‹ Prequel: The Hidden Truth
Sequel: A Last Good Bye

Reaching Through Darkness



Karen fell asleep mid trip back to Nea’s apartment. I only slightly relaxed. She looked so exhausted, so pale, and in pain. There was a nasty, red, angry welt on her cheek that could only have come from a hard slap of a man. It hurt to think about who had done that to her. My mind could not help, but wonder what other marks laid on her body. What also bothered me to no end was Karen’s reaction to me when I laid a hand on her. She had not withdrawn from me like that since the night I found her dancing. Her whole general manner, like the curled up position she was in right now spoke of abuse and fear. It was obvious she did not feel safe, even in the presence of me, nor could bring herself to tell me what had happened. The searing pain in my crying heart made me focus more on flying faster to the only place I knew where she would receive help.

She was still fast asleep when I put the ship into landing gear next to Nea’s cruiser. The hatch hissed opened and I worried the sound would wake her up. She stirred a bit and curled up into a tighter ball. I frowned as I climbed out and off the ship, circling over to her. I put a gentle hand on her shoulder, watching her reaction very closely. She made no sound or movement. I moved my hand to her left shoulder. There was still no reaction from her. She really was in a deep sleep. I tucked my other arm below her knees and lifted her out of the passenger seat. Her limp head rested against my chest. She was lighter than I expected her to be and looked worse than before. I carried her slowly to the door of Nea’s apartment and told the droid it was me. The door swung open on its own and I stepped into the dark hallway.

“Mir, buddy? Is that you?”

I quietly said yes, trying to hint to Nea to keep his voice down so not to wake my apprentice. He got the hint and came closer to take a look at Karen.

“Is she ok?”

I shook my head and focused on raising my sagging arms. Her head slid off my chest and fell backwards. Her mouth hung open in a most pitiful, heart breaking way. She looked and felt so close to death. I told Nea to call a medic to the house to treat Karen.

“Would it not be better to take her to a med center?”

I told him no. I did not want to reveal my apprentice to the public yet, fearful of the sith tracking her down again. Nea nodded. I walked past Nea and down the hall to Nea’s spare room where Karen had been sleeping in. I was hoping if she slept in a room she knew, she might recover faster in a mentally and physically way. I carefully picked my way through the junk on the floor and put Karen’s thin body on the bed. I lifted her dirty, ragged shirt a little to see what wounds were on her abdomen. The site was not pretty. There were some nasty, multicolor bruises on her ribs and strange claw marks showing on her sides, and I was willing to bet on her back as well. I put her shirt back down and walked out of the room to find Nea.

He was in the living area of the small apartment, pacing. I asked him if he had a med kit and purified water. He stopped pacing and rumbled around in different drawers before pulling out a scuffed up med kit. I looked inside and saw that while the kit looked old, it was well stocked with sterile bandages, bacta patches, mild painkillers, and more. I put the kit down and got a large glass of water. I grabbed the kit again and headed back into Karen’s room. I put everything on the night table behind her head and quietly woke her up. She jumped at my voice, looking wildly around, and hugging her body. I calmed her down with a soft voice and sure words that she was safe. When she realized where she was, she relaxed back into the bed.

I hesitated at what I was about to ask her to do. I needed to treat her wounds and the only way to do that was to have her remove her shirt. She was a private person when it came to revealing her more private parts. I knew she had underwear on and would not actually be showing anything, but I knew she would be very uncomfortable with it. I opened up the med kit to delay the question and made sure she saw what I was doing. I pulled out the bacta and sterilizing pads and then looked at her. She knew what I was going to ask her and I could see the resistance on her face. I swallowed and asked her kindly if she would let me treat her. She did not answer right away, but searched me with her eyes. I told her I would not harm her or question her yet. She continued to look at me, wavering. I put my hand on her hand and asked her to trust me this one time. She removed her hand from mine and pulled off her shirt.

I could not fight back the gasp that came from my unready lips. Her wounds were worse than I expected. There were angry, red, infected claw marks up and down her back with bruises covering most of her stomach, chest, and arms. It looked like she had been brutally beaten and grabbed. Dry, dark blood caked small dents in her arms where sharp, long nails had dug in. I had to wonder how much pain she was in and how she was managing not to show it. She was blushing a bright red, apparently embarrassed to show me her wounds. I said nothing about it.

I first cleaned the blood off her and carefully looked at the bruising. I called on the Force to sense her internally, but felt nothing out of place or any bone broken. I sterilized the wounds with a chemical that caused her to hiss in pain. I waited for her body to relax again before I put pieces of the bacta patch on her. There was nothing I could do for the bruises and the painkillers I had would do little for the intensity of pain she was in. I told her she would have to wait for the medic to give her something stronger. Karen’s eyes flashed in terror when I mentioned the medic coming. She reinsured me she was fine and did not need anyone else to look at her. I saw her wince in pain and told her there may be more that we did not know was wrong with her. Her eyes flared again in unknown panic. I realized she was trying to hide something, something that the abuser did to her. I did not question her like I promised, but hoped the medic would tell me.

I put away the supplies and gave her the glass of water. She chugged the water down as fast as she could and then licked her lips afterwards. I took the glass and ventured a question if she was given water during her captivity. She said yes, but in a slow way that made me think she was not given much. I went out of her room to the kitchen and got a pitcher of water. I brought back the water and filled the glass again. She drained it like a dying man. I poured another glass for her, but I had her take small sips so she would not be sick again. It worried me that she threw up so violently on the way back. I put a hand to her forehead, ignoring her flinching, and discovered she had no fever. I asked her if she felt sick and she said no, just that she was tired and in pain.

There was nothing more I could do for her, but wait for the medic to examine her. I had her finish the glass of water and told her to get some sleep. She curled up on her side, twitching and moving around to find a less painful spot. I felt bad that she could not even sleep in comfort. I filled up her glass again in case she woke up thirst and walked out of her room for good. I went back to the living area and asked Nea to connect me to Luke Skywalker. I could have contacted Master Skywalker using my comn link, but I wanted my call to be untraceable and completely private and Nea had the brains and tools to do it. In ten minutes Nea set up a secure connect that would take a hacker longer to hack into than the call was going to take. In another two minutes Luke’s voice came through the speaker of my comn link.

“Luke Skywalker, who is this?”

I told him it was me.

“Mirmo! Yes, how are you? Is everything alright? How is Karen doing with the mission?”

That was the problem. Everything was far from right. I told him about Karen getting captured, the political mess in the senate, and how there was a possible sith behind all of the chaos. I gave him all the details, names, and supporting details I could. Master Skywalker listened to my tale and was quiet for a long time. For a second I thought we had disconnected and asked if he was there.

“Yeah, I am. Sorry, I was just thinking about how I had been feeling a disturbance in the Force and had been wondering if it had anything to do with you. I was about to call you if I did not hear anything soon. What do you think should be done?”

The truth was I had not gotten that far in my plan. All I had been focused on was finding Karen. Now that I had done that and had most of the information needed, I was not sure what next step to take.

“This is too big and seriously for one Jedi to tackle alone. I have had more experience with dark siders so can you give me a day to travel over there and we will talk out a plan there?”

I said that would be fine. Karen could not go anywhere and needed me, so I could wait a day.

“How bad is she?”

From my own examination, she would certainly live, but it would take a few days before she physically healed. I was not positive of how much mental damage she took on or how long it would take for her to over come it.

“She will make it. She is one of the toughest; more determine women I have ever met.”

My heart swelled in pride for Karen, only to deflate when I imagined her beat up body curled up in a fetal position.

“I need to get things ready if I am to come here. Have Nea send over the address of his apartment.”

My eye brows rose at the mention of Nea. I asked him how he knew who I was with.

“Leia told me.”

Ah, I had forgotten about the Chancellor reporting to her brother.

“May the Force be with you Master Mirmo.”

I repeated the phrase back to him and signed off. I sat back, reviewing all that had happen, ignoring the fact that ever bone in my body ached with weariness. I had barely any sleep for the last few days and I could feel the toll on me. Still, Karen had gone through worse and she needed me to stay awake for her. I was in deep in thought when Nea announced the medic was here. I got up and greeted the medic, who carried in a much bigger container than Nea’s med kit. She was in her mid life, brown hair, a soft face with a caring personality. I lead her to Karen’s room, telling her what little I knew of Karen’s condition and what had happen. She nodded as I opened the door and woke up Karen.
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