Beyond Amethyst of Sernpidal (NJO AU; SkySolos, Psylocke, etc.; updated 3/11)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Onderon1, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    A/N: Apologies. RL's been busy this month ... [face_blush][face_peace]

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    Chapter 30: 25.6 ABY: Varykino, Lake Country, Naboo:
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    Nobody had really gotten much sleep after Aurra Sing's attack, but Luke had helped Padme' by easing her into a Force trance; even without being Force-sensitive, she'd gotten the rest she needed to deal with the coming day.

    Not that it'll make the past any easier to deal with. But that's why I agreed to this interview, Padme' reflected, waving as she saw two heavily-laden gondolas being paddled across the lake. One of them was weighed down with a well-dressed, well-groomed Chevin male, accompanied by a gondolier and a 30-something human man, and the other had some other humans and a lot of equipment.

    "They didn't skimp on bringing the studio, did they?" Mara quipped, and Luke blushed a bit as she whispered something to him. The two of them had been more ... energetic since coming to the lake country, and despite the relative inactivity, Mara seemed healthier.

    I'm glad Varykino's giving them some comfort. It feels like time's running out for us to rest ... like another storm's coming, Padme' worried. She was able to smile sincerely, though, as her children and grandchildren helped Perre Needmo and his news crew disembark, and the Chevin bowed to Padme'.

    "Senator - M'Lady. Your Highness, Masters Skywalker, General Solo. We're honored that you've chosen us to help you break your silence. This is my assistant executive producer, Jorm Alvic, the man whom General Farlander relayed your message to," Perre said, introducing the human man with him as they headed toward the ballroom where the interview was planned for.

    "Welcome, Mr. Alvic. And the honor is mine, Mr. Needmo. Your reputation for fairness and getting to the truth precedes you, and that was what I was looking for in an interviewer. While I'm sure there will be political fallout from this - it's unavoidable, given the current galactic situation and my family's identities - I want there to be no question that we're being honest and open," Padme' said, watching the grandchildren help the news crew set up folding chairs.

    Realization crossed the human news crew members' faces, while Perre's eyes widened a bit. "Then ... the family resemblance -" he started to ask, glancing at Luke and Leia, then back at Padme.'

    Padme' nodded, smiling as Leia said - proudly - "Yes, Mr. Needmo. Former Senator Amidala is my and Luke's birth mother. We freed her from stasis on Polis Massa more than a month ago, thanks to recently-recovered data from Artoo-Detoo and tips from our friend, Elizabeth Braddock."

    "Freweep-tweedweoot," Artoo chirped, and Betsy nodded, stepping forward as Perre and Alvic nodded to her.

    "We've heard quite a few ... interesting rumors about you, as well, Ms. Braddock. Perhaps we could talk? Or would you prefer not to be interviewed?" Perre asked, finding a seat in one of the more reinforced chairs.

    "I'll gladly chat with you, Mr. Needmo, and I shan't mind discussing my assistance to the Skywalker family on-air. But I'm not sure I'm ready to have my life story broadcast across the Holonet. However, there is a young lady whom I'd like to ask you to assist - another recently-rescued member of the Skywalker clan?" Betsy asked, smiling reassuringly at Lyska as the girl stepped forward, a little subdued.

    "My name's Lyska Skywalker, Mr. Needmo. My dad found me on Nam Chorios a few weeks ago, but my mom ... Callista Ming ... we're still trying to find her," Lyska said, shaking Perre's hand and giving Luke a grateful look when he put a hand on her shoulder.

    Alvic's eyes were the size of dinner plates, and Perre blinked rapidly. "Ah ... so. Master Skywalker ... you'll be sitting in on this interview also? As will Her Highness?" the Chevin asked.

    "When we promised full access, Mr. Needmo, we meant it. Like my mother said, w
  2. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    A/N: A quick update, before the New Year ... [face_peace

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    INTERLUDE: 25.7 ABY: New Republic Senate Building, Coruscant, Core Worlds:
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    Gavin Darklighter looked up, quite stunned, from the map of the Outer Rim which showed how far the Yuuzhan Vong invasion had spread.

    He was sure that the speaker had just said "Let's call in the Imperial Remnant to help cut off the Yuuzhan Vong advance."

    Which, as sensible as the suggestion was (given the dire situation facing Agamar's defenders and the relatively large number of Yuuzhan Vong ships reported near the border with the Remnant), it was still hard to believe, given who was suggesting it.

    "E-excuse me, Chief Fey'lya? I - ahem - just wasn't entirely sure I heard you correctly ..." Supreme Commander Sien Sovv, the Sullustan chief of the entire NRDF, asked - Gavin was glad Sovv was the one asking Fey'lya that question.

    It'd probably be misinterpreted - deliberately so - coming from me, he figured with a bitter flourish of feeling, sharing Admiral Traest Kre'fey's wary expression while Borsk smiled blandly.

    "Oh, I'm quite serious, Supreme Commander Sovv. Never doubt that it took me a long time to come to this decision - much soul-searching - but I'd be remiss if I didn't look at all the options on the table. So far, these Vong have been thwarted, even temporarily, by one of two things: Overwhelming force, or - forgive the bad pun - Jedi Force," Fey'lya said, a wry twist entering his smile.

    So he has been paying attention, Gavin allowed, as he thought about how he really should have outgrown his resentment of how Borsk had tried to intervene in his relationship with Asyr Sei'lar years earlier. Gavin was happy with his wife Sera, and they had a large, happy family.

    Still, Borsk's interference, especially in the wake of Asyr's untimely death, just disgusted Gavin. It was an injustice he'd never had the chance to properly see redressed, and he hoped that Asyr rested comfortably in whatever afterlife Bothans had.

    Gavin refused to flinch as Borsk glanced at him with a look that just screamed "I can smell your resentment, human," and the Bothan CoS continued to speak.

    "The very traits we find reprehensible in the Imperials are the traits that have, at times, proven to slow down these Yuuzhan Vong. And while some of us might wonder why the Jedi refuse to use those same traits - indeed, although some Jedi have been using those same traits - I think we can all remember the lessons of Darth Vader to recognize that we should respect Master Luke Skywalker's concerns about a more ... strict military response where Force-sensitives are concerned," Borsk said with an amiable-enough shrug.

    His smile took on that annoyingly smug twist to it again, and Borsk added, "Ah, Vader. Interesting bit on Needmo's Newshour yesterday, wasn't it - former Senator Amidala coming forward and speaking about her relationship with Vader? And how timely that a contemporary of the Senator's is the sitting Grand Moff of the Remnant ..."

    "Chief, we have it on good authority that the former Senator is not aligned with the Remnant," Admiral Kre'fey said, giving Gavin a warning look. Dragging Jaina into this mess, much less having Gavin be the source of how they knew Padme' wasn't an Imperial plant, would be unwise.

    "Oh, I agree, Admiral. All one had to do was see that footage from Mustafar, as well as look back at the Senatorial records recovered from Empire Day, to see that Amidala-Skywalker stands for the same principles the New Republic was founded on. What I meant was, it might prove fortuitous that the former Senator knew Grand Admiral Pellaeon, even in passing. We might be able to prevail upon the former Senator to assist us with negotiations," Borsk said, clearly enjoying how smart he thought he was being.

    It's actually not a bad
  3. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: A quick update ... [face_blush]

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    Chapter 31: 25.7 ABY: Tython, Deep Core:
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    There.

    She stirred, as she had for more than a year since coming to the ancient homeworld of the Jedi Order, her senses open to the ebb and flow of the Force - even if she didn't dare actively use the energy.

    The predatory, savage, angry aspect of the energy was all she could sense, after all. And she'd sworn never to go down that route until - unless - she could reconnect with the light.

    Especially since I swore to protect her ... the woman thought, shaking out her blonde curls as she dashed water in her face at her small cabin's sink. She wrapped her robe about herself and stepped outside as the automatic door opened at her approach.

    If there was one regret Callista Masana, AKA Callista Ming, had about her self-imposed exile, it was the wondering.

    Lyska ... you'd be - 12? now ... she thought, wiping tears from her grey eyes as she looked out at the still-vital forests of Tython. The planet was a natural Force nexus, albeit one where visitors had to be careful - there were still enough pockets of both overly-intense light and dark-side energies, left over from the ancient Force Wars, that unwary Force-sensitives could be overwhelmed by the loci.

    Tython was a dichotomy, much like Callista. Her mind was hers, but the body she inhabited belonged to a long-dead woman, Cray Mingla. Refusing to let her lover, Nichos Marr, enter the Force by himself, Cray had passed on, allowing Callista to escape her electronic imprisonment in the computer core of the Eye of Palpatine.

    Callista had been elated to have a physical body back after decades of her sacrificial inhabitation of the Eye. Especially since she'd been able to touch, to be part of the life of, Luke Skywalker.

    To have his child. The child I didn't tell him about - whom I gave up for adoption to protect her from Imperials and ... me, Callista thought, guilt and self-loathing welling up inside her.

    She took a deep breath, setting the feelings aside, as she knew she had to. She'd made her choices, both to unburden Luke from the responsibility of parenting at a time when he had to focus on restoring the Jedi Order and to protect Lyska from exposure to the dark side that was all that Callista was able to tap into.

    If I fell ... I couldn't trust myself to raise a child, not with that kind of risk. I should've given her to Luke, but he would've insisted that I stay with him ... and I couldn't be around other Jedi. Not until I was whole, until I was safe to be around, Callista thought, sighing.

    Or maybe she'd just been terrified of the thought of being a mother and wife when she wasn't sure she deserved that.

    I was dead. I possessed a dead woman's body - yes, Cray left it to me, but I'd had my life. I had love, a second chance ... but what right did I have? Outliving all I'd cared about - Geith, Djinn, the rest of my friends? What right did I have to restart my life if I'd be cursed to only touch the dark side of the Force?! Callista fumed.

    She wiped her eyes again, sitting cross-legged on a stone near the edge of the clearing her cabin overlooked. Clearly, she hadn't "overcome" her issues, her guilt, and she didn't feel she deserved to.

    I abandoned my child - oh, I made sure she was found by the Nam Chorios child protective services people. But I didn't stay there for Lyska, I wasn't there for her. And why? Was I protecting her, or was I being a coward?

    Callista hung her head; she knew the answer, even if she didn't want to face it.

    Maybe it was her guilt and fear that were holding her back from touching the light side, as Akanah of the Fallanassi had suggested to Callista when she'd visited the White Current sect on Pydyr years earlier.

    Force knew there were plenty of Force-using sects whom Callista had
  4. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

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    Chapter 32: 25.7 ABY: Jedi Praxeum, Yavin 4, Gordian Reach, Outer Rim:
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    "Lyska? Lyska!?"

    "AAAH!" she screamed, waking - there'd been trees, and a grey-eyed woman she'd known like she knew herself -

    Mom. MOM - she reached out for me, through the Force, the light side of the Force ... Lyska knew, looking around the clearing - Anakin was helping her sit up, while Tahiri had a canteen open and Valin and Master Ikrit sat nearby.

    "I - someone shot my mom. Anakin, I felt her, through the Force - my mom's alive, and she can use the Force again! The light side again! But she's in trouble, we've gotta tell my dad!" Lyska begged her cousin as Anakin helped her stand up.

    He wanted to believe her, Lyska could tell, but Ani just nodded. "We do have to tell Uncle Luke, Lys, but first you'd better go see Master Cilghal. Sensing that kind of Force-shock can leave traces you don't know you have. Trust me?" he said, and Lyska nodded.

    She was too busy thinking about what she'd seen, what she'd felt, to argue anyhow. The person she'd heard calling out to her through the Force had been sad, then surprised, and all happy and guilty and worried, but she wasn't a stranger - Lyska just knew who she'd heard.

    Like I remembered hearing her from when I was a baby? Before she left me on Nam Chorios ... but she felt sad about that, I know. Mom wants to meet me again ... Lyska thought, smiling a little while Anakin and the others helped her to the medlab.

    Dad was already there, with Mara and Master Cilghal, and Lyska hugged Dad so he wouldn't worry so much. "It was Mom. She can touch the light side again, Dad. I know it was her - she's on some forested planet, but I think she's in trouble, she got shot and it knocked me out," Lyska gushed, sitting on an exam table as Master Cilghal checked her over.

    Dad's expression and Force-aura got kind of weird - not mad, at all, but worried and happy and sad all at once. Lyska worried a little, looking at Mara, but her stepmom just smiled and nodded. "Sounds like we should get out there and look for her ... you said a forrested planet, Lyska?" Mara asked.

    "Yeah. The sky was a kind of funny purpley-blue, and it felt old ... I didn't sense a name, though. I'm sorry," Lyska said, worrying again for her mom.

    Dad squeezed Lyska's shoulder and said, "I think I have an idea where you're talking about, Lyska. We'll check it out right away. Right now, you get some rest, and try not to worry."

    "I'll try, Dad," Lyska said, hugging Dad back. He and the others left, and Lyska asked Master Cilghal, "Master, how long -?"

    "Just a few moments more, Lyska. I just want to be sure you're not hurt ... physically, or emotionally," Master Cilghal said, and Lyska tried to calm down. She could sense that the Mon Calamarian woman was worried about her.

    "I'm ... I just want to talk to her, Master Cilghal. I really feel like Mom wanted to try and explain things to me - why she gave me up when I was born, why she's stayed away. I could feel how much she cares, and she's got the light side back, but now she's in trouble. I want to help her," Lyska tried to explain.

    She wiped her eyes, wishing she wasn't being all weepy, but Master Cilghal felt kind through the Force. "We all do, Lyska. I'm sure your father and the rest of your family will do what they can to help Callista. And I believe you when you say that she wants to get back to you," Master Cilghal said.

    "Thanks, Master," Lyska said. She tried to relax, but then the Force shook with worry and surprise - it wasn't Mom, this time, but Valin and his little sister Jysella were really worried and upset -!

    Master Cilghal felt it, too, and said, "Your preliminary scans are all green. Still, stay close to the praxeum and try to relax. I'd better go check on what's upsetting the Horn children - oh, dear ..."

    Lyska could sense it too, now - two strong Force-prese
  5. whateveritis12 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 29, 2008
    star 3
    Really glad you got this next chapter out so soon after the previous one. Looking forward to seeing how they get out of this situation.
  6. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    A/N: Getting back to this; been focusing on other 'fic for a while ... [face_peace]

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    Chapter 33: 25.7 ABY: The former Citadel Inquisitorius, Prakith, Deep Core:
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    This is a world people seek to get lost in.

    The thought was a bit deeper than Cem Fel usually indulged in; at 13, he was more focused on mastering his Force sensitivity and the lightsaber skills that gift opened to him - or, more and more frequently, watching a pretty girl go by.

    But the youngest son - if not the youngest child - of Baron Soontir Fel and Baroness Wynssa Starflare-Fel had his moments of artistic appreciation. Having trained first on his homeworld of Nirauan, then later on Bastion itself, Cem was cultured, especially given who his primary teacher in Force use was.

    And the jagged reddish peaks, split by flat, dusty plateaus, of Prakith, were definitely a lonesome sight out of the window Cem dallied by. A person could, with the proper training and equipment, very possibly get lost forever in Prakith's wilderness - not even Cem's teacher knew all the details of the former Imperial fortress world's topography.

    It'd been barely seven years since Prakith's ruling Imperial class, tired of the paranoid reign of terror inflicted by their Moff, Foga Brill, had assassinated the holdout and parlayed with the New Republic for peace. While nobody on Prakith missed Brill's inept, sadistic manipulation of the economy - work in the mines or join the navy to protect their families - there were still enough loyalists on Prakith who remembered the true Empire, and were willing to help its survivors.

    Thus, why the "shadow child" of the Fels, one of his teachers, and one of his classmates - with a not-inconsiderable task force of elite shock troops and their commander - were able to touring the remains of what had been the most feared installation on Prakith during the Empire's height with a minimum of attention from New Republic forces.

    "I'm surprised so much of the installation is intact, Master Sinde," Cem heard, and he turned to watch his friend, Anaximander Draco talk with their teacher. The black-haired teen was the son of Valin Draco, once one of the most formidable Inquisitors before too many mishaps with Rebels and the vagaries of age and extensive cybernetics had forced the elder Draco to retire to Bastion.

    Unlike at the height of Emperor Palpatine's rule, the surviving Inquisitorius had withdrawn into the shadows of the Remnant after the Pellaeon-Gavrisom Treaty of 19 ABY. Antinnis Tremayne, the still-surviving Grand Inquisitor, had accepted a request from Grand Admiral Pellaeon to create a training program for young Force-sensitives born within the Remnant, without the more ... Sithly aspects of such efforts as Brakiss' Shadow Academy, Tavion Axmis' disastrous Reborn, or other failed projects.

    Cem, with Anaximander, was one of the first successes of the prototype "Imperial Knight" program. The tenets of the effort were centralized around the core values of the Empire - law and order, protection of Imperial citizens, strength tempered with justice - and actively rejected the clearly-unwarranted trappings of the Emperor's Sith legacy. There were as many military aspects to the Knights as there were Force-teachings, but it was probably going to be another five years before the program's numbers reached a viable level to balance - or challenge - the restored Jedi Order.

    We really shouldn't be enemies, though. They might be champions of the Rebels, but there wouldn't have been a Rebellion if the New Order had worked, Cem thought, focusing on the Master who was chatting with "'Nax."

    "The datacores, libraries, and ... questioning cells ... were thoroughly cleansed before the Citadel was vacated, Apprentice Draco. Your father and Grand Inquisitor Tremayne made sure of it," said Master Arvin Sinde. Although he was only in his late 30s, the red-and-blac
  7. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    A/N: Attempting to keep to a weekly update ... :p

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    Chapter 34: 25.7 ABY: Tython System, Deep Core:
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    Fascinating ... and dangerous, Betsy thought, going over the data that the Jedi had gathered on their spiritual birthplace while the Century Hawk approached the hyperspace reversion point for Tython.

    It remained unclear, even to the Jedi, whether humans had evolved on Tython or whether the planet had been settled during the waves of immigration by philosophers, warriors, scientists, and others who formed the proto-Jedi Order. In any case, the earliest Jedi records suggested that by the midpoint of the 36,000s BBY, sentients had formed the basis of the Jedi. It would be almost another 11,000 years before their efforts led to the actual organization of the Order, and by that point, they had split into Ashla and Bogan - light and dark sides.

    Which, in turn, led to the Force Wars which nearly eradicated Tython. The Ashla won, the Jedi prospered, and they entered the wider galaxy about the same time as the formation of the Old Republic. It'd be another 18,000 years before the Sith, and the Order lost their way to Tython through natural degradation of hyperspace lanes, until the Great Galactic War of the 3600s BBY with the resurgent Sith, Betsy thought, sitting in the main hold of the Hawk.

    She glanced up from her datapad, smiling approvingly as Lyska trained with a remote. HK-47 watched, as did Neal, and Raynal's astromech (Betsy hadn't caught the R5 droid's nickname). But other than the occasional friendly chirp, or sad trill when Lyska was stung, the astromechs remained silent.

    HK-47, however, interjected a little too often - albeit with a lesser degree of his usual snark. "Observation: Padawan Skywalker, if you angled the blade 2 degrees to the left, your interception rate of the stun bolts should increase," the assassin droid advised.

    Lyska lifted the blast shield on her helmet and scowled, more with disdain than anger. The emotion wasn't very Jedi, but it was quite human, and Betsy thought the latter was more important to encourage than Jedi reserve, anyhow. "Maybe you'd like to see whether I can angle this blade through your core processor," Lyska snarked.

    "Doubtful retort: My response times are augmented with the most up-to-date heuristic processor and combat prediction algorithms on the market. I can assure you, Jedi reflexes are with limits, even to the daughter of Luke Skywalker," HK-47 sneered back.

    Lyska rolled her eyes, lowered the blast shield, and went back to her work. She was trying to keep from being too overt in her worry, but Betsy hardly blamed the girl for her concern for Callista. Especially given the history of Tython ...

    Mostly because of the unstable hyperlanes to and from Tython this deep in the Deep Core, its history is spotty. The Jedi Order did use it as their central base of operations during the Great War, but eventually relocated all but a research praxeum to Coruscant, and even that shut down eventually. A Dark Lady of the Sith, Belia Darzu, used Tython as a research point for her mechu-deru work - and the technobeasts, which sound an awful lot like the techno-organic virus - but after this fight between Darth Bane and some of the Jedi in the 990s BBY, Tython remained mostly abandoned, Betsy thought as she read.

    For whatever reason, Tython remained habitable, despite the increased star density and radiation in the Deep Core. Between its history with the Jedi and its relatively difficult-to-reach status, it made a logical choice for the current Jedi to establish a hiding place for one of their holocrons.

    The Knight assigned to Tython, Ardea Byrem, seems competent enough - a Guardian, cross-trained extensively in a number of fields, from Corulag. An orphan ... the current Jedi Order seems to attract many of those, Bet
  8. Lady_Jedi93 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2010
    star 4
    HK is awesome as always :cool: and we seem to be overloaded with Fel's. :)
    I got behind but I'll try to keep up now.
  9. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
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    Chapter 35: 25.7 ABY: Tython, Deep Core:
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    Charles Xavier would not be proud of me. But then, he's not here.

    The incongruously-timed thought almost made Betsy laugh as she led the charge against the surviving Yuuzhan Vong landing party. Were she with her fellow X-Men, this fight would be - hopefully - not to the death; the mutant superheroes tried not to slay their foes. Nor was the battle particularly Jedi; they would've tried to negotiate with the Vong, gotten them to surrender.

    But even if this were a freak accident that the Vong had come literally into the very heart of the galaxy, their presence didn't bode well. Neither were the Vong likely to surrender, or negotiate, given the reports Betsy had seen while discussing the advance of the invaders with Luke and other senior Jedi.

    I'll leave prisoners if I can - or if I can convince the Imperials to agree to it - but Lyska, Raynal, and Drellis are under my protection. And I'll not let anything happen to those boys - apprentice Inquisitors? - with Chak Fel and that bearded man, either, Betsy swore, psi-knifing the first Yuuzhan Vong attacker before stabbing him in the left armpit with her lightsaber.

    Not that the adolescents, New Republic or Imperial, were doing poorly in the fight. Raynal had clearly inherited the Solo knack for sharpshooting from his mother and grandfather, while Drellis laid down admirable cover fire with a blaster rifle, and Lyska was at least staying out of the fight if she could. She defended herself if a Yuuzhan Vong warrior got too close, but was trying not to kill anyone. Betsy didn't disapprove - killing, even in self-defense, left an indelible mark on one's soul. (She was less worried about HK-47, who as an assassin droid was already used to killing - and who was sniping Vong from near the Century Hawk as its guard.)

    The Imperial youths, however, were in the very thick of the fight. The black-haired boy who'd spoken to Lyska - Cem Fel, Chak's younger brother - flowed with a grace belied by the red and black armor he was wearing. His silver lightsaber cleaved a molten channel down the shoulder guard of one of the Yuuzhan Vong, crippling the attacker's left arm before the boy spun and decapitated his attacker. His fellow trainee, the boy with black curls and a haughty presence, high-kicked another Yuuzhan Vong, then levitated a large boulder to strike down three oncoming Vong.

    Their teacher, the 30-something man with the greying-brown beard and the cape, was a mix of agility and focused strength, fused by a Force presence gleaming with precision steel and disgusted outrage. There was at least one moment where the big man physically grabbed a Yuuzhan Vong warrior by the throat, holding on long enough to spit the nonhuman with his lightsaber and hurl the dead attacker back at the surviving Vong. Most of the time, though, the Imperial either overpowered or outmaneuvered his melee attackers.

    Meanwhile, Chak Fel wielded vibroblade and blaster, not hiding behind anyone but standing with his troops and the Force-using Imperials, blasting and slashing and facing the Yuuzhan Vong. He was confident but not proud, determined but not contemptuously overconfident. For a dead man, he was a very good leader of troops.

    And all this was going on in the midst of waist-high fur and plastoid killing machines decimating the Vong.

    Of course, Betsy had seen Return of the Jedi, so she knew what Ewoks could do in melee combat. But those, while well-trained warriors, hadn't been Imperial-trained shock troops - they'd massacred Imperial-trained shock troops.

    Actually seeing military-trained Ewoks in stormtrooper armor was both exhilarating and a bit frightening. They were laying down precision blaster fire, one row stepping aside to let another blast through where the front attackers had been an instant before.

    And those Vong who were foolish enough to take the fi
  10. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: A quick update ...

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    Chapter 37: 25.7 ABY: Medcenter, Jedi Praxeum, Yavin 4, Gordian Reach, Outer Rim:
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    As if Luke wasn't worried enough about Lyska going to Tython - even with Betsy, Raynal, Drellis, and HK-47 - Corran Horn's news from Bimmiel was positively chilling.

    Corran and Ganner Rhysode had narrowly survived an attempt to rescue Dr. Anki Pace's captive students from Yuuzhan Vong warriors, and had brought back what appeared to be evidence of Yuuzhan Vong presence in the galaxy as far back as 25 years before the Battle of Yavin - a period when the Jedi Order had still been strong, before the Clone Wars.

    Corran had been injured, first deliberately by Ganner's lightsaber to help free the students, and then by amphistaff venom from one of the warriors. The Corellian Jedi Master was in a medbed, carefully watched by Cilghal and her Padawan, Tekli, while Corran's wife Mirax remained - nobody was going to ask her to leave, not after how close Corran had come to death.

    That, and she's a friend, practically one of us - her kids are learning here, Luke thought, excusing himself with a reassuring nod to Mirax as she squeezed Corran's hand while he slept off the lingering effects of his injuries. A dunk in the bacta tank aboard the Dalliance, the freighter which had escaped Bimmiel carrying Corran, Ganner, and the University of Garqi research team, had stabilized Corran, but he needed time to rest.

    Time I'm not sure we have, Luke worried, taking a deep breath as he went to try and settle another crisis - the question of the theft of Jedi-related artifacts from legitimate university researchers by Jedi. Dr. Pace had been suspicious of Corran and Ganner when they'd showed up on Bimmiel, and Ganner's grandstanding hadn't helped things, although the unlikely team of Jedi had managed to allay some of Pace's worst accusations.

    Still, she has a point. We can work with scientists, we need to, as we restore the Order - that was why we agreed to share almost all of Artoo's recorded data from the Clone Wars with Obroa-skai and other library worlds, Luke thought, entering Tionne Solusar's library to meet with Dr. Pace.

    The middle-aged woman nodded, still somewhat tense but more polite than she had been, while she and Tionne looked up from what appeared to be the remains of a Yuuzhan Vong. "Master Skywalker," Pace greeted. "Master Solusar and I are finding a great deal of common ground, especially examining these remains."

    "Dr. Pace has kindly agreed to coordinate with us - both in researching the Yuuzhan Vong advance scouts' presence, and in working up a list of Jedi-related relics that may have been stolen from researchers. If we have anything that belongs to you or other members of the academic community, Doctor, we'll return it, I promise," Tionne said, and Pace smiled almost warmly.

    "Thank you, Master Solusar. In the short term, Master Skywalker, you'd asked for an abbreviated report on what my team found on Bimmiel. It appears to be one of these 'Yuuzhan Vong' - not a religious burial site, but rather an advance scout who was killed by the slashrats we found," Pace said, as Luke looked at the bones.

    "Those hooks ... who would implant hooks in their bones?" Luke breathed, still at a loss to understand the Yuuzhan Vong devotion to pain - even after he'd seen their handiwork on Belkadan and worn one of their living spacesuits.

    Pace frowned, shaking her head as she replied, "Based just on what we observed ... we might be looking at a species who considers pain to be a religious experience. But we still don't have enough data."

    "Then perhaps I can help bridge that vacancy in our data," a warm, friendly voice called from behind them. Luke turned, smiling in reply as Caamasi Senator Elegos A'kla walked in with Valin Horn.

    Valin was trying to be brave, but Luke could tell the boy was s
  11. Lady_Jedi93 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2010
    star 4
    Vader's granddaughter and a Fel? Naw it'll never happen :p [face_laugh]
    Now that Callista's back things should get even more interesting. [face_thinking]
  12. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 38: 25.7 ABY: Senate Building, Coruscant, Core Worlds:
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    "Senator Plif? Releqy A'Kla is here to see you."

    ~Thank you, Miladria,~ Plif telepathed to his secretary - he'd hired a living receptionist, mostly because he could communicate more effectively with them than he could with droids, and because organics couldn't be reprogrammed to spy on their employers (at least not without heinous and obvious mental tampering).

    The green-skinned Twi'lek woman was both reliable and loyal, and Plif valued such qualities, both of which were in high amounts in his afternoon visitor. As the expected appointee to the position of Quence Sector's Senator - the position formerly held by her father, whose resignation was surprising but not incomprehensible - Releqy A'Kla had more than proven herself as her father's chief assistant, Plif thought.

    Even Fyor Rodan and Pwoe can't disapprove. Releqy's kept her head down even during some of Elegos' more blatant stands in the Senate - none of which I disagree with. But as eloquent as he is, Elegos does sometimes live his principles a bit too strongly ...

    And now Elegos was gone - Arbra knew where, although Plif both dreaded his suspicion of where Elegos had headed to, and hoped for the best for his old friend. The Caamasi was a light in a too-frequently-dark galaxy, and one that was only growing darker ...

    Agamar is holding out - for now. Nobody knows how long they can stand, and all the evidence of the Yuuzhan Vong culture suggests dire fates for both the Agamarians and the refugees they're sheltering, Plif worried, turning to nod as Releqy entered and gave him a respectful smile.

    "Senator. Thank you for seeing me - and for your vote of support at my confirmation hearing. It's very appreciated," Releqy said, sitting down while Plif sat up on his hindquarters.

    ~Any time, Releqy - or, should I say, Senator A'Kla. Congratulations. You more than deserve to take your father's seat,~ Plif sent, and Releqy's snout rippled with what passed for embarrassment among her species (Caamasi didn't blush as some other mammalian species did, or if they did, their fur hid the evidence).

    "Thank you. But no one can replace him. I just hope ... forgive me," Releqy said, her voice breaking as her entire mood became a mix of fear, resignation, and almost grief - Plif's telepathy let him sense the emotional flare, although he wouldn't be so rude as to probe his guest's deep thoughts uninvited.

    ~Releqy ... forgive me, but can you tell me where your father's gone? I have my suspicions, but ...~ Plif sent, radiating support while Releqy dried her eyes.

    She just smiled, sadly, and said, "As do I, Senator. All he would tell me was that he sought a greater understanding of the Yuuzhan Vong. Knowing Father ... I'm pretty sure he went to find a Yuuzhan Vong warlord to speak with, if they'll talk with him at all."

    Mortal fear rippled down Plif's spine, and once again he was amazed at Elegos' courage. ~Then may the Force - in all its aspects - be with him,~ was all he felt comfortable saying.

    But Releqy brightened a bit, and Plif was glad he'd been able to be something of a comfort to the neophyte politico. "Father would appreciate that, Senator. He's always held the Jedi Order in the highest respect, and I want to continue to support them - both for all that Master Horn's done for us, and also because I believe the Jedi are key to stopping this conflict before it grows any worse," she said.

    ~I agree on both counts. And I have some ideas on how to aid our friends in the Jedi. But before we begin, I must ask one thing of you - call me Plif. I'm not much for formality among friends,~ Plif sent, and Releqy smiled gratefully.

    "Thank you, Sen - Plif," Releqy said, activating her datapad while Plif switched on his desk's holoproj with a flick of his paw.

    "I'm looking forward to working with the New Loyalists, and conti
  13. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 39: 25.7 ABY: Jedi Praxeum, Yavin 4, Gordian Reach, Outer Rim:
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The trip back to Yavin 4 had been far faster than expected, given Raynal's use of dubiously-gained passcodes to reactivate S-thread boosters between Tython and the Koros Trunk Line hyperlane. Once past Empress Teta, the Century Hawk had easily shot past Coruscant on the Perlemian to the Brentaal "lane exchange" with the northern spur of the Hydian Way - and once on the Hydian, the trip to Junction and the Korphir Trace to Yavin had taken mere hours.

    Callista had almost wished the trip would take longer. She knew it was selfish, especially given Lyska's need to get back to the relative psychological comfort of the Praxeum, but she wanted some time alone with her daughter before they were dropped back in amongst the rest of the Jedi Order.

    At least we had some chances to talk before we arrived here - she's so understanding about what I felt I had to do, Callista thought, smiling despite her roil of fear as she, Lyska, and Betsy Braddock walked into the informal meeting of the Masters. Betsy's determination to get straight to the heart of things impressed Callista, and while she barely knew the purple-haired telepath, she was once again grateful for the help Betsy had given Lyska.

    The sudden wave of familiar Force-presences behind the door shook Callista from her reverie, and she had to take a deep breath - she'd been away for so long, avoided Luke, hidden the fact that she'd been pregnant, not sought help from her friends and fellow Jedi - !

    A gentle hand on her wrist made Callista blink as Lyska looked at her and projected reassurance. "They've been understanding about me. They'll be OK. They've all said great things about you, Mom - they want you back. Dad's not mad, and Master Cilghal and Master Tionne both talked with me about you," the girl said, and Callista put an arm around Lyska's shoulders.

    "Thanks, honey. As far as any place has been home since I took Cray's body, Yavin is it. I'm glad to be back - however it goes. And I'm really glad you're here," Callista said, smiling as Lyska grinned at her.

    The Force-signatures in the room beyond the door suddenly rippled with upset, frustration, and tension, and Callista instinctively stepped in front of Lyska - 12 years too late, a bitter, guilty voice snapped in Callista's mind - as Betsy tilted her head and narrowed her eyes.

    Time to see if I remember those Force-signatures ... Callista challenged herself, reaching out with the Force.

    Yes, she recognized Luke, of course, warm and gentle but also oddly guilty now, and weighed down; Mara Jade (Jade-SKYWALKER, she reminded herself) was an icy, crystalline presence, her emotions hidden as well as ever, or so Callista thought, having only met Mara once in passing years ago; and there were the Solusars, Cilghal, Kirana Ti, Corran Horn, the hot-sullen spark that was Kyp Durron - and someone, not a Force-sensitive, but someone still bright with life.

    Callista tried not to tear up at the memories coming back - good and bad alike - and she feigned a smile as Lyska looked at her with worry. "Just - remembering the past, Lyska. I might get a little weepy," she said - no sense in pretending to be brave, especially since it was supposed to be a happy time.

    Lyska smiled again, a little happier, while Betsy smiled back at them before concentrating. After a second, the Core-accented telepath exhaled in a disgusted huff. "Kyp's being bloody melodramatic. Let's crash this pity party and get some people focused back on what matters," Betsy insisted, whipping the door open.

    Here we go, Callista thought, letting Betsy lead the way as they heard Kyp mutter, "No, Lady Amidala-Skywalker, you're not. I suppose we should actually thank you ... I just know where I'm not wanted. Maybe it's time I took the hint for the last time."

    Callista steeled herse
  14. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 40: 25.8 ABY: Dubrillion, Outer Rim Territories:
    -------------------------------------------------------------

    My ancestor's grave was defiled, the infidels are claiming large numbers of our warriors at Adumar, and we wait on word of whether the Impeeralz will be drawn into the wider conflict ...

    Commander Shedao Shai was still seething as he walked through what some of the interrogated prisoners described as an "aquarium" - a facility for housing and displaying marine life. The artificial nature of the place disgusted Shedao, but he respected the purpose for which it was meant; the inspiration of the marine life's ferocity was welcome, given the current state of the great work of cleansing the galaxy of infidels.

    Waiting on the Praetorite Vong to continue to seed disarray among our foes ... I would rather end their lives in real effort, instead of simpering behind intendants and their plots. Or being forced to endure the presence of those without vision, Shedao thought, glowering behind his mask as his executive officer Deign Lian kept pace.

    "Lord, I -" the annoying plotter started to whine. His sudden silence was as surprising as it was welcome, and Shedao stayed his hand instead of smacking down the fool as he looked at where Deign pointed - even if he knew the reason why his subordinate was opening his mouth.

    There was an infidel creature sitting cross-legged before one of the tanks, covered with golden down, his snout restive as he sat in silence between two Yuuzhan Vong guards standing at attention. The newcomer wore only a purple loincloth, and he stood - the guards finally restraining him by the arms - as Shedao and Deign approached.

    "I am Commander Shedao Domain Shai of the Yuuzhan Vong," Shedao said, first in Yuuzhan Vong and then in the still-odd, widespread language used by most of the infidels.

    The sentient nodded his head atop a well-muscled neck, and Shedao's estimation of the new arrival rose a notch. While the being could pose a threat, he had taken pains to demonstrate that his intent was - apparently - the opposite.

    "I am Elegos A'Kla, a Caamasi citizen of the New Republic, Commander. I have come to hopefully open a dialogue for greater understanding between our peoples," the sentient said, in a tone Shedao recognized as truly respectful.

    It has been far too long since I heard such a tone without an undertone of conniving and weakness, Shedao thought, his lip curling as Deign Lian frowned at Elegos.

    To his underling's shock - and Shedao's dark flicker of amusement - the commander removed his vonduun crab helmet and handed it to Deign. A superior exposing his face to an ostensible lesser was practically unheard of, but Shedao intended to try and teach Deign a lesson or two.

    Elegos' bravery in coming here deserves respect - and that bravery alone makes him worth more than Deign, Shedao thought, not giving in to the desire to smirk at Deign before nodding to Elegos.

    "You have shown great courage coming here, Elegos Domain A'Kla. I have been told you used a villip to hail us, and asked to be transported to Dubrillion aboard one of our own craft after leaving your made-thing vehicle at the edge of the system," Shedao said, continuing to facilitate communication by speaking in the infidels' language.

    "I did not wish to give offense. I have heard how you disdain our ... made-thing devices," Elegos said, and Shedao permitted himself a small smile. It was good to find at least one mind of wisdom among the infidels.

    "We do. And I applaud your thoughtfulness. Be welcome, and walk with me - guards, you are no longer needed. Likewise - Deign Domain Lian, return my helmet to its resting place in my quarters," Shedao said, dismissing the two warriors who stood to either side of Elegos with the same gesture he used to dismiss Deign.

    They were surprised, where Deign was shocked, but at least the guards showed enough intelligence to salute properly and leave. Shedao was mildly im
  15. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: Been busy with RL and other 'fics, but back to this ... [face_blush][face_peace]

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 41: 25.8 ABY: Sunulok, Flagship of Tsavong Lah, Belkadan
    System, Outer Rim Territories:
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The gods were not exactly being forthcoming with answers.

    So we must work harder to earn their favor, the Warmaster of the Yuuzhan Vong thought, jabbing himself a bit with a coufee as he looked out of the viewing membrane of his private quarters. The world of Belkadan, at the very edge of this new galaxy promised to the Yuuzhan Vong by the gods, shone verdantly once again.

    The sacred works on Belkadan and Garqi was proving effective. On Belkadan, new coralskippers were being generated at a higher rate, while the initial round of surge-coral experiments on Garqi was promising. The Chazrach-like manahk troopers which the shapers were trying to create from this galaxy's most widespread native species - uh'maans, in the Yuuzhan Vong translation of the species' name for themselves - could prove useful.

    In time. Which seemed to be slowing down for the Yuuzhan Vong, or at least too much for Tsavong Lah's liking. The battles at Dantooine and Helska had proven costly, while the infidel defenders of the world of Agamar were so courageous that they were holding the Yuuzhan Vong forces at bay. It was ... embarrassing to Tsavong.

    He frowned, his fringed lips curling in disgust at the reports of how the alleged Jeedai were proving more dangerous than anticipated. True, they were warriors, and deserving of respect in that way - but they also used artificial weapons, light-cleavers that could block amphistaves. And their Fohrze powers had set off muttering and debate among the shapers, priests, and intendants.

    Warriors, however - at least true warriors - just wanted to know how to kill the Fohrze-users.

    The reports from Helska do suggest that yammosks can break them; likewise, they can be defeated in combat. And their powers seem less effective against us. But the very fact that they can be effective at all is an affront to the gods ... Tsavong Lah thought, shaking his head.

    "Belek tiu, Warmaster. You have calls," he heard, turning to nod at his villip keeper, Seef, as she entered with two of the living communications devices.

    "Which is of higher priority?" Tsavong asked after Seef had completed her expected bow.

    "One is from Dubrillion; the other, from Nar Shaddaa," Seef said, and Tsavong weighed the information. To her credit, the young subaltern was wise enough not to question when Tsavong received encrypted messages. The Warmaster was, after all, expected to get intelligence that few, if any, other Yuuzhan Vong had access to.

    Dubrillion - Deign Lian. Pestilent climber that he is, he is a useful agent to track Shedao Shai's rise to power, and Shai poses a potential threat. But Nar Shaddaa ... it must be Nom Anor, Tsavong thought, annoyed at the thought of having to speak to either conniving parasite.

    "Leave the villips on my table. I will inform you when I am done with them," Tsavong said, and Seef complied. She bowed, leaving him, and Tsavong stroked the villip from Nom Anor first.

    The communications device everted, revealing a miniature face of the intendant whom Tsavong loathed as he did few beings. "Warmaster," the oily-voiced Anor said, nodding in what was certainly false respect.

    "Intendant. I assume you call me with important news, given the mixed degree of progress in our holy work?" Tsavong asked warningly. He might have to put up with Nom Anor, but he didn't have to like it.

    "Yes, Warmaster. There is a risk that one of our living servants may have fallen into the hands of infidels cunning enough to make some use of studying it. My investigations into the desecration of Mongei Shai's tomb on the world known as Bimmiel suggest that an amphistaff was recovered by a team of [i
  16. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    A/N: Ugh. SIX months without an update? :oops:

    This was my first 'fic here on t.FN, and I do intend to finish it. It's just been tricky finding the time to do so, but that's an excuse, not a reason. [face_blush] So ...


    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 42: 25.8 ABY: Jedi Praxeum, Yavin 4, Yavin System,
    Gordian Reach, Outer Rim Territories:
    -----------------------------------------------------------

    "Well, this is quite the surprise," Betsy heard a soft, melodic voice say as she ducked her head into the main meeting chamber. She'd been asked to attend the latest planning meeting for mission assignments, and she was expecting to be asked to continue the search for Aurra Sing after Aurra's attempt to kill Padme' on Naboo days earlier.

    Indeed it is, Betsy agreed, blinking as she saw a Kaminoan female standing near Luke, Mara, Leia, Han, Padme', Zekk, the Solo children and Lyska. Chewie was across the room, working on his bowcaster, while Artoo and Threepio prepared the holotank and Ahsoka and Rotta chatted with some of the Jedi Masters.

    "It's an honor to see you again, Taun We. Betsy! This is Taun We, the project coordinator behind the clone army for the Republic. She came here personally to let us know of a piece of Yuuzhan Vong biotech that her people have stored," Padme called, and Betsy shook the Kaminoan's hand as Artoo activated the holotank.

    "Lady Braddock. Your combat prowess and achievements are already making the rounds of the military discussion circuit. I remain in contact with many in the New Republic Defense Force, and your genetic gifts are intriguing from a professional standpoint. Perhaps we can speak more sometime," Taun We said, and Betsy nodded.

    "I'd be honored, Taun We. How can we help you?" Betsy asked, looking at the image the holotank was projecting - that of one of the snake-like weapons the Yuuzhan Vong had wielded on Dantooine.

    "It may be more a matter of how can the Kaminoans help the New Republic. Through ... shall we say 'unofficial' means, we came into possession of this biological specimen from Bimmiel. Recent reports suggest it is nearly identical to the ophidian-like weapons in use by some Yuuzhan Vong warriors. It is likely from the tomb of the Yuuzhan Vong warrior whose remains were disinterred by Dr. Anki Pace's team," Taun We said.

    "If we can study this thing, figure out how to counter it ... we need every advantage we can get," Mara said, as Luke examined the rotating hologram and Kyp scowled.

    "Best to figure out how to kill the karking things. But I agree, we need to study it first," Kyp replied, before Corran could do more than scowl a bit at him.

    "A little common sense, Kyp? A pleasant change of pace from you. I'd go myself to Kamino, but I'm leading the infiltration team to Garqi. Jacen and Ganner will be accompanying me, as will a Noghri strike team," Corran said, nodding at where Jacen waited, and Ganner Rhysode stood in one of the doorways.

    "I just hope Master Cilghal leaves some samples for me to work with. I don't think these creatures can be tamed, but I'd like to learn about their biology," Jacen said. He frowned a little when Ganner glanced at him, but the older Jedi just shrugged, and focused on the discussion around the holotank.

    "I can't imagine going to pick up this weapon will be all that risky. The Rishi Maze hyperlane to Kamino is nowhere near the Yuuzhan Vong advance ... unless there are Yuuzhan Vong infiltrators that far south galactically," Leia worried aloud.

    "What if I go? I've worked with the Kaminoans before. I'll take Zekk, and we'll retrieve this weapon and bring it back to Yavin for analysis," Padme' suggested.

    Luke and Leia looked concerned, but Padme' quickly added, "We'll keep an eye out for Aurra Sing. I haven't forgotten how she tried to kill me at Varykino. Leia and Han are going to be busy with their embassy to the Imperial Remnant, and Luke, you and Mara are working with Garm, Plif and the other New Loyalists to get the task force moving to Agamar. I can't hide
  17. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4
    ------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 43: 25.8 ABY: Vorpa'ya, Vorpa'ya System,
    Mandalorian Sector, Outer Rim Territories:
    ------------------------------------------------

    "I hadn't expected Master Skywalker to send ... advisors," the gray-haired man in the flight suit said, waiting for his other contact to arrive.

    Vorpa'ya was a worn-out agriworld, well on its way to becoming a dustbowl because of bad farming decisions. But it was about as backwater as one could get within the Mandalore Sector, which was close enough to the Outer Rim/Mid-Rim border to be not quite remote by spacer standards. In other words, it was a good place for truly clandestine meetings.

    It wasn't so isolated, however, that a blonde human woman in tight-fitting white leather and traveling with a female Togruta wouldn't stand out.

    "Well, after Birgis - and New Holgha - Master Skywalker wants assurances that this arrangement isn't going to blow up in our faces. The Masters trust you. It's your 'contact' whom we want to clarify his actions," the Togruta said, trying to sound calm. Her tension, however, was evident, and the man couldn't entirely blame her.

    The blonde, however, was cool as ice, and her blue eyes only partially narrowed as a Firespray-class patrol ship came in to land. "Easy," she reassured the Togruta, adding, "Don't bring up Nar Shaddaa."

    The Togruta frowned, but did a fairly subtle centering exercise, and the man raised an eyebrow; the technique was more refined than he'd expected from her. She smirked despite the tension as the Firespray's hatch opened, and said, "I didn't just Huttlet-sit for four decades, you know."

    "Clearly, from your Force-technique. But as your traveling companion said, please - stay calm. I can understand your issues with my contact, but we don't need it to spiral out of control," the man asked, and the Togruta shrugged - not entirely comforting.

    But none of this was comforting. Not when three Jedi were meeting the reigning Mand'alor in Mandalorian space.

    And here we go, Kubariet - the man, a Jedi Knight working with New Republic Intelligence - thought, nodding as Boba Fett approached him, Ahsoka Tano, and the human woman, who only went by the name "Emma Frost."

    The blonde had given her name with an almost childish air of amusement, and Kubariet didn't doubt it was a pseudonym - one which "Frost" seemed to be wielding at someone else's expense. He thought he knew who she was, but he kept those suspicions to himself.

    Let's just hope her unique talent is as refined as she claims, he hoped.

    ------------------------------------------------

    Betsy set aside her amusement; she was being silly, using Emma Frost's name and favored appearance (blonde hair dye, silvery-blue lipstick, blue contacts, white pants, top, boots and cape), but now wasn't the time for indulging her on-again, off-again rivalry.

    I'm about to meet the deadliest bounty hunter in recent galactic history. And ask a favor of him that might well insult his honor so badly that he tries to kill me. But we need to know, after the Mandalorian attacks along the Vong's invasion path, what they're really up to - if, as they claim, they're working to feed intel to us, or they're playing both sides to survive, Betsy thought.

    She shifted a bit in the outfit she'd chosen as part of her disguise - it was one thing to be used to an unstable molecule-spandex costume. It was quite another to be wearing leather, especially garish white leather, with a cape on a world that was borderline desert. Ideally, the outfit would put their contact off his game.

    But Betsy had no illusion that Boba Fett was fooled or distracted.

    His presence, both in the Force and through telepathy, was as durasteel as his armor. The occasional flicker of emotion - frustration at Kubariet not coming alone, curiosity at Betsy's appearance, wariness at the entire situation - could be sensed through Fett's willpower, but only barely.

    ~Ahsoka, Kubariet - his natural shields are to
  18. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: A new year, new opportunities to catch up on unfinished 'fic ... [face_blush]

    -------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 44: 25.8 ABY: Abrion Sector, Outer Rim
    Territories, headed extragalactic to Wild Space:
    -------------------------------------------------

    The meditation was a smarter move than spending time with his charge. At least that was what Zekk told himself.

    Anything to keep from thinking about how ... incredible she is, the Ennth-born senior apprentice thought, sighing as he opened his eyes in his cabin. He'd been trying to get some rest before he, Lady Amidala-Skywalker and Taun We - and Kielmahk and Otrahk, two Noghri bodyguards who'd insisted upon accompanying "Grand Lady Vader" after learning of Padme's emergence from stasis - reached Kamino.

    Ideally, the mission should have been simple: Protect Padme' - Lady Amidala-Skywalker, Jaina's GRANDMOTHER, even if she hasn't aged since Vader almost killed her, Zekk reminded himself - from any threats they might find during their visit to Kamino, retrieve the Yuuzhan Vong weapon the Kaminoans had acquired from Bimmiel, and get back to Yavin 4 safely.

    Except that Padme' hadn't aged while she'd been in stasis on Polis Massa. Hadn't lost any of the fire that Jaina or Her Highness Organa-Solo had clearly inherited from Padme'.

    Think, Zekk. Even if you and Jaina aren't what you were, once, this is a bad idea. Remember what happened to the last Jedi who fell for Lady Amidala-Skywalker? Even if it wasn't her fault ... Zekk reminded himself.

    He sank back into meditation ... or at least tried.

    -----------------------------------------------------

    Completely inappropriate.

    The very thought was mortifying to Padme' - she'd been out of stasis for what, months? Trying to deal with the reality of what Anakin had gone on to do as Vader, and the sheer amount of historical activity that Luke and Leia had generated, should be enough for her to deal with.

    That, and helping Jar-Jar, Plif and the other New Loyalists motivate the New Republic to face the Yuuzhan Vong invasion. And the sheer difference of how the galaxy was after more than 40 years ... and what was Padme' finding herself doing?

    Noticing how handsome my Jedi bodyguard is - who, chronogically speaking, is young enough to be my grandson, Padme' thought, shaking her head as she rested in the captain's chair of the small freighter Luke had given her and her companions to travel to Kamino.

    "Dweep-beet-tweet?" the navigator, a brown and white R-series astromech named R3-B7, chirped from where it was plugged into the engineering station. The last jump from Rishi was a simple enough leap above the galactic plane to the Kamino system, so almost everyone on board the ship was resting.

    "No, Beeseven, I'm just thinking. Thanks," Padme' said, smiling at the little droid. She was glad of the distraction from

    shapely arms, long black hair, green eyes

    various and sundry things.

    THINK, Naberrie. Zekk already had a bad turn once. He doesn't need you stirring up troublesome feelings. Jedi are best when they're focused on their mission. You of all people should remember what a distracted and worrying Jedi can do if they lose focus, Padme' chided herself.

    Besides, he's Jaina's ... something. Maybe.

    Except that Jaina had pretty much made it clear during one of their few chats that she considered Zekk to be like a brother.

    Which frees him up to find a young woman his own age. Who isn't his ex-girlfriend's grandmother and the mother of his Jedi teacher, Padme' thought sternly, looking at the datapad with the mission parameters.

    She went back to studying the image of the Yuuzhan Vong "snake-staff," or whatever the extragalactic invaders called their weapon; she had to focus on the mission too. If they could get the specimen back to Yavin, maybe the Jedi could help the New Republic Defense Force better counter the exotic weapon and its lethal venom.

    The sooner we can end this war, the sooner I can get back to figuri
  19. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: New month, new opportunity to address old 'fic ... [face_peace]

    -------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 45: 25.8 ABY: Tipoca City, Kamino, Kamino
    System, Wild Space (above galactic plane):
    -------------------------------------------------

    The first thing Zekk noticed as the ship came in for a landing - besides the rain - was a subtle, almost-muffled beacon in the Force. It was calling from beneath the waves, and he stared out the port side of the main viewport as Lady Amidala-Skywalker glanced at him (R3-B7 was handling the landing, and Kielmahk and Otrahk, the Noghri bodyguards, were preparing to disembark).

    It was Taun We who spoke, saying, "Derem City lies along that vector. Before the Great Flood so long ago, it was our capitol. Now, it lies underwater. Kaminoans of a more ... spiritual ... bent make pilgrimages there. It's said there was a library with Jedi artifacts, although such items were probably relocated long ago."

    "Maybe, ma'am. But ... there's still something down there. Maybe after we recover that Vong weapon, I could travel to Derem City? Whatever I'm sensing must be powerful for me to be picking up on it," Zekk asked, while the Force spiked - he was definitely being guided to look into what was going on.

    Lady Amidala-Skywalker (Zekk still wasn't able to call her Padme', even if she was no longer a senator or a queen) smiled, nodding, and Zekk bit the inside of his cheek at how her expression made him feel. "Maybe we can ask the Kaminoan leadership for permission to visit the ruins," she asked, while Beeseven brought the ship to rest.

    Taun We radiated some doubt, but dipped her head as she led them toward the boarding ramp. "Koa Ne, the current prime minister, is known for willingness to ... accept inquiries in exchange for ... favors. Preferably ones that might help restore Kamino to its prominence in the cloning realm," she said, sounding almost sarcastic.

    Zekk and Lady Amidala-Skywalker shared a glance, and the matriarch of the Skywalker clan looked worried for a moment. "I did some research on Kaminoan cloning after the Empire's rise. Is is true that ... my husband had a cloning facility here?" she asked, raising the hood of her cloak while the Noghri led the way down onto the rain-covered landing pad.

    "Yes. Lord Vader made extensive use of one of the cloning facilities. Something to do with a young Force-sensitive he found on Kashyyyk not long after the rise of the Emperor, as I recall. Imperialization was not kind to Kamino's fortunes," Taun We said, sounding sad, and the party headed toward a waiting hatch.

    "Stay with the ship, Beeseven. We'll try not to be gone long," Zekk told the astromech. The little droid tweedled affirmatively, and Zekk nodded back at him before catching up with the group.

    The door opened, revealing what looked to Zekk like a series of white walls sometimes broken up with black lines and the occasional door. Kaminoans of both genders walked by, nodding at Taun We and occasionally looking at the humans and Noghri. The whole place felt ... not sterile, as such, but very constrained, in the Force, and Zekk was uncomfortably reminded of the fights he and his friends had had with the Diversity Alliance years earlier.

    "Taun We, you mentioned Koa Ne, the prime minister. What kind of 'favor' would he want of us for permission to visit Derem City?" Zekk asked, stopping beside Lady Amidala-Skywalker as Taun We punched a code into a panel beside a double door.

    "Most likely, genetic material. A reasonable sample - some tissue and blood - would be most preferable. Perhaps a Jedi sample," the geneticist said, calmly but with a flicker of fascination in the Force. Zekk repressed a shiver, watching the double doors open, and he kept up with Lady Amidala-Skywalker as they entered a circular room. Kielmahk walked with them, and Otrahk waited outside.

    Three chairs floated in the middle of the chamber, with one of them occupied by a Kaminoan male whose fin crest twitched a bit as he saw Zekk and Lady Amidala-Skywalke
  20. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    -------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 46: 25.8 ABY: Tipoca City, Kamino, Kamino
    System, Wild Space (above galactic plane):
    -------------------------------------------------

    There was little time, and Padme' knew it.

    If the Yuuzhan Vong have found Kamino, then they'll come prepared for it, she worried, letting Kielmahk cover the rear while Taun We punched a series of codes into a keypad outside an airlock. They'd walked through a semi-transparent tube to a series of three towers separated from the rest of Tipoca - the Malio Preserve Units, Taun We had said.

    "We keep redundant samples of all the cloning material in stasis here, as well as new acquisitions we have yet to successfully clone. The Yuuzhan Vong weapon will be here," the Kaminoan said, nodding when the airlock finally opened.

    "Kielmahk, cover this exit. I'll be safe with Taun We. If anyone other than Zekk, or someone he designates is trustworthy, shows up, stop them, please. We'll try to be quick," Padme' asked the Noghri.

    Kielmahk nodded, albeit reluctantly, and Padme' thanked him before following Taun We into a network of linked stasis tubes. "Your bodyguard is most loyal. An admirable trait," Taun We observed, leading Padme' through a thick door into an area marked New Samples.

    "The Noghri believe they owe my family a debt for freeing them from my husband's deceptions. I've ... had to come to grips with the reality of what Anakin became," Padme' admitted, glad for the distraction as Taun We stopped before a stasis tube.

    A rather dull "snake-staff" floated in the tube, more brown than the green, shiny scaled ones which Anakin Solo had reported facing on Dantooine when he'd fought Yuuzhan Vong warriors. Taun We recovered the weapon, making sure to muzzle it, and she gave Padme' what almost might have been a kind look - it was hard to tell from a Kaminoan.

    "I cannot speak for all of my species. But had there been no Darth Vader, neither would there likely have been a Luke Skywalker or Leia Organa-Solo. And without your children, the galaxy would be a far darker place, in my opinion," Taun We said, closing the stasis tube.

    "Thank you, Taun We. We'd better move - if the Yuuzhan Vong have attacked once, more of them will be close behind. I remember what happened on Dantooine," Padme' said, keeping a close watch as they headed back to rendezvous with -

    Kielmahk! Padme' cried out mentally, watching the Noghri be thrown into the preserve as a towering Yuuzhan Vong swung at him with a snake-staff.

    The Vong, on the other hand, gasped when a blue lightsaber - not Zekk's, which had a bronze-flame blade - erupted from his shoulder, and a Kaminoan Force-shoved him aside. The female Kaminoan held the Vong at bay, while Zekk helped Kielmahk to his feet and returned Padme's smile, warming her.

    Perhaps a bit too much, and Padme' and Zekk both blushed before he said, "This is Kina Ha, a Jedi of the old Order. She returned here after -"

    "Skirata's band? Was that where you were?" Taun We interjected, frowning only briefly when Kina Ha dispatched the Vong with a quick stab and turned to face the clonemistress.

    "For a time. I returned here before Vader's machinations with the Marek youth, but kept my distance to better protect what I could of Kamino - my apologies, former Senator Amidala. Your bodyguard informed me of your situation. We'd better retreat," Kina Ha replied, bowing to Padme'.

    "Agreed. And thank you, Kina Ha," Padme' said, keeping the reply brief but polite. It was difficult to do, given the implications of what she was hearing Anakin had done on Kamino.

    Cloning experiments, putting a child through Sith training, deceiving the Noghri ... every time I think I've heard the worst, there's something else, Padme' thought, shaking her head while the party made their way to the landing pad with her ship.

    Zekk glanced at her, leaned in close and said, softly, "Vader - Knight Skywalker - did defeat the Emperor, M'Lady. Even if Palpatine returned, if Vader hadn't saved Master Skywalker, the Order wou
  21. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    --------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 47: 25.8 ABY: Vortex, Ten Tempests system,
    Glythe Sector, Mid Rim:
    --------------------------------------------------

    "Well, that was a bust," Mara grumbled as she and Luke reboarded the Pulsar Skate. Mirax Terrik-Horn had kindly flown them to Vortex to speak with Qwi Xux about any leftover superweapons the Omwati scientist might know about - and which Daeshara'cor might be seeking - but Qwi had been neither able nor particularly willing to help the Skywalkers.

    "Not necessarily. I've got an idea on where to look for Daeshara'cor -" Luke said, starting to speak until he - well, Farmboy rarely flinched, but he did this time. Mara stood, hating how she shook when she rose - the karking disease was taking a lot out of her these days, and Luke let her lean on him as Mirax and Anakin walked in, clearly worried.

    "I'm fine. Just - stood up too fast. Luke sensed something ... where's Chalco, anyway?" Mara asked, raising an eyebrow. She didn't trust the self-described infochant further than she could throw him, but Luke had sensed that the scruffy vagrant would be helpful in their search, so they'd taken him with them after leaving Coruscant.

    "Artoo and Whistler are watching out for him in the mess. What's going on, Uncle Luke?" Anakin asked, giving Mara a purely Solo look of "I know you're not telling me everything" as they found seats and Mirax started the Skate's launch cycle.

    "It's your grandmother, Anakin. I think she and Zekk are in trouble, on Kamino - but to get there in time ..." Luke said, clearly worried. Mara squeezed his shoulder, giving Mirax a querying look. The Skate was a fast ship, but Kamino was a long way from Vortex.

    Artoo and Whistler rolled in, chirping questioningly, followed by Chalco, who was holding the largest sandwich Mara had seen in some time. The vagrant frowned when Whistler tweedled something vaguely threatening, and said, "Relax, I put a few credits in the donation box. I ain't a thief."

    "Freep-tweet bree-tweedoot," Whistler replied, sounding so doubtful that Mara had to repress a snicker. The green-and-white R2 plugged into the navicomputer, while Artoo stopped beside Luke and chirped in a worried tone.

    "I'm just worried about my mom, Artoo. I think she and Zekk need our help," Luke explained, and Artoo squeaked excitedly before plugging in beside Whistler.

    "PWEEP! Twee-bree-twee-bweep!" Artoo rambled, and even Anakin blinked with confusion. The technologically-gifted "Solobrat" could usually figure out Binary, and Mara glanced at Mirax while the captain checked the droid translation screen.

    "He says he remembers the way to Kamino like it was the back of his processor, from the Clone Wars days. With Whistler's help, we can get there in record time," Mirax offered.

    "Thanks ... but the search for Daeshara'cor ..." Luke said, shaking his head. "Mirax, can you reach the Praxeum by Holonet? And Artoo, can you and Whistler crunch the numbers for the hyperjump for another ship?"

    "You want someone else to head for Kamino? The search for Daeshara'cor can wait, if you want. This is your mom we're talking about," Mara asked, while Anakin looked worried and even Chalco radiated sympathy.

    Luke smiled sadly and said, "I don't think the search can wait, Mara. But I can't leave Mom and Zekk to the mercies of the Yuuzhan Vong, either."

    "You won't have to, Luke. I've gotten through to the Praxeum," Mirax said, and Mara felt a surge of relief from Luke when Kam Solusar appeared.

    "Master? We're receiving your transmission. How can we help?" Kam asked, and Luke quickly explained, while Mara smiled a bit as two familiar faces appeared behind Kam.

    "I think we might've found the help we're looking for, Farmboy," Mara suggested, nodding at Betsy Braddock and Ahsoka Tano while they listened to the situation.

    -------------------------------------------------
    Jedi Praxeum, Yavin 4, Yavin System, Gordian
    Reach, Outer Rim Territories:
    ---------------------------------------------
  22. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    -------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 48: 25.8 ABY: Undersea Kamino, Kamino
    System, Wild Space (above galactic plane):
    -------------------------------------------------

    As glad as he was of their escape from the Yuuzhan Vong, Zekk couldn't help but think that things could be going better.

    I'm not doing a very good job of protecting Lady Amidala-Skywalker from the Vong - we should've gotten offworld when we had the chance. Instead, we got the Vong weapon, but now we're trapped underwater, he thought, sighing even as he watched Kielmahk tend to Otrahk's injuries. The Noghri were taking the whole thing in stride, at least.

    And so was Zekk's charge. Lady Amidala-Skywalker was seated up front with Kina Ha, quietly discussing Kaminoan ocean life, while Taun We examined the "snake-staff" she and the lady had recovered from the preserve unit. To Zekk's relief, the Vong weapon seemed to be dead ... but then, given that he couldn't sense it through the Force, he wasn't entirely reassured.

    "We are approaching Derem City now," Kina Ha announced, and Zekk walked to the front of the submersible to see their destination. He'd known they were getting closer, since the holocron's quiet pulse was getting stronger in the Force, but he'd been a little distracted by trying to make sure Lady Amidala-Skywalker was safe.

    He held his breath, awed at the well-preserved sunspires and reefs that had formed among them, while vast Kaminoan buildings vaguely reminiscent of Tipoca City's architecture stretched out into the distance. "It's ... amazing. I'll see if I can get a fix on the holocron - I can sense it," Zekk said, shaking his head clear of his wonder and narrowing his gaze.

    Something like the mental equivalent of a flashing lighthouse drew Zekk's attention, and he pointed at a particularly large domed building. "There. The holocron is in there," he said, glancing at Kina Ha for confirmation.

    The Kaminoan Jedi nodded, smiling a bit as she maneuvered the sub toward the library. "Indeed, young Jedi. I have a human-sized diving suit, should you want to attempt to recover the holocron. However, there may be ... threats," she warned, growing serious while she brought the sub to a stop near the library entrance.

    "Local wildlife?" Lady Amidala-Skywalker asked, and Kina Ha nodded as Taun We steepled her fingers.

    "We are too far north to have to deal with saberjowls - genetic relatives of your Naboo colo claw fish. But there may be sounders, 2-meter-long scavengers that could pose a threat if encountered in numbers. And given that Kaminoan science is more focused upon cataloguing cloning samples than oceanographic exploration, there may be more creatures here that we are unaware of," Kina Ha warned.

    "We've come this far, Kina Ha. We should take any chance to recover part of the Jedi Order's lost past - with your permission, M'Lady," Zekk said, deferring to Lady Amidala-Skywalker. She was more important than a holocron, after all.

    "We'll be fine, Zekk. Hurry now - we've evaded the Yuuzhan Vong this long, but the sooner you recover the holocron, the better," Lady Amidala-Skywalker advised. Zekk nodded, following Kina Ha back to the airlock where the diving suit waited.

    Zekk stopped beside Kielmakh and Otrahk, then said, "If I don't make it back, make sure Lady Amidala-Skywalker gets offworld safely with the Vong weapon."

    "Understood, Jedi Zekk," Kielmahk said, nodding. Zekk thanked the Noghri, giving Lady Amidala-Skywalker a brave smile before following after Kina Ha.

    So now all I have to do is make my way through a sunken library, fight undersea creatures and get a holocron ... well, I broke free of the Shadow Academy. This can't be any harder, right?

    -----------------------------------------
    Imperial Headquarters, Ravelin, Bastion,
    Braxant Sector, Outer Rim Territories:
    -----------------------------------------

    Leia noticed Han's chill as he brought the Falcon in for a landing, while Chewbacca, Danni Quee and Threepio prepared to disembark. "They're not our enemies any more," Leia reassu
  23. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    ---------------------------------------------
    Chapter 49: 25.8 ABY: Yavin 4, Yavin System,
    Gordian Reach, Outer Rim Territories:
    ---------------------------------------------

    While Lyska Skywalker was elated to get to know her mother, she hadn't quite imagined it would be while camping.

    I like Yavin, and being outside and not being cold - or having to worry about Force storms from the tsils. It's just ... different, having a mom. My mom, the sandy-blonde-haired girl thought, watching Callista just ... stand in the sunlight.

    Lyska could tell her mother was meditating - kind of. Light shone through and around and from Callista in the Force; since she'd reconnected with the light side while on Tython, she'd been a sort of warm, constant presence that Lyska could sense - not too close, but not super-far away, either.

    She's giving me space, and I'm glad ... but I want to get to know her, too, Lyska thought. She reached out through the Force from around the campfire they'd set up - a tent sat nearby, with a speeder bike parked near the clearing's edge - and Mom turned back to smile at her, reaching back through the Force.

    "Sorry, honey. Just enjoying the sun. Yavin's star is different from Chad - this orange light is less harsh than the blue-white light I grew up with," Mom said, sitting on a log near Lyska.

    "I'm still getting used to this much light at all. Growing up on Nam Chorios, I was more used to overcast days," Lyska said - then winced, when Mom smiled a little sadly. "I didn't mean - I meant -"

    "I know. It wasn't intentional. I just ... I figured Nam Chorios was the last place anyone would look for a child of Luke Skywalker to be growing up on. I would've kept you with me, but ... you were the one bit of light I had. And with all the darkness still in me, I couldn't risk you being hurt," Mom said, looking at the ground.

    Lyska felt awful - she hadn't wanted to hurt her mom's feelings. She knew what Mom had gone through, or at least the stories - losing Geith, getting stuck in the Eye of Palpatine's computer, then getting to use Cray Mingla's body after Cray died to be with Nichos Marr. And then, after all that, Mom had been stuck with just the dark side of the Force.

    Still ...

    "I know. And I'm glad we're together again. It's ... just gonna take me a while to get used to this. If I - if I yell, or act stupid, it's not because I don't want you to be here. I DO. But ... part of me still ..." Lyska said, wiping her eyes.

    Mom hugged her, and Lyska hugged her back. "I don't blame you for being angry and resentful, on some level. I should've never left you - and I definitely should've brought you here to your father. But I couldn't keep dragging down your father while I tried to reconnect with the Force, much less risk your mental health," Mom said, leaning back and looking at Lyska.

    "You wouldn't've dragged him down. I don't care what people say about you. You didn't steal Cray Mingla's body, and you're not a monster," Lyska insisted - nobody was going to badmouth her mom while she was around.

    Mom's smile got a little shaky, but she ran a hand across Lyska's cheek. "You're so much like your father. Forgiving, strong, brave. I'm so glad we found each other again," she said, and Lyska smiled.

    "Me too. Mara's great, but she's ... different. You're more ... I guess, girly?" Lyska tried to explain.

    Mom laughed, but she wasn't teasing. "With my mechanical and farming backgrounds? I never thought of myself as girly. But ... I think I get what you mean. Mara's girly in her own way, but it's big-city. I'm a farmgirl - a sea-farm girl, but still a farm girl," she said, thinking as she talked.

    Lyska nodded, looking around the forest and just listening to it with all her senses. "I think I get what you mean. I like the outdoors, too, but I like towns, too," she said.

    Then, the Force twitched, and Lyska felt a call - a long way away - it wasn't from a Force-sensitive, but someone she thought she knew -

    "Grandma. She's in trouble on Kamino,"
  24. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: I would've updated this Tuesday, but the board was rather wonky. :p So, here's a quick update. :)

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 49: 25.8 ABY: Derem City, Undersea Kamino,
    Kamino System, Wild Space (above galactic plane):
    ---------------------------------------------------

    The Force flickered with very basic, but strong, emotions - mostly hunger, predator and prey. On more than one level, Zekk empathized with the undersea creatures as he swam toward the beacon that Master Qalsneek's holocron acted as.

    Predator and prey ... victor and victim ... like when I killed Vilas, Zekk remembered, shaking his head inside the diving helmet as he focused. He couldn't afford to be distracted, not when there might be dangerous animals in the tunnels - or the Vong might find that Master Skywalker's mother was alive on Kamino.

    All that, and Zekk refused to go back to who he'd been as the Darkest Knight. That'd been a bleak, terrible time; the dark side's power was hollow and empty, a crash after a too-fleeting high.

    Being a Jedi's not the ultimate experience, either. But at least we can work to help those who need it. We just need to remember to be people, Zekk reminded himself, swimming along a corridor through what looked like crystal pillars carved from shiny-veined rock. Several of the pillars were collapsed, and Zekk wondered if he could risk a Force shove to part the way.

    Might cause a cave-in, though, too. Better be more precise, he thought, igniting his lightsaber.

    Swinging the weapon away from himself was the only thing that kept him from being bitten.

    The fiery-bronze blade sheared something like an eel in half, and Zekk quickly triggered a Force shield to keep several more of the creatures from swarming him. A few passes of his lightsaber carved another of the eels into two pieces, causing the others to go into a feeding frenzy. Zekk turned away from the mess to cut through the pillars before he could be ill.

    Focus ... there, he reminded himself, shutting down his lightsaber and activating his diving suit's lamp as he sensed the holocron growing closer. The light shone down a hallway, and Zekk swam quickly toward a circular chamber.

    "Lost Ennth ..." he whispered, awestruck by what he saw.

    Statues - mostly crystalline, and relatively intact - of Jedi ringed the room, while tattered tapestries fluttered in the current. Weapons hung on the walls, shining with the Force - some Jedi katanas, some Zekk didn't recognize. Sunlight filtered down dimly through a half-shattered skylight, dancing with the water, and falling on a pedestal.

    And atop the pedestal, a translucent cube with gold filligree and crystalline shapes inside it, sat, radiating light.

    Zekk swam slowly toward the holocron, reaching out a hand - then, he blinked as a shape appeared in tan Jedi robes, outlined by blue sparks. It was saurian, but not with the malice of a Ssi-ruuk or the implied threat of a Barabel; this was more of an aquatically-adapted species, with webbed hands and a long, sinuous neck.

    Why are you here, young Jedi? the being asked - Master Qalsneek, Zekk somehow knew, despite having only heard of Dellalt's Swimming People through searches of the Yavin Praxeum archives.

    To ... Zekk started to think - why was he here? Saving knowledge was all well and good, but what would happen to the holocron when he took it back to Yavin? It shouldn't just sit in the archives, just sometimes probed and catalogued.

    To learn from your knowledge and use it to help those who really need it, Zekk wished, ashamed that he'd just mentally blurted his desire and not something more ... Jedi.

    Surprisingly, though, Qalsneek seemed to smile, fading into the water with blue sparkles like a school of fish breaking up. Then learn, young Jedi. And help, the Jedi Master said, and Zekk swam forward.

    He grabbed the holocron, blinking at the sense of rightness that the device radiated, and only then realized that his comlink was going off. "Z
  25. Onderon1 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 18, 2008
    star 4

    A/N: Another busy week. [face_frustrated] But, I'm committed to semi-regular updates, so ... [face_peace]

    -----------------------------------------------------
    Chapter 50: 25.8 ABY: Ocean near Tipoca City, Kamino,
    Kamino System, Wild Space (above galactic plane):
    -----------------------------------------------------

    Zekk finished changing out of the diving suit, donning his robes quickly while he felt the sub rising. Kina Ha's wasting no time, he realized, joining the others in the main cabin while the vehicle approached the surface.

    "Got the holocron," he said, letting Lady Amidala-Skywalker and the others see the crystalline device. The lady's eyes lit up with awe, and she gave Zekk a smile of approval that sent a shiver down through his toes.

    Be. Professional, he reminded himself, smiling weakly as he found a seat. "It wasn't too hard to get. There were some sea creatures, but nothing that acted like it was guarding the holocron. There's still some Jedi relics in the library, too many to get in one trip," Zekk explained, handing the holocron to Kina Ha while the Noghri Kielmakh piloted the sub.

    The Kaminoan ex-Jedi closed her eyes as she held the holocron, then opened them and handed the device back to Zekk. "This must go where it can do the most good. Master Qalsneek entrusted the device to be safe on Kamino; the time has come for it to return to the Jedi. You have accomplished a great feat today, Zekk of Ennth," Kina Ha said, nodding.

    "High Lady Vader, Jedi Zekk - we receive a transmission," Kielmakh said. His mate, Otrahk, activated the holoproj, and Zekk felt both relief and concern when he felt a call through the Force before the hologram resolved itself.

    "- Padme', Zekk, can you hear me? It's Betsy Braddock," the purple-haired human telepath said, and Zekk nodded.

    "We're here, Betsy. We're ready for extraction - we also have a Kaminoan Jedi, Kina Ha, with us, who -" Lady Amidala-Skywalker said, until Kina Ha shook her head.

    "I am Kamino's Watchman, Lady Amidala-Skywalker. This is my home, and as long as the Yuuzhan Vong attack it, my place is here. You, Zekk, and your Noghri must escape with the objects. Lady Braddock, I am transmitting a homing signal - can you pick up my passengers?" Kina Ha said, while the sub surfaced.

    "We can, Kina Ha. We're approaching your coordinates now - we'll lower the ramp, but you have to hurry. We have coralskippers inbound," Lady Braddock warned.

    "But -" Zekk started to protest, but Taun We shook her head and ushered him, Lady Amidala-Skywalker and the Noghri toward the top airlock.

    "You heard the lady, Zekk. Kina Ha and I will be fine, as will Kamino. We were diminished by the Empire, but not crushed. Both of the items you recovered must be studied - the snake-staff, to fight the Vong, and the holocron, to bolster the Jedi. Now, go, and be well - as you say, 'may the Force be with you,'" Kina Ha said.

    "Thank you, Taun We, for everything. Be careful, and stay strong," Lady Amidala-Skywalker said. She shook Taun We's hand, then put the strap of the tube containing the Vong weapon over her shoulder like Chewbacca's bandolier before climbing into the airlock. "Come on, Zekk - Otrahk, can you climb?"

    The female Noghri nodded, starting after Lady Amidala-Skywalker, as Kielmahk looked concerned. "One of us should take point," the Noghri insisted, starting after the females.

    "I think we might find more of an argument if we told them that," Zekk said, smiling and shrugging. He shook Taun We's hand, then started up the ladder, toward where the top hatch opened.

    A rush of wind and noise came down through the airlock, but Lady Amidala-Skywalker just kept climbing out, helped up by a person whose Force presence Zekk thought he recognized. The Noghri went next, and Zekk brought up the rear, helped onto the ramp of a Lambda-class shuttle by a strong hand - that belonged to Kyp Durron.

    "Betsy's on the controls. Up front, folks, let's move!" Kyp ordered, closing the hatch. Zekk repressed a rather surly reply - he respected Durron's title as a Master,
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