Title: Dark Tide I: Revelations Author: CmdrMitthrawnuruodo Timeframe: 82 BBY Characters: Dooku, Qui-Gon Genre: Angst, Adventure, AU Summary: Jedi Knight Yan Dooku and his Padawan Qui-Gon Jinn were assigned to protect a star witness for a trial, but when that witness is murdered on the way to the courts and leading to a mistrial, Dooku is determined to find out who had betrayed them and salvage both his reputation and the case. What he finds instead could be the end of his illustrious career as a Jedi Knight and the doom of the Jedi Order. Both he and his Padawan will be tested as Jedi even as they struggle with their own problems as Master and Padawan. Will they prevail or will they succumb to the dark tide rising on the horizon? Disclaimer: If I owned Star Wars, I would have more Dooku novels written, therefore since there is a lack of such novels, I must not own it. ------------------ Chapter One When they had been assigned to escort a Hutt from Nar Shaddaa to Coruscant to give key testimony in a trial that could put away a Black Sun Vigo for the rest of the saurian's long life, Jedi Knight Yan Dooku suspected he was being punished for his public ridicule of the Senate's and Council's handling of an incident that had occurred months before in the Faldos system. The stench and the subtle insults he had to endure was enough to teach him to be a little more discrete with his opinions of the Galactic Senate and Jedi Council in the future. He was quite certain now that he was indeed being punished and that he would never get the stench of this particular worm out of his robe and very being./I hate Hutts,/ he growled over the bond he shared with his Padawan, wise enough to keep his comment between them./They are not so bad,/ Qui-Gon answered, though he tried to comfort his master a little with the Force. He knew the older man was uncomfortable around the wormy crime lords.Dooku gave his tall apprentice a look that said he believed the boy to be insane. At sixteen, the boy had shot up like a newly sprung sapling, and was nearly as tall as his master but his love for all things living, great or small, had not waned over the years. Dooku was certain that once this mission was over, his Padawan would find some misbegotten creature and bring it home with them.Qui-Gon always found something./I still hate them,/ Dooku sniffed indignantly and crossed his arms over his chest. /Give me pirates, give me a boring negotiation, give me one of Master Cerulian's lectures! Anything that does not involve the foul, cess pit of a smell that these Hutts give off./ He heard his apprentice laugh and gave him a dirty look.<What is so amusing, Jedi?> rumbled their charge in Huttese. The brown and green mottled Hutt had twisted it's body around on the hover sled just enough to look back at the two Jedi curiously. They were traveling through the lower levels of Coruscant after having arrived at a supposedly secret and private hanger belonging to said Hutt.Dooku guessed they were at least thirty levels below the upper levels and in the area known as The Works, a run down section of the industrial sector of the planet city. It would take them about thirty minutes to make their way to civilization and another twenty to reach the Government Plaza where the Courthouse waited for the Hutt's testimony. All he and Qui-Gon had to do was get the Hutt and his bodyguards safely there."My apprentice is enjoying my discomfort, your grace." The Hutt's large, bulbous orange eyes studied him before twisting his body back around to face forward.<You are uncomfortable about what exactly?> the Hutt inquired."The stench." It was not a lie and it was disambiguation enough that the Hutt could not take offense. The Works, thankfully, also stank as bad as the Hutt. "I am a creature of cleanliness."The Hutt chortled, the noise sounding like a reek dying. <Ah. You Jedi are particular about sanitation.>"I am certain that a long, hot shower will not rid myself of this experience." His Padawan snickered beside him and Dooku began plotting revenge on the boy. He may enjoy getting down and dirty in the mud and dirt, but he [Dooku] most certainly did not. He was certain that by the time this was over he would have devised a means of teaching the child not to laugh at his Master's predicament./Laugh it up, tree hugger,/ Dooku quipped snappishly. Qui-Gon simply smiled at his master which further irritated the man. /When we get back, I will have Master Yoda assign you waste duty. See how much you like wading in filth all day.//Careful, Master,/ Qui-Gon began, an endearing grin dominating his expression. /You're still on his Sith list, he might make you join me.//Ugh./Qui-Gon laughed again./I will have my revenge, boy,/ Dooku snorted derisively./Uh huh./"Impudent whelp." Dooku pursed his lips and glanced at the Hutt. "Drunga, I don't suppose you are in the market of selling cheeky Padawans?"The Hutt turned it's bulbous gaze on the Jedi Knight and laughed. <Selling Jedi are more trouble than they are worth.>"A pity."The Hutt's laughter was cut short with the familiar and dreaded whine of a blaster bolt. Drunga cried out in shock and fear as his body guards hurried to get their boss to the relative safety of a nearby building. Both Jedi escorts ignited their green bladed lightsabers and began reflecting the rain storm of blaster fire from above."We're sitting ducks in this passage, Master!" observed his Padawan. Dooku gritted his teeth as he tried to redirect some of the blaster fire back at their assailants while also trying to see who it was that was attacking them and how many were there."Get inside!" he shouted. The two Jedi retreated backwards, all the while providing an emerald shield of energy against the blaster fire for the Hutt and his bodyguards. Dooku and Qui-Gon ducked inside the building the Hutt had taken shelter in, a run down factory of some sorts that had seen better days ages ago."Pa chutt'a sleemos!" a furious Drunga exclaimed and Dooku merely scowled. <Do something, Jedi! Before they get bold and come in here!>"I am!" Dooku growled and risked a glance through the large door. He ducked back quickly in time to avoid a blue bolt of death. "We need to find another way out before they flank us.""Who are they?" his young Padawan asked, anxious for action as he bounced lightly on the balls of his feet."Could be gangsters, but I doubt it. More likely, hired guns to kill Drunga. I told you it was a bad idea to come this way." He directed the last at the Hutt. The slime had insisted on using his secret hanger that obviously was not so secret after all.<Just get me out of here, Jedi!>Dooku pursed his lips in frustration and knew he should not be wanting to leave the alien to his fate here. Disgusting slug, this is all your fault, he thought bitterly as blaster fire continued to pin them down inside the building. They could not leave through the way they came so they had to find another way out or make one."Qui-Gon, scout for an exit." The boy nodded and hurried deeper into the building. The building had catwalks and corridors and Dooku was confident that his Padawan would find a way out while he kept the assailants distracted with the thought that he was trying to push his way back out the large doors."Stay back!" he commanded the Hutt and his bodyguards. None of the Niktos were eager to defend their boss and inwardly he gave a sneer at their cowardice but grateful that they would not be in his way. The Jedi Knight twirled his lightsaber in his hand before he took a deep breath to center himself in the Force.He was not very good at deflecting blaster fire but all he had to do was deflect those that threatened him personally and dodge the rest. As long as he kept the assassins occupied at the door, they would be less likely to be flanked if the enemy thought they were trying to get out at the door. It also bought Qui-Gon time to find an exit.--------Qui-Gon Jinn hurried down the corridor and up a flight of stairs in search of a way out of the factory. He had passed several closed doors that hid offices and storage rooms but thus far had yet to find anything that resembled an exit on the factory floor. So he opted to try the next floor above, his eyes searching for any sign, both figuratively and literally, for an exit.A warning in the Force sent him sliding to a halt at a t-junction hallway and the teenage Padawan glanced down the left corridor in time to see sinister shadows emerge from around the corner. He grabbed the hilt of his lightsaber, ready to face the obvious threat that was coming. The light that cast the shadows of the armored men was natural, and he knew that he found a way out or at least it was a way in for the mercenaries that were after Drunga.Two Weequays and a Gand rounded the corner and spotted him. One of them shouted in a language that Qui-Gon couldn’t understand and as they raised their weapons to deal with him, the Padawan closed the distance in less than a second, his green blade singing to life to slice through the blasters. He had the advantage of surprise and made good use of it. With the Force and before any of them could react to his presence being so close, he flung one Weequay into the wall and brought his weapon around toward the Gand.The second Weequay drew a vibrosword from his back and effectively blocked the young human and bringing the fight into a melee. But the alien was no match for a trained Jedi, much less a Padawan. A few strikes and Qui-Gon had the alien literally disarmed. Had he expected the screaming alien to cause the two others to retreat, he had been sorely mistaken. No sooner had he felled the second Weequay, more of the mercenaries entered through the broken window down the hallway.Blaster fire sang down the corridor and Qui-Gon was forced to retreat back the way he had come. /Master! They have found a way in!/ he warned over the training bond. He felt his Master's frustration at the news as Qui-Gon ran back down the corridor with the aliens hot on his heels. The sudden sense of alarm from the man just before an explosion rocked the place sent the padawan running harder in concern. Dust motes rained down from the ceiling from the disturbance as Qui-Gon reached out to his master, probing his Master's health./I'm fine,/ he felt from Dooku rather than actually hearing the words. Relieved, Qui returned his attention back to threat chasing him. Instead of going down the flight of stairs to return to the others, he took a different direction to lead them away from the factory floor, pausing long enough to send some broken equipment in their direction and angering them into following for certain.The Padawan rounded the corner and skidded to a halt as a dead end he hadn't expected to be there blocked his flight. The corridor had ended with a balcony overlooking the factory floor rather than actually dead ending but it still meant he was trapped. Qui-Gon cursed his luck as he leaned over the half wall that posed as a railing and stared down at the chaos below.His master was standing in the middle of the floor before the large doors they had ran through earlier to escape the ambush. Drunga had slid to hide behind machinery while his Niktos bodyguards had taken up positions wherever they could find cover, firing at the doorway while his master deflected blue and crimson death back at the attackers.Qui-Gon could see that the mercs had pushed their way in with a well placed detonator, the blackened scorch marking where it had landed and twisted the metal doors that had been caught in the blast. He could also see that his master had been caught in it as well, the edges of the hem of his robe still smoking from the ordinance./Master?/ he inquired for direction. They were trapped in the building with threats coming in from two directions now and Qui-Gon knew it would not be long before his master and their charge were flanked from the catwalks and killed./Keep them from taking the high ground!/ Dooku instructed distractedly.Qui gave a mental nod and whirled around at the sound of shouts and running footsteps behind him, his focus brought back to the here and now. He raised the green blade of his weapon to deflect fire back at his attackers and managed to pull one of the human mercenaries toward and over the balcony when he made the mistake of stepping around the corner first. There was a surprised shout as he went over and a muffled thud when he greeted the duricrete ground two floors below.He jumped onto the balcony wall and stole a brief glance over his shoulder. There was a catwalk several feet away. If he could leap to it and cut the support struts, he could send it crashing down and deny at least one advantage point for the enemy. But to do so would risk injuring the Niktos and his master below. A stray bolt of blue zipped too close to his head and the Padawan scowled at the alien that had nearly ended his illustrious career as a Jedi.Too close, Qui thought and shoved at the alien, sending him sprawling into another and making both their shots to go wild and causing a mild domino effect of chaos. One blast hit an overhead light above the factory floor, raining glass shards down on the defenders below. The other hit a comrade in the back that sent him collapsing on a fourth alien that was trying to prime a grenade. The round explosive fell at his feet and rolled toward the others and everyone scrambled for cover or to get away.He took advantage of the chaos his shove and the exploding grenade had caused and leapt off the balcony for the catwalk below. Qui landed gracefully on the metal structure and stood in time to see that he was not alone. Some of the mercenaries had chosen not to chase him through the corridors after all and instead tried to take up positions on the catwalks over looking the factory floor.They also, apparently were not expecting the young Jedi to suddenly show up either. Qui-Gon rushed forward, his lightsaber swinging to block the shots of one of the mercs. The Weequay tried to change weapons to a vibrosword but was too slow, his weapons clattered to the floor along with his head. His friend fared no better and for a few moments the catwalk Qui was on was clear of threats.Qui-Gon used those moments to take stock of their situation and noted that his master had retreated further back with the Niktos as attackers slowly trickled into the factory from the large door. Bodies had piled up around the entry where they had fallen from blaster fire or a lightsaber slash. The whole area smelled of blood and death and ozone. Drunga was still hiding behind machinery and shouting at one of the Nikto bodyguards angrily before be hit the alien with a stubby back hand.Qui-Gon frowned at the mistreatment. That was no way to treat beings that were laying down their lives for you. Sometimes he wondered why the races enslaved by the Hutts did not revolt against the worms. Qui knew their power was only an illusion, only as good as the species continued servitude.The Padawan sighed before sensing through the Living Force two mercs emerging onto one of the farther catwalks. He looked up at the urging of the Force to see that they were sporting heavier arsenal. There was little he could do to stop them, the catwalk was too far for him to jump, even with the Force.So he did the only thing be could do and reached out with a hand and imagined grabbing the device with the Force all the while sending a warning to his master. /Grenade!/ The rocket propelled grenade fired at the same time he pulled.--------Master Dooku's arms were growing tired. He was already breathing heavy from his exertions in blocking the blaster fire and killing the mercenaries that were brave enough to try and engage him in melee. The Force sustained him and gave him the strength and energy to allow him to last longer than any normal person but even it could provide for so long before the body could not take any more.It also did not help that he had missed a shot and took it in the side. He winced at the stab of pain when he deflected another, cursing at the seemingly endless wave of attackers. Nearly a dozen lie dead or wounded at the entry, a few more where they managed to get inside and take cover. His injury and the detonator had forced him to fall back from his defensive position at the door to further into the factory.They were losing this fight and Dooku hated to lose./Grenade!/ he heard from his Padawan just as the Force warned him of the threat. There was no time to warn the others nor see where the ordinance was going. He simply listened to the Force to take cover.Intense heat washed over him as he dove too late, the blast sending him sprawling across the factory floor and dazing him. He faintly heard and felt Qui-Gon's panicked cry and a surge of intense anger and grief from the young boy. Lives winked out around him from those that had been caught in the blast radius and from those above him.Shakily, the Jedi Knight got to his hands and knees and stretched out into the Living Force. Many of the bodyguards were dead or injured from the rocket attack but Drunga was still alive and trying to get away in a panic. The mercs were taking advantage of the explosion and pouring into the factory, in moments he and the others would be overwhelmed. But his greatest concern was Qui-Gon. His Padawan was above him striking down the attackers above in anger, around him a darkness was swirling and mixing with the light./Qui-Gon,/ he called to his angry Padawan. Never before had he felt such intense emotions in the boy. The sound of blasters priming around him went unnoticed as he straightened up, his eyes closed. The Padawan had not answered him and focusing more he felt the boys mental shields had risen, blocking him out. Why was he blocking him?He pushed past those shields, he had to get to the boy before he went too far. /Qui-Gon!/ The startled feeling he sensed in the boy was the only sign that he had gotten through this time./Master?/ Qui-Gon sounded relieved to hear him, the anger subsiding. Dooku then felt a pang of fear and dread directed toward him and he opened his eyes to stare into a barrel just inches from his face. The Jedi Knight looked up at the owner of said barrel, a stocky human with ginger hair and beard and decked out in light weight armor-weave, a tattoo of a black sun barely peeking out from under the collar of his armored tunic."Hmm..." he gave the mercenary a cold smile. "It appears you have me at a disadvantage.""Surrender and you and your friend can walk out of here alive, Jedi," the human replied. "We only want the Hutt.""I'm afraid I cannot allow you to have him.""You'd die for that sleemo?" The thought seemed to confuse the mercenary and Dooku seized on to the opening to stall."Yes," he answered. Alright perhaps he wouldn't be willing to die for the slug, but it was an occupational hazard that he risked every time he took a mission anyway. "It's a job requirement."/Qui-Gon,/ he called. /I could use your help.//Love to give it but, my hands are tied at the moment./ Confused, he stole a glance at the walkway above him. The mercenaries Qui had been fighting had managed to subdue his Padawan. How they managed that, he wasn't certain but he had a feeling it was because of his current predicament.Dooku scowled.He hated losing."Fortunately for you, mate," the mercenary said after a moment of trying to figure out if the Jedi was just trying to be stupidly brave or really did mean what he said. "Our employer wants a message sent to the Jedi."He dreaded to ask, "And what would that be?""You are the message." Ginger Hair grinned wickedly and before Dooku could react, he received a face full of a blaster hilt. "That's for making this job harder than it should have been."The Knight fell back, clutching his face with one hand and trying to stem the flow of blood from his now broken nose. Anger quickly boiled to the surface at the indignity to his pride and face and he would have lashed out with the Force if the men around him hadn't opened fire first."Nighty night, Jedi.""Master!" was the last thing he heard before blacking out.