Tower of Time: Long Ago and Far Away

Only Human
Part 2

The horrors of the prison planet Belsavis still haunted Felix even after they finally departed from that Force forsaken planet. What war did to soldiers, and even civilians, Felix had grown numb to that, much to his own shame. Master Cabrie’s constant commitment to helping whoever she could constantly awakened a feeling of guilt in his gut that he should have jumped to do more sooner. But, Belsavis was another story entirely. While he advocated justice, the way the Republic treated its criminals, and even their blameless descendants that happed to be born on that horrible planet, was a new horror in and of itself. It shook Felix right down to the foundations of what he believed in and who he truly trusted. Could he proudly call himself a soldier of the Republic after he had seen all that and done nothing, really, to stop it. Cabrie tried, but her efforts did not amount to much.

On the surface, and even now, the only loyalty he could make sense of was his loyalty to Cabrie. Always a beacon of morality wherever she went, Cabrie balanced the needs of her own mission with the needs of the people she encountered. How she did it all without going crazy, he did not know. Amid all that chaos, Felix threw his whole self into keeping her safe. Though, more than once, she saved him from injury, or worse. The whole experience left him feeling more than a little unsettled, with a dull headache that never seemed to go away.

Massaging his temples, Felix descended the narrow stairs into the lower hold to the med bay in search of pain killers. As he rummaged through the shelves—Tharan never kept the med bay as tidy as his own research station—Felix overheard Tharan and Cabrie in conversation across the hall.

“Jedi, I should caution you, though,” Tharan said with his usual confident precision, “That military man you have brought on to this crew may not have been the wisest choice—not that I question your superiors’ decisions, but—”

As Cabrie cut him off, Felix relaxed, realizing that he had been about to launch himself across the corridor and into their conversation. “Lieutenant Iresso has been an invaluable addition to our crew since he first joined us on Hoth,” Cabrie said firmly, “Both his skills on the battlefield and his perspective on what we face are valuable to me.”

“Have you looked closely at his record, Jedi?” Tharan probed, “With all of his accomplishments, the Republic rewards him with frequent transfers and no promotions. And then there was the bit about him being imprisoned by the Sith.”

“From which he escaped,” Cabrie replied sharply, “But I was not aware that such records were public on this ship.”

Neither was I. Felix ground his teeth together, but still waited to see if Cabrie would defend him further, hoping that she would. It had occurred to him that Cabrie would have seen his records by now, but the implications of that never crossed his mind. Tharan, no doubt, sliced into the files to obtain that information for himself.

“Jedi, you are deflecting me,” he accused, but sounded only slightly hurt, “There is of course, the other matter. I have seen the way he looks at you, the way he follows you. I am concerned that he cannot be trusted to keep a respectful distance.”

“Tharan, I don’t know what—,” Cabrie started, actually sounding bothered now.

Felix would not stand by and let the conversation go any further. Before he even realized he was moving, he stood in the doorway to Tharan’s workroom. “How about you learn some respect, Cedrax?” he practically roared. “And keep your nose out of other people’s business.”

“I would say the same to you, Lieutenant,” Tharan chided with just a bit too much calm, “Clearly you have no respect for the private discussions of two other individuals.”

“When they concern me? Hell no,” Felix retorted and stormed over to him, “This is too small a space craft for that.”

“See, Jedi?” Tharan turned to Cabrie for alliance. It irked Felix at his refusal to use her given name, only the title of what she was. “This is what I am talking about. The army didn’t trust him, and now he has been thrust on us. Who knows what happened when—”

Felix grabbed a fist full of Tharan’s shirt. “Look at me when you’re talking about me, Cedrax,” he growled. “What is this about? Another man comes aboard your ship and you start getting territorial? You don’t care for her any more than you do for that blue jiggling hologirl of yours.”

“Enough!” Cabrie suddenly cut in. With her words came a violent push, as if a strong wind suddenly surged against his chest. It was all he could do to stay standing as he slammed back into the cabin’s wall. Tharan stumbled back into a heap on the floor, tangled in his long, red coat. At least that gave him some feeling of vindication.

“That is enough, both of you,” the fire in her green eyes was the closest he had ever seen to anger in Cabrie. Suddenly, Felix felt completely ashamed. She said nothing more, only fixing each of them with another disapproving glare and stormed out of the room.

Felix regained his composure but knew that he could not go after her, not after all he had just said, right in front of her. Breathing deeply, he started out of the room for the cockpit. He had to find a way to lock down his personal files better from the likes of Tharan. As he moved to go, Tharan groaned, extending a hand, “A hand up, Lieutenant?”

“Get yourself up, Cedrax,” he snapped under his breath and left Tharan to detangle himself from his coat.

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