Wᴇᴇᴋ 7, Dᴀʏ 3
Ever since their arrival, her interactions with Dash had been few and far between. The only reason they saw each other at all was because Dash was able to sneak around and find Mahree during her schedule. And the classes? Mahree cared less for those. It was punishment she received when she did not attend, but the younger girl refused to simply fall into the new lifestyle she had been forced into.
She did not want to conform, she did not want to behave. She hardly wanted to live. What life was she to live now? One of obedience and hatred? Was she to forget everything she had known before this moment; her family, her friends, her old life?
Sitting in the small chamber that was supposedly a room, Mahree was curled up in the corner, her head in her hands, knees pulled up to her chest. Her head moved ever so slightly every few moments, the shock collar that was locked around her neck was anything short of comfortable to wear.
Dashara ducked in and out of shadows, avoiding any light possible. Her eyes strained looking down one end of the corridor then the other. Darkness greeted her, but nothing more. A breath of relief expelled from her lung while she cautiously continued down the winding hallways. Red carpets baring the black Empire symbols became wrapped nightmarish visions at night. Each step echoed across the air, threatening to summon the nightly patrolling Overseers and their sadistic punishments. The thought caused Dash to touch her bruised eye then flinched, withdrawing her fingers. A consequence when she crossed the wrong Overseer’s path during her escape yesterday.
She knew it would happen again. It always did and would continue until she perished.
When the hybrid stopped at Mahree’s door, she paused. The tension caused her to stop, her breath held in her chest, and she listened once more. Nothing echoed throughout the hallways allowing Dash to breathe. She hunched as she worked on slicing the lock. Her force rotated the screws off and dropped them into her pocket. With determined and limited skill, she began to work through the numerous wiring. Several heart pounding hours ticked by until the lock clicked. With a silent, but quick movement, Dash opened the door and shot inside. It hissed close leaving her standing across from a huddled Mahree.
“That was fun.” Dash said in clear sarcasm.
As Dash worked hard in those hours to splice the wires and gain access to Mahree’s room, the girl could sense her friend nearby. It must’ve been the Force that enabled her to do that, or so Mahree figured. Her suspicions were proven correct as she heard the door open. Looking up to see a small figure slip through into the dimly-lit room, Mahree stood slowly.
“Dash?” She mumbled quietly after hearing her friend’s voice. The fear that sat in Mahree’s heart receded for a moment, and feelings of being calm and hopeful resurfaced. Mahree ran up to her friend, wrapping her arms around Dash in a tight hug as light tears ran down her cheeks.
Dashara winced as she thumped against the door, her own arms returning the hugs.
Mahree was scared, there was no denying that. The girl had no one in this world but Dash, and it seemed the Overseers had figured that out and separated them, on purpose. Dash was her rock, the only one she cared about and probably the only being who cared for her in return. Without her friend, Mahree was constantly fighting hopelessness and fear as dark thoughts fought their way into her head during every waking moment. Without Dash’s fearlessness and determination, Mahree was slowly becoming lost in a sea of fear and self-doubt.
Dash sighed then slowly wobbled both herself and the younger girl toward the bed. She gently pried off the arms to breathe. Her eyes looked in the frightened expression causing her to sigh again.
"Easy with man-handling me. I'm still a bit sore." She half joked. The latter obviously clear from the small limp and healing bruises on her body.
A finger brushed away a strand of Mahree's hair as she continued.
"So rumor is that you stopped leaving your room. What did we did talk about back in the ship?" Dash's voice became firmer.
At Dash's stern question, Mahree took a few steps back to sit on the small bed. One hand moved up, fingers tracing the thin contraption around her neck. It had only been activated once, and that's all Mahree remembered. She knew it hurt, she knew why they had forced her to wear it and why it had gone off; because of the friends standing right in front of her.
Eyes looked down at the floor, fingers running across the collar, thoughts racing here and there as the fear swirled in her heart.
"Why does it matter?" Mahree asked, head turned down and away from Dash as her voice wavered.
Dash instantly stiffened. Her expression melted from shock into anger, her eyes hardened at the question. She gritted her teeth enough to stop the fury from speaking for her. Seconds ticked by in silence while Dash closed her eyes and collected her patience. She crossed her arms before she let her words rip it a part.
“Really, is that your excuse to simply roll over and die? Cause it doesn’t matter? That’s a weak one to me.” Dash snapped while she still glared at the girl.
"You've seen what happens to others like me, Dash. I don't know how to fight, I don't know anything about the Force or alchemy or anything."
“But you can try to learn, can’t you? You’re not stupid! These bruises on me aren’t because I rolled over and accepted my fate! I learn, adapt and keep trying.” Dash bluntly countered, her figure still standing.
"And if we don't accept our fate? Then what? We are supposed to become Sith, what happens if we keep fighting?"
“At least you can die on your feet than die in the way they want you to. Like an animal that isn’t worth giving a damn about.”
"They don't give a damn about us anyway," Mahree countered, her eyes still focused down and away from Dash, "We're just their pawns in a game. We have no meaning except to be turned into a fighting machine. I don't want that fate. I just want it to end."
“You are not the only one that’s had a miserable life and you won’t be the last. I lost my parents at ten, nearly got killed by a bounty hunter, and treated like an object until about a year ago.” Dashara leaned over, fighting the pain flooding her system, as she put her hand under Mahree’s chin. She pulled the girl up to face her.
“Do you think I survived that by acting your way? No. It’s not easy, but it’s possible to beat the system. You’re just too sucked into your own depression to see it.”
"And what about this?" Mahree began, fingers running along the device around her neck. "If I fight back, if we fight back, this comes on, right? I've stayed in my room and it hasn't bothered me."
Mahree grew quiet, pulling her chin from Dash's fingers finally as tears welled in her eyes. "I thought I was going to die. It hurt so much… I don't want that pain again."
“I don’t like getting hurt either, but while you’re alive, there’s always that risk. There’s always going to be people out there to hurt you, emotionally or physically. Shutting down resolves nothing and gives them the win.” Dash’s eyes seemed distracted as she turned away from Mahree, unable to retain eye contact now.
“The reason you got the shock collar was to keep me from escaping. It seems our ‘host’ realized I had gotten attached to you and Overseer Genbit is using you to keep me in line.”
Mahree listened to Dash's words as she explained why she had received the collar in the first place. Fingers still lightly traced the device as her eyes moved to her friend.
"If you find a way out… you'll come back for me, right?" Mahree suddenly asked, shifting where she sat so she could face Dash more. Her friend had already tried to escape once, did that mean she had a plan in case Mahree couldn't be with her next time?
If Mahree fought to stay alive, she wanted to be alive with her friend. They had to leave together, neither one would leave the other behind, or so the girl hoped.
“Right now, I’m testing the boundaries. If I can find a weak point, we can make a plan to get out. However, while we’re doing that… I figured we can learn other skills. As I said, I’ve been in this situation before and those skills are useful.”
Dash smiled at seeing the small spark of life in Mahree.
Mahree stood from the bedside to face her friend. Eyes still watery, but with a weak smile on her face.
"I'll try… for you, Dash." The girl said, her tone wavering as eyes closed and her arms wrapped lightly around her friend in another hug. Her head rested on Dash's shoulder as her heart and mind came to terms with what the older girl had said.
“Don’t try for me, try for yourself. I can’t help you if you can’t find motivation to go on. Something might happen to me and I don’t want my last thoughts being worried about you living on. Promise me, you’ll find a reason to keep fighting.” Dash pulled herself from the hug after a few moments as she looked at Mahree.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Mahree nodded her head to Dash, indicating she understood.
A few moments of peaceful silence filled the air. Mahree took a deep breath to calm herself as she dried her wet eyes with the sleeve of her shirt.
There was a split second as a small, red indicator light illuminated on the device around Mahree's neck. It wasn't another second later before blue currents of electricity started winding their way sporadically around the device. Mahree screamed suddenly, as the voltage was forced into her body through the shock collar. Her fingers grasped at the device as she stumbled backwards, hitting the wall opposite her room door and sliding to the ground. Her breathing was quickened as the voltage ceased, her fingers just barely grasping the device as she sat there, her body trying to cope with what she had just endured.
The door to Mahree's room opened, and through it stepped Sith Overseer Kilian Haryss. A tall, slender yet finely built figure with messy blonde hair that fell to his shoulders. His black armor reflected the red overhead lights as he stepped through the door, followed by two younger apprentices.
"My my… what have we here? Young Horizon outside of her room past curfew? And with young Mais-ede, nonetheless?" Taking a few more steps inside, he moved closer to Dash, his eyes scanning the room and finding the younger Mahree not far away on the opposite side, trying to recover from the shock he had just administered.
"Tell me something, anything. I'd love to hear your excuse for being here, and putting young Mahree through a world of hurt."
Dashara took a regretful look toward Mahree then faced Overseer Haryss. Her eyes closed to rein in her anger and actions, pushing her fury to the back of her mind. She opened them to lock looks with the Overseer while biting her tongue.
“I couldn’t sleep so I needed to clear my head. I heard rumors and thought I check in on how truthful they were.” She mixed in truth and lies, her words filled with care in their presentation. Neither threatening or cock in tone.
Kilian glanced at Mahree, then to Dash.
"Rumors huh?" He scoffed, smirking as his hands moved to meet each other. One moved and pressed a small button on his left gauntlet, and Mahree was forced to undergo another few moments of agonizing torture. He stopped again, watching the girl writhe for a moment, "Sounds reasonable."
Dash tensed again. Her head turned away so not to see Mahree in pain. Instead, her glare remained fixed on the Overseer and she strained to hold herself back from reacting toward him.
“It’s the truth. It’s your choice to believe it or not, but I got nothing else to explain my actions.” Her fingers tightened into fists at her side as she stated each word.
"I can feel that anger, that hate. Don't hate me for what your friend has to go through. It's your own actions that caused your friends pain."
“Last I checked… I didn’t press the button.” Dashara countered, failing to bite her tongue fast enough.
The look on Kilian's face darkened at Dash's words. His head tilted back at her small challenge. His head tilted towards the two apprentices at his side. "Little girl wants to challenge, I'll give you a challenge."
Kilian turned and stepped out of the room, just outside of the door before he looked back. The apprentices both moved in, each one grabbing either of Dash's arms before the moved to walk her out of the room.
Dash looked over her shoulder, a concerned glance flashed at Mahree. She struggled a bit against the two apprentices’ grip before letting them march her outside the room.
Slumped against the wall, Mahree's head raised ever so slightly to see Dash being pulled out of the room. A tired gaze watched her friend, her heart and mind fighting back the fear that wanted to flood back.
As the two apprentices led Dash down the hallway towards the combative area, Kilian turned and held up his hand and wrist again, in pain view, for Dash to see. He said nothing, a smirk still held in his features as a finger went down on the same small button again. A faint blue glow could be seen coming from Mahree's room, followed by screams as her body was flooded with electricity.
Dashara jerked and pulled again, the apprentices ready for her resistance this time. Her expression curled into a pissed one.
“Fucking bastard.” She cursed at him.
The apprentices paid no mind to the screams or Dash’s struggles. They merely tightened their grip while they hauled her around the corner and into the combat room. Feeling them release, she took a seat as they waited for Overseer Haryss to arrive.