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Maelstrom

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“That is not how you hold your lightsaber.” Dean had probably said it close to thirty times in the past hour. It was a wonder he had any patience left. “Both hands, Sam.”

“Lightsabers can be one-handed,” Sam said.

“Not until you can learn to use one with both hands first. Put your other hand on the hilt.” Dean put his other hand on his own lightsaber to demonstrate.

“Fuck this,” Sam said, closing his lightsaber. “I’m more interested in the Force, anyway. Hence the green crystal. Why do I even have to learn how to use a lightsaber if I’m just planning on using my brain?”

“The Force alone can’t get you out of every situation,” Dean explained. “Now take your lightsaber up with both hands, like this.”

Sam sighed and copied Dean, half-heartedly turning the lightsaber back on. “I can’t even aim. This is stupid.”

“You can learn to aim,” Dean said through gritted teeth. His patience was wearing thin. Finally.

“Shouldn’t we practice with sticks?” Sam asked. “How has no one poked their eye through with these things?”

“Swing the damn lightsaber,” Dean sighed. “How are you going to pass your initiation tomorrow if you can’t even hold a lightsaber?”

Sam made a face. “Why can’t I use a blaster? Or a katana? Why do I have to use an oversized glow stick on my enemies?”

“Put both hands on-” Dean began, but stopped. “Do you hear that?”

“Hear what? You yelling? Unfortunately, I do.”

“No, that buzzing,” Dean said. His eyes widened. “Sam, get in the temple.”

“What?”

“Get in the temple!” he looked up as a ship descended in the distance. “The Maelstrom is here.”

“Bullshit,” Sam said. He followed Dean’s gaze. “Oh. I guess they are.”

Elder Jedi Masters began ushering the students and tutors into the temple. Sam found that kind of funny, because the temple was built for learning, not for withstanding Maelstrom attacks.

He knew he was screwed. He knew.

It was no surprise when the armored troops came in. It was a surprise that they were being led by the actual Maelstrom leader.

“Lucifer,” the eldest Master said. “What have you come for?”

“I came to visit,” Lucifer said lightly. “Am I not allowed to do that?” He paused. “Where is Michael?”

“Michael is not on the planet,” the elder said. “He left two days ago, for Coruscant.”

“Of course he did,” Lucifer said. “He’s a coward.” He glanced at all the Jedi ready to fight. “I wasn’t going to attack, but it looks like you’re anticipating a battle. Well, I’ll give you one, but of another kind. How about this: I will leave this planet unharmed if you give me a sacrifice. Give me one of your students, and I will go.”

“I can’t do that,” the elder said.

“Really? You can’t sacrifice one life to save many?” Lucifer’s eyebrow lifted. “What a shame. Alright. Then I guess-”

“No!” Dean shouted. His voice was loud in the quiet temple. “No, wait. I’ll be the sacrifice.”

Lucifer turned to Dean. “Oh, hello. You’ve volunteered yourself. But anyone can do that. False bravery. But can you volunteer someone who isn’t yourself?” Dean was quiet. “Yes, that’s what I thought. Sit back down.” Lucifer paused, and his eyes fell on Sam. “Wait. Who is that, next to you?”

Dean looked at Sam and paled. “You can’t have him.”

“I can’t?” Lucifer asked. “Why not? Does he mean something to you?”

“He’s my brother,” Dean said. “You can’t take him.”

“I think I can,” Lucifer smiled. “What’s your name, kid?”

Sam glanced at Dean, then at Lucifer. “Sam.”

“Hello, Sam. Would you be willing to sacrifice yourself for the rest of the temple?”

Sam looked around at his friends. He nodded. “Yes.”

Dean shook his head. “No,” he said.

Lucifer ignored Dean and held out a hand to Sam. “How wonderful. Come on, then.”

Sam looked at Dean and smiled sadly. “At least I got out of lightsaber training,” he joked softly, standing up to follow Lucifer.

“Sam,” Dean said, and his voice cracked. He reached out, but was restrained by Maelstrom troopers.

Sam didn’t look back as he was led out of the temple. He kept his head high as he was led into the huge ship. He smiled bravely as the troopers showed him to the prisoner cells. He only cried when the door shut, and he was alone.

He was scared. Of course he was scared. He didn’t know what would happen, and predicted death. He couldn’t fight for shit, and his Force abilities currently rivaled those of a bantha.

Yeah, he was screwed.

He cried himself to sleep, though he didn’t notice he fell asleep until he woke up to Lucifer inspecting him from outside the bars.

“You didn’t even attempt escape,” Lucifer said, looking at the bars. “There’s no signs of lightsaber markings on the bars.”

“Bro, I can’t even hold a lightsaber properly,” Sam said tiredly.

Lucifer’s eyes pierced Sam’s. “Did you just call me bro? Don’t do that.” He looked Sam up and down. “And you can’t hold a lightsaber? How pathetic. By your age I was quite skilled. Do you even know the kyber crystal color meaning?”

“Yes,” Sam said. “I’m not stupid.”

“So you’re more mental than physical. I’d bet your lightsaber is green, then.” He smiled when Sam nodded. “And your brother, who tried to sacrifice himself. I bet his is blue.”

Sam nodded again. “And what color is yours?”

“My first was green, like yours. I use a red one now. I like the color and the fact that it represents power.”

“It’s also evil,” Sam said.

Lucifer shook his head. “No, Sam, lightsabers can’t be evil. It’s the person using them. And I really don’t think I’m evil. A little damaged, yes, but not evil.” He smiled. “It’s time for your sentencing. Time to see if you’ll live or die. What I decide to do with you depends on your answer to a single question: What’s the best joke you’ve ever heard?”

Sam blinked. “You want a joke?” he asked. “Um. Okay. So there are three Padawans. They’re siblings. They want to know how they got their names, so they go up to their mother. ‘Mom,’ the first one says, ‘Why’d you name me Rose?’ And the mom says, ‘When you were born, a rose fell on your head.’ The second Padawan says, ‘Mom, why’d you name me Daisy?’ The mom says, ‘Because when you were born, a daisy fell on your head.’ The third Padawan goes, ‘Ahjfocwndmcosh,’ and the mom says, ‘Shut up, Cinderblock.’” Sam looked at Lucifer. “That’s the best joke I’ve got.”

Lucifer smiled widely. “Alright. Come with me.”

Chapter Text

“Did I pass?” Sam asked. “Or are you leading me to my death?”

“You passed.” Lucifer unlocked the cage and waited for Sam to come out. “I’m going to train you, and you’re going to work for me.”

Sam laughed. He couldn’t help it. “What kind of idiot thinks, ‘Oh, I’m going to take this kid, who can’t use a lightsaber, and also who I probably can’t trust, and I’m going to make him my newest employee.’ I’m sorry, but that sounds really stupid.”

“You know what else is stupid?” Lucifer said. “Insulting the person who decides whether you live or die.”

“Oh, please. I’m screwed anyway,” Sam said.

“With that attitude, yes, you are,” Lucifer said. He led Sam into a training room and took off most of his clothes until he was left in a simple black shirt, pants, and combat boots. “Let me see how you hold your lightsaber.”

“Oh, not this again,” Sam groaned. He pulled out his lightsaber, turned it on, and got into a fighting stance.

“Alright. Now come attack me,” Lucifer said.

“That’s it?” Sam said. “You’re not gonna correct my stance?”

Lucifer shook his head. “It doesn’t matter what it looks like, as long as you can fight in it. Now, come attack me.”

Sam shrugged and rushed forward, swinging his lightsaber. Lucifer pulled out his own lightsaber and deflected it effortlessly.

“Alright, stop,” Lucifer said. Sam did. “You ran at me without forming a plan first.”

“I had a plan,” Sam defended. “It was, ‘Swing the glow stick and hope I hit something vital.’”

“That’s not a plan,” Lucifer scoffed. “And you had no power or aim in your swing.”

“I can’t aim.”

“You can do better than what you did,” Lucifer said. “Try again. This time, put some effort into it. Hit me like I just kidnapped you and you hate me for it. Yes?”

“Fine.” Sam took a step back and studied Lucifer before deciding to go for the waist. He swung.

Lucifer deflected again. “Better. Not good, but better.” He continued training Sam for the better part of six hours. By that time, Sam could use a lightsaber reasonably well.

They probably would have trained longer if a Mael-trooper didn’t come in. “Sir,” he said to Lucifer, “the uniform for the young one is ready.”

“Good. Thank you,” Lucifer said. He wiped sweat off his forehead and nodded at Sam. “Your outfit’s ready.”

“Outfit?” Sam wrinkled his nose. “Why do I need an outfit?”

“Because you’re not walking around my ship every day wearing Jedi garb,” Lucifer said. “My ship. My rules.”

Sam rolled his eyes. “Bossy,” he said. “Fine. Where is my clown costume?”

“It’s a uniform,” Lucifer said. “And come with me so you can try it on.” He walked briskly out of the room.

Sam followed, only because the Mael-trooper looked trigger happy.

The outfit actually wasn’t that bad. It was all black, and it was comfortable. According to Lucifer, there were four exact copies of it, so he could wear it even while one or more were in the wash. Sam wouldn’t admit it, but he kind of liked the outfit. He also liked the way Lucifer glowed when he talked about designing it himself.

“The chest part is heat-proof,” Lucifer said, “so lightsabers and heat blasters can’t cut through it. It’s the same material as my uniform.”

“Whatever,” Sam said, but he was smiling as he put the clothes on. “They fit really well.”

“I know,” Lucifer said. “You look like a true Maelstrom knight now.”

“Too bad I can’t use the Force for shit,” Sam said.

“Let’s work on that,” Lucifer said lightly. “While dinner is being made, I’ll show you a few basic things. What can you do?” He started walking back to the training room.

Sam followed. “I can make things levitate for a few seconds.”

“That’s a good start,” Lucifer said. He entered the training room. “Do you see that plasma blaster over there?”

“Yes.”

“Use the Force to bring it over here,” Lucifer said. “Make it levitate, and imagine it’s coming toward you. You might have to try really hard until you get used to it enough to just think it.”

Sam nodded and put his hand out. He levitated the gun and imagined it coming towards him. It started to move in his direction very slowly. “I’m doing it!” Sam cried, and it clattered to the floor. “Oh.”

“You got excited,” Lucifer said. “Try again.”

Sam did, and Lucifer patiently waited while the gun inched towards Sam. Finally, Sam closed his fingers around it. “I got it!”

“Yes,” Lucifer said. “Keep practicing. I have some business to attend to.” He left the room.

Sam got better at it, then got bored of the repetitive practice, so he taught himself some other Force tricks, like pushing things away and lifting heavier items. It seemed a while had passed, though, and Sam wondered where Lucifer went. So he left the training room and wandered around.

Soft crying caught his attention in one room. He peeked in and saw a little alien girl sitting on the floor, chained to the wall.

“Hey,” Sam said softly. The girl looked at him and flinched. “No, wait, I’m not here to hurt you. What’s wrong?”

The girl shook her head and started talking, but it seemed she didn’t know Basic. Well, that was a problem, because Sam didn’t understand her tongue, either.

Footsteps approached, and the girl’s eyes widened. Lucifer came into the room. He acknowledged Sam with a nod and squatted down beside the girl. “Aruvit meiz kine tal-hassen?” he said.

“Vru caid no porpot meiz xie,” the girl sobbed. “Aven, caid no, caid no!”

Lucifer clicked his tongue in disapproval. “Len, aruvit meiz kine tal-hassen? Tal-hassen etir caid. Caid tal-hassen.”

“Aruvit no tal-hassen,” the girl said.

“Aric!” Lucifer yelled, slapping the girl across the face. “Aruvit meiz kine tal-hassen? Kine, etir caid fo imjangi. Sera imjangi.”

“Revols!” the girl said, and spit in Lucifer’s face.

Lucifer stood up. “Caid, adiden,” he said softly.

“No!” the girl screamed. “Caid no!”

“Mol tey,” Lucifer said, and he pulled out his lightsaber and cut the girl in two.

Chapter Text

“I’m sorry you had to see that,” Lucifer said calmly to Sam.

Sam stood there in shock. “You killed her.”

“Well, she wouldn’t give me any information,” Lucifer shrugged. “It happens.”

“She was just a kid!” Sam yelled.

Lucifer looked surprised that Sam had raised his voice. “So? Kids die all the time.”

“You cut her in two!” Sam cried.

“Now, Sam. No need to get so worked up.” Lucifer started walking toward Sam, but Sam put a hand out to stop him. He caught Lucifer off-guard and managed to send him flying backwards into the wall. “Did you just throw me?” Lucifer darkened. “After all I’ve done for you, and you treat me like this?”

“You killed a child,” Sam said.

Lucifer took a deep breath. “If it affects you this much, maybe you shouldn’t work for me. Maybe I should kill you instead.”

Sam froze. What? No. He couldn’t die. “No,” he said quickly. “I just…” He racked his brain for something believable. “Um… I wanted to do it.”

Lucifer blinked, then smiled. “Did you?” he asked. “Well, you could’ve said that, then.”

“You were too fast with the lightsaber. I didn’t have time,” Sam lied.

“I promise I’ll make it up to you,” Lucifer said. He held out his hand to Sam. “But don’t be upset at me over this, alright? Let’s go eat, and I’ll find something else for you to kill.”

Sam forced a smile. “Oh. Great.” He followed Lucifer out to the dining hall. “Holy shit. That’s a lot of food.”

“Well, I have thirteen Mael-troopers on board the Cage with me,” Lucifer said, “plus there’s you and me.”

Sam nodded. “Where… um, where do I sit?”

“Beside me,” Lucifer smiled. He pulled out a chair for Sam. “I’ll introduce you to the troopers. Everyone, this is Sam. I’ve taken him as my apprentice.” The troopers clapped politely. “Sam, these are my men. And women. These are the thirteen Mael-troopers I trust the most. You can tell their rank based on their armor stripe color. Darker is higher rank.”

“Cool,” Sam said, not knowing what else to say. He smiled nervously at the trooper next to him. The trooper nodded.

“The feast may begin,” Lucifer said, and the troopers all took off their helmets. Sam was surprised to see that some had dyed hair – you couldn’t dye your hair as a Jedi. He was also surprised to see that almost all of them were human. For some reason, he’d expected a more diverse team.

Everyone started eating, and Sam slowly gathered food onto his own plate to eat. It was actually very good-tasting.

After the meal, Lucifer took him back to the prison cells. “Pick someone to kill,” Lucifer said.

Sam paled. “What?”

“I killed the other girl before you could,” Lucifer said, “so this is me making up for it. All these prisoners will die anyway, but you can execute one.”

“Oh. Thanks.” Sam put on a smile. Could he really pick someone to kill? Well, it was them or him. Sam walked down the line of cells and stopped at a random one. There was a human in it, a man of maybe twenty years. “This one.”

Lucifer walked over and smiled. “Would you like to use your saber or the Force?”

“Um, I can try the Force.” Snapping the dude’s neck would probably be the most painless way for him to go. “I don’t know if I’ll be good.”

“Well, what do you want to do?”

“I want… I wanna snap his neck,” Sam said. He felt sick saying it.

“Hold out your hand in a sideways C shape,” Lucifer said, “and put tension in it. That will choke him. Then flick your wrist to the side to break the neck. You have to really mean it. You have to want it.”

Sam nodded. He didn’t want this guy to die, really. But he wanted to live. He took a deep breath and did as instructed. It was over very fast, and there was an oddly satisfying cracking sound. It was kind of funny, too, to see the odd angle at which the head bent.

Sam laughed. He didn’t mean to.

Lucifer smiled. “Having fun?” he asked softly, stroking Sam’s hair.

“Yes,” Sam said, and he found that he meant it.

Oh God, he was going dark, wasn’t he?

 

 

Days passed, and Sam continued getting trained. Almost a moon after getting ‘kidnapped’, Sam was quite skilled at the Force and decent with the lightsaber. He found that he liked Lucifer more and more, and not just platonically, either. Sam constantly found excuses to sleep in Lucifer’s bed with him.

Like tonight. Sam didn’t bother to knock anymore, he just entered Lucifer’s quarters. “Hi.”

Lucifer was in the process of taking off his uniform to change into a shirt and boxers. “Hello. What’s wrong?”

“My room is too cold, except when it’s not. Then it’s too hot,” Sam said.

Lucifer laughed. “I see. Is that tonight’s excuse?”

“Excuse for what?” Sam asked innocently, climbing into Lucifer’s bed and snuggling under the covers.

“You do realize that except for the freeze room, the entire ship’s the same temperature,” Lucifer said. “So if your room isn’t a good temperature, mine won’t be either.”

“You have better blankets,” Sam said. He stretched out against the mattress. “Come to bed. I’m cold.”

“I thought my blanket would keep you warm,” Lucifer mused.

“You’re warmer.” Sam yawned.

Lucifer smiled and got under the covers beside Sam. “We’re landing on a planet tomorrow,” he said, snaking an arm around Sam’s side.

“What planet?” Sam asked.

“Skira. The largest Jedi academy in this star cluster is there. I think they might have information. I want to get it, since my wonderful brother refused to give it to me without bloodshed. I want you on the front lines, Sam.”

“Yes, my Lord,” Sam said. He closed his eyes. “Do you think I’m ready for that?”

“Definitely,” Lucifer nodded. “We can discuss more tomorrow, before we land. But right now, sleep.”

Sam smiled. “Yes, my Lord.”

Chapter Text

“I have divided you into two groups,” Lucifer announced. “Half of you, led by Crowley, will search for information. The other half of you, led by Sam, will cause a distraction and kill anyone who gets in the way. We want minimal casualties on our side. All droids stay on the ship. Clear? Good. Let’s descend into the atmosphere.”

The Cage landed in the middle of the city, right by the academy. The Mael-troopers and Sam poured inside, and the chaos began.

One Jedi tried to attack Sam directly, but he was thrown aside like a rag doll with a small wave of the hand. Blaster fire rang out, and the sound of lightsabers filled the air. Sam went into one room and pinned a student against the wall by the throat. He was about to kill her when he heard a familiar voice.

“Sammy?”

Sam turned, dropping the girl, to face Dean. His brother. “Dean? What’re you doing here?”

“I got transferred,” Dean said. He looked to the girl, then to Sam. “What happened to you?”

“A lot,” Sam said. He turned as the girl tried to attack him with her lightsaber, snapping her neck easily with one motion.

Dean stepped back. “I don’t know you anymore,” he said.

“I know,” Sam replied.

“Why would you choose this life? Sam, you’re breaking my heart. What would Mom think if she were alive?”

“It doesn’t matter,” Sam said, “because she’s not alive.”

“How can be this? One of them?” Dean asked quietly. “How can you do this? I don’t understand.”

“You don’t need to understand, Dean,” Sam said. “There’s nothing you can do. This is your fault for trying to be the hero before, when you offered yourself up. Lucifer never would’ve noticed me otherwise. This monster I am? You created it, Dean.” There was no reason for Sam to be so brutal with his words, but for some reason, he was.

“It’s not my fault,” Dean said. “I couldn’t’ve known. Are you going to kill me, Sam?”

Sam hesitated. “No,” he said. “I can’t kill you. But you can join me.”

“No,” Dean said. “I will fight you and Lucifer to the death.”

“Then I suggest you lie down and play dead. I need to go.”

“Sam,” Dean said desperately. He didn’t have anything else to say, but he wanted to say the name of the brother he’d lost.

Sam nodded coldly. “Dean,” he said. He pushed past his brother to get out of the room, to rejoin his troop.

 

 

Back aboard the ship, as Lucifer waited for the information to be processed, he chatted with Sam. Sam told him about running into Dean. “I couldn’t kill him,” he said. “So he’s probably told everyone who I am now. I’m sorry.”

“That’s fine,” Lucifer said. “Don’t be sorry; they were bound to find out eventually. I understand your attachment to your brother. I’d never make you kill your family.”

Sam smiled. “Thanks,” he said. He rested his head against Lucifer’s shoulder. “I’m scared.”

Lucifer looked surprised. “Of what?” he asked.

“Everything,” Sam said. He then clarified: “I love my brother, but he’s part of the Resistance. I love you, but you’re the leader of the Maelstrom. One side will win, and one will lose, Either way, I lose someone I care about.”

“You love me?” Lucifer asked with a smile.

“Of course I do,” Sam said. “Why’d you have to come into my life? I could’ve gone the rest of my life never knowing you, and I’d be fine. I’d be missing out, but I’d be fine.” Tears formed in his eyes. “Why do I have to choose between the people I love?”

Lucifer shrugged. “It’s like that sometimes,” he said. “You just have to go with your gut and hope you made the right decision. Do what you believe in.”

“I believe in restoring the galaxy,” Sam said. “But both sides are trying to do that, just with a different end picture in mind.”

“Which end picture do you want to pursue?” Lucifer asked softly.

“I don’t care,” Sam said. “I just want peace.”

“Someday,” Lucifer promised. He kissed Sam’s head.

 

 

The reports were troubling, especially to Sam. The Resistance was planning on sending a squadron in to attack a Maelstrom base on the planet Arciga. It was a kamikaze mission, and everyone involved knew it.

Dean Winchester had volunteered himself for the mission.

But he wouldn’t die, because now that Maelstrom knew of the plan, they would capture and torture the squadron. And Sam’s heart hurt. He locked himself in his own room for days, and wouldn’t come out. A trooper had to deliver him food and drink because he wouldn’t come to the table. He wouldn’t come out even when Lucifer begged him to.

He finally came out on the ninth day.

“Lucifer,” he said. The Maelstrom lord was talking to Crowley, but he turned to see Sam.

“You’re out of your room,” Lucifer smiled.

“I want my brother on this ship. If he’s to be prisoner, it will be with me,” Sam said.

Lucifer nodded. “If that’s what you want. I’ll send word to Arciga. Crowley?”

“Yes, my Lord?”

“Please send word to Arciga.”

“Yes, my Lord.” Crowley nodded and left the room.

Sam went to sit by Lucifer’s side. “What’ve I missed?” he asked.

Lucifer pulled him into a hug. “We’re heading to the planet Rica,” he said. “I’ve got a bit of business there.”

“What kind?” Sam asked.

“The girl you saw me kill when you first came aboard was a princess there. I’ve been collecting ransom money from her parents. Every hundred thousand credits ensure her survival for another week.”

“But… she’s dead,” Sam said.

“Ah, but the parents don’t know that,” Lucifer said. “And now it’s time to tell them the truth.”

“Why tell them at all?”

“It’s a distraction while my troopers rig the palace,” Lucifer said. “We’re going to blow it up, topple their regime, and take over Rica. It’s an ideal trading planet. We’ll be meeting up with several other Maelstrom ships.”

Sam nodded. “Oh, okay.”

“We’re set to land in the morning,” Lucifer added. “Will you come with me?”

“Of course,” Sam said. “I’ll follow you anywhere.”

Chapter Text

The planet Rica was a pretty sunset orange from a distance. Lucifer said it was due to a lot of iron in the air. The actual planet itself, he said, was very green. And he was right. The Ricans seemed to value conservation of the planet, with parks everywhere and virtually no litter.

With The Cage safely in a hangar, the Mael-troopers marched out into the city, toward the palace. Lucifer, Sam, and a trooper named Eva went to the throne room. Eva was there solely for translation purposes, to speak through Basic sign language so Sam knew what was being said, too. It was very thoughtful of Lucifer.

The king and queen welcomed Lucifer fearfully. “Coda vi arten?” they asked. Where is our daughter?

Lucifer cleared his throat, and in Rican, said, “That’s the thing. She is no more.

What do you mean, she is no more?

She is dead.

The king and queen were horrified. “But you made a promise to us, we paid you credits, and you told us she’d be safe. What happened?

Lucifer simply said, “I lied.

One of the Mael-troopers poked in. “My Lord,” he said. “We must go.”

Lucifer nodded. “Get the troops out,” he said. “Go to the ship.” To the king and queen, he said, “Peace be with you.” And he turned to go.

Sam and Eva followed him out. They made it back to the ship, and Lucifer gave the order to blow the palace up. The smoke from the explosion rose high.

Lucifer talked into the communicator to another Maelstrom ship. “You guys take it from here,” he said. “I’ll be on my way.” And The Cage set off into the galaxy, headed toward Arciga.

 

 

 

The flight to Arciga was a long one, and Lucifer was busy most of the time, so Sam found himself hanging out with Crowley. At some point, Crowley dyed Sam’s hair pink and purple, and Sam loved it. In return, he taught Crowley some of the party games the Padawans would play. Crowley said they’d be fun to teach the other troopers.

When the Cage finally landed, it was night, and Sam was asleep. He woke up to Lucifer shaking him and telling him he needed to get into position by the prisoner cells to greet the Jedi when they came.

So Sam stood by the cells with a trooper named Soren, and they chatted a bit while waiting for the Jedi to be dragged in.

“Let go of me, you metallic piece of shit!” Dean’s voice was unmistakable in the corridors. Sam straightened up as Dean and six other Jedi were dragged along. Dean did stop struggling once he saw Sam, though. “What happened to your hair?” he gasped.

Sam didn’t answer, but he looked at the trooper holding Dean. “Are these all?” he asked.

“There were four more, but they were killed in an exchange of fire,” the trooper replied.

Sam nodded and stepped aside to let the troopers and the prisoners in. He recognized one of the girls; it was his friend Jess.

Well, his ex-friend.

Jess looked at Sam sadly. “It’s true,” she said quietly, but she couldn’t say anymore before the door shut.

Soren looked at Sam. “I’ll alert our lord that the prisoners have been secured,” he said, and left. One by one, the troopers came out of the prisoner block.

Sam waited by the cells for the Cage to take off again, now that the threat to the Arcigan base was eliminated. Presently, a different Mael-trooper came to take Sam’s place.

“Lord Lucifer says to interrogate and kill all the new prisoners, except your brother,” the trooper said. “We need to know what code the Jedi scramblers are using.”

“Copy,” Sam said. “Wait here for me.”

“Roger that,” the trooper nodded.

Sam went inside the prisoner block. Dean and two Jedi were in block A, while Jess and the other three were in block C. This was good.

Sam went to Jess’ block. “Jess,” he said.

Jess looked at him. “You turned,” she said softly. “They turned you.”

Sam shook his head. “No, Jess, shh. I couldn’t… I couldn’t get away. It’s all pretend. I promise. Are you hurt?”

Jess looked skeptical, but she shook her head. “No, I’m not hurt.”

“Good,” Sam said. He slipped inside the cell with them and helped everyone take off their bonds. He hugged Jess tightly, and tears slipped down his cheeks. “I’ve missed you so much,” he said.

“What’s going to happen to us?” one of the unfamiliar Jedi asked.

“Nothing,” Sam said. “We’re going to get out of here. Lucifer trusts me, I can walk the halls at night. I can send the Jedi a message and give them our coordinates and the ship’s number. I tried before, but I think they changed the scrambler code. It wouldn’t go through. Do any of you happen to know the new one?” He looked hopeful.

Jess shook her head. “Even if we did, why would we tell? We don’t know if we can trust you.”

Sam looked hurt. “Of course you can trust me. It’s me, Jess. It’s Sam. I don’t-”

Suddenly, a Mael-trooper came in. It was Crowley. “Sam,” he said. “What’re you doing with the prisoners? Lord Lucifer’s been looking for you.” Crowley stopped by the cell. “Why have you released the prisoners?”

Sam slowly raised his hands. “It’s not what you think,” he said.

“Traitor!” Crowley said.

Sam used the Force to throw Crowley back and take his blaster. He shot at Crowley six times, and the Mael-trooper fell. Then he turned back to Jess, panicked. “Oh God, we’re fucked,” he whispered. “What do we do?”

“The code,” Jess whispered back. “It’s AX6092-54.”

Sam looked at Jess. “What?”

She repeated it.

Sam backed out of the cell and shut the door. He nudged the fallen Crowley, who stood. Sam gave him his blaster back. “Did you get the code?” Sam asked Crowley.

“Got it,” Crowley replied.

“Wait,” Jess said.

Sam smiled coldly. “Crowley, kill the two boys but leave the girl. Thanks for helping, Jess. You’re a huge help.”

Jess looked crushed. “You tricked me,” she said.

“I did,” Sam agreed. “Don’t worry, now you get a cell all to yourself.” He turned on his heel and walked away, the sounds of blaster fire and Jess screaming behind him.

Chapter Text

Sam went to Prisoner Block A, where Dean and the other Jedi were held. He didn’t say anything at first; he just took his lightsaber and executed the Jedi he didn’t care about.

Dean stayed silent, head toward the floor.

Finally, Sam spoke. “Jess gave us the code,” he said.

“Good for you,” Dean grunted.

“My trooper friend is giving it to Lord Lucifer now.”

“How wonderful,” Dean said. “I suppose you killed Jess?”

“No,” Sam said. “Not yet.”

“You’re heartless, Sammy,” Dean said. “Where did I go wrong?”

Sam just shrugged. “You can join me,” he said. “We can still be together.”

“I don’t know if I want that anymore,” Dean said. “I could never associate with the likes of you.”

“I’m sorry it had to be this way.” Sam shook his head. “There’s only so much I can do for you, Dean.”

“There’s only so much I want you to do,” Dean replied. “I’d rather die here than join your ranks.”

Sam sighed. “Dean, be careful what you say. It might happen if you aren’t careful.”

“Do I look like I give a fuck?”

“Why won’t you join the winning side, Dean?” Sam asked.

“I don’t care who’s winning. I care who’s right.”

“No one is right, Dean. Both sides have their flaws. Both sides want the same thing: peace.”

“Yes, but the Jedi try and convert the lost. You, you kill them.”

Sam tilted his head. “Isn’t it quicker to pull the weeds than to water the flowers?” he asked.

“Quick doesn’t make it right,” Dean said.

“But what is right?” Sam asked. “Wasting resources on lost cause planets while depriving a surplus to the thriving? That’s what you do.”

“At least we try to help.”

“Is it really trying if you already know the outcome?” Sam asked. “Your logic is as flawed as the Jedi are.”

“You act like the Maelstrom aren’t corrupted,” Dean said.

“No, we are. We are not saints. But we aren’t afraid to admit it. You hide under a banner of heroism and righteousness, but your entire society is built upon pillars of sanctimony. You are held together by confidence woven from threads that fray as they are pulled, and we are pulling tight. You are misguided, Dean, and the light you see at the end of the tunnel is nothing more than the oncoming train.”

“Fancy speech,” Dean said. “Did Lucifer teach it to you?”

“And there’s the false confidence I was talking about,” Sam said. “How much of these threads do you have left?”

“All of ‘em,” Dean said smugly. “I’m a string factory, baby.”

“Factories tend to pollute the world around them,” Sam said, “so I guess you aren’t wrong.”

“Sam, I’m not joining you. Make all the metaphors you want.”

Sam sighed. “So be it,” he said. “But my offer still stands. I’ll call for the removal of your friends’ bodies.” He stood and walked away.

 

 

Jessica Moore wasn’t stupid. She gave Sam the wrong code.

Because the Sam she knew wouldn’t’ve even known about scrambler codes in the first place, and there was no way the old Sam would’ve let any dye into his hair. He was changed, that was certain.

Jess didn’t expect to be left alive, though. What would happen once the Maelstrom realized she’d lied? And where were the rest of her friends? Would Sam have killed Dean? Maybe not.

She might be able to escape. But should she waste time searching for other survivors? She decided yes. More people on her side would be better.

Problem was, she didn’t have a weapon on her. The damn troopers had taken those. The good news was, no one had bothered to re-restrain her. So she could use the Force.

Jess used her abilities to bend the metal of the cell holding her, enough to fit through. She slipped through the bars and walked up the aisles until she found Dean. She whispered his name.

Dean looked up at her. “Jessica,” he said.

“I gave Sam the wrong code,” she said back. “Come on, we can get out of here.”

“How?” Dean asked.

“I saw escape pods while we were being dragged here,” Jess said. “If we can get to them…”

Dean nodded. “How will we get past everyone?”

“I’m not sure. We may have to fight.” Jess bit her lip. “If we can catch one trooper by surprise, we can get its gun.”

“The trooper come in at twelve hours to feed,” a small voice said. Dean and Jess both looked at the cell across from Dean’s. A small orange Twi’lek girl stood in her cell. “Come in pair.” She held up two fingers.

Jess blinked. “Who are you?” she asked.

“Name Dravia,” the Twi’lek said. “You talk Crodish?”

“I don’t know Crodish,” Jess said.

“I do,” said Dean. “Do you speak Crodish better than Basic?”

Dravia nodded. “Learn Basic while prisoner. Crodish better.”

“Ofmr eehrw od ouy eocm?” Dean asked. Where do you come from?

My home planet is Crode. My parents born elsewhere. I was taken prisoner as ransom, but the Maelstrom blew up my planet and there was no more use for me, so they put me in here. They did not kill me because I was too young. Maelstrom will not purposely execute anyone under age of ten Coruscant-years. I am nine now, was six then.

Dean translated for Jess. “Adn, ahtw eels od ouy oknw?” What else can you tell us?

There is another Jedi here who can help. She has been here many years. Name is Eileen. In block B. She is deaf.

Dean told this to Jess, who brightened. “I know BSL,” she said. “Basic Sign Language. I’ll find Eileen.” She left.

Dean and Dravia talked a little more, learning about each other. The Twi’lek wasn’t Force-sensitive, but she had other traits that were helpful. For example, her antennae picked up on sound far before anyone’s ears did.

Jess came back with Eileen. “This is Eileen,” Jess said. The girl beside her made some gestures. “She says hello.”

Dean waved. “Tell her I don’t know signs.”

Eileen made some more signs. Jess translated: “She can read your lips.”

“I will talk Basic then, so Eileen can see,” Dravia decided. “Helpful?”

Eileen made the sign for yes while nodding her head. Jess briefly introduced everyone through signs.

“So communication might be a small problem,” Dean said, “but I think we’ll do just fine.”

Chapter Text

The following morning, the four were out of their cells. Dravia alerted them when her antennae picked up the vibrations of footsteps, and the Jedi got into position.

They attacked the first trooper that came through the door, and Dean took the gun and shot until the troopers were down. Eileen and Dravia kept a lookout while Dean and Jess changed into the Mael-trooper uniforms.

“We need to go before these guys are found,” Jess said. She led the team through the hallways, Dean at the rear, heading toward the escape pods she had seen on the way there.

Thankfully, there was no one around, and they made it into the pods without trouble. “The second we disconnect, the entire ship will be notified. We need to go fast.”

Eileen plugged the coordinates into the computer system. She nodded at Jess.

“Ready?” Jess asked. She nodded at Eileen, who pressed the button to dislodge the escape pod. She then pressed the button to warm up to jump to hyperspace.

“Thirty seconds before the jump,” Dean read off the system panel. “Will we last thirty seconds?”

“I see troop in window,” Dravia said, pointing toward the Cage. “They know.”

“Ten seconds,” Dean said urgently. “Come on…”

They made the jump.

 

 

Lucifer stood in the assignment hall in front of the troopers, minus the two that had been shot. “First off. The two attacked men will be fine. They’re in stable condition,” he said. “So stop calling dibs on their belongings.” He looked specifically at one trooper, who smiled sheepishly. “Secondly. The code we were given was fake. The escape of the Jedi is not the end of the world. Rather, it’s a good thing. If they radio their base, we’ll get the transmissions as well. So that problem is solved. Finally. None of this was anyone’s fault, so quit trying to pass blame. That’s all. You are all dismissed.”

Sam watched from the doorway, moving to let the Mael-troopers leave. “I feel like it is my fault, though.”

“It’s not,” Lucifer promised. “I need to go to the control room to try and pick up on transmissions. Do you want to come?”

“Not really,” Sam said. “I’ll go tend to the wounded troopers.”

Lucifer nodded. “You do that,” he said.

 

 

“Why aren’t we in hyperspace anymore?” Dean asked. The escape pod had stopped in deep space, to the terror of its passengers.

Jess looked at the control panel. “Something’s wrong with the hyperdrive,” she said. “Shit. Does anyone know how to repair it?”

“I do,” Dean said. “I’ve fixed ships before, with my father, before I was a Jedi. But in an escape pod. But in an escape pod, the space in the hyperdrive is too small for me to fit through while the ship’s still flying. We’d need to land.”

“Oh, great, we’ll just land on one of these many planets available to use,” Jess said sarcastically. “We’re in deep space, Dean, there’s not even a star out here!”

“Is it small for me?” Dravia asked.

“You might fit,” Dean said, “but I’d have to talk you through what to do.”

“I can try,” the Twi’lek replied. She started to gear up to go outside the pod. “I’m ready.”

“Okay,” Dean said. Verbally, he guided her to the hyperdrive. “Ok, it should look like a blue light strip.”

“It not lighted,” Dravia said.

“Is there a crack on it?” Dean asked. “Or anything weird around it?”

“Weird?” Dravia asked. “There is black strip near it?”

“What black strip?” Dean asked.

“Black strip. Say number on.”

Jess translated for Eileen: “It’s a bug.”

“It’s a bug,” Dean told Dravia. “Can you take it off?”

“I try,” Dravia said. She picked at it. It came off. “I rip it, that okay? Wait, the light back on!”

“Good,” Dean said. “Get back inside, we’ll jump again.”

“The strip,” Dravia said. “Green thing come out. On my hands.”

“We’ll take a look,” Dean promised. “Come back in.”

Dravia came back inside, and they jumped back to hyperspace.

Eileen recognized the green ooze on Dravia’s hands as a toxin common in Maelstrom devices. It broke out because the bug had been ripped. She needs medical help, Eileen signed.

 

 

Crowley came into the medic center. “Sam? Oh, it’s a good thing I found you. Lord Lucifer’s pissed. Can you calm him down?”

“What’s wrong?” Sam asked.

“Something about the transmissions not going through because of interference,” Crowley replied.

“I’ll talk to him,” Sam nodded. He made his way to the transmissions room.

There was a Mael-trooper up against the wall, struggling for breath as Lucifer choked him.

“You’re cheating on me?” Sam joked. Lucifer turned to him, his eyes a bright red. Sam stepped back. “Whoa… Luce, what’s going on?”

“This was your brother’s fault,” Lucifer growled. He dropped the trooper, who collapsed on the ground. “Get out of my sight,” he told the trooper, who took the chance and ran. Lucifer looked at Sam. “We don’t have the codes. They found the bug.”

“It’s not a big deal,” Sam said. “We can get the codes some other way.”

“I want them now,” Lucifer growled. He snapped, and several glass items shattered. He outstretched a hand, and Sam found himself being lifted off the ground. “I want the codes in my hands by yesterday,” Lucifer growled.

Sam took a deep breath. He didn’t struggle, for fear of angering Lucifer further. “I will get them,” he said. He waited to be put down, but it didn’t happen. “Lucifer…”

Lucifer walked closer to Sam and gently set him on his feet. “I want them now.”

“Yes, I know,” Sam said. “I will find a way to get them, alright?”

Lucifer put his hands on Sam’s waist. “I’m pissed.”

“I can tell.”

“I feel so mad, and I don’t know how to express it. I want to hurt someone badly.”

“I know,” Sam nodded. “It’s okay. Just be rough with me.” He kissed him.

Lucifer hummed in surprise and kissed back. “Bedroom,” he growled softly.

“Yes, m’Lord,” Sam said.