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A Heavy Burden.

- 12 Hours Ago -
Fire crackled, the flames growing larger as they gorged themselves on the fuel of bones and trash. Parts of droids warped and blackened from the intense heat.
Screams reverberating through the confines of city streets, growing more distant as they trailed further - deeper into territories not of their own. The screams became more profound - each single voice abruptly being cut to silence, too choked up on blood and poor decisions. Gang violence was common in the criminal underground, and Kasa had not yet made a home for herself among the Sith she so affectionately viewed as her closest kin, in both sentiment and spirit.
Kasa found herself in the middle of a turf war, trying to rest her eyes in the alley of a dark and isolated section that had been blocked off due to hazardous conditions and structural fragility. Disturbed by the moronic ways of low-lives and their constant desire to claim what was not rightfully theirs. There was no reasoning with them, they didn't have the intellect for things greater than themselves.
She just wanted to sleep.
A migraine pounded from within her skull, Kasa grunted and clenched her teeth, pushing herself up from the cold of the concrete. In silent agony, the silhouette crept from the alley to see the disturbance in full view. Men beating each senseless, teeth and blood flying every other direction. Kasa smiled to herself beneath her helmet.
The scent of blood... the spectacle of degeneracy. It was intoxicating. With steadied nerves, the would-be Sith grasped the hilt of her cruel mockery of a properly built lightsaber. The raw feeling of an exposed ignition switch made her senses become laced with utter ecstasy.
The migraine intensified, pushing her closer to the breaking point.
She needed to feed, now.
Launching her frame from the pocket of shadows where no street light could illuminate, Kasa decapitated one of the gang members in a blur of inky blackness. She twirled mid-air and landed elsewhere, out of sight, but causing enough commotion for the rest of the slum dwellers to panic. Neither side knew what they had disturbed.
The carnage ensued, each ruffian falling to the swiftness and focused fury of Kasa Shi. Flecks of blood dotting her cloak, seeping into the midnight of the fabric - swallowed by the void of her own hatred. With only two of the men left standing, they came face-to-face with their assailant.
She stood motionless, no discernible features came to the eye except the hollow, black sockets of her helmet. Sulfuric yellow eyes pierced through the veil as she extended out a gloved hand, literally draining them of their life essence.
Satisfied... for now.
But something called to her elsewhere, but for now she would resume her plans of taking a nap.
~
[ Malachor, Undisclosed Location. ]

Finally, she was off of those streets. As the conditions did not particularly bother her, Kasa actually missed the comfort of a bed. What it felt like to be happy, content with things of a relatively normal life, Kasa didn't know.
She didn't even know if she cared anymore.
Staring out of a shuttle, looking upon the bleak biosphere of Malachor, Kasa felt a sense of being at home. As her veiled face reflected in the window, so too did the planet itself reflect her as a person. Shrouded, empty, lonely. The barren lands that stretched far into the horizon brought a thought to her mind.
How far would she go? In this moment of mental clarity, Kasa pondered.
Who was she, really.
The Atrisian shook her head softly to herself, swallowing a lump in her throat.
"Coordinates reached, you may now exit the shuttle."
A droid pilot chimed over the brooding atmosphere, rotating its head to face her as if to be totally audible.
Giving another nod as a gesture, she departed via the ramp system.
She gave another look out unto the wasteland, fixated for a moment or two before turning to enter the facility she had been requested at.
Her lonesome footfalls echoed, just like her memories.
Who was she?
[member="Vanessa Vantai"]
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
The doors to the Trayus Laboratory opened. Long a ruin on the surface of the destroyed world of Malachor V, it had been rebuilt by the long-gone Sith Lord known as Circe Savan, converted from its original design as an academy for the ancient Sith Empire into a laboratory for research on Dark Side technological creations. There were so many other training facilities for Sith across both the first Sith Empire Vanessa had participated in and the current one that existed that there was no reasonable way for the academy to ever be used for its original intended purpose.

So it was that Vanessa continued doing what she was supposed to do. Yet the arrival of a certain problem-filled acolyte had given her the opportunity to create a tool. A tool that would serve her. Vanessa had done her records based on medical tests of the acolyte in question - medical tests that came back quite troubling. Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy appeared to be in her records - and already Vanessa had begun the work to deal with this meddlesome and traditionally incurable condition.

"I see you've arrived, acolyte." A voice would appear to resonate from within the walls of the Crescent. "Please, continue through the path until you reach the laboratory."

[member="Kasa Shi"]
 
Proceeding through the facility as instructed, Kasa moved cautiously, yet casually enough not to seem too on edge. Nothing stood out as particularly odd or upsetting, merely a lab akin to ones seen on other Imperial-ruled planets or outposts. What's more puzzling was the fact that someone within the Empire decided it was worth their troubles to look at Kasa's medical records.
No matter the purpose or what gain they receive from treating her of her disease, Kasa kept caution at the forefront of her already fragmented and shattered mind. A damnable web of torment and decadence, rot and sickly pleasure. The desire to feast upon like-flesh was getting more intense after each day, and a cause for bizarre fever dreams throughout her nights.
Keeping her mind together at this point was definitely a losing battle, so uphill and tedious that the value Kasa had for her own life was almost completely faded into an immaterium.
She reached another door, her eyes trailing along its features and menial wonders of technology, waiting for it to open.
[member="Vanessa Vantai"]
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
The inner door would open, revealing a blonde woman polishing a sword. She looked up at Kasa, raising an eyebrow. "I see... so you're the one suffering from transmissible spongiform encephalopathy." A sigh crossed Vanessa's lips as she looked upon her newest patient. "This is why I don't eat the flesh of sentients. You never know when the wrong bite'll give you a case of Brainworm Rot Type A, or something even worse." Pondering came across her mind as she did her best to consider the options available to her.

"So, let's begin with an explanation of what's wrong with you. See, from all the sentient flesh you've eaten, the proteins in your body have become malformed. These prions, as they're called, are causing more and more of your proteins to act in a dysfunctional manner. It's killing your tissue off, seriously karking you up physically and mentally. The strands of your DNA responsible for making the proteins are also messed up, which is why they keep making these damaged proteins. I have something here..." She pointed to a vial with a needle attached. "That should repair the damage to your DNA and encourage the destruction of damaged tissue - as well as replacement with healthy tissue. No more mental degeneracy for you." She said.

"Of course, I'm going to need a promise from you."

[member="Kasa Shi"]
 
Kasa approached, walking into the room and letting her gaze fall naturally to the woman whom seemed preoccupied. Listening to the specifics of her disease, the Atrisian tilted her head slightly to the right, a bit confused by the woman's dialect. Kasa was no stranger to Galactic Basic, but her years on the streets had made education a bit limited when possible. Even in previous years among the Jedi, the transition from learning her own native tongue to another was met with some difficulty.
Catching most of what was directed at her, Kasa let out a barely audible sigh. She wasn't stupid, but neither did she come to full terms with her ailment. It had been a very long time, and this sickness had run rampant through her body ever since. Her mind fragile and nearing the edge of a permanent psychosis.
The struggle had been put up for too long, and it was time for a new direction in life.
Control... that was what Kasa desired most. To feel a wholeness between body and mind - to no longer suffer immensely from detrimental urges.
With a thick accent, but decent enough pronunciation, Kasa gave her own thoughts.
"A promise is what you ask of me... I cannot make promises."
She inched closer, her darkened visage shifting with the weight of her movements.
"You will aid me... and I will choose what I want."
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
[member="Kasa Shi"]

Vanessa turned, looking at the presumptuous acolyte. "Then you're going to have to change that. I want you to promise to no longer engage in cannibalism. The treatment will be useless if you let these prions back into your body, and I will not waste my time attempting to save your life if you decide to continue wasting it. I could very well simply refuse to assist you and leave your mind to rot until you're nothing more than a raving animal - and you would be able to do absolutely nothing about it. So long as I destroy this vial, your life is over as it stands, whether I continue living in this form or change to a new body." Her tone had turned quite bitter.

"Either you accept the help I offer on my terms and get the opportunity to live a healthy life - or you refuse, and I let you die. If you decide to try and kill me, then I'll be forced to 'Yeller' you early." She replied, piercing eyes staring into Kasa's own soul.
 
Kasa was totally unfazed beneath her helmet, and she wanted the woman to know this by sending the image of her eyes into her mind, piercing right back through the Lord - or at least that's the only thing Kasa could surmise from the potential power radiating from the woman before her. Albeit an unwise approach, Kasa was no idiot. She let out an irritated sigh, a sign that that she gave in.
There was an undeniable desire, a new hunger to experience the world without the lens of madness. To feel something different other than pain, to know herself as a person once again.
"...What are your terms..."
An audible but low grumble, the darkly clad figure awaited whatever the stranger desired. Submission wasn't typical for Kasa, but this truly was in her benefit - despite the cost.
There was someone else within her body and mind begging to be free, to breathe once again in their own skin.
A trapped soul.
[member="Vanessa Vantai"]
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
[member="Kasa Shi"]

"There we go." She smiled. "The terms are quite simple. After I give you this treatment, you must never again eat the flesh of a sentient being. Never." Vanessa reiterated. "If you do that, the prions will get back in your body, start the degradation of your proteins, and you'll have transmissible spongiform encephalopathy again. If you don't agree to this simple condition, then I will not be helping you." It was that simple - Vanessa didn't want to have her time wasted on this treatment if it was all going to be for naught. "Do we have a deal?"

She certainly hoped so.

[member="Kasa Shi"]
 
"Yes."
A simple answer. One not weighted with hesitation or any kind of anxiety. Kasa was truly ready to reverse this disease. Though everything that had led up to this moment was by the will of the Force, the Atrisian was not totally without freewill. She at least understood that her life had not always been as such, and that it was causing her a great deal of detriment, rather than truly aid her in her quest to consume and grow in power.
If her service was going to be of any actual use to the Empire, her mind would need to be intact to a degree. True, psychos and deviants ran amok in the Sith ranks on a regular basis, but Kasa liked to believe that she was stronger, smarter than those whom could not see behind the veil.
She had seen it, her destiny.
And it was draped in potential.
[member="Vanessa Vantai"]
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
"Then sit down." She said. "You're going to want to disrobe and get in that bacta tank." She pointed to said bacta tank. "After I inject you with this retroviral solution, you will for a period of several hours feel the most pain you have ever felt as your very body is rewritten, to fix the self-induced damage to your genetic code. Any other maladies you are suffering from will also be erased - you will be at the peak of genetic perfection for your species." With that, she awaited for the disrobing before injecting the mixture into her shoulder. "Now, get into the bacta tank and relax. I'll be back in several hours to check up on your progress."

Some new screams. This would be delectable.

[member="Kasa Shi"]
 
Kasa was hesitant to disrobe herself before the eyes of this stranger, not knowing a thing about her other than she worked closely with the Sith. But without much further restraint, Kasa sighed and silently removed her helmet first. And with what would be a surprise to many, there was actually some beauty to the strange woman. Her skin was quite fair, pale like moonlight but dotted with freckles. As she further removed her cloak and underlying bodyglove, a peculiar thought came to mind.
Was this death?
Everything she had come to know, all that she was in this very moment was about to be erased. She felt like she'd be losing a part of herself to this process, but at the same time understood the necessity of it. Whatever came next after this would have to be mere evolution, not a lie to herself or a disconnect from what she deemed to be seeing truly and transparently.
She felt the shot, wincing only slightly, then making her way to the designated bacta tank. Taking a deep breath, she lowered herself in and closed her eyes, embracing the change soon to come.
Maybe she could remember whom she actually was.
[member="Vanessa Vantai"]
 
It's Real to Pretend
Writer
Vanessa waited for the woman to get in the bacta tank before she put an oxygen mask on her and shut the tank. It was all up to her own constitution now. Over the next several hours she would continue to do things around the laboratory, listening to the inevitable screams of Kasa as her body was slowly destroyed and rebuilt, its integrity and self-healing induced by the retroviral compounds injected into her coupled with the bacta immersion helping to maintain her form. If this had been done outside of bacta, her chances of survival would have been greatly decreased.

When the process was done and the screams had stopped, Vanessa would head over to check the tank's vital signs, looking to see that Kasa was still alive. Satisfied that she was, she would open the bacta tank and lay Kasa out on a medical table, waiting for her to regain some sort of lucidity.

"Wakey wakey, little Sith. Let's see if your mind is functioning any better now than it was before."

[member="Kasa Shi"]
 
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