Tower of Time: Long Ago and Far Away
   

Only Human
Part 3

Cabrie came by the cockpit that night again, like usual. “How is the ship?” she asked, standing in the doorway.

“Fine, cruising through hyperspace like a charm,” Felix reported with uncomfortable formality. “No delegates doing anything suspicious. No unapproved transmissions.”

“Good to hear,” she said with a nod and took a slow step backwards into the hallway.

“Master Elthwen,” he blurted, not daring to sink to the informality of using her first name, “I want to apologize for all that, today.”

She stepped back into the cockpit and walked towards where he sat. “It is Tharan you should be apologizing to, but I know you will not,” she replied. He started to rise as she approached, but she shook her head, “No, please sit.”

As she slid into the chair next to his, Felix protested, “Master Elthwen, I really am sorry about all that, I—”

She cut him off, “Please, just call me Cabrie. I am reminded often enough of my rank. I don’t need it from you.” Cabrie paused thoughtfully. Clearly she did not want an apology, but Felix was unsure what it was she did want. Finally, she said, “I often forget that not everyone sees the universe as I do. I trust Tharan as much as I trust you, Qyzen or Senator Grell, or even Zenith. I see—beyond the physical, and I see no reason to distrust any of you. Without the Force, I cannot expect you to trust Tharan like I do, but I do hope that you will not let him bait you again in the future, though another such encounter would be more dangerous for him than you, I do not want conflict on my ship or amid my crew.”

“Understood,” he caught himself short of using formal titles for her again, “Cabrie.” He felt a pang of guilt at her unwavering trust of him. Her priorities were clear, but somewhat turned on their head from what he was used to in command.

“I’m sorry,” she stammered suddenly, “That was not supposed to sound like a lecture. I just wanted you to know where I was coming from, how I see things.”

“I wish I knew how you see things, through the Force,” he replied, “To hear you talk about it, makes me wish I had been born a Jedi.”

“You would make a good Jedi,” Cabrie said distantly.

“What is it like, having a sixth sense in the Force?” he asked. Seeing her work seamlessly through the Force always made him yearn to know what it was like.

Cabrie closed her eyes and leaned her head back in the chair, breathing deeply. He could practically see her struggling to find the words to describe it. “Being connected to the Force is so much more than an added sense,” she tried to explain, eyes still closed, “It’s more than hearing, more than seeing, more than all five senses put together. All life in the universe is connected, and if you look for it, you can see it. The Force ties everything together, binds it. The Force exists outside of time, tying the present, past, and future all together at once. In those moments of unsurmountable crisis, you let the Force swallow you up, you become a channel to its will until you don’t know where you end and the rest of the universe begins. Surrendering completely to the will of the Force, you know that everything will be alright. Life and death no longer matter, just the Force.” She fell silent, then opened her eyes and looked directly into his, “It often is as terrifying as it is exhilarating.”

“And all you Jedi see the universe that way,” Felix said, awed, barely above a whisper.

“Most Jedi, I think, never reach that tipping point,” Cabrie admitted. She always seemed somehow embarrassed about the ways in which she was special beyond the average Jedi.

“You do far more than just throw rocks around and read people’s minds,” Felix marveled.

“And I try not to do the later as much as I can help it,” Cabrie replied. “Delving into people’s thoughts uninvited is immoral, except in dire circumstances.”

Felix relaxed. That was a relief to know. “I wish I could have even a glimpse of what you see,” he admitted.

Cabrie pursed her lips thoughtfully. “I may be able to project the sensation of the all-connecting Force to you,” she started, then took his hand between both of hers, not waiting for an answer from him. The shock of her cold fingers enclosing his palm was quickly drowned in a powerful, overwhelming feeling that he could not put a name to. A moment later, it was gone, leaving his head spinning.

“Woah, I don’t know what that was, but I’ll take your word for it and leave all the Force to you,” he chuckled. Now that her hands were in his, he did not want to let her go. But, again, he was struck with a pang of guilt for all the trust she placed in him, especially after the argument of this afternoon. He took a deep breath and began, “There’s something I should tell you, Cabrie.” He met her eyes but she did not interrupt him. “That period I was imprisoned by the Sith, there’s two whole days of it that I can’t remember. My memories are just gone, and no amount of psychiatric reconstruction has brought them back. That’s why the army keeps shuffling me around without a promotion. They don’t trust me after that. That’s why they were more than happy to give me off to a Jedi Master.”

“Would you allow me to try to heal your mind?” Cabrie offered, catching him off guard.

“Ah, no,” he replied, “Jedi have already tried to fill that gap, but it’s all gone. All it winds up doing is bringing back memories that I would much rather forget.” And there are a number of things in my head right now that I don’t want her seeing.

“You’ve never felt the Dark Side—no, how to I put this?” Cabrie pressed quickly, almost fearfully, “You’ve never felt an influence in your mind or thoughts that weren’t yours since then?”

“No, nothing weird like that,” Felix replied slowly, unsure what the questions implied. “Just forty-eight hours of no memory.”

“I—good, I’m glad,” Cabrie sighed off her intensity. He had almost never seen her like that before. She added quietly, “I have seen the Sith take hold of the minds of more people than I would ever care to.”

“Believe me, I’ll be the first to let you know if something funny starts happening up there,” he assured her tapping his knuckles lightly against his skull.

“If ever you reconsider, I am a mind healer,” she persisted, serenity regained, “Know that the offer stands.”

“Thanks, I really appreciate it,” he replied earnestly. He had nothing more to say, but sitting beside Cabrie, her hands clasped in his, he wished some witty comment would come to his mind, to keep her there with him.

“I should go check with Senator Grell and the others,” she said, “We will be arriving at Corellia before too long.”

“Yes, right,” he replied, releasing her hands and standing with her. “Thank you, Cabrie.”

She turned to go, then paused, saying, “Thank you.”

She left Felix feeling in a daze. Cabrie’s trust, her forgiveness, just her; it was almost overwhelming. He wished he could do something to earn it. Cabrie really was unlike any woman he had ever met, and he knew that he would never meet another woman like her. Yet, even knowing that, he did not know how, or even if he should, act upon what he felt for her. It was almost as if Cabrie was too far removed from average, dull humanity to be pulled back down by more earthly feelings.

- Next Part -


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