[FRG Joan d'Arc: 2 ½ years ago, 2200hours]
Hardrive was in the middle of serving his "sentence" aboard the FRG Joan d'Arc, issued by Blue Squadron Council after the direct disobedience. After suffering from reoccurring dreams for months, or rather nightmares, he had finally been ordered to visit the Joan's ship psychiatrist.
"From looking alone at your training records I must say I was quite impressed with you. Your dogfighting scores are extremely high, even if the bombing scores leave room for improvement. However, I seriously wish the records had told me beforehand about your hard-headedness to cooperate with people." Dr. Lkei sighed after the fifty-five minute battle for answers. "Anyway... we've covered your recent occurrence out in space and on that freighter, now let's get into a deeper issue. Please tell me about your father."
her in a low, seemingly bitter voice. "There's nothing to tell
you. I never knew my parents."
"Look," Hardrive raised his voice slightly, "I was found by an Alliance Shuttle when I was ten-years-old in an escape pod. I didn't, and still don't, know my real name. 'Nicholas Paul McKay' was the name given to me by the pilot of the Shuttle. Lt. Richard Paul McKay raised me for a year, then was killed by an Imperial bombing raid who just couldn't leave a virtually defenseless craft alone. The man only delivered cargo and rescued ejected pilots, and yet they still killed him. I was sent to numerous shelters and went to many places throughout the galaxy for many years, all the time without a solid fact on who the hell I was. I only kept this name because it is the only one I can remember. That's the same thing it says in your files, and that is everything I know. There are no secrets in that section of my life. Is that what you wanted to hear?"
"Well not exactly all that... but I think we're finally getting somewhere." Now with a humored tone in her voice, "I now think we now know the reason for your anger towards the Empire."
"Is that all you wanted to know? Hell, I could've saved us an hour and told you that." He added with a smirk. "Why else would I be flying in the Rebellion if I didn't have something against the Empire?" Standing, he looked at his watch then to her. "Can I go now?"
"Sure," she said, setting down a data pad on the table, "however I want you back here at 0800 hours tomorrow for a new type of therapy. Would you like to know what happened for those first ten years of your life? I believe the nightmares you are experiencing are the result of the repressed memories. They are trying to get to the surface, and because of this you cannot sleep."
"I'm unsure at this point." Hardrive says, heading towards the door without looking at her. The phrase "new type of therapy" did not sit well with him.
"Oh don't worry," she said after realizing his drawback to her sentence, "it shouldn't hurt."
her reassurance, he exited the office and headed for his guest quarters.
It is obvious that he does not wish to sleep however, and before he reaches
his room changes directions to the flight simulators.
[FRG Joan d'Arc: Next Day: 0800hours]
She greeted Hardrive with a smile. "Glad to see you came back Nik."
"Yeah.... well...." he replied, not having much to say, "let's just get on with it."
"First things first. Did you sleep well last night?"
"No. Same like the night before, and the night before that, etc.," he said with a hurried voice, rubbing his hands over his eyes, "can we just get on with it please?"
"Sure." Dr. Lkei said, getting up and walking to the door. She stopped only to motion Hardrive to follow.
They walked down the hallway, passing many doors and finally stopped in front of one, which hissed open and exposed the interior of the room. As they entered they saw the room was much larger than the outside led a person to believe. The room was actually constructed on two floors, so that could contain an extremely large machine, which hovered closely over a comfortable looking bed. However, to the exhausted Hardrive every bed was beginning to look comfortable.
She took a few steps in, then turned to face Hardrive. "Please sit on the bed."
"Umm... what's all this stuff do. What exactly are you planning on doing to me?" Hardrive exclaimed, completely baffled by the array of electronics in the room.
"Well," she said frankly, "is what will happen. We will use this device to project and record your thoughts while you sleep. Basically, it's a type of hypnosis, only hyped up so it absolutely works. We'll ask your sub-conscious about your past, and it'll show us. However it will show us in a visual representation that is can be recorded, due to the machine over the bed."
"I'm not sure about this," Hardrive said, taking small steps backwards to the door, "I heard a lot of bad things can come out of this."
"It's not a big deal... most of that is false anyway. Just lay down on the bed so we can get started, ok?" She said, grabbing his arm and guiding him from the door to the bed.
"But I'm not tired... it's gonna be a real long wait. Perhaps we should do this another time, when I'm actually tired." It was a pathetic attempt at a lie, as anyone looking at him could tell that he was exhausted.
She was prepared for this remark however. "That's not a problem... we're gonna dope you up on sleeping drugs." She said with a chuckle.
"Umm... err..." Hardrive groaned in a low voice while being strapped into the bed.
After all the machinery was in place and set, Hardrive received his drugs and quickly fell asleep. Lkei stepped back into a booth containing a large monitor and keyboard, along with five other observers. She started typing commands for the machine to begin, never looking away from the monitor, which projected Hardrive's thoughts as he slept. When the machine had begun the retrieval of select memories, she brought them all up on the monitor in order to see his life from the beginning. She gives a shocked whisper at the results as the images and data continue pour across the monitor screen.
[Unknown Planet: 18 Years Ago - Hardrive's "Birth"]
Hardrive's first memory. Being newly born he cannot see, but can hear everything around him.
"Number 15 coming down the line sir."
"Excellent. Clean him and get him in the room with the others."
something, picked the newly "born" Hardrive up and sent him
to be washed. Though the small child was confused for so long, being
newly born he still slept a great deal, therefore many of the memories
during this time were cut short or incomplete.
[Unknown Planet: 15 Years Ago - Hardrive at Age 3]
"What's the status on all projects, Lieutenant?" A person of obviously higher ranking asked. At the age of three Hardrive had no idea about anything except his own little world.
"All are coming along nicely, sir. As a matter of fact," answered the Lieutenant in a lab coat and holding a data pad, "at the current rate they're progressing, I would say they'll be ready for TIE training by next year easily."
good Lieutenant. Carry on!" With that the officer left
the fifteen children to play, monitored by the Lieutenant.
[Unknown Planet: 8 Years Ago - Hardrive at age 10]
After seven years of TIE piloting, stormtrooper, and survival training, Hardrive was a surprisingly good soldier for his age. He was also quite intellectual, studying regularly under the strict rules of the "leader". All of the children in the project had survived training so far, and every single one had exceeded the expectations of the Empire. However, the Empire believed it time to teach the children of the "project" a new lesson.
"Gentlemen," the Commander, now realized by Hardrive, spoke in a very loud voice, "each of you have in your hands a blaster rifle and if front of you a rebel soldier. These soldiers are the men you will be dealing with after you complete your training here. Today is where you prove your loyalty. Do not feel sympathy for these traitorous scum, for they would surely kill you if the roles were switched! Each of you has until I reach your station to dispatch of the soldier. Starting... now."
Two gunshots were immediately heard. Hardrive, not fully sure on what he should do, looked around to watch the others disposing of "their rebels".
2... 3... 4... 5...
Five more shots are heard and five more bodies fall on the floor, lifeless. Hardrive still looked around, always being known for procrastinating.
6... 7... 8... 9... 10...
Hardrive, realizing he's one of the last ones, picked up the rifle and aimed it at the restrained Rebel two feet in front of him. He stared at the soldier in front of him, trying to visually dissect the "scum" he was asked to remove the life from. The face looks like he's been tortured and mal-nourished. This is not a cold-hearted murderer; those are the eyes of someone in fear. He looked back at everyone else, seeing that now only two Rebels remain; Number Twelve's and his.
11... 12... 13...
His palms began to sweat as Number Twelve was carried away and the Rebel shot by the Commander. He began to panic and looked around one last time. How can I kill this man! Why should I kill this man?!
Why can't I kill him?!
boy... Kill him!" Screamed the Commander as he stopped behind
Hardrive. Hardrive raised his weapon next to the Rebel's head, holding
it there for minutes that seemed like an eternity. His finger rubbed
against the trigger and began to pull. The soldier closed his eyes,
preparing for death. Only one last click and the Rebel's dead.
One last click.... but it never came. He lowered his rifle and head
in shame as the Commander signaled the Lieutenant. The Lieutenant
carried him off, Hardrive's feet dragging.
[Unknown Planet: 8 Years Ago - Hardrive at age 10]
As the Lieutenant carried Hardrive off, the Commander called and ordered the Lieutenant to take care of a shuttle that was landing. Quickly, the Lieutenant is forced to throw Hardrive into a nearby office. "Now don't go anywhere, that's an order." The Lieutenant said in a firm voice as he starts out the door. He quietly muttered to himself as he began down the hall, overheard by Hardrive. "Damn shame... would've been a good pilot."
What did he mean by that? Hardrive thought to himself. Unless he meant...
Hardrive had to leave fast. He ran to the door and opened slowly, allowing him to see the Lieutenant walking down the hall farther ahead. He followed behind him, staying far enough behind him to avoid detection. When he reached the landing platform he ducked behind a crate of cargo, labeled 'Biogenesis Supplies', and listened to the Lieutenant as he conversed with the Imperial shuttle pilot who was holding out a datapad.
"Just sign here sir." Said the Shuttle pilot nonchalantly, pointing to the bottom part of the data pad's face. "So how's things goin' with this project of yours?"
"Fine... had a little trouble today, but we've already taken care of half of it. I've got to take care of the other after I'm through here. You know, sometimes I wish they'd let us make females out of some of this stuff, know what I'm saying?" He chuckled, giving the pilot a light elbow to the ribs. They both laughed out loud and soon said their goodbyes. The Lieutenant turned and headed back as the pilot walked up the shuttle walkway. After hiding briefly from the Lieutenant as he walked past, Hardrive made a dash for inside the shuttle before the stairs managed to pull completely in. The Shuttle took off from the planet began its voyage to a new destination. After entering hyperspace, the pilot put the cockpit chair in a reclining position, and started to sleep. Hardrive crept up to the cockpit doorway, being quiet so not to wake the pilot. He noticed a laser rifle right by the doorway, quickly retrieving it before walking up behind him. Standing right behind the pilot he aimed the rifle at the pilot's cranium, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger. The pilot's body jerked violently, but soon fell completely limp.
After pulling the pilot out of the seat and onto the floor, Hardrive jumped into the command seat and dropped the shuttle out of hyperspace. Wherever the pilot was headed before, Hardrive did not want to go. He started to pilot the craft around an obviously over-crowded asteroid field, checking the ship readout of the sector name: Alderaan. His attention returned to his flying in time to see an asteroid headed right for the shuttle. Despite his best efforts the asteroid strikes the hull, completely removing out the lower right wing. The ship lost all maneuverability and soon impacted another asteroid. Before the hull completely broke apart, Hardrive managed to jump into an escape pod and escape.
As the escape
pod flew through space, it impacted with a very small asteroid.
The small asteroid violently rocked the small pod, throwing Hardrive into
the glass and knocking him unconsciousness. An unknown length of
time went by as the escape pod managed to avoid destruction by leaving
the asteroid field. The final memory is waking in a bacta tank,
staring at the first blurred image of Lieutenant Richard McKay watching
him from beyond the tank's glass walls.
[Joan d'Arc: Present Time, 1200 Hours]
Nik soon awoke, getting unrestrained quickly in order to ask the doctor about the results.
"Please Nik," Lkei stated for a third time, "I strongly suggest you think about not viewing the recording."
His mind felt prepared for anything. "Look, I went through this for a reason. I didn't do all of this just for only you to know who I am. Now give me the damn disk."
She put the disk in the computer, reluctantly pressing the button, and stepped away from the monitor. The disk rolled to the very end, the memories showing the entire first ten years of his life. When the disk had finished Hardrive was leaning on the keyboard, staring at the keys below him.
"I am not a project!!" Nik suddenly burst out, throwing wild punches at the computer system in front of him and effectively smashing the monitor. He continued to beat on the computer, until sadness finally completely replaced rage and he completely broke down. He fell and cried and, as she moved to comfort him, she could still hear him muttering to himself "I'm not a project." The memories had begun their return, however darkness had not lifted.