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.

Moderators: Briannakin, mavjade
  1. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    No, I'm still reading; just getting more depressed with every chapter.

    I didn't take Jacen's internal comment on the Disruptor rifle to be 'dark', just a comment on what the gun can do. I think all of us are fascinated by weaponery and death on some level, otherwise why would we have all these museums dedicated to warplanes, battlefields, etc?

    I guess that it is good to know that Jacen can 'feel' still on some level. ***sighs***
  2. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    I never said it was going to be a happy AU, this is just what I see as the the most realistic depiction of Caedus' theoretical rule.
  3. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    You story is brilliant! So is your writing style. You lacking readers is due to the new boards. The move took too long for many keen fanfic readers & writers. A lot of people moved over to fanfic.net. Please stay and continue.

    The past years my life was mostly about juggling different teaching positions in a foreign country that does not always accepts me as a German. The Dutch can be rather discriminating when folk speak their language with an accent. Ask my neighbour from Rwanda about it! Anyway, reading enriches my daily life. Of not on-line than with library books, books lent from dear friends or books I did spoil myself with after an exhausting day. Stories like your´s help. They speak about an aspect of the SW universe that I miss in the PT and all the CW stories. AND in the NJO ones. A story like your´s is NOT superficial. It goes deep under the surface. Shows us the bad and the ugly core within a dark sider. Helps us to get some understanding C´s obsession for bringing peace and order to the galaxy.

    PS: I also miss some of my loyal readers, but I know what Chilla, Tyranus230, Gkilkenny and DarthUncle, my own husband, are up to. It makes me proud that SWpants666, Lady_Misty and earlybird-Obi_Wan still stick to me, besides their equally busy off-line lives. DO NOT LOSE FAITH IN YOUR ABILITIES AS A STORY TELLER, OKAY? KEEP POSING HERE!
  4. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    No, no, I like it. This is a far deeper Jacen than we got in LotF. Just depressing, that's all.
  5. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    That's very high praise you guys, I appreciate it. Now if only anyone was reading my Rebel Assault fic I'd be set lol
  6. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 16

    "Jedi Master Skywalker, I believe there is something of yours aboard my ship."

    A voice came from the room next to his own. He could tell that the words were coming through a speaker unit from the undertones of digital nasality a sentence transmitted over a comm always seemed to take. But having been stuck in a medbay bed for the better part of three months, he had learned to tune out the constant comm usage and clamor going on in the small command room adjacent to the medbay. There was something specific about this voice that he had subconsciously recognized, something that made him as angry as his aching muscles would allow. The older man in the bed attempted to sit up and was met with furious pain from the abdominal muscles that were still rebuilding themselves. His teeth fused together as he pushed the pain back, the only audible sign he allowed was a quick growl.

    "Kyle, please. Lay back down," a woman said as she placed a slightly-oversized gloved hand onto the man's right leg.

    Kyle Katarn, the legendary smuggler-turned-Jedi Master, twisted painfully toward the woman. Every time was able to take a good look at her, he was always taken back by the way the years of espionage and gunrunning had only served to make her more beautiful. At the age of sixty-six, Jan Ors had managed to maintain her looks almost as well as her ship, the Raven's Claw. The ship, along with it's predecessor, the Moldy Crow, had turned Kyle and Jan from smalltime carriers of illicit goods into two shining examples of the rogues-with-hearts-of-gold that made up the core of the Rebel Alliance.

    Kyle had only begun to work with the Alliance after it had taken its grander title, the New Republic. It seemed that every true hero of that era had gained their reputation for enormous acts of heroism and destruction against impossible odds, usually against a new Imperial super weapon. Katarn was no different.
    After taking down the Empire's Dark Trooper project, an initiative to create a devastating army of battle droids and powered armor, he became a full-fledged Jedi Knight. His training wasn't even finished when he again tackled two new forces, a sect of powerful Dark Jedi hunting for the Valley of the Jedi, and an army of artificially-created Dark Force-users serving under the Imperial Remnant. Guided by the memory of his father, who had been secretly working alongside a Jedi-in-hiding to help disrupt the Empire, Kyle Katarn was a poster boy for the roguish heroics that established the New Republic.

    He wondered now what the old leaders of the New Republic, the long-gone military geniuses such as Admiral Ackbar and diplomatic titans like Mon Mothma, would think of him now. Wrapped in itchy medical sheets, his nostrils filled with the distinctive odor of bacta, and his name squarely in the Galactic Alliance's Top 10 Most Wanted for having attempted to assassinate the Chief of State, Kyle hoped they were smiling down on him. It was a shame he had only began his work for the New Republic well after their establishment. With so many of them now gone, he felt that perhaps his days as a staunchly-independent smuggler had been wasted.

    "I'm fine, Jan," he said, stretching his arms and popping his elbows.

    Jan smirked at him. She had always been the positive influence on his life, both emotionally and quite literally when behind the controls of her ship. Despite her optimistic personality, he had only ever seen her smile any larger than a wry smirk once. It was after he had just finished carving a statue of his father in the Valley of the Jedi, following his victory over Jarec's Dark Jedi cult, that he caught her full smile. Caught was the exact phrase needed, because she attempted to hide it almost immediately.

    "There are more organs in you with lightsaber burns than without," she said. "I know it seems like you've been cooped up in here for a long time, but Cilghal says you'll be back on your feet in only a couple of weeks."

    "Back on my feet, sure, but did she say anything about when I would be ready for action again?"

    Jan paused, looking down at her cybernetic arm as she gently stroked Kyle's sheet-covered leg.

    "I didn't ask."

    "Don't lie to me, Jan. I know you asked. I'm almost positive you asked about my combat-readiness before anything else. You know just as well as I do that if I can't be out there fighting for us, fighting back this ridiculous farce of an Alliance in the gunner seat next to you, I'm as good as dead to the world and myself." He paused and Jan met his gaze. "I know you asked Cilghal when I would be ready to fight again."

    Jan knew everything he was saying was true. She knew it's truth because it was exactly how she felt. "Cilghal said that with a series of concentrated Jedi healing sessions, you might be able to get back into the field in two or three months."

    Kyle grew more frustrated, but he forced any reaction back down. Two months, let alone three, was far too long. Not to mention that said timetable was apparently reliant on steady work with a Jedi healer, and with the war going in the direction it was, those were in short supply.

    They continued to look at one another, both of them silently knowing that Kyle would be tearing himself free of the medical sensors and bacta much sooner than two months, it would just require the right trigger. With that realization, Kyle focused again on the familiar voice he was hearing from the comm in the next room, and it dawned on him that the trigger might be approaching even faster than he thought. It was the voice of Galactic Alliance Chief of State Jacen Solo, known to the Jedi Coalition and others as Darth Caedus. It was the voice of the man who had put Kyle in small medbay in the east wing of Bespin City, the last base of operations for the Jedi Coalition's resistance against the Galactic Alliance.

    Kyle heard Jedi Master Luke Skywalker respond to Caedus' call. It registered to Kyle that Luke was talking to his nephew, but how the founder of the new Jedi Order felt about his relative's Sith ambitions was always kept close to his chest.

    "Jacen," Luke began, his voice a mixture of anger and regret, "I don't know what you're talking about. I wish I could say that it is good to hear from you again, but after all that you've done-"

    "I think, Skywalker, that if we were to review "all that I've done", our respective lists would read quite differently. If you don't mind, I would like to get back to the point of my call."

    Kyle sneered at Caedus' childish condescension. Despite what were now decades of Jedi life, Katarn still had a much more difficult time hiding his frustration than the other Masters. He tried not to dwell on how different the galaxy might be had he not failed on Coruscant. Luke's words prevented him from slipping into reliving the attempt on Caedus' life.

    "Jacen, I gave you this frequency in the hopes that you would come to your senses and turn back from the Dark Side. We have helped bring many Jedi back to the Light, including several who had killed in anger. I'm sure that is not the reason for your call, but I sincerely hope that the Jacen Solo I once knew heard that."

    Caedus scoffed softly. "Skywalker... Luke, I have never understood how you can think someone has transformed into an entirely unrecognizable person after only a few years of learning and growing. Your endless compassion is noted. All of that aside, you're right in assuming that my call has nothing to do with my so-called redemption."

    Luke sighed. Kyle could picture the old Master's face in his mind. Just as Kyle had little ability to control expressing his frustration, Luke was equally unable to suppress disappointment. During one of his few conversations with Leia Solo, Kyle learned that Luke had remained as optimistic as he had been as a boy on Tatooine well into his forties, but after the Vong war began, he had began to opt for disappointment as his default reaction.

    "Well then, what is it of mine that you supposedly have?"
    "Your son."

    The constant noise of shuffling boots, sensors, and radio traffic quickly dropped to a low dim. Even in his condition, with his mind full of anger, Kyle felt the pang of distress from Luke in the Force. It wasn't a sudden distress, like the kind of surprise fear that he would've sent out like a beacon if he was completely unprepared for this. No, it was a deep, sad distress. The rest of the Jedi working among the other officers felt it as well, and their concern rippled through the Force like a handful of stones tossed into a lake.

    "Excuse me?"
    "Your son, Ben, is currently aboard my flagship."

    Caedus spoke calmly, the condescension and resentment from before almost entirely gone.

    "As of this moment," he went on, "He is running around one of the lower decks. My men are pursuing him now. I have made it clear to them that he is not to be killed. As my former friend and apprentice, I don't wish any harm on Ben. But he has done significant damage to my ship and assaulted several of my crew. If he continues to cause mayhem, I will be forced to take action."

    Kyle was certain that Darth Caedus was telling the truth about Ben, but there was more to this. How, he wondered, had Ben managed to sneak aboard the Anakin Solo, the gem of Caedus' fleet? The boy would have needed help. Ben Skywalker was an extremely skilled Jedi with endless potential, but a mission like that would have required extensive military expertiese.

    Kyle Katarn came to a sudden, sickening realization.

    Calling upon the Force to dull the enormous amount of pain he was about to endure, Kyle cast aside the thin blanket, tore the sensors off of his arms and torso, and slipped the intravenous tube out of the crook of his left elbow. With Jan shouting in protest but before she could grab him, he was on his feet and begining a slow walk across the medbay and into the hall. Jan rushed to his side and gripped his bare shoulders. He was wearing a standard pale blue one-piece bodysuit issued to all medical patients. Both the front and back zippers were undone to his waist so that the top of the bodysuit hung down to his knees.

    "Kyle," Jan began, her voice stern.

    As gently as he could manage, he pushed her away. She fought back he reflex to simply grab him again, having seen this determination in him before. He stepped into the small command room. With all eyes on the Jedi Master and the hologrpahic Sith Lord, his arrival wasn't noticed. Luke was just responding to something Caedus had said as Kyle returned his attention to the conversation.

    "You have my word, I didn't authorize any Jedi infiltration mission on your ship. The battle is over, we retreated. All Jedi that participated in the fight are accounted-for. We know how many pilots are no longer with us, but if any of them survived and you have them as prisoners, you haven't sent us any sort of list. Regardless, I can guarantee you that none of them were Jedi."
    "Your guarantees to me are worthless when I have three Jedi aboard my ship."
    "Three? You said that you only had my son."

    Kyle finally reached the center of the room, each slow step slightly less painful than the last. He was resisting the urge to touch the large patch over his abdomen when he placed his hand on Luke's shoulder. Luke turned quickly, as if his concentration had been broken.

    "Kyle, what are you doing out of medical?"
    "Ah, Jedi Master Kyle Katarn," Caudus said, the small smirk on his lips unnoticeable through the hologram. "I wasn't sure if you had survived our confrontation. I saw you and your partner fly off, but you were in quite poor shape at that point. That was an impressive piece of flying by your partner, by-the-way, avoiding an entire quadrant of planetary defenses on the w-"
    "Shut your mouth, Sith!" Kyle shouted, stepping forward. Everyone in the room, including Luke, motioned slightly away from the furious Jedi. Even the Sith Lord in transparent blue seemed taken aback. "Where are they?"
    "Well, as I said, Ben is currently on the run from Alliance soldiers."
    "No, you piece of slime, where are Jaina and her partner?"

    Luke and Jacen gave Kyle similar looks of surprise. Luke leaned closer to Kyle.

    "How do you know Jaina and Zekk are with Ben on that ship," Luke asked.

    Without a moment's hesitation, Kyle turned toward his former master and said "Because I gave them the plan."

    Luke's eyes grew wide, but before Katarn could explain any further, Caedus interjected.

    "Ah, this makes much more sense. Once they were aboard, I was able to sense them and guide their path, but I hadn't figured out how they snuck aboard in the first place. To an ex-Imperial officer and smuggler such as yourself, such a plan would be simple."

    Kyle raised a threatening finger toward the life-size holo of the Chief of State and spoke through clenched teeth.

    "Last time I will ask this, Sith. Where are Jaina and Zekk?"

    Caedus took a slow, measured breath and spoke without emotion.

    "They are both dead, and it would seem that you are responsible."
    Last edited by Dashren2001, Oct 14, 2012
    mulberry and AzureAngel2 like this.
  7. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Last edited by AzureAngel2, Oct 14, 2012
  8. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    A great read and love to read more about Kyle Katarn. He is one of my favorite characters from the EU
  9. morrison85 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 13, 2005
    star 5
    whats this tagging business [face_devil]
  10. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Author's note: I apologize about the delay in posting this next part. Writing this took far more out of me than anything else to-date, and with personal issues happening throughout, it was taxing. Enjoy.
    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Part 17

    If there was anyone in the galaxy who had seen the worst the galaxy had to throw at a sentient being, and somethings from other galaxies as well, it was Tahiri Veila. Born on Tatooine, she was raised among the vicious tribal people known as Tusken Raiders, or sometimes simply "Sand People". After a childhood of hardship and survival, she was taken in by Luke Skywalker and his new Jedi Order, and trained in the Light side of the Force. However, Skywalker and the other masters knew that with her past, she needed to be observed for dark tendencies at all times.

    The hum. That familiar, comforting hum. That stark, frightening hum. It emanated from a beautiful, fearsome beam of nothing less than pure light. The light was not restrained, but focused. Light, the wonderfully curious matter that didn't exist. And there it was, honed to a meter-long shaft of glowing red nothingness, humming away. The beam shifted and dipped, danced and twirled, moving defiantly through the air.

    The concerns about the possibility of her falling to the dark side were pushed aside when the Yuuzahn Vong arrived in the galaxy and began taking world-after-world. Their organic weaponry and mercilessness made even their lowliest warriors a decent match for your average Jedi Knight. The war was the most taxing and destructive the galaxy had seen since the Great Galactic War several millenia ago.

    She could feel it. The light had no mass, no weight, and caught no resistance from the air. It was not there. But she could sense the length of energy as she passed it around her back as physically as socks around her feet and the air rushing through her lungs.

    Every Jedi was pushed to their very limits, their laws of morality and unconditional respect were put to the test, and ultimately the Jedi Code was thrown to the wind in almost every case, merely out of the need for survival. Many times during the Vong war did a Jedi have to walk a darker path to protect the galaxy at large.

    It was a compliant dancing partner, moving as she told it to with the small metal baton in her hand. But the commands it followed were not her own. Yes, they came from her mind, rushing like a fish down a winding brook, through her moist palm and into the baton. Her mind, however, was simply another conduit in the chain. These commands rushed into her mind from another source of energy. Just like the air and the light, it did not exist. This energy was entirely intangible, formless, and came in a uniform color of naught.

    Some Jedi, such as the more experienced ones like Kyle Katarn, returned to the light side of the Force with a soft landing. Others did not have this luxury. For many, the war left an enormous, permanent scar on the heart, the mind, and often the body. Some were captured and tortured in creative and abhorrent ways.

    It entered her mind, making sure to wipe its feet and not slam the door, and politely found a place for itself in the systems of nerves that would spread it throughout every inch of her body. Along the way, it made sure to slip past the parts of her mind that could comprehend it, apply to it a face and name. It was simply there, and neither of them could have been happier about it.

    The ultimate prizes of war to the Yuuzhan Vong were captured Jedi. Unable to utilize the Force themselves, the Vong took what few Jedi they could capture alive and more-or-less cracked them wide open in search of a remote control for the Force. This entailed countless sessions of mental probing and time spent on the Embrace of Pain, a device that needed no further description once the name was spoken. Jacen Solo was one of the very few survivors of these horrendous techniques. Tahiri Veila was another.

    The energy within her suddenly warmed the muscles that housed it. After the warmth came one, ten, hundreds, then thousands of minuscule pricks of sensation. They came not to harm or distract, but to warn. She didn't slow down to listen. She didn't stop to question. She simply allowed the colorless, odorless energy to act as it wanted to. Releasing that much more of her body to it, she could feel the muscles in her legs contracting, her chest and head lowering. Something shot past over her head, leaving the air tense and unpleasant in its wake. Her feet shifted, and as her body turned, both of her hands brought the small silver cylinder around and behind her back. The baton jerked as if it had been struck a good distance past where it stopped. Her body continued to rotate.

    Before being captured and laid out for Vong experimentation, Tahiri had been part of a hurriedly-planned and ill-conceived assault on the breeding grounds of the voxyn, a four-legged creature with a knack for hunting Force-sensitives. The mission was ultimately a success, but the few that returned never called it such. This was understandable, as Tahiri had watched her young love, Anakin Solo, die during the action.

    Assuming she was now again facing the direction she had been when she first felt the heat, the tight beam of red light came around before her legs. The cylinder shook again. Something in her conscious mind knew why the tool felt as though it were being struck, knew enough to connect it to the message of warning the energy had provided. But that part of her mind had been pushed to the background. She couldn't tell if it had been put there by herself or the energy.

    Even she herself was unsure if her grief over the loss of Anakin had made her susceptible to the torture that followed her capture a little time after the assault. During her time at the hands of Vong hospitality, her captors were finally somewhat successful. They used a combination of ritual and organic technology to implant the personality of one of their strongest warriors into her mind. What followed was several years of schizophrenic internal conflict as the two creatures fought for control of the ravaged mind.

    Her muscles shifted, and the energy rushed from her legs into her right arm. The baton redirected the red beam's broad curve into a sharp cut in front of her upper body. There was another vibration in the baton, but it was lessened, countered by the momentum in her arm. The warmth grew to a low heat. Feeling more of the energy rushing into her body, the focused light continued its winding path before her eyes, coming around overhead, across her waist, turning sharply once more and rising straight up along her right side.

    Ultimately, Tahiri found a way to merge the two personalities into a rough mesh and regain control of her body. With the Vong war over, half of her mind was again consumed with grief over memories of Anakin Solo, and the other half consisted of the barely-contained thoughts and reflexes of a natural killer.

    The heat intensified further, and her glowing red guardian was moving alarmingly quickly in increasingly-varied paths in front of her. The cylinder in her grasp was jerking so frequently now that her wrist was becoming used to it. She didn't like that. Before, her dances with the light had flowed, rarely rushing or stopping. They, she, was being rushed. The music was no longer what her ears were used to. She didn't like that in the least.

    This combination of unbridled power and emotional susceptibility created the perfect opportunity for a new Sith Apprentice after Darth Caedus' previous one, Ben Skywalker, returned to the Jedi Order. As her beloved's older brother, Tahiri and Jacen had always been close. When Jacen, now the Sith Lord Darth Caedus, approached her with an offer that would allow her to see Anakin again, just as he was before the Vong war began, whenever she wished, she simply couldn't refuse.

    Suddenly, the energy within her wasn't excusing itself as it coursed through her. It was meant to be there. The heat had become a fire that didn't burn. The energy was unhappy about the situation its host had been placed in. She could feel it. She could also feel something in that cordoned-off portion of her mind that the discontent now radiating from the energy flowing through her felt quite a bit like her own anger, but she couldn't be bothered with that right now.

    In his five year trip around the galaxy following the Vong war, Jacen discovered several new Force powers from civilizations that had developed in the absence of an organization like the Jedi Order. One of these was Flow Walking, and put simply, it allowed him to see into the past. With great concentration, Jacen could see the footsteps left in the Force by the millions of creatures that had lived before him. If the subject had been connected to him in some way, he could become part of the moment and watch their actions clearer than any holovid. One of his most frequent subjects of observation was Anakin Skywalker, his great-grandfather. Another was the inheritor of that name, Anakin Solo.

    She began to spin again. Her arm wove the red nothingness around her body, but it was becoming more difficult to tell what that limb was doing. Where her arm stopped and her torso became another arbitrary label that she didn't have time for. The energy rushing around her bones had efficiently erased the outlines of her various body parts from her mind.

    And then something began to form in her unconscious sight. It was hardly more than a wavering ball of red, but its existence infuriated her. It wasn't supposed to be there. The ill-defined form of crimson was the source of her dance's interruption. The lower part of herself, she reached past her anger at the intruder to recall the word "legs", tensed, then released. She was moving forward. Jerking left, then right, what had once been a formless collection of red was quickly shaping into six separate entities. Her anger grew.

    At first, it was difficult to bring another person with down through the Force's beaten paths. It took enough of his strength to carry himself the length of the journey. Bringing someone else, especially one as unstable as Tahiri, was a proper challenge. He dared not attempt to teach her the technique to perform herself, lest he lose the strongest card in his hand. With each attempt, the two of them got that much closer to the visceral imagery Jacen could reach on his own. With each attempt, the two of them grew closer.

    Just as the group of beings began to take human shape in her mind, her legs slowed, much the energy now rushing up her spine and into her arms. She shifted and dipped, danced and twirled. One of the beings, the intruders, burst away into nothingness. Then another. Then two more. The red blade rose, then cut back down, and the last pair of beings faded into the darkness. She froze, the fire within her crackling and popping for a few more seconds.

    Over the weeks and months Caedus and his new apprentice made progress at partnered Flow Walking, he taught her in the ways of the Sith. He found it surprisingly easy. When he was teaching Ben, Jacen had found it incredibly difficult to help the younger man find and harness the powerful emotions needed to fuel Dark Side abilities. It was the exact opposite case with Tahiri. As he worked with her, he found that she was a nearly bottomless well of emotion; a torrential storm of fury and regret, of anger and passion. She took to the lessons quickly.

    And then came the cold. Ice rushed through her veins, violently pushing its way past nerve and bone. She could feel each part of her body as something separate again, and she didn't appreciate it in the least. Her jaw tightened, the sound of molars grinding against one-another painfully loud in her head as her body attempted to shiver away the cold sensation. It took several agonizing seconds, but she eventually regained feeling throughout her body. When the last of the chill left her fingertips, her conscious mind had returned, and there was an emptiness in her muscles where the wonderful energy had been. It wasn't gone: she could sense it hovering around her, everywhere and nowhere, waiting patiently for the next time it would need to step in. She loved it for that.

    Her mind, specifically, the part that had spent the past few minutes shoved in a closet with the light off, was telling her that something was wrong. Something was different. But she was much more interested by this new empty sensation within her. It was fascinating. It needed to grow.

    Speeches became lessons. Lessons became duels. Duels became battles. The battles were fierce, and often was the time when Caedus had to stop them before one of them killed the other. That was how the lessons ended sometimes. Later, they began to end differently.

    Then she sensed it: a being of both dark and bright light, a star that seemingly had the age of eternities, the experience of all sides of morality. She realized that star, this man, was why she was here. She was here to snuff out this wizened star.

    As she approached him, she could see tendrils of light shooting from him, reaching out from his luminous self and touching thousands, millions of beings countless lightyears away. She had seen it before, it was the sign of someone who as at the center of a group, a person who represented a crucial point around which millions of lives revolved. Someone important.

    Eventually, Caedus and Tahiri were able to travel to moments of Anakin Solo's past and see them clearly. She would often see a younger version of herself in these trips, an optimistic young girl who had broken free of a bleak past and saw nothing but a bright future. Many times, it brought her to tears.

    At one point, the sounds of her crying were noticed by the young Solo they were observing. Flow Walking was a dangerous and uncertain ability, its inner workings completely unknown to any of its users. Before she had the chance to speak directly to Anakin as he investigated the sound, and in turn discover what happened to the Force when time looked at itself in the mirror, Caedus ended the session. Tahiri had understood his decision, but it continued to eat at her. Caedus' opportunity had come.

    She felt him gazing upon her, but he did not become threatening. The light that was his wisdom and humility only shone brighter as she brought her blade inches from his neck. This gave her pause. His acceptance of his fate, the lack of fear or uncertainty, at first represented a curiosity to her, but ultimately came to represent power. With each moment, each second that she held the glowing extension of her power at his most vital of physical connections, his resolve only grew stronger.

    With her training progressing at a steady pace, Caedus had felt that it was finally time for her to make her next step forward. It was a week following his victory at the Battle of Kashyyyk. The Separatists had been routed and sent running. Several of Kashyyyk's legendary forests were burned to the ground as a warning to any other planet that might support the Separatist terrorists. Only one region remained that did not recognize his authority, the Imperial Remnant. With his popularity among the Alliance's public at an all-time high, Caedus approached Tahiri with a simple offer: Kill the head of the Imperial Remnant, and he would use his powers to allow her to communicate to Anakin Solo's Force ghost directly one last time. She agreed even quicker than he anticipated.

    That same small part of her mind that she pushed back earlier recognized this strength, grasped at it, clinged to it and claimed it represented true power. But the consciousness that was in control of her now did not see it as such. Instead, she saw it as a threat.

    Of course, Caedus had no such ability. Even if he could master the ability to commune with the souls of passed Jedi, said Jedi had to wish to be reached. Caedus was fairly certain that his younger brother wouldn't agree with what he was doing. Instead, he would reach directly into her mind and project an image of Anakin, feed him lines to say and emotions to show. He would do his lost brother justice, but ultimately he would use it as a tool to shape her into the weapon he needed.

    Such calm and wise power only stood to contradict everything she learned up until this point: that the pures of strength came from raw emotions. She let this renewed anger fill her, and with a single stroke that cost her no effort, her blade cleaved the star asunder. It did not burn out immediately, but instead dissipated over what felt like an eternity.

    It was a masterstroke. Tahiri infiltrated the Imperial Remnant's headquarters posing as the Jedi of the Order she once was. Cutting her way to the top, cutting off every avenue of escape along the way, she killed Pellaeon, the leader of the Remnant. Moments later, as Tahiri made a show of attempting to escape, Jacen arrived and struck her down. Claiming to have been tracking the Jedi for sometime, he showed regret that he had not arrived in time to prevent the assassination of one of the galaxy's greatest men.

    Gilad Pellaeon was dead, and soon she would be too.

    Despite the decades that had passed since, leaders of the Remnant still remembered their vast force's destruction at the hand of the New Republic, led by the new Jedi Order. The Imperial Remnant bought it completely. While remaining independent of the Galactic Alliance, the Remnant threw its entire weight behind Caedus and his war against the separatists. Tahiri's wound, while appearing very-much lethal, was a perfectly-placed strike that never put her life in danger.

    Caedus returned to Coruscant with Tahiri, who was now dead to almost the entire galaxy. All of the Jedi knew she hadn't acted on their behalf, but few of them believed she hadn't been killed at Caedus' hands. Upon returning to their respective quarters deep inside the Capital Palace, Caedus reached into her mind and portrayed a perfect image of his young brother before her. There was every chance in the world that Tahiri would recognize Caedus' trick, but her desperate need to see Anakin once more easily overrode her better senses.

    The projected Anakin was tender and loving. Caedus was able to feed off of her wants and desires and simply reflect them in the false ghost's actions. In the end, the image of Anakin Solo told her that what she was doing was right. He told her that his sacrifice would be in vain unless the galaxy could find a true state of peace, and that supporting Jacen was the surest path to that state. She and the false Anakin shared a long kiss, and the image was gone.

    Afterwards, Tahiri collapsed under the weight of every emotion possible. She screamed. She punched deep dents in the durasteel walls. She cried. Following several minutes of this, Jacen embraced her, and several moist streaks were descending from his eyes. The image of his beloved brother, hearing his words, no matter how false their origins were, had been too much for him.

    Tahiri did not return to her quarters that night.

    Several months later, donned in the fearsome armor of the Galactic Alliance Guard, Tahiri stood several feet above the injured Ben Skywalker. She directed her glowing red Sith blade toward the younger Jedi and spoke.

    "Dead or alive, Jedi. Your choice."

    Last edited by Dashren2001, Oct 20, 2012
  11. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Very good chapter delving deep into the characters
  12. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Ups, I missed two updates, but the bird and morri have found this story.

    Well, morri, I thought this fic might interest you, because you have all the books in your gorgeous home.

    As for the bird, she never can resist a brilliant story. Oh and please to come to see me, even though my dark master & husband will be in the Czech Republic. The house can be so big & empty. Plus I will NOT let the neighbour cat inside, even though he is smitten by me. Must stop doing my chants around him. Bewitched him even more. ANYWAY, do come around next weekend and let us discuss beautiful fanfics like this one, roam the town & have some cake. I have brought "Ostfriesentee" during my last visit in Osnabrück.

    *pokes @morrison85. "Ostfriesentee"! Gut, ne?

    And now to something completely different:

    "Jacen," Luke began, his voice a mixture of anger and regret, "I don't know what you're talking about. I wish I could say that it is good to hear from you again, but after all that you've done-"

    "I think, Skywalker, that if we were to review "all that I've done", our respective lists would read quite differently. If you don't mind, I would like to get back to the point of my call."

    Kyle sneered at Caedus' childish condescension. Despite what were now decades of Jedi life, Katarn still had a much more difficult time hiding his frustration than the other Masters. He tried not to dwell on how different the galaxy might be had he not failed on Coruscant. Luke's words prevented him from slipping into reliving the attempt on Caedus' life.

    "Jacen, I gave you this frequency in the hopes that you would come to your senses and turn back from the Dark Side. We have helped bring many Jedi back to the Light, including several who had killed in anger. I'm sure that is not the reason for your call, but I sincerely hope that the Jacen Solo I once knew heard that."

    Caedus scoffed softly. "Skywalker... Luke, I have never understood how you can think someone has transformed into an entirely unrecognizable person after only a few years of learning and growing. Your endless compassion is noted. All of that aside, you're right in assuming that my call has nothing to do with my so-called redemption."

    Luke sighed. Kyle could picture the old Master's face in his mind. Just as Kyle had little ability to control expressing his frustration, Luke was equally unable to suppress disappointment. During one of his few conversations with Leia Solo, Kyle learned that Luke had remained as optimistic as he had been as a boy on Tatooine well into his forties, but after the Vong war began, he had began to opt for disappointment as his default reaction.

    "Well then, what is it of mine that you supposedly have?"
    "Your son."

    The constant noise of shuffling boots, sensors, and radio traffic quickly dropped to a low dim. Even in his condition, with his mind full of anger, Kyle felt the pang of distress from Luke in the Force. It wasn't a sudden distress, like the kind of surprise fear that he would've sent out like a beacon if he was completely unprepared for this. No, it was a deep, sad distress. The rest of the Jedi working among the other officers felt it as well, and their concern rippled through the Force like a handful of stones tossed into a lake.

    "Excuse me?"
    "Your son, Ben, is currently aboard my flagship."

    Caedus spoke calmly, the condescension and resentment from before almost entirely gone.

    That chat gave me the creeps. The entire madness & cruelty of this request.

    But this bit made my blood even colder.

    Caedus returned to Coruscant with Tahiri, who was now dead to almost the entire galaxy. All of the Jedi knew she hadn't acted on their behalf, but few of them believed she hadn't been killed at Caedus' hands. Upon returning to their respective quarters deep inside the Capital Palace, Caedus reached into her mind and portrayed a perfect image of his young brother before her. There was every chance in the world that Tahiri would recognize Caedus' trick, but her desperate need to see Anakin once more easily overrode her better senses.
    The projected Anakin was tender and loving. Caedus was able to feed off of her wants and desires and simply reflect them in the false ghost's actions. In the end, the image of Anakin Solo told her that what she was doing was right. He told her that his sacrifice would be in vain unless the galaxy could find a true state of peace, and that supporting Jacen was the surest path to that state. She and the false Anakin shared a long kiss, and the image was gone.
    Afterwards, Tahiri collapsed under the weight of every emotion possible. She screamed. She punched deep dents in the durasteel walls. She cried. Following several minutes of this, Jacen embraced her, and several moist streaks were descending from his eyes. The image of his beloved brother, hearing his words, no matter how false their origins were, had been too much for him.
    Tahiri did not return to her quarters that night.
    Several months later, donned in the fearsome armor of the Galactic Alliance Guard, Tahiri stood several feet above the injured Ben Skywalker. She directed her glowing red Sith blade toward the younger Jedi and spoke.
    "Dead or alive, Jedi. Your choice."
    What a manipulate ... (please insert fitting word here yourself!). At least Caedus suffered from this master stroke as well.
    I fear for Ben now. For his safety, his sanity. [face_sigh]
  13. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Thank you both so much for your comments! It keeps the story going to be honest.

    Yeah Azure, I'm glad that Caedus is coming across as cold as intended.
    I got a request for a short timeline/background for the story, so here you go:
    - Jacen leads the Alliance to victory at Kashyyyk (Battle of Kashyyyk , LOTF: Inferno <<<AU Divergence)
    - Jacen returns to Coruscant and gives a speech that victory is within grasp. Kyle Katarn is hiding in Jacen's chamber and attempts to kill him. Kyle puts up a good fight but Jacen wins, and Kyle just barely escapes with Jan.
    - After the Imperial Remnant again refuses to support him and stays neutral, Jacen sends Tahiri to assassinate Gilad Pellaeon while pretending to act on behalf of the Jedi order. Jacen then pretends to kill her. The Imperial Remnant declares war on the Jedi Coalition and starts supporting Jacen and the Alliance.
    - After distracting a good portion of the Fifth Fleet away in a ruse, the Jedi Coalition launch everything they have in a surprise last-ditch attack on Coruscant. During this battle, Jaina, Zekk, and Ben sneak aboard the Anakin Solo using a plan given to them by Kyle Katarn.
    - YWMB begins.
  14. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    I like this. You've made Tahiri seem much stronger as a character than Legacy did. You show as more than just an 'Anakin' junkie. One thing, though; wasn't she captured by the Vong before Myrkr? Again, you've managed to add emotion to Jacen that was sorely lacking. Thanks!
  15. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 18
    "Dead or alive, Jedi. Your choice."

    Ben stared up at the fierce woman atop the stairs before him. Holding a signature Sith lightsaber that glowed bright crimson, she did not have the same helmet and visor that he had seen on the two Galactic Alliance Guards he had just escaped from. She did wear similar segmented black armor, but the panels were smaller and tapered more, presumably to allow for more freedom of movement.

    He locked eyes with her, hoping that she would see something in his eyes that would give her pause. He and Tahiri had never been close friends, but they had worked together several times and shared a number of meals at family and Jedi gatherings, which were often the same thing. He immediately noticed that her striking green eyes, the feature about her that had stuck with him from their few meetings, had specks of amber glinting within her cornea. Ben couldn't be sure, but he also could have sworn that her hair used to be much longer, as opposed its current military-style that ended abruptly at the base of her neck.

    Tahiri came down two steps, her blade still directed at Ben, and spoke again. "I can tell your ribs are broken, and I would guess you're now carrying at least two sprains. Drop your lightsaber and I can guarantee you'll be taken alive."
    Ben furrowed his brow as he was told the injuries his pain was confirming. The pain itself wasn't as much of an annoyance. At fifteen years, Ben Skywalker had experienced more than enough pain to learn to force it away like an errant thought. The multi-hour sessions on Jacen's Vong-inspired torture rack had sped that process up immensely.

    "Alive, okay," Ben said. The words came with slight difficulty as he was still trying to catch his breath. He had gone from a full sprint to a full stop that resulted in his lungs having much less room to work. He was also stalling, knowing that Tahiri could strike him down in seconds with or without his current wounds. "I think I can work with "alive"."

    Something came through the Force from Tahiri. When he had first gathered his strength and felt her in the Force, she was an impenetrable wall of determination. But with his agreeance to come peacefully, a feeling had poked its head through her emotional blockade. It wasn't quite happiness. Relief, perhaps? Relief that she didn't have to kill him, Ben hoped.

    "That's a good decision, Jedi. Drop the lightsaber and we can continue this conversation in a turbolift."

    Ben gritted his teeth. He knew that the second he was in a turbolift with a Dark Jedi and multiple GAGs, his mission was a waste. That wouldn't bother him nearly as much if he wasn't almost certain that Jaina was dead. However, he didn't know the fate of Zekk. He hadn't let out any sort of cry in the Force, and Ben had felt a burst of frustration somewhere up above that he immediately recognized as Jacen's, so perhaps Zekk had pulled it off.

    Ben had his doubts, and this made the idea of capture all-the-more unacceptable.

    Another ping in the Force caught Ben's attention. Several powerful beings were headed in his direction, and he was the only thing on their minds. Ben assumed correctly that these were the nearest Gallactic Alliance Guards rushing to close off his escape routes and surround him. If he was going to do something, it had to be now. He closed his eyes for just a second, long enough to figure out the shortest route to his final target. There were two GAG units along the way, possibly more the further along he would go. But he had to go, and he would have to go through them.

    "Your lightsaber, Jedi!" Tahiri shouted, taking the rest of the stairs down and stopping three meters from Ben. Her outstretched lightsaber reduced that distance to two meters.

    "Right, of course." Ben attempted a weak smile. His plan was going to take two separate, precise motions. He only wished his uncle Han could see it. If Ben pulled it off, anyway.

    "Catch!" Ben shouted and tossed his lightsaber hilt toward Tahiri. During the brief moment it traversed the gap between them, he slipped his other hand into a small pouch at the back of his waist, produced a thermal detonator, and armed it. The Dark Jedi caught the hilt easily, but the ruse had worked.

    Ben now stood straighter, holding the beeping explosive directly above his head, his thumb securely on the dead man's switch. The second his thumb left the switch, a brief timer would begin proceeded by an impressive explosion for an eight-centimeter ball. Tahiri did not step back, but her surprise betrayed her through the Force.

    "I brought these to take care of the ship's engines," Ben said. "But I brought an extra." He swallowed and took a step toward Tahiri and her lightsaber. "You have five seconds to place my lightsaber on the ground, back away, and tell your men to hold their ground. I can tell them for you, if you want. Your master used to call me Gamma Two."

    The explosive in his hand boosted the adrenaline rushing through Ben's veins. He didn't allow himself to believe that he was in any sort of control, but it was tempting.

    Tahiri had been expecting a disappointingly-short lightsaber duel, not some Corellian-style trickery. She didn't know whether to be furious or impressed. A small part of herself was strangely satisfied that Ben was holding his own, but she didn't acknowledge it.

    Tahiri asked, "What do you intend to do, blow yourself up and take out this unimportant piece of hallway?"
    "Three seconds," Ben responded.
    "Your gambit won't work, Jedi. The fact is that you have failed."
    Ben forced himself to smirk. "Fact is just a point of view."

    Before Tahiri could make sense of the ridiculous response, Ben reached out with his right hand and sent a wave of invisible Force directly at her. Then he threw the detonator. Acting on reflex and trusting in the Force's predictive nature, she dropped both lightsabers, gathered the energy in one hand to stop the Force push, and smacked the detonator back towards Ben with her other hand. In that moment, Ben used the Force to call his lightsaber back into his hand and launched himself back around the corner behind him.

    Taking no pause, Ben rose to his feet and launched himself into another sprint. At his second step, the thermal detonator went off. The sound was fierce and reverberated through the bulkhead around him. He hoped it would delay Tahiri just long enough to give him the lead he needed to bop and weave through enough corridors to through her off of his trail. Ben wasn't sure how well he could mask himself while running at this speed and carrying two broken ribs, but it was the only option he had.

    "Attention all hands, attention all hands," a male voice came over the ship's comms. "All engineering floors are entering lockdown. If you are not at your post, enter the nearest station or designated security room immediately. All personnel remaining in open halls or rooms will be treated as hostile. Repeat, all engineering floors..."

    Good, Ben thought. They were concerned with the engineering decks. With all the chaos he wrecked on the ship's systems down here, Ben wasn't surprised. Fortunately for him, his ultimate target wasn't anywhere near these levels. He turned right and continued his sprint. Around the next corner were the two Galactic Alliance Guards he had picked up through the Force earlier. He activated his lightsaber and rounded the corner.

    After the briefest of pauses, the GAG soldiers raised their blaster rifles and opened fire. Ben brought his blue blade around and deflected the first two shots into the surrounding walls. As the third one beared down on him, he had the time to position his lightsaber and send the laser directly back into the chest of the black clad soldier on the right. The armor prevented the bolt from penetrating, but the impact sent him to the floor. Still running, Ben spun right to avoid the next three shots. Ben approached them and cut the other soldier's blaster clean in half as he leapt over the stunned man, never losing speed throughout.

    He reached the last turn he would have to make for a while. As Ben slowed to come around the corner, he looked back at the GAG operative still stand and sent a weak push in the Force towards him. Ben didn't see what impact it had on the soldier, but if it delayed a call about his current path for even a couple seconds, it was worth it.

    Ben saw the turbolift door and was silently relieved. His knowledge of his old home-away-from-home hadn't failed him yet. He came to a stop and quickly slashed his way into the turbolift shaft. With this cluster of floors locked down, it was unlikely he would be seeing any actual lifts any time soon. He carefully stepped through the gap and balanced himself on a thin ledge around the inside of the shaft. Gathering the Force into his legs, he leapt five meters and grabbed onto the next such ledge above him. As he pulled himself up, the pain in his side began to return.
    This was going to be a painful climb.
    mulberry and AzureAngel2 like this.
  16. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    WOW exciting action and keep Ben safe
  17. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 19

    Kyle Katarn, the war-worn smuggler-turned-Jedi, continued to stare at the life size hologram of Jacen Solo, now the Dark Lord Darth Caedus and head of the largest government in the galaxy. Caedus had just claimed that he was responsible for the deaths of both Jaina Solo and her lover, Zekk. Kyle was demonstrably furious, gritting his teeth out of anger rather than in response to the bandaged wounds that were currently protesting his being out of the medbay bed. Kyle clutched his hands into tight fists.

    "That's typical Sith spin. You killed them," Kyle said. He paused, breathing through his flaring nostrils. "You killed your own sister."

    The room of Jedi, technicians and soldiers, most of whom had already stopped their work to observe the conversation, became even quieter. Jacen began to instinctually turn towards the secret drawer behind him that now held the remains of Jaina's lightsaber. He stopped himself, instead looking at a nondescript corner of the cieling and taking a breath before responding.

    "Jaina..." He trailed off, his focus remaining on the walls for several seconds before returning to the shirtless Jedi Master. "She assaulted me. She snuck onto my ship, hijacked a secure turbolift, injuring two of my men in the process, and assaulted me. What was I to do, spread my arms and welcome death?"

    "In a perfect world," Kyle said without lowering his voice or turning away.

    Caedus smiled. "Now that I know what you are and are not capable-of, you are more than welcome aboard my ship to finish what you could not on Coruscant."

    Kyle was already at the limit of his anger. In his smuggling days, he would have become even more furious, reached a point where the fury became a focused mission to kill the son of a bitch, made a snide remark, and then shot the holoterminal. Instead, he took a deep breath while continuing to stare at Darth Caedus, and finally noticed something.

    For as long as Kyle had known Jacen, the son of Solo had always made small gestures with his hands while speaking. It was a perfectly common habit, one he likely picked up from his exuberant father. But now, Caedus was only making short sweeping gestures with his right hand. His left arm wrapped around to the small of his back, hidden from view.

    "Did either of them even manage to scratch you," Kyle asked, a calm slowly returning to his tone.

    The question clearly caught the Sith Lord off guard. He fumbled with a response.

    "They each came close, but did no significant damage. You're no doubt disappointed, Kyle."

    A wry smirk appeared amidst Kyle's graying beard. "So to Sith, their left hand isn't a significant loss? What would count as significant then, your head?"
    Caedus sneered and shouted, "Watch your mouth, Katarn! It was far more than anything you managed against my person."

    Caedus' anger was exactly what Kyle wanted, and it helped remind him of what he knew all along: that the Dark Lord of the Sith was just an arrogant child raised like a noble with delusions of grandeur.

    "It's alright, Jacen. With Tenel Ka so far away, at least you didn't lose your right hand."

    The comment was childish, even Kyle himself knew, but the whole conversation was quickly degrading into entry-school bickering anyway, and being cramped up in the medbay bed for so long had made him antsy for some proper mudslinging. Caedus' brow twitched, his eyes widening with anger.

    He took a second to compose himself before saying, "As excepted of smuggler gutter slime. Immature comments such as that is why you're a bedridden relic of an irrelevant time, and I am the head of the Alliance. That does remind me, however..."

    Caedus brought his left arm around into view. Through a holocall, it was difficult to see much more than tattered strands of robe where his hand once was. He shook his arm lightly and the sleeve slid back, revealing a incongruous mess of flesh, tendon and bone. Blood was still dripping freely from the mangled stump.

    Seeing the wound should have brought Kyle a dark satisfaction, but his newly-found calm allowed him to see simple progress. Caedus took Zekk's lightsaber from his belt, activated the blue beam, and casually brought it against his mangled left wrist. There were several gasps in the gallery from the non-Jedi. Kyle and Luke Skywalker were seemingly the only ones who watched Caedus' face instead of the procedure itself. They saw Caedus breathe deep and his eyes roll slightly back. Despite the quality of the holo, Kyle was certain he saw the Sith's eyelids flicker.

    Just as a small tendril of smoke began to rise from his left wrist, Caedus deactivated the blade and replaced it on his belt. Had the holocall somehow been broadcasting in full color, as opposed to a uniform and static-ridden pale blue, they might have also noticed that his lightsaber blade wasn't red. That information, however, did not make it through.

    "There," Caedus said, "That should do until I can see to a more permanent solution. Now, back to the business at hand." He turned towards Luke before continuing, "Your son is still-"

    A muffled sound came from the holocall, a voice not belonging to Caedus. He reached into his robes and withdrew something, held it close to his ear, then returned it.

    "Speak of the Force, your son has just been cornered by the leader of my Guard, a very skilled Sith herself. Ben should be under lock and key within minutes. These are my conditions for his return. A smaller craft of your choice will come to coordinates that I will send shortly. The shuttle will be crewed by two people of your choice and will be broadcasting a signal I will provide along with the coordinates. Once there, the ship shall be provided with further instructions."

    Luke sighed before speaking to Caedus for the first time since Kyle interrupted.

    "I am sure this goes without asking, but what assurances do we have that you won't simply take these representatives hostage as well, or simply destroy the ship?"

    Caedus returned to his calm, condescending smile and said, "I know how futile it would be for me to ask you to take my word on this, so we'll approach it logically. What good would any of that do? I am the head of the Galactic Alliance, we have no need for hostages. Keeping Ben would not serve me in any way either."

    Luke noticed how Jacen interchanged the words "I" and "we", as though he was the face and voice of the entire Alliance. He also noticed how his nephew used the word "serve", as opposed to "help". With each word, his hopes of returning Jacen to the Light side of the Force diminished.

    Caedus continued, "He has made it clear in the past that he has absolutely no wish to work with me any longer, and, setting aside the fact that I still care about his well-being, killing him would simply turn him into a figurehead for more separatists to rally around. If you want him, and I am certain you do, you are free to come get him."

    Luke closed his eyes, calling on the Force to enter his mind and calm his nerves. His son was in the hands of a man who had proven he was perfectly willing to kill any of his own family to achieve his goals. It would mean risking several precious moments, but he had to at least get a small understanding as to how and why his son had ended up aboard the Anakin Solo.

    "Give us a minute," Luke said, "We will contact you again on this frequency shortly."

    "I will await your reply," Caedus said before briefly transforming into crackling blue static, then disappearing completely.

    Luke looked up at the ceiling, swallowing audibly before sighing. This was some of the most emotion the Jedi Grand Master had displayed since his wife was murdered my Darth Caedus. After a minute, he removed his outermost robe and handed it to Kyle.

    "Put it on," Luke said, "And follow me."

    His words were quiet and focused. They could easily be confused for those of a meek man, but having known the Jedi master for longer then five minutes, Kyle knew that Luke was fighting back the fury of an exploding star. He did as Luke said and followed him out of the ops room, Jedi and technicians hurrying to give them space as they approached and entered the hallway to the wing's secondary hangar. Just as Kyle had finished shrugging into the large piece of brown wool, Luke stopped, turned back towards the ex-smuggler, and spoke.

    "Kyle," he began, his words intensely precise. "I am about to give you an enormous benefit of the doubt. Please explain to me why son is in the hands of my wife's killer."

    Looking into the eyes of the legendary Jedi, Kyle felt as though he was staring down the barrels of a large Imperial walker. Again.

    Kyle said, "About a week ago, while we were starting to plan for that last attack on Coruscant, Jaina came to me. She was thinking the same thing I was: everyone was talking about the wrong thing. You were all focused on planetary defenses and fighter squadrons. Hell, someone even suggested going to the Hapans to ask for support again, despite the fact that she practically smacked your sister for suggesting she turn on Caedus during that Kashyyyk disaster!"

    Luke's eyes grew very slightly before he responded, "Do you think now is the right moment to raise your voice to me and mock Jedi Leia Organa Solo's reasonable attempt at an alliance?"

    For the briefest moment, Kyle was about to back down. Luke Skywalker was one of the few men in the galaxy whom Katarn felt deserved the respect his title implied, but this had gone on long enough, and it was apparent to him that no one else was going to say this.

    "Yes, I do," Kyle said, forcing his hands to remain at his sides. "There was nothing reasonable about that plan. Tenel Ka and that sithspawn have been locked at the lips since they were kids. She's the mother of his child. For all we know, they slipped off somewhere before this started and got married. But a few choice words from the queen of an asteroid field and her depressed, washed up husband will surely undo twenty-something years of love, right?"

    Luke was now breathing harder, and Kyle could feel the anger from him like a palpable ray of heat on a summer's day. He couldn't stop, though. He had come too far.

    Kyle continued, "The time for diplomacy and fighting fair is over. It was over months ago. What Jaina and I agreed on was that the only real target we need to be focusing on is that maniac who, as you said, killed your wife. Don't think for a second it doesn't hurt me to say that either, Skywalker. She was a beloved student and friend of mine. Mara brought me back from a very dark place. We owe it to her to win this war, and the only way to do that is by bringing that bastard down!"

    The leader of the Jedi Order continued to stare at Kyle for several seconds, the emotions fluctuating violently in the Force.

    Finally, Luke said, "So you used the attack as a cover to send Jaina, Zekk, and my son on a suicide mission?"

    "No," Kyle said and shook his head, "When we came up with the plan for the assault, she made it clear to me that she was going to be bringing a decent-sized Jedi strike team of our best people, Corran, Kyp, others. We agreed that Ben had to go because when he was working with Jacen, he taught Ben that same Force-stealth technique that Caedus has been using against us for so long. Ben was the only one who could sneak around and do the damage to Caedus' ship we needed."

    "Damage to his ship? I don't understand"

    "Luke, every time we have tried to kill this slime, he's had an out. Some trick up his sleeve, a distraction or surprise weapon or what-have-you. The only way to kill him was going to have to be cutting off every one of his options. The strike team attacks Caedus. While he fights them, Ben runs around the Anakin Solo tearing it apart from the inside. Most importantly, he destroys the entire shield systems."

    Luke slowly began to nod, realizing where this was going, but allowed Kyle to finish.

    "When Ben gives the signal, a Jedi is going to hop into every single fighter we have, Wedge and his best are going to fire up our last remaining Star Destroyers, and we're going to hop back into the Coruscant system and make sure Caedus' body burns with the rest of his ship."

    The hallway filled with a thick silence. Luke turned around and looked out of the ceiling-high transparisteel at the sprawling sea of red and amber tibana gas clouds. His anger dissipated, and his mind wandered to the months following the Yuuzan Vong war. It was the first time since they had destroyed the second Death Star that had felt the galaxy had an honest chance at peace. It had been decades since he had experienced anything like that sensation. He longed to feel that hope again.

    Luke continued to stare at the clouds as he spoke. "And what then? Say we kill Jacen. Where do we go from there?"

    Kyle forced a sad smile, "Well, I was considering slipping off to Tatooine with Jan and shooting Corellian whiskey until I can't tell which end of a Lightsaber to hold."

    Luke couldn't smirk or laugh, but his next breath was deep and much less forced. "That sounds nice." He turned around to face Kyle and said, "If Ben thought this was worth risking everything, than I do as well. Make sure Artoo is in an X-Wing with an open seat when we get the signal."
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
  18. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    "That's typical Sith spin. You killed them," Kyle said. He paused, breathing through his flaring nostrils. "You killed your own sister."

    The room of Jedi, technicians and soldiers, most of whom had already stopped their work to observe the conversation, became even quieter. Jacen began to instinctually turn towards the secret drawer behind him that now held the remains of Jaina's lightsaber. He stopped himself, instead looking at a nondescript corner of the cieling and taking a breath before responding.

    "Jaina..." He trailed off, his focus remaining on the walls for several seconds before returning to the shirtless Jedi Master. "She assaulted me. She snuck onto my ship, hijacked a secure turbolift, injuring two of my men in the process, and assaulted me. What was I to do, spread my arms and welcome death?"

    "In a perfect world," Kyle said without lowering his voice or turning away.

    Your dialogues always hit me deep in the core. What a precision! Sorry that I did not react to the last update. There are many issues in my private life and I have a busy time with two teaching jobs, seeking a third one.


    A wry smirk appeared amidst Kyle's graying beard. "So to Sith, their left hand isn't a significant loss? What would count as significant then, your head?"
    Caedus sneered and shouted, "Watch your mouth, Katarn! It was far more than anything you managed against my person."

    Caedus' anger was exactly what Kyle wanted, and it helped remind him of what he knew all along: that the Dark Lord of the Sith was just an arrogant child raised like a noble with delusions of grandeur.

    "It's alright, Jacen. With Tenel Ka so far away, at least you didn't lose your right hand."

    The comment was childish, even Kyle himself knew, but the whole conversation was quickly degrading into entry-school bickering anyway, and being cramped up in the medbay bed for so long had made him antsy for some proper mudslinging. Caedus' brow twitched, his eyes widening with anger.

    He took a second to compose himself before saying, "As excepted of smuggler gutter slime. Immature comments such as that is why you're a bedridden relic of an irrelevant time, and I am the head of the Alliance. That does remind me, however..."

    Caedus brought his left arm around into view. Through a holocall, it was difficult to see much more than tattered strands of robe where his hand once was. He shook his arm lightly and the sleeve slid back, revealing a incongruous mess of flesh, tendon and bone. Blood was still dripping freely from the mangled stump.

    You manage to create so much emotion with the description of your battle scenes AND their aftermath.


    Luke sighed before speaking to Caedus for the first time since Kyle interrupted.

    "I am sure this goes without asking, but what assurances do we have that you won't simply take these representatives hostage as well, or simply destroy the ship?"

    Caedus returned to his calm, condescending smile and said, "I know how futile it would be for me to ask you to take my word on this, so we'll approach it logically. What good would any of that do? I am the head of the Galactic Alliance, we have no need for hostages. Keeping Ben would not serve me in any way either."

    Luke noticed how Jacen interchanged the words "I" and "we", as though he was the face and voice of the entire Alliance. He also noticed how his nephew used the word "serve", as opposed to "help". With each word, his hopes of returning Jacen to the Light side of the Force diminished.

    You also let your characters observe the flaws of the dark side and give us readers to reflect something.

    ^:)^
  19. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    When did Kyle become so bitter? And what the heck did Kyle expect would happen? He sacrificed Jaina and Zekk as a diversion. Kyle has decided that the 'ends justifiies the means'; something that he chides Jacen for. And when did the Jedi start sanctioning assassinations? Kyle's already admitted to 'everytime we've tried to take him out...'

    I'm not sure if I am happy to see that Tenel Ka has remained on Jacen's side or not. It does appear that she is the only one that Jacen will listen to; perhaps if they would try Leia's plan a bit longer, it may pay off. Diplomacy takes a bit longer, after all.

    They'd better have some sort of plan post-Jacen. Who is slated to take over when he dies? Did they not learn anything from Palpatine's death? A power vacuum is not peace; it only creates more problems.

    I've seen this over on FF.N, are you going to post new chapters here as well? Keep up the (depressingly) good work.
    Last edited by SiouxFan, Nov 2, 2012
  20. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    I am going to be posting more parts, yes. I thank everyone for their kind comments and patience. I live on the east coast and just got power back, so I'll be getting to work on my stories again.
  21. SiouxFan Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 6, 2012
    star 3
    Oh, wow. Take your time. Is everybody okay where you're at? Let us know if you need anything!
  22. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Author's Note: Sorry about the delay, after the big storm our power was gone for several days. In return, I bring an extra-chapter with high levels of kickass. Enjoy!
    ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Part 20

    Kyle Katarn turned from the aging farm boy and passed through the central hub of the Coalition in Bespin City. A hastefully-constructed circle of radar banks, communication relay stations, battle coordination transparisteel boards and more war-purposed equipment took up most of the room, leaving little space to move around aside from the center of the room, where a large holoprojector and comm unit was planted.

    He slipped between the equipment, getting passing glances by several officers and at least one other Jedi. Having just been openly blamed for the death of Jaina Solo and her lover, Kyle was drawing understandable attention. He simply torqued his jaw and, his hand upon his wounded abdomen, worked his way back toward the Medbay. He looked up and spotted Jan Ors leaning in the doorway. She was giving him a look of concern, behind which barked a restrained bit of anger. Kyle knew the look.

    "If you don't get back in this bed," Jan started, her tone mock motherly, "I am going to hop into the Raven's Claw and find some nice Outer Rim planet to retire."

    Kyle smiled, of course he would smile at that. He would smile at anything right now. He pictured the falling hand of Darth Caedus. He smiled at that too. Then, with urgency, Kyle realized the direction of his thoughts and shook his head, growling them away.

    "Alright," was all that Kyle could manage with the distraction.

    He stepped past her, watched her slip her arm around his back along the way. They reached the offensively sterile Medbay bed, which was still a mess from when he shot out of it to swear at Caedus. Kyle brushed aside the strewn wires and tubing and simply laid down, fighting the urge to groan as he lowered himself back. The bed was still upright at an angle, Kyle hadn't allowed them to lower it any further.

    Jan sat to his right, her face mainly that of affection, but still retained a hint of frustration. She spoke again.

    "I heard what he said, about you being responsible for Jaina and Zekk's mission. And I don't think he's lying. However, I do think there's a big portion of this tale that isn't being told. So, please Kyle, explain what happened during the few hours I haven't been in this room."

    The old mercenary sighed heavily, swiped at his beard once, then finally looked at her.

    "Jaina came to me. She was by herself. That look in her eye, that determined look you used to get when I came back with a blaster burn. She was clearly out for blood." He paused, picked up one of the removed tubes, set it down again. "I don't know what get her in that mood, I don't know if something had just happened. Whatever the case, she told me she was sick of the hit-and-run tactics and the hiding, and that Caedus needed to be dealt with. She called him "Caedus" instead of Jacen. I think that was the first time I've ever heard her call him that."

    Kyle scoffed out of sympathy for Jaina. He wasn't nearly ready to grieve her.

    "She wanted to know about all the old smuggling tricks you and I used to pull before I pulled that lightsaber out of Dad's droid. I figured she would know most of them by now, what with Han as a father, but apparently it wasn't something they talked about often. With as angry as I was after fighting that Sithspawn on Coruscant, I was happy to tell her everything she wanted to know. Most of me knew that she wouldn't actually put it to use on anything as insane as this. At one point she even suggested going to the Mandalorians for support, maybe even some personal training. She realized this was unrealistic, but the fact that she had the idea at all shows her determination. She's run Rogue Squadron for years, was made a Jedi Master, I thought I could trust her judgement.

    "Apparently not," Jan said, immediately afterwards realizing the coldness of it, and gave Kyle an apologetic look.

    Kyle shook it away and continued, "She wanted to know about radar shadows, ship-to-ship transfers, stealth tricks, and such. About halfway through the talk, I started to realize that she might actually be serious. I didn't hesitate to ask her, and she didn't hesitate with the truth. I just accepted it and continued talking, except now I was making plans as opposed to giving tips."

    He raised his fist and slammed it on the bed's cushion.

    "She did all the networking with Wedge and the other Jedi. After that conversation it took root. I have no idea how Luke never picked up on it. He's still simmering in his grief over Mara, I'm sure."

    "Are you?" Jan asked.

    Kyle continued to meet her stare. "Yes, I am. The Jedi code is strong, and the Force is stronger, but I'm still human and so is Luke. Decades of meditation can't change that. I made the decision to help out of anger. Mara brought me back from a very dark place, Jan, I've told you this before. We can pretend to be peaceful shamans all we want, only biting when bit, but nothing is going to change the fact that until Caedus is brought down, more people will die. A large member of the Coalition seemed to agree."

    Jan leaned forward as Kyle laid his head back, the rush into the communication hub and the emotional conversations were finally beginning to catch up with him. He didn't bother to try and use to the Force to stay focused. He was saving his energy.

    Kyle couldn't see it, but Jan bit her lip in indecision. Finally she stroked Kyle's arm and said, "Fine, but you're not going anywhere if this counter-attack happens. I don't care how much they will need pilots out there, you need me here more."

    He nodded, though he was working the odds of her actually refusing to help the Coalition in one last big assault. Tiredness overtook him, a weak soreness filling his muscles. He closed his eyes and called upon the Force to enter his mind and he went into a weak Force Meditation.

    Almost immediately he was met with a dream. The dream was powerful, so powerful that it could only be a result of his intertwining with the Force. The colors were vibrant and sounds were clear...

    Kyle took another long, slow breath. He was crouched in the shadows, hiding in one of the highest rooms in Coruscant. It was the anteroom leading to a large balcony that oversaw one end of Victory Plaza. Standing abreast the balcony was Sith Lord Darth Caedus, known by the civilian world as Chief of State Jacen Solo.

    At that moment, Jacen was in the final paragraphs of his victory speech, two weeks following the decisive battle over Kashyyyk. Jacen and his Fifth Fleet had won the victory, had won it terrifyingly and flauntingly, putting the final note on the rebellious Coalition's defeat by burning a large portion of the planet's legendary forests ablaze.

    Jacen was now smiling and reaching his arms toward the crowd below. He had just announced the formation of the United Planetary Force. In summation, Jacen had requested that the space forces of all militarized planets in the Alliance dedicate themselves wholly to the Alliance's direct military control. This was then broken down by region, the original crewmen and officers rarely retaining their positions. Jacen said that the formation of the UPF would bring a swift defeat to the Coalition and save billions of lives, after which it would be disbanded back to its locally-run sprawl.

    His apparent dedication to every single life in the Alliance, his military record, his Jedi-Special Forces mixed outfit, his smile; the people of Coruscant were eating it up. Rumor and whisper had begun to spread that Jacen Solo was actually a Dark Jedi, possibly even a Sith. The name "Kiaduss" was mentioned in hushed tones among the rumor mongerers of the mid-levels.

    But Jacen's unrelenting PR campaign was working. Even when told that the Chief of State may be a Darth, people were beginning to question if life was really that bad the last time there was a Dark Lord in charge. Sure, the Empire was oppressive, but until the Battle of Yavin it had kept violence and battles in the galaxies to a low. A new generation had come into their own, and they didn't see Darth as the title of a mass-murderer so much as a simple military rank of someone who lost a war.

    The public's apathy toward the Dark Side of the Force only grew when the government history archives suddenly removed the red tape from the file, the contents about Luke's period as the Sith Apprentice of the reborn Palpatine.

    So Jacen was on yet another pause in his speech, forced by vigorous applause from below and around him. He finished the speech, thanking them all for their dedication and swearing that peace was just on the horizon. Kyle was watching the speech on one of several monitors in the room, having a good line of sight on the one on the desk of the guard by the door to the balcony.

    Kyle was fighting with himself, his anger slowly boiling over into a steaming rage as the speech continued. That child, that traitorous piece of filth, Kyle thought. Despite there being no officially-recognized killer, Kyle knew that Mara Jade had died at Jacen's blade. How did he not see this coming? By the time the council was getting back from the funeral, Jacen was practically the Chief of State. He was here to the mistakes of his inaction in stopping Caedus. Caedus, Kyle thought again. He could no longer imagine the man as Jacen, son of respected fellow ex-smuggler Han Solo.

    Kyle had fought the Empire, he had worn the infamous armor of a Stormtrooper himself at one point. He had even been in the room of an officer as he had a meeting with Darth Vader. Kyle knew the face of evil, and beneath the layers of make-up and metal that Jacen had coated it in, Kyle saw this face of the Alliance as the Galactic Empire, Mark II.

    The speech was ending. Jacen bowed humbly toward the crowds, turned to his officers and governors, nodded toward each. He stopped in front of the door and two members of the Galactic Alliance Guard stepped out of inconspicuous points and into position around the Chief of State. The door openned with a polite, efficient hiss. Kyle saw them. Men with black armor and green-tinted visors were on either side of him. The Alliance guard at the desk stood to attention and saluted Jacen. Jacen returned the gesture with a quick, but not dismissive nod.

    Kyle closed his eyes and took one last slow breath, exhaling for eternity. He closed his eyes and felt the three soldiers in the Force. The officer's mind was weak, but the wills of the GAG Operatives were surprisingly strong. Not quite as strong as a Reborn Jedi's, but these troopers had definitely been given some sort of Force-awareness by Jacen. He pictured the Guard members in black robes, long black hoods down, holding sickly white lightsabers. The allagory pulled Kyle's mind closer to the point of giving in to his anger.

    But Kyle was stronger than that. He had seen the Dark Side, and had saved himself from it in front of Jarec, been saved from again by Mara. He would not walk that path again. Instead, as Jacen watched the crowds still cheering on one of the room's monitors, Kyle locked his mind onto the two Guards and the desk officer, gathering the living Force rapidly into his hands. Then he stood and released it.

    The desk jockey went tumbling over his chair and the two hardened members of Jacen's secret police were lifted from their feet and slammed into the wall behind. All three moaned, but failed to rise. Before the first guard hit by the blast was done sliding down the wall, Jacen's lightsaber was in his hand and activated. The room took on a deep pink tint as the red blade extended from its hilt. Kyle's eyes widened. The new blade was sudden and violent confirmation of Jacen's status as both Mara's killer and the new Sith Lord.

    Katarn had no time to process this as he felt Jacen's awareness upon him. The glass desk to Jacen's left rose from the floor and soared through the room toward the corner that Kyle hid against. The bearded Jedi leapt to his right and rolled to one knee. The desk exploded behind him, glass filling the air and sprinkling the floor. Kyle was quick to his feet and activated his blue Lightsaber, his forth, including the yellow blade given to him by a redeemed Dark Jedi and the orange-red one he took when he became a Dark Jedi himself.

    "Katarn!" Jacen shouted. "Jedi Master Kyle Katarn, good of you to visit."

    Jacen's tone was mighty, grand, and entirely condescending. He was still riding the high from the crowd's cheers and applause. Kyle's anger poked at him again, prodded, attempted to find ways it could seep and bubble to the surface. He fought it back, steadying himself, allowing the Force to embrace him. His words were like pillars standing through the strongest tides.

    "I have been asked to call you Jacen Solo and tell you that you're under arrest. But I know you, I know that you're calling yourself Darth Caedus now, and I know that you killed Mara."

    The smile on Jacen's face reminded Katarn of a Hutt as the Dark Lord spoke, "Well then, I guess formalities are taken care of."

    As the two spoke, each knew that it would be pointless to attempt to attack during this exchange of words. They could feel each other's readiness in the Force. Jacen continued.

    "I thought I had spotted your ship at Kashyyyk, but I couldn't be sure. If I remember, it's usually flown by your wife. Am I correct? You and I never had the quality time to talk that I had hoped for before all this happened."

    Kyle shook his head. "You and I have no business to discuss, Sith. I take you in, dead or alive. It's up to you."

    "Direct threats?" Caedus laughed. "I knew there was still some of what you old men call the "Dark Side" left in you. That is why you're here alone, aren't you? Knowledge of true power, a direct connection to the Force from the Valley, the skills of a smuggler to sneak past planetary defenses..."

    Jacen trailed off as he noticed the ever so slight shift in Kyle's expression. The history and knowledge of the Valley of the Jedi had only been given to three people from Kyle and Jan: Luke Skywalker, Mon Mothma, and Admiral Ackbar. All three agreed that it should remain hidden from public knowledge. Kyle was now discovering this had failed. Caedus could feel Kyle's small hint of surprise.

    "Do not think that anyone you gave the secret of the Valley to betrayed your trust. I have harnessed a skill, one which allows me to see the past through the Force. Before, I was only able to do it if I was at the location that it had happened, like standing in the crater to watch a scene where the building once stood. But my power grew, and an immense moment in the Force's past drew my attention. When you and Jarec threw the souls of thousands of dead Jedi into chaos, the Force took notice, and I eventually did as well."

    Kyle took two steps forward, his lightsaber still at the ready. He was desperately trying to push back the fear that he might have given even more power to this rancor through his actions in the past. Never once did Kyle actually question the claim that Jacen could see the past. The Council had freely admitted that at this point, they knew nothing about his strengths, and even less about his weaknesses.

    Jacen lowered his lightsaber into a casual grip, loose in his right hand, and continued. "Do not worry either that I have found the Jedi Valley, either. The Force shows me what happened, nothing outside it that may give me a clue to its location. But, as I'm sure you know, I will find it. If I am to lead this galactic nation to peace and prosperity, I cannot turn down the possibility of the knowledge borne from hundreds of generations of Jedi past."

    "You don't want the Valley's knowledge," Kyle spat, "You only want its power."

    Jacen spun his saber idly as he responded, "They are one-in-the-same, especially when dealing with the Force. But this conversation is at its end. No signal has been sent to any of my other men, they will not come for me for several minutes more. Now is the time, Master Katarn."

    Kyle spoke, the anger in his mind beginning to seep into his words, "I warned you, Caedus."

    Such a line was usually spoken immediately before an attack, but the attack never came. The two continued to stare upon one another, Jacen attempting to look casually-interested at best. At least, as he was only attempting in Kyle's view.

    Then something shot into the air. A silver cylinder, from Caedus' robes. The cylinder burst into a beam of bright green as it soared toward Kyle. He ducked just in time and the spinning lightsaber flew past, cut through the wall behind, then headed back in his direction. This time Kyle stepped aside and sent a blast of pure Force at the spinning beam. The spin became a tumble and the lightsaber clattered and buzzed into a corner. In that moment, Caedus rushed Kyle.

    The distance between the two disappeared and Caedus quickly brought his blade up from Kyle's lower left. Kyle smacked the blade away with his own and swung from Caedus' waist. The Sith Lord leapt back just enough to avoid the blue tip, and in the process brought his lightsaber around and down toward Kyle's head. Katarn swung up and around, pushing the strike aside and stepping in. He swiftly put his right elbow into Caedus' jaw. Out of raw reaction, Caedus raised his other hand and Force pushed Kyle away.

    Kyle stayed on his feet and slid across the polished tile floor. The moment he had traction again, he stepped forward the struck down at Caedus' left shoulder. Prepared, Caedus met with a crossblock and parried his blade. Kyle did not imagine the Sith would ever be this physically-powerful. Even Desann wasn't quite as strong. Of course, Caedus' control of the Force was much greater than that lizard's.

    Katarn blocked the next three strikes. Caedus was putting torque behind each swing, but Kyle was having none of it, the strikes failing to budge his lightsaber. They continued to strike and block and counter, slowly moving toward another door. A door that was shut.

    Caedus' delivered a quick, swooping "S" that threatened Kyle's upper, then lower torso. Kyle leapt back and to the side, puting him close enough to the door's control panel to spin his lightsaber into a backwards grip and stab clean through it. The door lock shorted out, and Kyle easily used the Force to raise the door. He spun around through the opening and brought the door back down.

    Taking two steps back, Kyle prepared for the Sith to come. He was stronger than he had imagined, but not outlandishly-so. Kyle still felt he could take him. Breathing deep, centering himself with the force, Kyle calmly watched the door protrude violently towards him. He stepped to his right, and the door burst out of its frame and soared past Kyle, brushing his robe. Kyle's right hand slipped from his lightsaber, grasped the grip of his vintage Bryar blaster pistol, and took a quick pair of shots from the hip, the Force guiding his already-legendary gun hand.

    The shots flew true and Caedus did not have the time to bring his lightsaber back around to block them, his open hand already outstretched to remove the door. Kyle watched Caedus block both shots with his gloved palm. That was a technique that he had only heard of two people doing: Darth Vader, and fighter pilot prodigy and Jedi Master Corran Horn. Where Jacen had learned it escaped Kyle.

    "Everything you do," Caedus said, now almost shouting, "Makes me believe you take the Jedi Code very loosely."

    Kyle brought the enormous blaster up to eye level and fired several more times, but Caedus now casually blocked the shots with this red blade. The final shot came screaming back at Kyle. The bearded older man twisted aside and the bold narrowly missed. He felt the Force tugging at the blaster, knew that Caedus was attempting to tear it from his hand. At the same time, the Dark Lord ran at Katarn. He managed to break the pull on his blaster and quickly holstered it. His hand was hardly back to the lightsaber hilt before Caedus spun around a meter before he reached Katarn, carrying the spin into a very powerful swing.

    Kyle blocked Caedus' strike, but Caedus continued to push, carried on by momentum and fury. The Jedi didn't know if he should try to counter, the strike carrying his own blade perilously close to his own torso. Kyle felt a quick break in the pressure and used to to redirect Caedus' weapon off to his left, only to see the Sith's gloved left hand rising into view and exploding in blue light. The lightning burst from Caedus' fingertips and struck Kyle's entire right side. A horrible combination of physical trauma and the pain of a thousand small blaster burns, he spun to the floor.

    The Jedi threw his head back and allowed the Force to calm the pain. Smoke rose from the holes and burns in his robes.

    Caedus rushed again, and as Kyle hurried to block the strike at his waist, he realized that they were in the tower's small hanger. The hangar was open-air, so there were several holes in the roof large enough for speeders and an open mouth where the far wall would be for larger ships to enter and egress. Kyle was quickly approaching the hanger's ledge. The hangar's gaping maw was covered by a translucent blue shield to stop unwanted visitors, but hangar shields were said to burn horrendously upon contact, not to mention the long fall after passing through.

    He shook his head again, trying to focus as another strike came toward his left leg. He blocked, but the crimson beam came around at his shoulder, then the other shoulder, then his side. The strikes were fluid, meeting Kyle's for only the briefest moment. He had seen the style before, a quick and deceptive pattern. It could be overcome with strength. Kyle had to find that strength.

    Kyle blocked an overhead strike and, shouting, pushed it violently up before Caedus had a chance to bring it around for another swing. He brought his lightsaber straight back down, but Caedus spun backwards. Kyle kept up the momentum, rushing forward and slashing up, around and down, then left, then right. Each strike was more fierce and focused than the rushed taps of Caedus, but they left enough strength within him to be prepared for a counter attack. Caedus was on the back foot, and Kyle kept striking.

    In his mind's eye, he saw Mara Jade. He could see her smile, back when he was recovering from his time as a Dark Side Force wielder. Her smile. His strikes became weaker. Kyle shook his head again, trying to focus on the backpedaling Sith, but the images were too powerful. His mind wasn't just wandering, they were bring projected. She flashed before him and his next swing almost missed entirely. Caedus' easily stepped aside and thrust, and pure red light pierced Kyle's midsection.

    He screamed, but the scream was as furious as it was reactionary. Kyle summoned the Force and pushed Caedus away, but the damage was done. Embers of smoldering pain lapped at his muscles. Things were shifting. The pain was beyond measure, unlike anything he had felt. He focused on the pain, and he found that he had more control of the Force. Kyle focused it on his wound and breathed in it, found it invigorating.

    Caedus stared at Kyle, his smile slowly fading. Why had he not dropped yet?

    The Force was building in Kyle, and it needed release. He knew exactly how, and it came to him as naturally as operating a dor knob. Katarn raised a burned right hand toward Caedus and opened it. Within his fingers was a fiercely-glowing ball of white and red. It warped the air around it as it honed in on the Sith. Caedus summoned the Force and flipped backwards as the hangar floor beneath him exploded.

    Kyle saw the Sith land on very unsteady feet and smiled. He could win this, he thought. Then the floor fell out. The Force left him and pain soared up his spine. When he tried to shout, a strange twisting in his abdomen prevented it. He had embraced the Dark Side, and it drained him almost immediately. He dropped to one knee. Kyle raised his head and saw Caedus rushing towards him. He struggled to stand and bring his lightsaber to bear, but his hands were quickly losing feeling and the silver cylinder fell to the hangar floor. At least, Kyle thought, he had given the scum a better fight than the Coalition had at Kashyyyk.

    As Caedus took one of only a few strides left between him and the dying Jedi, an explosion rocked the hanger. Caedus came to a halt, but stayed on his feet, immediately looking around for the source. He didn't have to wait long for his answer. The blue field of light at the end of the hangar flickered, sputtered, formed diagonal lines, then disappeared, leaving naught but open air. That air was then filled by the signature shape of the Raven's Claw, Jan and Kyle's long-necked fighter and shuttle. The cockpit's canopy was already opening and Jan Ors was leaning out, shouting.

    "Kyle! Get in!" Her voice lowered in tone and volume when she saw the hole in Kyle's robes. She shifted the Claw around to face the open hangar, targeted Caedus, and fired several shots from the ship's turbolasers. The larger and more powerful blasts took both hands, but the Sith Lord managed to deflect them away. Kyle swore before closing his eyes, drawing directly upon the Force to carry his legs, and began a slow running pace toward the Crow. Just as Caedus began to give chase, Jan Ors let two proton torpedoes loose. The white comets launched a half second between each other.

    Caedus dropped his lightsaber and extended both hands towards the projectiles. The first torpedo immediately jutted off into another direction and exploded into a far wall. The second one got within meters of Caedus before he was able to crush it. It detonated, and the shockwave carried Caedus tumbling back several feet.

    Kyle saw none of this as he swallowed and leapt four meters into the cockpit of the Raven's Claw.

    He heard Jan say "You shouldn't have gone in alone," before he slumped to the cockpit's floor.

    That was it. He was drained. His control of the Force slipped, tapered and disappeared. The wound made itself known again in full force, and Kyle passed out. The canopy closed and the Claw turned toward the atmosphere. Light orange sky became silver-filled black, became black, became white.

    The Jedi opened his eyes, and shivered slightly as he finally felt the sweat building on him. He looked down, saw his heaving chest, the bottom half of his Medbay patient bodysuit. Bringing his breathing under control, Jan leaned forward and tightly gripped his hand.

    "Another memory?" she asked.
    "Yeah," he said, turning to her. "It was the fight."

    She knew exactly which "fight" to which he referred, but said nothing, allowing him to continue. It was several seconds of looking up at the Medbay's light before he did.

    "You said something to me when I got into the Claw," Kyle said, half-aware.
    "I'm sure I did, Kyle. What does it matter?"
    "You told me that I shouldn't have gone in alone. I almost had him, it was the element of surprise that we rarely ever get on that Sith. But I was by myself."
    "What are you getting at?"

    He sat up and faced her again. "He knows that we'll be coming. If he hasn't figured out that Ben is going for the Anakin Solo's shield generators yet, he will soon. Caedus will expect a sizable strike force, like the one Jedi and Antilles are going to throw at him."
    "So if he's expecting it," Jan said, trailing off.
    "We need another arm of the attack. Something unpredictable. We need to throw some chaos into the mix. Chaos..."

    Before Jan could admit her agreeance, Kyle was on his feet again. With the new focus, the pain wasn't nearly what it had been. He made his way back into the command hub and approached the nearest comm station. A Twi'lek in his mid thirties operating the station turned to Katarn.

    "Can I help you, Master Jedi?"
    "Yes," Kyle said, "Mind if I take the seat? I need to make a call."

    The Twi'lek was confused at first, but was used to taking random commands from high-ranking Jedi at this point, and stood from the unit. Kyle nodded a thanks and sat, immediately working the comm frequency controls. He went well past the recognized Alliance and Coalition frequencies, reaching the upper limit of the dial.

    "Sir," the Twi'lek began, "I don't know who you're attempting to reach, but there are no ships or stations using that range."

    Kyle looked up at the younger officer and smirked. "They'll be glad to hear that you said that."

    The confused comm officer twitched his lekku, but said nothing, having learned to simply let slide many things the Jedi said. Kyle hit the transmit button.

    "This is Ale, calling Whiskey," Kyle spoke into the receiver. "Repeat, this is Ale, calling Whiskey."

    A few seconds passed, both Jan and the Twi'lek giving Kyle curious looks. Then a robotic voice came back over the reciever. It was clearly a droid, but its voice carried a very human tone of disbelief and sarcasm.

    "There's no one here. Please leave a message after I end the transmission."

    Another voice, this one human, rose in volume as it replaced the droid's. The voice was male, older, rugged from years of drinking and shouting.

    "Sorry about that, he still thinks he's funny. Is that really you, Kyle? You called on the old-school frequency, this should be good."

    "It is. We're planning a surprise assault on the Fifth Fleet, a low orbit hyperspace jump right above Coruscant. There's someone on the inside about to give us an opening. Interested?"

    "Are you kidding? I've been hearing nothing but bad news about Solo's kid running things for a while, and several of my favorite lanes have been shut off. Hell, a few of my closer associates just disappeared, and someone else told me that it was probably the new Alliance black ops team. If you're confident in this run, I can get the boys and girls ready to dance. Time?"

    "About twenty minutes," Kyle responded, smiling wider than he had in a long time.

    "Twenty? Why are you being so generous, and how are we going to kill those extra fifteen minutes?"

    Kyle laughed. "Maybe you can use the time to learn to fly that ancient Corellian bucket of your's."

    "Hey! There are still plenty of YT-2400's running around, and mine's the best. Damn sight faster than Solo's disc. Send me the coordinates and I'll have every smuggler with a heart on the way. After I get those three wrangled up, I should be able to convince a few more. See you soon."
    mulberry and AzureAngel2 like this.
  23. AzureAngel2 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 14, 2005
    star 6
    Love how you write Kyle!!! :D

    I hope you are okay by now and have your place in order plus your power back fully.
  24. earlybird-obi-wan Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 21, 2006
    star 6
    Exciting update with my favorite Jedi Kyle Katarn in it
  25. Dashren2001 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Jan 20, 2008
    star 1
    Part 21

    The splashes of molten amber bursting up from dimpled bulkhead. Flickers of blue light, soft glows surrounded by crackling circles of lightning, forming and then fading again. The ground beneath his feet shaking, jumping, his own flagship attempting to buck him from the saddle.

    Darth Caedus stood alone in his cleared observational deck. The same deck, less than twenty-four hours ago, hosted both Jaina Solo and Zekk's bodies. It was clear again, droids having come and taken the various strewn shards of displaced chandelier. He was much more confident yesterday, he had much more reason to be. Sure, the Sith Lord reasoned, he had killed his sister, but her death was a necessary sacrifice on the way towards victory. She had thrown herself into the furnace, he reminded himself. He told himself. She had chosen, he screamed within.

    That was yesterday, and it seemed that the Force did indeed have a sense of karma. A small curved sliver of the glowing city-planet Coruscant in the bottom of his vision, the rest of his view was full of death. He could feel it. Fear and pain filled the open space between him and the field of action like a thick aroma.

    In his many practices before, he had either outright failed or, more often than not, couldn't tell if he had done anything. Such was the way with Battle Meditation: you need a battle to practice upon. Here he had one, and he felt that now was just as good a time as any for a proper test. Caedus lowered himself to his shins, leaning forward with his hands on his knees.

    The Anakin Solo, the pride of the Fifth Fleet, was speckled and splotched with holes and fire. All along the length, small explosions in blue and green popped from the ship's upper and underside. Throughout the previous night, the Galactic Alliance Guard had failed to track Ben Skywalker. The last thing they knew was that he had taken a right down another series of hallways in an engineering level. Many side rooms, access paths, large conduits made for the likely conclusion was that Ben had gone into hiding again until he could sort out a plan.

    This was also a solid assumption considering he was badly wounded. Tahiri, the GAG Unit Commander, had delivered onto Ben a broken rib, a wrenched ankle, and countless bruises. The boy would have to rest. Tahiri was not punished or scolded for her failure to ultimately catch the young Jedi. After all, her master was the one who had taught him the Force hiding skills that were keeping him free.

    There was very little chance that Ben would be able to make it all the way up the dorsal tower, that he would be able to slip past some of Caedus' best officers, that he could slip into the primary shield regulation room directly under the starboard shield generator. And not once did it occur to him that Ben was capable of destroying the shield generator.

    Darth Caedus was awash with dark fury when, shortly following the complete failure of his capital ship's shields, a field of Coalition fighters, gunboats, cruisers and battleships leapt into view. Ships were still exiting hyperspace when the first volley of turbolasers and projectiles launched.

    It was hardly ten minutes into the battle and it was already becoming as fierce and messy as the battle the day before. The Coalition ships were acting much more aggressive, two having already attempted Ackbar Needles. One of them succeeded in the pass and an imposing Victory-II class Star Destroyer began to veer to starboard, its dorsal command tower floating away in another direction entirely.

    He could also feel points of interest, intense gatherings of the Force, weaving in and out of the battle. At least two dozen Jedi were in the field of action, and most of them were rocketing around in SealthX's and XJ7s. It had occurred to him several weeks ago that Incom was making a fortune off of this war, supplying new fighters and ships in great numbers to both sides. It couldn't be helped.

    One thing that was for certain: neither Luke nor Kyle Katarn had arrived yet. Caedus had a good sense of their signature in the Force and had been keeping a third eye out for them since the battle began. He could never admit it aloud, even to Tahiri, and even sometimes to himself, but those two were the gamechangers. They were the ringers. Luke was a truly dangerous foe in a test of Lightsabers and Force abilities, but Caedus could match him in that area. What Caedus couldn't come even close to, couldn't even begin to threaten, were the flying abilities of his Uncle. Luke was planning a surprise entrance and would violently shift the tide against Caedus, he knew it.

    As for Katarn, the threat was obvious only to those wizened in history. Kyle did not use his Force powers, and he was sent on fewer Jedi-related missions than other Masters, due to his turbulent past. At first a violent gun for hire friendly to the Rebellion's cause, then the sudden discovery of deep Force control, followed by multiple trips to one of the Force's most powerful places of gathering: the Valley of the Force. From here, Kyle became immensely powerful, but chose to shun his abilities lest he fall to the Dark side.

    Following this, he flirted with the Dark side, was then rescued by Mara Jade. After another trip to the Valley to reawaken his Jedi inclinations, Kyle lead the victory over a small army of unnatural Dark Jedi. Because of this, and despite the best attempts by the brightest Jedi, Kyle was still aggressive and emotional.

    It seemed to many, Luke included, that Katarn's morals and beliefs were so strong, that it was alright to allow him his more expressive personality. Such a fierce identity was often considered a Sith trait, but Kyle's dedication to the Jedi had never been questioned.

    Thus Caedus was concerned. He was not concerned about fighting Kyle Katarn, Jedi Master. He was concerned about fighting Kyle Katarn, angry mercenary and occasional nexus of the Force. If Kyle arrived and allowed himself to be taken by the Dark Side, their duel would go much worse than it did on Coruscant. During that fight, Kyle had only dabbled in his emotional side near the end, when the fight was already won by Caedus.

    An entire fight against an unleashed Katarn would run on very different lines. Of course, all of this was becoming more and more irrelevant as the Dark Lord received more and more reports of failed this and overheating that. Despite everything, even knowing where he was not seconds ago, the Galactic Alliance Guard was still several steps behind Ben Skywalker. Jacen had taken a perverse pride in the boy's abilities before, but now they were a deep regret.

    All that was past. It would still be several minutes before the Anakin Solo was in danger of any catastrophic failure, so Darth Caedus leaned back on his feet, kneeling on the floor of his observation deck, and closed his eyes.

    He took a deep breath, clearing his thoughts. Solid, coherent ideas becoming abstract concepts, fragmented syllables, and eventually dust and nothingness. They were replaces with an open mind padded with pure emotions. Within his Force-awareness, Caedus was attempting to feel and connect with every soldier and pilot around him, reach out to them, share with them emotions. It was a difficult task to implement on a unit of men standing meters from you. With his sphere of influence seemingly needing to reach kilometers around himself and pass through fast-moving fighters, this was going to be draining.

    Crawling through the soft blue hue of the Force, he probed and prodded at the white hot amorphous blobs of life, attempting to find an opening. There were many to choose from, only a little fear or uncertainty needed to open the door. Then he made contact, finally touching the mind of an Alliance pilot in the cockpit of an X-Wing. The man was afraid, unsure that he really wanted to kill any more people, be them vile Separatists or not. Caedus saw the flash of an enemy fighter in the rear section of the radar. Warning lights activated, a siren blaring.

    Caedus rushed feelings of anger and confidence into the man's tenuous consciousness, felt the man take a much-needed breath. There were two friendly fighters, A-Wings, just a few clicks starboard. Caedus reached out to them as well, found one of them susceptible to his influence. This pilot told his wingman about the fellow Alliance pilot in danger just over there, peeled off to help him.

    The X-Wing pilot saw the two friends headed his way and smiled, almost laughing as a good shot from the Coalition dog brought the X-Wing's rear shields to nearly nothing. The first of Caedus' connections rolled right, then left, and finally slipped between the two A-Wings, whom immediately lit the Coalition fighter like a holiday crackler.

    The risen confidence and comradere of the men was infectious. Caedus took it in, made it his own, imagined himself wiggling his hypothetical fighter's wings in celebration. He felt the men swell with pride, all three cranking their throttles to maximum and rushing back into the central conflict. He had done it. Darth Caedus had taken his first successful step into the startlingly-powerful world of Battle Meditation. Grasping this joy, turning it into a voracious need for more victories, he used the pilots' pride to increase his influence, and he soon found himself connected to an entire flight of X-Wing pilots. The effect was both subtle and powerful.

    The men in the flight were communicating at an amazingly quick pace, often thinking to each other and executing actions before even utilizing the radio. Their bond was a false web woven in the Force, and it directed them in elegant and ruthless patterns of attack. Under Caedus' control, not a single contact was lost, while they proceeded to take down at least fourteen Coalition pilots.

    This continued on for several minute, Caedus connecting dozens of his pilots and officers in a network of near-instant communication and prideful teamwork. The battle was shifting, its implications and patterns changing. Darth Caedus could feel some of the Jedi observing his intricate works, several even attempting to tests waters, discover how deep they ran. With the Battle Mediation technique's history and relative obscurity, he doubted any of the Force users here for his life would be able to counter his influence short of crashing their snubfighter directly through his transparisteel view. He had made sure that the tower's focused deflector shields were the first things restored during the chaos to prevent this.

    Then Caedus' boastful pride took a proverbial nosedive. Shining like a beacon in stormy ocean waters, the Sith Lord immediately felt the presence of Luke Skywalker enter the field, followed by several pilots, intent and purposeful.

    Rakehell Squadron was in play, along with countless mercenaries and bounty hunters in various transports and cruisers.

    "Ah," Caedus said quietly, "The cavalry."
    AzureAngel2 likes this.
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