Star Wars Roleplay: Chaos

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What We Have Become



It had eaten at her. Consuming in fire and teeth. The epiphanies that came after, piecing together his casual, flippant words- too casual by half for the suffering he had caused her- and the crawling sensation that moved through her when the masked figure had knelt at his feet. She knew now, what he had done. Not simply in the breaking of her body, but in the very theft of her face. The knowledge that a copy of her served him sent a hot loathing through her. And there was nowhere to send that rage.

So she channeled it.

The hospital records gave her what she needed. From Dosuun, from that meeting, she had gone to Barkhesh. And found everything that she needed. A bit of flesh. A smear of blood. Harvested carefully from what had been left behind without thought.

And she had brought it back to Maena with only one thought in mind.

Everything you have done since you came to Dosuun was as we willed it.

If that had been true- now she had one thing that would shatter his words. His machinations. She was not a puppet to dance for the amusement of the Zambranos. They could not break her to attach strings that they could pull from Panatha.

She took those words.

And she rejected them.


Normally, Irajah had no concerns about visiting Matsu in her office. Or, anywhere else for that matter. But the woman standing at the door today was not 'Raj' with a bright smile, turned ever so slightly shy around the edges. Nor was it Doctor Ven, with her datapad and the fascinated excitement of a new discovery that seemed to exclude all else.

The woman who knocked today was grim determination. She had something, something that required permission. Not to act upon- no matter what [member="Matsu Xiangu"] said, no matter how she reacted, Irajah intended to move forward with her plans. The question was simply could she do this one thing here. Matsu and Carach had seen into her mind, examined the memories of that night at the hands of [member="Darth Carnifex"]. But Irajah had never asked Matsu for anything in regards to it, never looked for the other woman to pick sides.

Perhaps she was afraid that she wouldn't like the answer if she did.

That was not why she was here today either.

But she understood the potential problems arising from her intended course of action. And she would not, in secret, allow Matsu to be unaware of the potential. And the potential fall out from the actions she was embarking on. Even if it meant she would have to leave Maena.....

Irajah preferred uncomfortable truths to pretty lies.
Matsu and Irajah had seen each other enough times since the moment those particular memories had flooded through Matsu’s mind, since she’d sat through the agony of Irajah’s experience with the fullness of a woman committed to the reality of it, that it wasn’t the first thing she thought of when she saw the doctor. And she thought was important, respectful - Ven was more than what had happened to her.

But that didn’t mean it wasn’t there.

Picking sides was inevitable. Irajah had never asked, would most likely never ask. But remaining neutral was an impossibility. And Matsu didn’t want to remain neutral. Strange, considering so much of her life had been spent outside the machinations and interplay of other people.

And then Irajah had landed on Maena.

Brushing the thoughts aside, she tilted her head up from her work when the doctor swept in to her office. They had long passed the formalities of shaking hands and pleasantries, and so Matsu didn’t bother stating that Irajah could take a seat - that was obvious. The Atrisian put down her datapad, her attention focused on the other woman and the ball of thin anxiety that she carried with her. She let silence pass for a few heartbeats, worrying her bottom lip between her teeth as she considered the stream of emotions. Matsu wasn’t actively searching, but it was impossible for her to ignore feelings that hung in the air.

“What did you want to talk about?”

[member="Irajah Ven"]​
Normally, Irajah would have sat. Greeted [member="Matsu Xiangu"] with warmth, inquired about her.

Irajah didn't sit. This time, she stood in front of the desk, the barely restrained anger caged only by delicate strands of action. It took a moment, to gather her thoughts. She hadn't planned what she was going to say in advance- she'd been too furious for any such deliberate contemplation. She didn't know what she was going to say until the words were already out of her mouth. Her voice bordered on a snarl.

"The bastard cloned me."

There was no need, between them, to clarify who she was talking about.

The petite woman started to pace then, the words spilling out as she moved restlessly about the office. Her hands were clenched into fists- though only the knuckles on her left had showed the tell-tale whitening of the skin to betray just how tightly she held them. Nails bit into her palms, but she hardly noticed.

"They have the temerity to claim that everything I have done- everything I will do- is exactly as they have planned it," she growled, her movement more like a caged animal than her usual self. "And then they create a- a- COPY- of me- Matsu she was kneeling at his feet."

The revulsion was like a physical weight in each syllable. She never stopped moving, pacing. Irajah could have simply opened her mind, showed her what he had said, the way the masked doctor fawned- in truth she didn't have to. The image floated like crude oil on the surface of her mind, coating everything in a nauseating, cloying unction.

As she stepped up to a table on the far end of the room, a glass vase, delicate and ephemeral shattered. She hadn't physically touched it, but the air around her nearly vibrated with the barely contained fury rippling in the Force.

Hazel eyes flashed as she whirled back to face Matsu, seething. If she noticed the tinkling of glass, she didn't care.

"I have tried my best to simply stay out of their way- I have not asked you for anything. But I also won't put you at risk for my....." her lips turned up into what could have been a smile, if Matsu had not known her so well. But there was no joy in the expression. "For my response to them."

Hand shaking ever so slightly, she pulled a vial from her pocket. A scrap of flesh. So little in truth. But all she needed.

"I have done everything as they have planned? They have No. Idea. What I will do."
It was the anger and revulsion that came first, invasions of thought and feeling not her own that had Matsu shifting to the edge of her seat. She never read Irajah but this - it came on its own.

The image of the masked doctor on her knees came cascading to her mind as if she’d been there herself. A revulsion half her own and half Irajah’s curled deep in the pit of her stomach, a place rarely reached. Almost without thought she rose for her chair, removing her hands from its arms before she bore down and bent them to putty. Bright orange eyes followed the doctor’s movements, her mind seeming to snap with the breaking of the vase as Irajah’s ability manifested. And even then, even as she was prepared for Kaine Zambrano to come walking through the doors to her office so that she might destroy him, there was nothing of her rage except for her eyes.

What was this agony?
What was this despair?
She drank deep.

Still she was silent, one animal on the far side of a cage occupied by another. Her gaze followed the lift of the vial, a scrap of flesh, a square centimeter that would mark something so much larger for them all.

It was the shaking in Irajah’s hand that did it.

They were so very different, the Doctor and the Sith Lord. And yet it was the ways in which they were similar that made them this - two women caught up in the strings of a life made complicated by their minds, their ambition, their talent, and an independence fiercer than all of those things combined. Both of them had other people, other passions, other pursuits. And yet there had been days just them pouring over notes, bickering punctuated by laughter. There had been nights. Neither of them were asking something of the other. It was the company that was good. It was the company that was simple.

Matsu came around her desk, the Dark warping her features as for once in her life it took hold and made her terrible to look at. Her cheeks made sharp, her eyes glaring out of dark sockets, she truly looked like something that might have crawled up out of the Netherworld by the mere determination of its claws.

“Hear this, Irajah,” she hissed, the fingers of one hand clacking their metal pads together as if she had something to hold up. Her anger wasn’t directed at the woman in front of her, but it flowed out of her indiscriminately. “Besides the business of our research, I have never asked anything of you and you have never asked anything of me. But this?” Her gaze ticked to the vial in Ven’s hand, the Dark coursing down over her lower lids in thick black-blue veins that marred her perfectly pale complexion. She only had a couple inches on the doctor at best but still she loomed. “This may be your battle to wage. But I will gladly shoulder whatever risk is involved in your response,” she half-snarled, hungry to pick apart that bastards in Irajah’s memories.

She took a deep breath, swallowing the venom that was threatening to consume her before it poured out in the wrong direction. A heartbeat passed. She wanted to reach out, touch her. But not after that memory. Another heartbeat. She was calmer when she spoke again, had taken a step back.

“You don’t need me to fight your battles for you, you never have - that much is obvious. But I will always help.”

Another heartbeat.

“Now - show me exactly what it is you will do.”

[member="Irajah Ven"]​
Irajah had never seen [member="Matsu Xiangu"] like this. Calculating, patient, spinning lines in webs no one but she could see. But this? This was not the patient hunter. This was feral and dark- something Irajah should fear.

Should, she was finding, was such a useless word.

She had come into this office, expecting nothing. She had prepared herself, mentally, for the potential outcome that Matsu would require her to leave Maena- what past time together had passed was all that she could account for if the woman reacted poorly, hoping it to be enough that a threat to a man ostensibly her ally would not erupt into something far worse. She had prepared, because it was safe- getting her hopes up was a dangerous prospect, because it meant that once again someone had the ability to take from her.

Never, even if she had dared to dream, could she had hoped for anything like this.

Their anger didn't clash, as waves moving against each other might. It swirled, billowing and glowing. The center churned like a maelstrom, but the edges pulled in long, low tension, waiting to curl tightly inward again. Neither anger played second to the other, overwhelmed and drowned in the depths. Matsu's moved, raising up within Irajah's, supporting, lightening, build arches, while her own grounded and solidified, buttressed by this unexpected rise- and both cast darker shadows when it growled with one voice.

They stood, close enough to touch but not touching, Matsu's words washing over her like a firestorm. But the fire couldn't burn. Not her. She basked in the shadowed conflagration. And then stepped into it.

Irajah had never before initiated that level of touch. Hers was a casual affection, or a reciprocal one. But now, she kissed Matsu- fierce and determined and hungry. It lasted only a moment, but the pressed intensity, so sure and bold, was like no other kiss she had offered before.

She pulled back, not stepping back, hazel eyes flashing as she held up the vial. Her hand was steady now, that anger so buttressed by Matsu's own. She smiled, full of teeth and intent.

"Then come down to my lab. And I will show you."

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