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 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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
“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.
I’ve written this message twice now. Okay, more than twice. Kinda weird writing something that may never be read.