*Disclaimer / Trigger warning*
This story contains some violent content some may find disturbing. This story also contains a rape. Please don’t read if you are sensitive to these.
The Kitchen Slave
She had never seen so much blood. Scrambling on her backside to avoid the thick, red, pool growing on the floor, Decimâ scooted herself away rapidly, her back making contact with the far wall as she looked up at the beast master, Arturi, dangling from the pen keeper’s tool rack. His face appeared frozen in surprise. Decimâ almost laughed at the absurdity of the situation. The beast master was clearly dead, the hooks used for hanging shovels bursting from his chest, his body nearly a meter off the floor, like a twisted marionette.
“Girl! I tole ya to deliver the slop to the pens and…” the voice of the primary kitchen maid trailed off as she rounded the corner into the animal pens and took in the sight of the impaled man on the wall. Her eyes grew wide and she covered her mouth with her hand, as if to stifle a scream, before turning her gaze to Decimâ, seated on the floor, her arms wrapped around her bent knees.
“Wat have ye dun child?” Decimâ only shook her head in disbelief, still staring at the man. “Are ye hurt? Did he hurt you again? Look at me!” she shouted and Decimâ finally turned her attention to the cook.
“I didn’t see him until he had me on the ground.” Decimâ said softly as she tugged at her shift, seeing for the first time the state of her torn clothing. Her skin was bronzed from her work outdoors but she could see bruises starting to form on her hip and thigh from the struggle. “He just flew back.” Her mouth was bleeding and her cheek was starting to swell, but she tugged at the hem, trying to cover herself as best she could. The woman snatched a large saddle cloth from the storage shelf, and unfolded it as she walked toward Decimâ, her expression both compassionate and concerned as she helped the girl to her feet and draped the blanket around her.
“Les jus cover ye up now. We need to get Tornak, he mus know what ye dun.”
Decimâ followed the matronly woman numbly back into the main house and into a small room off the kitchens that served as the cook’s office. She sat on the stiff chair, pulling the blanket around her as the woman left the room. The door hissed closed, the thunk of the lock bolt activating echoed throughout the sparse room. Decimâ exhaled with a sigh and pulled the blanket tighter around her shoulders. She looked at her feet and noticed for the first time she was missing a shoe, and she began to laugh. Her laughter came out in a rush of unsettling, high pitched, sharp staccato bursts.
Lt. Giles Ware covered his face with the back of his hand shielding himself from the sun’s glare as he walked off the arriving shuttle from Dromund Kaas. His eyes began to burn almost immediately, the foul Nal Hutta air making him grimace in disgust. He hated this cesspool of a planet, between the toxicity and the Hutts he wasn’t sure if he would have preferred an assignment in a combat zone. He strode into the spaceport and followed the garish signs to the cantina, he hoped his contact would be waiting, he wanted this fool’s errand to be over as quickly as possible. Lt. Ware instinctively moved his hand to his side, within easy reach of his sidearm as he passed among the filthy throngs choking the port’s walkways. One could not be too careful on a world controlled by the Hutts. While they were eager to do business with the Empire, they were notoriously fickle. Deceit and treachery were to be expected. He tugged at his officer’s jacket with his other hand, ensuring it was crisp and tidy looking.
The cantina was surprisingly crowded at this hour of the morning and Lt. Ware wasn’t able to spot the bounty hunter he was supposed to meet. He took a seat at a table with a view of the door and waved off the emaciated looking Twi’lek who rushed over to take his drink order.
“It’s rude to take a table and not order a drink.” said a deep voice behind him, Ware turned toward the speaker, a stocky human in mismatched armor.
“I don’t drink.” Ware replied, his eyes taking the measure of the man.
“Well I do, and you’re buying.” replied the man as he sat down next to Ware with a nod. “I’m Tobias, you the Imp come to meet with Tornak?”. The man now had Lt. Ware’s full attention. “
Yes, I’m Lieutenant Ware of Imperial Procurement. I hoped…” Ware was cut short as his contact turned away from him and shouted at the waitress.
“Two White Nova doubles, Gemma.” before turning back to the uniformed man. “You sure you don’t want anything? I’m sure procure-ating is thirsty work.”
“As I said, I don’t drink. I would appreciate getting straight to business.” The Lieutenant placed imperial credits on the table as the waitress deposited the drinks in front of the hunter, she deftly slid the credits into her apron and quickly left. Tobias downed the first drink in one long gulp, stood, grabbed the other and consumed it just as quickly.
“Well the, Lieutenant, let’s get moving.”
“I thought this room suitable for your interview, if there is no objection, Lieutenant Ware. Do you need anything to make you comfortable?” Tornak asked, his words dripping with deference and what Ware supposed was the fat Twi’lek’s attempt at charm.
“All I require the holo-footage and the girl.” Ware said, his patience growing thin.
“Of course Lieutenant. At once!” was the red-skinned man’s reply as he tapped furiously at his wrist’s communicator. Fa’thra’s Palace Overseer moved to the holo-terminal in the center of the table as Ware took a seat at the side. “The recording is queued for you. The copy is yours, should you be interested in purchasing the slave. I will fetch the girl.” The man lumbered out the door which sealed behind him with a hiss. Ware looked to the terminal and began playback of the security footage.
The door opened with a pneumatic sigh and fair haired girl was propelled forward into the room by a stout Gamorrean. She stumbled and nearly fell as the Gamorran prodded her with the hilt of his axe, grunting repeatedly. “That’s quite enough, I’ll take it from here.” barked the Lieutenant with a dismissive wave in the direction of the toothy guard as he turned his attention to the girl. He motioned to the seat across at the end of the table with a terse. “Sit down.” She complied without speaking, shifting her hands in the wrist restraints. “Until your fate is decided, those will stay on. You speak basic, yes?”
She met Lt. Ware’s gaze, “of course.”
“Very well. Do you know why you’re here?”
“I killed Arturi.” The girl replied matter-of-factly.
“That in itself isn’t likely to merit my presence though is it?” At his words, Decimâ looked at the Lieutenant, as if noticing his uniform for the first time, her face grew perplexed.
“No, I guess not.” She raised an eyebrow in question rather than asking him why.
“Your owner contacted us about you a few weeks ago, not because you killed another servant, but because of the manner of his death. Do you understand the distinction?” Decimâ simply nodded, her brows knitting tightly, uncertain what he meant exactly. “Can you tell me what happened?”
She lowered her eyes and drew a shaky breath. “He wouldn’t leave me alone. This was his game.” Her face darkened as she recalled the memory, her lips thin lines of pain. “He hurt me when I fought him, but I always fought him. I tried to push him off me, it hurt.” She then looked to the Lieutenant imploringly, “and then he was just flying and stuck to the wall.”
Lt. Ware nodded, “And you have no idea how that happened?” The girl shook her head. “I’d like to show you something.” said Ware as he moved to the terminal to replay the recording.
The holo jumped to life, the camera had been on the far wall, above the tool rack. It afforded them a view of Arturi’s back as he held Decimâ down. Ware used the controls to skip ahead to a specific time on the chronometer and slowed the playback to real time and stepped back from the controls. Watching the girl’s reaction rather than the recording. Decimâ’s voice blared from the holo as she screamed and fought the man, when suddenly his body flew up and backwards toward the camera until all you could see was his partially obscured face, below the camera’s vantage point, his left leg twitching before growing still. Decimâ looked to the holo image of her face, frozen in horror, but something else. Her eyes, her eyes were nearly glowing golden. “What sort of trickery is this?” she demanded of the Lieutenant. “My eyes are brown, your machine makes them look yellow like some Nexu cat!”
Ware ignored her outburst, switching off the recording and taking his seat once more. “Have you ever had Force training of any kind?”
“What?” Decimâ asked.”No. I’m not sure what that is but my only training is how to serve in a household.”
“Stand Please” said Lt. Ware. Decimâ complied and her image was taken for the record. “Wait here. I need to conclude business with the fat Twi’lek and then we depart. Do you need to be restrained?” He looked at her hands.
“Am I being sold to another house? An Imperial house?”
Lieutenant Ware looked at the girl and with a small smile said, “No, girl. You’re to be taken to meet a Sith Overseer to determine if you can be trained at the Sith Academy. If you have potential you will never be a slave again.” Ware turned on his heel and left.
Decimâ sat in stunned silence for a few minutes after the Lieutenant left considering his words carefully. She placed her palms against her dusty trousers and grinned.