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Rage.

The hunt for a moment yielded so much reward. It sated curiosity and filled Tulson’s expectations beyond wildest dreams. Veera turned out to be a semi-worthy opponent, in spite her… obvious shortcomings. So disappointing to find she was not a late bloomer. Tulson had hope. But her reaction time, improvisation, cunning, and oh, that unpredictability. Nearly worthy, the survivor that she was. Surely her rise to the top of the chain was by more than just favors and sex. Unless of course she turned out paired off with Kybersmith Industries’ supposed wayward son. All would easily be explained then. The HoloNet rumors were merciless, the tabloid holos exploitative and embarrassing. An embarrassment from the root the boy was cut from.

How disappointing should that turn to be true. Another test for Veera. A survivor but an unworthy one nonetheless. Maybe mercy or whimsy could save her. Oh, yes. It would have to depend on the mood. And the results of the test, of course.

The boy? Oh, but to find him first. Was he at all cut from the elder Kybersmith’s block? The late Brembal Kybersmith had such the reputation. Where was the boy now? Not running his inherited company, clearly. Useless. Clearly blessed with the gift, wasting it. A complete waste. Test, maybe. If bored. Elimination?

Yes. Elimination.

And the child. Tiny but so embedded in the Force so early on. A few reaches into the void and Tulson found her, so open, her young mind an ajar door. The blood bond between them made it simple to latch on, see momentarily what the child saw. Two people in the room. Veera, of course, apparently a doting mother. How interesting. How… tedious. Though dismissable if the child proves strong in the Force. A permissible little anchor. Nothing otherwise.

But now Tulson was denied. Forced out first by Parker, then the child. Oh, the pride in knowing a child of the bloodline could do so well, so quickly. But it was a denial, something taken. Taken too soon. Taken by someone and it was not theirs.

Parker.

Rage.

Oh, but curious. Where was the child’s father? A Jedi? Sith? Something between? Oh, and was he a Joral, too? Veera could perhaps have walked in the footsteps of…

Joral Skye. Dead, that entertainment gone. So many years invested, watching the wretch slowly kill himself. Now that outlet was gone. Taken. Burned.

Parker.

Rage.

The man. Yes, in the room. Parker. The child didn’t look at him as Tulson peaked inside. The man spoke. Parker, perhaps? Yes, the voice was familiar. Commanding, comforting to the child. Yes, the child’s relief was felt. Instantaneous when he spoke. And he interfered so quickly… that anger. Palpable. Hardly Jedi worthy. Fallen, as he said? No, too much. If ever a Jedi, fallen far, very far. No matter. None. The father, perhaps? Maybe. Still no matter. He stood in the way. Not his. Not his.

Mine.

Parker.

Rage.

Denied the hunt, the hunter was left with nothing but a roiling red. So much was going well, so much was fascinating. Reconnecting with family proved to be an amusing venture, a bright gleam in dull years of Zakuul’s reign. Skytroopers gave nothing. Zakuulan officers were hardly interesting. The citizens were beyond dull. Only the Outlander Alliance promised some sport, but chasing ghosts was far from game. No, leave that tedious nonsense to Zakuul. Something else was needed. Something fun. Something… interesting.

Parker?

Interesting

The man wasn’t what he said. No, not even a little. That rage, so palpable. So… red. He protected Veera and her child for whatever reasons he chose to hide. Vulnerable reasons. Yes. Oh, the vulnerability. An underbelly to slice. And he had a name… of course. Something to pursue. Something to hunt. Yes, bellies to slice.

Parker. Then the boy. Oh, and the children, eventually. As time came. There are tests to do, of course. Mm, trials? Yes. Better word for it. Trials.

“Find me all the Parkers on Alderaan,” Tulson snarled at the slicer working the console on the bridge. “Any of them. Doesn’t matter. Give me coords and get the ship there. Time for fun.”

Author Ari
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