Beyond Legacy of the Force: You Were My Brother - (AU, Caedus - Final Chapter Updated 5/20!)

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Dashren2001, Sep 17, 2012.

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  1. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1

    [IMG]

    Dramatis Personæ

    Jacen Solo/Darth Caedus - Human Male - Sith Lord, Chief of State of the Galactic Alliance and Commander in Chief of the Unified Planetary Force
    Jaina Solo - Human Female - Jedi Master - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Zekk - Human Male - Jedi Knight - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Ben Skywalker - Human Male - Jedi Knight - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Brant Preyl - Human Male - High Commander of the Unified Planetary Force
    Leia Organa Solo - Human Female - Jedi Master
    Han Solo - Human Male - Smuggler and Pilot
    Kyle Katarn - Human Male - Jedi Master - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Jan Ors - Human Female - Mercenary and Pilot - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Tahiri Veila - Human Female - Commander of the Galactic Alliance Guard
    Luke Skywalker - Human Male - Jedi Master - Head of the Jedi Coalition
    Dash Rendar - Human Male - Mercenary and Pilot of the "Outrider"
    Salla Zend - Human Female - Mercenary and Pilot of the "Starlight Intruder"
    Kyp Durron - Human Male - Jedi Master - Member of the Jedi Coalition
    Corran Horn - Human Male - Jedi Master - Member of the Jedi Coalition

    Part 1


    “You were my brother!”
    “I still am.”

    The cloaked figure continued his slow progress forward, each instinctively-measured step resounding against the metal grating beneath. Behind him, through the floor-to-ceiling glass, flashes of green and red shot by like comets, often colliding with crackling layers of blue. Flaming hulks of metal soared to-and-from the direction of the bridge, sometimes falling to pieces, sometimes colliding into the hull below. The impacts were insignificant, the momentum of the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer enough to simply brush aside such collisions. The Confederate gunners had been hand-picked by their commanding officers, and the ship’s captain was certain in their ability to swat away any threat to his flagship.

    “No you’re not! You’re nothing like the boy I looked after on Yavin, collecting his animals and studying the life around him. He was one with everything in the galaxy; he was full of compassion and empathy.”

    The cloaked figure stopped in his tracks. She was unable to tell whether it was by design or if he was physically reacting to the scathing remark. She had no idea what hold she, as his sister, still had on him. Had he brushed their years protecting one-another aside, or did a small glint of connection still glimmer in the dark depths of what he had become?

    “That boy was a stepping stone,” the hooded man said as he resumed his procession. “It was one of many that lead to my formation. Do you claim to have seen every side of me; every day of my life? Did you see the vision that kept the Chiss and Killiks from destroying each other? Did you nearly cripple the only person you’ve consistently cared about your entire life? Don’t presume to know my entirety, Jaina.”

    Jaina had to step back, her heart having grown so heavy that it threatened to put the Jedi on her knees. She simply couldn’t grasp how her brother had grown so cold. Jaina’s mind was racing, searching desperately for some sort of reason behind the transformation, making her question whether she had, in some way, contributed to it.

    “So, Jacen was just another link in the chain.” It was only partially a question. “So every minute we spent together, teaching each other, fighting together, is now just a piece of Darth…”

    She knew his new Sith title, but she wanted to hear him say it. Some part of her needed the words to come from his mouth to finally believe them.

    “Caedus. And until that strike on the Chiss shipyard, you had done nothing that would send me down this path. You were good to me, if not a little constricting.”

    Jaina’s mind easily recalled the assault. After having foreseen a catastrophic war, Jacen had convinced her and a few other Jedi to launch a pre-emptive assault on a shipyard in order to force one side’s hand. While it had, in fact, prevented a major war, her brother’s brazen disrespect for the lives of the yard’s workers during what was supposed to be a casualty-free action had caught her off-guard. It was a direct betrayal of her respect and love. And it was, as she could now see, the beginning of the end of Jacen Solo.

    “You fired on me, mom, and dad at Hapes, and you tried your best to corrupt our young cousin just as yourself.” Jaina continued to choose her words carefully so as to signify their familial bond.

    Caedus stopped once more, now a mere six or seven meters from his sister.

    “Han and Leia did what they felt was right restoring peace to their galaxy,” His voice was calm and collected, bordering on condescending. “And I am doing what I feel is right to restore peace to mine.”

    In the background, a Galactic Alliance X-Wing took a concussion missile to one of its starboard engines and erupted in a cascade of red plasma and blue lightning. A TIE Interceptor with green markings running along its wings soared through the fading ball of flame, an A-Wing hot on its tail. The center of battle was slowly-but-surely shifting further away from Coruscant. The first clashes had erupted mere kilometers outside the world’s outer atmosphere, but as a result of Darth Caedus’ direct control over the fleet, the assaulting forces were being pushed back toward their original jump-in locations.

    “Your galaxy?”

    “If the congress and statesmen cannot agree, then someone shall move into a position to make them agree. Someone wise; someone just.”

    “Those aren’t your words,” Jaina was certain of it, but couldn’t place where she had heard it before.

    Once again, her words had been carefully chosen to avoid showing Jacen that he knew more than she did. Unfortunately, it seemed like her feelings had betrayed her anyway. She could feel the invisible tendrils of Force finding their way into the outer layers of her consciousness, dancing across her most visible of emotions and grasping at words before she thought of them. Without any outward signs, Jaina drew upon just enough Force to shield her cognitive mind from the invasive motions.

    Darth Caedus’ lips betrayed a smirk.

    “They’re the words of my predecessor, Anakin Sky-“
    “Vader,” His sister shot in.

    Caedus’ smile shifted from arrogant to calm wisdom. “Yes, eventually he did take on his Sith mantle, just as I have now.”

    Jaina shifted into a ready stance as subtly as she could. “Vader died just after one last act of redemption. I can only hope you have the same luxury.”
    Last edited by Dashren2001, May 20, 2013
  2. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 2
    “Vader died just after one last act of redemption. I can only hope you have the same luxury.”

    Despite every ounce of strength she had, her voice still managed to falter at the tail end of the statement. Everything around her, between the cold steel walls of the Command Chamber, to the battle raging just outside, had a layer of surrealism that she was unable to push aside. It was all rushing back to her: Every memory she held dear, every moment that defined who she was, every battle that put her one step closer to the unseen Force. And as she saw every convergence of her life with the world around her, she realized that hardly one had gone by without Jacen there.

    After the Emperor’s death inside the second Death Star, the Galactic Empire shattered into various War Lord-controlled factions, some allied, others in constant territorial wars. One of them called itself the Second Imperium and was spearheaded by theShadowAcademy. This new force was exactly what was needed to defeat the rising Rebel Alliance after such a great victory. However, the Solo twins had been there to stop them and their leader, Brakiss. How these two could’ve shared such a victory then, only to be facing one-another down now, simply seemed impossible to Jaina.

    Her lips shifted ever-so-slightly, the first signs of approaching tears.

    “I really don’t want it to come to this, Jaina. You’re still dear to me,” Caedus said, allowing a bit of honesty to slip into his coldly-calm voice.

    As he spoke, he pushed back the dark hood past his head, finally allowing the white ceiling lights to illuminate his face. Jacen had always been fairly attractive for a Human male, inheriting both the elegance of Leia Organa and the roguishness of Han Solo. As he had aged from his days at theYavinVIIIJediAcademy, he had gradually shifted from almost effeminate to rugged and war-scarred.

    However, from what Jaina could see now, it seemed the past year had aged him a decade-and-a-half. His jaw bone had never been as expressed as it was now, his skin had taken on a sickly-yellow tone, and the creases beneath his eyes were growing heavy. However, what struck her the most were his venom-yellow eyes. She could only assume they had been warped into such a color through the constant abuse of the Force.

    “Is that Jacen saying that, or Caedus?”
    “Jacen, of course,” His response came, though a bit too quickly.

    Jaina paused before her next question, allowing the living Force to course through her veins and calm her nerves.

    “And whose Lightsaber is hanging at your hip?”

    It was Caedus’ turn to take a hit; the calm smile quickly disappeared and was replaced with the same scowl Jaina had always associated with Jacen not getting what he expected. The Jedi pilot could feel the Force swell around her brother, forming the first layer of a Jedi’s awareness bubble. This meant that if Jaina were going to attack, Caedus would be ready for it just a moment before.

    “Jaina, look around you,” Darth Caedus waved his arm toward the battle behind him.

    As if on cue, what appeared to be a Confederation Star Destroyer took a volley of concussion missiles to the face of its bridge tower. As the fire cleared, a train of bodies began to tumble out of the open crater that was once the main bridge viewport. The ship was now all but crippled. It was a toss-up whether or not it would descend into the planet surface below.

    “The insurrection is over. I’ve utilized all the resources the galaxy has to offer and have restored it to peace,” Though his words were grandiose, his voice was still just as calm and collected as ever. “We’re about to see a new age of glory for the Galactic Alliance. In fact, I have to thank you.”

    “Oh?” Honest surprise found its way into her response.

    “Yes. Thanks to the Corellian rebellion, the resultingAlliancevictory will unify the galaxy like nothing before. A clear leader, a clear flag, a clear military, and a clear future…”

    Had Jaina been willing to end the fight before it began, then would have been the moment. With his eyes watching the blazing engagement and a Jedi cloak separating his hand from his Lightsaber, Jaina could’ve summoned just enough speed to put her bright violet blade through his chest before he could defend himself.

    But then she sensed something rustle in the Force, and she realized that Caedus was well-aware of this apparent weakness. The Sith Lord had established a link through the Force with one of the larger hanging lights between himself and Jaina. Had she gone for the kill, the high-intensity bulb would’ve smashed across her face and, in all probability, shocked her into unconsciousness.

    “How did you get up here?”

    The question caught Jaina off-guard. Instinctively, her gaze drifted down to the Galactic Alliance squadron mechanic jumpsuit she had grabbed a few minutes after the stolen Lambda-class shuttle had dropped her off in one of the lower hangars. Her mind continued to recall the rest of the quest to the observation deck, which could be summarized in a series of Force persuasion tricks and running by already-confused GA security rounds.

    And unlocked doors. Even for a ship in the heat of battle, a time when every man and woman onboard has to get somewhere, Jaina remembered noting how there was an unusual amount of unlocked doors throughout the command tower.

    Then it clicked.

    “You knew I was coming.” The statement came out as though Jaina had known it all along.

    Caedus flashed a sympathetic smirk. “Knew you were coming? Jaina, I practically invited you. My gunners were about to blast you and Zekk out of the…”

    Hearing Darth Caedus speak Zekk’s name reestablished the little bits of surrealism Jaina had managed to shove through up until that point. After leaving the Academy on Yavin, Jacen and Zekk had little-to-no contact, their only communication often a direct result of sharing a Jedi mission. She had never been sure what her brother thought of him, though the irony of her falling in love with an ex-Dark Jedi was quickly becoming apparent.

    Jaina finally noticed that her brother had stopped talking, and she looked up to see that he was staring at her with curiosity.

    “Where is he now, if you don’t mind me asking?”

    The daughter of Han Solo knew better than to fall for such a gambit. Jacen, better than anyone in the new line of Jedi, had mastered the art of mental intrusion. And she knew, just as the latest Dark Lord did, that if she were to fall, her lover was the best chance at taking Caedus down. At least, considering Kyle Katarn was now out of the picture.

    And it was in that moment, having caught Darth Caedus in his own web of treachery, that Jaina finally realized that her brother could not be saved.

    “He’s right where he needs to be to play his part in your downfall.”

    At this point in his life, Jacen betrayed little-to-no emotion in his face. So when Jaina saw that familiar burst of surprise flow across her brother’s face, she knew that he knew the conclusion she had come to.

    Jaina Solo felt that it was time to show her teeth; to show her last brother that she was not afraid. If there were ever going to be a threat in the universe that would scare her more than anything else, it would be the thought of facing her own brother in a fight that could only end in death.

    The familiar sound of a lightsaber’s snap-hiss echoed in the empty observation chamber.

    “I love you, brother.”
  3. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 3

    A soft purple glow spread across the dark gray jumpsuit, turning it to a muddled brown and her hand to an alien violet. The vibrant color stood out like a beacon, alive in some way, within the gray and silver observation deck. Various shades between white and black were now somehow menacing, the lightsaber’s blade finally signifying the lack of color in the room. Despite the best of efforts, the beam twitched ever-so-slightly this way and that, Jaina Solo unable to still her hand entirely.

    “Jaina, please,” her brother spoke, his voice more condescending than concerned, “Don’t do this.”

    The last of the Solo-born Jedi held her head high, a stiff determination surrounding her words. “I’ve yet to see a compelling reason why I shouldn’t.”
    “I’m your brother?”
    She shook her head. “Anakin and Jacen were my brothers. One was killed doing his duty, the other was apparently just a stone worn away by time.”

    As her last few syllables came forth, Jaina brought her other hand around and grasped the previously untouched portion of the lightsaber’s hilt. Her left foot moved in front of the other, giving Caedus a good look of her left shoulder.

    A nearly-invisible trail of moisture on each of Jaina’s cheeks glistened in the artificial light, but she refused to grant her brother the privilege of seeing her wipe the tears from her eyes. Tapping into the same line of Force that had stilled her nerves a moment before, she now allowed it to reach her eyes, the invisible tendrils of pure life caressing her face and lapping at her eyelashes.

    The moisture on her face and within her eyes was gone.

    “You use the Force to hide signs of natural human emotion,” The Dark Lord’s voice was offended. “And then accuse me of abusing it?”

    Jaina chose to ignore the comment, knowing that it was only a ploy to distract her.

    The air grew still, the only movement the unseen stir in the room’s atmosphere that Jaina’s lightsaber was creating. The room had fallen eerily silent, the muffled booms of ships blasting the spit out of each other having long-since faded. Jaina desperately wanted to bend her knees, allow her eyes to loosen, and enter a true fighting stance. But her mind –or was it her heart?- simply wouldn’t allow it. She realized now that he would have to make the first move before her entire being was ready to take a blade to her own brother.

    “Lord, the Confederation forces have begun to retreat out of system.” The tinny and static-tinted voice of an older male human sounded from somewhere beneath Caedus’ robe. “If we don’t follow soon, they’ll escape our projectors and likely jump into hyperspace.”

    Darth Caedus casually reached into the cloak and withdrew what looked like a large pen. Flipping an unseen switch along its shaft, he raised the device to his lips and spoke.

    “Good work, Commander. Pursue without hesitation, fire at will. Don’t allow them to jump until their forces are completely unable of combat.”

    “At once, my Lord,” The faceless officer replied, enthusiastically from the sounds of it.

    Then Caedus seemed to hesitate, his eyes meeting Jaina’s for the briefest of moments, and then spoke into the comlink once more.

    “Commander?”
    “Yes, Lord Caedus?”
    “Is the Millennium Falcon still in the air?”
    “Yes sir, and her threat to my fighters is becoming more apparent by the minute.”
    “I don’t want the Falcon shot down unless it begins to pose a direct threat to the capitol ships. Reroute entire squadrons; send out decoys, I don’t care.”
    “As you wish.”

    Jaina’s grip on her blade loosed slightly, the Dark Jedi’s apparent sympathy toward their parents both confusing and infuriating.

    “What,” Jaina said, almost shouting. “Am I supposed to suddenly see you as righteous and swear allegiance to your cause?”
    “No, you’re supposed to be off-guard.”

    She began to respond with a confused “What”, but the Force was screaming at her to move. Jaina launched herself into a roll, extending her lightsaber in Caedus’ direction so as not to impale herself during the movement. Less than a half-second later, a lighting fixture the size of an astromech droid crashed into the ground where she had been.

    The floor beneath dented and sheared, hundreds of invisible shards of glass shot into the air, the light housing crumpled and bounced back upward, and the thick wiring the light had been attached to sparked and crackled across the ceiling. As the debris and smoke left the air, and the room became that much darker, Jaina Solo was finally settled on the fact that she, should it take her minutes or years, was going to kill Darth Caedus.

    Time slowed as Jaina leapt, sending every ounce of her strength into her legs and propelling herself across ten meters with the ferocious grace of a nexu predator. As her lightsaber came within a dozen steps of his eyes, Caedus’ lightsaber shot from its home on his belt and into his right hand. A crimson aura burst across the walls and glass as the Dark Lord’s lightsaber activated, its red blade immediately meeting Jaina’s purple.

    She seemed to hang there for long moments, the constant noise of clashing energy currents growing in volume and a thin trail of smoke rising from the intersection of the blades. Then, before she had a chance to remove the column of concentrated Force keeping her elevated, Caedus stepped forward and shoved Jaina and her lightsaber back to the ground through the sheer strength of his right arm. The blades separated and the smoke disappeared, the only sounds in the room a balance of Jaina’s labored breathing and the dual hum of two lightsabers.

    Just as she was recovering from the shocking display of raw strength, Darth Caedus rushed forward, his blade above his head. Jaina had just enough time to bring her ‘saber up in a horizontal block before the glowing red blade came crashing down. She managed to carry Caedus’ blade around in a stunted arc before parrying it to her left, rising into a full fighting stance at the same time. From where it was, Jaina was in a perfect position to throw her entire body into a strong horizontal swing, but she knew he’d be expecting that. Instead, Jaina lowered on her knees and swung for Caedus’ ankles. He had little choice but to take a step back and bright his lightsaber down in an unsteady block. Just as the beams of light met, Jaina rose back to her feet and began a series of alternating strikes aimed at the Dark Jedi’s shoulders.

    This time, he didn’t even have to give up ground as he deftly blocked each light blow. As the fifth strike came down, Jacen once again displayed frightening amounts of strength and parried Jaina’s blade to his right, continuing the motion into a spin that brought his blade around in a powerful strike at his sister’s waist. Jaina had plenty of time to bring up her lightsaber and block the vicious strike, but the sheer momentum behind the blow forced her boots an inch across the metal floor. Caedus stepped forward and brought his saber around in an overhead strike, which he followed up with another slash at her ribs, and a strike at her shoulder after that. With each swing, the Dark Lord took a step, leaving his sister little choice but to step backward to defend every time he swung.

    The distance between her back and the wall behind her was closing quickly.
  4. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 4

    Jaina gathered all the might that she could muster in such a short window of time, and swung her lightsaber at the exact spot where an outside, though familiar force was telling her to defend. Having trusted the Force, her bright violet blade crashed into her brother’s vibrant red lightsaber with just as much momentum as he had attacked her with. Since neither was prepared for the resulting impact, both combatants were knocked out of position.

    The daughter of Han Solo took that moment to step back and gather both her breath and the focus she had lost in the flurry of strikes Darth Caedus had thrown at her upper body. Never before had the so-called “Sword of the Jedi” faced such a foe. She had stricken down many gifted adversaries, a good portion of which were more powerful than her in combat. The only way to win against such warriors, Jaina knew well, was to use their strength, and often arrogance against itself.

    But as the soreness began to lap at her muscles, the unfortunate fallibility of the human body already making itself known, Jaina Solo had become painfully aware that no such weakness existed on Darth Caedus. This was because of the fact that he knew the combat style and strategy of every creature in the galaxy that might stand even a moderate threat to him. Most of these aforementioned threats were Jedi, the training of which Jacen had either been a part of or personally overseen in some way. For the potential adversaries that Darth Caedus hadn’t witnessed the education of, his skill in mental invasion and manipulation would be more than enough to be ready for any attack coming his way.

    “You know you can’t win,” Caedus spoke, his voice nearly as calm as before the first attacks had been made. “This is foolish of you, sister.”

    Jaina tossed her hair over her shoulder, sending the first of what would be many beads of sweat into the air. “You were always the smarter one!”

    She then brought her ‘saber back in what looked like a wind-up to a powerful horizontal slash, but instead swiftly shifted her wrists, directed the point of the blade at her brother’s stomach, and thrust. Darth Caedus cast the approaching beam of violet away with ease, but Jaina immediately shifted into a clockwise spin and allowed the momentum of Darth Caedus’ parry to carry into her spin. She couldn’t tell if he had been expecting the move as he brought his lightsaber around to block the strike, his face betraying neither worry nor confidence. Jaina’s blade had barely touched her brother’s before she brought it around in an upper strike, which he blocked as well.

    She struck at his right shoulder now. He met her blade. Now at his left shoulder. He met her blade. Bringing her lightsaber down in a quick arc, she struck at his left knee. He met her blade. The Dark Lord had yet to use his left arm for anything other than counter-balance.

    Taking the initiative, Caedus pushed her blade aside and allowed the momentum to carry his crimson blade around, over his head and toward his sister’s face. Once again, Jaina had to take a step back to grant herself enough time to defend against the vicious attack. There was now a mere three meters between her back and the room’s door. It was safe to assume Jacen had programmed it to lock once she had entered.

    Her brother launched into a surprisingly quick trio of strikes at her leading leg. With each block, Jaina’s ‘saber wavered a notable amount to compensate for the sheer strength behind each swing. As the third slash met her lightsaber mere inches from her knee, that same familiar voice in her mind shouted at her to leave her current position. Summoning a strength that was not her own, Jaina leapt to her left just as Darth Caedus’ other hand finally rose from beneath his rippling cloak and opened palm-out. The door directly behind where she had been crumpled inward.

    Without a moment’s pause, as if he had known such a simple blow couldn’t do Jaina Solo in, Caedus reeled back and hurled his lightsaber toward his sister. From her perspective, it looked as though he had launched a compact cyclonic storm of pure Force from the palm of his hand. Finally seeing the opportunity she had feared would never come, Jaina used the leverage of her crouching position to launch herself and flip over the glowing rose disc. Landing on her feet with surprising grace, she gathered the living Force behind her and launched into a sprint, lightsaber ready.

    She had just enough time to register Darth Caedus’ gloved right hand appear centimeters away from her face before she was suddenly in the air, and just as suddenly her spine made solid contact with metal. The air rushed from her body and every muscle she could still feel extended and contracted without her consent.

    Jaina couldn’t tell if she was still breathing or not, her entire mind caught up in the cacophonous noise reverberating through her head. Vertigo had taken over, and she wasn’t sure if she should be trying to keep her balance or if she was already on the floor. She summoned the strength to look up, only to find that the room’s artificial lighting had taken on a burning intensity. Before she had to close her eyes again, Jaina had snatched a quick look at the room around her. It was still the same command observation deck, but now it seemed nearly three times as large. If her fingers and toes were still intact, she certainly couldn’t feel, much less control them. She was beginning to question whether they had ever been there in the first place.

    As the ringing began to give way to a spear-like pain above the tip of her spine and between her shoulder blades, her ears picked up a dull, slow thumping. It was precise and increasing in volume, leading her to believe it was her heart finally catching up to the rest of her body. As it became clearer, she noticed a metal hint to the beats, and by the eighth pound, she realized it was actually the sound of boots hitting steel floor.

    And then every ounce of mental strength she had reined back from the bottomless depths was captivated by the signature sound of an activating lightsaber, followed by an intense red light, brighter than any star she had ever flown by, penetrating her closed eyelids. She didn’t dare open them, for fear she be blinded.

    “Don’t… you will always… stop. Try… Falcon, not to… stay…” Her brother was speaking to her, but between the dull ringing in her ears and the overwhelming pain piercing her skull, what she could pick up was fragmented. After a few moments of silence, the same sounds of boots striking metal began again, but quickly grew quiet. She assumed he was now by the room’s massive glass viewport.

    Jaina, recalling her most basic of Jedi training exercises, tried to forget about the world around her. Focusing upon her breathing and touch of her clothes upon her skin, what she could sense and feel of the room began to disappear. Suddenly, the pain in her head and back weren’t overwhelming and frightening, but basic bodily reactions to the otherwise minor damage her physical self had received. And she remembered that it was just that: a physical reaction to a physical problem. She was not just a physical entity; she was not just a shaken brain and a bruised spine. Jaina Solo remembered that she was a luminous being, even more-so with the Force on her side.

    And suddenly the pain was gone, a vague weariness the only symptoms still left of what any medic would surely diagnose as a major concussion and significant spinal trauma. As feeling finally returned to her hands and feet, Jaina found her lightsaber still firmly within her grasp.
  5. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 5: Invincible

    Darth Caedus calmly summoned his lightsaber back into his grasp and stepped over to watch as Jaina’s arms and legs jerked wildly for a moment before falling still. His eyes ran over what he could see of Jaina’s moisture-covered face. Her eyes were tightly closed, her lips had frozen in a pained grimace, and an insignificant trail of spittle had escaped the right edge of her mouth. The Dark Lord knew full-well that she was still alive; her presence in the Force was still a beacon he could’ve sensed from Coruscant’s surface. Her lightsaber remained in her right hand, the tip of its purple blade slowly melting a hole through the metal bulkhead her body had just struck. Jacen’s right hand twitched and the blade disappeared. Though he could feel that her mind was still very much active, its connection to the rest of her body seemed minimal at best. Without hesitation, he brought his active red lightsaber over and paused the beam’s tip mere centimeters from Jaina’s face. She didn’t move.

    It was very possible that she had fell into a coma, but Jacen had a feeling his sister could still hear him; could still feel his presence close-by.

    “Please don’t put me in that position again, sister. You will always end up on the ground, so your only choices at this point are to become one with the Force, or stop. Try not to worry about those aboard the Falcon; not to worry about Zekk or Uncle Luke. Stay where you are for now,” He paused, taking a heavy breath. “And I promise everything will be alright.

    For the briefest of moments, through his sour yellow irises and premature age creases, his eyes betrayed what looked like honest brotherly concern. It was gone, had it even been that, just as quickly.

    He turned away, the same cloak he had worn to both his Aunt’s murder and funeral billowing above his sister’s prone form. Though his pride wouldn’t allow it, the battle had taken a heavy toll on his heart. He had told Lumiya he was ready; he had told her that he had severed all ties except those to the Sith definition of the “greater good”. But still, a weight was tugging at his heart, and it grew exponentially heavier with every step he took toward the wall-sized viewport.

    He stopped as the floor left his vision and he grew close enough to the transparisteel for the space outside to appear to envelop him. What lay before him could be summed up in one word: Victory. While all but two of his capitol ships and a good portion of his fighter squadrons were still flying and firing, he could only spot three Confederation Star Destroyers. What was left of the Corellian fighter ships were too few and far-between to form much more than a single squadron. He reached into the Force, and was immediately struck with two clear, radiating emotions. The first was pride, a loud and very human feeling that seemed to surround him just as his fleet did. The second, though a bit louder, was fear.

    No doubt having heard about the camps of Corellians who had been on Coruscant when Jacen Solo had taken control of the planet’s security, the remaining Confederation pilots and crewmen had almost completely dropped any belief that they could pull out a win. They were now simply fighting for their lives, a task that was growing increasingly difficult with each volley of turret fire and missiles. Every creature had their limit; a point at which they were simply unable to keep going. Darth Caedus knew that point was swiftly approaching those it hadn’t already found.

    A distinct flash of bright blue came from the closest Corellian Star Destroyer as its shields finally fell away. The blue gave way to reds and oranges and yellows as the craft took its first series of direct hits, and that presence of fear in the living Force spiked.

    And then something changed. No longer was he able to sense the amalgamation of feelings permeating the battlefield. His entire awareness of the Force, of its subtleties and graces, was being pulled by its hair in the direction of where he had left his sister. Turning on unsteady heels, Caedus found his sister’s body rising like a marionette on strings, a soft turquoise aura emanating from her upper body. He knew the glow wasn’t there and that she had simply risen from her knees, but his mind had stopped viewing things in literal terms ages ago. Now he saw in almost nothing but metaphors in the Force, and his eyes were showing what his mind didn’t like in the least.

    “I asked you to stay where you were,” He said, almost gaining back his signature coldness.

    Jaina tensed her neck and tilted her head to the left, then to the right, then moved her shoulders in small circles and spoke. “And I declined.”

    Jaina Solo’s words were thick with disrespect, and they struck a chord within her brother. His eyes narrowed and his scarred lips showed a disgusted scowl. Jacen had sacrificed millions of lives, including his beloved Aunt and, more or less, his own, to secure peace for the galaxy at large. He had cast aside his bride-to-be, their beautiful daughter, his family and friends, and everything he knew, so that the billions upon billions of other sentient beings would wake up alive next month. Yet here his sister stood, speaking to him as though he had not grown a day since his days on Yavin VIII. What little was left of Jacen’s concern for his beloved sister was quickly buried by pure rage.


    Darth Caedus broke into a run, his right arm stretched across his torso and the crimson glowing blade flowing from it trailing behind him. Jaina spread her feet to shoulder length and calmly turned her wrist into a more comfortable position, but otherwise did not move. The Sith drew to a stop before her and threw the run’s momentum into a tremendous horizontal slash and Jaina’s ribs. Had she attempted to block it, she would’ve either been cast aside or cut upon by her own blade. Instead, she simply ducked and the crimson ‘saber soared over her head harmlessly. There wasn’t enough space to bring her own weapon around in a strike, so she settled for shifting her weight and throwing a solid kick into her brother’s right shin. The leather of his authoritative boots didn’t absorb much of the blow, and she could almost feel the bone within crack. It wasn’t completely broken, she admitted to herself, but it would keep him off his game.

    Unfortunately it seemed that the Dark Lord didn’t even notice as he brought his blade around in a slash straight down toward her head. Just as his lightsaber began to carve an orange gash down the wall behind her, Jaina rolled away and quickly stood. The carving in the durasteel bulkhead was still glowing as Jacen stepped forward and swung up at her pelvis. Jaina blocked the relatively light blow, but it was followed by another at her hip, then her shoulder, then her face, then back at her chest, which she was able to push aside. She struck quickly, each swing only meant to distract and occupy her brother. He still gripped his lightsaber with only one hand, and was obviously trying to parry each strike far enough to shift the momentum back in his favor, but every time, his sister would simply use the energy and carry it into her next blow.

    Jaina carried Caedus’ block into a spin, bringing her saber down and around for a broad upper-cutting swing, but the Dark Lord finally saw his opening and stepped back to avoid the attack. Jaina was caught out of step and off-balance, which Jacen took as an invitation to reel back and thrust at her stomach. With little options before her, Jaina simply drew the Force into her weary legs and leaped backwards in an awkward spin-flip. She was able to catch herself mid-air and deactivate her lightsaber so as not to “disarm” herself, and landed on all fours. However, she was forced to immediately roll away as Jacen stepped forward and brought his ‘saber down where she had been. He simply continued to drag the red blade across the floor, chasing her as she continued to roll. As her body completed another full rotation, Jaina drew the Force around her into the palm of her hand. In the same moment, she stopped on her stomach, reached up at her brother, and released everything she had. The wave of unstoppable, invisible energy slammed into Caedus and sent him spinning to the floor.

    The Sword of the Jedi rolled forward and continued toward her brother on her feet, the vibrant purple blade ready to strike down. Caedus, now on his stomach and facing away from his sister, rose to his hands and knees. His baser instincts were telling him to get to his feet and defend himself, but instead he paused for just a moment, for he knew that immediate reaction was exactly what his sister was expecting. Just as Jaina slowed and brought her saber downward at her brother, he suddenly rose and spun, bringing his ‘saber around in an extended upward slash. Feeling the millisecond resistance of his blade cleaving through something, Darth Caedus continued the spinning motion, adjusting his lightsaber, and finished the rotation by throwing all of the momentum into a powerful thrust.
  6. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 6

    A small cluster of capitol and fighter craft about a moon’s distance from the central planet of the known galaxy, Coruscant, sat in space. Various portions of each ship were elongated and warped forward, unseen fuselages and cockpits now light years away while their accompanying thrusters and hangars remained, waiting that awkward millisecond to catch up. Like glowing beads strung on a spider’s web of invisible threads, meter-long beams of green and red seemed ready to converge on the retreating force. A blanket of torn metal and shattered transparisteel covered what was now a hunt, as opposed to a battle.

    The field of debris was so thick that several of the smaller Confederation ships had been torn apart by chunks of dead craft while attempting to retreat. Some Galactic Alliance gunners had shifted from killing mobile targets to blasting immobile ones out of the way. Strewn throughout the destruction, as though toy soldiers amidst construction kits, bodies of various sizes and shapes rested motionlessly. Most of the dead still retained their entire physical forms, their lives having been taken by sudden decompression.

    And attached to each lost life was another strand; both invisible and in plain sight. A pattern of these strings crisscrossed throughout the battlefield, and everything from cannon fire and blaster shots to hulks of dead ships and bodies seemed to be convergence points.

    With streams of blaster fire still in the black of space, chunks of scrap stuck to the blue discs of shield energy reacting to them, and the remainder of the Corellian Confederation frozen mid-jump, space seemed to have come to a halt. The galaxy was frozen in motion, as though having just realized something. The Force, and everything it touched whether it knew it or not, was mourning a loss. This loss was so significant and so far-reaching to the breathing energy that bound the universe together that it had to take a minute to catch its proverbial breath.

    A lone Galactic Alliance Imperial II-class Star Destroyer sat a few hundred kilometers behind the rest of its forces, its massive banks of thrusters still projecting a soft blue aura. At the rear of the craft’s topside, a stretched hexagonal observation and command unit rested atop a short tower. Across the front of this unit stretched many transparisteel viewports many meters wide and each a story tall. Through one of these windows was a mostly empty room, the only features of note being a crumpled light housing in one corner of the floor, a warped door in the far back, and two human adults, a male and female, in the center.

    The woman wore an expression of extreme sadness and pain, an even mix physical and emotional. A sparking cylinder of exposed electronics was grasped loosely in the remaining half of her right hand. Between her shoulder blades, just below where her sweat-coated auburn hair ended, a beam of glowing crimson jutted out of the Jedi’s gray jumpsuit.

    Two invisible threads, like those interwoven in the silent battlefield outside, began at the point where the lightsaber had pierced the woman. One of them ended in a conspicuous shadow in one of the observation tower’s elevator shafts, while the other stretched for thousands of lightyears across hundreds of star systems, finally ending just outside the snowy-white ball of the planet Bespin. At that point, amidst a couple of dozen other ships of varying size and shape, floated the Millennium Falcon.

    Within the cockpit of a disc-shaped light freighter sat an older human couple. The man in the pilot seat, in his off-white shirt and black vest, showed a look of anger and confusion. The woman beside him, her gray hair in a loose bun and an elegant lightsaber hilt at her waist, held the same pained expression as that of the younger woman in the Imperial II-class Star Destroyer.

    “What just happened,” the older man asked. His words were shallow, as if he had just taken a kick to the stomach. “Not the battle, I mean, but…”

    He trailed off, his eyes completely out of focus. Beside him, his wife spoke, the emotion in her words as empty as her husband’s lungs.

    “She’s dead.”

    The man, famed smuggler and pilot Han Solo, turned toward his wife, Leia Organa Solo. His eyes still hadn’t found focus and a tiny crack appeared between his lips. He looked as though a thought had been plucked straight out of his mind. After a second, he started to say “Who,” but it came out as a simple incoherent sound and trailed off. Han stared at his wife for a few seconds longer before joining her in staring off into the void of space.

    The crushed look on Leia’s face was not what had stopped Han in the middle of coordinating the next phase of their retreat. Instead, it was an inexplicable weight suddenly forming within his gut that had throttled his conscious thought. The heaviness had begun in his emotions; a depression so deep that he didn’t think there could be anything in the universe that could justify it. It quickly moved into his stomach, which now felt as though an X-Wing had crash landed into it.

    But now, hearing his wife’s words, Han realized exactly why he suddenly felt like curling up in a ball in the Falcon’s cargo hold for the rest of his natural life.

    Voices, angry and afraid, were pouring through the ship’s comm unit, but Han didn’t hear a word of it. Every bit of his mental capacity was swirling with various images: his daughter’s scream as a Lambda-class shuttle explodes, a blaster bolt landing directly between her eyes, a viewport shattering and Jaina soaring out into open space, and other gruesome scenes that steadily decayed his mental state toward utter rage.

    Meanwhile, two feet to his right, Leia Solo clutched the center of her chest with closed fists and tried desperately to breathe. She felt a burning hole just below her neck and could hear the faint but familiar sound of a lightsaber somewhere around her. Her vision had turned to nothing but shades of red.

    In actuality, oxygen was flowing to and from her lungs at a quick, though not dangerous, rate. What she and, to a lesser extent, her husband were feeling was entirely the result of a Jedi’s link through the Force with their immediate family. Only one other time had the two of them ever felt something so powerful, and they had cremated their second son’s body a few weeks later.
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Sep 20, 2012
  7. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 7

    Jaina felt nothing. It was a wonderful nothing, where neither the floor below nor the ceiling above nor the space outside mattered. It was the kind of nothing that you felt while stumbling out of a cantina at unholy hours in the morning; the kind of nothing that consumes every nerve in your body in a pleasantly mild fire that you’re sure will pass by morning. Her heart had stopped, her blood vessels were expanding and contracting, and her organs were quickly losing their natural tension. Everything in her body was shutting down at a steady pace, and her melted trachea was preventing her from making any noise about it.

    Jacen stood perfectly still, the metal hilt in his right hand vibrating lightly as his crimson blade ate away various microscopic pieces of his sister’s chest. He was unable to shift from this position, the boy that had preserved itself within Darth Caedus’ warped mind just before the Yuuzhan Vong war freezing his body in motion. This boy was an almost entirely separate entity. It had been around for a solid two decades now, making a soft noise every time Jacen considered sacrificing someone for what would later be called the “greater good”. Sometimes it had been listened to, othertimes it was ignored.

    Right now, this small shadow of Jacen Solo was shocked out of its shoes at what its physical host had done to the Sword of the Jedi. Jaina’s lightsaber fell to the floor, its pink blade scorching several glowing marks into the metal floor before deactivating. The lava-like glow of Jacen’s lightsaber became exponentially stronger and created a sphere of crimson around the siblings in the moderately-lit observation deck.

    “No…”

    The word escaped Caedus’ lips, the sound raspy and unintentional. It was the sound of a rational mind catching up to the actions of a body running on instinct.

    It was the sound of a brother realizing that he had just killed his sister.

    The Sith Lord finally brought his eyes from the gaping lightsaber wound and up to meet his sisters’. He expected to see anger, rage, and possibly a silent plea for some as-of-yet unmastered Force ability that could bring her back from the brink of death. Instead, as his venom-tainted irises met the brown vortexes opposite, Darth Caedus found only pity. Despite having just taken her life, they both knew it, Jacen could tell that his sister felt nothing but absolute compassion for her fallen brother. He continued to stare into her eyes for several minutes, searching desperately for any emotion that would allow him a personal victory. Instead, all he could find was the message of “I’m sorry you couldn’t make it.”

    He tried to be angry at her. He tried to be insulted and justify her murder. He tried to find some fleeting reason as to why his red blade was withdrawing from Jaina’s chest cavity. No such explanation came, and it only made him that much angrier at the galaxy around him.

    She was dead, and no one else had had killed her.

    With every emotion racing arond him, intensified into wild flame by his connection with the Force, the outside twinge of awareness was almost silent. Somethign powerful, a thing capable of desturction on any larger scale, always registers upon a Force-sensitive's senses. Had this perticular radar blip not been quite as interesting, Jacen would have gone on spinning around in self loathing and rage. As it was, this entity was fairly strong.

    The Sith Lord pivoted toward the room's door. His reflexes and Forse senses had snagged control of his legs. Jacen didn't know why he was looking at the door. He was still in mild shock. In his mind, the galaxy should have been dropping every last thing it was doing and explaining to him why his sister was dead.

    Vision circled 'round, focus found its range. The pulsing of fury and confusion was pushed to the back of consciousness. It would remain there until after Jacen had an oppurtunity to release it, be it upon a series of doomed training droids or a weeks worth of dreams.

    Jacen's focus returned, He shook his head, two pops of upper vertibrae followed. The dark lord stepped forward, and every string of muscle tightened and froze against his command. Apparently, he though, his body wasn't ready for the focus he needed to continue. Jacen shut his eyes tight, and focused the swirling energy around him, guiding into legs. A blossoming energy rushed from the tips of his hips, through his thighs, spiraled around his knees, shot through his calfs, and exploded into his feet. Darth Caedus took a breath, and was ready as he had been upon stepping out of bed that morning.

    The focus of energy was straight ahead of Jacen. By his guess, the source was taking the last step up the inside of his command ship's central turbolift. It wasn't using the lift, by his speed, but had been simply climbing anf jumping between the various service ladders. The only thing on the lift's level was the Officer's Obversation Tower. Focusing on the source of power, Jacen noticed something like a face. Whatever this was, it knew now that Jacen could now sense it. Its strength flickered, stayed, then began to fade. Jacen had recognized that source of energy thousands of times before.

    Jedi.

    Jacen was curious how this Jedi could tell he was sensing it. Caedus had long-since mastered the more probing Sith form of detectiong and reading. The technique was similar to the Jedi's, except that it was more focused and significantly less detectable by the Force-sensitive. Whatever Jacen was tracking had learned a very specific technique. Lord Caedus himself had spent the better part of two years learning to completely disguise himself amongst the event the most subtle twines of the Force. To be able to even tease the concept of true ivinisibility was noteworthy. There were only two siginificant sources of the ability to hide amongst the Force itself. One was the Yuusahn Vong, a specias that had taken the skill naturally and couldn't well teach it. The second were Jedi or Sith familiar with the new Force teachings. The only being still alive that Jacen knew was aware of the second option was his once-protige Ben. After a failed final Sith conversion, Ben had slipped back into the cadre of Jedi fools. The first two to rush to take Ben in were Jaina and her fiance, Zekk.

    Jaina was now dead.

    The vague spherical source of energy bruned bright, and a beam extended from it. The source flashed twice, and Jacen knew the turbolift's doors were lying on the floor, glowing hot in pieces. He focused on the source once more, and it paused in its rush for the door to Caedus' observation room. It flickered and started to fade. The Sith focused his concentration, and the target's energy disappeared accordingly. He quickly eased his focus off, switching to a weaker view of the Force around him. The source stayed weak for a few seconds, then grew back in strength. A second later, it blossomed again, and it shot straight for the observation deck's door.
  8. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 8

    Jacen smirked and whispered, "Hello, Zekk."

    Within the same second, a single diagonal beam of burning red appreaed in the metal doors, and the doors themselves burst open. A comet of biege cloth and blue energy rolled through. The rolling being came to a sudden halt upon one knee, arm extended. The air rustled as a solid ball of nothingness hurled toward Jacen. The Sith lazily gathered a specific amount of energy around his palm and caught the burst, held it, and released. The Force blast shot straight back at its source. The intruder hesitated for a fraction of a second, just long enough for Jacen to notice, before leaping to the side.

    Three metal panels leapt from the floor, shrapnel and securing bolts jumping into the air. The source, now easily reognizable as Zekk, stared at the Commander with a very specific hatred.

    The two stared at one another for long seconds. Lord Caedus could have broken the lock of glances with ease, but the older man of the Force was far too wrapped up in finally sharing a room with Jacen Solo. Jacen simply smirked as he always did, as he always would.

    Zekk took a studied, careful step. Light fringes of tiny energy streams began to prick at his arms. He had heard of the sensation before, but had never felt it. Appropriate, considering no Jedi had ever felt it more than a single time.

    Caedus stepped twice back, allowing himself plenty of time to study the way the Force surrounded and responded to his sister's widower. Sure that he had figured out the Force's reactions to the man before him, Jacen smiled softly and spoke. With each word, Caedus focused the Force upon his target, allowing the syllables to slap against Zekk like tropical winds.

    "It's been a while, Zekk."

    Zekk needed little more than to stare Darth Caedus in the eye to summon the strength and energy to summarily deflect the impressions Jacen placed upon is words. Zekk tried to smile as the Dark Lord did, failed, and finally smiled honestly at the comedy in their meeting.

    "Yeah it has, Jace."

    A sense of... something pushed at the back of Jacen's mind. Jacen took a good look at the man, and saw the masculine jaw and long black hair entering their temple, smiling sheepishly. The Sith watched the young man excel at lightsaber combat, clip a fellow student. Blood. Caedus saw an arena, heard the crowds shouting. They weren't crowds of giddy team followers, but simply focused bloodthirsty leaders. They were witnessing the selection of their new General. The young man with the black ponytail kicked against a wall, then a freefloating block, and swung. The crowd cheered. The ponytail raised his arms, victorious. This boy entering his observation Caedus' observation chamber had quite the history.

    Jacen, Caedus, wanted to bombard Zekk with images from the past: The Jedi student's killing, wounds, and scars.

    But the Dark Lord knew Zekk had arrived expecting this. He could feel it from Zekk's own mind, the older Jedi was ready for a battle of words and morals. Caedus decided there would be no such conflict.

    "Zekk," Jacen said, "I saw you enter our temple, searching for redemption. I helped you find the Force proper. Yet you kill my men and burst in here, blade drawn. Who do you think I am?"

    Zekk paused just enough for Jacen's tastes before responding. "You used to be Jacen, my friend. But now, yo-"

    A tumbling form of metal and glass soared across the room. Zekk caught sight of it just soon enough to turn his body and drop. The flying weapon clipped Zekk across his ribs, tore cloth, flesh, and continued on. As the object slammed into the far wall, Zekk rose to his feet.

    Zekk rolled along his side, away from Caedus. Pressing out arms and legs, he propelled himself into the air and clumsily ended the spin on his feet. As the rest of his body caught up and Zekk rose his head towards the Sith lord, a near wall of breaking air approached him at blinding speeds. Most of Zekk's conscious mind was stll swirling around the image of Jaina's dead body. He was acting on pure reflex as he began to gather living Force around the palm closest to the overwhelming explosion of energy. Zekk turned his body and shoved the energy-coated hand toward the Force blast, but both Jedi and Sith knew it was useless.

    The impact occurred in stages, like one of the Republic's outer galactic research rockets. Zekk's fist met the oncoming wave, his rushed and light shield of Force bursting against the torrent with a visible flash of electric blue. Then the wave slammed into the older Jedi's actual limb. The impact sent a violent shockwave down his arm, finally crashing just before his elbow. Zekk's left radius cracked, splintered, and shattered.

    Once again, Zekk was spinning. His mind spun with the scenery and for a moment, he felt the disorientation and dizziness reach for his consciousness. His stomach twinged, nausea reared its head. With each pass he caught sight of Jacen, easily recognizable as a figure of black and blade of glowing red. With each spin, now on his fifth, Zekk followed Caedus' slow but steady walk towards him.

    His wife was dead on the floor. His escape ride was in a rusted Nebulon-B bay, long gone. The leader of his entire way, Skywalker, had been floating in blue for the past month.

    He was tired. And then, just as suddenly, it was time to wake up.

    Thrusting what he could gather into his feet, he threw his legs downward and hoped is timing was fair. Zekk's feet found floor, and the plating beneath them crumpled into craters immediately. The Force had apparently been kind. Zekk's boots touched metal lightly with him facing the Dark Lord. He looked up at Jacen. Jacen met his eyes with the same vague focus he had worn since the final stages of the Yuuzahn Vong war. Jacen flicked his eyes downward. Zekk followed the silent command, and saw that a vaguely ovular shape of red was growing within the beige of his tunic, around his right ribs.

    Funny, Zekk thought, that he didn't feel it.
  9. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 9

    Jacen flicked his eyes downward. Zekk followed the silent command, and saw that a vaguely ovular shape of red was growing within the beige of his tunic, around his right ribs.

    Funny, Zekk thought, that he didn't feel it.

    Zekk reached around his waist and drew out a drab and dirty cylinder of silver. Flicking a stub, the beam of pure energy erupted from Zekk's hilt. Caedus didn't react in the least. The Dark Lord contined to stare at Zekk, his smirk unending. Uncomfortable but unsure why, Zekk noticed that the blade coming from his own lightsaber hilt was red. His eyes stared at the crimson beam of energy for an extended second before nearly tossing the alien lightsaber away. The last time he had carried a red-bladed lightsaber, he was marching around in black armor and slaying other students.

    Caedus continued to approach Zekk.

    "Breathe." Zekk wasn't sure where the tip had come from. He trusted the Force like nothing else, but it had rarely touched him directly. Regardless, Zekk held the unfamiliar blade at arm's length and breathed deep. Zekk embraced the cool oxygen rushing through his system. It was an unfamliar air that seemed to fill every tup of his body. He flicked his right arm, and blade shook off its red coat of energy like a womp rat shaking away a rainstorm's water. Red sparks leapt into the air, faded away, and Zekk held his familiar blue blade.

    Zekk matched Jacen's stare as the "Darth" shortened the distance between them. Caedus' smile faltered for the briefest second, then resurned, then grew wider.

    His sister's death aside, this was longest that Caedus had been surprised at something for many, many months. It was a momentary state. Usually, a solid blast of absolute certain Force could put any Jedi to his or hers knees. This wasn't untested. Jacen stopped a proper six meters from Zekk, still smiling.

    "I suppose this is the last I'll see of you," Jacen said, feigning nostalgia.

    "You can think that, sure." Zekk responded. Despite the spots of red forming on the left arm of his tunic, Zekk managed a smirk. "Be sure, this is the last time we'll see each other."

    Amused, Jacen brought his lightsaber into a casual ready stance. "A shame, I would say. I stand here, the head of the new Sith movement, and yet the Darkest Knight stands against me." Jacen pause, allowing his smile to widen. "Well, not standing, but you know."

    Every respectable human in galactic reahc would have grimaced, twiched, and steped away from a direct strike at their past. Zekk bared teeth, matching Caedus' smile.

    "I've got you figured out, Jacen," Zekk said. His words were faultered only by the tiniest bit of nervousness. An excusable condition, to be sure.

    "Oh?" Caedus asked. His eyes flicked between Zekk's cut face and the growing oval of red in the older Force-user's tunic. To Jacen, this wasn't a fight nearly as much as a game.

    "Yep," Zekk continued. "The galaxy stopped making sense to you years ago. It stopped making sense about two or three years before the Vong hit the Outer Rim. You've just been playing dumb since."

    He stepped toward Jacen. This was the closest a non-GAG officer had been to Caedus in many, many months. Jacen respected Zekk just enought to try and remember the earlier fights he spoke of: Voxyn leaping through the air, giant fangs dragging trails of dripping yellow salaiva, the torqued teeth ripping flesh through solid cloth, red bursting from beneath.

    Caedus's head twitched, his eye with it. Anger settled on his face, his brow creasing more than three times. "You don't know what happened there." Jacen looked at Zekk, his irises shrinking at an exceptional rate. "You..." Jacen stopped, laboring over his breath. "You don't know how they screamed."

    Zekk had set the Sith up for a proper battle-opening respose, someting like "I'm sure I'll hear it from you soon." But as the older Jedi began to smile and deliver the zinger, Caedus loked toward him.

    The observation room was fairly dark, the only light at that moment coming from stars and thrust bursts outside the many windows. Zekk himself knew his own eyes consisted of large irises with fractional rings of coloration. This was why, when Darth Caedus met Zekk's eyes, Zekk shifted back. The irises of Jacen's eyes had shrank to pin holes, leaving large circles of crackling red and yellow between shades of white.

    Then Caedus leapt at Zekk, and the torrent began.

    Caedus came down, both hands driving the red energy straight down at Zekk's face. Zekk gritted his teeth and braced for an impact that would shatter every bone in his forearms. It didn't come. The moment Jacen's blade met Zekk's it came around toward his left hip. Surprised, Zekk allowed the Force to guide his hands. The raging beams of energy collided, tiny sparks faded into the air. Using the block like a springboard, Caedus brought his lightsaber around over his own head and at Zekk's left ribs. Zekk shifted over, catching the blade like before. Caedus bounced off the Jedi's 'saber again, now bringing his own around and underneath. Zekk leaned forward and caught the strike with his crosswise beam.

    Having met the red beam, Zekk looked up just in time to watch Jacen's forehead rush in. A violent knock, and Zekk stumbled back. The room span, metal fusing with black space. A small part of Zekk's mind knew that after having caught him off guard like this, he was ready for the Valley of the Jedi. Then he heard the silent voice again, and followed its advice without thought. "Hold right."

    Zekk wildly swung his lightsaber right. Blue met red, and the two stayed locked for solid moments. Zekk arose from his stupor straight into Jacen's odd stare.

    Jacen's face was the a battleground between his natural response of horrified shock and his need to appear in control of everything around him.

    "You're," Caedus began, his left eye still twitching. "You're dead. That last strike killed you."
    Not missing a beat, and still operating off of the last burst of the Force's high, Zekk shot back. "And you were a Jedi. Once."
    Caedus regained control of his face and stared at Zekk for everlasting seconds. "Jedi?"
    "You know, the ones with the blue and green glowrods."
    mulberry and AzureAngel2 like this.
  10. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 10

    Anyone else would have laughed. Jacen slipped his offhand from his saber hilt and punched Zekk across the face. Something snapped. Zekk stumbled to the floor, hands out. His jaw felt solid, but everytime it moved it felt like a fluid was filling a gap just below his ear. Zekk turned toward Jacen, but his vision followed at some kind of lag. He reached his arm out, but it missed the patch of floor twice before finally grabbing metal sufrace. The world was spinning around Zekk, and nausia was rushing up quickly.

    A distorted voice bounced around within his head, "What did I just tell you? Breathe!"

    Zekk breathed.

    And he began to feel better.

    Again, it was as though more than air was rushing into his lungs. The room stopped spinning, the hard floor leveled under his feet. He could feel the weakness of fatigue attempting to weigh down his legs and arms, but another source was overpowering the tired structure. Zekk rose and brought his blue blade around. Caedus watched the man and his blade with focus, fascinated with the display. It wasn't right. Not a surge of power or Force torrent, Jacen felt, but something much more... elegant. Graceful. Suggestive.

    Knowing.

    Darth Caedus smirked. "I see you."

    Zekk stopped, preoccupied with the odd actions of his old classmate, and happy to have a minute to let the Force touch upon his wounds.

    "Kun," Jacen went on, turning around the room, "Jealous that I finally did what you could not? Yoda or Obi-Wan maybe? You two did good works, holding off the illegitimate Sith until our time was here. I respect that." He paused. "But it's not you."

    Zekk spun his lightsaber threateningly twice with no result, realizing just how gone Caedus was.

    "Or is it you, Jinn," Jacen said, stopping before the star-filled viewport wall. "You're not happy with any establishment. Force aside, a government's a government's a hinderance, huh? Once again, I respect that..."

    A soft weight pulled against Zekk's mind. "Take him," it said. Zekk took a step to steady himself, begining to assosciate the Force voice with something familiar. "You can distract him." He acknowledged the words, but still hesitated. "You can stop him," the voice insisted. Caedus stood and began walking toward Zekk, but the Sith Lord's head continued searching the cieling.

    "Kun? Droma? Which of you could have any interest in my sister's husb-" Jacen stopped. That familiar smirk found its way back to his lips.

    Zekk's head tilted back and his eyelids drifted half-closed. Amongst all the death, it was beginning sense. It spoke to him again.

    "You can stop him, love."

    Jacen felt a hard shift, like the winds of a hurricane rushing past, as the Force soared into their small chamber. Lights flickered, glass rippled. Despretely trying to understand the shockwaves of Force around him, Jacen never noticed the smile grow on Zekk's worn face. In point of fact, the first thing he noticed was the blue Ligthsaber beam coming across his chest.

    Caedus stepped back and flicked his lightsaber before his body, catching Zekk's blade two inches from the Lord's pectorals. Jacen dipped and slipped under the strike, bringing his blade around and up into a rising strike at Zekk's entire right side. The older Force-user spun clockwise, slipping past the rising stike, and brought his saber down towards Jacen's head. Jacen stepped left and brought his blade around, catching the strike again. Jacen caught Zekk's eyes.

    Caedus spoke through labored breahts "She's not as useful when she's outside a cockpit, is she?"

    Zekk froze as he realized that what had taken him an entire fight to figure out, Jacen had pieced together in a mere moment. Less than a second into Zekk's concentration lapse, his blue blade still locked with red inches above Caedus' bangs, Caedus shot a straightened hand into Zekk's ribs. Bolts of lightning rushed through Zekk's nerves, and he stumbled back.

    A limb open, a target, a reflex swing. Jacen's lightsaber swept across the top of Zekk's left thigh, batches of bursting red fluids ionizing into nothingness in the beam's wake.

    Zekk fell hard to the floor. The metal plates forgave just as little as the massive stone blocks in his old training grounds, and his lower spine paid the price. Another shock, this one natural, shot up Zekk's spine. He threw his head back and yelled.

    "No time, roll!"

    Choking back the scream, Zekk rolled to his right. A blazing red beam swept across where his head had been.

    "Back!"

    Zekk tilted his blade outward and leaned in, kicked off, and rolled backwards. While lightsaber blades rarely gave off any sort of heat, melting composites like the ones in Zekk's boots did. He forced himself to ignore the dull pain from his heels.

    "Good. Hold him."

    "Hold?" Zekk looked up and asked, breathless. "Dodge something? Roll?"

    Caedus walked toward Zekk, each step of the Sith Lord's boot deliberate, deafening. Zekk was radiating fear, and Caedus not only knew it, he was practically feeding off it. Jacen's smirk grew.

    Zekk turned toward another corner of the room's roof. He pleaded. "Jaina?"

    Jacen nodded knowlingly, smiling obscenely. "She's gone, Jedi."
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  11. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Author's note: And now that we're caught up, the new material begins.
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Part 11

    Caedus walked toward Zekk, each step of the Sith Lord's boot deliberate, deafening. Zekk was radiating fear, and Caedus not only knew it, he was practically feeding off it. Jacen's smirk grew.

    Zekk turned toward another corner of the room's roof. He pleaded. "Jaina?"
    Jacen nodded knowlingly, obscenely. "She's gone, Jedi."

    Caedus' words echoed in the space left where the guiding voice had been. Focusing on that accepting section of his mind, that third ear, the Sith's words hit home immediately.

    “It was just another test, Jace,” Jaina pleaded.

    Jaina sped her steps, trying to catch up to Jacen. Their collective steps echoed in the stone halls. Zekk knew that to follow them would be foolish and only involve him in complicated family matters. He stepped around the hall and followed cautiously. Watching the twins with silent curiosity, he took a quick step back and slipped into another room's entry hall as Jacen finally stopped and turned to face his sister.

    “Of course it was a test!” Jacen's composure was nearly gone, his hands solid fists. “You think I don't blasted know?”

    The two stood nearly still for seconds, watching one another. Jacen looked away, his eyes following the lines of the large stones making up the wall. He took a breath and turned back to Jaina.

    “Sis, think about what we have. We can move buildings, rewrite memories, stop a blaster bolt before it's fired.” Jacen stepped towards his sister, his right arm punctuating his points. “Then Luke stands there and talks about patience and understanding for fools that line up in squads and blast families. Men. Women.” Jacen looked away, breathed quickly through his teeth. “Children. AT-ATs and battle Rancors...”

    Zekk could immediately tell that Jacen was slipping into past fears, memories. He also caught Jaina picking up on the same thing. She wasn't crying, she wasn't stepping in to hug her brother. Her eyes remained stern.

    “You know this is how the galaxy works," she said. "If these people choose to fight for what they feel is right, their feelings must be grounded in something inte-”

    “Crap!” Jacen shouted. “They fight for something, plenty of folk die, and we're worse off than when we woke up that morning. We can be stop all that!”

    Jaina shook her head. Zekk heard Jacen choking back rushing breaths. Jaina raised her head and remained stately.

    “If we restrict their freedoms, we are no better than Palpatine. An alliance means choice, and we are the guardians of that choice.”

    Jacen stared at his sister, blinking. His arms shook, stopped, then shook again. “No,” he whispered. “We are the guardians of life.”

    Jaina froze, her brow rising. “What?”

    “We are the guardians of life.” Jacen stopped, looking around. He turned back to his sister, saw that she was listening completely. “We guard life. The Jedi are here to ensure that no one stops life from growing.”

    “Right, sure,” Jaina admitted, still not sure where her brother was going.

    “But humanoids are the biggest threat!” Jacen persisted as he began to pace around the hall. “They, we, build bigger weapons and make new rules against one another.” Jacen finally focused his view on his sister. “It's the cycle that has killed thousands of us for generations.”

    Jaina paused. “Us? Humanoids? You must mean millions, not thousands.”

    “No,” Jacen insisted, “Us, Jedi. Thousands.”

    Jaina's eyes twitched. “Jedi are still people, we aren't something separate.”

    Jacen stopped in his approach, watching the floor for several seconds before turning back up toward Jaina. “We can save this galaxy from itself.”

    Jaina squinted, her shoulders twitching toward a natural fighting stance.

    “We are here to allow the galaxy to do what it will.”

    Jacen, now almost shaking with rage, started to respond. Something stopped him, be it the Force or simple lack of argument, and Jacen stepped back. Zekk didn't even need to focus to feel the uncertain wake of Force following Jacen as he rushed from the hall.

    Zekk turned to face what was left of Jacen Solo. He knew it was a small fraction. Zekk considered the years of the Vong war, Jaina's brother's years gone, and knew exactly what Jacen had become. To Zekk, the Sith Lord was no longer an amorphous shape of strength and rage.

    His fear began to subside, his nerves settled gradually. Caedus sensed this immediately, and his smirk was quickly replaced with concentration. Something wasn't right. The man's smarter half was bleeding out on the floor, his forces had long-since jumped system, and nearly his entire right pant leg was red. Why wasn't he retreating? Why the hell was he calmer than before?

    It infuriated Caedus. He could step out of a building, and an entire week's worth of murders and rapes would be pushed to the Minor Notices sections of the HoloNews. Merely lifting his hand could bring Coruscantians to their knees and fill Corellians' pants with urine. An open palm and a lazy thought, and he could topple a building blocks away.

    So why the hell was this confused, woman-whipped Jedi moving into a fighting stance again?

    Zekk had surprised Caedus, and the younger Lord finally allowed himself to admit that enough was enough. It wasn't much of a choice. The constant snubbing and ignorance of what he was doing and sacrificing to save the Galaxy from itself, the sheer adolescence of people he had once held dear, had finally toppled the bridge above his constant, undeniable rage.

    He freely fell into the red river below. A single spark appeared from the front of Caedus' shoulder. It hopped its way down his bicep, leapt onto the top of forearm, continued bouncing, and landed softly upon Darth Cadeus' lightsaber's emitter. The red blade erupted into a fluctuating and fiery red ether.
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Sep 17, 2012
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  12. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Well I'm intrigued. But...

    Jaina!!! :eek:
    Ah well- at least their fight didn't involve slicing open entrails and syringes to the face. :p

    Is it bad if I'm kind of rooting for Zekk to succumb to a little bit of the dark in his past in order to kick Caedus's behind? I always thought, after Fury and his encounter with the Dark side on Lumiya's asteroid, that seeing Zekk go just a little dark again would be epic.

    Anyway, looking forward to more!
  13. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    Well, between yourself and Sinre, it's pretty tough to be a Jacen fan. Well, okay, it's pretty tough anyway, but now I'm just more depressed.

    Jaina's 'We are here to allow the galaxy to do what it will.' quote rings a bit hollow. Are the Jedi the 'Guardians of peace', or are they merely the 'Guardians of the status quo'? The galaxy (starting with the Corellians) was going to blow itself up. NO ONE was willing to do anything to stop the madness, including the Jedi Council. There is plenty of blame to go around for the conditions that let Jacen get as far as he did: the Council had removed themselves so far from the government that they were unable and unwilling to try to negotiate a peace. Omas' first choice for the GAG was Mara. Perhaps if she would not have dismissed him out of hand, she could have seen that the Jedi need to fill a larger role in society. Jacen took the job because he felt that SOMEONE needed to work with Cal Omas.
  14. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Thanks! As for Zekk, it's always a possibility. You neeeever know.
  15. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Author's note: This part practically physically drained me. I didn't expect it to be this long, and I doubt future updates will be this long either, but I hope you enjoy. Buckle up.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Part 12

    Caedus freely fell into the red river below. A single spark appeared from the front of Caedus' shoulder. It hopped its way down his bicep, leapt onto the top of his forearm, continued bouncing, and landed softly upon Darth Cadeus' lightsaber's emitter. The red blade erupted into a fluctuating and fiery red ether.

    Darth Caedus broke into a sprint.

    Zekk had never seen anyone run calmly before. In fact, Caedus proceeded to pull off many things Zekk had never seen before. At this point, that was alright with him. Zekk could see the rage burning in Caedus' eyes. He no longer expected any compicated melee moves or Force techniques from the Surpreme Commander of the Unified Planetary Force.

    Caedus leaned forward and brought a sweeping strike around at Zekk's left. Zekk stopped the strike, both of his hands vibrating on the hilt. Caedus's blade bounced off Zekk's and he stepped forward, whipping his lightsaber down at Zekk's cramium. The Jedi brought up a high block just in time, but the Sith beam bounced again, this time coming back around at Zekk's left leg. He blocked again, but the distance between crossed blades tightened and his tunic was shorter than ever before. The fringes of Zekk's pant legs sizzled away.

    A left fist rushed in and slammed into Zekk's sternum. Crack. Zekk stumbled back. Momentary stings faded into the continuing rush of Force and adrenaline. Caedus forced upon Zekk's blade, trying to parry it away and open the Jedi for a killing blow. The blue beam hardly budged. Caedus looked up, meeting Zekk's eyes. Zekk, nearly out of energy and severely low on blood, managed a smile. Caedus' brow flared, his nostrils rising. The Sith Lord wrapped his free hand around Zekk's face and shoved the insolent Jedi back.

    Darth Caedus struck, Zekk blocked, strike, block, left, right, left. High block into a low catch, step back to parry a thrust. Caedus's left eye twitched uncontrollably. He swung violently down at Zekk's left shoulder, a clear sign of an attempted final blow, but Zekk forced his weight into cross block. He held it, barely. Caedus struck again just as before, but harder. Zekk still managed to hold the strike, but from the heat he could feel growing within his lightsaber's hilt, another one would be the last.

    He couldn't let it end. At least, not quite yet. His muscles were begging for rest, his bones were rattling in protest, and his heart was just about ready to burst. Something silent, but familiar like before, was begging him to hold on just a little longer. Zekk was alright with this. Zekk stepped wide to the right to avoid Caedus' third and finishing strike and dipped, rising, and cleaving his blue blade straight up through Caedus' chest. The five or six shifting panels of Caedus' old Galactic Alliance Guard chest armor seperated cleanly, leaving a glowing red streak from shoulder to waist.

    Caedus locked eyes with Zekk. In those corrupt irises, Zekk saw hate, fury, and most importantly, fear. Then the fear rushed away, and a fluorescent yellow fire filled the Sith's eyes.

    In a flash, Caedus struck Zekk's blade with his own. The force was too sudden for Zekk, and his lightsaber was sent spinning across the room. Zekk's lightsaber hilt bounced against the metallic floor, bladeless, and settled against a transparent wall. Continuing his movement, Caedus extended his open palm toward Zekk, and a torrential wave of invisible energy crashed into the Jedi. Zekk was lifted clear from the floor, and his every limb shook without command.

    Zekk stuck out his heels to stop himself from sliding limply down the wall. He forced what little focus remained into his sight, trying to concentrate on Caedus.

    The Sith's arm reached out, a terrible disc of red light shot at Zekk, and the disc was gone just as quickly as it had appeared.

    Caedus stood still for several seconds, heaving with each breath, his arm extended toward Zekk. Zekk could hear and feel a distinct humming very close, but he was fairly sure his own lightsaber was still inactive in another corner of the room. Even through his fogged mind, Zekk could tell that Caedus had somehow lost his red-bladed lightsaber.

    Now was the time to strike. Zekk sensed out his lightsaber's location and reached out to call it back.

    His arm wouldn't cooperate.

    Zekk switched to his left hand to reign his 'saber hilt back. That arm refused to move as well. The familiar hum intensified. Zekk noticed his breaths becoming harder and much less rewarding. He looked down.

    A blindingly-bright beam of crimson extended from his chest, ending in a silver cylinder with black touches.

    Zekk watched the red beam flicker within his chest for several seconds. He had given up trying to take in air. Caedus blinked, shaking his head. He stepped forward and gripped his lightsaber's hilt, intending to draw the blade out of Zekk's sternum and end the Jedi's misery. Caedus and Zekk coughed lightly at the same time.

    The dying Jedi raised his head toward the newest Sith Lord, and Caedus prepared for the most satisfying face of death and hopelessness he had seen in years. Instead, Zekk simply smiled. The Sith's grip on the hovering saber hilt was loose. Had Zekk been able to look down, much less focus his vision enough to notice the more minor details, he would've seen Caedus' hand shaking ever so slightly upon the silver cylinder.

    Darth Caedus opened his mouth to say something, but no words came. His lips were dry and cracked in several places, tiny patches of dead white flesh on the verge of flaking away at the edge of his mouth. His expression betrayed a furious surprise. There were so many things that he wanted to ask, to say, to scream at Zekk, but they were all half-thoughts and unfinished connections.

    The anger continued to build within Caedus as the dying Jedi took very shallow breaths through a pained smile. With all of his remaining strength, which was almost none, and some assistance from the Force, Zekk turned his head toward the crumpled body in the jumpsuit a few meters from him. He began to thank Jania's remains aloud, then something in the back of his mind reminded him that he needed to save every breath. It didn't matter, he knew that if she could speak into his mind, she would know of his gratitude regardless.

    He wasn't thankful for getting him killed. The realization that he almost thanked her for leading him to his own death amused him, and he nearly wasted extra breaths on a laugh. No, he was thankful for giving him a chance to redeem himself. Zekk had fought alongside the Solo children and the rest of the New Jedi Order for many a year. His regular nightmares of memories from the Shadow Academy had slowly decreased as time went by, but in on every enemy he killed in the name of good, he saw the face of one of his young victims. Zekk had been the same age as those he killed during his dark training, but that didn't matter. Sometimes he would be haunted by visions of children he himself had not killed, but had watched the death of in the trials. These were victims too.

    Zekk had been the most powerful person in that facility. Brakiss would have given him a good fight, but the now-dying Jedi would have ultimately won over his old Dark master in a hypothetical fight. At any moment, Zekk could have turned his blade on the organizers of that hell. Instead, he lead them into battle, making himself responsible for the deaths of even more of them.

    But here he was, feeling the Force's graceful tendrils approaching his luminous self, and was only too happy to smile at the face of his killer. Before Zekk began to think on what his sacrifice had accomplished, precisly why he was smiling, Caedus shouted. It was a deep, furious yell from deep within the diaphram. The Sith Lord gripped the side of Zekk's head violently, his fingertips stabbing through thick black hair. Zekk's head was forced downward, and the Jedi's vision was filled with bright crimson, the lightsaber still stubbornly wedged in his sternum and the wall behind.

    "Look!" Caedus shouted, mere inches from Zekk's face. "Look at what you have accomplished! Your friends are dead or fleeing. Your Order will retreat to some ridiculous deep space hellhole like Dagobah or Ilum and pretend it is still relevent. That old man will continue to preach about moral absolutes until he becomes a senile shepherd without a flock and dies a pointless death."

    Caedus paused to draw a deep breath, possibly in an attempt to calm himself, though it did nothing to his tone.

    "And yet, with all of these shortcommings and failures to reflect upon as you die, you focus on my sister. My sister!" The Sith's grip on Zekk's face tightened. "You are just as responsible for her death as she is. I have no doubt you and she concocted this ridiculous mission, probably without even telling the laughable remains of the Council. She always held a flame for the dark and the lost. At any point, you could have said "No, my love, this is moronic. Instead of being disappointingly-predictable and sprinting towards our death, let's see if our old childhood friend might actually not be the cliche holodrama villain old Skywalker had led us to believe!" But no. Here you two are, dying and dead."

    Zekk continued to stare at the lightsaber, and used the focus of the living Force about to take his life to fill his lungs. His words were shallow and sickly, but had a volume entirely inappropriate for dying.

    "Ever since you put on that cape, you've talked too much." Zekk managed to punctuate the quip with a soft chuckle.

    "You blind fool!" Caedus' grip on Zekk's face increased further. Small red sparks danced along the Sith's fingers and fractures began to form in Zekk's jaw. "What part of this are you failing to understand? This is not difficult!"

    Caedus grabbed Zekk's wrist with his free hand and wrapped the Jedi's fingers around the handle of the weapon impaling him.

    "Feel this, scum! The cold metal in your hand right now is your death. It is your pointlessness and your failure. It is the disappointment of your old Dark master, your current Jedi allies, and your dead lover. It is all of those things conveniently rolled into a silver and red package!"

    Zekk felt the warmth and hum of the Sith lightsaber hilt in his hand. He gripped as tightly as his failing tendons would allow and imagined himself siphoning its energy into himself. Zekk could feel Caedus' gloved hand upon his. He imagined himself sihponing energy from the Sith's hand too.

    Caedus continued to shout, saliava forming at the edges of his lips. "There is going to be a glorious new dawn, with billions of planets of trillions of peoples able to live under one uncontested flag. They will be protected by a new order of Force users, Sith Knights who don't follow the Sith code. A perfect balance of power and humanity, they will use the Dark and the Light to become the ultimate guardians of prosperity." The Sith Lord's grip on Zekk's hand and the lightsaber handle became firm. "And I shall lead them!"

    A thought, almost strong enough to be called a suggestion, appeard in Zekk's mind from seemingly nowhere. The suggestion was not his own, nor was it a suggestion at all.

    It was a signal.

    Zekk was no longer imagining that he was siphoning energy from his old friend, he could now feel the energy gathering in his hand. The energy was familiar, both sickeningly-cold and furiously-hot at the same time. Fueled by Caedus' rage, it was nearly pure dark Force. The energy might have burned another Jedi's hand clean into ozone, but Zekk had a history in wielding this fierce power. He used a small portion of it to lift his head up and meet Caedus' eyes. Another portion was put into clear, poingient words.

    "That sounds like a great future, Jacen." He spat blood onto the Sith's face. "It's a shame neither of us will live to see it."

    Zekk's mouth became a full smirk as he focused all of the burning Force energy directly into the lightsaber hilt in his hand. The silver cylinder immediately exploded. Fire, circuitry, stray plasma, cloth, flesh and blood burst outward. Darth Caedus launched himself back several feet, screaming and clutching the ruined remains of his left hand with his right. Zekk finally fell to the cold floor, his smirk only broken up by soft coughs and laughter.

    "My Lord, are you there?"

    The voice came from the High Commander of the Unified Planetary Force in the ship's bridge below them. Caedus ceased his screaming, but didn't bother to draw fresh air as he responded to the comm unit on his waist.

    "What is it," Caedus demanded, his voice shallow.

    "Lord Caedus, something is going wrong with almost every system within the ship. Engines, directional control, shield generators, the hyperdrive engines, our laser batteries, everything! It is a near-complete system failure. Everyone is accounted for and rushing to their emergency posts to attempt to restore anything, but I have no explaination. Do you have any idea at all what might have caused this, Sire?"

    Darth Caedus felt the ship beneath him begin to shake violently, the shaking interspersed with jolts and leaps as systems failed, began to start up again, and failed once more. The Sith Lord stepped toward Zekk, blood dripping heavily and continuously from his destroyed left hand. Caedus reached down and grabbed Zekk by the collar, lifting the Jedi up with ease. Zekk looked down and continued to smirk as his old friend torqued his jaw and ground his teeth.

    And with the last of the energy he had stolen from the Dark Lord of the Sith and Head of the Unified Planetary Force, Zekk spoke.

    "You shouldn't have taught Ben to hide so well, Solo."
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Sep 20, 2012
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  16. DarthUncle Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 20, 2005
    star 5
    I quite disliked most of the idea of the LOTF (and dark nest, really just shut off after hearing of that existing ...), but this story deals with human emotion (well, and the dark side, and lightsabers, etc, but mainly, it is about people interacting). I like that, and I read it with pleasure. Looks good.
  17. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Woah... my husband usually never reads fanfic and when he does he almost never leaves a comment, because he has a tight shedule. And he was very annoyed with LOTF, discussing that with Cem_Fel and Chilla during our last meeting in our home. So, your fanfic here did the trick, because it concentrated on the things that really matter in a story. Credible characters, a dense plot.

    The discussion that the Solo twins had before Jaina died sucked me also deep into your story. I cried a lot for her and listening to the soundtrack of "The Village" did not help.

    Your Zekk is so hilarious and clever.

    And that Jaina came back as Force ghost that is such a brilliant idea.

    Please put me on your update list. [face_batting]
  18. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 13

    And with the last of the energy he had stolen from the Dark Lord of the Sith and Head of the Unified Planetary Force, Zekk spoke.

    "You shouldn't have taught Ben to hide so well, Solo."

    The fury within Darth Caedus was building upon itself at an exponential rate. In the span of under two seconds, his mind saw every moment in his rise to power where he had attempted to show those he once cared-for the good works that this could lead to. With each of these moments, the distance between the Sith Lord and the ability to care about people who disagreed with his choices increased until it was a gapaing chasm of apathy, the only bridges across leading to Jaina Solo, Anakin Solo, Tenel Ka Djo and Allana Djo Solo. The former two were his now-dead siblings, the latter two consisted of his wife and child.

    Tenel Ka. In a universe of twisting webs of chaos and anger, Tenel Ka represented a small gem of purposeful clarity and beauty. But within this gem laid a massive ocean of tranquility and acceptance, vast and deep. Jacen had never exercised the opportunity to leap into these soothing waters nearly as often as he wished over the course of Jedi and Sith career, but the inside of his mind was filled with pictures of the special place Tenel Ka represented. He had often closed his eyes and admired this beautiful spot, imagining himself entangled in the arms of his lover, happily lost in this secret sea.

    When their love gave way to an infant girl, Darth Caedus was suddenly open to attack on several fronts. At one end, she represented a new and even stronger rip in the fierce bubble of unemotional leadership and solemn dedication to the Sith mantle. On the other hand, her existance itself was a very literal exploitability to Jacen's mental state. An infant child is an offensively-easy target.

    The remains of a thoroughly-destroyed bridge still hung loosely in the canyon of Darth Caedus' apathetic connection to the rest of the world. That bridge represented lost potential on a massive scale, Ben Skywalker, son of the Republic hero and once-most-powerful Jedi in the galaxy, Luke Skywalker. The Sith Lord had taken that potential under his dark wing and had made endless plans for the future. But this potential was apparently not quite a strong as Caedus had hoped, and after being put to the test in an imitation of Vong "Embrace of Pain" torture device, Ben fell to the Dark Side just long enough to tear free of the painful impliments and fly away from Caedus' tutelage.

    Except now Ben was apparently back for a visit, and was unquestionably being a terrible guest.

    The voice of Brant Preyl, High Commander of the Unified Planetary Force and Darth Caedus' right-hand-man, once again flowed from the comm unit within the Sith Lord's cloak.

    "My lord? I have an update."

    Darth Caedus continued to stare at the crumpled body of Zekk. The Jedi had died with that same insuffereable smirk he had been wearing as he destroyed Caedus' left hand.

    "Go on, Preyl. I have been somewhat busy in my observation chamber, but you now have my full attention."

    "Sir, we have secured the Anakin Solo's directional control, but without engines and primary thrusters, we will eventually fall into Coruscant's gravitational well. The good news is that we have quite some time before that happens, and the Confederate forces have all either been deactivated or jumped out of the system."

    "Good," Caedus seethed, the volume and strength in his voice returning as he used the Force to stop the copious bleeding in his left wrist and to begin closing the wound. "Continue to work on the ship's systems. Have all hangars shut and locked and all escape pods secured with armed details. I will deal with the problem's source."

    "Yes, my lord."

    High Commander Preyl had been an invaluable asset to Caedus since the Battle of Kashyyyk. During the decisive battle, Alliance forces began to burn the eons-old forests of the planet as an example to other border planets harboring and aiding the Confederacy. Admiral Atoko, then-commander of the Fifth Fleet, began to question the purpose of Darth Caedus' actions. Out of respect for his decades of service, the Dark Lord had allowed Atoko several minutes of disrespectful comments and near-insubordination before finally relieving him of his post. Despite the battle being nearly won, Caedus still needed a commander for his fleet in the middle of the action. Trusting the Force, which had empowered his meteoric rise to authority, he used his instincts and made a quick and surprising choice.

    Then-Captain Brant Preyl was the youngest man in the Fleet in command of a Star Destroyer, though he was still several years older than Caedus. The decision proved wise almost immediately, with Preyl slipping into the role of Fleet Admiral with grace and professionalism. He wasn't nearly as grim or stern as his predecessor, though was more than willing to execute any grim order given to him by Caedus and be stern enough to see it followed-through. When off-duty, the man was calm and thoughtful.

    Jacen had often found himself speaking freely with Preyl as though he were an old friend with whom he had shared many an escapade. On more than one occassion, Jacen had nearly let slip details about the the complicated situation between himself, his secret lover and daughter, and the number of other Jedi he had put off during his reign. Of course, the Dark Lord had always caught himself. The rest of the galaxy needed to know as little as possible about Caedus' familial dealings and fueds, and when circumstances did require him to call for swift and silent assistance in cleaning up the evidence of such dealings, he had the Galactic Alliance Guard on speed dial.

    Darth Caedus walked to the wall before him, the wall containing a ruined turbolift door, several lightsaber trail marks, and a number of patches of drying blood. He stepped over Zekk and took great care not to look at the body of his gone sister. Flipping open a panel to the left of the warped doorway, he pushed a series of buttons on a keypad within, and a small black comm unit popped out. He took it from the recessed panel and began to speak.

    "Gamma Ace, respond."

    "Gamma Ace acknowledging, requesting confirmation," A woman came back over the comm. The woman on the other end had a deep and distinctly-grimm tone, but the voice's age revelaed she couldn't possibly be older than late 30's.

    "Confirming, victory-echo-rancor-gamma-echo-rancor-echo."

    "What is your command, Lord Caedus?"

    "I need a body team to collect in Observation, two bodies: one male, one female. Destory the male, retain the female. Also, prepare a hunt-and-secure unit, close qaurters. The target is hiding aboard the Anakin Solo. "Force Shadow" contingency."

    "Authorization to use Lightsaber, sir?"

    "Yes."

    "Details and D.O.A.?"

    "Young human male, caucassian."

    "D.O.A., sir?"

    There was an audible pause. Jacen could resist no longer and turned back to look at the body of his sister. His stare lingered as he spoke.

    "Alive preferable... but dead if necessary."

    "As you wish, sir."
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Sep 21, 2012
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  19. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    The fury within Darth Caedus was building upon itself at an exponential rate. In the span of under two seconds, his mind saw every moment in his rise to power where he had attempted to show those he once cared-for the good works that this could lead to. With each of these moments, the distance between the Sith Lord and the ability to care about people who disagreed with his choices increased until it was a gapaing chasm of apathy, the only bridges across leading to Jaina Solo, Anakin Solo, Tenel Ka Djo and Allana Djo Solo. The former two were his now-dead siblings, the latter two consisted of his wife and child.

    Tenel Ka. In a universe of twisting webs of chaos and anger, Tenel Ka represented a small gem of purposeful clarity and beauty. But within this gem laid a massive ocean of tranquility and acceptance, vast and deep. Jacen had never exercised the opportunity to leap into these soothing waters nearly as often as he wished over the course of Jedi and Sith career, but the inside of his mind was filled with pictures of the special place Tenel Ka represented. He had often closed his eyes and admired this beautiful spot, imagining himself entangled in the arms of his lover, happily lost in this secret sea.

    You describe the inner conflict of Caedus so well, the madness that the point-of-view of a Darksider contains. The loneliness that he is confronted with, the fact that friends turn into dire enemies.

    I am remember that I read in a Fantasy book in the early 90ies. What was it? Oh, yes one of the "Dragon Lance books" by Magret Weiß and Tracy Hickman. Anyway, there was this magician Raistlin Majerewho was losing it more and more to his own darkness. He also had a twin brother, a good-natured and strong warrior Caramon. This magician started with a red robe for neutrality, but then ended up with a black robe.

    Anyway, I remember a certain scene from the book were he attempts to become the new God of Evil. But he turns aside from his path. He is told by two people, one of them is is twin who saw the future, that "because he only learned to destroy, never to create, as a god he would rule only an empty universe and be alone forever." I have not thought about that scene in years, but somehow it reminds me of Caedus now, a man above the abyss.

    Thanks for this haunting update!
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  20. LexiLupin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 27, 2011
    star 4
    Yup, Zekk is beyond awesome. If only he were this awesome in the real books. *sigh* What wasted potential.
    Though now I have to mourn him, too. :(

    A nice touch there. ;)

    Well now I'm thoroughly intrigued to see how Ben fares in the next (I presume) of Caedus's duels. Also a little concerned for the future of the Solo and Skywalker lines at this point though, lol.
  21. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 14

    If you cut off the head, the body will die. If you cut off circulation to a limb, the limb will die. If you kill the nerves of an area, it can't feel what is being done to it. Surgical, precise. A quick snip, and suddenly the brain doesn't even remember what a left leg was, much less how to use it. A quick burn and no one is wise to the arteries being torn asunder. Control the fluids, make sure nothing falls, be positive nothing can make a sound.

    A motorized vehicle, like an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer for instance, is much like any other living being. There are vital parts, but the ability for these parts to stay connected to each other is often just as important as the parts themselves. What good is a major industrial plant if there's no way to get carriers to or from it?

    What good is a massive back of thrusters if they're no longer connected to a generator? Even if those were connected, what good were they if the navigational controls weren't connected to anything that might control navigation? Quick cuts, an intricate knowledge of each point and the strike point only. One slip, one missed stroke with the blade, the wrong thing is cut and suddenly the brain knows what's going on. It knows what just went wrong. It knows where you are. The worst part of all of it? Having no idea if the "brain" knew where you were yet.

    Several concurrent streams of thought ran through Ben Skywalker's head, all being rigorously kept far enough in the back of his head to only hear the occasional errant shout of doubt or concern. This was a mission, he was a soldier, and there was a target. Unfortunately, the target was not only in front of him, but beside him, behind him, above, below, completely encompassing him. The target was the very warship that was supplying him with oxygen and protecting him from the onyx vacuum outside.

    Killing something from the inside-out was not an un-heard-of tactic. For centuries, the idea of using spies and munitions behind enemy lines was considered sound and exercised frequently. But when the enemy lines are three-hundred-and-sixty degrees around you horizontally and vertically, and the area outside is even more deadly, the idea of killing the target from the inside-out was a very unappealing one.

    But that was just another train of thought he was forcing to a muffled part of his head as the brought the silver hilt of his lightsaber out, pressed it directly against a pipe twenty centimeters in diameter, and thumbed the weapon's activation switch.

    An audible crack immediately followed by a static-filled hum, the familiar sound of a Jedi's signature weapon, filled the small service hallway. Ben quickly raised and lowered the blade in a single graceful motion so as to completely cut the pipe and nothing else but the empy bulkhead behind it. Another flick and the blue beam disappeared back into the hilt. A feint smell began to emanate from the two open pipes, a familiar mixture of a fresh meadow's breeze tainted slightly by rotting vegetation.

    Concentrated Tibana gas. Though it was perfectly harmless when inhaled so long as your mouth wasn't sealed directly to the valve, the smell was easily-recognizable by many, especially those in the military. Concentrated, pressurized, and given a slight charge, this was the stuff that powered nearly every weapon in the galaxy. Valuable, to say the least.

    It was no wonder people were willing to convert countless planets' entire atmospheres into giant farms for the stuff.

    So, as he had done eight times before, Ben took the metal panel lying on the floor, positioned it back in place, and called on the Force to press the panel firmly enough to create an air-tight seal. Considering the distance between this point in the Tibana gas circulation system and its designated weapons battery, several banks of turbolasers were going to be dry in about thirty seconds.

    At that point, the Anakin Solo would be down a ninth bank of turbolasers, and his former master would be that much more frustrated. Perhaps he wouldn't be frustrated at all, not even surprised. Perhaps Jacen knew exactly what Ben was doing and was waiting for the right moment to spring some trap.

    Another shout of dissent, more doubt that the young Jedi had to quiet before it consumed him. But then another thing entered his mind, this one much louder and clearer. This was a frequency his mind had been tuned to for some time now, and the signal was coming back. It was the Force letting him know that people were approaching. Concentrating on the second awareness, Ben felt two presences headed his way at a brisk pace along another corridor perpendicular to the one he had just be cutting into.

    They would round the corner in a few seconds and see him. His loose-fitting Allaince jumpsuit would only give the two crew members only a second's pause before recognizing him as someone who was very much not supposed to be there. Forgetting the possibility of them being armed, even spotting him would bring this whole scheme to a quick stop. Then Jaina's, and possibly Zekk's, sacrifice would have been in vain.

    Jaina. His loving cousin. More violent thoughts threatening to ruin his chances.

    Ben hurried to establish a quiet link to the minds of the two Allaince members. They were two men, their personalities somehow familiar, both of them professional and intent on their duties. He could tell from the state of their minds that they were prepared to do something grim. It was something that they didn't exactly want to do, but would do nontheless without hesitation Something violent. They were on the hunt.

    Eleven seconds and they would be in his line of sight, and he in their's. Not enough time to make himself invisible in their minds. It had to be dark, fast. Ben looked up at the corridor's light panels, six of them from one end to the other. Seven seconds. He couldn't focus on their wiring and circuitry and destroy them with the force, that kind of work was far too small and precise, especially when it was hidden behind ceiling panels. The lights would have to go. Four seconds. Ben focused more intently on their minds and established a connection to the lights in the corridor. Ben saw the first inch of a black boot come into view.

    Using a good portion of the limited control he had on the Force, Ben forced the sound of an explosion and a sudden loss of balance into the soldiers' minds. In the same moment, the Jedi reached out to the lights lining the ceiling and closed his fist. Glass and transparisteel exploded, filling the hall with shrapnel, and then darkness. A sharp pain shot into Ben's right arm as a chunk of transparisteel about half of the size of a key card lodged itself just below his shoulder.
    He bit back any natural reaction to the pain and continued to focus on the minds of the Allaince soldiers, who had just fell to the floor of the intersection of the two corridors.

    For a split second, Ben's concentration was broken. It wasn't the chunk of material piercing his loose jumpsuit, but instead the uniforms, as well as armor and helmets of the two men who had just come into view. They were Gallactic Alliance Guard, the secret police of Darth Caedus' new government. What was once a public security force established to fight domestic terrorism had become an elite unit of killers who came and went noiselessly, leaving only dead dissidents. Ben Skywalker had once been a high ranking member of the division.

    Visions of slicing open the front doors of homes and being met with the horrified looks of huddled families began to fill his consciousness. He physically threw his head back and mentally beat the memories into submission, then reestablished his connection to the GAG soldiers. From what Ben could tell from their minds, they bought his ruse. From what they could tell, some part of the ship somewhere had just exploded and the shock had taken out the lighting in a hallway, possibly more. Ben kept his sigh of relief silent as the operatives rose to their feet.

    But the soldiers didn't continue to their destination. Go, Ben thought. Go, Ben tried to make them think. You have somewhere to be, he wordlessly said to them. One of the soldiers began to turn and continue on his way, but the other grabbed his shoulder and turned him back around. This was different. Ben could feel something different in their minds. The two soldiers certainly weren't Force-sensitive, but some part of their awareness was keen to Ben's intrusion. They didn't turn towards Ben's location, but instead raised their weapons and began a slow sweep of the three directions of hallway around them. Then one of them spoke.

    "This is Gamma Four and Gamma Five. Did anyone else feel any sort of violent vibration or hear an explosion?"

    Ben closed his eyes and exhaled, concentrating on the inch of space between the inside of the helmet and the soldier's ear.

    "Negative, Gamma Four. No sudden movement or distinct noise among the ship within the last ten seconds."

    No, Ben thought. If only he had known they were GAG before he had attempted the stunt, he would've known they would be second-guessing anything like this. Ben had slipped past various crew members and successfully hidden from patrols ten or twelve times using similar, though more subtle, tricks up to this point. But this time, it didn't look like his shell game was going to do the trick. He heard the soldier speak into his helmet's comm again.

    "Roger. We just heard an explosion and went down. Incident may have been localized. Confirm, Gamma Ace?"

    This time, a woman's voice came over the soldier's helmet. It was a woman, just younger than middle-aged from what Ben could tell. It would have been a beautiful voice if it weren't filled with restrained ferocity and... and there was something very familiar about the voice to Ben. And then it hit him, and his heart sank.

    It was her.

    "This is Gamma Ace. Confirmed, your experience was isolated. Shadow target possibly located. Double-check blasters set to stun and move in immediately. Myself, Six and Seven are on the way."

    "Confirmed, Ace. Proceeding."

    The GAG soldiers raised their weapons down the darkened hallway and began slow, steady pace in Ben's direction. He knew what came next. Two faint whines came from the men's helmets as their thermal vision activated and instantly filtered out the background heat of the ship's regular functions. For the briefest moment, all that was left in their vision was the distinct heat signature of a young male biped rising to his feet. Then the Jedi reached out with both hands and let out a quick shout, and the two soldiers rocketed from their feet and soared backwards into the solid bulkhead behind them.

    Before their bodies hit the floor, Ben turned on the balls of his feet and was off. Calling upon the Force once more, he turned the corner at the intersection at the opposite end of the darkened hall and broke into a full sprint. His feet were light and he took long strides. Ben deftly slipped between two technicians exchanging notes, not bothering to pull any sort of Force trick on their minds. With any luck, they would think he was just another panicked crew member.

    On pure instinct, he took a left turn, then a right and continued at full speed. He had a decent idea where he was, and the armory and barracks would be coming up on his right in a few seconds. If he could make it to the barracks, there were countless places where he could hide and then continue his sabotage mission. He turned right and a stairway came into view. Ben took and a quick full breath and leapt the entire set of stairs.

    He had just enough time to register a black-clad leg before his left side flooded with pain. His momentum was violently redirected and Ben bounced against the wall to his right, his left leg caught on the stairs' railing, and he fell awkwardly down the last three steps. Finally coming to a stop on the floor below, Ben groaned loudly as he rolled over and looked up to the top of the stairs. Fierce pain was coursing throughout his body, emanating from various places: his head, his left ribs, his right arm, his ankle, and another dull ache was just starting to form in his chest.

    Ben's vision was blurry and the room had a fierce unsteadiness, but he forced himself to focus on the figure at the top of the stairs, the one who had delivered the fierce kick to his side as he was still in the air. However, when she spoke, Ben recognized her before she came into focus.

    "This is Gamma Ace. I have Shadow target. He is wounded but conscious. Blunt force, no stuns or blasts. Converge on my location immediately."

    Ben clumsily reached for the lightsaber at his waist and held it out, but didn't activate it. Allowing himself a rare swear, he slowly scooted a meter back, but didn't stand or take his eyes off "Gamma Ace". Finally he summoned the strength to stand, but his left ankle was definitely threatening to let go. He spoke, but his words were desperate and wavering.

    "Tahiri, please, this is wrong! I don't know what he did to you, but he's-"

    Ben's pleas were cut off as Tahiri flicked a black metal cylinder into her had from seemingly nowhere and activated a meter-long blade of glowing red.

    "Dead or alive, Jedi. Your choice."
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Oct 2, 2012
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  22. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    If you cut off the head, the body will die. If you cut off circulation to a limb, the limb will die. If you kill the nerves of an area, it can't feel what is being done to it. Surgical, precise. A quick snip, and suddenly the brain doesn't even remember what a left leg was, much less how to use it. A quick burn and no one is wise to the arteries being torn asunder. Control the fluids, make sure nothing falls, be positive nothing can make a sound.

    A motorized vehicle, like an Imperial II-class Star Destroyer for instance, is much like any other living being. There are vital parts, but the ability for these parts to stay connected to each other is often just as important as the parts themselves. What good is a major industrial plant if there's no way to get carriers to or from it?

    What good is a massive back of thrusters if they're no longer connected to a generator? Even if those were connected, what good were they if the navigational controls weren't connected to anything that might control navigation? Quick cuts, an intricate knowledge of each point and the strike point only. One slip, one missed stroke with the blade, the wrong thing is cut and suddenly the brain knows what's going on. It knows what just went wrong. It knows where you are. The worst part of all of it? Having no idea if the "brain" knew where you were yet.

    Several concurrent streams of thought ran through Ben Skywalker's head, all being rigorously kept far enough in the back of his head to only hear the occasional errant shout of doubt or concern. This was a mission, he was a soldier, and there was a target. Unfortunately, the target was not only in front of him, but beside him, behind him, above, below, completely encompassing him. The target was the very warship that was supplying him with oxygen and protecting him from the onyx vacuum outside.

    You thrilled me right from the beginning of this update, that is denser than a "Criminal Minds" plot. Oh and it is Tahiri attacking him, ouch! [face_nail_biting]
  23. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 15

    Darth Caedus placed the small black comm unit next to his regular one within his cloak. He silently admitted that it was a bitter pill, sending his finest unit to hunt down his previous apprentice and, at one time, friend. The Sith Lord was sure that Ben Skywalker would be surprised to see the black ops unit he once belonged-to aiming their weapons at him, but he was equally sure that the relatively young Jedi would be able to evade them for a considerable amount of time. Sure, Tahiri would find Ben and likely do him decent amount of harm, but there was very little chance that she would be able to kill him.

    Ben would continue to bounce and run as he had been doing for a while now, but at least he would be focused on his own life and not the destruction of the Anakin Solo.

    Caedus sensed several beings rising toward his level of the ship. He assumed correctly that they were the GAG members on the "body team". The term was exactly what it said on the holodisc: a group of soldiers tasked with collecting or destroying corpses of fallen enemies or, in situations where secrecy was critical, allies. With mild curiosity, he remembered that the door to the turbolift had been cut apart. The GAG soldiers arose into view, clad in sectioned black armor, as well as black helmets with green visors. Sometimes Caedus wondered if he was the only one who was comforted by the sight of the secret police.

    Their existance was very-much public during the height of the Second Galactic Civil War. They were the unit busting down doors of would-be terrorists and keeping the streets of Coruscant safe. Well, as safe as they ever were above level 1500 anyway. Jacen had even attended the funeral of Mara Jade Skywalker while wearing his GAG outfit, which consisted of a black set of Jedi robes under a segmented piece of black torso armor. He had been the one responsible for Mara's death, but at the time he was the only one aware of it. But that was all energy through the conduit now for Darth Caedus. Just another in a long string of necessary deaths along the path to his vision for the galaxy.

    The man at the front of the GAG body team stepped forward and saluted crisply.

    "Second Team here for body work per your orders, sir."

    Caedus simply nodded. "Proceed."

    The six black-clad soldiers behind him split into groups of three, each approaching a different body. Within the three that approached Zekk's limp, smirking corpse, one held a DXR-6 Disruptor Rifle. The weapon, as well as the entire family of weapons it belonged to, was almost completely outlawed by the Alliance.

    It was not a standard blaster rifle by any means. A fully-charged shot from such a rifle would cause such an intense reaction in the victim that it would disrupt the target at a molecular level. This would result in a small scattering of ash and smoke where the target had been seconds before. It was a gruesomely-efficient weapon. Caedus admired it.

    The moment he had attained enough authority within the Republic to do-so, Jacen had ordered three crates of the rifles for his GAG squad. Despite being used countless times since their acquisition, only once had the action had a non-Galactic Alliance Guard witness. Fortunately, this witness had no other ties and was quickly dealt-with.

    The soldier responsible for the mistake had since improved his timing and tactical execution. Darth Caedus did not dispose of subordinates who failed him as quickly and rashly as the last Dark Lord in his position of power. Jacen did not intend to lead through fear, but respect instead. Fear of one's superiors, he felt, only resulted in a temporary improvement of performance at best. On the other hand, admiration, a willingness to give one's life for their superiors, was a significant boost to troops' abilities.

    Caedus turned to watch as two GAG soldiers repositioned Zekk's body. They compressed it into a tight fetal position and stepped back. The trooper holding the disruptor positioned it against his shoulder and flipped the firing selector to full charge.

    "Wait," Caedus commanded.

    The Sith Lord didn't have to raise his voice or imbue it with any sense of threat. The disruptor rifle lowered as its operator turned toward him. Without a word, Caedus raised his right hand toward the lightsaber hilt frozen in Zekk's cold hand. After a second's resistance, the hilt slipped from the dead Jedi's grasp and into Caedus' remaining intact hand. With his own lightsaber destroyed, he didn't want to be without a weapon until he could construct another proper Sith blade.

    He attached the weapon onto his belt where his previous lightsaber once rested, then turned and used the Force to retrieve the larger half of his sister's lightsaber. With its burnt circuitry and exposed crystal, the weapon was useless in its current state. Caedus was unsure if he would restore the weapon, but he knew that it was not going to be leaving his possession.

    "Carry on," Caedus said, still looking at the ruined lightsaber.

    The GAG operative readied the disruptor rifle again, allowed it the few seconds needed to build a charge, and fired. The beam was instead and continuous, unlike the separate bolts of a blaster's fire. Zekk's body, clothing and all, turned a bright yellow and glowed fiercely, then a red hole appeared at the point of impact and began expanding, spreading across the body until there was naught left but smoke and cinders. Another GAG member to his right held up a low-yield energy emitter, often used for burning away potentially-incriminating things like hair, flakes of skin, a layer of dust retaining fingerprints, and sometimes the ashes of a victim of a disruptor's beam. The vague cone of light was barely visible as it turned the remaining particles into air.

    "This is Gamma Four and Gamma Five. Did anyone else feel any sort of violent vibration or hear an explosion?"

    The voice came from the black comm unit within Caedus' robes. It was one of the members of the other GAG team, the one he had assigned to track down Ben Skywalker.

    "Negative, Gamma Four. No sudden movement or distinct noise among the ship within the last ten seconds."

    "Roger. We just heard an explosion and went down. Incident may have been localized. Confirm, Gamma Ace?"

    Jacen allowed himself a small smirk. Even when cornered by Caedus' finest, Ben was being extremely creative. Had he not personally trained the members of the GAG in ways of hunting an evasive Jedi, the trick would have surely worked. The fact that the squad was personally led by his own Sith apprentice didn't hurt.

    "This is Gamma Ace. Confirmed, your experience was isolated. Shadow target possibly located. Double-check blasters set to stun and move in immediately. Myself, Six and Seven are on the way."

    "Confirmed, Ace. Proceeding."

    They had found him. The chase was on. Now, Caedus felt, was finally the right time to make what would inevitably be an awkward holocall. The Sith lord looked to make sure that the other members of his elite unit were treating Jaina's body with the reverence and professionalism she deserved. The part within Jacen that still loved her wasn't entirely dead, simply stored away so that he could make the decisions he must. The GAG operatives carefully loaded Jaina onto a hovering metal platform. Once safely aboard, one of them touched a button and a black dome covered the platform, hiding his sister's empty physical remains.

    Much like her lightsaber, Caedus was unsure what he would do with her body. Part of him wanted to send it back to his mother and father, a gesture that the supreme leader of the galaxy was not without compassion. But there was the strong possibility that her body would be used as an icon, a point around which the remaining Jedi and other rebels would rally around. Jaina had once been declared the "Sword of the Jedi" by Luke, and if her body allowed her to become an empowering martyr in death, the puzzling title might finally come to fruition.

    However, Caedus knew his parents too well to be concerned by the odds of that happening. Despite their legendary status and constant public exposure since the Battle of Yavin, Leia Organa Solo and her husband Han wanted to be private people again. Caedus knew that they longed for a life where their family could live away from constant conflict. A few Jedi or, more likely, Corellian Confederacy higher-ups might suggest that they use Jaina's body as Caedus had previously thought. Ultimately though, it would be a quiet service. Her death would have no impact on the conflict's outcome, and Han would enter an even deeper state of depression in the belief that all three of his children were gone.

    Darth Caedus stepped aboard the turbolift and descended to the floor that held, among other things, his personal office. The GAG operatives would patiently await the turbolift's return. The observation room he had just left once held a large meeting table and countless chairs, as well as small side tables for decorations and food services. After the Battle of Kashyyyk and the galaxy's recognition of his authority, he had the furniture removed. He found the empty room, with its large space and direct view of any battle his flagship might be participating in, especially useful for practicing a Force technique he had heard of several years before, called "Battle Meditation." So far, he had not had much luck mastering the skill, but he felt that he was making progress.

    The turbolift came to a soft halt at his destination, and he calmly stepped off in the direction of his office. Various technicians, soldiers, and officers came to sudden halts as he passed. Darth Caedus entered his office and the door locked behind him. The office was large, but not obscenely-so. It held a large, black desk and several matching chairs on one side, with a larger black chair with deep red cushions on the other. The room was lacking in decoration and personal touches, with only a large picture of a cut-out view of the Anakin Solo on one wall, and a display containing most of the various medals and awards he had won while serving for the Alliance.

    Jacen sighed and gestured towards an inconspicuous portion of the wall behind his desk. A hidden lock was moved by the Force and a small drawer slid free. Within were several photographs, a couple holodiscs, and now two-thirds of Jaina Solo's broken lightsaber. The drawer closed and Caedus sat behind his desk. He reached for the control pad for his desk's holo terminal and began keying in a comm code that had been given to him in an encrypted message sent to the Anakin Solo following the Battle of Kashyyyk. The code had been given to him if he ever wished to speak with someone about forsaking the path of the Sith and returning to the Jedi fold. He had only used it once before, and not for that purpose.

    After a minute, the age- and weather-worn face of an old man appeared in transparent blue, followed by a full body of Jedi robes below. The man wore a stern expression, but it was clear that he had grown tired. Caedus spoke first.

    "Jedi Master Skywalker, I believe there is something of yours aboard my ship."
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Oct 10, 2012
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  24. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    It was not a standard blaster rifle by any means. A fully-charged shot from such a rifle would cause such an intense reaction in the victim that it would disrupt the target at a molecular level. This would result in a small scattering of ash and smoke where the target had been seconds before. It was a gruesomely-efficient weapon. Caedus admired it.

    Fascination with deadly toys and issues with death... the dark side tightens its grip and confuses his brain functions as much as his emotions.

    Thrilling update! Sorry that it took so long to react. I was away in the weekend and my week is always hectic with two jobs and a third coming up. This is why I enjoy this fic even more.
  25. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    I greatly appreciate your feedback, especially since you seem to be the only reader at this point, lol. I wouldn't say that the dark side is warping his brain. He's admiring it's efficiency as a tool, not sure if that really counts toward any psychotic or evil tendencies. But I like that interpretation.
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