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

Reaching Through Darkness

A Long Night

Ch 32

I was tired. In fact the word tired hardly covered the true feeling of pure exhaustion I was feeling. Every bone, limb, and inch of skin hurt. I had been awake for a full three days and the toll had finally hit me like a landspeeder ramming into me and then landing on me. Actually, I think I felt even worse than that. My head was pounding me and my eyes were heavy. Despite all that, I could not sleep.

I had come out of Karen’s room to tell Nea the bad news.

“Yes, I heard, she is pregnant. I am so sorry Mirmo. At least she is alive and relatively unhurt.”

I dropped into the chair that had been my bed, rubbing my eyes. I could hardly grasp my mind around the concept of Karen being pregnant. It seemed so unlikely and so unreal that I did not want to believe it. Aside from her nasty cuts and bruises, she did not look pregnant, yet when I reached out into the Force I felt a tiny presence in the Force, just a gathering of cells that was connected to her, but not her signature.

“Mirmo, you did what you could and I know you did all that anyone could have. Do not get so bummed out. This is not the end of the world. It is going to be hard on both of you to straighten this out, but I know you can get through it. Meanwhile, you need to rest before you fall ill as well. Here, eat this. If I know you, you have not eaten for three days right?”

I nodded moodily. I had not been thinking about food since Karen was kidnapped and when I left Nea, I stopped eating entirely. I could feel the weakness in my legs and the hollowness in the pit of my stomach that extreme hunger brought. Nea handed me a cup of hot soup to sip. The warmness slid all the way down to my feet, warming me, but doing little to cure the sandstorm going on in my head. I wondered out loud if Karen was hungry and if I should force down some soup into her.

“Wait until she wakes up. She needs to sleep more than she needs food. Her body will let you what she needs.”

I sighed and silently agreed. I was very glad Nea was here. He seemed to be the Jedi here with a calm, cool mind. I smiled to myself, realizing how pitiful I sounded. The humor I found in this situation slightly cheered me enough to take another sip. My eyes closed briefly to savor the rich flavor of the soup, letting the warmth battle the darkness within me.

“Why do not just sleep there for a while and I will take care of Karen if she wakes up soon?”

I did not want to leave Karen for any reason, not even to sleep, but I found myself too tired and worn out to answer. I stared blankly at the living room. My mind grew dark, empty without any stray thoughts to interrupt my peace. My body relaxed in the chair. I was growing sleepier by the second and soon drifted off into a sea of nothingness.

I awoke in a start. The room was dark with one light in the kitchen gently glowing. Something was wrong. Somewhere, someone cried out in terror. I listened carefully, but heard nothing. What was it? I took a calming breath and focused on what I had felt. I realized the cry was through the Force and through the bond Karen and I shared. I stretched my conscious awareness to the room my apprentice was sleeping in. Waves of fear and panic rolled off her like a thundering storm. I got up from my chair and hurried over to her room.

I opened the door and turned the light on. She was awake, curled up in a ball. Her face was wet with tears. I walked over to her and petted her hair, waiting for her to speak.

“I- I had a nightmare.”

I nodded in an encouraging way, hoping she would venture out details.

“I er you um you were-were mad at me.”

She gulped. Fear radiated off her even more. Whatever she was about to say was terrifying her.

“You were mad at me because I’m pregnant.”

I went still. I was not expecting this. She gulped again and pushed on with her story.

“You said I should’ve fought off him. I was weak in your eyes and that-that I deserved to be pregnant.”

I opened my mouth to deny that, but she went on with shiny tears leaking through her eyes, staining her face.

“I’m so sorry Master! I couldn’t help it! I wanted to fight. I tried to fight, but they drugged me. They took away the Force from me. I was beaten up every time I tried to escape. He said horrible things to me. He said I was weak and I was an easy prey. He hated the Jedi and hated me, so he took me and my virginity.”

She was openly sobbing now, burying her face in her pillow, curled up in a tiny ball. Her fist hit the bed and fell apart into a useless hanging hand.

“I -I’m so sorry…”

I took her hand and held it. I spoke quietly, telling her I was not mad at her in the slightest. I knew she fought them. I had taught her to fight and knew without a doubt she had done all she could.

“But I’m a Jedi Mirmo! Jedi don’t get raped!”

I heard the frustration, shame, and anger in her voice. If she had been anything other than a Jedi, I could have argued with her, but she had a point. This was not supposed to happen. Then I remembered she said she had the Force taken away from her with some kind of drug. I asked her what that was.

“I dunno. The blond creepy guy called it an anti Force kit. It made me sick and weak. It blocked me away from the Force. There was also some animal there that did the same thing. It looked like reptile and had a weird name. He said it was the natural enemy of the Jedi or something.”

The only animal I knew that could do that was the ysalamiri and Luke had one near the academy. It could stop a Force sensitive from feeling the Force just being living and had a fairly wide range. Luke kept it far away from the Jedi though so no one would be affected by it and it was only used for very advance training that he taught. I was about to ask her another question when Nea came in with two cups.

“Alright you two. Enough talk, it is evening meal time. Medic’s orders are to feed up you starving nerf brains, so here is a cup of soup for both of you.”

We were both given a cup of soup. Nea watched us as we drank the soup quietly and would not leave until we had drained the last drop. I knew better than to argue over food with Nea. Karen seemed to appreciate the food more than me and drank hers at top speed. I warned her to slow down, seeing how her body was still on starving mode and could not take a lot of food at once.

“Your master is right. When you are starved for days on end, your body learns to live on a lot less food and you can not overload it right away. You have to do small portions. So I will be back in a few hours with more. We need to fatten you up for the baby’s sake.”

I could tell by the look on her face, she was not ready to talk about having a baby. I wondered how this pregnancy was going to work, but that was another problem for another time. I saw my apprentice yawn and told her to go back to sleep. Her eyes wavered.

“I don’t want to sleep. I’ll have nightmares again.”

Sadly, she had a point. Nightmares, after what she had gone through, were a normal, expected thing. Still, I could not let her think that. I told her to breathe slowly and clear her mind. She picked up on the fact this was a meditation I was about to guide her through and made a face. I almost started laughing. I repeated my instructions in a firmly voice. She sighed and closed her eyes. Her breathing evened out and within minutes she was soundly asleep.

I stayed in her room for the rest of the night. She woke up nearly every hour, covered in sweat, shaking like a leaf. I would calm her down and use the Force to suggest sleep. She would settle down in a few minutes to sleep for another hour. The night slowly crawled by. I, myself was tired, but the two hour nap Nea made me get helped tremendously. It was close to dawn and Karen had been asleep for nearly two hours. I thought it was safe to leave her and quietly picked my way out of the room only to be met by Nea. He held out a tiny little black pill in his gigantic hand. I stared at it. The pill was known by its street name as Angel’s Bliss and was illegal to have. The drug would put a human to sleep for at least ten hours. While it had no effect on the body or brain, the person could get hooked onto its guaranteed sleep. I did not want to expose Karen or the baby to any more drugs.

“She will not dream.”

Nea pointed out the other good effect of the drug. She would have at least ten hours of peaceful sleep with no dreams or nightmares to bother her. I was awfully tired and weary of her waking up in a panic. I took the drug and the glass of water Nea gave me and went back to Karen’s room. I woke her up and told her to go the refresher. One of the bad side effects one did not wake up for anything, even the need to go. When she sleepily came out, I gave her the drug and told her it would help her. She swallowed it and curled up in her bed again. The drug acted immediately. I walked out of her room for good and sat down on my sleeping chair.

“Buddy, get some real sleep. She is not going to wake up any time soon and even if she does, I can handle her. No one is going to attack this place when I have the walls lined with haul plates that can withstand icon cannon. We are perfectly safe as long as no death star decides to fire at us. Luke is not due for a while yet. So get some sleep.”

I didn’t argue with him, but focused on my breathing the same way I told my apprentice to. It did not take long for my mind to stop grinding its mental wheels and to give in to the sweet temptation of sleep.