As T-38 was sent away by Qi’ra because she wanted to be alone with Top Lieutenant Nienye she couldn’t keep the scowl from her face.
Throughout her life, T-38 had worked so hard to be in the position that she was in now. Growing up on Mandalore she learned to be a warrior. In her young adult years, she joined Death Watch as she found their goal to make Mandalore a world to be feared in the galaxy instead of the weak passive state that they had become in concordance with her own beliefs.
Then Pre Visla was slain by the Sith opportunist, Darth Maul, and she took it upon herself to rise in the ranks of his new coalition, The Shadow Collective.
Nearly dying after a terrible accident on the moon world of Concordia, she was forced to undergo massive surgery involving all of her limbs and half of her head to be replaced with metal parts. At first, she thought the alterations would, in fact, change her for the worse but it wasn’t long before she learned her accident was the greatest thing that had ever happened to her.
Her skills as a warrior were tripled and she became a deadly force for Crimson Dawn. Under Maul’s close guidance, she was chosen as one of his Wraiths; a group of assassins chosen for only the most dangerous and important missions. She excelled as a Wraith and in that time she had learned to read humans better than most, her sense of intuition augmented by her one robotic eye that could read a human’s movements and mannerisms like a droid’s database.
After Dryden Vos was killed Maul tasked T-38 with watching over Qi’ra as a bodyguard and a secret spy, just in case his misgivings about the young leader came true. It wasn’t long before T-38 acquired an almost motherly love for Qi’ra as she was determined to keep her safe in this dark and brutal galaxy.
And one person she especially wanted to keep Qi’ra from getting too involved with was her Top Lieutenant Nienye. Qi’ra had told her the story of how she met Nienye for the first time in the market and how impressed she was by his skills but T-38 could see straight through him. He was a survivor, and survivors were the most dangerous allies, for when threatened they could turn on you in an instant.
Through the past couple of years, Qi’ra’s admiration had grown for Nienye and T-38 could sense their relationship evolving into something…more. Today was just another example of that change.
T-38 wanted to protect Qi’ra but she couldn’t baby her or watch over her for every second of every day. Still, she wanted to warn Qi’ra so she wouldn’t involuntarily get hurt. She just had to find the right opportunity.
T-38 stood on the far side of the infirmary, carefully watching as the bounty hunter Qi’ra had hired was tended to by three medical droids. It wasn’t long before Top Lieutenant Nienye appeared in the infirmary. He nodded at T-38 who only regarded him with mild acknowledgment.
She watched as he hurried over to Ventra Dune’s side, grabbing her limp hand. The bounty hunter stirred and when she saw Nienye she chuckled.
“Shouldn’t have charged the warrior, right?” she said.
Nienye laughed, tears of relief forming in his eyes as he saw the bounty hunter awake and responsive as the droids continued to tend to her. “No. That was a very reckless thing to do.”
The bounty hunter blinked slowly. “Well, I’m still alive. And so are you, obviously. Where’s my money?”
This made the top lieutenant laugh again. Even T-38 cracked a smile at the exchange. As she turned to leave the infirmary she found Qi’ra watching everything from afar. T-38 exited the infirmary, joining Qi’ra’s side as the Crimson Dawn leader turned to leave.
They walked silently down the sterile halls of the beautiful ship before Qi’ra stopped, looking up at T-38 with a profound look of sadness on her face.
“I have a…personal question to ask. Do you mind?”
T-38 shook her head. “You can ask me anything.”
“Have I grown too coldhearted?” she asked T-38.
T-38’s different eyes squinted. “What do you mean?”
Qi’ra looked back in the direction of the infirmary. “For the first time in my life, I didn’t care that someone I regarded as a friend was going to die.”
T-38 looked Qi’ra in the eye and said, “You’re talking about the bounty hunter?”
Qi’ra nodded. T-38 placed her robotic hand on her shoulder.
“Ventra Dune is a threat. Everyone you will ever know will always be out to kill you if they can. Don’t feel sorry for being what you describe as coldhearted. You’re a leader. You have to be.”
The emotion in Qi’ra’s expression dwindled into a look of acceptance before she began to continue walking.
“Let’s get back to base,” Qi’ra said.
T-38 smiled. That’s my girl.