Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by EmeraldJediFire, Jan 29, 2013.
Intense between Kol and Roan and Ben and Luke and brilliantly ominous closing line.
Just finished reading this all the way through. Wow! I really like the way you pay attention to detail and the flow of the story is so good. It moves easily scene to scene. Not all that familiar with the character of Roan Fel, but I like him so far. Good work.
Thank you, I'm glad you like it. This is one of my biggest intricate stories I've done. It's one of my personal pride and joys.
really enjoyed the meeting and Luke and Ben
“I’m not sure if I can call it an ace; but it is my reason for being here.”
does this mean he`s going to tell him about Luke and Ben? Can't wait for more
Thanks for reading and reviewing:
@Nyota's Heart, and
Jen: I'm glad you've enjoyed meeting Fel. To me he's not characterized enough in the comics because the focus is on adult Cade, but I tried my best with the material I was given.
Now, for my update time for this one: I'm thinking this will be a two chapter a month update.
Also, if you don't want to miss this story's updates, don't hesitate to ask for a tag.
*Chapter 18*Maladai sat back in the seat looking nonchalant as they docked at the Coruscant spaceport. Nihl was too much of a eyesore as skilled as he was. He would stand out. But herself, Devaronians were fairly common, and with a simple change of wardrobe she could get herself closer to the Jedi’s seat of power. After all, Maladi herself had been born to a Jedi parent until Krayt had slain hers. It worked all the more that the Jedi were unaware of the One Sith.
Inherently, it was a danger, but it would also be a victory on their part. Luke Skywalker’s very presence threatened her master’s plans. If she could only get close to the Jedi, then she could dispose of Krayt’s problem. She knew, of course, she’d have to do this carefully. Approaching and killing him outright would be too messy.
Skywalker could not also be so easily swayed by false pretenses these days. He was also much stronger and active than she had anticipated—all of this learned via archives.
“It will work much better if only one of us goes.” Maladi said convincingly.
“You can change your clothes but what will you do about your face?” NIhl sneered.
She looked at him piercingly then left. “You will see.”
Maladi returned a few minutes later dressed in elegant blue garments.
“This pigmentation concealer,” she informed, the small jar grasped in her fingers. “Will work well to hide my Sith markings.”She said this all in a tone that indicated Nihl’s blatant stupidity.
Maladi seated herself once more and began delicate applying the concealer on cheeks and around her eyes.
“And how do you intend to get closer to Skywalker?”
Her cheek twitched in irritation and she stopped applying the concealer for a moment. Nihl’s nagging and questioning tone was starting to incense her. She had half a mind to whip out her lightsaber and carve it into his chest right then and there. She knew though Nihl was very skilled any attempt would become too chaotic.
She didn’t have time for chaos.
She didn’t have time to deal with Nihl.
She needed to find Skywalker.
“I will approach the Jedi under pretense of having an appointment with Kol Skywalker; I had made it with him a several weeks in advance to discuss a matter with him upon hearing his Ossus Project.” Using the Ossus Project against the man two-fold was pure gold.
“You seem rather certain of yourself.” She could hear the sneer in the other’s voice.
She closed the jar and put it away.
“Kol Skywalker is an honorable man, most notable for giving the hated Vong a chance when all else spurned them. If I show my interest in such a project that vaunts the creatures, I believe I will garner interest in return.” She straightened her outfit. “The other question is of course whether Luke Skywalker’s presence is what drove him to Coruscant—which I intend to find out.”
“You’re thinking perhaps he is closer to the man than we know.”
“It’s a possibility, but one which is unfounded. I’ll need to get to him first before I can determine the pretext under which he arrived.”
“If you say so.” Nihl snorted, muttering under his breath.
.Maladi had rented a private limo and a driver to drive her to the Fellowship Plaza. The driver was paid extremely well as to make sure he would stay extremely confidential. She had even gone as far to have forged documents and identity chips made. The limo was even painted a dark mauve color.
The driver, a male human, pulled up alongside her at the spaceport.
“You will receive rest upon the completion of my visit.” She informed him imperiously. She examined her fingernails.
“Yes, Ma’am.” He said, his voice guttural. He then turned back and handed her a case. “Your documents.”
She nodded silently.
Humans were useful. She knew a slew of alien species that would kill for the kind of currency Maladi was offering, but she found humans to be especially useful because of their innate greed. She didn’t doubt there were a handful of them that were noble and self-sacrificing but there was also a small niche that cared only about the rewards brought to them.
Which was why this particular human was perfect for the job she’d had in mind. He’d been brought to her attention by the Shamed One. After looking into him further, she had gone through the proper channels and made contact with a source. That source had in turn made contact with the man. They had spoken briefly, with Maladi sending him the information on his recompense if he so desired to help her.
He’d informed her that he would think it over and cut the transmission.
Thinking it over had lasted a mere few seconds. The man, one Larad Truvan, had eagerly accepted her offer. She had next sent him the instructions and transferred him half of the money in advanced.
“Is our destination the same, Ma’am?” He asked, pushing with his tongue what appeared to be a toothpick. He would prod it this way and that around his mouth.
“It is.” She paused, looking at him through slitted eyes. “Do we need to go over the instructions?”
“If you wish.”
A good answer.
“You will drop me off at the Temple steps; they will be expecting me.”
Truvan slowly pulled away from the platform and merged into flowing traffic. He switched lanes, carefully ascending higher into the sky as they flew onward. Maladi cracked open her case that Truvan had slipped to her before. She sorted through, picking up the identity chip then the forged documentation. She scanned them briefly before pocketing the identity chip and latching the case shut. Everything was accounted for.
She pursed lips thoughtfully and gazed out the window. She played the plan over and over in her mind. It was near perfect. He would drop her off as said, stay for the allotted amount of time to cement her cover story then disappear for the time being. If all went well, she would be either admitted into the Temple and confirm whether Kol Skywalker was indeed on planet, or if he was no longer or had never been, she would form a contingency plan from there.
Maladi tapped her painted lips with her nail.
The Shamed One had said that the Roundabout had been spotted planetside; that had been several days ago though. Could Kol Skywalker possibly still be here? If he had returned to Ossus at least she had that covered.
For now, she’d stick to the one lead she had.
.She arrived at Fellowship Plaza off of which the Jedi Temple made its home. This was the second reconstruction of the temple in what was known as the New Jedi Order era. The previous temple had taken major damage when Abeloth had shown her outrage during the occupation of Coruscant by the Lost Tribe. The vaunted Queen of the Stars hadn’t been pleased by the lack of worship from the citizenry—nor the intrusion by the Jedi—and had proceeded to rend the temple and the city itself with eruptions of magma.
It had taken nearly 100 years to repair damage that Abeloth had wrought on Coruscant; which had included re-erecting the Galactic Justice Center which also occupied Fellowship Plaza. From what she had heard had the CJC had plunged into the depths of the underworld when a particular volatile column of magma erupted. As a result of the devastating destruction to the city, the Jedi had been banished from Coruscant for several years.
Their reemergence and reclamation of the Jedi Temple had been a triumph for them but a hindrance for the One Sith. Krayt had largely assumed the anti Jedi sentiment would hold for a great deal of time. Still, it was the initial sentiment that helped push forward Krayt’s master plan. The sabotage on Wayland would cement their conquest.
She stepped out of the back of the limo, Truvan holding open the door for her. He was dressed in formal clothing. “Ma’am,” he acknowledged.
She nodded in return.
“Can I do anything else?”
“No, I’ll comm you when I’m done. This shouldn’t take long.”
“As you wish.” Truvan disappeared into the front of the limo once more.
As the vehicle pulled away, she started up the temple steps, eying the two Knights guarding the entrance. She calmly proceeded up the steps, standing tall, as if she was meant to be there. She stopped at the top of the staircase and looked to the Knights.
“Can we help you, Ma’am?” One Knight asked a black haired male.
“Yes, I have an appointment to meet with Master Kol Skywalker.” This was, of course, an outright lie. She knew inwardly that she didn’t have much of a chance of gaining entrance into the temple.
The two Jedi exchanged looks.
“And your name, Ma’am?”
“Daneel Stiil. I’m interested in speaking with him about a certain project.”
She watched them carefully, their actions would speak volumes.
The Knight gave his comrade, a male Ithorian Jedi, a nod, and the other eyed him for a moment before slipping inside the building. Maladi stood calmly as if she wasn’t on display for all of Coruscant to see. A few seconds after the Ithorian had entered the door, a beep issued from the Jedi’s belt and he pulled the communicator off, clicking it on.
“Yes, all right.” He replaced it and focused his gaze.”Would you please step inside for the time being?”
She was momentarily surprised she’d gained admission, if a little.
“Thank you,” she murmured and stepped passed the Jedi into the foyer.
“Please have a seat; someone will attend to you shortly.”
Maladi gazed around. So this was the Jedi Temple; she glanced at its vastness and splendor. For beings whose main attribute was humility their residence certainly boasted nothing of the sort. It was horrendously grandiose.
It seemed to take forever for the Ithorian to return. The wheels in her head turned and she began to run through all the possible scenarios that would follow when he returned.
If she was contradicted—which was a certainty—she could simply excuse herself, saying a there had been a miscommunication on her end. Though if Kol Skywalker was indeed still planetside, he could be mostly curious about the first mention of the Ossus Project and would not dismiss her so easily. If Skywalker turned out not to be on planet anymore, there could be a slight problem. Without him there, there was less a chance the rest of the Council would be so accepting.
She knew she could wrack her brain and turn over every possibility until it leaked out of her ears. No, she couldn’t overanalyze this.
The Ithorian returned.
“Madam Daneel, I have been informed the Council has no record of your appointment.” As they wouldn’t.
“Oh,” She took on a surprised look. “Are you certain? I was positive that I had an appointment with Master Skywalker. Perhaps…” She let her words trail off, leaving the Ithorian to fill in the blanks.
“Master Skywalker cannot be reached at the moment.” Cannot be reached. Off planet perhaps?
She set her lips. “He is out of residence then. That is troublesome; I came all this way.” She paused, suggesting, “There must have been a miscommunication.”
“That I cannot say.” The Ithorian Jedi responded in a tight lipped manner.
There were many interpretations to this: a) they were stalling for time, b) they had dismissed her outright, or c.) Skywalker was truly not here.
One way to find out she supposed. “Is there a way I could possibly meet with the Council?”
“I’m sorry, Madam Daneel, but the Council is very busy and cannot meet with anyone at this moment. If there has been a miscommunication; the Council will attend to it when it has everything sorted.”
Maladi studied the Ithorian’s features. She sensed a bit of wariness and the slight intonation that he was withholding information. Probably under gag orders from the Jedi Council.
She sighed as if conceding defeat. “Very well then.” She turned in place and proceeded to comm her driver. When she had finished giving Truvan the instructions to return, she turned back toward the Knights. “I will take my leave then; I will regrettably only be planetside for a day. I will be taking up residence on my ship at the spaceport. If I do not hear back from the Council by then…” She trailed off, letting the silence do the talking once more.
The Jedi simply nodded but did not offer any further information. Apparently he’d only been given permission to say so much. Wise move.
Her limo pulled up two seconds later—no doubt Truvan hadn’t been far—and the man got out and opened the door for her. Maladi stepped inside, looking toward the Temple steps as the door shut behind her. Truvan came around to the other side, got in, and they drove off. Her driver remained silent; a trait which Maladi was grateful for.
The man knew when it was his place to speak and when it was not.
“Where should I drive you to now, M’lady?”
Maladi almost seized up until she realized he’d called her by a careless title, not by her name. She bit her lip in irritation at being caught off guard like that. The imbecile.
“Back to the spaceport.”
Twenty minutes later, the limo pulled up outside the port and Maladi opened her door herself. She stepped outside, waving off Truvan, she said, “I have no further need of your services; the money will be transferred to you shortly.”
The man nodded, got back in, and drove off.
There would be no response from the Jedi. That much she knew. She couldn’t prove it, but somehow she had a feeling that Skywalker was no longer planetside. Being what he was….a Skywalker, she knew he would have come down to meet her, appointment or no.
Now, the question that still remained open….was the question of Luke Skywalker himself.
..“Do you seriously intend for me to believe that?” Roan said, sounding displeased. “Do you take me for some sort of fool, Kol?”
“Whether you do or do not is at your own discretion. I don’t have any reason to trick you.” He paused for effect. “But hope you’ll at least listen; if only for the sake of humoring me.”
He had fully expected this response from Roan. After all, when someone tells you a man who has been dead for decades is alive; one tends to regard it with skepticism. He shrugged.
“I suppose that might be asking too much, so I’ve brought something.”
He dug in his pocket and pulled out a holoplate. He set it down on the console beside them and tapped a button. He’d had this prepared for such an occasion.
A recording started playing immediately.
A man’s image flickered on the plate. He was an older man with angular features, dirty blonde hair, and a cleft chin. He looked to be in his sixties at the latest with his most noticeable feature being his piercing blue eyes. Such eyes.
“Ready?” The man asked, staring into the recorder.
Kol’s voice responded, “Ready.”
“If you’re sure you want to do this.”
“Very well,” Fel watched as the man took a breath, his eyes focusing sharply. “My name is Luke Skywalker; I was born in the year 19 BBY. I am making this recording at the behest of Kol Skywalker, my Great-Grandson. Whoever is receiving this message, I don’t expect you to entirely believe me. I didn’t believe it myself when I first arrived, but I’m not one to deny facts. Nor have I been known to disregard disaster when it becomes likely.
“I’ve learned far too much what tampering with the future can bring. It should make me hesitant to aid you, but strangely I’m not. I have a feeling that through my presence, the past and the present are cementing themselves together. I don’t know any more than that…so much is unknown and the future is constantly in motion.” He paused. “I can only hope that this message helps you decide and helps this galaxy, because being here has given me hope for the future. That the danger that threatens the Order I’ve spent so long developing will thrive past tomorrow.” He seemed to look off camera; looking for confirmation.
The image disappeared, dissolving back into the plate.
Neither of them spoke for awhile after the recording had been switched off. Fel went over the image in his head; noting all the features over again. Those eyes were quite telling; such determination, such vividness. Sky-blue. He’d even heard it referred to as Skywalker blue—though that only had been once. He could easily see why. He’d known plenty of people to have blue eyes but Skywalker’s seemed to have eyes that looked as if they could peer into your very soul.
This man’s had been no different.
His eyes weren’t the only things noticeable. There had also been the way which he spoke, which he sat. Fel had heard the innate sorrow and truth in his voice even though he’d not been able to sense it. The weight in the man’s voice was undeniable; as if he truly felt the impact of the entire moment. Even without the Force to aid him, Fel was able to tell if a man was play-acting or not.
Though, he would have dismissed this all as being a pre-recording if not for two important factors coupled together; Kol Skywalker’s distinguishable voice and Luke Skywalker’s undeniable age.
“All right, Kol,” He turned his attention back to him. “You have my attention now.”
“I’d hoped I would.”
“No, you knew so. As evidenced by your cleverly placed voice.” He smiled challengingly.
“You have me there.”
“Yes,” Fel shifted. “Now that we have that settled, do you know how he came to be here?”
“No unfortunately; that one detail is still unknown. He along with his son were found over a week ago on Ossus, west of the academy off of the mountainside.”
“His son? You didn’t mention that.”
“At the time I left the boy was badly injured; he won’t be able to participate in whatever is to come.” He took a breath. “Though I won’t discount him entirely—his father doesn’t. Great-Grandfather wouldn’t leave until he was sure Ben was stable.”
“Then you brought him with you?”
“Yes, but I came alone here of course. He is on Coruscant for the time being.”
“I take it you did not inform him who exactly you had gone to meet?”
“No,” He got up to stretch his legs. “I wanted to be sure you’d agree.”
“Are you sure you want to even then?” Fel questioned. He then stood, gesturing for Kol to walk with him.
The Jedi fell into step beside the Imperial ruler.
“I think it’s inevitable.”
“If you’re positive.”
“I am; though whether it’s necessary he meets you personally isn’t as clear.” Kol murmured. “I’m going to play that part by ear.”
They stopped in front the lift and waited for it to descend. Strangely enough the Alliance had been able to keep this station working, though it was rarely in use. Endor was frequently in transition and parts of it had been annexed for Jedi use—this command center mostly. Kol had it on authority this was partly done due to the Jedi Coalition during the Second Galactic Civil War.
“Very well.” Fel stepped into the lift and Kol in beside him. “So where do you suggest we go from here?”
“I don’t think we should do anything too major at this moment. Right now it’s enough that I have your attention---and presumably your cooperation.” He raised an eyebrow, Fel nodded. “Good. Now that I have your attention we can focus on keeping the lines of communication open between the Jedi and the Empire.”
“What about the Alliance?” Fel interjected. “Surely, you intend to tell them.”
“I don’t think that would be wise. I know it would be prudent to involve them but I don’t want to complicate things this early on.”
The door dinged and slid opened out onto a platform that had been primarily used for shuttle landings. The two men stepped out and took a few steps onto the landing pad. Kol gazed around before speaking again.
“With this possibly being Force-related, it’s most likely the Jedi field of expertise.” At Fel’s askance look he amended, “Or Imperial Knight.” He sighed. “Though frankly I don’t expect to keep it entirely under wraps; fate is a fickle mistress after all.”
Fel nodded, well aware of what his cousin had referred. The past had been wrought with moments like this.
“I suppose though nothing’s really changed per se…evil always has its way of rearing its grotesque head.”A pause, he took a few more steps. “Still,” He swung around. “I still want to keep this under our hats.”
“I understand your worries.” Fel elegantly strode forward. “But surely you don’t expect the Empire to wait around for something to happen?”
Kol gave Fel a weak grin. “No; of course not.”
“Nor do I think you have it in you to simply sit on your hands either.”
He shrugged, responding, “I’ve already done what I need to do,” then looked toward the expanse of trees. “But the groundwork has been laid so we don’t have much to worry about.”
“Let’s hope not.” Fel mumbled. “I’ve worked far too hard to let some unknown entity muck up things.”
.Before taking his leave, Nat composed a quick message to his brother, Kol, outlining what he’d seen. He informed him that he intended to track the Shamed One and would probably be in hyperspace, thus unreachable for a brief time. He gave his brother his last coordinates at the fueling station and said he’d keep him updated when he’d learned more.
Nat finished off with the traditional Jedi well-wishes and told him to take care.
“Don’t worry; I’ll be fine.” He added, before sending the message.
He waited for the Yuuzhan Vong to take his leave before launching his own craft after him. He turned on his instrumentation, checking the receiver to the honing beacon he had subtly attached to the ship. He had decided not to return to his ship to retrieve it, knowing it would have triggered suspicion. So he’d simply used a blast of propulsion from an empty missile chamber and shot the beacon out. (Of course he’d used a simple nudge of the Force to guide it the rest of the way.)
The receiver emitted a quiet beeping sound, red lights flashing. It became a spec as he made a show of turning in the opposite direction. He monitored the ship just before it made the jump; the read out spilling forth. This beacon was special; not only could it track a ship, but it had the capabilities of monitoring any hyperspace coordinates. In other words: it wasn’t exactly legal.
He knew somewhere his younger brother would be holding his head in his hands, shaking it.
Nat shrugged. He did what he needed to do at the moment; and what he needed to do was follow the Vong. Even Kol would accept that much.
He kept his pace steady until they were both out of range of the fueling station, monitoring the ship’s position by sight and instrument. The receiver gave out a particularly loud beep, signaling the other ship was preparing to make the jump to hyperspace. Nat’s eyes focused on the screen as he waited for the coordinates to appear.
It beeped once more and the variant of numbers popped up.
His fingers flew over the navigation console as he plugged in the coordinates as they were transmitted. Nat looked up just in time to see the ship vanish from sight, leaving a distorted space and stardust in its wake. Once he was finished, he pulled on the ship’s yoke to port, right before reaching for the lever to hyperspace. It was now or never, he thought.
He pulled back on it and in a blur of starlight made the jump.
Nat sat back, knowing that it was all up to the Force now. He could only hope the message he’d composed to Kol would reach him. He faintly remembered the look his Great-Grandfather had in his eyes. It wasn’t fear, but the look was just as intense. The look told Nat that something tremendous was about to happen—that one look had changed his mind. He had agreed to come along with him and Kol before he was even aware of it.
The man himself could have been a big factor, of course.
He hadn’t really put much credence into anything that happened though. Not until now. He knew that the presence of the Shamed One might amount to nothing in the end, but he couldn’t dismiss the nagging feeling he got when he’d seen him. Nor could he forget the souring in his soul at the unexplainable dark presence.
He’d given up his heritage quite some time ago, but he couldn’t shunt aside the feelings he got from the Force anymore than he could deny himself breath.
Terrific action. Maladi seems forestalled. Kol and Fel have an understanding/alliance, forged in cooperation and respect. Yay for Nat's assistance.
Loved the meeting between Kol and Fel and I can't wait for more
The meeting between Fel and Kol was well done. I liked that Fel was willing to listen once he saw that recording and understood the seriousness of things. Even though I am largely unfamiliar with these characters (Kol, Nat, Fel), I am enjoying this fic quite a lot.
De-lurking here!! I've been reading this story for the last couple of days and have finally caught up.
First, going back to the beginning; I was worried about Ben there for a while. Very glad he survived that wound.
Chapter 7--Loved the family conversation in this chapter between Luke, Nat and Kol. Kind of sad that Nat felt inferior to Kol.
Nice to see Roan's tune change a bit when Kol showed him the recording. I think with he and Kol on the same page, things will be easier as the characters move forward.
Well, most would think Fel would say, that's the Jedi's problem, but what harms his Empire has to do with Fel I figure
Can we expect an update anytime soon? I've really enjoyed this fic so far, even more so since I' ve gone through the legacy comics. Can't wait to see what happens!
I'm currently working on the outline for the next chapter. So once I get that hammered out..I'll start writing again.
take your time
Well, I'm sorta eager to get writing again.
Heh, just kidding! Good work requires time (as a major procrastinator I know it all too well)... Please, just make a promise that you'll wrap things up and won't let us live in this terrible uncertainty till the end of our days....Thanks
temps the muse with chocolate.
can't wait for the next chapter
Lots of chocolate.
Thanks for your patience! I've finally started writing again.
Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Note: Thanks to all who reviews and for your patience,
@Jedi_Tyler. I know its been thing long since I last updated this story, but I fell into a funk.. I'm back and it only took me a week lol
*Chapter 19*Nat remained in hyperspace for a good while; so long he’d grown tired of his captain’s seat. He shifted restlessly and couldn’t help but wonder where the Shame One was leading him. Doubt momentarily settled in the pit of his stomach as he began to second guess himself. Was he wrong to have followed the Yuzzhahn Vong out here purely on a hunch?
He shook his head.
No, he hadn’t been wrong. Something had been wrong; darkness had permeated the air foretelling that evil forces were indeed at work. He wasn’t sure if they had anything to do with the current circumstances, but he couldn’t let it go.
Normally, he wouldn’t have gone off like this. He was done being a Jedi.
If the galaxy went to hell though, and Nat could have prevented it, he wouldn’t be able to sleep. His family depended on him. He thought of his wife, Droo, back at home and the children he’d adopted as his own; Ahn and Skeeto. He would never leave a legacy like his brother; he was much more content to spend his life at Droo’s side, doing an honest day’s work.
That honest day’s work wouldn’t last long if he didn’t do this. He had to protect them.
A sudden fire burned as he thought about whatever it was destroying the happiness of his family. He wouldn’t allow it.
If this all turned out to be nothing at all, it would have cost him nothing but precious time. If he was right, he would notify the Jedi and saved everyone potential heartache.
He checked his instrument panel then the time on his wrist chrono. It hadn’t been that long since he’d first made the jump, less than 24 hours, but his own wariness put a strain on his muscles and his mind. At first it had looked like the Shame One was headed Coreward, but checking the calculations, Nat had realized that the jump-points weren’t quite right.
No, the Vong was not headed toward Coruscant. Perhaps because he’d already been there… He tapped his chin thoughtfully, knowing at this point his guesses were merely just that…guesses. Besides, the Shame One would have stuck out far too much.
As much as his brother’s pioneering efforts had hoped to elevate the galaxy’s opinion of the Vong, the last hundred years of their mutual hatred of the extra-galactic invaders would not be quelled so easily.
He shook the thoughts from his head. His brother’s plans notwithstanding, Nat knew he had to figure out where the Shamed One was headed. Merely tracking him was not an option. If he could discern what the Vong’s destination was he could possibly put a stop to whatever nefarious deed the being had in store—or at least alert the Council. No, he would definitely have to alert the Jedi Council if the Vong was truly connected to some sort of darkness.
“Maybe I shouldn’t do this by myself.” He muttered contemplatively.
His stomach suddenly let out a particularly loud rumble. He looked down at it, closing a hand over it and chuckled.
“No sense mulling on an empty stomach.” He decided, and pushed out of his seat, grateful to move once more.
Nat walked back to the galley, intent on fixing himself something to eat. Perhaps when he had filled his stomach he could think better. He snorted. To Nat it had always been a case of mind over matter. His stomach had never been a problem when it came to matters of the brain. He was too strong-willed for it to interfere at that level.
He pushed a button on the food processor and chose spinefish for his meal. He added a warm roll to the equation and searched in the cooler for something cold to drink. Nat popped the top and waited for the processor to spit out his food.
Now, getting back to his previous mutterings, there still stood the matter of whether taking on this by himself was the only option available to him. Oh, there wasn’t any doubt he could handle it. Nat may have left the Order and no longer called himself a Jedi, but he was still very capable regardless of those two things.
The processor dinged and he extracted his spinefish from it. He stared at it for a bit, coming to a conclusion. It wasn’t the only option available to him, but it was the only one that would work given the current circumstances. Any other option would surely leave the trail cold.
The Jedi would arrive too late for them to be of any use and he couldn’t risk waiting around.
Nat picked up his meal and retreated to the galley dining nook.
He would just have to figure this out by himself. As he began to cut into his fish, his mind drifted to his younger brother. If he knew his little brother, Kol would not waste any time on his end. Nat was well aware what the Council had concluded and knew that despite the ties, the Jedi would not reach out to the Alliance. The government had proven that the Jedi were not their allies when it came to matters of the Force. They had taken a firm stance since the events of a hundred years prior with the establishment of the Galactic Alliance Neutrality Act.
He recalled stories of that day, a frightening tale that would go down in the annals of history; the day Coruscant became a ball of fire and magma.
The government had blamed the ongoing war that spanned over millions of years. The Jedi had brought chaos to Coruscant and thus the Jedi could no longer expect the Alliance’s support in those matters.
So, instead, of seeking their allies, Kol would seek out a firmer hand to grip. The hand of very powerful man who knew the price the Force wrought and shared closer ties than any ally possibly could. For all their warring viewpoints, Nat was certain Kol wouldn’t let his mindset ruin the galaxy’s chance at survival.
Yes, if the galaxy were to survive whatever was coming…Kol would have to set aside his disagreements and embrace the hand of one, Roan Fel.
If all went well, the negotiations were already underway.
But, those negotiations didn’t concern Nat…no they didn’t concern Bantha Rawk.
After all, he had other matters to deal with. He’d do his part, Kol would do his and hopefully they could meet somewhere in the middle to figure out this mess.
He took a swig of his beverage. As he swallowed, he began to think of the Shamed One he was tracking.
“What are you up to?” he murmured, drumming his fingers against the table. His eyes were a storm of blue, becoming darker as he contemplated his question.
After a moment of silence, he set his drink back down and pushed his plate aside, no longer hungry. Nat then turned and got up to access the hyperspace coordinates from the secondary computer station. He brought up the coordinates and examined them. It was sketchy as all things related to traveling through hyperspace were, but he could vaguely make out the flight path.
He brought up his galactic map on the opposite station.
Even if the coordinates weren’t the final destination it should put him one step closer to finding out what the Shamed One was doing so far from his planet. Studying the star charts, Nat frowned. He couldn’t find any logical excuse or destination for the Shamed One’s route.
Wait, here was something interesting.
The flight path would appear to take the Shamed One straight through the Hapes Cluster.
He frowned again.
He re-checked the coordinates and confirmed. Vjun was the coordinate he’d received. His brow wrinkled once more. That could not possibly be right!
Of all the routes to take why in the name of Sith would a Shamed One take one which would take him straight through the Queen Mother’s sector. The flight path through the Hapes Cluster would take the creature entirely out of his way if Vjun truly was his destination.
What’s more it made no sense to tempt going through a sector which loathed the Yuuzhan Vong. Not even a Shamed One would put himself in harm’s way.
If the Shamed One had truly wanted to get to the Vjun from the Core, the Perlemian Trade Route was a far better option. It would take the creature slightly out of his way, but not as much as going through Cluster would.
None of this was making any sense. He bit down on his lip.
Unless, Vjun was not truly his coordinates and the Shamed One was taking the long route to throw off anyone who might follow him. But who could be following, him if that was the case? Had the Shamed One noticed Nat after all?
No, there was no possible way. He had been quite careful tracking him. Could that dark presence he'd sensed earlier been the reason? Had it alerted the Shamed One to his presence? He shook his head. No, what he’d felt was a lingering darkness, not a potent one.
Thinking for a moment, he ordered, “Computer, pull up all likely destinations from the Core outward, using coordinates 10, 88 (Basilisk) to onward. Plot it through the Hapes Cluster, and adjust flight path coordinates to wide margin of error spanning in between it and Vjun.”
The computer began to process his request, running through the corrected coordinates. He watched the wide sweep the coordinates/flightpath took on as it seemed to cut through Hapes, boomeranging around toward Vjun.
Nat looked through the scrolling list of planets and systems that appeared in the sweeping flight path. The first one that hit was the Auril System.
The most noted planet in the Auril System was….
“It can’t be…” he muttered.
Kol and Fel proceeded to pace the large platform, silence hung thick in the space between them.
“What would you have me do, Kol?” Fel asked, casting a sideways glance under his lashes.
“As I said before, we’re going to keep the lines of communication open.”
“I said, me...not us.” Fel corrected.
His gaze registered astonishment.
“I do not mean to speak so harshly, but I am starting to doubt your request…”
“Your High-” Kol started to object.
Fel made a slicing motion with his hand.
“I’m not saying you’re deliberately trying to deceive me.” His blue eyes piercing, but not entirely stony. He paused. “But I sense a wariness rolling beneath the surface of your calm exterior.”
Kol opened his mouth.
“And before you try to deny it, remember that my line is the same as yours. You cannot deceive me any more than I can deceive you. Our blood and the Force ties us, Cousin.”
“What would you like me to say, Roan?”
Fel arched an eyebrow at Kol’s evasive response.
“What I want has no relevance; it is what is right that matters.”
“What I want has no relevance; it is what is the truth.”
“What if I said...truth is subjective?”
“You mean a certain point of view?” Fel sounded amused, all the while resisting the urge to roll his eyes largely. Such an action would be undignified of a man of his stature. “Are you really so interested in playing these word games?’ His eyes narrowed.
“Not really.” Kol’s voice was flat--exhausted. “I find it much easier to be honest, you know that. It’s just that...I am wary of the turn of events. I have to wonder if they correlate generally with my grandfather’s arrival or were they already in progress.” He paused.
Kol shook his head. “It foretells possible catastrophe to befall my great-grandfather himself, but not anything concrete to connect him to the events. Though…”
He bit his lip in concentration. His green eye’s met Fel’s blue ones.
“I believe my son foresaw his arrival.”
“You mean Luke Skywalker’s?”
He nodded silently.
He then related to Fel, Cade’s vision/dream/nightmare. He hadn’t understood it before, but he did now. That paralyzation his son had felt--or thought he had--was definitely directly correlated to Ben Skywalker’s grievous injury.
“I don’t have any proof that it as all related anymore than the other vision…” He trailed off.
Fel saw in his cousin’s eyes a foreign look of uncertainty.
Kol turned aside. “As dire as it is, I’m afraid that more than the galaxy is at stake. If we allow him to interfere with our present, there won’t be a future.” He shook his head angrily. “It doesn’t make sense..”
He whispered this last part.
Fel waited for the other man to continue. It was obvious whatever Kol was thinking about had him distressed.
Kol drew a breath. “I think, I may need your aid containing disaster.”
“You want me to play babysitter--or more specifically my guards.” His tone was slightly sarcastic, but knowing as well.
“Not in the way you mean.” Kol corrected softly. "But I would like him watched. If you can spare the resources that is...."
"Pray tell what do you expect him of... Surely he knows the consequences of meddling with time."
"I don't think he ever got that far in his timeline. He doesn't know what Jacen brought forth."
"The Queen of the Stars," Fel intoned without mirth. “The embodiment of chaos itself.” He tipped up his chin. “Fortunately we put down that creature years ago, it was your father and mine that sought to it.”
A sigh. “I’m aware.” He crossed his arms over his chest. “The point is...I don’t expect him to stay on the sidelines for too long. The man is too strong-headed, he has a good heart and always puts others ahead of himself.”
“An attribute that should be lauded, I would think.”
“Naturally I would agree with you.” He lifted his own chin. “He..”
“You can’t stop him, Kol.” Fel interjected. “You’d be a fool to try.”
“So you’re saying we should just let things be.”
“Precisely. it might bring us closer to uncovering this evil if we let it be.”
Realization dawned on Kol.
“You’re proposing we let him be bait,” He stated, then corrected. “Use him.”
“It’s not as bad as you make it out to be.” Fel paced close to the lift. “If you brought this up to him, what would he say…. It’s true he knows how to bide his time, he’s not reckless anymore, but I doubt very much he’d pass up on an opportunity.
His cousin had him there; Kol knew the answer.
“You’re right, he wouldn’t.” He took a deep breath. “Still it’s dangerous tempting fate like this.”
Fel looked back and studied him for a moment.
“Don’t answer now. Get back to me,” He finally said. “I know what I propose goes against your moral fiber.”
Locking eyes with his cousin’s, Kol saw the regret flash for a moment before they became neutral once more. “I’ll get an answer back to you when I figure it out.”
“Pray that its not too long, Kol, if war is truly upon us…”
Fel broke their gaze first, hitting the lift button, turning back. “Now, shall we head back?” He asked, waiting for the door to open. “I believe there are minor matters we need to solidify.”
Kol relaxed his posture, arms falling to the side.
“Agreed.” He said.
Fel nodded before stepping into the lift, Kol following shortly after. When they were both secured within, the door shutting out the elements, Kol regarded his cousin once more.
“So we’re in agreement that there won’t be movement from either of us, until we've figured out what exactly the threat is we’re facing.”
“Of course; eyes and ears will be kept open on my end, mine as well as those of my Knights. You’ll be appraised of any change that takes place.”
“Same here, though..”
The lift dinged just then. It was about to slide open when Fel hit the STOP button.
“Are you sure your Knights will follow through?” His voice carried a trace of concern, laced with skepticism.
Fel’s eyes took on the look of two glass marbles. His lips set in a thin line as his regal voice took on a certain stoniness.
“They will be reluctant, but they will do as I tell them. Unless my soul has been tainted with Darkness, they will not oppose me.”
Kol was very well aware of his cousin’s little pact. The Knights would serve their Emperor until they had believed the Darkside had taken hold. It was their job to sway their lord back, or kill him if they could not. Another thing Kol didn’t entirely agree with, but he saw the merit in it.
He nodded back.
“Good,” The door slid open and he cast a brief glance toward the Knights. “I believe our business here is finished.”
“For now.” Kol agreed.
Fel stepped off the lift. “Will you be leaving right away?”
Kol eyed the men. “No, I’ll stay for the night.”
“Good, then you can join me for breakfast tomorrow morning.” Saying this, the Emperor turned to leave, his Imperial Knights flanking him.
Kol watched as they filed out of the control room, Fel’s elegant royal blue robes trailing him.
Luke looked up from the bedside of his injured and slumbering son, to see Cade standing in the doorway.
“I brought you some dinner.” Cade informed him, a tray in his hands.
“Thank you,,” Luke rose. “But I would have gone to the dining hall.”
“It was nothing.” He set it down on the table. “Since my Dad’s away, I feel its my job to make sure you have everything you need.”
The boy seemed to be mature beyond his years. He wasn’t sure it was his Jedi training or his familial ties that had honed him into becoming the person he was, but he was amazed by every word and every act. There was such dedication in him. Not to mention, the respect and fealty he showed toward his own father.
He found himself staring into the boy’s green eyes. In them, he saw the legacy his wife had left behind, but most importantly, he saw the admiration Cade had for Kol Skywalker.
“That's very kind of you.” Luke said finally.
“It’s nothing, my dad taught me to look out for family.” He stepped back, catching Luke studying him with such intensity. “What?”
“Nothing” Luke shook his head. “Speaking of family...have you heard from your father lately?”
“Odd, he assured me he’d comm once he had reached his destination.”
‘It’s not unusual for him to retain comm silence; Dad probably thinks the situation calls for it.”
Cade avoided looking him directly in the eye.
Luke was tempted to push the subject, but let it go. Most likely he would find out later, for now Kol’s current state of incommunicado wasn’t his primary concern.
“I understand. One more thing before you leave…”
“Yes?” Curiosity lurked in his eyes.
“Have you heard from your uncle? He was supposed to have been back by now.”
A frown. “No, I haven’t.”
“Normally I wouldn’t worry, but he’s the one taking me back to Ossus. I’m worried.”
“Hmm, Dad has his reasons, but if Uncle Nat says he’ll be back within a certain time frame...its not like him to not keep his promise. Unless another job came up, even then he’s very dependable about remaining in contact.” He turned to go. “I’ll look into it for you, if you want?”
“Yes, please.” Luke could feel the unease increase at this news, the unsettling feeling weighing in the pint of his stomach. “Something is terribly wrong...” He whispered.
Cade stopped and looked at him uncertainly. “I’m hope you’re wrong. What with recent events, we can’t afford anymore potential disasters…”
The boy left.
Luke stared after Cade for the longest of times, contemplating the boy’s words and the facts at hand. Kol had gone to do something, see someone and possibly seek aid or resolution to their current problem. He hadn’t kept in contact like he said--which was unsettling--but Cade assured him that it was normal given the current circumstances.
Which raised the matter that Cade was definitely hiding someone; the boy perhaps knew what his father was doing and who he was seeing. He was obviously not at liberty to say so though. He had let it go, but it still had his brain working into overdrive. Who was so important that Kol could not tell Luke about them? He set his lips.
It could be the reason that Kol had yet to call him. Whether that spelled danger was uncertain….
He didn’t know where Kol had gone, and he hadn’t left Luke his frequency where he could he reached. He could ask the Council but somehow he doubted they would relinquish Kol’s location to him who was still technically an outsider to their midst.
The bigger matter though was the other missing member of the Skywalker family. Nat, aka Bantha Rawk.
The man had yet to call him and the time of his return had already passed. He hadn’t thought much of it, but losing touch with both brothers left him unsettled. And being told by Cade that his uncle wouldn’t at least contact him to inform him in any change of plans only increased his worry.
He looked at his dinner, having lost his appetite. He knew that he should eat to give himself strength but...things were too perilous for him to worry about such things.
He looked to Ben who was still fast asleep, setting his jaw in determination. Somehow he had to get to the bottom of this.
Time for him to pay a visit to the Council.
Kol is right about how Luke won't stay on the sidelines for long. He's already contemplating in getting involved.
So worth the wait now wanting more
Fantastic scene with Nat: great details and just-enough mulling over Roan and Fel -- liked the tone here. Very much open and honest and willing to work together. Feeling a sense of urgency but at the same time knowing they can't rush headlong with too many unknowns. LOL Yup, Falcon's right. Luke's just about to dive in and probably create a situation or complicate the one that's already there.
Everytime he does dive in they have to reserve a bed in the med ward.
Put a bed on hold for Luke
Sorry this took so long. I forgot I never responded to your reviews..I should be getting back to this story soon.
Definitely won't. he wouldn't be Luke if he wouldn't if he did.
Roan and Kol are family even though its not openly acknowledged. They know how to work together.
Note: I officially suck lol I know..But it's here. Thanks for waiting
@Nyota's Heart and
“I’m sorry, but the Masters can only see people by appointment.” The dark-eyed male Knight argued fairly.
“This is an urgent matter.” Luke replied, maintaining an even yet commanding tone.
“Be that as it may, Sir.”
“Master.” Luke corrected. “Master Owen Lars. Tell them this concerns Master Skywalker. They’ll see me.”
The Knight looked at him uncertainly. His gaze switched back and forth and he shifted from foot to foot. He sighed.
“I’ll inform them...” He said reluctantly. “But I give you no guarantee they’ll see you.”
Luke watched as he disappeared beyond the doors, all the while doing his best not to look cross. He was already pushing it by demanding to see the Council---and an unknown Master demanding to see the Council was sure to raise a few eyebrows as well as a few red flags. He was lucky the Knight had not turned him down outright.
He sighed heavily then reached within himself to draw on the calm and patience he was sorely lacking at the moment. He drew in a deep breath then let it out, a bit more softly than before, and proceeded to center himself.
Eyes closed, he began to extend his senses, feeling the reservoir of calm beginning to draw into himself.
The man returned shortly with resigned look on his face.
“The Council had granted you admittance.” He informed. “Go through these doors and up to the top floor. The code is 5664.”
Although Luke already knew the way, he didn’t correct the Knight. He simple bobbed his head, arms folded, and replied, “Thank you,” before retreating into the confines of the turbolift.
Once in, he punched in the provided code then the designation. He brought out his commlink provided to him by Kol. He looked at it for a minute, contemplating who he was planning to comm. He could comm Ben. But to do what….inform him that he was leaving? That was better left face to face. Besides, Ben had still been asleep when he left. He pocketed the device again, waiting with baited breath as the lift ascended.
After what seemed like an eternity of waiting, he finally reached the top most floor and the door slid open. He stepped out of the lift and glanced at large door that led to the Council room. He had not taken the time to examine it the first time, but now he studied it. It was not much different from what it had been in his era. Once again, he stood before it, feeling the brief comfort it gave—and he welcomed it.
He raised his hand to ring the chime when a soothing voice said:
Luke recognized it as coming from T’ra Saa, the Neti Master. The door slid open a second later and he found himself peering into the familiar chamber for a moment. He stepped over the threshold and ventured further into the space. As he stood in the middle of the chamber, he felt very much like a youngling.
“Grand Master...” T’ra Saa intoned.
Luke waved this off. “Please, it’s just Luke.”
As much as he didn’t mind being the Grand Master, he had not taken the position all those years ago because he had desired it. He had taken it because it was necessary at the time. He much preferred to be treated as himself and not by his title.
He noticed how they observed him expectantly, feeling their anticipation. Though he felt as if they already knew why he had come and were merely waiting for him to announce it.
“You’re leaving us.” Master Saa stated.
He nodded stoically. “I’m afraid I must. Nat has yet to return; I don’t like the possibilities that lie ahead.” He paused. “I haven’t made this decision lightly I assure you, and I can’t stay while there’s something I could be doing.”
Tili Qua scrunched her nose. “We would expect no less.”
“I’ll need a transport, of course.”
“We can provide that.” T’ra Saa replied.
“And any information on Nat Skywalker.” He concluded. “His projected destination…it should be logged with Temple control, I assume?”
K’Kruhk’s tusks shifted. “Perhaps. Ever since Nat Skywalker left the Order, his dealings have been kept to himself.”
“What about his ship’s transponder code?” He asked, knowing that if he had logged with control he could get his transponder code. “Is he registered with any known trading company or alliance?”
The Masters traded looks.
No luck there.
That was fine with him, there were ways to get information.
“That’s fine.” Luke said out loud then cleared his throat. “When will the transport be available?”
“When do you expect to depart?” K’Kruhk inquired.
“Soon…I’ll need at least thirty minutes to gather my things and make my farewells to my son. I also need to consult with Healer Staad.”
“Very well.” Saa responded softly. “You are quite certain with this?”
“Then we will make the appropriate preparations.” K’Kruhk said.
“Thank you.” Luke bowed his head humbly. As he turned to leave, he paused as if he’d just thought of something. “I don’t suppose you know who Kol was meeting with?” His asked over his shoulder, the tone in his voice clear.
Another exchange of looks. He had a feeling that their answer would be same as it had concerning Nat: nothing at all. He needed to know nonetheless. The change in circumstances mitigated all else; they did not have the option of silence.
“I see.” He said, letting out a heavy sigh. “But I still have to get in touch with him.” His eyes said he would accept nothing less.
K’Kruhk gave a contemplative look, his tusks shifting once more. He looked over to his fellow Masters. T’ra Saa had her eyes closed and he could tell she was considering their current options. She opened her eyes and turned to Tili Qua then K’Kruhk. Tili gave a consenting nod and her ears flapped in time with it.
“Very well.” Saa murmured. “We will send an emergency [SW1] holo communication to Master Skywalker before you leave.”
Qua added, “Join us in communications center on the ground floor after you have made you preparations.”
He bowed his head. “I will, and thank you.” He responded, then turned to leave.
Luke returned to the ground floor and stood there in the turbolift, finger pressed against the HOLD button. He reached into his pocket, thumbing the commlink, and contemplated whether he should attend to his son first or get his things in order. He extracted the commlink and pressed the button.
He would contact Master Staad first to give him a heads up.
“Yes?” a female voice answered.
“This is Master Lars, is Master Staad nearby? I have to speak to him.”
“He’s currently out. Is there anything wrong, Master Lars?”’
Luke debated on whether to let the medic in on it, but chose to keep it concise.
“I’m making preparations to leave soon, and I’d like to confirm with him the care of my son. Could you pass that message along? I’d also like to speak with Ben before I leave, if all possible.”
“I don’t believe that will be a problem.” She responded, “When should we expect you?”
He pursed his lips and debated. “Give me ten minutes; that should be sufficient.”
“Very well, Master Lars. We’ll see you then.”
Luke clicked off, shoved the commlink back in his pocket and headed to Kol’s private quarters to pack. It took him less time then he’d believed due to the fact that he had so little. A point he had forgotten. He strapped the lightsaber to his belt and headed out the door, making his way back to the turbo lifts. Just when he was about to descend once more, an apprentice came running up the hall toward him. At least, he assumed it was an apprentice.
By the look in the lad’s face he could tell whatever he had to say, it was very important.
“Master Lars, Master Lars!” the youth cried out.
Luke looked questioningly to him, eyebrow raised.
He skidded to a halt in front of Luke, breathing heavily. “The….the…” His body sagged in an attempt to catch his breath. “The Council requests your presence immediately in the communication center. Please follow me.”
Luke cast a glance at the lift then back toward the boy. He felt an odd tingling dance along his spine. He frowned. He hadn’t expected to arrive at the communications room until he had finished his preparation.
Something’s not right. He thought.
“Lead the way.”
“Yes, Sir.” The apprentice executed a quick, polite bow before turning heel. “This way,” He instructed, glancing over his shoulder as if to make sure Luke was following him.
The boy was quite diligent, Luke observed, an admirable trait in a youth. He was at least eighteen years in age, tall and gangly. Some would have pegged someone as tall as him for Knight, but Luke could see the difference. He could feel it.
Luke elongated his strides in order to close the gap between them. He couldn’t slow the boy down nor would he want him to look as if the boy was discourteous.
“If you don’t mind my asking…what’s your name?” He asked.
The apprentice looked over his shoulder.
“Jax. Jax Rigs.” The boy answered.
“Jax,” Luke repeated then smiled. “You’re an apprentice, correct?”
Jax glanced at him curiously. “That’s right.” He grinned. “Though I’m almost to knighthood I wager. I’ve just got to take the trials. Hopefully the masters will believe I’m ready.” He blew out a worried breath.
Luke smiled encouragingly. “I’m sure you’ll do fine.”
“Probably will. My Master says I worry too much.”
He was about to respond when the youth stopped suddenly.
Jax announced, “Well, this is the communications center. Please go in. They’re expecting you.”
Luke nodded and watched as the boy disappeared back down the corridor. Behind him the door opened wide. Looming beyond the entrance way was a medium sized metallic room with various comm stations. Three beings were gathered around a comm station at the back wall. T’ra Saa turned to face him and bade him enter. He crossed the room in few seconds, his strides quick, and joined them. They were hunched over the console, examining a blinking red light
When he was close enough, Tili Qua pressed the button and a message crackled over the comm station.
“This is Bantha Rawk….I’ll make this brief; I believe I have encountered a piece to the puzzle which my brother and the Grand Master seek. I do not know where it will lead me, if to anything. I’m sending out this comm as precaution, leaving my coordinates, in the event something happens.”
The crackling sound gave way to a soft click, signaling the end of the recording.
Saa looked to him. “That was the complete recording. The time mark for this message was sent half a standard hour ago.”
Luke folded his arms over his chest, staring down at the non-blinking light. His face remained still as if trying to digest what he’d just learned.
“Then there’s no time to lose.” He said definitively.
Half Hour Earlier
Nat Skywalker, aka, Bantha Rawk, gaped openly at the destination visible on his map. He felt his stomach begin to sour considerably. He now understood the old familiar saying “I have a bad feeling about this”, and this was a bad as they came. The Vong creature’s path did not bode well at all, and if he was on the mark about it, things were going to Hell soon. Nat could not stand to watch the downward spiral of the galaxy and they could not have another galactic war. The galaxy had barely survives its former great wars; i.e. the Yuuzhan Vong War and the Second Galactic Civil War. Both of which his ancestors could not halt in time.
And his great-great grandfather was about to take on two back to back crises; one which wasn’t his to fight. Nat snorted. Not that that had ever stopped Luke Skywalker.
He tightened his fingers around the steering yoke. What were the odds that this Vong was headed to Ossus? Slim, he knew, but he didn’t like it nonetheless. It wasn’t that Yuuzhan Vong were such a foreign entity anymore, but the darkness that surrounded this situation and the creature’s destination couldn’t be a coincidence in Nat’s mind.
Even now he could feel a subtle shift in the Force. Something was about to happen.
“All right,” He muttered, blowing out a breath.
He reached over to the holo transmitter, knowing he was venturing into troubling territory at this point. He had to have a backup plan just in case everything went wrong. Thumbing the control panel, he set the holo transmitter to send out a message.
He drew in another breath and began to relay his message.
“This is Bantha Rawk…I’ll make this brief….”
Once he was satisfied with the content, he sent it on ahead care of Owen Lars at the Jedi Temple. He leaned back in his chair. It was all up to his great-grandfather and the Jedi Council now.
“Now, it’s time to see if I’m right.” Nat murmured. “But I hope I’m wrong.” He then typed in the coordinates for the Auril System. If he planned correctly, he could get the jump on the Yuuzhan Vong and beat him there by a day in advance.
He sent up a silent prayer and made the jump to lightspeed once more.
After the message had ended, Luke and the Masters started to discuss the current situation. There was indeed, ‘no time to lose’, as Luke had said. It was obvious to all that this had to do with Luke’s presence and the young girl’s dark vision, whether or not it was definite. They couldn’t leave anything to chance at this point.
Although Luke could feel uncertainty boiling beneath the surface, he also a stronger resolve.
He inquired, “What about Kol? Are we going to involve him in this?”
“Yes,” Saa answered. “Given the current situation we believe the most prudent decision would be to inform him of it, since his negotiations hinge on the outcome of all this.”
“So you haven’t yet?”
“No,” Qua answered. “We wished to confer with you before relaying the message to Master Skywalker…” She looked as if she wished to say more, but simply trailed off instead.
“I still intend to go.” He responded to her unspoken question.
K’Kruhk replied with a snort, “We expected as much, but we needed to confirm.”
“We will inform Kol that you are going to look into it.” Saa said.
Luke took note that she had used his given name, instead of calling him Master Skywalker. He supposed it had to do with the kinship he and the other masters shared. Though Qua still had called him Master; it was perhaps out of respect. He shrugged this off.
“Good,” He shifted his bag “I must take my leave now if I’m to look into this; I’ll be seeing my son then be off. I’ll be sure to report anything I find, and to update you on the situation on the hour.”
Saying this, he turned and exited the chambers, heading back for the turbolift. He took it down to the med center and passed through the doors. He spotted Healer Staad who had obviously returned within the short period he’d been preoccupied.
“Master Staad.” He greeted.
Staad turned, his bulbous eyes finding him. “Master…” The way he had voiced this greeting was an acknowledgement of Luke’s true identity. “He’s only been up a few minutes. He’s waiting for you.”
“Thank you, I’ll go on ahead.” He stopped. “I’ll be leaving soon.”
“Yes, I know.”
He ventured down the corridor, approaching Ben’s room. Entering it he took in his son who was sitting up and eating from a tray placed in front of him. He looked up and Luke noticed he looked much better than usual.
Ben’s face brightened upon seeing him. “Hey, Dad,” He finished chewing his food, but frowned noticing the look on his father’s face. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m leaving. Nat hasn’t come back and he should have been here a day ago.”
Ben continued to examine his father’s face. “It’s that serious then?”
“We believe so; Nat may have encountered something important.” He explained the message and Ben listened intently.
“I’m going with you then.” Ben said after he had finished.
“What?!” Luke exclaimed startled. “No. No. You’re still wounded.”
“But what if…”
“I said, no, Ben.”
Ben sighed. “I just that I worry about you. You’re all I have.”
“And you’re all I have.”
“Ben, it’s my job to look after you, I’m your father. It’s not your job to look after me.” He could see the concern in his son’s eyes. “I’m going to come back, Ben.”
“You better.” He rejoined playfully.
Luke smiled. “I will.” He walked over and lightly hugged his son. “You take care, and get some rest.”
“All right,” He shrugged his father off. “Enough with the mushy stuff.”
Even as he said these words, Luke could see the warmth in Ben’s eyes. He chuckled at this.
“All right. I’ll be leaving. Don’t give Master Staad or the medics any trouble.”
“I won’t.” As Luke turned to leave, Ben called out, “Hey, Dad. Watch you’re back out there, all right? I won’t be there to save you this time.”
He simply smiled at his son’s cheek and gave an acknowledging wave.
“He still intends to go then?” Kol asked, sighing.
He had just been about to bed down when a holo transmission had come through. He had alerted Fel immediately and the two congregated on his shuttle along with two Imperial Knights. If he could have he would have liked to have retained comm silence, but news of his great-grandfather’s decision couldn’t be ignored. Too much hinged on it.
“Yes.” Saa answered on the other side. “He was on his way to visit his son in the med center before leaving.”
He gnawed on his lip. He had known that if the situation changed that Luke would willingly thrust himself into the proverbial rancor’s jaws. He knew this changed matters, but the question was how much. He didn’t necessarily have to bring in Fel in entirely—in fact it was better if Fel handled things separately on his side. Divide and conquer and all that.
His negotiations concerning the Knights, however, still stood. He had Fel agree to such a thing because he knew sooner or later something like this would take place. It was sooner than Kol would have liked. If you looked up resolute in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Luke Skywalker. And beneath it would say, ‘See stubborn’.
“Let him go,” He finally said. “Nat could use the back up and he’ll do so regardless whether we forbid it or not anyhow. Please keep me informed.”
Kol then clicked off before Saa could say anything further.
“Will you be joining him?” Fel’s deep voice rumbled from behind.
Kol turned to the Emperor and shook his head.
“I’ll be heading back to the Temple. Then I’ll assess the situation further when I arrive.” His eyes were like hard emeralds as he said this; the situation reflected in them. “I want you to keep a look out on your end, put your feelers out and prepare, but otherwise do nothing.” He paused. “I’ll need your Knights now more than ever.”
Fel replied gravely, “I understand.” He looked to his Knights. “I cannot spare the ones I have at this time, but I can send Knights later.”
“That’s perfectly fine.”
“You’re leaving right away I assume?”
“Yes. I would have liked to have rested but I suppose that will have to wait.”
“Indeed. We will take our leave then.” Fel excused himself. “And let you prepare to leave.”
Kol nodded. “Let me escort you out.”
“That will not be necessary.” He waved the offer off and turned to exit the shuttle, his Knights flanking him.
Kol watched them leave then followed after a time. As the Imperials descended the ramp, he called out from the hatch, “I’ll be sure to appraise you of the situation should anything new occur. I ask that you please do likewise.”
His cousin looked back.
Fel then continued on toward his own ship. Kol turned back, sealing the yacht’s hatch behind him before proceeding to the cockpit. His mind remained focus on the future as he began to power it up. After the ship was primed, he did a brief systems check before lifting off. As he piloted the ship into the atmosphere his began to think about his grandfather Ben who lay wounded in bed. He knew without a doubt Ben would resent the fact that he had to remain bedbound during all of this.
He then thought about his own son and what all this meant for him. Cade would provide a proper distraction for Ben and watch him while Luke was away, Kol decided.
Several minutes later, he burst through Endor’s atmosphere and hovered above the planet for a brief moment before programing the jump coordinates to Coruscant. Drawing in a deep breath, he punched it and sat back as the Roundabout made the jump.
Darth Maladi lounged back in the ship’s lounge, absentmindedly examining a map in front of her. She picked up her head as Darth Nihl walked in. He looked extremely irritated about something, his thin lips set in displeasure. Yet at the same time she glimpsed something else….Though she couldn’t establish what.
“What is it now?” She asked annoyed.
“The Jedi have played us.” He stated matter-of-factly. “Skywalker is here, or he was a half hour ago.”
“Was?” Maladi inquired, intrigued.
The other Sith’s lips spread into a viciously eerie smirk and Maladi could sense the excitement in the air. The uncountable….joy.
“We now we have the proof our master needs. Now, we know where he is.”
He almost seemed gleeful at this news--almost.
Maladi shuddered at the image of an exuberant Nihl.
Dismissing this, she sat up. “How did you find this out?”
“I have my own sources; moles within places outsiders can’t go.” His smirk grew wider. “Places such as the Jedi Temple.”
Maladi flared with irritance. “Then why didn’t you tell me earlier about this?” She hissed.
Nihl gauged her with a sickly smile.
“In case your plan turned up nothing, I had to have a backup source.”
Maladi could hear the disdain in his voice. She curled her fingers tight, her nails cutting into her palms. Hostility radiated from them both, though she was feeling a greater share of it than Nihl. Reluctantly, she tamped down her rage; she couldn’t afford to lose her head over this.
Tracking down Skywalker was their number one priority—even though she’d like to personally rend Nihl limb from limb for his snide remark.
She dismissed her urge to kill for the time being.
“What did your mole find out exactly?”
“Both Kol Skywalker and the elder Skywalker were in residence up until recently. Kol left several days ago, but the Grand Master himself left quite recently.” He gestured towards the holotable where he inserted a data card then pulled up a 3D map of Coruscant. The spires of the city rose up, spanning at least five feet in the air. “My informant,” He tapped a button on the side of the table, panning in on the digital map to the chosen area. “Was situated in this area,” He waved his hand over what appeared to be the southwest side of the Temple near the gardens. “He was milling around this area near the docking bays when he witnessed the Jedi Council and a single man dress in Jedi clothing heading toward a shuttle. The others stayed behind while the unknown Jedi boarded the ship-”
“How does your mole know it was him?” Maladi cut in abruptly
Nihl shot her a disguised look of irritation.
“I was getting to that. They called him Master Lars.” Maladi frowned when Nihl looked expectantly her way. “Master Lars. Full name: Owen Lars.”
“Owen Lars,” She said huskily. “The uncle and surrogate father of Luke Skywalker before he joined the Rebellion.”
“Correct.” He strode away from the table. “If you recall, Owen Lars was an alias Skywalker used.”
“Very sparingly.” Maladi murmured. “Once on Nam Chorios during the Death Seed plague, the other…is speculative.”
It was speculative in that they weren’t sure if during Skywalker’s own timestream he’d made it to Nam Chorios again. It didn’t matter anyhow.
“And did your spy find out anything else?”
Nihl didn’t answer her immediately.
“Nat Skywalker has found our Vong spy.” He said with grim look in his eye.
Maladi was apt at reading in between the lines, and she could already discern what Nihl had left unsaid. Luke Skywalker, the dashing hero that he was, was going after his kin. No doubt to what he thought was to prevent him from harm.
Maladi had the greatest urge to roll her eyes.
“Well, shall we greet the hero of Heroes?” Maladi asked, her voice dripping with derision.
Excellent and gratifyingly long update. about the Sithy types being fully informed. Loved the father/son snarky affection.