Friday, March 14, 2014

The Green Sith

The Green Sith
Bobby Derie

"So, what are you in for?" Task asked.

It had been four weeks by Eiven Task's reckoning since he'd been dumped on the prison-isle. Alone with a group of criminal Jedi, the Sith stupid or weak enough to get captured instead of killed, Sithspawn, dabbling force-adepts too dangerous for a regular prison. The mighty orders reduced to separate gangs based on philosophy and affinity more than race or inclination; the bulk of the fifty-odd prisoners rose at dawn and split up into separate groups for exercise and meditation, only breaking up for breakfast, individual training, and whatever passed for entertainment.

Task preferred to sleep in, when he could. Though most mornings the one-armed near-human would lay awake of mornings, feeling the pull of the Force, almost polarized between them. A recent arrival, and one-armed at that, Task had started his stay by getting his ass kicked, and had only secured a little space by shivving someone else to prove he wasn't everyone's bitch. With his good hand, Eiven scratched at the golden-brown beard growing in; in a few more weeks he'd be able to claim wookie heritage.

The closest thing Task had found to a friend was Greenie. Squat, brown, and wrinkled, with a barrel chest, a huge head perched atop a longish neck and stubby legs that left him with a distinct waddle, and wide staring eyes, Greenie looked about as inoffensive an individual as Eiven had ever run across...except, of course, for the scrawl of pale grey Sith tattoos up the little alien's arms, culminating in the glyphs for "Reaper" spelled out across his knuckles. Like Task, Greenie preferred to exercise on his own schedule.

In answer to his question, Greenie burped and stared out across the water, then up at the sky. It was a little rocky outcropping near the eastern edge of the island; they sat on the mossy rock as the stars came out, with a pot of Greenie's home-brewed silva between them, a thin green soupy mixture that tasted like liquid chlorophyll to Task, but it got him drunk eventually, and he wasn't one to complain. Slowly, Greenie raised on spindly brown arm and pointed out a blue star.

"Green Planet. Home." he said in his halting Basic. "Strong...pulse, in Green Planet, in Children of the Green Planet. My people. Strong in the Force. Living Force. Healers, caretakers. Growers of plants."

Greenie lowered his arm and pointed at the moss of the rock; Task felt a pull in his mind as Greenie's chest and finger tip began to glow, and the moss began to send forth new, springy green shoots that waved and curled upwards towards the finger. Then the pull stopped, the glow dimmed, and the mossy sprigs felt back.

"Gardeners, is always about garden. Plants born, plants die, with the seasons. Is always cycle, death lead to life, life spreads to non-life, dies, new life comes. Always spreading, growing, changing. Gardner...shapes. Directs. Impose order on nature. These plants, weeds. Grow unwanted, unchecked. Cancer in the garden. Tear them out."

Greenie sighed, and drank another cup of silva.

"Green Planet not Much wild. Argument. What is weed? Is right to shape nature? Big argument, very old. No love in Force."

"What makes you say that?" Task asked.

Greenie made a gesture with both hands and bobbed his head, but whatever that meant it was lost on Eiven.

"Light Side is all calm. Surrender. Body is vessel for Force; emotions get in way. Jedi seek oneness through...denial. Separation. Focus. To be the wind in the grass; hurricane drive leaf through rock, but never to guide the wind. Dark Side, stirring. Is roots. Reach down and out, push earth out of path, take in air and water. Sith strive, always, stir up Force, drive it; sometimes quiet, sometimes seem still, but always, always. Roots crack mountains, in time. So is with Sith. But no love in Force. Jedi deny self; Sith embrace self, neither connect. Is hard find balance, if love."

"And you loved." Task said. Greenie bobbed his big head.

"Little flower. Very rare. Fragile. Only certain soils. Came another flower. Invasive species. Much argument, to save, not to save. Some want nature take its course, others want preserve. Compromise reached. Samples taken, seeds. Flower becomes captive, kept only in glass houses. New flower spreads, wipes out native species. Council is happy, says this is right."

Greenie dipped his cup again, scraping the sides of the pot.

"Upset. Out of balance. Seed planted, but still. Waiting for right conditions. Then, found...something. Force saber. You know?"

Task cocked his head. "You mean a lightsaber?"

Greenie shook his head.

"No. Force saber. Old, old thing. Found in trunk of tree, artifact of the old race. Forbidden to Jedi, when they have memory of them. Strong in the Dark Side. Is...not like lightsaber blade, but burns from within, you know? Like using Force. Using Force all the time. Exhausting."

Greenie settled back against the rock, lying flat on his back and staring up at the night sky, his chest glowing a little.

"Force saber...seed within finds right soil. Begins to blossom. Kept it secret. Play with it, study it, feel tired but...good. Good kind of tired, like long day of weeding. Thoughts turn to healing. Children of Green Planet, good healers. Heal ourselves, others. Work long time; tired and sore, heal, feel better, work some more. Some things, Children cannot heal. Cancer, gangrene, grow wrong. Have to cut them out, then try to heal..."

Their came a sound like an electrical discharge, and flashing lights from the direction of the prison building. Neither Task or Greenie moved or spoke for a few minutes, feeling the back and forth of the fight taking place behind them, the spike of emotions - rage, pain, excitement from the crowd, then the thrill of victory. When it was over, Greenie continued.

"Decided to weed. With force saber. All the little flowers burned at its touch. Others came. Bad. Like said, Green Children can work long time; fights last long time, pain heals, just makes angry...many died. Many many. Flames spread, forest burned. Didn't become Sith, proper Sith, until later. But already had new name, worst name: Reaper. The Green Sith."

Task clinked his cup against the inside of the pot, and found it empty save for a trickle of green sludge. He tipped the last sip into his cup, downed it, then laid back.

"Task." Greenie said. "Jedi, Sith. Define each other. Neither like...loners. Want you to choose a side. You wait too long. They come for you. Tomorrow. Reaper...cannot help."

"I know," Eiven said.

"Do not know. When big Jedi, Sith come...too much power, skews balance. All the knives come out, the hidden weapons. Come all at once, overwhelm, both sides. Maybe some die, probably some die, but no little emperors, no grandmasters. Not here. They see you, first day, you take kicking. One-armed Jedi with Sith tattoos. Hard to read, make some nervous - no power, or too much power? Enough to hide power? Nobody knows. Then you kill the Besalisk. Unexpected. Still not choose side. Plant seeds of fear. Now you harvest what you sow."

"Tomorrow?" Eiven asked.

"Tomorrow." The Green Sith said.


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