Tox Maliss

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic - Heart of the Force

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“You can either die alone and worthless, or you can seize your destiny by its throat and bend it to your will.” – Uthar Wynn, Headmaster of the Sith Academy on Korriban.

What memories you have are broken, faded things. There are few, powerful, vivid snapshots of your life before the destruction of your homeworld of Urkupp. You know that you had a wife and a daughter. You know that there were times when you smiled and laughed and were happy. You know that those times of smiles, laughter, and joy are gone.

You remember being on the grounds of an outdoor bazaar. There was a crowd of Dashade crisscrossing the bazaar, going about their business, living their lives. Oblivious, like you.

A star in the sky, smaller, dimmer than your sun, suddenly gave off a flicker and lit up the sky. Your sun looked black against the glow of the ever-expanding orb of stellar energy, and your world was bathed in a sickly bluish hue. There was a panic. You remember searching the crowd frantically, focusing on the children, spinning them around to see if any of them was your own child. You then remember finding a female Dashade. Your wife, you think. The details are a jumbled mess. You remember the look in her eyes. I thought he was with you. No, I thought he was with you. Oh, my stars, what do we do?

You ran, like so many others, into the subway tunnels, seeking shelter. You somehow knew it wouldn’t matter, but you had to try. You ran, and ran, and ran, down the long train tunnel along with hundreds of others. Suddenly, a heat wave crashed into the city above, the ground shook, and you had to do something drastic. You tore up a sewer grate, threw your wife in, then dove in behind her. Several others followed closely behind you, splashing into a neck-deep tube full of sewage. Then, the heat coursed down into the tunnels above. You dove under the surface of the sewage, holding your breath, and your wife’s hand, feeling her grasp on your hand, knowing her desperation. Suffocating. Her hand went limp a minute later. You held her against you and tried to burst out of the sewage, but the surface had been baked into an impervious crust of bodily filth. You ran out of breath, and you started to drift out of consciousness.

Then, a powerful wave crashed through the tunnel, ejecting you from a drainage pipe like a cork from a champagne bottle. You fell through the air toward the water reservoir, your body twisting limply in the air, and when you looked skyward, you saw an expanding ball of star fire enveloping the whole of the sky. You saw your wife’s body being forced from the tube as well, and the ever-encroaching atmospheric inferno set her body ablaze. You closed your eyes and prayed for a merciful end to all this. You then splashed into the searing waters of the reservoir.

Moments later, you felt your body being tugged by a suction from below. You were pulled down by a vacuum-like pull into a water storage tank, dumped within, and saw the opening of the tank fuse shut with the heat of the supernova contacting your doomed world. You felt the tug of gravity tearing at your body, the water in the tank spreading out to the sides. It was pitch black. The motion stopped. You felt as if the tank was sent hurtling through space. Every once in a while, a sound like the impact of a small meteor would crash into the outside of the tank, echoing within, tormenting you.

Then, it all settled. There was air in the tank. Air and water, sewage and you. You have no idea how long you survived like that, in total darkness and isolation, living on stale air and filthy water, unable to muster the strength to take your own life.

You heard a noise, and felt the tug of gravity once more. There was a sudden piercing light and the sound of a torch cutting through the edge of the tank. Then, there were glowrods pointed into the tank. The light, the first you had seen in who knows how long, was blinding. You heard voices, but did not know the language. Then, a set of metal claws reached into the torched hole and tore it open. It was a Basilisk War Droid, you would learn later. For now, it might as well have been a demon sent to torment you further, as this must certainly be Hell.

You recognized the helmets as belonging to Mandalorians. They dumped you from your metal tomb, spoke to one another about you, then, they poked, prodded, and measured you. They dragged you into a large open pit-like chamber with a translucent domed ceiling, where you could see the supernova engulfing the Cron Cluster and devouring your world and all its neighbors.

The memories get hazy at that point, but you remember being a prisoner. The Mandalorians were planning some sort of war, and they were scouring the remnants of the Cron Cluster for raw materials and, in your case, potential slave labor. However, they never made it back to their home space with their spoils. There was an attack. Their ship, the Ori’Kad, was captured by a team of Republic Commandos. You were liberated and taken to a hospital. You don’t remember where it was, but you were treated for your injuries and malnutrition. They found something disturbing about your blood. You had some sort of a bloodborne parasite that wasn’t supposed to be able to exist in your people. The doctors called in a specialist: a Jedi Knight named Kabi-Do Raiku.

The Jedi was kind, but you were unstable. He touched you to perform some sort of a test, but as soon as his skin made contact, you remember hearing a sizzling noise, seeing smoke rising from the palm of his hand, and he recoiled. You went into a panic. You don’t remember much about the next few days, but you do recall being transferred to an isolation ward. You think you killed a few doctors. You think your skin is caustic, somehow.

You were being held in a coffin-like chamber, medical feeding tubes and IV injection needles fed into your pinned arms and were accessed via a control panel outside the lid of your chamber. There was a window the size of your head, open but for a low-grade force-field. There were other patients in this ward, similarly locked away, being monitored and medicated. You think they were trying to figure out how to rehabilitate you, but thought you were too dangerous in the mean time. They were right.

Suddenly, there was a conflagration at the far end of the ward. You saw blaster fire, and one of the hospital techs collapsed dead in front of your chamber. You then saw them. Mandalorians. They went to one chamber, drew blood through the outer console, and tested it. One of the Mandalorians said that the test was negative. Another Mandalorian lifted the barrel of his blaster carbine to the face of the patient and opened fire, a cloud of blood rendered aerosol seeping through the seams of the chamber lid. They went onto the next, then the next, repeating the process.

When they started toward your “coffin”, you started to panic. You struggled worthlessly against the restraints, but stopped when you felt the needle embedded in your left arm drawing blood. You saw one Mandalorian place the vial of your blood into the testing apparatus. The display flashed green and the Mandalorian nodded to his partner. His partner brought the barrel of his blaster up to your face.

Suddenly, the lid of your chamber slid open. Several other Mandalorians surrounded you, holding their aim, demanding that you follow them out of the hospital. They began to execute all of the other patients as you left the ward. You saw all of the doctors and staff were murdered, all the guards, dead, and a massive explosive device was being set in the central chamber of the hospital as well. One of the Mandalorians told the one setting the bomb to ensure the computer core was double-wiped. There could be no record of your existence according to this hospital.

You were brought aboard a Mandalorian dropship and watched through the porthole as the hospital was engulfed by a massive explosion. A few hours later, the Mandalorians forced you to don a spacesuit. They brought you to a place called Flashpoint Station, a research facility built on a world dangerously close to its sun. Upon landing, you were ushered into the facility proper, your helmet was ripped from your head, and you were dumped to the ground. You tried to sweep kick the Mandalorian behind you, but he deftly countered your attempt and left you sprawled out on the floor.

You were in some sort of a holding room. There were several other men and women in the room with you. They all looked to be in bad shape, bearing scars and sutures from recent surgical procedures. One of them, a human, shambled over to check on you. He touched you and seared his hand on your skin. He asked if you were okay. You said that you were not. He asked how you were able to cause so much pain just with your touch. You didn’t recall ever being able to do so before… before…

You learned that this man and all the others in the room were Force Sensitives. He helped you to attempt an escape, but somehow the lights got turned out and the sprinkler system went off. You were brought back to the water tank, and you went berserk. You killed almost everyone in the room, Mandalorian and prisoner alike, before you were netted and dragged into the laboratory and drugged into unconsciousness.

You endured months worth of experimentation at the hands of a Mandalorian researcher named Demagol. He was attempting to determine how a creature like you, a Dashade, whose race was said to be nearly immune to the influence of The Force, was able to suddenly manifest Force Sensitivity. In later experiments, he ruled out the idea that you were Force Sensitive at all, but said that the Sith Magics used to create the Cron Supernova must have somehow irradiated your RNA and awakened the dormant Midichlorians in your epidermal vesicles. You had no idea what he was talking about. The last thing you remember about him was that he used a circular saw to open your chest and tear off some of your adrenal gland for analysis. After that, you blacked out, and your memories get very vague.

You awoke in a hotel room on Corellia, unchained, clothed in clean vestments, and confused. In the room with you was a cigar smoking human who called himself Keisan, though he told you that you should refer to him as Darth Havoc. He was a plainly dressed man, blue collar, and he spoke in a casual, blunt tone. He told you that the Sith arranged for your release. He said that your life was taken from you, and you probably thought you got nothing in return. He said you were wrong. You got two things: Anger and Power. You decided to leave, and he didn’t stop you. He told you that when you decided to come back, the two of you would discuss your future with the Sith Empire.

You left the hotel and walked the streets of Corellia. You realized that you really didn’t have anywhere to go. After watching an ugly scene involving a drug-addled woman begging her dealer for a few Death Sticks, you were approached by the dealer, who offered you a good night’s fun. You killed him. Brutally. It was somehow satisfying. These people, they have lives that they are content to waste. Your wife… your child… would kill for a chance at what these fools squander.

You returned to the hotel room to find it vacant, a note left on the chair Darth Havoc was sitting in. The note said: There is enough credits in the top drawer of the dresser to purchase a one-way ticket to Tatooine. I will meet you there.

You only had enough credits for a coach-class seat on the transport. It was crowded, noisy, and frustrating. A child was kicking your seat. Another one cried incessantly in the row in front of you. A woman told her life story to everyone that would listen. A man sickened you by laughing boisterously at his own unfunny jokes. These people. They are going about their lives, and you hate them for it. You feel the tension rising. You feel like you could kill them all and be glad for it. However, you didn’t have to bother.

The captain of the transport called back from the cockpit, saying that the ship was under attack, and for everyone to strap in. From the viewports, you could see odd, triangular fighter ships sweeping above and around the ship. Then, the transport was boarded by a group of soldiers wearing silver body armor and face-obscuring helmets. One of them stopped near you and said “Orders, sir?”

You were confused, so he explained himself. “Do you want us to kill these witnesses or leave them be?”

You told him to leave them, and to take you to Darth Havoc. After a commotion and a few violent gestures, you were aboard the Sith shuttle on the way to Korriban. Upon arrival, you were met by Darth Havoc, but you were defiant, and he grew impatient with you. He used the Force to choke you out, lifting you from the ground. He said: “I have nothing to fear from you, but these soldiers do. If you were smart, you would understand that your power makes you a god among mortals. Instead, you opt to remain a shiftless, directionless monster. If you won’t join us, then we will simply use you for what you are… a weapon… until you’ve outlived your usefulness.” He let you go, then had a young Sith Initiate bring you a large metal arm binder. He told you to put it on yourself, for you have nobody else to blame for this.

You sealed your arms within the binder. That was the last time you saw Darth Havoc. It was three years ago. Since then, you have formed a bit of a bond with Headmaster Uthar Wynn of the Sith Academy. He explained to you that, in time, you would come to see that your place was with the Sith, not simply as a tool, but as an equal.

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Tox Maliss

Star Wars - Knights of the Old Republic Anglaris