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Chapter 36, Part 3

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"No," Owen groaned. "Leave my brother alone."

Chona looked over to Husi and said tersely, "Husi, izo lubiku bio fuana j' pizoda oo ho rojiku yana."

Husi went over to Owen and punched him in the back. He screamed. Then Husi grabbed the box set aside earlier for Anakin, and gave it to Chona. The bounty hunter caressed the thin box gingerly, and opened it up. Anakin saw a long thin tube. Chona pulled it out of the box and it sagged flexibly.

"I think of this tube as a companion piece to those bristlebacks." She read the confusion on Anakin's face. "The arachnids eat you; the tube feeds you. Less interesting than a living creature, but this tube isn't completely boring. Watch this." She rotated a knob on one side of the tube, and tiny spikes projected from the tube. Anakin gasped.

"Yes, that's the reaction," Chona affirmed. "When this is lodged down a naval cavity, and a person gets defiant, I can just twist this knob, and voila! A clear message is sent to the misbehaving pupil. I've never experienced having such a tube violently tear my esophagus and nose as it's yanked out, but I've heard the testimony of others. That's been enough to convert me into a believer. Disobedience isn't worth the pain. Let's see if it has a similar impact on you, shall we?"

Chona approached him with the tube. Aware of his newfound strength in the force, and feeling panicked when he thought of torture once more, Anakin was tempted to see what he could do telekinetically with the force. Yes, he might strike her swiftly with an object. There were some free weights in the room. One bashing into her head might change her tune.

She grabbed his chin and tilted it up. "Some hairy nostrils there, human." Chona stuck the tube forcefully up his left nostril, enough so that he felt blood already trickling out of it. Then she twisted the tube and tunneled it down his nasal cavity. The tube reached his esophagus, but the Rodian thrust it up and down to his discomfort.

"There, now that it's properly seated, let's see what we can feed you. So many options-a piece of your brother's flesh, perhaps, if we chopped it up then? Bristleclaw remains? Or a Rodian surprise?" Chona turned to the unnamed guard in the room. "Weejiku ne bio duma."

He unzipped his pants and peed into a cup. Wonderful, urine.

Perhaps there was another way to deal with Chona. Anakin thought if he could apply some pressure in just the right place to crush her throat. He thought he could feel the beat of blood in her carotid artery. But Anakin knew he shouldn't act on these sadistic fantasies. Like Master Trajan had said, patience was his enemy; not his anger.

Now was not the time to make his move, he needed to focus on his plan for escape. But the torture, the bruising to his psyche was taking its toll. He had to calm down. He ignored Chona's goading, his brother Owen's eyes. Chaos, yet Harmony. Another part of the Jedi code that he could focus on. Anchor himself to through the storm.

* * *

He and his friend Holis were in the middle of an immersive VR Flick, Shimmerfall: Revengeance 2. They'd just followed the story's heroine Minoki (played by Anakin's favorite actress Ana Corinda), into the lair of the "mindbenders" to locate a hidden artifact. Minoki, the prophesied one, was the only one who could recover it and bring peace to the universe. It was the quality B movie material that Anakin enjoyed.

After slaying hundreds of horned mindbenders with her blasters, Minoki ran out of ammo, forcing her to pistol-whip the heads off a few others. Stepping over their monstrous corpses, she finally got into their secret fortress' inner sanctum. As Minoki walked up the steps towards the pedestal upon which the artifact lay, suddenly a man shattered through the glass ceiling. It was her arch nemesis Kemoc.

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