don’t know,” Malavai replied. “They feed me with everything I’d like to hear. I expect them to tell me Darth Festen is dead by their hand too.”
How he wished it was the truth!
“Just come with us. We have a meeting point not far from here. You’ll take it from there.”
Shan seemed sincere.
“Where are we going exactly?” Malavai asked. “Show me the co-ordinates.”
A bit surprised, but Theron obliged. Malavai looked at Vector.
“Can you send them there first?”
“We are on our way.”
“Let’s go, then.”
Both Pubs exchanged looks but didn’t ask. They headed out, followed by the Imperial team.
Vector stopped. “We see people. Three.”
Malavai stopped two. “I suppose all humanoids look the same to them, so they are unable to tell if one looks a lot like me.”
Vector only smiled.
“What…?” Theron clearly didn’t even know what kind of question he could ask to get his answer.
Vector frowned. “There is a group of skytroopers moving onto them from east.”
Jorgan sprinted ahead, and after a moment of hesitation Malavai followed him to be followed by everyone else. Even if it was a ruse, and his brother was not just about to be attacked, he could help them against the blasted droids.
“How do you know these things?” Theron asked, running next to him.
They reached a small clearing in the forest seconds after three people gathered there had been attacked by a horde of white roaring droids.
Thanishar knelt behind a fallen log, leant her sniper riffle on it, and started methodically taking the skytroopers one by one with well-placed shots at their heads. Her red eyes glowed in the dark shadow.
Vector went in swirling his staff, and taking down many droids with a limited number of moves. His weapon was beautiful to look at and absolutely deadly.
Theron aimed at another skytrooper but before he had a chance of taking the shot, the droid exploded from inside out for no apparent to him reason, followed by a few right next to it. The surprise froze him for a second, which gave another skytrooper a good chance of taking him down, but Malavai was faster. The droid was on the ground in pieces before it finished raising its weapon at the SIS agent.
From the corner of his eye Malavai noticed Mili. Not letting himself relax for a bit, for it could easily cost him his life, he could not stop a warmer feeling inside at the sight of his baby brother…who was currently doing his dance with daggers, knives, and other stabby instruments, generously giving them to any droid that got within stabbing or throwing vicinity. In all his life, Malavai had never seen Mili at work before.
Trying to stay out of his brother’s sight — in case the surprise could cost dearly — he went onto the grey droid.
The swarm was attacking great numbers of white droids by getting inside and biting through their circuits. Many of the machines exploded in the result.
The Havoc major was already on the target — the commanding grey skytrooper. The blasted thing started dropping missiles on them. Blaster in one hand, and a knife in another, Malavai tried to approach the droid from behind to place the knife at the back of its neck to sever connections from the main processor in its “head” to the rest of its body. Jorgan seemed to understand his intentions, since he tried to keep the skytrooper’s attention on him at all times.
One furious move, and the droid collapsed. To make sure it was finished both the Pub and the Imp turned it into a sieve with their blasters. Malavai sheathed his knife. After this cut it was blunt, and useless until sharpened again.
As soon as the droid in charge fell, the white drones started exploding or at least collapsing.
“We will make sure all connections are destroyed,” Vector said, approaching Malavai.
The officer nodded, knowing it meant the swarm would bite through every cable they find. Then his eyes swept the clearing to find his brother, but before he could spot him, Mili appeared in front of him, and gave him a massive hug.
“I’ve been looking for you!” he shouted. “You damn know how to hide well.”
Not much of a hugger himself, his brother was an exception, so Malavai’s arms wrapped around Mili.
“I owe you a massive apology, Malavai,” Mili said, disengaging. “You were right all along, and I was absolutely wrong.”
“So what he’s trying to tell me is true.” Malavai nodded toward Theron’s direction.
“That we’re all Attira’s minions? We are.” A wide grin brightened Mili’s face. “She took that son of a bantha Arcann down. Didn’t manage to kill him, but for now he’s gone. We’ve got lots of other problems now, but…I’m sure you heard all the news. You had to. You always kept tabs on things, and especially in that region of space, since this is where she was last…considered alive.” He paused. “Where were you? I tried to find you but you…seemed to completely disappear.”
“Did you think I was dead?” Mili took the snide bravely. “Csilla first.”
“You hate cold!”
“Two Sith lords decided that letting the Son of the Wrath live was unacceptable. It was the safest place for him. Shar took one with a sniper shot, I took the other. They can’t prevent it, if they don’t know a blaster bolt is coming.
“Then we moved to Alderaan.”
“We need to leave this place,” Theron said, approaching them. “Come with us,” he said, looking at Malavai. “I’ll try to catch her on holo.”
“Malavai,” Vector said. “If you decide to go, a part of the swarm wants to join you.”
“We…want to still protect you. We also want to serve the one who destroyed the Star Fortress over Alderaan. When it went down, the Kiliks were not sick any more, and healthy offspring hatched from eggs again. We are grateful, and wish to help.”
Confusion on Theron’s and Milivai’s faces almost made Malavai laugh out loud.
“I can’t go with you,” he said. “Nil’awr,” he added, looking at his brother. It was enough for Mili to understand.
“Go,” Shar said. “See her first. Then you’ll return for Nili, and take him to her. I’ll make sure he won’t miss you too much.”
He looked at his best friend. “I suppose I should make sure the place is safe for him to…meet his mother.”
Theron’s eyes opened wide. “Mother?”
Mili glanced at him. “I guess it never came up in a conversation.” He shrugged.
“So that is why she was so desperate to find you. It wasn’t just you she wanted back, it was your child too!”
“How will I communicate with the swarm?” he asked, looking at Vector.
“You could go, too,” Shar suggested, looking at her husband.
“That would be acceptable. We will gladly visit Odessen.”
Malavai considered his options for a moment. Go to his son to tell him about his mother first, then to meet her, and inspect Odessen in regard of safety for the boy, then back for him. Or go to Odessen first, check everything, and return to Nil’awr to tell not just that he’d found his mummy, but that he’d be taking him to her.
This decision didn’t require any calculations, the equation was simple.
“Let me fetch a few things from our ship first,” he said.
“I’ll walk with you,” Mili offered.
Vector, undoubtedly followed by the swarm, joined Theron, and the others, while Mili, Malavai, and Thanishar headed back to their ship.
“Swarm? Vector mentioned a swarm. Are Kiliks here?” Mili asked.
“Yes. We have a small army of those tiny ones. They are our scouts, saboteurs, ears, and eyes. They can’t be spotted, but they see. They can’t be detected, and through the hive mind they can tell Vector what they see or smell. They’re small enough to get through cracks in doors or locks to enter locked spaces.”
“Like the generator room,” Shar added. “They got inside, unlocked it, let us in, and we could shut the damn thing once and for all. Without the crude approach of frying it, and everything else in the room with it, with radiation.”
Mili gave her a look. Many people would take that as a tease or bait, but Mili was sometimes a lot more like his older brother than both of them realised. This was one of those times when being wrong didn’t matter, as the positive results were more important than one’s ego.
“I hope you downloaded the intel from their computers,” he said. “We lamented we had to sacrifice that for our ‘crude sabotage’.”
“I’m not an amateur, Milivai,” Shar replied.
He just smiled in response, and she returned it.
Attira: Dromund Kaas
She read through paperwork, desperately trying to find any sign where Malavai had been reassigned. No one at the military HQ dared to ask her what it was she was looking for. After she’d threatened them, they were eager to show her all non-classified documents they had. All she wanted was access to transfers, after all, and that was not much of a secret.
She found nothing. After the scandal, which whad been covered by Pierce — to her utter disgust — and the absorption of Darth Milaris’s powerbase into Nayel’s, Malavai dropped off the grid. Officially he was still in Nayel’s service, but his current whereabouts were unknown. Nayel’s pull was sufficient to give Malavai freedom.
On the other hand, Malavai was not one to do things without required paperwork, approvals, stamps or signatures, so where was he?!
Their old flat in Kaas City had been sold, and now someone else lived there. Same with their flat on Nar Shaddaa. Their land on Tattooine was completely destroyed; Mili had told her it had been raided, but fortunately no one was hurt but two droids.
She tried to contact Ovech, but he hadn’t heard from her husband for over two years.
He had simply disappeared. And Nil’awr with him. Was he on some kind of secret mission? Was he employed by the Intelligence? But wouldn’t Mili know something about it, then? Perhaps not; he was still the head of Intelligence, but he wouldn’t be bothered with all details, and processes of the whole intelligence pyramid.
Growing more and more frustrated with each day, and in the result also more furious, she felt like exploding.
She rose from behind the desk. “Thank you,” she blurted to the officer who had helped her. Then she headed for the door, fighting her own rage.
She felt helpless.
The air outside was damp and cool. She looked up at the weather dome, and though that she’d actually welcome rain right now, but the dome protected the whole city from it.
“Where are you?” she whispered, looking at the dark blue sky.
She was out of the ideas what she could…
Thanishar! She hadn’t thought of contacting Thanishar yet. She was Malavai’s best friend, surely she would know where he could be.
She headed back to the spaceport. The last she knew Thanishar had settled on Alderaan with her diplomat husband. She was going to visit her over there.
As soon as she boarded the Fury, a holo message drew her attention. Apparently, someone had tried to call her in her absence. The message was short: “Return to Odessen immediately. It’s very important. Shouldn’t reveal more due to security reasons. Theron.” That kind of ordering tone was typical of Beniko, so if Theron was so bossy, something had to be really wrong.
Torn inside at the prospect of postponing her search, she reluctantly sat in the captain’s chair, and plotted the course.
He was leaning over some readings, when he received a short message from Mili. “She’s in the war room”.
He looked up from the console, looked toward the door, feeling anxiety he didn’t understand. He motioned toward the exit from the lab, and quickly walked down the corridor toward the war room.
She was there, her back to him, her arms clearly crossed on her chest, as if waiting for something. They hadn’t told her. He stopped, trying to find his voice to say “my lord,” or “my love”, or “Atti”, or anything at all but he couldn’t. All he could do was staring at the neat white buns on her head. She wore the hair pin he had given her on their second anniversary. She seemed to look even thinner and smaller than before.
She had to sense his presence — or maybe it were the looks others were throwing him — because she turned around, and looked at him. Her big green eyes opened wider.
For a short moment they stood motionless, looking at each other. Then she sprang and ran toward him. Before he knew he rushed to her, grabbed her in his arms, and swirled, listening to her throaty laughter. He put her down on the ground, but she didn’t unwrap her arms off his neck.
“Say something; I missed your voice so much,” she said softly.
“I love you.”
“The polite thing would be mind your own business instead of openly staring at them, people,” sounded Nayel’s voice.
Malavai blushed, realising they weren’t alone.
“What’s the emergency?” she demanded, as soon as she reached the war room.
“A moment,” Mili replied, and touched his wrist communicator to contact someone.
She crossed her arms on her chest, annoyed. So urgent she had had to drop everything, and now apparently not so urgent that she was being forced to wait.
Theron and Nayel looked at something behind her, so she turned to see what had drawn their attention.
And he was there. As tall and lanky as she remembered. A mop of black hair falling on his eyebrows with unruly wisps sicking out from behind his ears. His lovely almond eyes shining in the shadow. He hadn’t changed a bit.
She ran to him, unable to do anything dignified for the sake of all observers. She didn’t care but she knew his image was important to him. She couldn’t stop herself. She would rebuild his image or kill anyone who would disrespect him for…being her love.
He ran toward her, and they met almost mid-way. She threw her arms around his neck, and felt her feet leave the ground. She laughed, feeling almost dizzy.
“Say something; I missed your voice so much,” she whispered.
“I love you.” Sweet voice with sweet words.
Her mouth found his full lips, and she wanted to never let go.
But she did. “Where’s Nil’awr? Is he alive? Is he healthy? Is he all right?” Just now, when she was up close, she noticed he had changed: hair on his temples started greying. She touched it gently with tips of her fingers.
“He’s fine. He’s one little treasure. You’ll love him.”
Her world was whole again.
Only punishment was left to be dealt. For the Sith Empire’s near fall, for her personal suffering, for her carbon sickness, for their separation.
Arcann, Vaylin, Valkorion, and their abomination of an empire will go down in flames!
He walked between Kilik structures toward Shar and Vector’s cottage. The insectoids didn’t pay any attention to him. The guards on the outskirts of the territory had already informed the whole hive who was coming, and that it was a safe visitor.
After Darth Festen’s intentions of killing the Son of the Wrath became public knowledge, Csilla wasn’t safe for Nil’awr any more. It was Vector, who had come up with the idea of hiding the boy among Kiliks. There was no way to reach the house without encountering any of the Oroboro hive, so there was no way to reach the house without the dwellers to be warned in advance.
Sure enough, the message of his arrival reached the cottage early enough for Nil’awr to leave it, as Malavai was nearer, and to run to welcome him.
“Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!”
He fell. Got up, cleaned his palms, rubbing them on his leg wraps, and then resumed his run.
Malavai knelt on one knee, and let the boy reach him. He wrapped his arms around his little Sith treasure, and enjoyed the moment.
“Auntie Shar said you went to Moddessun. Is it pretty there? Is it green?”
“It’s called Odessen, and it’s very pretty. It’s green, and there even are green people there.” He paused. “Nil’awr, I found your mummy.”
The boy jumped, excited. “Will she come here to live with us?”
“No, we will go to her.”
He frowned. “For how long?”
He put his hands on his hips. “So I must take all my drawings.”
Malavai smiled. “We will pack everything.”
Nil’awr ran toward the cottage, singing a made-up song about mummy. Malavai just watched him.
For the first time in five years he allowed himself to hope.