She heard the tapping of his staff and turned to watch him in his thoughts. Her own brow narrowed as she toyed with her own thoughts and trying to guess what he was thinking. Though what he would say just nearly caused her to stumble out of place in disbelief and shock. Instead she remained still except for the whitening of her knuckles as she grasped the staff with both hands and continued to squeeze.
"That is...just genius advice, Emryc." she hissed, her tone cold and dripped venomously. "Why don't I just fuck all of them, seems like a waste to just fuck one." she replied in heavy sarcasm, the staff in her grasp snapped loudly, wood splinters popped from the tension point. "Hells, I will even ask Jedi Pretty Eyes and his tea drinking sidekick for a threesome!" Tiamat threw down the staff with a yell.
"So you're here because you wanted to see me?" she threw out her arms, "Here, look at me, what else do you want?" she snapped and then turned on her heel walking to the wall to grab her pack, "Hold on, let me answer that, there isn't anything else you want from me. Which good riddance for you right?!" she shouted as she pulled out her hoodie, trying to find her way out of the head hole, "You don't know me as well as you like to think. Far from it!"
She pulled down the hoodie and then aggressive flipped out her red locks from the lip of the sweatshirt. Her anger glowed through the red in her cheeks as she glared at Emryc.
As always, Emryc stood there against the barrage and tidal wave of rage. As always, it was once again unexpected after he thought he made reasonable suggestions. The tall, armored figure stood as a sentry in complete silence. This reminded him of his countless other engagements with her. They always ended up here no matter what, and no matter what he said or did it led there. He had been completely silent before and it led here. He spoke more now and it still went the same way.
He watched her quickly grab her things and prepare to leave. Emryc made no move to stop her. He observed her quietly, using the Force to gently float the staff back over to its rack. He crossed his arms over his chest and stared at her curiously through the visor.
“Tiamat,” He said calmly, “It’s about time you accept that I am the only one in the galaxy that does not seek to use you in some way. I am the only one that comes to you without asking anything in return.”
It had been the crux of her issues since the first day they met. He stepped aside to unblock her path to the door to let her go.
“I know you as well as you allow me to,” Emryc said quietly as he gazed past her and at the wall, “No more than that.”
She hated how still he stood, not a flinch of muscle or emotion as her anger washed through the room, engulfing her and the half-Sephi in a chill that burned like fire. He crossed his arms, observing as she picked up her bag, slinging the strap across her body; he of course spoke, the calm in his voice only brought more annoyance that she could never get a rise out of him. There was a part of her that wanted her anger to seep into his own being, to share how she felt, to know how she felt, she didn't quite trust that he or others understood. Though, the other part of her spoke more of reason; that blimp of passion and attachment she craved and yet feared so much.
She couldn't argue with him, he was always honest with her and that was irritating. However, it was something she could trust with him, he had yet to ever leave her astray by his words or actions. However, the feeling was similar to those before him, and all it took for her to take that step and then came the betrayal hence the hesitation. The difference of course was now she could do something about those who betrayed her. There was no limit set in her potential.
Emryc took a step to the side, opening her path to the door but she didn't move right away. Her blue eyes flickered to the door and then back to Emryc, their sharpness softening though her cheeks remained its red. "Alright..." she whispered.
Her shoulders relaxed as she unclenched her fists; she glanced away, her thoughts floated as she reached to scratch her head and then finding a lock of her red hair to fiddle with, "What would you like to do?" she asked. Tiamat approached him and tilted her head to the door for him to follow if he chose so.
Even though Emryc had stated facts, he could still sense a whirlwind within her. He didn’t bother commenting on it, deciding that some things were better left alone. He expected her to storm right out past him or attempt to attack him. Unlike before, he wouldn’t simply let her do what she pleased. As she was no longer directly his student, he would retaliate if she attempted any attacks on him now.
Her next words caught him by surprise, though it wasn't betrayed externally. He stood in silence, still not tilting the visor towards her. Emryc was always a lot more difficult to read in armor, especially as he was often Raze in it. Raze was near impossible to reason with sometimes.
“I didn’t come here with a plan,” Emryc admitted after a while, finally turning to face her, “I arrived because I was displeased with the way we parted last.”
There was nothing more to it beyond that by his calculations. Emryc stared at her as blankly as the visor gazed at her.
They walked in silence, however, Tiamat's mind was far from silent as she worked to sort her own insecurities and question her lack of trust with someone she knew. Her gaze took to the passing Sith who seemed to awe in the presence of Darth Raze as they walked through the halls. The gawking and admiration was something she was just getting used to with her status as a Sith Lord and the trouble she has seemed to stir up with her appearance on Denon and being occupied in a prison for several months. Her mind begun to drift when Emryc spoke, admitting he had no plan when he arrived.
She felt his gaze turn to her, continuing as he expressed his displeasure of their departure from their last meeting. Tiamat opened her mouth to quickly say something, but stopped herself. Her head tilted as though she were deeply observing something afar, it wasn't something she expected him to say; his early comment about kriffing others was more in-line to how she often knew him.
Though she really didn't know what to say about it, taken aback that he seemed unhappy that she had left, "I thought...you would have been relieved." she muttered quietly, slowing her pace as she approached the door to her lab.
"Besides, I wasn't feeling well...it seemed like..." she paused as she placed her palm on the scanner and allowed the computer to scan her face, "It seemed like the better option." she explained, not feeling to elaborate on the hurt she had felt at the time. Tia glanced at Emryc as she entered another code into the key pad and the door opened finally, allowing them inside. The space was a lot more than she had required and she managed to fill it from end to end with terminals, notes, blue prints, and parts. A BG-series droid was busy at one of the terminals, whistling what seemed to be a greeting as it continued to work.
Emryc was silent during their walk, though he did speak up after her first comment, “Make no mistake,” The mechanized voice rang out, “I was relieved. The alternative would likely have been combat,” He explicitly used the word ‘combat’ instead of making a joke about her throwing him. She would know that actively attacking him would never fly again, “I was displeased because usually I am aware of the silly reasons you may choose to run even if I do not comprehend them. The restaurant was an incident that continues to perplex me.”
He entered her lab with her, visor scanning the room for everything she had. Before she had her title, none of this would have been possible. To know that his apprentice had risen through the ranks to become a Sith Lord was a source of pride for him despite the friction between them. Emryc was silent for a moment before the visor turned to regard her again.
“Explain,” He stated simply, referring to her abrupt departure.
Tiamat dropped her bag on floor as she heard him express his confusion over her departure. She turned to look at him, her own features indicating her confusion as to how he was not able to decipher it, he already declared her reasons for running away to be silly, so why did he want to know more.
The droid pushed over her chair, data pad sat on top from where she last left it. Tiamat didn't answer him right away, she wasn't really sure how to explain it without him dismissing her processes as silly. She sat down and set her device up on the counter, trading it for a thick disk that was about the size of her palm. "I am not sure what you want me to explain." she stated as she felt for the seam on her disk to open it up.
Tia sat in silence as she worked, grabbing a tool from the counter to keep her mind slightly occupied as she thought of how to further explain. He was not accepting the unwell reasoning, and Tiamat frowned in her thoughts. She took in a breath deciding to just let it out, get it over with so she could move on, hopefully, "You said something and it hurt hearing how you said it - Batting out of your league..." Tiamat switched out her tool, and paused, letting a silence settle before she continued, "I'm not showy or overt, Emryc...I don't conquer worlds and demand for obedience that seems typical for many Sith Lords." Tia explained, setting down the tool and device, "I have play by different rules and I want it to be clear that I don't just bat out of my league because I enjoy it. I have to do it."
The redhead paused again, she opened her mouth to speak, but stopped herself, glancing at Emryc in anticipation for him to dismiss her, but then decided against it, letting her thought come to voice, "Even if that is not what you meant, its what it became."
Emryc heard her out and remained silent the entire time. He crossed his arms over his chest at the end of it, tilting his head slightly.
“Not everything is about you and I,” He stated flatly, “I was referring to your tendency to take on dangerous projects where you know it may result in danger. You always knew the hypergates would get the Eternal’s attention and they would take it from you.”
Emryc walked over towards some of the datapads and screens on the side. He could spot a few written formulas here and there. As a well read and studied individual, he could follow most of it, but some of it was too complex even for him. He got lost in all the various ways she arrived at her solutions. She had scratched off and re-written countless times until finally finding her answer, which had been crudely circled. It had never been on the first try, but she had kept going until she found what she sought.
Was she still calculating and crossing things off with him? Is that why she was always frustrated? Because she could never draw that circle?
The half Sephi kept his gaze trained ahead when he spoke quietly, “You came to the hospital knowing I was at my weakest. Knowing I was broken and a shell of who I had been,” He paused for a moment, “You had the chance to slay me and fulfill the ancient rituals of master and apprentice. You had even revealed it to be your ambition years ago. I allowed you to visit me expecting it. I was ready for it, and yet it did not happen.”
Emryc slowly turned to look at her again, “I am perplexed because I am unclear on whether I have failed or succeeded as your master.”
So he wasn't talking about her and him and she felt herself relax some, feeling something lift from her shoulders that clearly had been eating at her for the past few days. As he continued to explain what he was referencing to, Tiamat had to pause in her work looking up at the half-sephi while he observed her work on the terminals and boards. She would have never put that together, she couldn't even recall if they were even talking about hypergates at the moment. Though it seemed his timing, as this was not the first time, could resemble the speed of a processing chip from the early days of the New Republic. It was almost a miracle he was able to masquerade as the ISC President and be as successful as he was.
"Well...the Eternal will bring it on themselves." she stated know how cryptic she sounded as she glanced at the droid who had returned to another terminal to work. She fidgeted with the disk, eventually setting down the tool and observing her saucer-like device for errors and imperfections. Tiamat pushed against the floor, rolling her chair to another set of terminals behind her and started typing in her codes, she paused though when Emryc spoke up and she gently pushed herself up to peek at him from behind a screen and lowered back down.
He had asked about the hospital which brought her to a full pause on her work as she thought about that visit. Her brow furrowed in thought and a frown formed as she recalled how he spoke in such finality with her that day. She remembered at one point she did tell him her ambition, and she had accepted it at the time, that it was the way things were, but, there was a point where she started to question it. Surely there were moments where she wanted to absolutely strangle him or toss him into the nearest star, but those thoughts remained fleeting, passing as quickly as the storms that would rise within her. Though, with her not fulfilling such a ritual, he question his own value as a teacher and as her master.
Tiamat looked over the terminal again, seeing his gaze in her direction, "I love you, Emryc. I care for you and what happens to you...Its just hard to navigate it sometimes." she stated with her eyes locked on his gaze, as much as she tried to convince herself otherwise, it was the truth. "I had decided to follow new rules. I still have my ambitions, but how I get there will be my own." Tia continued and sat back down in front of the terminal, "It doesn't make a lot of sense really...doesn't show strength, just stupidity to kill a very able-bodied teacher of the Dark Side, don't you think?" Tia shrugged, falling quiet in her own thoughts as she started to plug wires into her device.
Emryc tilted his head slightly to regard Tiamat at her casually brushing off the Eternal, “Do not make the mistake of underestimating them,” The mechanized voice cut in dangerously, “Better Sith than you have died for it,” The Eternal hadn’t assumed its position by chance. It had been meticulous and cunning every step of the way. It took its time and it was patient, just as the dark side.
Timat’s next words gave him pause. Why did those three words always feel so jarring? They were simple words and yet they always stopped him in his tracks. He looked at her as she said them. Did it pain her to utter those words? Did it pain Renfry? Emryc silently stared at her through the visor for several seconds before answering.
“I didn’t have to,” He said quietly, “He faded into obscurity and fled like a coward when I returned with the armor of Kravos. He knew well I had surpassed him,” Emryc was still thinking about what she had said. He was a man of tradition and she was here questioning all of it.
“Loving someone creates a liability and weakness,” Emryc explained, frost in his tone, “You would disobey your mission orders if my life were threatened. You proved as much on Denon.”
Emryc looked away then, glancing at a terminal, “You fail to find tranquility when I am near you,” He paused for a few moments, “And when I am far.”
Silence never meant nothing with Emryc, she knew he was thinking about her words, just like every so often she needed to take pause at even thinking those words. He shouldn't have been unfamiliar with them, she had spoken those three words to him previously and as much as she thought it would change, it had not. Emryc explained the destiny of his master, and Tiamat felt a bit of surprise as someone who was pressing on the thoughts of tradition, why he chose not to hunt him down for running away, left her a bit confused, though she left it as such.
He seemed to find himself back on love though, unable to leave it be as he did the last time, explaining to her what he had once taught her, the dangers of such emotions and brought up Denon as a possible example. Tiamat didn't speak, her eyes focused on her work for the moment as he continued, turning to her inability to find tranquility according to him. Tiamat frowned, trying to decipher where he was going with this, perhaps he thought her love for him disrupted her ability to find her calm.
She quietly hit a few keys, downloading data onto the object she was working on as she thought about how, or if she were to even reply to him.
"Following orders got me several months in a twilight coma with the Republic." she mumbled and started to unplug the wires, the terminal blinking with the success of the download.
Tiamat pushed herself in her seat, rolling gently to the side and out from in front of the terminals, "Have you ever tried to tame a fire before?" she asked Emryc while pressing on both sides of the disk shaped object, causing it to light up. She set it back down, waiting for the object to boot, "I haven't failed...I just have to do things...differently." Tiamat let out a long sigh while she watched the disk sprout thin long protrusions resembling spider legs. It started to crawl around on the desk, wobbling as it looked to adjust and recalibrate.
A mechanized chuckle escaped him as he caught her skirting around topics and speaking in riddles. It was a trick she had learned from him as it was certainly not something she had displayed when they first met. The Sith Lord was quiet for a moment before casually picking up the disk. He picked up a nearby laser screw driver and tilted his head as he began to make little tweaks. While Emryc knew little about hypergates, he had worked extensively on vehicles and ships.
A little bit of a hiss here and there from the gadget and he finally set it down. This time when she booted it up, the disc sprouted its limbs and effortlessly crawled across the surface. After a moment, it was able to bend the limbs and spring up to land on a higher surface, executing on the software commands perfectly.
Emryc watched it for a moment, “I don’t like to domesticate that which is wild,” He twirled the screwdriver between his gloved fingers, “Perhaps I am the fire others wish to tame,” Emryc said quietly, gazing away from her. His mind wandered to Renfry, Malicia, and even Asminys an eon ago.
Tia nearly protested as she watched Emryc pick up the small droid; she retracted her outstretched hands and sighed, feeling suddenly uncomfortably allowing someone else touch her work. She fidgeted in her seat, but remained silent as Emryc worked carefully, hands just as steady as her own, tweaking here and there until he set it down. The droid was clearly more steady and Tiamat suddenly felt relieved as she watched it move across the counter and then spring onto the cabinets and terminals. Her blue eyes glowed with delight as she pressed a series of keys while keeping an eye on the droid.
Emryc also watched the droid and spoke in response, telling her about his preference to not tame what is wild. Tia's brow narrowed in her thoughts as to what he could have meant by his words as she continued to hit a sequence of commands while the droid hopped down to a nearby computer and begun to work on repairs. Emryc suggested he was the fire others wanted to tame and it brought a pause to the redhead. She pressed a couple more keys before turning to face him, she certainly felt like others, including him wanted to reel her in, but never had it occurred to her he may have felt the same way about how others treat him.
"How long are you planning to stay?" she asked him; clearly a familiar question that he had often asked her when she visited.
Emryc looked at her when she turned to face him. Her expression suggested she was caught off guard by his comment. It didn’t surprise him - people were often caught up in their own views and seldom considered other perspectives. Emryc was detached enough to always observe multiple angles of scenarios, but even he came up short often.
His immediate answer was to remind her that it didn’t matter, but he doubted that would serve either of them. The helmet stared in her direction for a few moments longer.
She was sure he was just not going to answer, a typical Emryc response that brought little surprise to the redhead. When she turned in her seat to refocus her attention, he did speak up and Tiamat glanced over; a small smirk and her cheeks warmed pink in a delighted response. Though it was more than she expected in the response from herself, trying with all her will to fight the mild excitement that he was sticking around for a while. As try as she might, she did a poor job of hiding her cheek and face as she pretend to lean in closer to better see the screen for a moment.
Tiamat cleared her throat with a half-efforted cough, "Huhm..." Tia coughed again, tapping lazily on the keyboard, "Yes, um, we should go somewhere so you don't have to continuously wear all that armor." she suggested, though she wasn't sure where with someone so recognizable, it even made her nervous that it would be pieced together as to who Emryc really was in the galaxy.
"But first, I want to show you..." she climbed down and walk over to the other end of her lab where several large curved pieces lined the floor. Each one made of durasteel and other synthetic metals, microchips and wires sprouted from all points of each one, "I'm getting closer to finishing my own, no more will we have to rely on what the Gree had left behind." she explained as the Force shifted under her command, the pieces rose, and connected magnetically, creating a circle and future structure of the gate. "Its going to be extraordinary, Emryc." she smiled at her own work and progress.
Emryc didn’t miss the pink tinge to her cheeks. Naturally, he had no reaction to it, not giving his own commentary a second thought. He shrugged vaguely at her suggestion of going somewhere to keep him out of armor.
“I don’t need media reporting on the angry red head that stalks President Thorne again…” He muttered quietly. Their options were limited going anywhere where he could keep his armor off. Emryc followed her towards her work, but his gaze lingered on her instead. He took in her change in demeanor, how ecstatic this made her and the life that sparked in her from it all. Silvers flicked back over towards the outline of the gate.
“Perhaps I haven’t failed then,” Emryc said as he stepped forward to stand next to her, still eyeing the gate, “If I have led you to your passion.”
She was trying her best not to let his comment about the tabloid rumors eat too much at her, however, her own cheeks betrayed those thoughts as they were now a bright shade of crimson. Her droid did not help as it chirped out the daily number hits of Lyra Durand and various combinations of such name on the holonet. Her cheeks puffed as she worked to hold in a sigh and slowly she lowered the pieces of the gate, each one gently coming to a rest on the platform. Perhaps she shouldn't go anywhere too public either, the way the holocams followed Emryc, it made her nervous as to how they could just as well follow her.
He spoke his thoughts out loud, mentioning his lack of failure and his guidance assisting her to the passion she felt in her work. "I don't think many of my passions would exist without some influence from you." she said, adjusting some of the pieces to lie more flush with the floor, "When I dance, you're there, reminding me about my footing. When I work on the hypergates, I remember the awe when I first showed you."
Tiamat turned to look up at the armored half-Sephi, "When I'm with..." she paused, her blue eyes searching for the silvers hidden behind the visor. She opened her mouth to continue, but stopped herself, suddenly feeling herself be swept up in the stardust storm that begun to swirl in her thoughts. She didn't realize how much she had tensed up and nearly had to force herself to exhale as she set her gaze on the gate, "I'm glad you came." she smiled and fell quiet into her thoughts.
She turned to look at Emryc again, feeling incredibly small to how much he had grown even while he was away, "Are you hungry? I can cook...some things." she tried to think if she knew of any vegetarian dishes.
It was fortunate that Emryc had his helmet on as Tiamat spoke. He would have effectively ruined the entire moment with his very blank and detached look as she all but poured her heart out. A single brow rose behind the visor, but it was all once again out of view. Mercifully his posture remained fixed and didn’t reveal anything.
When she topped it all off with an offer to cook, the helmet tilted slightly. He said nothing for a moment, letting her stew in the pool of her own words for a moment. There was nothing but the sounds of her gadgets or the soft beeps of her machines in the background.
“I didn’t take you for such a romantic,” The mechanized voice said after a while. Emryc reached up and slowly took off the helmet, knowing that it was safe to do so in here. As much as he styled it, his hair couldn’t remain entirely perfect with a helmet on his head. Strands poked out at odd ends as the piercing silver gaze looked down towards her.
“Whatever you wish,” He said quietly, not offering any opinions one way or another.
He was silent as she spoke and Tiamat expected as much, not a word from him and even was waiting for the quip to come shortly after. Though she found it was difficult for anyone to argue or turn down food, an eyebrow rose as he tilted his helmed head and let out a sigh as she heard her stomach grumbling. Tia turned to look around her lab to make sure nothing was out of place before she left, her eyes resting on table against the wall. The woman paused in her thoughts debating. She stepped down from the platform as she heard Emryc speak; the redhead smiled and shrugged her shoulders, "There's a lot about me I have not shared with you." she explained, but left it without further comment.
He took off his helmet, strands of his hair astray, an unfamiliar messy look that brought a long gaze from the woman before she tilted her head directing his attention to a table. "Come here." she said flipping a switch on the side of the table. She picked up a stylus as a white light glowed underneath the glass surface and quickly flickered were images of what appeared to be ship parts. Dissect of the parts hovered as holoimages above the table's surface, allowing for Tiamat to interact with the cut-outs. She tapped the table top with her pen, bringing up a password box and entered in a lengthy code before a new set of images appeared.
"Do you remember the Nihil?" she asked him; it had been a short blurp in her history lessons from him, "They had an advanced traveling system, the path engine, that seemed to have just disappeared. Which makes sense given it would have revolutionized travel and left major shipwrights like Kuat and Sienar with another competitor and made their ship's hyperdrive motivators obsolete." she explained, and brought up the blueprints for what appeared to be a hyperdrive, "At the beginning of the Empire, there was some success in creating such an engine, but there were components missing to make it fully functional. So, I thought to compare the systems of the Gree technology to the Nihil." she brought up the codes and algorithms on a floating screen, "Nearly identical and with the discover of the space gate, I can finish any holes in the mechanisms." Tiamat paused and glanced at Emryc, "So, the barriers I faced with the space gate is the massive size and the vulnerability to destruction by enemies. However," she pulled up a full blueprint image if the hyperdrive, "This may solve that issue, all while cutting down the time it takes to travel from system to system from 75-90% and not having to rely on hyperspace routes."
She turned to look up at Emryc, "Low cronau radiation to avoid immediate detection, able to make microjumps in a finger snap, jumping from gravity wells, everyone will want it..." and in her anticipation to create an arms race, greed, corruption to where no one would be immune, "No more need to stick to the boarder worlds of the FWA and Republic, we can bypass defenses, choke out segments of territory until they bow to the Sith." a small smile pulled at the corner of her lip, it was obvious she had take some time to think of the implications of her technology.
Tia glanced back to the blueprints, "That's why I have everyone else focusing on the hypergates," she explained, recalling her explanation at their last encounter as well as to the Eternal, "Its not just about re-engineering old technology, its about building on the old and creating something new."
It wasn’t often that Emryc was utterly stunned, but the grand revelation of Tiamat’s plan had done just that. This time he wasn’t silent because he was purposely choosing not to answer, but because he was in legitimate shock. It was a complex series of dots she had connected, and she even managed to thread it to one of his own lessons. Emryc stared at the blueprints, blinking a few times.
“So what you have shared with the Eternal thus far…” He trailed off for a moment, turning to regard her as if looking at her for the first time. She hadn’t compromised her work after all. Surprise was not a look that featured on his face often, but there it was. Eyes were slightly wide, eyebrows were raised and his lips were slightly parted. It was borderline comical and she would probably find it rather adorable.
Emryc looked away and back towards the blueprint, feeling internally conflicted. He exhaled after a while, “You should stop sharing this with me,” He said quietly after a while, “Because I may wish to use it for the ISC,” He admitted out loud. Emryc kept his gaze away from hers, “Which may not align with the wishes of the Sith, contrary to what I’ve been telling the Eternal.”
He finally looked at her. These were things he had never shared with anyone, not even Morgan. It was a vulnerability, his achilles heel. The look on his face betrayed as much. It was a secret he hoped, at least for now, she would guard.