Written in response to a WEB fanfic challenge, back in the days when WEB was a password-access fansite. The instructions were, simply, Kill Dr. Qwi Xux!



Medical Condition
Diana DeRiggs

She felt woozy and bloated, and dared not think the unthinkable. After all, she and her lover were not even the same species! They couldnít conceive a child, could they? And if they did, that child would be sterile, and unable to continue the human fatherís line.

Something stirred in the memory of Dr. Qui Xux, about the results of interbreeding between species. She had been taken from her planet and had not seen any other Omwat since a young age, and knew of no others. But she recalled she was taken because she was ... different. Perhaps she was taken because she had been genetically altered? It was the only explanation for her possible ability to conceive a child with a human.

She saw the doctor. This is a woman she trusted, who was part of the team that was helping to reeducate her after she had lost her memory. She explained her suspicions, and asked to see the results herself. Under no circumstances was her bodyguard, Rogue Squadron commander Wedge Antilles, to be told. For he could be the father of that child.

Could be? Her memories had been taken from her shortly after she escaped from the Maw, where she was held to use her genius to develop machines of death -- the Death Star, the World Eaters. In her naivete, she honestly hadnít realized they would actually be used to ... hurt people? She cringed at her stupidity. She had to have been drugged to believe this. Or had she just shielded herself from the obvious? She couldnít remember. She started to feel warm and flushed.

And she couldnít remember if there was anyone before Wedge, her lover, her bodyguard, the most desired and honored hero of the New Republic. But she had a vague memory of one like her, of an Omwat, to whom she clung, until they took him away. Though she remembered him as much older, she might have had an affair with him -- for comfort, for consolation. Omwati, under stress, could have long gestation periods. It was an evolutionary adaptation. Could this child be his?

She was interrupted from her thoughts by a white-frocked figure before her. The short, stern, intelligent-looking human woman held a datapad in her hands, which she handed to Qwi to read for herself. The doctor stood by silently while Qwi concentrated on the test results.

Qwi was dizzy, but not because of her pregnancy, which was now confirmed. It was the numbers associated with it. According to them, she might be 4 weeks or 4 years pregnant. Qwi then asked the doctor to test for a specific hormone in her blood -- a dangerous request that could lead to scandal. The doctor was not an Omwat, but she understood many gynecological variations, and for Dr. Xux to request that test was a clear attempt to establish paternity.

The pregnancy-hibernation hormone was present in high concentration, pointing at a previous lover, not to the very recent Commander Antilles. Qwi was both saddened and relieved. She would not have a sterile child. She would not impose this problem on the brave Wedge Antilles. She was not the product of a genetic experiment. She would have a child that might continue her sadly depleted race.

Qwi, on advice from the doctor, spent the night at the hospital. She did feel frail and weak, and perhaps a night under observation and medication wouldnít be a bad idea. It would also give her time to try and explain to Wedge. Someone came into the hospital room and twiddled with the drip bottle above her head. Did they put something in? She was too sleepy to ask, and she fell deeper asleep soon after.

She slept, and had nightmares.

In her dream, her child had been born a healthy, blue-skinned boy. He was a genius -- the father of the child was her old teacher and mentor, a man brighter even than Qwi. Her son, whom Wedge agreed to adopt, was precocious and active. By the age of 2, he had taken apart datapads and put them back together. He could modify droids to fool his parents into thinking he had already taken his baths, or had already eaten his disgusting strained Sullustian potatoes.

One day, Imperial officers broke into the happy home, killed Wedge, and took Qwi and her son away with them. Every day, they threatened to beat or kill the boy unless she trained him as she had been trained. Until he was of a standard to build world killers, as his mother had before him.

She woke up screaming, an ugly, desperate sound. When she finally stopped thrashing and crying, the senior doctor came in, the one who had given her the datapad with her test results earlier that day.

Qwi was too spent and weak to do more than croak when she saw her. The lights in the room had not been turned on, so the doctor was eerily backlit by the corridor lights only. She walked up to the Omwat woman and bent over her prone form. Qwi tried to back away into the pillow.

"I know about the child," whispered the doctor, "and I will protect you. The Rebels will not take him from you, Dr. Xux."

Qwi blinked with fright, as she came to realize what the doctor knew, and the significance of what sheíd said soaked into her. She was one of them. But they would not kill her. They suspected something like this all along. Qwi started to tremble.

"Wedge ..." she stammered.

"No, we cannot kill him," softly breathed the doctor, hovering above her, "that is not in the mission parameters. But he cannot know of this child. You have had... contact, and he will feel responsible. He must never know. All must be done to protect you and the child. Now, sleep."

Qwi felt a pinch in her arm, as a drug was injected into her. Without her permission. Without consent. The earlier nightmares, so long forgotten, were coming back.

In her terror, Qwi resisted the drug. She watched the doctor quietly leave the room. Qwi dragged herself out of her bed, and stumbled around, trying to get to the comlink Wedge had given to her, but couldnít locate where her clothes and things were kept. The drug disoriented her. She tried to write a note, to explain to Wedge. Qwi couldnít find anything to write on, and ended up scratching out a note to Wedge on the linoleum floor with a thick, long intramuscular syringe. She was growing desperate as the drug started taking hold and she slumped into unconsciousness.

Qwi started to hallucinate. She saw the doctor in an Imperial uniform, holding onto a leash. To her horror, the leash lead to her wrists, which were bound around her swelling belly. She was being dragged to a delivery room. En route, she saw a window, and without thinking, she threw herself into it, broke it, and impaled herself onto the broken glass. She heard yelling, and then everything turned into a uniform gray, and got darker and darker. She felt ... safe. And her child was safely with her forever.

It was daylight, early in the morning. The doctor was talking rapidly, "Commander Antilles, I donít know what to say. Iím so shocked! She was fine, just tired and dehydrated after a bout of food poisoning. We told you this yesterday before you left, when you brought her here. She grew restless in the night and a drug was given to her to help her sleep. Dr. Xux also required constant electrolyte adjustments to her IV drip, but otherwise, she slept peacefully and without incident. We found her on the floor this morning, and we thought she was sleeping. We first thought she'd fallen out of bed and was asleep, but she wasnít..."

The doctor who had tested Qwi was now talking to Wedge Antilles, who had come quickly, even before the Intelligence teams, to initiate the investigation on the death of his charge.

Wedge hadnít noticed the tearful, babbling doctor, or her wringing hands. He had been on his knees, taking old-fashioned flimsi and graphite rubbings of the floor. Heíd been the first to notice the chicken-like scrabblings on the floor to be Qwiís handwriting. Since almost no one wrote anymore, no one had recognized the scratches as anything but random scrapes. He nodded to the doctor, and asked to be left alone. He then crooked a finger at Tycho Celchu, his second-in-command, and two other pilots, Wes Janson and Hobbie Klivian. He also gestured to Luke Skywalker, who closed the door to the now crowded room once the doctor had left.

Wedge taped the flimsi to the clear, unbroken window and had everyone read it, to make sure his eyes were not deceiving him. Everyoneís eyes grew wider. Wes and Hobbie both whistled.

"Wow! Wedge, if this gets out, you could be busted as the biggest sap and idiot in Starfighter Command!" gasped Janson, "I sure hope she was worth this!"

"Ooh," moaned Hobbie, "whyíd she kill herself and leave a suicide note?"

"Itís apparently what one does when one commits suicide," retorted Tycho, "and Wes, stop it, especially since this concerns all of us, not just Wedge. It makes the New Republic look really naive."

"Ironic," muttered Wes. "Especially since she was the one who we all thought was too naive for words. I guess she did know what she was building when the Death Star was created, after all."

Luke Skywalker, Jedi Master, was not looking at the flimsy rubbing of the note. He eyes were focused on the floor, or beyond the floor, as if trying to absorb Qwiís anguish that night. "She was telling the truth, Wedge. Iím sorry. That confession was not forced from her, and it seems her only emotion was panic at not being able to finish before the drugs took hold. I really am sorry, Wedge."

The others also mumbled their concern for their commander. Wedge nodded. He was angry now, but heíd get over her. He just felt stupid at being taken by a spy. She hadnít loved him. She hadnít lost her memory. He was a convenient way deeper into New Republic operations and intelligence. Her confession spelled it all out. She apologized for their affair, but her Imperial cover was blown, and sheíd taken poisons to end her life before the Imperials tracked her down. They would certainly kill her, but would torture and punish her first. She couldnít bear it -- thatís how they forced her to accept this spy assignment. What more convenient place to get poisons than at a hospital?

Their part of the investigation over, the visitors all filed out of Qwiís patient room. The doctor studied their faces as they left. They were all grim, angry, and tired. Antilles looked angry, betrayed, hurt, but definitely not sad. The doctor said goodbye to the men as they left, and she smiled inwardly. She knew Wedge would get over it. It was better this way, than to make it appear someone else had killed her. Suicide was such a tidy cover, and if done properly, it left a clean, healing anger behind, rather than a festering guilt.

The day before, another agent had subtly drugged Qwiís food, causing nausea and bloating. The doctor knew that the additional drugs given to Dr. Xux upon her arrival would cause her to hallucinate continuously for 24 hours. By prompting her with suggestions, the doctor suggested the bloating and dizziness was due to a pregnancy, and Qwiís rapidly overheating imagination did the rest. The midnight visitation confirmed Qwiís addled suspicions, and a second drug, the poison Qwi apparently administered to herself, was a powerful hallucinogen, also. While under the effect of both, Qwiís hands would write what was whispered to her, while her head was convinced she was writing something else. So any emotions the Jedi Skywalker felt were ones of earnestness, of truth, of desperation. The doctor had not left the room after all, but had stayed behind to provide the words, which Qwiís hands scratched into the linoleum with a syringe needle.

The doctor left early that day; this was normal and understandable. A high-profile investigation was taking place, and a patient under her care had died. She was allowed to leave, and would report for more questioning in the morning.

But before morning came, the doctor would shed the wirey, grey hair, her stern mask would be pulled off, and a more sensual face would be revealed, which would be made up, flowing hair coifed elegantly. The sensible clothing and flat-soled shoes would be replaced by a willowy gown and high-heeled slides. The short, sensible, frumpy woman suddenly became tall and lithe. She would get into a sporty speeder, parked at a garage a klick away, and bump into the grieving and angry Commander Antilles at a tapcaf. Sheíd tracked him, she knew what his behavior would be in response to his wardís death, and where heíd seek solace. From there, dinner and who knew what else? From there she would discretely disappear from whence she came, her cover intact until she didnít arrive for her morning appointment.

By noon the next day, the New Republic detectives had inspected the doctorís spare apartment, and found nothing untoward. Since this woman was linked with the death of Dr. Xux, this was being taken care of by Intelligence, rather than the local constabulary. Perhaps the Empire had kidnapped her? As reprisal? As punishment? It would be a long investigation.

In contrast to the previous day, Commander Antilles had come late. Rumors about drinking away his anger, a Corellian-style bar brawl, meeting an amazing and beautiful woman at a seedy tapcaf the night before, and a raucously noisy night behind closed doors. The detectives knew better than to press for details.

In the end, the doctor was never located. The only lead they had meant nothing to any of them. Among the galactic Holonet sites the doctor had visited most frequently was a passworded and heavily-encrypted site known only as "WEB." Someday, thought the detective in charge, they would break the codes, and then they would figure out what it all meant.



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