“You asked for this, Slave Girl.”
The words brought Fealladh out of a deep slumber, and her first thoughts were curses when she found herself bound and blindfolded. Stupid stupid stupid! Jackie would have been appalled at her lack of security preparation.
Hands lifted her, despite her struggles, and then they were moving through hallways. Their footsteps were muffled. Probably bare feet, then, so they weren’t going far. Indeed, after only a few turns, they stopped.
“Here it is.”
“What is that?”
“Acid.” She couldn’t see the face, but she heard the smile. “She’ll disappear without a trace.”
Panic welled as the hands lifted her, but Master Sloan’s words came to her out of the dark: “Fear is just an emotion. Use it. Channel it. Don’t wallow in it.” Fealladh closed her eyes beneath the blindfold and concentrated, woke the force, fed it her panic and fear, let it course through her body as it splashed into a vat of heated needles.
She felt the pain, but as if through a haze. The rope holding her hands disintegrated, as did the blindfold and her clothes, but the force blanketed her body, kept her alive, buoyed her to the surface. She clawed for the lip of the tank, eyes still closed, and dragged herself out, flopping to the floor. Drips of acid ate into the stone with acrid sizzles. She struggled to her feet as she spread her mind to the room until she found the bacta tanks against the far wall. She made her way to the nearest one, climbed into it, closed it, and activated it with her mind.
As soothing liquid began to cover her, she smiled, remembering a time she had tried to do the same thing, before her current over-familiarity with the workings of these machines, when she had been convinced she had been poisoned, when Viessa had tried to stop…
No. She had to let go of that past. It belonged to someone else. They weren’t her memories – they were just dreams, stories of someone else’s life. She had no more right to them.
The bacta liquid reached her head and she held her breath as its soothing touch covered her completely. The acid reacted in an odd way to the intrusion, bubbling as if fighting for its survival, and soon the entire tank seemed to be boiling. Fealladh could feel pressure building and braced herself. In moments, the latch burst and the door sprang open, spilling fluid and Fealladh onto the floor.
She picked herself up. The fire of the acid was gone, washed away by the bacta fluid. She blinked her eyes open and surveyed the mess. The med room had clearly been retrofitted from a room in the old temple, itself cut from the stone of an ancient mountain. Equipment was jammed into every crevice. The thing that really took Fealladh’s attention, though, was her arm. She stared at it, blinked, then stared at it again.
“I need a mirror.”
It took some time to find it, a lone dusty three foot mirror hung on the wall just inside the dormitory. Fealladh almost forgot the reason she had wanted the mirror when she got a glimpse of her face. Having red skin after a lifetime of being blue was one thing, but…
“I have stripes?!”