Star Wars: X-Wing
Isard's Revenge: My Life
Outline: In Isard's Revenge, Iceheart talked with Corran and we see the aftermath of the Lusankya incident, but what about Tycho? Did he and Iceheart have a nice little chat? And if they did, what was it about?
Notes: I read Isard's Revenge a long time ago (about a few years) and since then have not gotten another chance to do so. Since my sister owns the whole X-Wing collection and I only the X-wing comics, my knowledge of the book might be a bit rusty. For this story's sake, Corran does have his grandfather's lightsaber, but hid it in Whistler like what Luke did with Artoo. Part of this is also based on my story X-Wing: Lusankya. Beta-ed by Algae09.
He walked down the corridor, a perpetual frown on his face. It was quiet in the halls of the facility he was stuck in, and he liked it that way. No one to bother him, but still it scared him a bit to imagine who he'd run into in such a corridor. He thought he had killed her. He had, there had to be no other way ... he shot that proton torpedo that destroyed her shuttle. There were no readouts of a life-pod being shot out at the last moment, no readings from his droid that it was all electronic manipulation, but to find out that she had survived. It chilled him to the bone.
Ysanne Isard was alive.
Iceheart was alive.
The Director of that horrid torture facility Lusankya was alive.
His former captor ... the bane of many of his sleepless nights and nightmares.
He had not admitted to anyone including Winter that on occasion on their missions he wouldn't be able to get a wink of sleep. He feigned it as not to keep his comrades and especially his best friend Wedge from finding out, but it had not been easy at times, especially since they had found out that Corran had a Jedi heritage and had gotten some rudimentary training.
Ever since Corran started his simple training with some of the manuals and techniques Luke Skywalker had taught him, Tycho had a nagging feeling that Corran knew he wasn't getting any sleep, and it became more prominent since they had been coerced into doing a mission for Isard.
Tonight was another sleepless night and he knew that by morning he would have to do some serious explaining to Wedge as he couldn't exactly hide the dark circles underneath his eyes anymore. He kept having flashbacks of his time in Lusankya, only flashes of events, as if he was a third party to them, but he didn't remember most of them. All he knew was that he had been in great pain for a majority of the time, and that he kept waking up in cold sweat.
It had to be the close proximity he was to Isard ... she was triggering his flashbacks and he knew that if he didn't get any sleep, the next mission Isard was to send them out on would be fatal for him. Pilots needed all the sleep they could get ... they needed to be alert and he wasn't.
As he walked along the empty corridor, Tycho paused suddenly his ears alert to a gentle hum that sounded a bit musical. He vaguely recognized the sound and walked towards it. He came upon a fairly large room with weights and an exercise floor. The door was half opened and Tycho peered in.
Corran was standing in the middle of the room, a bright white lightsaber flared in his hands. A remote was circling him, and he was watching the remote carefully. Suddenly the remote spat out little lasers, and though a few hit Corran over parts of hid body, he managed to catch a few of them with his lightsaber. The remote zipped backwards before flitting up and to the side. He didn't know how Corran got his lightsaber from Whistler who was supposed to be locked up, but he was sure that the Corellian pilot kept it very well hidden from Isard's prying eyes.
Tycho watched, fascinated as he rarely saw someone practice with a lightsaber. The last time he had seen someone with a lightsaber was Luke during their stay on Hoth. He had been a newbie back then, a bit intimidated by both the presence of the Rogues and of their commander Luke who had blown up the first Death Star. He had secretly watched Luke practice with a remote in one of the deserted rooms in Echo Base.
He had grown up with stories about the Jedi and their mystical powers and lightsabers. His mother Rosha was close to the Organa Royal Family and always came back from her visits to their court with stories that the Royal Mother had told them about. As a child he had wished he had Force powers, and even told his mother about his wish, but she had a fearful look on her face when he mentioned it.
"Mommy! Mommy!" seven-year-old Tycho ran up to his mother, a dark-haired beauty with nearly ageless face, and mashed his face against a side of her dress, some of the frosting from the cake he had been eating getting on it.
"What is it little Tycho?" his mother asked, wiping the spot off before she continued to hand dry the washed dishes from lunch.
"Auntie Rouge told us about a great battle that happened on a planet called Naboo! She said that there was this bad man with a glowing red sword that was two-sided and these two great Jedi fought him and destroyed him! I want to be like that! I want to be a Jedi!"
He barely missed the look of concern that flitted over her face before she smiled serenely down at him, putting the last of the dishes that was dried back onto the shelves. "Jedi require special training little one. They also have special powers that you and I don't really understand."
"But I want to make stuff move!" Tycho whined, a bit put out.
"You can with mechanical things, Tycho, but if you want to be Jedi, you have to be taken away at a very young age to be trained ... do you really want to leave Mommy and Daddy that badly?"
Tycho looked up at his mother, a sad expression on his face. "No ... I want to stay with Mommy and Daddy."
She laughed lightly and picked him up hugging him, "It's all right Tycho. Besides, Jedi aren't even around anymore. They disappeared a long time ago ... "
"Kind of like the Buggy People?" he still didn't know how to pronounce the word Killiks that he had read in one of the Great Library's archives a few weeks ago. He had shown his mother the history book along with another one about aviation and while she had been impressed at his selections, he could tell that she was also worried.
"Yes, like the Buggy People. However, there could be one or two remaining ... they just like to hide a lot," she carried him out into the veranda and sat down, the two of them bathing in the sun and staring out into the vast wide-open plains and sea that surrounded Aldera, beyond it, the Mountains of Alutia that was the edge of the caldera the capital city was located in.
"They're shy ... " Tycho giggled as he hopped out of his mother's embrace and into his own chair, letting his short legs hang over its edge.
"Yes ... but perhaps, when everything is over, you may meet some of them ... "
And he had met more than one Jedi after the Galactic Empire was defeated. Many of them were his friends and allies, but some of them, still serving the dark side, were enemies of the New Republic. But he was proud to know so many and to find that many more were still alive, especially with Luke's efforts in reviving the Jedi Order.
There weren't the one or two left, but a whole slew, and watching Corran practice his rudimentary skills with his lightsaber, gave weight to what his mother had said. He had long forgiven the Corellian for trying to frame him as a Lusankya traitor and spy, but he wondered if Corran had ever forgiven himself. It also made him wonder if almost all Jedi carried such heavy burdens of guilt ... they certainly seemed to at least in his observations.
A crooked smile appeared on his lips as he watched a few more stunning bolts lash into Corran before he could block them with his lightsaber and heard him curse before he shook his head and stepped away. It would be better, from what he had learned while watching Luke on Hoth, to stay away from a Jedi-in-training who couldn't quite catch bolts yet from a remote.
On Hoth, he had vainly tried to muffle his laughter and received a pointed glare and mock warning wave of his lightsaber from Luke before scrambling away to the speeders to do some repair work. He had no doubt that Corran would probably feel the same way ...
He made his way into one of the unoccupied weight room in the facility that Iceheart had so gladly "imprisoned" them in. He wouldn't call it any other way. It was blackmail and all of them knew it yet Wedge was dancing around eggshells in dealing with Iceheart to help defeat her clone and Prince-Admiral Krennel.
Tycho knew that if he was given the chance, he would shoot the former Imperial Director on sight. And he also knew that no one would really blame him ... Sure there might be another trial, but this time, General Cracken and the others would know why he did it. But now, he would do it Wedge's way ...
He felt tense, and walked over to one of the anti-grav punching bags that was in the corner. Inputting the settings he usually used back in Rogue Squadron's base on Courscant, he slipped on some thin insulate gloves to help keep his grip on the bag when he punched it. Balling his fists, he focused on the bag and started to punch away, trying to lose himself in the rhythm he was establishing on the bag.
Minutes passed as he began to feel sweat pouring down the sides of his face and soaking his clothes, but he kept at the bag. With each punch, he could feel as if a mental block was breaking from his memories. He started to see little flashes of what could have been a sterile room ... med-bay ... general dizziness ... He also began to feel as if a phantom pain was running through him with each punch. It was as if someone had zapped an electric probe to him, jolting him with a sharp sensation each time he hit the bag.
He finally stopped, both hands gripping the anti-grav bag as it floated in the air. His breath came out short and he squeezed his eyes shut, willing himself to stop the phantom pain and the flashes of images that came with it. Hunched over, he barely heard the swishing of the door opening and closing to the weight room.
The deliberate clapping of hands startled him and he looked up, spraying part of the bag with flecks of sweat, to see the person he least wanted to see on this mission standing by the door, dressed in a simple workout jumpsuit. Iceheart.
"You haven't lost your edge, Colonel Celchu," Ysanne Isard stepped in and Tycho resisted the urge to instinctively step back and instead chose to ignore her and grabbed one of the towels he had grabbed from the rackets on the other side of the room and a water bottle along with it.
Iceheart settled herself on one of the leg machines near the punching bag and set the weights she wanted. Gritting his teeth, he ignored her and concentrated once more on the bag.
"I thought you'd be more polite than ignoring your hostess' questions," she said and he narrowed his eyes, glaring at the bag that shook with each of his punches.
"That wasn't a question," he refused to let himself be baited and instead hit the bag a few more times.
"It is so typical of you Rebels to hold grudges against Imperials," Iceheart commented frankly.
"I don't hold a grudge against you," he said automatically before he realized that while Iceheart may have been responsible for his sleepless nights, he truly ... didn't hold a grudge against her. True, she screwed up his life ever since his escape from Akrit'tar and the very public trial of Corran's supposed murder after the liberation of Courscant, but he didn't feel such malice that would constitute revenge against her. All he felt was ... surprisingly, pity.
He stopped his punching and looked at the former Director of Intelligence, forcing himself to stare at mismatched eyes of his former captor. She looked up at him doubt on her face while a crooked smile was on her lips.
"Somehow, I truly doubt that," she replied, the smile inching just a bit wider, "after all, you are an Alderaanian and after the destruction of your home planet by Grand Moff Tarkin, most of your people truly dedicated themselves to the Rebellion."
"I am somewhat of a black sheep among my people," he shrugged, taking off of his gloves, "what are you truly here for Iceheart? To goad me? To see if I will still break under the pressures of your questioning? I've already been through your little fun house Lusankya and survived intact."
"You were catatonic when I shipped you to Akrit'tar," she said and a quick series of flashes of partially fragmented memory flitted through his mind, but he roughly shoved it to the side and stared at her.
It was her next sentence that had him floored. "I still have the records of your captivity ... "
* * * * *
As ranking officer on this mission, Wedge Antilles was given the amenities privileged for someone of his rank of General, but with limited space, that privilege was a bit cramped so he ended up bunking with Tycho in suite-styled living quarters in Isard's compound. A quick peek into Tycho's room told him that his best friend was up and about again, yet another sleepless night.
Even though Tycho took great pains not to show that occasionally his nightmarish ordeal in Lusankya bothered him, Wedge made it so that he was keenly aware of what was happening to those he commanded, especially his best friend. Since the loss of Wes Janson, Asyr Sei'lar, and the two other Rogues in the ambush by Krennel's forces, he was determined to keep the rest of the Rogues alive. Janson's death still ate at him, but he kept his focus.
He still remembered the day that Admiral Ackbar had told him they had found Tycho, alive, albeit suffering serious injuries. He remembered when General Cracken said that they would be keeping Tycho under strict surveillance because they didn't know if he was a Lusankya spy or not.
And ever since Tycho's return from Isard's little torture factory, he knew that his best friend hadn't been getting the best of rack time, especially when a mission was high pressure and stress. He had made a discreet check into the things his second-in-command had brought and was relieved that there weren't too many stimulants found – far less than the average pilot carried, which meant his friend wasn't keeping himself awake using drugs.
However, it still worried him that his best friend wasn't getting any sleep at all, and in such close proximity to Isard, inwardly he had to be a bundle of nerves and frayed emotions. Outwardly, Tycho always kept a cool mask of professionalism. His cool sense of detachment to a mission was why Wedge valued him so much and was why they were best friends – Tycho kept him rooted to the ground when his emotions got in the way.
So, he was out prowling the corridors, trying to find his way-ward second-in-command when he spotted Corran standing next to an unopened door, seemingly staring at it. Why the former CorSec officer was still up was beyond him, but he noticed a small metal rod sticking a bit out from the folds of a small bag that Corran carried ... it looked like the hilt of a lightsaber ...
"Corran?" he said in a soft voice, nearly startling him as he blinked rapidly and looked up from his trance-like state to see Wedge.
Corran held up his finger to his lips in a gesture of silence and waved him to come over, but to stay on the other side of the door frame. Wedge wondered what was going on, but did as he was told. He knew that Corran's latent Force talents were growing by the day and with Luke sending him material on occasion, he had seen him practicing when he thought no one was looking.
And Wedge always trusted a Jedi's instincts, especially since both Luke and Corran had saved his life quite a few times with their hunches, instincts, and Forces powers. He gestured to Corran's bag and he stared at it momentarily before nodding as he realized his lightsaber was still sticking out. Quickly stuffing it into the bag, he gave him a grin in thanks before gesturing to the door, indicating that he should listen to what was on the other side.
Wedge placed his ear as close to the door and frame as he could without activating the motion sensor panel and listened in.
"--you are an Alderaanian and after the destruction of your home planet by Grand Moff Tarkin, most of your people truly dedicated themselves to the Rebellion."
That was Isard ...
"I am somewhat of a black sheep among my people ... "
Wedge stared at Corran, eyes wide as he heard Tycho's voice. A bad feeling started to set into his stomach. It was a recipe for disaster ... Tycho and Isard in the same room, no less, talking with each other ... He knew that he should go in there and stop it, but the expression on Corran's face stopped him. The man looked like as if he was in some sort of concentrated trance ...
"Corran?" he whispered.
"He's not too distressed yet ... let him be, Wedge ... I think he needs this ... " Corran replied slowly.
"What are you truly here for Iceheart? To goad me? To see if I will still break under the pressures of your questioning? I've already been through your little fun house Lusankya and survived intact," he heard Tycho ask.
"You were catatonic when I shipped you to Akrit'tar ... I still have the records of your captivity ... " that statement by Isard made both of them look up and stare at each other.
Wedge decided he was going to step in and intervene. No matter what was going on, he couldn't let Isard harass one of his pilots, especially one that had been through her torture factory. He was about to move to the motion sensors for the door to hiss open when Tycho's next words caught him totally off guard.
"Oh? Out of all the people at my facility, I would think you'd be the most curious to regain your lost memories," Isard sounded thoughtful.
"Then your psychological profile of me wasn't complete, was it? It was also probably why I didn't submit to your treatments to turn me into a brainwashed agent," Tycho sounded stronger than he had in recent years and inwardly, Wedge felt proud that his best friend was regaining his confidence from before his time in Lusankya by standing up to Isard.
There was no reply from Isard, but Wedge could imagine that she was inwardly fuming. He glanced over to see Corran with a smirk on his face and realized that Isard truly didn't have his psychological profile down either, and also didn't know that Corran had a Jedi legacy behind him ...
"You were always strong-willed, Celchu," Isard conceded, "but you had broken and I can prove it."
"Actually, you can't," Wedge raised his eyebrows at the bold statement. It was so unlike Tycho to come back with smart remarks. That was usually reserved for someone like either Corran or Bror Jace.
"See, if I had broken, I'd be sitting in that cell on Courscant still. I would have already submitted myself to General Cracken because I would have known that something wasn't right with me. My friends would have known something was off. Luke Skywalker would have immediately picked up on that fact ... "
Wedge heard the unspoken mention of Corran's Jedi instincts probably also picking it up along with Winter's uncanny abilities. And he realized Tycho was right ... if he had broken and had been turned into an agent, there was no way he would have let himself compromise anyone in the New Republic. While he had heard rumors that agents sent from the Lusankya facility showed no outward signs of change of behaviors, Tycho did have friends like Winter, Luke, and Corran who could pick up the subtleties of personality changes. Even he, himself, could have known after spending so much time around Luke ...
There was no sound from Isard, but Wedge's smile grew wider along with Corran's as they both realized the former Director of Intelligence for the Imperials was starting to get hopping mad for both Tycho's logical explanation and his continued defiance of submitting to her will when he was in front of her.
"He must have learnt that from you ... you're a bad influence," Wedge whispered to Corran in regards to Tycho's words.
"What can I say ... ?" Corran looked the every inch of innocence.
"See the problem with your methods is that you think you can control everything. You thought you could control me through a systematic torture of my body, brain, and senses. I may not remember my whole time in Lusankya, but I do remember parts of it," Tycho's voice had changed to a low almost quiet threatening quality that immediately wiped the smiles off of their faces and they both leaned closer to the wall to listen to what was going on.
A surge of powerful emotion rose through Wedge as he remembered how his best friend had been initially scared of contact, believing that it was still a set up. But he had quickly recovered and back then, he had thought that it was just only a passing phase. Now, to hear that Tycho had memories of parts of his torture ... it chilled him to the core. He wondered if Winter knew?
"No one knows...not even Winter to whom you so tried to force an imposter upon me during my stay," his voice was deadly quiet, almost to the point that Wedge was straining his ears. A quick glance at Corran showed that he was back in his trance-like stare.
"Corran?" he whispered to the Corellian.
"He's actually ... calm ... though, he's blocking me too ... " Corran sounded a bit strained and surprised at the same time.
"I actually have to thank you Ysanne Isard."
"For making me into an integral part of your downfall," Tycho replied in a chilly tone, "but most of all, for making me realize that it is Imperials like you who really deserve to die."
"So you'll kill me now? I don't think that's wise of you," Isard laughed.
"No. General Antilles is right, you are more useful alive to us right now. But the day that your trial comes; I will testify against you and recommend to the jury that you be incarcerated at Akrit'tar and be forced to work in the mines. You don't deserve death, but you do deserve a trial for your crimes against humanity and aliens."
Wedge immediately scrambled to Corran's side as Tycho's footsteps grew louder as he approached the door. The door hissed open and he stepped through before turning left and walked down the hall, away from them. As soon as the door hissed shut, Tycho stopped his back towards them.
"You heard everything?" he asked, no emotion in his voice.
"You all right?" Wedge stepped forward towards his best friend. He knew that Tycho knew that he was asking it as a friend not as his commanding officer.
"No ... " was the quiet reply from the Alderaanian before he saw a fist clench in anger then relax after a second, "but I will be."
With that he walked off into the darkened corridors, leaving both a worried and confused Wedge and Corran.
* * * * *
Tycho was already curled into the blankets in the small quarters he was given in the suite he shared with Wedge. His eyes were closed, but sleep wasn't coming to him. He could hear the gentle hiss of the door opening and closing and knew that Wedge had returned to his room. There was a gentle knock on his door, but Tycho didn't answer. He didn't trust himself to say anything at the moment, not after he had confronted Iceheart.
"As your commanding officer, it is my duty to see to the wellbeing of all of my pilots and those under my command. If you are not medically well tomorrow, I will see that you are pulled off of this mission until you have satisfied the requirements," the quiet authority in Wedge's voice, muffled slightly by the door between them was a grim reminder for him to shape up and get a hold of himself.
"As your friend," gone was the authoritative voice and instead that of deep concern, "if you ever need to talk. You know I'm always here."
The ghost of a smile flitted across Tycho's face as he nodded, knowing that Wedge couldn't see him and turned over to the other side, facing the wall. He heard the Wedge's footsteps fade away as the younger man went to his quarters. It was the same words Wedge had said to him in a private moment after his recovery and reinstatement of rank of Captain and transfer to the reformed Rogue Squadron.
He sighed ... he was glad he had the chance to confront Iceheart and he had to admit, it did take some of the weight off of his shoulders. At least this time, he had a chance to face down his former captor ...
He would get his act together ...
* * * * *
The next morning as they were headed to the simulators to familiarize themselves with the TIE Fighters, Defenders, and any other Imperial ship before going out on Iceheart's mission, Corran had stopped him before they reached the simulator area with a hand on his shoulder.
He turned and saw the slight shorter man look at him with a critical eye. "Did you get any sleep?"
Tycho shrugged, "A little."
"You all right?"
He nodded, knowing that Corran was referring to his conversation with Iceheart last night. "It felt good, getting that off my chest. I'll admit, I'm still a bit disturbed by it, but," he nodded again, "it felt all right."
Corran gave him a lopsided smile, "Good. That means you'll be concentrating today so I'll have to work harder to shoot you down."
Tycho laughed lightly, "Good luck with that, Captain Horn."
"As always, Colonel," Corran made a move to walk towards the simulators when Tycho stopped him with a hand on his shoulder.
"Corran ... did you ever forgive yourself?" he asked.
He was surprised to see the Corellian pilot avoiding his gaze and instead stared to the side, finding the panels of a real TIE fighter far more interesting. "I guess we'll see ... "
The pilot sudden turned and headed towards the simulators, leaving Tycho to watch him joke a bit with Ooryl and Hobbie before climbing into his designated cockpit simulator.
He suddenly sensed that someone was watching him and looked up to the observation deck above them to see Iceheart's mismatch gaze staring at him, an expressionless mask on her face. A crooked smile made his way up to his lips as he decided to ignore her and focus on the mission at hand. He had long forgiven Corran for his actions, and it seemed now, long forgiven himself for being so weak.
And it was time to rectify those issues. He was a Rogue after all. And Rogues always did the impossible.
* * * * *
Author's Notes: This fic was long in the making, but I really didn't have time to sit down and really organize my thoughts until now. I was curious as to why Michael A. Stackpole didn't put anything about Tycho's reaction during their stay with Iceheart and instead put down Corran's reaction. It felt weird, so I decided to put this up. This is part of the Ruminations series I'm working on, which consists of one-shots.
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