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Tick Tock

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The first time Kadee sees one of those medical deadline approach, she devotes all of her processing power to finding a solution. She’s a medical droid, she’s free now but she’s still a medical droid, her vocation is to heal, to make people better, and Anakin is her friend. There has to be a solution, she just needs to find it.

Eventually she decides the only thing to do is to escape. Break out of the Empire. Then they’ll be free to go to one of the myriads of top notch clinics hanging on the Outer Rim that never ask questions.

She tells Anakin her grand plan.

Anakin only looks at her. Her initial programming regarding organics body language had been minimal, but through prolonged interaction with Anakin she’s been adding data to it and fine tuning its accuracy. She understands the look well enough.

She should have known he would be difficult. “I cannot treat you here. Soon I won’t be able to treat you at all. We need to get you out.”

“I took an oath, Kadee.” Low, implacable.

“If my memory files are correct, what you vowed was to destroy him and his empire. Nowhere did it say you had to do it as Depur’s Darth Vader.”

“And how else?”

“Your Rebellion. If you joined them, supported them overtly instead of covertely, then the Empire would loose its boogeyman and the rebellion would gain….”

“Then the Empire would get a new Sith Lord in short order,” Anakin cut her off.

Kadee’s pincers rose in surprise.

Anakin smiled, tugging the scared skin of his face. “Bet you an oil change Depur’s got potential replacements lined up right as we speak.” A shake of his head. “No, if I defected, the Empire would just get a new Sith Lord - and this one wouldn’t be undermining the Empire whenever they can - and the Rebellion would just gain Depur’s attention and they can’t afford it.”

That struck Kadee as wrong. “But they already have his attention.” Depur was perfectly aware the Rebellion existed and cells were hunted and destroyed routinely.

“No, they have his condescension.”

Kadee whired, pondering the difference.

“Right now he sees them like insec…” Anakin stopped and liked his lips. “Right now they’re like mouse droids,” He started again. “Buggy mouse droids getting into things they shouldn’t, making messes. He’ll swat them when they get too close to anything sensitive, but he won’t go through the effort of catching them and slagging them, because they’re only mouse droids, what damage can they do?”

Oh, Kadee understood now. It was like the stories. “They’re inconsequential.” She said.

“And I suspect, mildly amusing to watch flounder around,” Anakin added, rolling his eyes at Depur’s foolishness. “But the sad truth is that they can’t withstand more than the occasional swat. And if I openly throw in with them the retaliation won’t be a swat, it’ll be Depur’s full wrath. There is nothing one warrior or one military leader can bring to counterbalance that.”

Kadee calculated a few more possibilities. “What if you didn’t let it be known? Stayed under the radar?”

Anakin snorted. “I am many things, discreet is not one of them. In order for my presence to be unnoticed, I would have to cut back so far as to be essentially ineffectual. And that’s not exactly working toward the fulfillment of my oath, now is it?”

Kadee cycled to the next possibility, but there was nothing. She ran the calculation again, but still nothing. He wasn’t going to move, she realized. He was going to stay untreated, and there was nothing Kadee could do about it.

Absolutely nothing.

She hadn’t been programmed with intonations the way some droids were. But still she made a sound.

Anakin patted her dome.

“He is going to die slowly.” She said finally a long moment of silence. “Slowly and painfully.”

“I can’t guaranty that.” Anakin smiled, half amused, half predatory. “The chances we will be able to afford to are low. But go on and plan it. It’s a satisfying way to pass the time.”

It would have to do.