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Black Hearts

- - - - - Connor Harrison Tmoxin Temi

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#61
Connor Harrison

Connor Harrison

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The change of topic brought him back to the peace and serenity of the location the pair were stood in. Everything deflated a little; the Dark Side made it feel like he expanded with muscle mass and rage when it took over his fibres, a strange feeling for sure. Now, he exhaled and calmed himself.

More names were mentioned, still meaning nothing. Confederacy space he knew of, and Lok, yes. But Lord of Storms? His eyes moved. His skin prickled slightly. Tmoxin touched his hand, and he flinched a little, for it certainly wasn’t something he was familiar with.

Join her. From serving himself to serving her of these Knights? Was this all part of her game? Empires and clubs were all doomed to fail, the words rang in his head and he brought up his cybernetic hand to gently rub his eyes, though didn’t move from her touch.

"An Exarch? What is that? Who are these people? Do you not remember what you said on Kamino, but now you say you serve this…Lord?"

His hand moved from hers, and he brought it up and placed it on the back of her neck gently.

"I owe you, so, yes, I will help you. I will not kneel to another, but I will listen, understand and help drive the Dark forward to simply repel the Jedi Knights and keep them contained. They will not be destroyed in our lifetime, but we can remind them that their time is limited and the darkness will rise once more."

The peace resumed.

"Right-hand. Where you go, I go?"

Tmoxin Temi

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#62
Tmoxin Temi

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As they stood on the patio, the stone railing overlooking the majesty of the landscape of Drev'starn, the rolling green hills giving way to towering mountains, the lake below still and calm, it did appear that anything was possible. Anything either of them wanted was laid out in front of them like the bountiful Bothawui countryside. The only movement that wasn’t a bird or a ripple of water pushed by the wind was made by either a Bothan riding a keffi across the field, or living sentinels which stood in strategic places around the ranch to guard the Hapan from intruders.
 
Her head tilted up to meet his gaze as he spoke, and then she faced forward again, unwavering and precise. With his gentle and warm palm upon her neck, Tmoxin stepped closer into the crook of Harrison’s arm though she needed no shelter from the light breeze which blew against them. She knew that his grip could kill her - they both did, and likely vice versa. But there would be no pleasure without a bit of risk for either darksiders.
 
“You remember what I said,” she remarked, not annoyed but pleased that her own words would come back up in this context.
 
“And fair enough. I wouldn’t ask you to serve me or any Lord as you would not ask the same of me.” Her hand slipped around his waist, fingers tracing the bumpy ridges on a series of scars along his hip.
 
“Our paths can be both converging and parallel. Exarch is just a title, and is still yours if you want it. If not, that’s fine. Just know as my right hand you will be equal.”
 
Her freckled face clouded momentarily with apprehension, unusual for the confident and ambitious Hapan. “And I have just the problem you can help me solve.”
 

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#63
Connor Harrison

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Her touch didn't make him flinch. Who was he to shun affection or attention from another. He deserved it. He would take it. He wasn't someone to pity, but someone to be respected, admired and feared.

The proposal was interesting and he was curious about this Storm Lord and the Knights. He raised his chin slowly looking out, and for a second heard the chants and roars of soliders under his command. He wasn't standing on a balcony of some spa, but a balcony of some palace beside Commander Temi launching troops to invade and defend, to destroy and protect. It was glorious.

"I will accompany you when I am better, and we will see what these people of yours make of me."

Did he want to be an equal? No. He wanted to be the superior. In time, that would come. She would kneel before him in time. They all would.

He sighed.

"What problem do you have. Tell me, and then I will tell you mine that's been eating away at me since I woke on Kamino."

Tmoxin Temi

Edited by Connor Harrison, 17 August 2017 - 03:05 AM.

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#64
Tmoxin Temi

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“This place is inspiring isn’t it?” Tmoxin asked, noticing Harrison’s faraway expression as he gazed at the mountains. “I can see you formulating your next plan. And whatever it is it, it will be an incredible display of power and glory, I’m certain of it.” 
 
If she knew of his intentions to have her kneel in time, that would have outraged her Hapan sensibilities for sure, but it would not surprise her. 
 
Again, symbiosis. Not everyone was your enemy.
 
Tmoxin was neither ascetic Jedi nor death-worshipping Sith, who would eventually turn upon each other like a pack of kath hounds. Throughout her life, the Blood Monarch had been fueled by ambition, zeal and passion. Her own brother was a trained science professional, and without any medical schooling, his sister had already eclipsed his triumphs with her own at the Morpho Research Center, most of the time through nontraditional means. Because either on her boardroom or on her back, Tmoxin solidified acquisition after acquisition, deal upon deal, until she’d become the wealthy executive she was today. She paid the price in the public eye, the holo tabloids calling her the Hapan Hussy, the most upstanding companies eschewing Morpho’s support.
 
Goosebumps appeared upon her bare shoulders, and she beckoned Connor to come inside with her, turning her head back at him to throw a flirtatious smile back. Mother of Kwath, do I have to talk about Kyrel Ren now? Maybe I shouldn’t have brought him up at all. 
 
She had other pursuits in mind now.
 
But she needed to be honest with Harrison that she had yet another dirty secret which would only impede her if she didn’t excise it like a group of cancerous cells. Wrapping a soft, grey throw around her shoulder and making herself completely comfortable upon his bed, stretching out on it to lean upon her elbow, she said, “It involves the Ren. One of them in particular.”
 

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#65
Connor Harrison

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He agreed with a soft sound in this throat, taking in the view one more second longer as Tmoxin walked back into the room. He followed, leaving the door open for the gentle sounds and cool breeze to come through.

As she got comfortable, he looked over and flashed her that roguish smile. She would be his before she left, that much was clear. As Matsu said, he was to become a man who knew what he wanted and took it, regardless of anything or anyone else. That was the path towards gaining respect.

”I remember the First Order, and their Ren cult. Luckily, I’m still here to tell the tale and my business with the Order isn’t finished. As for the Ren, I’m all ears."

Kneeling, he checked his lightsaber hilt and his blade, and patted down his clothes folded neatly. Everything was in order

He stood and picked a couple of red grapes from a fruit bowl to the side of the room, popped them in his mouth and crunched them hungrily as he watched a rolling news-feed on the monitor built into the wall. Jedi refugee crisis. Assassination attempts. Smuggling rise. Sith invasions. Same old news.

”Go on."

He reached for his trousers, shook them, and slipped them on. He had some modesty around a pretty woman after all. He wasn’t a…monster.

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#66
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Tmoxin arched an eyebrow when Harrison put on his pants, but then again, she’d only added a layer onto herself with the soft fabric draped across her shoulders. She would let it slide for now as plans needed to be made to eliminate this problem in her life.
 
“There is a secret from my past. You don’t need to know the details. Only that I want it buried and dead. But someone knows and his name is Kyrel Ren.”
 
Tracing a circle upon the bedspread with her index finger, the black polish gleaming in the sunlight, she continued:
 
“At some point I need to be out from under his thumb. He’s already used my DNA for a clone.”
 
She let that sink in though the way Harrison strode around the room, unassuming and confident, she figured he would not care about that detail. 
 
The red-haired Hapan rolled onto her back, staring up at the ceiling her hair fanning out around her.
 
“Will you help me take care of him?”
 
She left that open to interpretation along with her own intentions there upon the bed. There was no right or wrong way to do this and plenty of time stretched out before them.
 

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#67
Connor Harrison

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The Commander made herself comfortable, a little TOO comfortable for such a request. Then again, he knew what she was doing as did she. Mutual benefits. Walking around the room, he discreetly played with his connections on the cybernetic black arm, tightening and loosening the grip as he listened.

”I know that name. One of the Ren, and one who always saw himself bigger than he is in the pecking order. Seems he’s got you right where he wants you."

He turned and paced the other way.

”He’s got your DNA, which I assume wasn’t willing, at least I hope not." A look was shot her way, sprawled on the bed. ”If it was, then this is your fault and wanting out will be harder with this level of hold over you. Not that he needs you now he has a clone. You’re probably already defunct."

Harsh words, but true. No need to mince words. He turned one more time to face her, and knelt down before the bed. He slowly ran his hand up and down her calf.

”I think we can come to some agreement, don’t you. I help you, you help me. You want to be free, I want to know whay I can't even remember his name. Simple."

There was a look in his eyes, and he squeeezed his hand. To gain power, one simply had to take it.

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#68
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“If only the past was as easy to erase as our memories of it,” Tmoxin countered. “My first job after serving the royal family on Hapes was for a criminal enterprise.” The infamous Red Ravens. Muscular arms raised up on elbows to watch Harrison as he wandered around the expansive guest room. She could feel an undertone of disapproval from him, but his reaction was measured. He neither scolded her for the mistake she had made, not covering her tracks. Nor did he try to coddle her.
 
“I knew once I met him that he would have me pay for my misstep in blood. Giving him my DNA was the path of least resistance though I have no doubt he will call on me for a favor in the future.”
 
She lay back down, staring at the ceiling again and was pleasantly surprised to feel the dip of the bed as Harrison sat down upon it. And following that, the even more satisfying sensation of his hand upon her calf, lightly caressing. 
 
“He lived in the bundle of memories we erased on Kamino. I can fill you in on the details.”
 
There was an insistence now to his grip which caused a half-smile to appear upon her delicate features. The thinnest material was between his skin and hers, sheer enough that up this close, her lines of her body would be all too visible to the eye.
 
“I normally don’t ask anything in return, but I have confidence in you, Connor.” A subtle shift in the position of her leg would let him know that his hand was free to roam.
 

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#69
Connor Harrison

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His eyes wandered over this female. A confident woman, giving him support and teasing him with resources. Setting up him after a painful operation, and funding the operation without nothing but their history to go on.

The hand worked her muscle gently and he didn’t hide from looking over her body, the curves here and there easy to see under the material. Letting her speak, he moved higher, but stopped.

That name. His eyes looked through her almost as a thousand faces blurred before his very eyes. Connor.

”That name...." he whispered, ”what did he do to me? I know that name. The man brought me nothing but pain. He was a poison!"

His cybernetic hand clenched tight, and he resisted from doing the same atop her calf with his good hand. He looked out to the window to find some of that cooling calm, and cooling breeze. It felt like his chest was going to burst.

”Am I still him? Why did you call me that name? Is that who you are doing this for? Him?"

His head turned to her.

”Answer me."

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#70
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The name… which name? Kyrel Ren?
 
Still stretched out on the bed, Tmoxin turned her head towards Harrison at his outburst. At first, she was sure that he meant the Master of Ren who’d blackmailed her, but it began clear that the Sith Knight was speaking of his own name.
 
Connor Harrison - a name which had no real connotation to the Hapan other than a former foe only in alignment. He’d encountered her on Lok when she was just a fledgling commander, a bit foolhardy to even think she could take on a Jedi Master with no real practical application of the Force under her belt.
 
Answer me.
 
The redhead sat up again, her body curling towards Harrison where he sat, not necessarily seeking comfort but wanting to assess his physical state. Her hand lingered upon his heart which beat strongly, then lifted to his forehead which was warm but not feverish and clammy. At times, she was told the procedure had left its subjects with psychological scarring, and hopefully this peculiar attitude towards his name was not a symptom of scrambled neural pathways.
 
Tmoxin lowered both of her hands, covering his with hers again, and said in a gentle but firm voice, “That’s what I’ve always called you. Do you no longer recognize the man that I knew?” She was not afraid of him - not on a whole, but her chestnut irises flicked over to the black, gleaming cybernetic arm just the same.
 

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#71
Connor Harrison

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The was no evident peace to be found within the head or heart of...the man who was Connor. Is? Tmoxin's touch was comforting, allowing someone to invade his personal space was a rarity.

”You don't KNOW me, that's the point."

He shook his arm from under hers and stood up, walking to the patio door and standing behind it, not going out into the breeze. He took a long inhale of fresh air.

”That man was a Jedi Knight. He fought for the Light. It was HIS memories I wanted destroyed, but it seems there are more who hold his memory closer." With a menacing glint in his eye, the black hand came up and pointed to her. ”You knew him. You cared for him. You called him that. So, what am I? His shadow? His stand-in? What?"

Following his finger, he turned and advanced to her slowly, his features sharp and tight.

”If you see him here, you tell me now so I don't do anything you will regret later. If you see Connor Harrison before you, then the procedure hasn't worked at all."

He swallowed.

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#72
Tmoxin Temi

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Tmoxin began to say the name of her guest, but she stopped. Frankly, the Hapan ex-officer did not know what to call Harrison, and Sir seemed way too formal. She would not refer to him as anything for the moment; his identity was his to choose.
 
“But that’s the thing. I did not know him. Not well at least. I only knew the human who came to look at old relics on my planet. And he was not the man of which you speak.”
 
The redhead situated herself at the top of the bed, leaning against the mountain of pillows which had been strewn about from his slumber the night before. She lay perfectly comfortable as though not a care to whether she was being intrusive or unwelcome. The Seven Moons Ranch was her personal haven - every crack, flake of paint, small detail or fixture, even stain - all of it was hers after all.
 
Stretching out again, her legs crossed at the ankles, she watched him point at her, somewhat accusingly, but offered no apology. This was the type of game, Tmoxin could play for hours.
 
“No, Sir. I only helped get rid of him. You are someone completely different now.”
 
She was confident in that statement. The Hapan hadn’t changed much since the pair had seen each other two years ago, but only now she was older and wiser. But Harrison?
 
Not a trace of the old Jedi was left.
 
“Who are you?” Her brown eyes gleamed with appreciation at the new monster they’d created together. “That is the mystery only you can answer.”
 

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#73
Connor Harrison

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At her question, his eyes seemed to focus on the black hand that was made of steel, circuitry and wires. No flesh or blood. Not his own. He wasn't the man born to honest parents on Anaxes. Wide eyed, eager to learn and travel and do right. One who was shy and troubled by his own place, and had an awfully big ego to hide an even more awfully big lack of self-esteemm.

The black fingers flexed as he controlled it via the nerves fixed to the shoulder, mangled into his skin as a gruesome blend of man and machine.

Who are you?

His dark eyes looked to her lounging on the bed, as cool as a glacier on Hoth.

”I...I don't know."

With that, he gave up. He turned and sank on the edge of the bed again, both hands holding his face as he leant forward, elbows and knees. His body started to ache again.

”I can't leave here the person I arrived as. I can't use his name. I can't...I can't associate myself with his past."

The crinkle in his brow showed he was pained, but luckily nobody could see him and the man emerging finally behind the monster.

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#74
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“Just as that witch, rebuilt your body, we will rebuild your mind.”
 
There was no mistaking the “we” in Tmoxin’s statement. She planned to remain his ally and to help him see through this reintroduction process. And perhaps she had more in mind for him, but that remained to be seen.
 
The Hapan lifted herself back up so that she could comfort Harrison from where he sat. Right now, he resembled some kind of pale, marble statue, perhaps of a broken war hero, pensive and haunted. Even the sight of his black cybernetic arm did not bother her as it normally did. She stood upon her knees behind him and traced the uneven lines where his flesh fused into metal.
 
And despite his blemishes, he remained an attractive man. She could see it very clearly now - the monster inside him was only his weapon. But that weapon did need a name.
 
Not sure how much he could feel as Tmoxin caressed his synthetic bicep, she switched to his back, scarred with a road map of healing gashes and burns, running both of her hands across skin, following the long line of his spine upwards to gently massage his neck.
 
Perhaps humans or other species would see her actions as forward, but coming from a highly matriarchal society as Hapes was, Tmoxin thought there was nothing wrong with conquest, on the battlefield, in business and even in her personal life.
 

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#75
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It was hard to relax, but he tried. It was the sensation over his more sensitive skin that did it, a tickling and soothing neck rub from soft hands.

”A name. A name."

He lolled his head forward, resting his hands on his knees as he sat on the edge of the bed and sighed, eyes closed. It was half meditative and half relaxing.

”I will rest some more. Read a little more. Think. Find something that defines me, or has meaning. Connor Harrison has no meaning for me as a name, and it would be a lie to continue using it."

There was a pause.

”How long have you served..served that Lord of...Shadow? Smoke? Whoever. The group you told me about. How long?"

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#76
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Tmoxin nodded and stood up, re-wrapping the soft, grey throw around her shoulders. Her human experimental subject appeared weary and reflective, and the Hapan herself had business to attend to.
 
“Reinvention and transformation. There’s nothing wrong with that. Personally I… I’ve always felt I am the same as I’ve always been, but there was a time when I thought I’d always be an officer. Truthfully it would be difficult to go back to that life.” Surrounded by all of her creature comforts it was difficult to think of herself going back to a muddy, gruesome battlefield.
 
She turned away to leave the new man with a fresh mind, whatever his name would be. At his question of the Lord of Shadows...
 
“I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I don’t serve anyone,” she remarked with a sly wink. And with that, the Hapan executive quietly exited the room, closing the door to the guest room behind her.
 
{FIN}
 

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