The Dark Stripped Bare 6

I could have never imagined captivity in all my wildest dreams. I could never ever have dreamed up that it would be so difficult to spend hours upon hours alone in a small dark room. That isolation would be so hard to bear. It would have never occurred to me that the simplest things, like taking a bath or being able to make a cup of tea would become so meaningful and be so missed. I had not ever considered the importance of being able to tell time in some meaningful way. That routines and schedules were important not stupid and without them I was lost. My days were spent in a sort of muddled haze that hovered between despair and anxiety. I tried to fight this with thoughts that were cheerful and full of hope. I conjured up memories of better things and better times. Sometimes it was a childhood memory; sometimes it was something more recent. I went over and over in my head all the things I had done that had led up to this point, especially the incident on Rothana. I thought about Navaari but more often I thought of Thrawn and these thoughts, these memories kept me afloat. This strange psychological warfare that Jyrki was waging against me was wearing me down. I didn’t understand why he was doing this. I tried to keep my spirits up but it was a difficult battle. I struggled to hold onto everything that I had ever been taught. The lessons learned in the Center seemed pitifully small in comparison to the reality of what I was experiencing. I had to push myself just to get up from the cot and move my body. I practiced my kata forms and tried to keep myself fit. It did not help that while Valdia did her best to see I was fed at least once a day, for the most part meals were not at all regular. Her visits were highlights to me, counter pointing the infrequent, nasty visits from Jyrki. Since the day he had used the truth teller drug on me he had stayed coldly distant. When he had come near me it was uncomfortable silences rather than conversation. I could sense the struggle within him but I could not reach him. He railed against an anger I did not understand. Some part of me understood this was a power struggle but I could not for the life me understand why. He asked the same questions, he requested the same information but the questions were more routine than anything else. We were at a stand off and neither of us knew how to get past that without trying to crush the other’s spirit.

Once I had tried to break through his barriers, tried to reach the man I had known and loved. I had brought up old memories, moments of love and laughter. I had felt him respond but as suddenly as that spark of hope in me flared so had his temper and with that he had, for the first time since the night he had abducted me, hit me. With a powerful backhand he had managed to shatter my hope that perhaps he could still be reasoned with. I knew for certain then, that Thrawn had been right when he had said that while Jyrki’s fate and mine were inexplicably bound together, he was no longer my friend. After that his visits to my room and my visits to the small interrogation room were surrounded by silence and muted anger. It had become a contest of wills with the threat of violence now more than ever, present. More than once, I wondered if I could have taken him on and win in a fight. We were often just the two of us alone and sometimes my hands were not tied behind my back but I didn’t honestly think I could beat him. I was not at my very best and he had a pretty good idea of my strengths from our fight on Rothana. He harboured a lot of anger over that fight. He was still limping from the damage I had done to his knee. I sensed that escape would come through sneakiness and stealth rather than a straight out fight. So I slowly formed different plans and possibilities in my mind and waited until the time as right.

Meals were now, almost always brought to me by Valdia. I looked forward to her visits because in difference to the taciturn men who refused to even say hullo, she would often spend a little time talking with me. Mostly I listened as she talked about her brother, her family and her life. Sometimes, she would ask me about myself but I kept my answers basic and simple. I talked about my own family and my life on Tatooine. We avoided the topic at hand, my being held captive and what was going on now between Jyrki and myself. She was sad at the situation. She did not like that Jyrki had brought me here and was keeping me against my will. She was torn between her own feelings about that and her sense of loyalty to the man who had saved her life. I sensed these emotions and took note of them. I projected my sadness and used her guilt leaking these feelings around me the way I had done with the desire I had picked up from the men on Myrkr. Amplifying the emotions and sending them outward was easier than trying to control someone’s mind. While I did not want to do that to her, I wanted her to care about me, I wanted her to see me as a person not just a prisoner. I didn’t want her to get any sense from me that I was a threat of any kind at all. She had become comfortable talking to me, she thought of me in some weird way as a friend and she wasn’t so careful about what she said to me. So I bided my time because sooner or later my chance would come. Patience has a way of paying off.

“I’m sorry I’m later than usual.” She told me one day when she brought my food. “It’s a bit chaotic here. Everyone is getting ready to go out on a mission.” She said. I hoped that the sudden interest I felt didn’t show on my face.

“Will you be leaving as well?” I asked.

She shook her head. “No, the captain is taking the crash team, some sabotage mission out near Sullust, I think. They’ll be gone a few days so with the General and his teams also out on a mission it is just a small skeleton crew left here.” She sat on the floor, as she often did. “I don’t like to fly and I’m a terrible pilot so I am pretty useless on the hit and run trips.”

“Well, I am glad you are here.” I said wanting to reinforce my dependence on her presence. “When do they leave?”

“Late tonight.” She said. “I’ll worry because they take Mikka, my brother, with them.”

“I’m sure that Jyrki will look after him.” I said. “Are they going by transport?” I asked.

She shook her head, “No, X-Wings, they leave the transport freighters here. It’s a hit and run mission, transports would get in the way.”

I nodded and sipped the hot tea she had brought me quietly. “So, are you in charge when everyone is gone?”

“No, that’s Sena’s job, thanks goodness.” She said. “It is really rare for two teams to be gone at the same time, but the Captain said the chance to do what they want to do will not present itself again so he took the initiative. When he gets an idea in his head it’s very hard to dissuade him. The Empire isn’t looking for us anyway they are looking for the group responsible for the Death Star destruction. We can take this structure down pretty fast when we need to. We’ve not been on Mattri that long and it’s a small complex this time.” She said. It did not occur to her at all that perhaps it was a bad idea to tell me all of this. She was completely at ease with my role as a docile prisoner. She really did think of me almost as a friend.

“I guess it must be hard to coordinate all the hanger traffic then.” I said. “I mean with everyone gone or is that your job as well?”

“Goodness, no.” She shrugged. “Mikka told me each ship has its own ID code that gets it through the force field. The codes are built into the ships so only our ships get in and out. It makes it easy when there is no dock operator, which according to the captain that was the best way to get by with less man power.” She said, and then she smiled. “You know, you and Mikka would get along really well, he loves to talk about ships and flying. I don’t make a good audience for his interest because I hate space travel.”

I smiled. “I can understand that.” I nodded.

She got up. “I need to go. I have to get some things ready for Mikka before he leaves. I’ll try to be back later but don’t count on it. Tomorrow will be easier, I’ll have a lot more time.” She told me, and then pointed to the tray. “I brought you some extra fruit, in case I get held up or something.”

“I understand.” I said. “Thank you for all you do for me, but you should spend time with your little brother. Family is important.” I told her. She smiled and nodded. I watched her leave, the door close and the lights went off.

I sat in the dimness of the small room, eating the food she had brought for me. I had a day, give or take a few hours to plan. If what she had said was true then after tonight the people I feared the most, the ones who could stop me, would kill me without a thought would be gone. It was the chance I had been waiting for and I wasn’t going to mess it up. When I had finished eating I pulled out the silk dress that I had stuffed under my cot. Carefully and with purpose I began to tear the skirt into strips.

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