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Distraction

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The Rishi were all bird-brains. That was C2-D4's firm conclusion. There was no point in expecting one of them to make sense. Despite knowing how unlikely it was that she would have anything of interest to say, the protocol droid tried to engage this particular Rishi in conversation. Jakarro refused to help out at all, which didn't make things any easier.

C2-D4 welcomed the distraction when the big Sith came in carrying Agent Shan. "Turn so I can see," he told Jakarro, who was already doing so, probably to satisfy his own curiosity. Agent Shan was covered in bruises, some of them bloody, and appeared to be unconscious. He was draped over Wrath's arms, his head resting in the crook of the enormous Red Sith's shoulder. It probably would have looked more comfortable if Wrath's armor wasn't so spiky.

Wrath was there to help them. C2-D4 remembered when he'd rescued them from a terrible fate underwater, but the droid couldn't help finding the giant Red Sith man frightening -- he literally used a word meaning extreme anger in place of a name, what's scary about that? Of course, Jakarro could defend them both, probably, but C2-D4's Wookiee friend didn't always consider the droid he was wearing when he waded into battle.

"What's wrong with Agent Shan?" C2-D4 asked Lana, who was watching closely as Wrath used the Force to clear off a table, sending bottles and plates clattering to the ground, and set Agent Shan down on it.

"He's very badly wounded," Lana said. She held out her hand in some kind of Sith gesture, and there was a bit of glittering energy stretching between her fingers and Agent Shan's head.

"He'll recover," Wrath said. C2-D4 thought he sounded angry about this. His voice sounded as growly as Jakarro's, and for Wrath, that was unusual. Dark red energy sparked around Wrath's head and shoulders, which also seemed to mean he was angry. C2-D4 was not sure why Wrath had gone to all the trouble to carry Agent Shan from the Revanite base all the way back to their hideout if he was so angry about his recovery, but it would be too dangerous to ask a Sith about that in this mood. C2-D4 didn't want to be damaged any further. It was bad enough not having his own locomotion and having to exist as a Wookiee's bandolier.

"It's all I can do to keep him alive," Lana said, "and I can't keep this up too much longer."

"If I was only as damaged as he is, I could heal myself," Wrath said, still growling. "Can't seem to make it work on him."

"You tried?" Lana sounded surprised.

The Rishi trilled a suggestion that surprised C2-D4 by making a great deal of sense. Where had this ability to communicate been when C2-D4 had needed it to relieve the boredom? Instead, the Rishi saved it for when something else interesting was already happening. She was probably being deliberately annoying, C2-D4 thought, but translated for her anyway. "The Rishi asked me to tell you that she knows a way to let you use your self-healing on the dying man," C2-D4 told Wrath.

"Theron is not dying," the Wrath growled, even angrier if the increased Force crackling was any indication.

"I am merely conveying what our hostess's words mean," C2-D4 said in his best 'this is not my fault' tone for handling outraged and dangerous individuals.

"How do you propose he could achieve that?" Lana asked the Rishi.

She trilled another, longer answer. C2-D4 started to translate, "She will perform a ritual that will link your --" and was interrupted by a further trill, louder. Apparently she wanted to finish her entire speech before he began. How unappreciative of his assistance the Rishi was. C2-D4 began to think she might harbor anti-droid sentiment.

"Yes, do the ritual," Wrath said before C2-D4 could translate the rest of what the Rishi had said.

"I may have misunderstood something," Lana said carefully, "but I believe she just said that this ritual will psychically connect you with Agent Shan, in such a way that it will be as if you were him for the purposes of using that self-healing ability of yours."

"That is essentially what she has said," C2-D4 agreed. He would not bother to translate the details if the two Sith had so little interest in it as to both interrupt him after the Rishi had already done so.

"Rituals like that are usually two-way. It is an unacceptable risk to allow a Republic agent access to any secrets in your mind, Wrath," Lana said.

"You're the one who chose him as your ally," Wrath said. "Unless you have some other idea, I'm doing this. Go on, Lady," he said to the Rishi.

How exasperating. That was not the proper title for this Rishi and it was likely that she would not care, which C2-D4 found mildly offensive. What use were all his data about proper forms of address for hundreds of species if no one cared if they were used?

For a moment, C2-D4 thought Lana would try to stop Wrath from going through with the ritual, but then it seemed she thought better of the attempt. C2-D4 had seen that behavior in her many times, had also seen Wrath do much the same a few times in their collaboration. They worked together well because they knew when not to get in each other's way. Something more Sith, more people in general, could stand to learn, the droid thought.

She was angry now, too, though. That glare. C2-D4 didn't talk to Lana when she looked like that.

"If it's two-way, I'll see what's in his head, too," Wrath said to Lana, almost as if to placate her. If Wrath were the sort to placate anyone, which C2-D4 thought unlikely. Maybe he was actually bragging, the droid considered.

"He can use his implants to hide information from you," Lana replied.

"Not while he's unconscious."

"I wouldn't be so sure."

The two Sith stopped arguing and the Rishi did the ritual. Unfortunately, C2-D4 missed seeing it because Jakarro for some Wookiee reason that C2-D4 was very irritated about decided not to stay around for it. He said something about Sith rituals being in a hilltop cave. It was possibly a Wookiee saying regarding things that were dangerous when approached closely.

Twenty minutes later, Lana walked past, looking bemused and no longer angry as she had before. Jakarro apparently took this as a signal that the dangerous part was over, because he went back to where the Rishi was standing near the table that held Agent Shan.

C2-D4 was entirely surprised and had no idea what to say, because while he had expected that Agent Shan might be looking much healthier, he had not expected to see what he saw.

But he definitely knew better than to ask Agent Shan why he was kissing Wrath with his arms around the big Sith's neck and the Sith's hands tangled in Agent Shan's hair. Neither of them seemed to care they had an audience.

The Rishi trilled at them. C2-D4 refrained from translating it aloud, but thought Jakarro might enjoy hearing about what she said later. She had said that she had never seen this ritual have an aphrodisiac effect before, and that they should not worry because the effects were bound to wear off very soon.

Jakarro's only remark was one C2-D4 was unsure of. If it was another Wookiee saying, it was one the droid didn't have in his memory store. Jakarro's rumble meant basically, "About time."