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The Painful Truth
"In the meantime... the darkness of this planet should mask your presence enough for the bond to not betray us to our enemies. If you focus and trust in The Force, I am sure the reason you have become bonded to this Sith will become clear, and it's purpose revealed."
Ghost smiled down at Keran. "Well, no one can get through the debris without help, either...I don't know how Creator and Ripper did it before he built Ring." She explained before stepping into the hologram room. The lights flickered on the moment Quint had stepped inside and a single see-though woman appeared in the center to greet them. She had Ghost's face, but was missing the ears and tail.
With a smile, the hologram spoke. "Welcome back, young Ghost. I see you have brought friends. What is it you need of the hologram room today?" Her voice was robotic, yet smooth.
"Oh, uh...hello, Code." Ghost grimaced in discomfort. She never did like how the hologram looked like her. "I want to know what happened the day I left. Ripper wouldn't tell me no matter how much I asked..."
The hologram's head tilted to the side. "I have a single long recording of what occurred between Jin'Lor and Ryze - or, Ripper, as you call him - that day. Would you like me to begin a replay of it?"
The moment Ghost nodded, the woman disappeared and a lab appeared all around them. Jin'Lor sat in his chair across the room, face downcast as he wrote notes into an old journal, muttering. A smile crossed Ghost's face at the sight of him. "Creator..." She whispered, but the smile fell the instant the image of Ripper burst into the room.
"Did you think I wouldn't find out what you did?!" Ripper's hologram yelled at Jin'Lor.
A look of boredom crossed the old man’s face. “What is it I thought you would not find out, Ripper?” He inquired with a voice full of sarcasm.
Hands curling into tight fists, Ripper's hologram snarled. “You did it. It was you who did it all those years ago! You killed my wife – your sister! Why?! Why kill me if you’re just going to bring me back to life? What about Ghost? What is the purpose of bringing her back for me? Is this some sick ploy to get redemption?!”
"No," A smirk crossed Jin'Lor's face as his image flickered for a moment. "No, I'm not looking for redemption." When there was no response, he continued. “I want a revenge to last lifetimes, to last forever.”
“What?” With an arched eyebrow, Ripper's hologram frowned. “What are you talking about? Why would you want revenge? What did I ever do to you?!”
Eyes narrowing, Jin'Lor seethed, “You took away the only family I ever had. Took her to some godforsaken desert of a planet to be your…housewife. My sister was never meant to settle down and be some little bride. She was born and raised as a warrior, a Mandalorian. She would have gotten her helmet if not for you and your sick ways!”
"She was happy!" Ripper tried to argue.
“That matters little now.” Jin’Lor lifted a black gloved hand and looked down at the palm. “She should never have turned her back on us, on her people.”
“But…It was her choice, her decision.” A distressed look crossed Ripper's face.
“Yes, but it was not hers to make.” Stretching his fingers for a moment, the old man curled them and looked upon Ripper again. A cruel smile formed on his face. “Just as it will not be Ghost’s choice when you are forced to kill her. You’ve come to me over your concerns the past twelve years. Yes, there is something wrong with you, but it is not what you think. When I built you, I planted a very special artificial intelligence inside that black box system of yours. That core is powered by the code I spoke when I brought you back into the world.”
Confusion was back on Ripper's face. “What do you mean you spoke it when I came back? Are you saying there’s some robot controlling me?” He asked.
Chuckling, Jin’Lor nodded. “Smart one, aren’t you? I expected as much from a man that became both a doctor and a mechanic.”
“What’s it doing to me?” Ripper's image snarled.
Somehow, that smile became even more cruel. “It’s forcing you to kill and torture everything good around you. You’ve noticed, haven’t you? It's gotten harder for you to resist the things you want to do to Ghost. I bet you want to tear her apart and make her scream in agony, don’t you? The humane part of you doesn’t want to, so I set up the AI to counter that with pain beyond relief. It will make you endure your death again and again until you black out. At that point, the black box will take control of you. You’ll have zero control of your actions…and you’ll be fully aware of it.”
Disgust on his face, Ripper reached toward the light saber at his right hip. “You’re sick…” Before he could grab it, he was suddenly thrown toward the doorway, where his image disappeared. Part of the message got garbled as Jin'Lor spoke a bit more until his image was pinned to a wall by Ripper's red lightsaber.
"Shut...shut up..." Ripper's image limped back into the room, blood spilling from healing wounds where ribs were pushing back into his chest slowly.
“No,” The old man seethed. “You need to know just how screwed you are. You see, the AI inside of you is constantly learning and changing the pattern of its code. The more it learns from being with you, the more it can do to keep from anyone hacking into it. It was already impossible to hack before I shoved it into the black box, but now no one will ever be able to help you. The only way to stop it is if you get the code, which is a name you know very well." The look of shock on Ripper's face gave Jin'Lor reason to continue. "Your wife’s full name, of course. But…let me guess. You’ve forgotten it completely, haven’t you?”
Ripper kept silent, a look of pure pain crossing his face.
With a chuckle Jin'Lor asked, “Do you want to know how to get it? I know you do…”
Grabbing at his head with one hand, face still full of pain, the image of Ripper choked out, "Yes..."
“Ghost has the name in her pretty little head.” Jin’Lor answer with a smirk. “But you can’t get it from just asking. No, you have to kill her and literally dig the name out. It’s on a small device I implanted in her brain only a year after her awakening. She has no clue about it. Just a warning, though, doing surgery to retrieve it will only activate the kill switch in it.”
Ripper grabbed his double bladed sword, eyes narrowing with anger. “Why do this? I thought you cared about Ghost! I thought you loved her!” He roared.
Pulling the lightsaber from his shoulder and sliding down the wall, Jin’Lor smired again. “You know I never cared for that brat. She's just a means to an end...the program is going to take hold, make you hurt her over and over again...you'll become a monster and have no way out. No one will want to help the rabid dog that you become. The worst part for you is that the program is going to be ten times stronger now that you know about it."
“SHUT UP!” Ripper yelled and the hologram cut off just before he attacked Jin'Lor.
Ghost stood there as the hologram disappeared, a look of pure shock on her face. Emotions began to build and twist inside her as the tears fell down her face, the walls groaning and creaking as The Force tried to push all the pain away. Hands going to her head as she fell into a crouch, she let out a pained cry.
The Force began crush more and more of the room, parts of the ceiling falling, only to be slammed into the walls. Blood slid down the right side of her face where her hidden right eye had opened. She was starting to feel broken all over again, only it was worse than how Ripper had ever made her feel.
Ripper may have said "medical", but instead he made his way to the morgue and slid the door open. Staring inside, he saw the many tanks filled with deformed creatures stuck between animal and human. Each one was more grotesque than the other and he dared not look at them too long.
Stepping into the room, he passed the tables. Some were bare while others held corpses on them, most of which were cut open or torn apart. The only one he stopped at was the single table with the body covered in a white sheet.
"This wasn't here when I left four years ago..." He muttered and looked to Ring. "Why are you still here? Go to the robotics lab and repair yourself. I don't get what you're so worried about."