Chapter 16 The death of Lyda Starkiller

The death of Lyda Starkiller

Lyda opened the airlock door and stumbled into the hallway. A dark haired woman stood holding onto the rail that ran down the hallway. She was aiming a pistol at Lyda. “Who the blazes are you?” she demanded. The woman looked behind Lyda apparently looking for Zype.
“She’s dead, they shot her…I tried to grab her but I was too late.” Lyda covered her face in an effort to appear upset.
The woman pushed past Lyda and looked into the aft compartment, there was no one there. She cursed and slammed her hand against the bulkhead in her rage.
“Who are you?” the woman asked again.
“ My name is Lyda Starkiller, I’m a special officer working for the Emperor. My ship was destroyed so I took an escape pod and crashed here. Your friend saved me. I owe her my life.” Lyda said as she tried to form some sort of bond with the woman.
“Sister, she was my sister.” the woman said as she lowered her gun. “Why were you with her?” she asked.
“She found me in my escape pod. We decided to work together since we had similar goals.” Lyda said as if she was afraid of this woman. She hadn’t tipped her hand as to her abilities yet. Even if the woman still had her gun on her she could have easily killed her with her light sabers before she was able to take a shot. This woman was an assassin and not trained to fight face to face. Assassins were hit and run specialists and didn’t fight toe too toe unless cornered.
“The other ship, who was in the other ship?” Lyda asked.
“My other two sisters, I lost three sisters today. This mission has been more costly than we hoped.” she said coldly. She showed no emotion at all. Three of her sisters had died right in front of her and she never even shed one tear. Lyda liked that.
“I’m sorry.” Lyda said.
“ The scales will soon be balanced, you can depend on that.” she said icily.
“What is your name?” Lyda asked.
“Scythia, my name is Scythia.” she replied as she closed the airlock. “Come with me, you should meet my sister.”
The two women walked up the hallway hanging on to the railing on the wall. The ship was climbing as fast as it could away from the planet and into space. They made it to the cockpit just as they were leaving the atmosphere and into the darkness of space. The woman at the controls turned to see who had come in. “Where’s Zype?” she asked.
“Didn’t make it.” Scythia said calmly.
“Who’s this?” the woman piloting the ship asked.
“Friend of Zype from what she says.” Scythia answered.
“ We’ll be on the moon in just a few minutes. Then we can plan what to do next.”
the pilot looked at Lyda. “My name is Zyca.”
“ Lyda Starkiller.” Lyda responded.
The big black ship flew low over the planets moon. The woman was piloting the craft as if it were a fighter or a ship much smaller than it was. She rose above a crater then dove deep down to the bottom and landed the ship. The ship didn’t have any landing gear because it was designed to lay flat to give it a low profile.
Scythia began to shut down all the systems on the ship. It was frustrating to Lyda to watch the two women working. They had started to speak with each other in the same ancient language that Zype had used to call for help. Occasionally  they would glance at Lyda during their work and she knew they were discussing her.
“We shall talk now.” said Zyca. “We must decide what possibilities there are for us to work together. You work for the Emperor as do we. You have lost your resources namely your ship and equipment. We have lost a ship and three members of our team. The question before us is how do we finish our missions with the resources left to us?”
“The first thing I need to know is about this ship. How difficult is it to fly. I saw you handling it with great skill, is this ship special in it’s design or was it your skill that made it look so easy.” asked Lyda.
“The ship’s controls are standard, it is my years of training that made it look easy.” Zyca said smiling at Scythia.
“That’s what I thought.” Lyda drew both light sabers and before either sister could blink she had decapitated both. Their limp bodies slumped slowly to the floor as if the air had been let out of them.
“The question before us is what do I need you for?” Lyda said to Zyca’s dead body.
Lyda dragged the bodies out of the cockpit and into the rear loading platform  then opened the airlock, the bodies and their heads floated out of the ship and settled on the surface of the moon. The ghost children were no more.
“ Now I’m back on track.” Lyda said to herself as she sat in the pilot seat and looked over the controls. The ship was in tip top condition.
Now what? She suddenly realized she had nowhere to go. She had lost her ship  and did not capture Mykala. Should she make her way back to the Emperor and beg his forgiveness? It would be highly unlikely that there would be any mercy. Lyda started the engines of the ship thinking that would help her to think of what to do next. After about a half an hour she shut down the engines. She had really done it this time. She had run a hundred scenarios through her head about some excuse as to why she had failed. They all ended the same way, the Emperor would have her killed. She could never go back. That door was closed forever. For the first time since she was a child she felt a tear run down her face. She wiped it up with her finger and looked closely at it. It was as if she wasn’t sure what it was. Suddenly she flew into a rage and began to yell at the top of her lungs. Lyda began pounding her fists on the control panel until they bled. It was useless she thought, all the anger in the world could not fix this. She had ruined everything.
She looked up and saw her reflection in the cockpit window. It was pitch black outside so she could see it quite well. Her face was drenched in tears. She had been crying the whole time. She had never felt so utterly helpless. She had always had a plan to survive somehow. Even the degradations she endured as a slave had led to a leadership position eventually. She was now dealing with something she could not defeat alone, the Emperor himself.
She had to disappear, it was possible. As far as anyone knew she was on the Black Heart and died with the crew. There was a glimmer of hope now. She could start again with a new identity. A person with her skills could get work with the scum of the universe. She decided to go to Hutt space. It would be easy to make a name for herself in the arenas and battle pits. She was one of the best fighters known to exist. She would need a new identity. She would have to let go of Lyda Starkiller and become someone new. She got up and searched the ship for items she could use. The ship was a treasure trove of disguises. It was everything she needed to begin a new life.  Lyda began by shaving her head. There were dozens of wigs of every shape and size. Her favorite was a long dark one with bangs. She looked completely different when she wore it. There was a large assortment of clothes. She took her slave harness and wrapped it in her long black cloak that had so proudly bore the Imperial emblem of her rank and blew it out the airlock. It settled on the surface next to the two dead assassins.
The ship lifted off and headed toward Hutt space. She had been challenged and pursued by Feloid patrols but the ship had enough drones left to make her escape into neutral space. She wouldn’t have to conserve her supplies because the ship was used as the assassin’s base ship and had plenty of stores. Lyda had decided on a new name. From this day forth she would be Josi Nabb. It was the name of one of the original survivors from the crash that had stranded them on Mongor. Josi had been the last to die so she took that as a good sign.
On route she had talked with several spacers and asked about places to find work as an enforcer. They all said the same name, “ Rollo the Hutt ”. He was the most ruthless crime lord in this sector. He had a base on the planet Regus Mortella, a hot dry planet. It was a mining world that was very profitable and full of mineral wealth. She decided to land at the largest city. Dempedda also had a star port and even a ship yard large enough to do major repairs and refits. Josi waited until Dempedda was in night fall before she landed. She rented an enclosed hanger so her ship could not be seen in case it was recognized as belonging to the assassins she had murdered. It wasn’t hard to find a contact that could get in touch with Rollo the Hutt. He ran everything in the city, it was his city. She had gone to the largest gambling house she could find. Once there she insisted on seeing the manager. The bouncers tried to stop her with little success. She was able to walk right into his office and up to his desk. At first he was angry but he soon relaxed when Josi brandished her light sabers and cut the desk in half. After that little display he was glad to make a few calls and set up an interview with Rollo. She was sent to the arena for the meeting. She had known it would be a trap. She decided not to give them the satisfaction and walked straight into the fighting pit itself. Josi walked slowly and confidently into the huge battle ground. It was littered with remains of past battles. Broken weapons, torn clothing, and body parts were strewn everywhere. It was her guess that all this was left to frighten anyone that entered this place. To her it was home. She was the Goddess of Fear for as long as she could remember.
She looked up into the stands and saw Rollo the Hutt and his minions. He was sitting in his box surrounded by attendants.

“ Rollo the Hutt, my name is Josi Nabb. I am the Goddess of Fear and I have come to do your bidding. Send me your finest warriors so I can kill them and become your champion. Allow me to serve you and no creature alive will dare stand against you.” she said with her hands on her hips.
“I am Rollo the Hutt. Many have stood where you stand and have made the same claims. Their bodies have been torn to pieces and lay before you. You had a good plan Lyda Starkiller. Yes, I know who you are. The assassins you killed were people known to me. The ship you arrived in is known to me. You have no secrets I cannot discover.” Rollo said in a very calm yet serious way.
“ Your Emperor has no say here. You have been reported killed in action and yet here you stand. If you were in good graces  with him you would have gone back to him and not have come here. I can only guess that you no longer are in his service.” Rollo waited for her response.
He was good. He knew everything about her and her past. She actually felt relieved to not have to keep secrets from him any more.
“ What you say is true. I served the Emperor and now I don’t. As you also know I have nowhere else to go. I am in desperate straits and I wish to serve you as your right hand. Set any task before me so I can prove my devotion to you.” she said as she looked down. There was no point in bargaining about her status here. She was completely at his mercy.
“I will not send you my warriors to slay, I have their loyalty because I won’t throw away their lives for such matters. There will be no test of courage for you Josi Nabb. I will bring you under my protection and share my prosperity with you.  However I will ask you to do my bidding without question. When the time comes you will act without regard for your safety or the safety of others you care about. If you serve me you will become an extension of me.” he said in his calm yet serious tone.
“ You are generous beyond measure my lord, I will serve you well.” she said looking up and directly into his eyes.
“I know of your past and that you are a leader. You will have this status amongst us here in my home. I will give you a slave, her name is Brea Priss. Her family could not pay me what they owed so I took their child. I give her to you so others will see my generosity. She is rebellious but intelligent. She will aid you in your transition here.” he said.
The slave was brought forward for Josi to see. She was young and beautiful in her scant garb. She held her head high and looked at Josi with contempt.
Josi Nabb looked back and smiled.
“ Once again your generosity is overwhelming. I will not confuse it with weakness. I understand you are paying me forward for future tasks, I will not disappoint you.” she said.
“We are done here. Slave, escort your Mistress to her new quarters so she may rest and get acquainted with her new surroundings.” Rollo said as he turned and slithered away followed by his lackeys.
Brea met Josi by the exit of the fighting pit. Josi walked around Brea inspecting her new slave. Brea was truly a beauty but she had a defiant attitude that must be fixed before they could proceed. She took a pair of manacles off the wall and held them out to Brea. “Put them on. Put them on with your hands behind you.” Josi told her.
“It’s not necessary, I will do what ever you tell me to do.” Brea said in mock compliance.
Josi took the manacles and struck Brea in the face with them causing her to fall to the ground.
“ When I tell you to do something you will obey without question. You will never second guess me ever again, are we clear on that?” Josi asked gritting her teeth.
Brea looked up in shock and horror. She could have killed her just then. She had never been struck with such violence and malevolence before. She was gripped by real fear of this woman. She had a true darkness in her that seemed to engulf everything in the area.
“Yes Mistress, it won’t happen again.” Brea said trembling. She picked up the manacles and put them on with her hands behind her back. She understood Josi wanted it that way so she couldn’t defend herself from further blows, and she knew there would be many.
“Lets go.” Josi snapped at Brea.
Brea struggled to get to her feet. She didn’t know if she should look at Josi or if she should even 

speak. Brea motioned with her head down for Josi Nabb to follow her and she began to walk down the hallway. Her Mistress followed her with no further trouble along the rough dug out tunnels. Most of Rollo’s complex was built underground. It had originally been a part of the early mine works on the planet but now the tunnels had been cut taller and wider with tile inlaid on the floor. The world above was a desolate and wind swept place. In the summer the temperature could rise well over one hundred and twenty degrees and drop below freezing at night. All in all it was better to remain underground safe from the elements.
They arrived at the rooms assigned to Josi. Brea looked up carefully at Josi. She was waiting for Josi to open the door. Josi looked at her as if she was running out of patience. Brea quickly turned around and fumbled with the door handle trying to get the door too open. It was difficult because her hands were behind her and she couldn’t see the door to open it. Josi crossed her arms in frustration. Brea breathed a sigh of relief when the door knob finally opened.
Josi grabbed Brea by the hair and drug her in the room and kicked the door shut. She looked around the room and found a long curtain sash cord and pulled it down. Josi tied it to Brea’s manacles and threw it over a roof rafter pulling it tight as to lift her arms up behind her so she had to stand on tip toes. She the pulled a wire from a lamp and spent the next six hours teaching Brea Priss how her life had gone from bad to worse.
The next morning Josi woke to the sound of an alarm going off. She jumped out of bed and grabbed her clothes.
“Get up you worthless trash!” she yelled at Brea. Brea rolled out of the bed and fell on the floor. Every part of her body was sore.
“Get up I said.” Josi had run over and kicked her hard trying to urge her into action.
Brea forced herself to her feet and stood at attention with her head down. She was trembling from her depredations of last night.
“The alarm, what does it mean?” Josi asked Brea as she grabbed her by the hair.
“A prisoner, it means a prisoner has escaped.” she answered wincing in pain.
“Stand there and wait, if you move or pass out I’ll make sure you’ll never stand again.” she said as she turned and ran out the door.
Josi Nabb ran out of the room and down the long hallway. She came to an intersection and paused. She put her hands out to her sides and slowly turned around. She was trying to sense the prisoner. She was trying to sense fear and desperation. Josi had forced that emotion on so many of her own victims she could feel it emanating from others. There! She could feel it down the south corridor. She immediately ran towards the feeling she was sensing. The emotions were getting stronger as she moved closer. She ran up and down the dimly lit hallways. Suddenly she came to a dead end. She had lost her prey. She could feel the prisoner on the other side of the wall but could not reach him. She listened with her ear to the wall as she caught her breath. It was quiet in the next room. She knew he was there but didn’t know where in the room he was. He was so close but she could not get to him. This would not be tolerated. She drew her light sabers and began cutting a hole in the wall. Within seconds she had made a breach large enough for her to enter. She leapt into the room ready to fight. She could  only wound the prisoner because she was not allowed to decide his fate. That would be left up to Rollo.
Josi looked rapidly around the room. She kept moving and changing her guard stance as best to protect herself from any opponent she had not yet located. The room was pitch black and the only illumination came from the red glow of her light sabers. Then in the corner she saw a figure standing with it’s face in the corner.
“Come out from there, there is no where left to run.” she said.
The figure was wearing camo fatigues common to the gangs on Bentoo, the planet that Mykala grew up on.
“Turn around and face me !”Josi wasn’t sure why she yelled.
Like a flash the figure turned and leapt at her with a speed she had never seen. Before she could react the person had struck at her severing both her hands with a light saber of their own. Josi watched in horror as both of her hands still holding her light sabers fell to the floor. She looked up in disbelief to see Mykala standing in front of her. Her eyes were glowing the same way as her own did.
“I have been looking for you.” Mykala’s voice sounded distant and strange.

Josi woke up suddenly taking a huge gasp of air as if she had been underwater for too long. She jumped out of bed and grabbed her hands one after the other, they were still there. She stumbled backwards and tripped over Brea who had been left unconscious on the floor from the night before. She looked again at her hands and the were trembling from fear. Josi got up and poured herself a drink and gulped it down in one swallow.
Brea woke up still dazed and rolled over to see Josi taking a second drink.
Josi saw her and lashed out at her.”What?! What are you looking at ?!” she screamed as she stomped on her ribs and legs.
Brea curled up in a fetal position trying to protect herself as best she could.
“It was only a dream.” she said to herself. She had to get a hold of her nerves and pull herself together.
She shook her shoulders and stood at attention. She then relaxed a little and walked over to the huge sofa in the next room. She hadn’t had a dream in years. Not any dreams at all. This one had really shaken her up. She leaned forward still holding her drink and rocked back and forth slowly. Josi looked over at Brea still laying on the floor. She looked half dead laying on the cold tiles. Josi got up and picked Brea up off the floor and carried her to the bed. She laid her down and looked down at her. She was covered with bruises and welts from the punishment she had received from her the night before. She could see she was awake but she was afraid to open her eyes.
“Brea I want you to look at me. Don’t be afraid. I won’t hurt you.” Josi said.
Brea opened her eyes slowly and looked at Josi. She turned away slightly thinking this might just be some new sick torment she was trying.
“Brea I mean it, I am not going to hurt you any more. I don’t need to. I know you will do anything I tell you to from now on won’t you?” she said.
Brea shook her head yes. It was true, she had lost the little bit of self respect she had left. She was living at this woman”s whim. She could and more importantly would kill her whenever she wanted to.
“ You will now be loyal only to me. You see I know what I’ve done to you. I know I have broken you and left you only wanting to do whatever you can to please me. It may be from fear of death or the fear I won’t let you die,either way you are now loyal to me.” Josi said as she gently stroked Brea’s face.
“You will be my eyes and ears as long as I am here. Most likely you were given to me so you could report back to Rollo about my activities. We know that won’t happen don’t we. You will tell Rollo what I want him to know and only that. You see I don’t always want to hurt you. I can make you feel good also.” she said and gently kissed Brea on the forehead.
“There, I made it all better didn’t I ?”
“ There is one thing I want you to listen for more then anything else. It is a name, a woman’s name.” she said standing up.
“The name is Mykala. Just Mykala.” Josi turned her back to Brea. “What was that name?”
“Mykala…” Brea said nervously.
“ Good, now say it again.”
“Mykala. Mykala. Mykala.”
“Wonderful Brea, I knew I could count on you.” Josi said. She walked back over to the bed. She sat down on the edge next to Brea. Josi traced her finger up and down Brea’s body stopping to make circles around each bruise or welt.
Brea closed her eyes tightly in disgust.
“ Oh you will learn to like this too Brea. I won’t force it on you but you will learn to enjoy it I assure you. Everyone needs to feel love don’t they?” Josi kissed Brea on the mouth lightly and stood up.
“Anyway I am going to let you rest and think about our little talk. I must speak to Rollo and find out what he wants me to do today. You just lay here and rest.”
Josi Nabb left her room and walked down the hallway. Her bio wig had taken root and was almost completely like her real hair now. She gave it a toss as she walked by some men to try it out. They all stopped in mid-sentence and stared at her. Josi gave her walk a little more swish and glanced over her shoulder and smiled back at them. She continued down the hall headed for the main hall were Rollo held his meetings. She stopped suddenly and smelled her breath. She could smell the alcohol on it from the drinks she had that morning. She had better be careful not to get to close when she spoke to someone.
The dream she had really bothered her and try as she might she just couldn’t forget about it. Mykala had beaten her with no trouble, like she was a novice. Maybe her powers were getting stronger. Maybe it was a warning. It was possible for Mykala to beat her she now thought. This idea made her uncomfortable. She would have to take measures to keep that from happening in the future.
Josi Nabb walked confidently into the main meeting hall. Rollo and his lackeys were already there at the center of the room. She bowed in respect to Rollo as she went closer.
“Where do you want me my lord?” she asked.
“I want you to stand behind me where you can watch the room and all who enter  it. Today you will be my body guard.”
“As you wish my lord.” Josi walked up the steps and went around behind the massive crime lord. She was standing on a raised platform a little higher than Rollo’s so she had a better view. She stood looking down at Rollo’s unprotected back. How easy it would be to strike and claim all of this for herself. Maybe later, today she would be his body guard and that was enough. She had decided to sit back and take it easy for the time being. Josi Nabb would stay here and serve her new benefactor completely and enjoy all the perks that went with the position.

If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.

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Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 01:49)