Chapter 3: Odessen

Odessen is far out of Arcann’s sight, and the only planet in the galaxy where the Force is completely in balance. The dark side doesn’t take over like it does Korriban, nor does the light blind anyone senses like it might on Tython. It is far from home, wherever ‘home’ is, and now it has to turn into a military base.

The physical structure is getting there: I look out to the hills hile standing on the fresh cememnt and metal of the look out. It leads to one of the spheres that track incoming and outgoing ships. The other sphere next to it keeps track of what the Republic and Empire are up to. I glance at the corner of my eye to see people enter the main war room. Soon I will have to hold a meeting there: See what people we have, see what people we need, and start working on any leads towards Arcann’s weaknesses. Even forces as powerful as the throne, and Zakuul Knights, has a weakness. It shall be found.

It has been a few long month carving a hole in a mountain, and turning it into a functioning system. It has been a long three months to keep Imperial and Republic forces from killing each other: It’s amazing the ripples of the Revanite threat have caused. A decade ago, Zakuul would have the galaxy under lock and key. Not completely because Arcann would have destroyed them, but because the factions wouldn’t set aside their differences to a common goal. The fact some have chosen to do so I a miracle thanks to the Revanite threat. Or in Lana’s opinion, thanks to me.

I see the anti-air turret is ready to make short work of the wrong visitors, and I feel the railings are as strong as Alderaan’s rocks. Perhaps stronger. I hear the rumble of ships taking off and landing, not really turning to look. There is nothing to see, really. Nothing for me to see. I hope there is nothing for me to see, anyway. I’ve missed five years and seen too much in almost four months or so. Makes one tired, and makes them cold to certain things.

A sith pureblood? Cold? I chuckle to myself as I listen to the birds singing. Sith are supposed to be passionate creatures, not cold with indifference. I guess five year slumbers change one’s inner workings? Would a Jedi go mad after 5 years? Hard to say.

I glance down at my commlink and examine it. It’s a new one, different from Imperial or Republic. I like its sound quality. I’ll start tinkering with it soon. I always tinker with commlinks: get the right channel where none are eavesdropping on me is always my first priority. Well it used to be. I haven’t done it yet… No point with no time to really sit to myself.

The few times I have, such as now, have been consumed with wonder: Where is he? Why have I not found him? Why wasn’t he with us at the Gravestone? Why did he not find us on Zakuul? Why was he not at Asylum? I looked in between gathering missions, and rescuing some of Koth’s crew, on Asylum for Theron Shan. I could not find him!

People saw him on Asylum. I remember bringing him up to Koth: “Tell me, did Lana ever bring a man named Theron Shan on some of your missions? Or are you the only handsome man she’s met?”

“Theron Shan? I’ve heard of him. Tall, tanned skin, implants, used to work for the SIS?” I nod at Koth’s description, and my hopes rise.

“Yes, that is the man. Is he on Asylum now, and I’ve simply missed him?”

Koth shook his head, and jumped when sparks flew. I walked up to the panel and opened it. I used one of the portable flashlights I was able to find on Zakuul’s surface to look at the compartment. “I think some of the fuses are burnt out. Do you have any…”

I glance to Koth and take one of his spanners and rubber gloves. I get to work on it, commenting, “This ship certainly is confirming to be trouble to maintain. I hope it will prove to be worth the fuss.”

“You and the Gravestone have something in common,” Koth points out, “As your rescue proved.”

I chuckle and get the minor emergency under control. “Yes,” I began the conversation again, “Theron Shan?”

“Right, right. Yeah, I’ve seen him here on a few missions. He even came here once or twice… But that was months ago. He likes to keep to himself.”

My heart sank a little at that but not too much. The joys of spy work: It is a solo job. I wondered if I could track him down? I know I am important to defeating Arcann, but that doesn’t mean I can’t at least try to get real companions back in my life! He might be easier to track down then my family on Korriban…

My family on Korriban. I sigh as Odessen’s breeze watches over me. In theory, I have an adopted mother and father. I have an adopted older brother. Biologically they’re my aunt and uncle, and cousin on my father’s side. They adopted me after I left home. They’ve been my immediate family since I was fifteen. And they’re dead for all I know! Lana gave me the basic overview of the galaxy… Yet, when I ask for specifics I am usually met with a tired look, or people don’t know.

I rub the spot on my gut where the kolto patches used to be: Count your blessings, Cipher Eight, since you could’ve been killed! Arcann stabbed me with his saber, and I felt my life spilling out with each passing second. It is a miracle I am alive. I could’ve used Valkorian’s power to get out of such a predicament, but I refused. I don’t care if it’s my dormant force powers, or his, I am not. Using. The. Force. Valkorian needs to do better then promise fancy magic tricks for me give up part of who I am just so I can…

“Love what you’ve done with the place.”

My thoughts freeze. I hear footsteps approach me, and I feel eyes on me. I know that voice. I’ve known it since I was in danger of becoming fish food on Manaan. Is this another dream? I scratch myself with a claw fingertips (I have five fingers like humans but they sharpen into claws, not fingernails, like my Sith ancestors), and I feel the pain. It’s real, and that voice truly spoke. Yet I doubt my ears, so I slowly turn around. The same jacket, light pants, same brown spiked hair, and same implants. My breath stops as I look him over.

“Th-Theron Shan?”

Theron shrugs and states, “Hadn’t seen you a while. Wasn’t sure you remembered me.”

I clear my throat and start again, “It’s… It’s great to see you again Theron.” That was good- Not too formal, nor too mushy but with a good bit of friendly chatter.

“Good,” he says with a smile and walks closer to me, “Wasn’t sure based on what Lana said you went through. What you’re going through.”

He walks past me to the railing, and I follow. My eyes cannot help taking his form in. His physique (I may have a weakness for well formed buttocks), his scent, and his voice make me stumble. I catch myself, thank the Force, as I shouldn’t betray too much of emotions right? It’s not like we’re meeting at a gay bar where I’m allowed to be more flamboyant. No, this is a military base and we haven’t spoken a word in over five years. Need to be a bit more patient. Theron Shan turns to me and smiles, but I notice his eyes just look at me. No following my form, no moving closer, and no indication that he desires to throw himself at me as much as I want to throw myself at him. Easy, Crim…

“Been a long five years,” he cuts into my thoughts again, “feels like everything’s changed.”

I smile genuinely for the first time in five years, and say quietly, “You got better looking.”

Theron holds up a hand and says quickly, “I don’t know about that but hey, Crim, I’ll take it.”

I use every last once of my strength not to look down and run a way from the conversation: That is not how I expected him to respond to the flirt! I know it was a small flirt, and wasn’t meant to sweep him off his feet, but I didn’t expect a non-response! Has… has he moved on? Why wouldn’t he move on- I’ve been gone for five years, and he’s had a galaxy to find someone else. He has someone else, and the person already tells him he got better looking.

I look at him, and resist saying many things, and resist saying how I feel about this: Arcann has taken so much from me, and now he’s taken Theron Shan. Petty reason to get revenge on the galaxy’s ruler, but combine it with destroying everything I’ve built, robbing five years of my life from me, and now stealing the first man to actually understand me? Hmph!

Right, time to continue the conversation. Regardless of his feelings, I will strive to work with him and have decent conversations with him. I clear my throat and try small talk: “I see you’re with our organization- Or are you simply keeping tabs on us and sending it to the SIS?”

“No,” he answers, “No SIS agent here, unless you’ve defected since waking up. No, I left the SIS years ago; Lana’s brought me in to manage operations. But before we get into all the more-or-less official stuff, I’ve got something for you.”

“You’ve found… my family? Anything?”

“No luck so far but…”

I hear a woman’s voice shout over the comms, “It needs work- a lot of work!” as my X-70B Phantom lands a few feet in front of us.

I grin as I see it descend. Finally, a small piece of what was. Perhaps I can still salvage what is between Theron and I? I’ll even settle for a good friend! Perhaps if I invite him on my ship for whatever alcohol is on there…

“When you’re up for it, it’s time for the official stuff. I’ll be inside,” Theron says and walks away.

I turn around and simply wave, “Bye,” and then sigh when he’s out of ear shot. “Need to move faster, Crim…” I mutter to myself as I head towards my ship: Meetings can wait; I want to go home.

Continue reading

Narrative or Essay English?

In Ontario, Canada there are 4 mandatory, & 2 optional English classes in high school. The first mandatory ones, designed to be taken once per year, focus on essay writing to do in-depth studies of various English Literature pieces ranging from Shakespeare to classic novels like Frankenstein and Heart of Darkness. In the midst of it are grammar, and the start of learning literary criticism. Very little is reserved for learning how to compose narratives.

Narrative writing is more the focus of the Writer’s Craft, which also focuses on many different genres of writing. These courses are offered to students in grade 12, though weren’t promoted as much when I was in high school because they’re not compulsory. As a result, I fear this gives the impression that writing the perfect essay is more important than writing an excellent narrative. Interesting theory schools indirectly promote given best selling novels aren’t usually a pile of essays sewed together. Continue reading

Felt Empowered

At a family get together, someone I didn’t know, who’s my cousin’s friend, tried to hug me. I stepped back and offered my hand.  They stopped and respected that I’m not a hugger. People in my immediate family protested, saying I’m a hugger and it was awkward how I handled it.

I have a secret about awkwardness: I feel more awkward and uncomfortable when people I don’t know, or don’t know well, hug me without permission. I don’t owe people hugs. I don’t owe you, ie anyone who’s second person in a sentence, hugs. You don’t owe people hugs. No one owes anyone hugs.

I didn’t feel awkward backing away from the hug. I felt empowered. 🙂

Decipher the SIS 2

Theron’s POV

Chapter 2: Never Will

Cover Image: Regrets, by jediserenity82 on DeviantArt

Dear Crimsèn…

I cross that out. It sounds too cheesy, and too corny. He’ll see right through that kind of bantha c.r.a.p., won’t he? I try again:

I hope you read this letter some day. I miss you…

I scratch out that again, and reset my datapad. I can write nothing to Saresh, or some Sith Lord, but I cannot compose a simple letter to a friend. I look at the datapad, leaning back in my seat with crossed arms.

No, Crimsèn isn’t really my friend. He’s more than that. I know we did not really have much of a romance, but there was something. I did feel something. It was short – it was too short. However, I know it was there.

Unfortunately, he’s gone now. And I don’t mean gone, as in gone back to the Empire, but gone gone. He was captured by Arcann and simply disappeared! No commcall, no missions for the Empire, not even rumors from usual contacts!

It’s strange. I know as a Cipher Agent, Crimsèn can easily make himself disappear. But as a spy myself, I know when someone is trying to disappear and when they have just disappeared. Crim falls under the latter, and I have no means of finding him. Yet. Lana has some idea of how to find him, but it’s been two years. I don’t know if they will come to fruition this time.

Dear Crimsèn,
Lana and I are trying to figure out a way to get you. I want you to know I never forgot about you, and I miss you.

That’s not what I want to say, either. Can Theron Shan not write a simple note anymore?! I can write anyone in the galaxy, and tell them any story, but I cannot communicate the truth to Crimsèn. How did I get here? How is it my only… my only…

I think I fell in love with Crimsèn. And he is the hardest man I can ever write a letter to. Do I have a right to write a letter? Should I even consider it? There is a strong possibility he’ll never read it.
“No, Theron, come on. You have to write the letter, regardless of if Crimsèn reads it,” I tell myself out loud.
I take my data-pen and consider how to compose. How did we get here? I shouldn’t ask that as I initiated it. I’m the reason Crim is in the carbonite. It started back on Yavin.

When I got back on a ship to head back to Coruscant after defeating the Revanites, I could only think one thing: Wow, what a ride! I received a promotion within the SIS, and it felt great. If anyone told me what would happen the moment I started helping Colonel Darok with the attack on Korriban, I would have sent them to the medical wing. Yet, there I was and I did it by helping out alongside Imperials. Didn’t think that would happen in my time either, but that is the galaxy for you! At first I was grateful it was over now and we can go back to our old lives.

Well, sort of our old lives. Lana became the head of Sith intelligence and Crimsèn technically went back to being a Cipher, though I don’t think they brought Cipher Agents back. Who knows, I thought, maybe I could get Lana back for selling me out to Revan back on Rishi. I don’t care if it got us more information, you do not turn your back on your allies! Shows that Sith are all the same with some differences.

And that is where my mind landed on Crimsèn. He was a Sith who stood out. I think he liked standing out. Can only imagine what he is thinking remaining hidden. Crim is a red sith pureblood who uses a rifle instead of a saber, and a knife instead of the Force. That must have been hard to pull off. I only got out of the lightsaber wielding business because I have no force awareness. Was that the same for him or is there more to his story?

I wanted to know why he could walk with such a stride, and show off his strong and muscular body without batting an eyelash. Not to mention put much into his duties, and demanding Lana apologize for betraying me to the Revanites! *He was an enjoyable companion, and I liked kissing him.

Memory Flashback Link

As I looked out the window on the Republic ship, my mind continued to drift back over the events on Rishi and Yavin IV. I have many fond memories: The laughing with Jakarro, even some of the chats with Lana, and feeling Crim’s lips on mine.

Leaving the relationship on Yavin IV was a mistake. I know that now, I can see it now. Back then, I was not entirely sure. At first, I thought I knew the best way to go. I think Crim did too. I am not sure. He’s the ex-Cipher 8, after all. He has probably had relationships for short periods, had relationships to get information. I mean I only guess that he has

But then as time went on, I run ins with some old friends. During those moments, I thought they would be easier if Crim was there to back me. Then of course was my meeting with dear old dad. That would have been easier if I had Crimsèn to talk about it with afterward. He was easy to talk to when I spoke with him about Satele on Rishi. In fact, after we kissed I forgot how my mother just referred to me as her agent. He felt good, and tasted good.

If that’s true, why did I tell him we had to end it? I don’t know, I suck at relationships. My last one prior to this ended because I found a note from her that we were done. It doesn’t look better on my end that I read the note 3 months after she sent it. See what happens when you become a work-a-holic? I told myself it was because the truce is over. He is Imperial; I am Republic. We simply could not continue past Yavin IV. It was a fling; it was not meant to last. Case closed.

Upon personal reflection, I realized my case was stupid. We are agents to our own factions. He and I know how to sneak around the galaxy. We could have just met on neutral worlds like Tatooine or Port Nowhere. No one at those places care who you’re with and our organizations would have been none the wiser. Heck, we could even have worked towards a more peaceful understanding between our own factions.

Oh well, I suppose I will never know what could have happened. I decided I would try and make the most of things, as I doubted Crim would want to talk to me again. No one wants to waste time with someone who so easily dropped them at the first chance. Crimsèn, the first person I genuinely cared for in a long time, and I called off our relationship

We are now back to our own intelligence agencies. If I saw him again, I probably won’t recognize him.* Yes, this is for the best. I’m sure we will just look back on this as a nice memory but nothing more. Know what is strange? Crimsèn seemed sad when we last spoke, and I could tell! Couldn’t say that about some of the last girlfriends and boyfriends I had. This makes me wonder if his words of understanding were a façade.

They should not be a façade! This is what should happen, what has to happen. Though a part of me hopes I’m wrong and the façade is right.* I was proven wrong when I thought I had Crimsèn figured out when I first met him: A duplicity, evil monster with the darkside rolling around on the inside. Yet, I was wrong. Very wrong.*

What made me think I had him all figured out then? I didn’t. And by luck, or the Force’s will, we ran into each other again. On Ziost, during the biggest crisis in the galaxy’s history. I went there after I sent the Sixth Line Jedi. I wanted them to find out for me what was going on down there before the Republic did anything rash. On the downside, I was in hot water with Saresh ever since! On the upside, I got to see Crimsèn again.

Theron sighs in frustration as he rushes under the dome. It was only a matter of time before Vitiate’s possessed army would arrive. In the small moment of before the storm, Theron sees his companion approach tentatively.

“I… I thought we’d never meet again. It’s nice to be wrong.” His companion looks at him with intense eyes.

Theron smiled a little at that despite his injuries. He looked down and nodded in agreement: “Despite all the awfulness on Yavin IV, it did have its moments.”


All I could think after Ziost was damn it, damn it, damn it! Administrative leave as Saresh tightened her hand more on things she has zero experience in. It was not good; in fact it was bad. Very bad. It became worse when unknown ships appeared over Coruscant out of nowhere. They were neither Hutt nor Empire, but claimed to be part of the Eternal Empire. How many empires does this galaxy need? Obviously the Hutt Empire, Infinite Empire, and Sith Empire weren’t enough.

I remember the attack like it was yesterday. I was looking up information on the infamous Cipher 8. Yes, I discovered Crimsèn’s old Cipher title. Seeing an entire world destroyed makes you realize what is really important. An entire world got engulfed in flames. I needed to go be with someone. I wanted to be by his Crimsèn’s side. He’s the only ‘loved one’ I’ve got. Yes, I call him my loved one. While I was in hot water career-wise, I was not completely cut off from my contacts.

Seeing him on Ziost re-awakened feelings I thought were dormant. His eyes, his determination, his confidence, and his muscles when they are in action… I missed all of that and in the middle of all the chaos I could not help but metaphorically hold onto him. Even if it was a brief minute under the dome. I certainly was not going to let Lana Beniko be my source of comfort- Bruises of bruises, never forget that. Best of all he let me take the leader of the 6th Line Jedi back to Tython! Not even Lana dared to question him really. She knew there was no way she’d win once his mind was made up. Makes me glad I never had to stare him down before.

Though I feared I would never get to stare at him again. I got off with the Sixth Line Jedi and not even 30 minutes later, the entire planet became a dead ball of dust. I stood there, watching, in shock. I could barely breath at the sight of it. I thought I had just watched Crimsèn die! I sent the Sixth Line Jedi there, and it helped kill Crimsèn! Yet I couldn’t be 100%, and that was my personal mission for the next month or so.

Man is Crim good at covering his tracks-Glad his looks were not what won him the Cipher 8 title. However, I looked in other places using the many gifts the SIS let me keep. I was smiling when I saw that he made it! He didn’t die on Ziost. I’ll just send him a message.


Before I knew it the capital of the Republic was in a full scale warzone again. It didn’t take us long to fall to Zakuul. Darth Marr was dead, among so many others in the Empire and the Republic. Within months we were all vassals to the Eternal Empire. Amidst the chaos I realized that the SIS was no more than Saresh’s puppet and my mother was not the warrior she once was. No one was and I needed to fight this new Empire on my own. So, I walked away and attempted to fight Zakuul on my own.

I also travelled the galaxy to find him. Cipher 8 was missing. It was rumored he was killed along with Darth Marr. I couldn’t believe that. There was no proof he had lived or died! I could not give up if there was at least one small thread of hope I could find him.

I cannot call my “mother,” as she’d never understand why I was searching for an imperial agent. *Not to mention she’s mostly fallen off the face of known space. To think I once mentioned to Crimsèn on Rishi she was better than many Jedi who simply vanish in the face of galactic turmoil.

I was certainly not asking any of the clowns among the Republic and the SIS. I could not turn to a senate who clearly has allowed itself to be enslaved to two puppet masters, and the SIS would never help me find a Cipher agent. And if they did I wouldn’t let them, as I will not be the reason Crimsèn ends up in a Republic prison.

That’s why I was sitting in a diner in more neutral space. Two and a half years of searching… and I found nothing. I could find neither a hint, rumor, nor record of Cipher 8; I did not want to give up. So, I gave up and called Lana. As the head of Sith Intelligence, she would know why an agent just disappeared from the galactic surface.

She tries to be friendly: “Theron it is… good to see a friendly face.”

I try to smile while I sip my stimcafe “Yeah, I wasn’t actually expecting to make this call but I have no choice.”

Lana nods and eventually we both get something light. to eat. Our small talk begins- She’s left Sith Intelligence, I’ve left the SIS; the Republic has a puppet for a Chancellor and the Empire has an Empress; she’s gotten new armor, while I still have the same uniform. Interesting information. She’s Sith though, and sees through surface conversation.
She looks me in the eye and asks finally, “Theron, why did you call me here? Do you wish to meet my contact, or…”

“Honestly? For one thing, and I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m coming to you as a last resort: Where is Crimsèn Hevilas?”

Lana raises an eyebrow. “The former Cipher 8? Depends; who is he to you?”

“I’m not looking to hunt him down, Lana. I just need to know where he is. He… I care for him, alright? I almost lost him on Ziost; I cannot believe he would just disappear.”

“He is not dead, but he is not exactly alive. He is in carbonite.”

I widen my eyes. “Carbonite? Where? Who did this to him? I have to go rescue him!”

She shakes her head. “According to sources I have, I believe he’s the ‘Outlander’ who killed Emperor Valkorian. This Emperor was Vitiate’s new corporeal form. Arcann locked Crimsèn away as one of his prize possessions in carbonite.”

I widened my eyes at the knowledge. Crimsèn is the legendary ‘Outlander’ many have whispered about in my travels. The Outlander is supposedly the man who killed Emperor Valkorian, which Arcann dubbed an act of war even though they attacked along the edges of the Empire and Republic first, and many believe he lives in Zakuul’s underground.

I could not help but smile a little: My sort of lover was alive, but he has no idea I’m searching for him. He has no idea what has been going on, never mind how much time has passed. Would he still remember me? Does he still remember me?*

“We have to rescue him,” I said quietly

She nods. *“However, we cannot do so recklessly. I know a couple of defectors within Zakuul’s ranks. They have been investigating for me. Theron, I know given our history I have no reason to ask you for any help but I must. You have abilities and methods I do not have.”

I look at her in the eye. “Backstabbing me on Rishi, bullying me during Ziost, and now you insists you needs my help? So you can sell me to Zakuul to get information again?”

“Yes. Yes I need your help, Theron. Theron, you’re not the only one who’s lost a loved one in all this. We’ve all lost everything and anything to the Eternal Empire,” Lana talks in a very quiet voice, “But I sense that Crimsen, the Outlander that is growing into a legend that Zakuulan’s fear, is the key to ending this tyranny and freeing the galaxy! We all need him, and getting him and ensuring his survival will be my top priority. I am glad to have your support…”

I sigh and look out the window to the planet outside that has some skytrooper patrols scattered everywhere. Zakuul needs to be stopped, and I can’t get to Crimsen by myself. “Looks like I have no choice on the matter,” I answer finally, “I will help the best way I can on the one condition you find Crimsèn and make sure he gets out of there alive. I… I…” I look down as I cannot verbally say the words just yet. Instead I state, “I will work on getting contacts in Zakuul’s underground, as other unhappy people looking to get out from under Arcann’s thumb.”


After we are done I went back to my ship, and that’s where I am now currently: Sitting down and ready to compose a letter. The more I think back on the last two and a half years, I think I know what I want to write to him. He may never read it, but that’s not the point.

It is one of those things I have to do, regardless of the outcome. The same can be said about working with Lana to overthrow Arcann: Regardless of if we win or lose, I have to try. And now I have to write this. I have to let him know that I care for him, and I will find him. I have to let him know that I will find him.

I have to find him. Everything and everyone depends on finding him. The galaxy depends on finding him. I depend on finding him.
Subject: For when you wake up.

Dear Crimsèn,

I’ve written this message twice now. Okay, more than twice. Kinda weird writing something that may never be read.
Lana says you’re locked in carbonite, but alive. (Yeah, we’re in touch. Long story.) I like to think you’re having one crazy dream. And maybe I’m in it. But I don’t want to presume.
We never declared what this–you and me–is… was… Have I mentioned I’m bad at relationships? Another reason I’m a workaholic.
I’m rambling. The point I’m trying to make is-whatever’s between us, I want you to know that I care about you. A lot. The whole galaxy’s lost its mind. The thing that keeps me going is the knowledge that you’re out there, and we’re putting together a plan to rescue you. I might not be there-we’ve all got our parts to play–but I haven’t forgotten about you or our time together. I never will.

With affection,
Theron Shan