DARIA/STAR WARS: CHAPTER TWO; HARD TRUTHS, COLD HEARTS
As Jedi Padwan JANE LANE returns to Yavin Four to take her trials to become a Jedi Knight,
Padawans DARIA MORGENDORFFER and JODIE LANDON meet as their Masters cross
Deciding to sample some of the local food, the two have, instead, stumbled upon a raid on
Sienar Fleet Systems. Despite her misgivings, Daria has gone along with Jodie in finding out
what the raiders are after, and who is behind them . . .
The warehouse was filled with crates a full story tall. Several corridors had been arranged
between them, allowing for the massive cargo mover droid to load and unload the warehouse. At
the moment, however, the droid was sitting in a corner, deactivated. The guards who had been
working at the warehouse had been killed, either at once or after being captured. Now firmly in
control, the intruders came to attention as a new figure entered.
It was obviously a female Human. Her figure was covered but not hidden by the skin-tight outfit
she wore beneath a black cloak. Her legs and arms were covered by fishnet with a gray material
beneath. A very short skirt was slit on the left side, showing the leg all the way to the hip. A
sleeveless black turtleneck covered her midriff. Her hands were in gloves that ran three-quarters
of the way to her elbows. Metal studs circled her arms at the wrists and the end of the gloves.
She was wearing black boots with zippers running up the inner side to the top, which was past the
knee. A black veil that billowed slightly as she breathed was draped across her lower face, hiding
it from view. Her head was in a mask, with black-lined gray fishnet holding in her hair. The only
part of her skin that showed was around her brown eyes.
"Not much left to the imagination," came a whisper from three crates up. The figure who had
spoken was cloaked in the darkness, as was their companion. Both were in robes, the speaker in
brown, while the other was black.
The figure walked up to a trio of Humans in the brown uniforms worn by the intruders. Two men
flanked one blond woman. "Lady Frost," the woman said, "the facility is secure."
"It had better be," Frost replied. "I would be most displeased if you missed anything, Colonel
Transin." Her voice was low, almost sultry, but carried little in the way of emotion. Frost might
have been discussing the color of dirt. "Have you found the software?"
"Our decryptors are working on it now," Transin told her. "We will have it any moment, now."
"Good." Frost glanced at the crates. "See that a few of these are placed aboard the ship. There
is no point letting them go to waste. Besides," she looked back, "if we cannot find the software in
one place, we will pull it from the fighters, themselves." Turning, Frost strode from the mammoth
room, leaving the officers to hurry to keep up.
The brown-robed figure put an arm on the other, then led them back from the edge. A light from
the ceiling illuminated the center of the crate where they stopped.
"There are fighters in here?" the brown-robed figure asked as they pulled back their hood.
Beneath the robe was revealed a dark-skinned Human in her early twenties, with dark brown eyes
and a concerned face. Her hair was parted on the left and grew loose to just past her shoulders,
with a long braid signifying a Jedi Padawan hanging down behind her right ear. Beneath the robe,
she had on a dark tan tunic with a black under tunic. A loincloth the same color as the tunic
extended past her black belt to her knees, partially covering the black slacks. A pair of brown
boots covered her feet. A cylinder on her belt was held in place by a hand she frowned.
"I guess that's what's in the crates," came the reply from the other woman as she, too, pulled back
her hood. She was Human, although much more pale, with auburn hair cut just short of her
shoulders. A Padawan braid reached to her green tabard. Beneath the tabard, she wore a
mustard-yellow tunic with slightly flared sleeves. Her obi had two sections, the top was the same
green as the tabard, while the lower half was black and served as a belt. Below the belt, the
tabard became two three-inch wide pieces of cloth that extended to just past her knees in the front
and rear. Her boots looked formidable, and were the same black as her loose-fitting slacks. A
gray cylindrical device hung from her belt as well. The thing that held the observer's attention,
however, was a pair of thick round frames of some black material that rested over her eyes, giving
her a 'standoffish' appearance.
"Great. So, Daria," the first one asked, "what do we do, now?"
Daria frowned, "Now you ask my opinion? Look, Jodie, you got us into this, you're calling the
"Hey, you saw them in the market," Jodie pointed out.
"And you said we should follow them."
Jodie shook her head, "This is getting us nowhere." She moved to take a quick glance over the
side, then returned. "They're working on the cargo droid. We can't let them get any of these
"What fighters are they, any way?" Daria looked down. "Ah, here's some kind of manifest."
Kneeling, she read the label attached to the top of the crate. "Hmm, a Triple Ion Engine fighter."
"Triple?" Jodie looked down in surprise. "That's right, this is Sienar Fleet Systems. They use to
make the TIE fighter for the Empire."
"Ooh," Daria glanced around. "This must be a new generation of them."
"I seem to remember they made a bid for replacing the old C-Wings a few years ago. But Cygnus
Spaceworks got the contract when they included the droid pilot system."
"I still think that was a bad idea," Daria muttered as she stood. "Every simulation versus a skilled
pilot lead to a loss for the droid."
"Ours is not to reason why, I guess," Jodie shrugged. "But we still can't let them get these ships."
"Herm," Daria grumbled. "Okay, they're after some ships, and the software. They're probably
looking for the plans, too."
"That'd make sense." Jodie nodded, "Tell you what, you keep them from getting a ship, and I'll
go protect the plans."
"Jodie, that woman had a lightsaber," Daria reminded her. "You know, like these," she patted the
cylinder on her belt.
"It'll be okay," Jodie said, sounding confident. "Now, let's get going." Turning, she walked to the
far side of the crates and stepped off.
"I've got a bad feeling about this," Daria muttered to herself.
Jodie landed easily, but her boots made some noise that got the attention of two of the guards
posted around the warehouse. Crap, she thought as she backed away.
"Who goes there?" one of the men asked.
"There," the other brought his blaster carbine up and pointed it toward Jodie. "Halt!"
Just as Jodie started to reach for her lightsaber, a figure in black and green fell from the sky onto
the two men. They slammed into the ground and didn't move. Daria brushed herself off as she
frowned at Jodie.
"Okay, 'Miss Stealth,' anything else before we part company?"
"Yeah," Jodie smirked as she walked past, "your glasses are crooked."
"Lady Frost," Transin asked the shorter woman, "is there something wrong?"
"I feel a stirring in the Force." When she moved her head, it was with enough force to whip the
veil around enough to show the smooth skin on the underside of her jaw. "The only time I've felt
it is when . . ." The masked woman turned to Transin, her eyes narrowed. "Colonel, who was
responsible for making certain that this building is secure?"
Transin blinked. "Captain Tremel led the teams, but I trained them myself."
"Yes," she nodded, "you are in charge of them, aren't you." Frost raised a hand.
"Yes, I --" her eyes bulged as her hands went to her throat. Gasping, Transin could only stare at
the figure before her as she struggled for air. When she collapsed onto the ground, Frost looked
over at her second-in-command.
"Captain, your superior failed me. There is a Jedi in this building. See that she is found."
Turning, Frost moved to stand behind the decryption team, ignoring the still body behind her.
"There she is!" From far end of the hall, the two men brought up their blasters as Jodie pulled her
lightsaber from her belt, igniting the light red/pink blade. The first two shots were, simply, too
wide to hit anything. The next couple were deflected into the walls. Jodie took out one of the
men with the next deflection. Then, she slipped sideways and forward, coming close enough to
slash with the lightsaber, severing the man at the waist.
"Oh, god," Jodie knelt next to the men. "I-I've killed someone." Her moment of regret was cut
short, however, by the sound of running feet.
"The sounds came from this way!" One of the voices called out.
"Mourn later," she told herself as she stood.
Daria watched as the droid moved toward the crate she was standing on. She had watched as two
had been loaded, already. "Think," she told herself. "How do these things work? There's got to
be a way to rig one up so it'll blow up on their ship." The droid continued to move closer, the
massive forks beginning to rise.
A female came into the warehouse, looking nervous. "Guys!" she called out. "Guys, there's a
Jedi in the building! We gotta find her!"
Another officer pointed to a couple of the guards, "You two stay here. The rest of you, come
on." Daria watched as the men left.
They must have seen Jodie, Daria thought. The crate beneath her moved as the cargo lifter droid
began to lift it. This is not good. Running to the edge, Daria jumped onto the droid.
"Up there!" Daria's lightsaber was up in time to deflect shots from the guards. One of the
deflected shots came off of the green blade to hit the droid's controls, sending it up in a shower of
sparks. The droid came to a sudden halt.
All three stopped, looking at the massive crate halfway off of the one beneath it, then at the frozen
frame of the droid. When the guards looked back at Daria, she shrugged, "Hey, that'll work."
She back flipped off the droid, putting it between herself and the two men. As she did, she could
hear them calling for backup.
Jodie listened as the booted feet moved away. No longer in immediate danger, she turned to look
at her surroundings. The room was round and white. In the center was a tower that reached
from the floor to the ceiling. "Hey," she grinned, "the computer core. This is better than the
control room. Now," she began to walk around the core, "where's the 'off' switch?" On the far
side, she stopped. "There you go, Landon," she muttered. "The circuit breaker box." Pulling her
lightsaber, she ignited the blade, then drove it into the box. A shower of sparks followed, along
with the lights flashing before going out.
Good thing I have a light, she thought. Using the light from her saber, Jodie made it to the door.
She noticed the lights were off in the hallway as well as the closed the door behind her.
"Hello, Jodie. Long time, no see." Turning, Jodie saw the figure in black standing at the end of
the hall. Her overlong lightsaber was in her hand as she waited.
"You have me at a disadvantage," Jodie said, raising her weapon.
"You may call me Darth Frost," the calm voice said. "I will give you a choice. You may live, but
you must tell me where I can find the Morgendorffer girl."
"What do you want with Daria?" Jodie waited.
"My business with her is none of your concern."
"Well, you might as well get to the other option, 'cause I don't know where the girl went to."
"I see the Jedi has done nothing about the morbid streak of nobility you have always suffered
from." Frost strode toward Jodie, but did not ignite her lightsaber. "You should have stuck with
tennis." In a blur of motion, the blue-white blade ignited and moved toward Jodie.
Jodie blocked the attack, holding the blade away from her. "I always thought tennis was rather
dull, actually," she said through a smirk. In the back of her mind, however, the thought kept
repeating, How does she know so much about me?
Ducking behind the corner, Daria weighed her options. Run some more, she thought, or go
around the corner and see if I can keep twenty lunatics with blasters from turning me into Swiss
Morgendorffer. Well, at least they aren't going to be moving any of these fighters for a while.
Voices from around the corner told Daria that her antagonists were planning something. If they
come up with a plan, I'm in trouble. But, going out there would be the last option I'd . . . She
smirked. "It would be the last thing anyone would expect."
Jodie stepped back again as Frost attacked, this time barely getting out of the way of the blade
that reached for her heart. A flurry of strikes was followed by second, faster series, leaving Jodie
totally on the defensive. Frost brought her lightsaber around in a slice, allowing Jodie to dive to
the side, opening up some room between them.
"Getting tired, Jodie?" Frost asked, her voice still the cool monotone she had used throughout the
battle. "Tell me where Daria Ruth Morgendorffer is and I will let you live."
As Frost advanced, Jodie said, "I didn't even know her middle name until you said it. How you
know so much about us, anyway? You on the mailing list or something?"
"Something." Again Frost's blade came, and again it was parried. And again. And again.
Jodie stepped back through a doorway. Stealing a glance, she realized they were back in the
And it was silent.
Then Frost was upon her once more.
The intruders were so distracted, only three of them opened fire when Daria came around the
corner. Quickly, though, the others joined in, sending bolt after bolt of deadly energy toward the
Jedi Padawan. Nevertheless, Daria charged ahead, dodging and deflecting anything that got close
enough to hit her.
In less than a second, she had covered the distance between herself and her attackers. With a final
leap, she was in the middle of them, her saber moving with precision as blaster and attacker were
rendered inert. There was a final shot just before the man was hit with his own deflected bolt.
Scowling, Daria bent to pick up one of the blasters. She glanced at the cargo hatch leading to the
ship, then to the blasters lying around, and gave the slightest of smiles.
Diving to the side, Jodie came up on her feet once again. There was not time to spare, however,
as Frost was upon her at once. The clash of their blades making a constant rhythm as they fought.
Suddenly, Jodie felt herself pushed across the floor, coming to rest against the giant droid.
Standing again, Jodie raised her lightsaber just as Frost struck.
Returning to the warehouse, Daria could hear what sounded like a lightsaber duel coming from
the hallway on the far side of the cargo lifter droid. It stopped for a few seconds, then began
again. Daria started to run in that direction when the warehouse echoed with a scream.
Holding the stump of her left arm, Jodie tried to push herself away from Frost. The pain,
however, was making it hard to coordinate her movements. A shadow fell over her, causing her
to look up.
"You had a chance to live," Frost reminded her. "All you had to do was tell me where the
Morgendorffer girl was. But you didn't take it. And now," Frost raised her lightsaber, "you will
pay for your insolence."
"Will that be cash or charge?" Turning, Frost saw Daria standing on the smoking droid. Her Jedi
robe was slipping from where she had dropped it onto the floor. Her lightsaber was in her hand,
but there was no hint of expression on her face.
"Ah," Frost stepped away from Jodie, "at last, we meet again."
"Daria," Jodie called out, "she knows stuff about us! Like I use to play tennis. She even knows
your middle name!"
"Don't you think that's taking 'know your enemy' a little far?" Daria asked as she dropped from the
"You were never fond of your grandmother, were you?" Frost raised her lightsaber as she
"Hmm, you do seem to know things." Daria brought up her lightsaber and ignited it. "So you
should know that I'm very protective of my friends." The slightest of scowls crossed Daria's
features, "And Jodie is my friend."
"Ooh," Frost raised her weapon horizontally, "two friends." A blade came from both ends of the
saber. "A new record for you, isn't it? By the way, how is Jane? Is she still painting?"
"Only when awake," Daria told her. "Have we met before or did you eat my permanent record?"
"I'm not telling, so get use to disappointment," Frost replied just before she struck.
Now that she had a moment, Jodie was able to use a Jedi pain controlling technique to deaden the
pain from the amputation. As she did, the two fighters made their way around the droid and out
of sight, leaving Jodie alone to think.
She was just too powerful for me, Jodie realized. That kind of strength in the Force is rare.
Master Jochira says that kind of power only runs in families. Like the Skywalkers. Or, I guess,
the Morgendor . . . Jodie's eyes widened. "Oh, snap," she muttered as, for a second, she forgot
about her arm.
Frost struck from the right, then from the left, forcing Daria to again increase her speed. The next
came at her legs, causing her to flip over Frost. Even as she landed, she spun to bring up her
lightsaber in time to parry a strike at her head.
When attacked, fall back. One of the earliest instructions on saber dueling came to her mind. Like
the tree in the wind, if you do not give, you will break. Daria stepped back again.
Trees the Jedi are not, The first lesson she'd learned from her third Jedi Master answered.
Sometimes attack we must. Slipping inside a lunge, Daria drove her elbow into Frost's nose before
spinning out of reach.
"Daria!" Jodie's voice came from where she was lying. "I know who it is! You're fighting your
sister! You're fighting Quinn!"
Backpedaling, Daria got out of reach of the double-edged saber before stopping to stare. "Jodie,
Quinn's dead!" she answered. Inside, though, she knew. The Force was echoing Jodie's words.
Quinn was Frost.
With a laugh, the woman pulled the mask from her head. "Like, well done, Jodie," she called over
toward her. "Too bad I'll have to kill you for it." Turning back to Daria, she said, "After I finish
with you, dear sister." Tossing the mask aside, Quinn reached up and pulled a choker from her
neck. "That's better," she said, her voice sounding more like Daria remembered it. She took a
moment to fluff her red hair, "God, I hate helmet hair. But," she smiled, "my master likes me to
wear this stuff. And I'm sure you know all about pleasing the master. Or," she shrugged, "maybe
"Quinn," Daria's blade shut down as she lowered her weapon, "what happened? You were
supposed to have died when that cruise ship exploded.."
Shutting down her own lightsaber, Quinn replied, "I wasn't on the ship, you idiot. It was a setup.
I needed you to, like, leave me alone. God, every few days you'd send me something else about
how you wanted me somewhere safe. Or, even worse, you kept visiting me. My master was so
annoyed with that."
For once, Daria's mind would simply not register what she was hearing. "But why did the ship's
register say you were?"
The redhead shook her head, "Daria, I think all those books have finally cooked your brain. It
was supposed to make it look like I was dead. I wanted you to think I was dead. I wanted you to
go away and leave me alone!"
"But," Daria shook her head, "why?"
"Because I hate you!" She began to pace, "God, you're so dense, sometimes."
"Quinn," Daria held out a hand, "how can you hate me? We're sisters. We're all the family we
"Family," Quinn spit out the word. "Some family. The first chance you got, you split to go play
hero with the high-and-mighty Jedi. You've always been jealous of me. When we were young,
you hated the fact that everyone thought I was cuter than you."
"You were just better at getting the attention," Daria replied.
"Was that why you held the door open so I could walk out of the apartment? Because I was
better at, like, getting the attention?"
"Opening the door?" Daria thought for a second. "Quinn, I was barely a toddler, myself. I didn't
want you to die, I just wanted you to leave."
"Sure, you say that when your life is on the line. You, you," Quinn pointed, then stopped and
shook her head. Her voice was cold as stone when she said, "You promised to take care of me,
Daria. Then you ran away. That sounds like a pretty sucky sister to me."
"Quinn, I, I," Daria looked away.
"Your favorite topic, isn't it?" The black-clad woman began to walk in circles around Daria.
"You went to that self-esteem class, the whole time thinking you were smarter than everyone else.
You met Jane, but you've never thought she was as good as you. Well, let me tell you something,
Jane is a better Jedi than you are." Coming up behind her sister, Quinn whispered into her ear,
"And she'll always be. You know why?" She resumed her orbit, "Because she can give. She can
see beyond the end of her nose."
"What? Hey, I see beyond the end of my nose," came the protest.
"How? Can you even see your nose with those things on?"
"Yes, your all-holy glasses." She stopped in front of her sister, then put her hands on her hips.
"You use those things to keep people at arms reach because they're, like beneath you or
something. Everyone. Including me. And even now when you can get them fixed, you still wear
those glasses, to keep everyone away." She smiled, "That's why you're going to die, today.
Because you pushed me away once too often. Because you did it until I got the power to get
even. You see, Daria," she held her hands out to her sides, "you made me Darth Frost."
"I didn't buy you that outfit, that's for sure," Daria countered.
"Don't like it?"
"There isn't enough there to like."
"Aw, that's to bad."
"Quinn," Daria asked, "is that outfit really in fashion, now?"
"My master says it is." Quinn gestured, and her mask flew to her hand. Tucking into her belt, she
smirked, "I'm running a little late, thanks to you. But this is going to be the best family reunion
As she watched the twin blades reignite, Daria stepped back. "Quinn, don't make me do this.
You're my sister. I've never hated you. I love you."
"Now that you're going to die, you say that." Quinn spun her weapon into a ready position.
"That's just like you. You embarrassed me in front of the whole school our first day in Lawndale.
Then you come to that party just to humiliate me. My whole life you've been trying to ruin things
for me. Well, here's where I ruin something for you!"
During the pause, Jodie had pulled herself to her feet and, leaning against the cargo lifter droid,
moving around to where she could see the two fighting. Quinn was a wild creature, with her red
hair flying as she attacked again and again. Daria was the calm at the center of the Morgendorffer
storm, repeatedly fighting off the attacks.
"Don't," parry, "make me," dodge, "hurt you," came Daria's segmented plea just before she had to
leap over an attack.
"Then stand still and die, already," was the reply.
"I can't do that, Quinn. You're on a path that only leads to pain. I didn't think you could find a
more destructive path without using drugs, but you found it."
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Quinn spun and brought her weapon around to a
downward strike. Daria leaped up and kicked the hilt of the double-bladed lightsaber. The high
end came back toward Quinn, severing a lock of hair and nearly bringing the blade into contact
with her face.
"Your obsession with fashion was leading you down the road to disappointment and ruin," Daria
explained. "Do you know how many girls end up working fast food when they've had dreams of
modeling? You were going nowhere. And I knew you could do better."
"Looks like I did." Quinn attacked again, causing Daria's lightsaber to become a blur as it did
double duty against the twin blades.
"No," Daria backed away. "The dark side leads only to pain." Daria held out a hand, "Please,
turn away from this."
Quinn laughed, "As if."
With a sigh, Daria nodded and lowered her hand. "All right. Your choice. I guess it's always
been leading up to this." She raised her lightsaber. "You want me, come and get me."
Jodie noticed a difference immediately. This time, Daria wasn't on the defensive. After Quinn's
first attack, she began to fall back as her older sister began to press the issue. And, while Daria's
expression never changed, Quinn began to show concern. Finally, there was a snap, and almost
half of Quinn's lightsaber flew away.
Breathing heavily, the redhead backed away from her sister. "You're," she panted, "you're better
than I thought you could be."
"Gee," Daria scowled, "thanks."
"I'll have to practice harder for next time," Quinn said with a smirk.
"You wouldn't want to have to explain to the Jedi Council why you let Jodie get smashed, now
would you?" Raising a hand, Quinn reached out to the crate that the droid had been moving when
it had been damaged. Using the Force, she pulled it loose, then let it start to topple toward the
droid below . . . and Jodie.
Following the gaze of the two, Jodie's eyes widened as the dark shape began to grow suddenly
larger. Raising a hand, she tried to deflect it, but knew it was too much for her.
It stopped just before crashing into the base of the droid. She stared at it for a few seconds until
she heard Daria's voice say, "I don't have all day, Landon."
"Uh, right." Jodie stumbled away from the droid. She heard the crash behind her, and a few
shards of the synthetic crate flew past. Instead of looking behind her, Jodie's eyes were locked on
Daria's hand was in a death-grip around her lightsaber. Her mouth was in a thin pale line, and her
posture ramrod straight. Her left hand flexed repeatedly, the only sign of movement she gave
until they heard the cargo door closing behind them.
"Daria, she's getting away with --" she stopped when Daria shook her head.
"No. I used the blasters to rig an explosive on her hyperdrive. As soon as she jumps to
lightspeed she'll be blown to atoms." The lightsaber fell from Daria's fingers. "I couldn't save her,
"You saved me," Jodie reminded her. "That counts for something in my book. Besides," she
leaned against a crate, "I don't think she wanted to be saved."
There was a long moment before Daria sighed. "I guess." She looked over at her friend. "Let's
get you to a doctor. Then we'll have to answer to our masters."
"Is it too late to get Quinn back here?"
Frost permitted herself a smile beneath her veil as she strode onto the bridge of the freighter.
Reaching into her boot, she removed a data spike. Between the plans for the fighters and the
fighters themselves, our success is complete. Even my encounter with the Jedi had positive
consequences. Now I know how powerful my sister has become. Next time I will be ready. She
looked at the two-man crew, noticing how they were studiously ignoring her. "How long until we
go to lightspeed?" she asked, replacing the spike.
"Thirty seconds," one of them responded.
"I will be in my chamber. Contact me at once when we arrive." Not waiting for confirmation, she
whirled and left the room. She was almost to her room when something tugged at her mind.
Something in the Force. There is . . . the young woman turned to the bridge. "No, don't go to
The ship's hyperdrive engaged, sending a charge through the looped powercells from the blasters.
The overloaded weapons exploded, rupturing the drive casing. The shell of energy around the
ship was fed back into it, exiting as the explosion that ripped from the hyperdrive to the other end
of the ship.
Frost dove toward the life pod as the drive began to engage. The blast hurled her toward the
door, but sideways. Her legs and right arm slammed into the frame hard enough to fracture the
bones beyond repair. She slammed into the far wall face-first, crushing her face and fracturing her
skull. The fire from the explosion burned her skin even as she made a wild attempt to use the
Force to launch the pod.
The woman who walked down the hospital corridor wasn't in a hurry, but her stride was still
purposeful. Her black robe billowed out behind her, revealing the slim figure beneath. She wore
a tan tunic that was bloused out slightly at her waist before extending almost a quarter of the way
down her thighs. Beneath that, she wore a high-necked red under tunic. Her boots and slacks
were identical in style to Daria's. Her raven-black hair was parted high on the left, with the right
side cut slightly shorter. The woman's blue eyes shone with concern as she neared her destination.
After a knock on the door, she stepped inside. "Hey," she said, "how's it hanging?"
Jodie looked up from where a team of doctors were working on her new left hand. "Jane!" She
smiled, "I didn't know you were back already. How were trials?"
"Trying." Smirking, Jane waved a hand at the right side of her head, "I finally got rid of that
"I'm looking forward to that, myself. Ow!" Jodie looked down in time to see the doctor poke the
end of the other fingers, causing her to flinch.
"Well," the lead doctor said, "it looks like everything is working fine. If there are any problems or
complications, let us know."
"Thank you, doctor." Jodie kept the smile on her face until she was alone with Jane. Then, she
sighed and leaned back into the pillow.
"Now that the doctors are gone," Jane said, propping herself up on the side of the bed, "how are
"Scared," Jodie admitted. "I've never been forced to realize just how weak I am."
"You're not weak, Jodie," Jane told her. "You're just not as strong as Daria. Or," she shrugged,
"Quinn, I guess."
"You're heard, then?"
"By now every Jedi in the galaxy has been told what happened. And they've been warned to
watch out for her." Jane frowned, "If she's alive."
"I don't see how. I mean, Quinn's ship exploded at the edge of the system."
"Well," she shrugged, "she's faked her death before."
"Oh, yeah, I'd forgotten about that." Looking out the window, Jodie added, "I guess that just
makes it worse for Daria."
"Hey," Jane nudged her with her hand, "you're the one we should be worrying about. Daria didn't
get a scratch."
"No," Jodie agreed, "she didn't get hurt physically. But," Jodie held up her new hand, "outer
wounds can heal."
"Well, you let me worry about that, okay? You just get well. I'll see you before you leave."
"Thanks for coming by," Jodie told her.
"Hey, we're the Lawndale Jedi Association," Jane smirked. "We gotta stick together."
Unsurprisingly, Jane found Daria elbow-deep in repairs on her ship. The Cynic's Gamble had
been totally incapacitated when Daria had come into possession of it. The last time Jane had seen
the ship, it had been barely space worthy, but hadn't looked like it. Now, it looked ready to fly.
The Gamble was slim, widening slightly at the aft end where the engines were. The hull was now
smooth and white. The bridge was at the front and on the top of two decks. In effect, it was one
of the thousands of stock freighter designs. This one, however, showed few of the usual signs of
customizing the ships were known for. Except for looking clean, Jane thought as she moved to
Daria was lying on the floor with her head and arms down in an access hatch. Her hair was tied
back and she was wearing a gray coverall. "Hey," came from the hatch.
"Hey, yourself," Jane replied, sitting on the deck next to her. "How's the Gamble coming along?"
"We'll see in a few seconds." There was an electronic 'snap,' then lights came on behind and
above where Jane was sitting.
"I take it that's good," Jane said as Daria pulled herself upright.
"The final piece of the puzzle is in," Daria confirmed. "The Gamble has hyperdrive."
"Cool." Jane waited until her friend had placed the panel covering the hatch into place and leaned
back against a wall. "So, how are you doing?" Leaning in close, she also asked, "Where are your
Self-consciously, Daria rubbed the bridge of her nose. "Quinn had some valid points, Jane. I was
a sucky sister. No," she held up a hand to stop the rebuttal, "hear me out. I could have found a
dozen different ways to tell Quinn why I acted the way I did. But I didn't try. I could have told
her I was worried about her, but I didn't. I made that choice."
"Just like Quinn made her choice," Jane pointed out.
"True," Daria nodded. "But that doesn't let me off the hook. One of the truths she pointed out
was that I was still hiding behind my glasses. After taking a long, hard look at myself, I realized
that I was still holding myself above everyone." She looked at the deck, "Even you." Looking
her friend in the eye, she went on, "I was wrong to do that. So, I removed the obstacle. But I
had this made from the frames." Holding up her right hand, Daria showed Jane a black ring on
"Cool," Jane took the hand in hers to get a closer look. "You know, this is neat."
"How did I know you'd like it?" Daria smirked, "I thought about making one for you, but I figure
you'll have your own set of mementoes someday. Besides," she looked down again as Jane
released her hand, "this is to remind me of the price of ego."
"Daria," Jane frowned, "you didn't force her to make any decision. Those were her choices. And
her path led her to destruction."
The two friends sat there for a while. Then, looking around, Jane said, "Hey, you think we could
get this bucket to Yavin?"
"I was thinking about a test run, but not until Jodie gets out of the hospital." Daria stood, "Think
you'll be around, then?"
"Hey, I'm a Jedi Knight now. I make my own hours." Jane stood as well, "I'll be here, amiga.
We've crossed universes together. You're not getting rid of me now."
"Good," Daria smirked. "Then you can help me put these tools away." After Jane chuckled, the
two began to gather the tools. For a second, however, Daria got a far away look in her eye.
"Quinn?" she whispered. Then, with a shake of her head, she turned back to the task at hand.
The figure was hidden behind the hood of his robe. Beneath him, the doctors and medical droids
worked feverishly on the figure on the table.
A doctor came into the room. "There's not much left, my lord."
"But she will live, Doctor Borsham?"
"Yes," he nodded. "But as for the . . ." the doctor frowned, "special procedure. In her condition,
she might not make it."
The dark lord turned to face the doctor. Holding out a hand, he presented Borsham with a small
device. "Her memories cause her to almost fail me once, doctor. I will not allow that again."
"But the droid memory --"
"Has been loaded with the memories I wish for her to have. Is there a reason you cannot do the
"No!" Borsham took the memory module. "I-I've just never heard of it being done before."
"Yet you are certain it can be done?" Unseen, the lord smiled.
"It's as simple as wiring in a new arm or hand." The doctor shrugged, "We'll isolate her regular
memory, then supplant this one. It'll require more power, so we'll run leads so it can be powered
with the other equipment."
"Do not fail me, doctor. I do not have my apprentice's patience for those who fail me."
"I won't, my lord."
"Good." Turning back to the window, the robed man heard the door close as the doctor left him
alone. Reaching into a pocket, he pulled out the damaged data spike. "Very soon, my
apprentice," he said to the figure below as he rubbed the spike with his thumb. "Very soon you
will forget about your past. You will only know that I am your master, and that you will obey."
The figure chuckled, "I guess I owe your sister a favor. Too bad you're going to repay it for me
Below, the shattered remains of Quinn Morgendorffer shuddered.
+++FADE TO CREDITS+++
"DARIA/STAR WARS: CHAPTER TWO; HARD TRUTHS, COLD HEARTS" was written by Ranger Thorne