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Beyond - Legends [COMPLETED] - On the Shoulders of Giants - Post-NJO OC epic - [Thank You - 1/30]

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Arin_Atona, Jul 11, 2004.

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  1. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    CLOSED
    This fic is being reworked and rewritten. To prevent confusion, I'm locking this version so that it doesn't get confused with the new one.

    Thank you for your interest in my writing.


    This is my first attempt at a Star Wars fic, and it's shaping up to be quite a long one.

    [b]Title:[/b] On the Shoulders of Giants
    [b]Timeframe:[/b] post-NJO, also pre-TPM
    [b]Characters:[/b] Kali Atona(OC), Jaina Solo, Kyp Durron, Luke Skywalker, Nori da-Boda(OC), Tikamooti(OC) and many others.
    [b]Genre:[/b] action, drama, angst, humor
    [b]Keywords:[/b] OC, EU
    [b]Summary:[/b] When a good friend falls captive to an ancient evil, Kali Atona, Kyp Durron, and a host of heroes must confront a dark threat that seeks to claim the Emperor's throne and return the Empire to its former glory.
    [b]Notes:[/b] Cameo appearances abound.

    [b]SUMMER ANGST AWARD WINNER[/b]
    [color=red][b]Best Fight With No Lightsabers[/b]
    [b]Best Battle Sequence[/b][/color]

    [b]WINTER 2004 READERS' CHOICE AWARD WINNER[/b]
    [color=red][b]Original Character - Male[/b][/color] for Galvin Tercion

    Here comes the Prologue that sets up the story, which is intended to move really fast:>
     
  2. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
    A Star Wars Fan Fiction tale by Arin_Atona

    Multi-Era, usually post-NJO

    Disclaimer:

    I own nothing Star Wars, nor do I make any money from this work. This is simply a tribute to Star Wars and to George Lucas, the man who started it all.


    PROLOGUE

    Jev Atona stepped out of the lift as the doors opened and walked into the secret command room that had been built deep underneath the spaceport. A familiar face caught him by surprise, stopping him in his tracks as memories came flooding back to him of times gone by.

    "Wedge?" he asked. "Wedge Antilles? What in the name of Coruscant's Moons are you doing here?"

    "Jev!" Wedge exclaimed with a bright smile on his face. He strode over to Jev and the two men exchanged hearty handshakes. Wedge was wearing a cocky smile and the orange flightsuit of a Rebel Alliance starfighter pilot. Another pilot in the same type of flightsuit stood just behind him as he greeted Jev and the two marveled at how much the other had changed since they last met.

    "I'm sorry," Wedge said, remembering his companion. "I forgot to introduce you to my wingmate, Wes Janson." Turning to Wes, he continued, "Wes, this is Commander Jev Atona." Both men exchanged a cordial handshake and Jev returned his attention to Wedge.

    "So," Jev said, "What brings one of the most wanted men in the galaxy to Ardiese?"

    "I'll be perfectly honest with you, Jev. We need pilots, and we need them in the worst way. I know Ardiese has a cache of X-Wing fighters stored away, along with a lot of good pilots that have no loyalty to the Empire. And," Wedge added emphatically, "I know they answer to you."

    Jev sighed heavily. "Most of my pilots haven't flown in years. We're all family men? I'm married now Wedge, and I'm expecting a newborn daughter in less than a month." Though his argument was completely rational, his voice betrayed the sense that he knew this day had been coming.

    Wedge clasped his hand on Jev's shoulder. "The Empire knows, Jev. They know Ardiese has been supplying the Alliance with power cells and blasters since before Yavin. The Alliance is the best chance the galaxy has in bringing an end to the Empire, but it isn't going anywhere without soldiers and pilots.

    "Princess Leia would be here to ask you in person if she could," he continued. "I'm not asking you to get your pilots together right this moment. I just want you to come with us and hear what the Princess has to say for yourself. I know she can win you over."

    Jev faked a smile and shook his head. "That won't be necessary. We've seen this coming for a long time and we're fooling ourselves if we think we can stay out of the war forever." He took Wedge's outstretched hand and shook it once again. "There's one condition, though."

    "Name it," Wedge replied.

    "You'll have to make room for a pregnant woman."

    "Your wife?"

    Jev nodded. "There's no way she would let me go without her? child or no."

    Wedge shrugged. "Okay, but it may get a little chilly."

    "Why, where are we going?" Jev asked.

    "Hoth."

    "Hoth? Wonderful. I guess if our blasters and fighters freeze up we could always throw snowballs at the Empire."

    Wedge smiled at him with a wicked grin. "You've obviously never seen a Rogue squadron snowball fight." His expression changed to one of curiosity and he changed the subject. "You know, Jev... I never pictured you as a family man. What kind of woman did you end up marrying?"

    Jev shot Wedge a mischievous smile. "My wingmate."

    Wedge blinked disbelievingly. "Cara? You've got to be kidding me."


    * * *

    "Cara? You've got to be kidding me," the stern voice of the elderly Alliance officer said. "You're in labor? you can't be doing this."

    "With all due respect, Colonel... Shut up," the brown-haired and incredibly pregnant woman snapped from behind the flight controls. "This is the last transport off this block of ice, and you don't have a pilot. I'm either flying this crate out of here, or we're all staying to throw
     
  3. djcati

    djcati Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2004
    wow, this is really good so far. ^_^
    This is amazing for a first fic, you write really, really well. I take it you write in other fandoms, or original fiction, right? ^^

    Normally I don't like OC's, but this is written so well, and the characters are so great, I'm gonna have to keep reading. :p
    Good stuff
     
  4. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    I have written other things in the past, this is just my first Star Wars story.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the prologue. Trust me, though -- there will be plenty of other well-known characters throughout large portions of the story. Part One is as much about Jaina as it is Kali. I'm going to post a good chunk of Part One as soon as I can get it formatted.
     
  5. Kettch_the_Jedi

    Kettch_the_Jedi Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Very nicely written story. It flows very well and is quite interesting. :)
     
  6. MerryWLukefan

    MerryWLukefan Jedi Youngling star 1

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    I love Jev and company! The scene on Endor was so sad!
     
  7. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    WOOHOO! OCs rock! I want more! Please?
     
  8. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Kettch, Merry, Ishtar: Welcome aboard my ride! I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy making it up.

    Ishtar: Your wish is my command... Well, not really. Just good timing.

    Here is the first section of Part 1, which I will designate as Part 1.1. The next section will be 1.2... you get the idea. Today gets you two sections because there is an important character introduced in the second section that may hook a few readers... but you have to read on to find out!

    I will try to post new sections as often as possible, but I can't make any timetable guarantees - RL and other such nonsense.

    FYI: This is the 'official' beginning of my fic and slows down the frantic pace of the prologue:

    * * *

    PART ONE: NOBLE ENCOUNTER

    A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...

    It has been one year since the terrible YUUZHAN VONG war ended. While most Yuuzhan Vong forces have given up the fight, some of their warriors refuse to accept defeat.

    Deep in the TYNNAN ABYSS, a cluster of burned-out stars and gravity wells, a group of Yuuzhan Vong warships have been preying upon merchant ships traveling the nearby Hydian Way and hiding in the darkness of the Abyss.

    To curtail the raids that threaten to disrupt reconstruction efforts, the GALACTIC ALLIANCE has sent the GLADIATOR task force, spearheaded by the elite TWIN SUNS and CHASER starfighter squadrons into the Tynnan Abyss to eliminate the threat. Unknown to their Jedi Knight leaders, Colonel JAINA SOLO and Major KALI ATONA, something awaits them in the Tynnan Abyss that may bring an ancient evil back into the Galaxy...


    * * *

    Jaina couldn't spare a hand to clear the beads of sweat that were precariously close to getting in her eyes. Both hands were busy, frantically trying to control her X-Wing starfighter through a dizzying sequence of moves. Two Yuuzhan Vong coralskippers were belching plasma at her from behind and nearly matching every evasive maneuver she could coax out of her damaged fighter. Cappie, her faithful astromech droid, was beeping and screaming incessantly to inform her of all the systems in her ship that were either damaged or completely destroyed. Most were apparently falling into the latter category.

    "Oh, my flightsuit heater is working? That's good to know," she blurted sarcastically. "At least I won't freeze to death when I have to eject."

    Cappie beeped and moaned.

    "What do you mean I don't have to worry about that?" she asked through her clenched teeth. She whipped the fighter to the right, and then put it into a left-hand roll in an unsuccessful attempt to confuse the pursuing skips while Cappie blatted out more information.

    "I can't eject?!?" Jaina looked to her right and saw what Cappie meant. That last blast of plasma had skimmed the side of her ship and melted part of the canopy to the hull. It was still airtight, but she would have to be cut out of the fighter? assuming she survived long enough for that to be a problem. Her shields were gone, her fighter was limping along missing one of her four S-foils and its attached engine, she had expended all of her proton torpedoes, and her lasers were completely depleted of energy.

    Jaina jinked and swerved, trying to avoid the incoming plasma missiles. The next one that hit her would claim her starfighter, and her life along with it.

    "Twin-Two, I could really use your help about now!"

    "Sorry, Sticks," the comm unit crackled. "I'm out of action."

    Knowing that her wingmate was nowhere near her, and with the two... now three skips on her tail, Jaina began to panic and wonder if this truly was the end. Had she survived the entire war, endured so much, and come this far, only to be consumed by a fireball in the bleakest, darkest, and loneliest sector of space in the entire galaxy?

    Not yet, a voice in her mind answered. I'm coming, Jaina. The voice had come to her through the Force, not so much like words, but rather like feelings.

    Hurry, Kali, she replied through the Force, a way of c
     
  9. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    As promised... Part 1.2:

    * * *

    Four hours later, Major Kali Atona was standing over the cooking appliance in her cabin aboard the Gladiator, gently stirring a slow-bubbling pot of reddish-brown sauce. Her dark brown eyes matched the color of her hair, which was pulled back into a pony-tail and tucked into the collar of her green jumpsuit as regulations required. Her face, though pale, was the youthful visage of a woman in her late twenties, but her eyes had something in them that looked much, much older. It was something that any soldier could read in eyes that had seen the deaths of many comrades - something all too common in war. Those eyes darted from pot to pot on the cooktop, hoping that she wasn't burning anything. She set down the spoon and walked over to the cabin door when the Force suggested to her that Jaina was approaching. From the sensation coming down the corridor, she could tell that Jaina was not entirely happy. She touched the activator and the door slid open as Jaina approached, still wearing her flightsuit and with her dark hair matted onto her head.

    "I see they got you out of your X-Wing," Kali noted as she examined Jaina's rough appearance.

    "Only just now," Jaina muttered, "and they're conducting drills on my deck, so I can't get to my cabin." She slipped inside and the hatch closed behind her, pulled at her hair and frowned at her flightsuit. "Do you happen to have an extra jumpsuit I can borrow for the evening?"

    Kali nodded and pointed toward the closet. She turned and walked back over to the cooktop and resumed stirring while Jaina opened the closet to retrieve a green jumpsuit, identical to the one Kali was wearing. Kali's figure wasn't quite as girlish as Jaina's, but Jaina figured they were similar enough in size that the jumpsuit should fit without a problem. She removed the jumpsuit, but paused to gaze at the brown Jedi robes also hanging in the closet. Jaina couldn't remember ever seeing Kali wear them before. Every time Jaina had seen her, she was either wearing a military jumpsuit or flightsuit. She craned her neck to look at Kali and her eyes drifted to the lightsaber fastened securely to the slightly older woman's hip.

    Once a Jedi, always a Jedi, Jaina thought to herself.

    "Always," Kali said wistfully, without taking her attention away from the cooktop.

    Jaina folded the jumpsuit over her arm, closed the closet door, and stepped over to the refresher to clean up and change.

    Kali dropped the spoon and exclaimed, "Oh, wait!" just as Jaina pushed the button and the refresher door slid open. Jaina looked up as a squeal from inside the refresher frightened her. She instinctively let out a short scream of her own as she dropped the jumpsuit and slapped the refresher door button, causing it to snap closed. She spun around and leaned against the refresher door, trying to rationalize what she just saw. She looked up at Kali, who was facing her with a look on her face that was intended to convey the word 'Oops'.

    "There's..." Jaina started, trying to collect her thoughts. She stepped forward and pointed over her shoulder with her thumb with a puzzled look on her face. "Why is there an Ewok in your 'fresher?"

    Kali flashed her a guilty smile. "That's Tik," she said, stooping down to retrieve the spoon.

    Jaina raised an eyebrow. "Your co-pilot?" she asked suspiciously.

    Kali nodded. "Stowaway," she explained. "He climbed into the back seat of my G-Wing while we were stationed on Endor. We left from there and went straight into the battle at Ebaq-9. I didn't realize he was there until we began taking fire and he started squealing."

    Jaina shook her head. "So you kept him?"

    Kali's brow wrinkled up. "No, I didn't keep him. I said something like 'Either be quiet or learn how to use those quads'. Apparently," she continued, "my fighter's computer can speak Ewok because it translated for him and brought up a tutorial for using the quad-guns." Kali rubbed her chin and giggled. "Imagine my surprise when he b
     
  10. djcati

    djcati Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2004
    **** BRILLIANT.

    "Why is there an Ewok in your 'fresher?"

    Kali flashed her a guilty smile. "That's Tik," she said, stooping down to retrieve the spoon.


    I knew it. I SO KNEW IT.

    OK, now I really, really love this story. Absolutely fantastically brilliant.

    oh yes... keep it up. ^_^
     
  11. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    *G-Wing specs removed due to possible spoiler. My bad. PM me if you're interested.
     
  12. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    oh yes... keep it up. ^_^

    Yub, yub, Commander!
     
  13. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! EWOKS! GODS HELP US! EWOKS! Hilarious. Love how he got into warfare.
     
  14. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Part 1.3:

    * * *

    The dinner Tik masterfully created was quite easily the best meal Jaina had eaten in the last several months. The conversation, on the other hand, was much more difficult... hard, and at times, sorrowful. Jaina regretted to learn that Kali's experiences during the war were no less traumatic than her own, and she was saddened to realize that neither she nor Kali could seem to remember much of their lives before the war without looking at them through the lens of grief.

    Jaina recounted many things about the war, though she withheld some exceptionally painful details. To her own surprise, she had spoken openly about her brother, Anakin, and his death on the worldship above Myrkr, and then Kali told her about the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of her homeworld of Ardiese. Even though Ardiese was one of the few planets the Yuuzhan Vong had paid a heavy price to conquer, the battle claimed the lives of many people close to Kali, including her father, Jev.

    "He was my first co-pilot," she had said. "We flew together defending Ardiese from the Vong. We took a hit that tore the canopy off... We both had our EV masks on, but his flightsuit was cut by a piece of shrapnel. The vacuum..." She held up a small piece of grey metal she pulled out of her pocket and stared at it with glazed eyes. "It's so hard to believe that something so small can be so important in someone's life. He fought the Empire, the Ssi-Ruuk, the Yuuzhan Vong... but his life was ended by a single piece of my fighter cutting through his flightsuit." She had blamed herself for his death for some time, but had eventually come to grips with it and let go before being consumed by it - something Jaina had failed to do after the death of her brother.

    The rest of the dinner conversation wasn't quite as painful, but every story they told involved someone they had lost. It seemed as though neither of them had any memories left that were simply 'happy'. They were finally able to laugh when the topic settled on Tik and his experiences learning the ways of the galaxy.

    Dinner had been over for a while and the table cleared when Jaina sank into one of Kali's plush couches. Clean and wearing the fresh jumpsuit, she relaxed and laid her head back to look out through the transparisteel window in the ceiling of Kali's cabin. Kali had sprawled out on the opposite couch, and Tik was religiously cleaning his cooking utensils while humming quietly to himself. The stars overhead were slowly sinking to one side of the window, which was the only indication to the passengers that the monolithic Gladiator was making a turn.

    "How did you manage to get such a wonderful cabin?" Jaina asked. "Isn't this one of the staterooms?"

    "The ship's XO owed me a few drinks."

    "So you bartered drinks for a stateroom? How does that work?"

    "We lost count of how many times Chaser squadron saved the Gladiator during the war, and I figured we deserved one of the staterooms as a reward. We rotate in and this just happens to be my week in the stateroom. It keeps the morale up and gives my pilots something to look forward to."

    "Nice work. Why not just take the drinks, though? I would think a few rounds would do wonders for morale too."

    "I don't drink," Kali said sarcastically, "and I don't need any drunken brawls, people running around the ship naked, practical jokes backfiring, or any other silly ego-enhanced antics that accompany the mixture of starfighter pilots and alcohol. If they want to do those things, they can request a transfer to Rogue squadron."

    "Hey!" Jaina playfully protested. "As a former Rogue, I take great offense at your assessment of them as a bunch of egotistical drunken laser-brains... no matter how accurate the description may be. As pilots go, the Rogues are the cream of the crop, you know."

    Kali crossed her arms across her chest, turned her head and grinned at Jaina. "Regardless of whether that's true or not... Tell it to my pilots and they'll laugh you off the flight deck." She uncrossed her arms
     
  15. djcati

    djcati Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Ah, character development is goooood though. :p
    Kali gets more and more intriguing... She's a really great character. huh. good stuff...

    But yes, can't wait for some more plot. :p

    Again, keep it up! This story's great. ^^
     
  16. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    I'm glad you like her. She's a bear to write though. I had to be a bit drastic to her to coax her into following the plot, so I hope you will forgive me when that happens.
     
  17. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Ishtar: Sorry I didn't see your earlier response there.

    Love how he got into warfare.

    Thanks! There were a couple of plot ideas that ended up being the cause for the design of the G-Wing. I mean... How do you get an Ewok into a starfighter without being completely off-the-wall unbelievable? Give it a back seat! Ewoks are naturally curious critters... Station the fighters on Endor and leave the canopy open. Now we know how he got in, and a later post will give a hint as to why.
     
  18. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Part 1.4:

    * * *

    Kali awoke, trembling in a cold sweat and wrapped in darkness - the black dream that had awakened her now a distant afterthought. She propped herself up on her elbows and gazed out the transparisteel window in the sloped ceiling of her bedroom. The starlight was so dim that she could barely see the outline of the window, indicating that they were very deep in the Tynnan Abyss, thousands of light years away from the nearest speck of light. She swung her legs off the side of the bed, sat up, and then rested her head in her hands. After a few moments she fumbled for the illumination control and turned the lights on in the cabin to a very dim level, giving just enough light to see by.

    She stood and padded silently into the common area on bare feet, with the silver threads on her stark white nightgown glistening softly in the low light, and her loose, brown hair touching her shoulder blades with gentle curls. Tik was sleeping soundly in his usual place, curled up into a fetal position on the couch. Through the Force, she could tell that he was dreaming of telling stories and grooming the fur of a particular female Ewok cub that Kali often saw in his dreams, and guessed was a younger sister... or perhaps a daughter. Kali often wondered who Tik had left behind in the forests of Endor, and why he had not yet wanted to go back. Ewoks would often leave their village on a ritual hunt that might take years, she recalled, to return one day with some unique object and the most prized Ewok possession of all: a story of adventure. If Tik ever returned to his village, he would certainly have no trouble coming up with numerous tales about this tall, crazy, and furless woman that took him from one certain-death adventure to another.

    Jaina was sleeping quietly on the other couch where she had finally dozed off during their conversation. Kali knew from personal experience that the stateroom's couches were much more comfortable than the average pilot's bunk, so Jaina would be grateful for such a good night's sleep. Trying to avoid waking either of her companions, Kali slipped quietly to the water dispenser and filled a small glass. She took a few sips of the cold drink before padding back toward the bedroom. As she passed between the couches, she could hear both Tik and Jaina breathing slowly, almost in unison. She stopped between them for a moment and peered up through the window.

    Dim starlight did little to illuminate anything that might have existed in the Tynnan Abyss. From a starfighter's vantage point, the expanse of the galaxy could be seen in every direction, but only as a faint cloud of stars that seemed to barely permeate the darkness that threatened to consume every last trace of light. The cold light of even the brightest star had been traveling for thousands of years to reach this deep into the Abyss, vainly trying to pierce the dead black of eternal night.

    Nothing existed here except the burned-out cores of dead stars, the rumors of a long extinct civilization that had mined the fuel from every one of the thousands of stars in this cluster many millennia ago. The hard, cold void of the Abyss, as it was aptly named, could seemingly consume entire worlds, comets, and stars without any thought. Even hope itself seemed to ebb into the nothingness that gluttonously devoured all thoughts of ever leaving.

    And yet, there was the Force. Despite the dreary vacuum of deep space, perhaps even in spite of it, the Force could still be felt flowing through the lifeless distances across the expanse of untold billions of stellar bodies, giving even the darkness some semblance of luminosity that couldn't be seen with eyes. Its eddying currents made patterns through even the darkest of night and its strength never waned. The Force was as strong between two rocks on separate planets across the galaxy from one another as it was between two lovers locked in a lingering embrace - and the Force was strong here, just as it was everywhere, as though it were carried here in the wake of even
     
  19. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    You get two today since I want to finish up Part One this weekend.

    Part 1.5:

    * * *

    "I told you, I'm fine," Kali said as she coaxed the G-Wing fighter out of the Gladiator's hanger bay and slowly passed through the magnetic field. Her voice was somewhat distorted over the comm unit in her EV helmet, which was essentially a single curved piece of transparisteel over her face - revealing her features but also capable of providing excellent protection against the vacuum of space.

    "You don't have to convince me," Jaina retorted from the back seat where she was back-to-back with Kali and manning the adjustable-length stock of the miniature quad-gun.

    "But you said that I should have stayed in sick bay longer."

    Jaina frowned to herself from within her own EV helmet. "No, I didn't say that. Stay out of my head, Major," she snapped.

    "Sorry," Kali replied softly, not having realized that she was intruding on Jaina's thoughts. Being in such close quarters with her made it difficult to close herself off to the younger woman's feelings, which were very pronounced at times.

    Jaina softened a bit, "I didn't mean to snap at you like that. I just get a little annoyed when things I mean to keep to myself get pried out of my head. Kyp Durron does that to me all the time and it annoys the poodoo out of me. Being stuck in the back seat isn't helping, either."

    "I thought you wanted to run second-chair with me for a few days."

    "I did," Jaina responded. "I mean, I do. I'm just more comfortable being a pilot than a passenger. I'm sure you would feel the same way."

    "Yeah, the back seat can be really boring. It's really interesting in a starfighter battle, though. You not only have to anticipate the enemy, you also have to aim while anticipating your own pilot, who is usually trying to avoid being predictable." Kali flipped a few switches and prodded a few controls while she talked. "I would be very curious to see what a pair of Jedi could do in a G-Wing with that battle-meld we used at Ebaq-9."

    Jaina was silent for a moment, then whistled through her teeth. "Kali, that's a really good idea. The only thing this fighter lacks is some proton torpedo launchers. Do you think you could mount a couple in place of the ventral lasers?"

    "Hmm... I haven't thought about it. These fighters were designed to provide cover for other ships carrying heavy weapons, but I'll look into it when we get back to the Gladiator." The pilots remained silent for a few moments while Kali laid in the coordinates for the navigation computer.

    "Ar-Seven," Kali said, trying to get the attention of the astromech droid whose domed head was peeking out of its socket in the port wing of the fighter. "Plot as clean a series of jumps as possible to these coordinates." The unseen gravity wells in the Tynnan Abyss made straight hyperspace lanes a technical impossibility, which added to the Abyss' lure to pirates or anyone else that didn't want to be found.

    "Kali," Jaina addressed, "are you certain you know what you're doing? We're jumping into an unknown area of space... to do what? Look for something that gave you a bad dream and made you pass out? I can't say that I'm too thrilled about this."

    Kali was quiet for a moment. She didn't want to tell Jaina that this wasn't the first time she had one of these dreams... dreams that vanished from memory the moment she would awaken, leaving only empty feelings of dread and terror. She had been plagued by them for years, always in her mind but never revealing their hidden purpose or meaning. Occasionally she would remember an image... an image of her father, crying alone in some dark place... a woman with locks of raven-black hair and the woeful gaze of eyes blazing in a white fire of fury and wrath... and another face similar to Kali's own... soft, with a lone tear escaping eyes like beautiful pools of Mon Calamari's vast oceans under a flowing mane of rusty brown hair.

    However, this was the first time that Kali had felt an urgent p
     
  20. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Part 1.6:

    * * *

    Two hours later, the sleek form of Kali's G-Wing fighter dropped out of hyperspace for the final time. The trip had taken several more microjumps than expected; six times having been yanked from hyperspace by the dense cluster of mass shadows that dotted the entire region of space known as the Tynnan Abyss. This particular place was just as dark, if not more so, than the place where they had left the Gladiator, which added to the growing sense of foreboding that was gathering in both Kali and Jaina's minds. Earlier in the trip, even Jaina had begun to feel the draw of this place through the Force, as though there were some stain upon it that couldn't be swallowed up by the void.

    Kali cut the G-Wing's engines and let the fighter drift for a few moments while performing a sensor scan.

    "Is there anything here?" Jaina asked in a whisper, as if they might be overheard if they spoke too loudly.

    "One blip," Kali replied. "It could be a ship. If so? they're playing dead."

    "Or they are dead," Jaina added.

    Kali urged the sublight drive to life and brought the fighter closer to the object to get a better idea of what it was. "I'm reading only a few faint power sources, so it's definitely a ship of some kind... and it's been here for a while. No heat sources, ion trails, or anything."

    "Derelict?" Jaina asked.

    "That would be my guess." Kali applied the braking thrusters and cut the engines, bringing the G-Wing to a stop. She pushed a single control which turned on the fighter's exterior lights. The darkness of the Abyss peeled back, driven away by the starfighter's lights. The dark form of a starship revealed itself, considerably larger than the G-Wing starfighter and about the size of a freighter or light cruiser. Kali fired the thrusters to turn the fighter longways so that they both could see the vessel.

    The long, shiny, dark-blue hull of the ship started large in the aft section and tapered forward to a point in the forward section with a crescent-shaped transparisteel strip indicating the location of the bridge in the center of the ship. Two wings that swept forward from the rear of the vessel housed two sublight engines each, and came to rounded tips that Kali guessed probably concealed a retractable weapons system. The ship had smooth lines and no rough edges at all, as though it were designed with a sense of aesthetics in mind. The dark-blue color of the hull was a strong indication of ablative armor, something usually passed over in current ship design in favor of a lighter ship and stronger shields.

    "Freighter of some kind..." Jaina observed. "I don't recognize the configuration, though."

    "I do," Kali stated with a hint of surprise in her voice. "It's an Ardiesian design... Military medical evacuation cruiser."

    "I didn't know your homeworld had shipyards," Jaina said in a perplexed voice.

    "Ardiese hasn't had shipyards for several centuries," she clarified, sounding nearly as perplexed as Jaina. "This model is an antique... and probably worth a small fortune intact." The sense of dread she had been feeling seemed to vaporize in an instant as she found herself back in her element... Kali Atona, the salvage expert.

    "Nice find. I assume you want to commandeer it."

    "Of course," Kali replied. "I worked salvage for several years before the war, and I've never found a prize like this." Kali's voice took on a tone like a child finding a new toy. "Besides, it'll make a great hobby project."

    "You sound like my father," Jaina teased. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves, though. Even if it's abandoned, won't some Alliance big-shot want it since it was found by a military expedition?"

    "Too much money flows from the Salvagers' Guild into the pockets of Senators for the government to make a claim on a find like this. The Alliance will turn it over to the first Guild member that happens to come along... namely me," Kali stated, sounding proud of herself.

    Jaina regarded the ship for a few moments, admiring its design and armor. "It
     
  21. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Part 1.7:

    * * *

    Kali was looking at several pieces of medical equipment that lay about the large medical bay of the derelict ship, Noble Encounter. The lift that went to the upper levels was without power, like the rest of the ship. Jaina had been more interested in getting to the bridge where they might be able to learn more about the vessel?s origins, but Kali had insisted on finding the power source in the medical bay that they figured was a droid, just to avoid any surprises, and Jaina had yielded to her experience. They were both using the phosphor lights in their helmets to examine the area, inching down opposite walls of the dark bay. Jaina had her lightsaber in hand and Kali had drawn her blaster, just in case whatever was in there was hostile. Despite the darkness, Tik, their stowaway Ewok, would alleviate the dreary mood by occasionally asking over the comm if anything interesting was going on or complaining about how mean Kali was being to him.

    The contents of the medical bay were fairly innocuous, looking like an organized collection of ancient medical tools, supply containers, repulsor-sleds, and a few patient beds. Whatever the source of power was, it certainly wasn?t moving, and that annoyed both of the starfighter pilots, who preferred knowing where their quarry was and what it was doing. The further into the bay they went, the more tense they became.

    Reaching the end of her side of the bay, Kali concluded that there was nothing on her side and started searching along the back wall toward Jaina?s side of the bay.

    "I think I found our power source," Jaina stated.

    Kali went to Jaina?s side and looked over her shoulder at a large, black capsule that was as tall as the bay itself, and bore a creepy resemblance to a coffin.

    "It?s a stasis chamber," Jaina stated while reaching out to touch the smooth black surface. She quickly drew her hand back and took a step backward. "And it?s operational."

    Kali was shocked. They hadn?t expected to find anyone aboard the derelict vessel, especially when a scan for life signs came back negative. "Is there anyone inside?"

    Jaina looked around the sides of the capsule and examined it closely, finding a release control, but no other obvious readouts. "I can?t tell without opening it. If there is someone, or some-thing inside, it might wake them up."

    "Let?s not. If they aren?t in an EV suit they would freeze to death in a few minutes. Besides," Kali added, "I would like to know who, or what I?m waking up first. The Gladiator will be here in an hour or so. We can have the Noble Encounter towed inside and open it there."

    "Good idea," Jaina responded. "I wonder where it?s getting power from... the ship?s power core is shut down."

    "Medical evac-cruisers often have a dedicated power core separate from the rest of the ship," Kali explained, "and it?s probably right behind that wall. If this is the only active thing consuming power, it should remain operational for a long time."

    "How long?" Jaina inquired.

    Kali shrugged. "As long as it has juice left in it. With this light of a power draw, no moving parts, and all the components as cold as they are... you?re bordering on tens of thousands of years. Explorers traveled the galaxy this way at one time before hyperspace was discovered... long before the Old Republic."

    "You don?t think it?s that old do you?"

    "Not two-hundred centuries old, no," Kali replied, recalling the ship?s Ardiesian design. She lowered her voice though as she drew an obvious conclusion. "Twenty... possibly." The sense of dread they had felt earlier began to return, spurred both by the darkness, and the very real possibility that some being may be stuck inside that stasis chamber.

    "Two thousand years? That?s still ancient," Jaina muttered.

    "Not for some species."

    "It is for ours," Jaina said flatly. They stood there for a few moments as the darkness seemed to creep up on them. "I don?t like it, Kali. I?ve got a really bad feeling about this."

    Kali hesit
     
  22. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Sorry I'm so late getting this posted. RL intervened.

    Part 1.8:

    * * *

    "What was that?" Jaina asked, quickly tilting her head to listen for the noise again.

    Kali closed her eyes and reached out with the Force, searching for the source of the sound. It was a sound familiar to her, but was somehow different enough that she couldn't place it right away. The sound came again, a hissing noise that was somehow metallic and eerie all at the same time. Kali sensed a flicker of panic coming from Jaina, who was pulling her lightsaber back off her belt. That noise was awfully close, like it was in the lounge with them. Kali opened her eyes and examined the holocron in her hands, thinking maybe that it was the source of the noise. Again the sound returned... not from the holocron. Kali started to feel a bit panicky herself and was drawing her blaster when realization dawned upon her.

    Jaina flashed Kali a perturbed look when the older woman holstered her blaster and began to laugh. "What's so funny?"

    "That's Tik!" Kali exclaimed through her now frenzied giggling. "He's snoring over the comm!"

    Jaina stared at her incredulously for a moment before returning her lightsaber to her hip. "Great," she muttered. "Scared senseless by a snoring Ewok."

    "I guess the old boy got bored. At least you get to delay giving him that tour you promised for a little while."

    Jaina rolled her eyes at Kali. "Come here," she ordered while turning around and walking back onto the bridge. "I found something too. It might be more interesting than your holocron there."

    Kali was puzzled. What could Jaina have found in those few moments that would be more interesting than a Jedi Holocron? Holocrons were used as teaching tools among the Jedi of the Old Republic, and could contain immensely valuable information to the Jedi of this day. Most holocrons were fully interactive, often using the personality of an old Jedi Master as the guardian of the information stored within.

    All of the holocrons were once thought to have been destroyed during the Jedi Purge conducted by the Emperor Palpatine and his apprentice, Darth Vader. Some had survived, but comparatively few in number to those that were forever lost. To find one here, in the middle of deep space, was nothing short of amazing. Jaina had piqued Kali's interest, though, and she took the holocron with her onto the bridge.

    She turned it over in her hands looking at the technological marvel that was capable of recording the very thoughts and emotions of Jedi Masters. She knew the occluded lens was a holoprojector, but the white disks on each side were a mystery. They almost look like repulsors. She probed the object with the Force as she took a seat next to Jaina.

    "What did you find?" she asked, not removing her attention from the holocron that had her transfixed.

    "The last message transmitted is still in the communications buffer. It has an interesting recipient..." Jaina's voice trailed off as she looked over at Kali who was mesmerized by the pink crystal holocron. "Are you listening to me?"

    "Every word. What's so special about..." Kali was cut short when her Force probe of the holocron had the unexpected result of activating it.

    Kali jumped out of her seat when the white disks on the sides of the crystalline artifact began to glow and hum, quickly lifting the device out of her hands and into the air. It hovered for a moment and then moved between the two Jedi, passing behind them into the more open area in the middle of the bridge. Jaina jumped from her seat as well and the two women turned to face the device now hovering in the center of the bridge. The holocron rotated until the holoprojector faced them, then brightened and cast an image before them.

    The hologram flickered for a moment before resolving into a life-size representation of a woman, her black hair adorned with small braids and black beads and pulled back into a tail that lay over her shoulder and onto her chest. Her eyes were of the purest blue, piercing in their
     
  23. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    Whoa, wait, WHAT?! YOU KILLED KALI?! AUGH! Nori was awesome, very strongly mental disorder victim. That was so eerie!
     
  24. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Whoa, wait, WHAT?! YOU KILLED KALI?! AUGH!

    Do Jedi who become one with the Force really die? Hmm...

    /edit: Bah. Click-happy.

    Nori was awesome, very strongly mental disorder victim. That was so eerie!

    Good! I was hoping to portray that. I'm going to do a little no-no and try to put you inside her head in Part Two.
     
  25. Arin_Atona

    Arin_Atona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jul 10, 2004
    Part 1.9:

    * * *

    "Irony of ironies," Moff Flennic stated. He leaned forward in his chair toward the hologram in front of him and steepled his fingers. "Don't you think?"

    "I don't get your meaning," replied the hologram of Dif Scaur, the former head of intelligence for the Galactic Alliance.

    "Now, now, Mister Scaur. Surely you can see the irony in two sworn enemies consorting with one another in a desperate hope to remain enemies?"

    "Yes, I suppose there is a bit of irony to it."

    "Indeed. I am curious, though. Exactly what do you think I should do with this information?"

    "You're the one with the program," Scaur said flatly.

    Flennic rubbed his chin. "What program might that be?"

    "I know there are rogue factions within the Empire that are loyal to a group of Dark Jedi. I also know your hands are all over that project."

    Flennic raised an eyebrow. "I'm insulted, Mister Scaur. You know as well as I that if Grand Admiral Pellaeon found that I was doing anything to subvert his authority, he would have me tried, tortured, and shot... not necessarily in that order. What evidence suggests that I have anything to do with these rogue factions?"

    "None at all... which is why I know it's you. You've covered your tracks too well, Moff Flennic. There isn't even circumstantial evidence that you have any connection with the rogue Imperials."

    "Hmm..." Moff Flennic pursed his lips for a moment before responding. He looked down at the data in front of him and cleared his throat. "I believe you are mistaken, Mister Scaur. However, if I were involved in such a project I would probably be very appreciative of this information... and your commentary."

    "Of course." Dif Scaur inclined his head and his hologram vanished.

    Moff Flennic leaned back in his chair and pondered the information for a moment before calling his aide to him. "Make sure this gets to our friends. Take Scaur's suggestion and have it published as a security briefing. Make it look as though we are openly making this information available."

    "But sir, won't Admiral Pellaeon wonder where you came across it?"

    "Probably. I think the fact that we intentionally posted it to the entire fleet might raise a few eyebrows, but may also smooth a few feathers."

    "Feathers, sir?" the aide asked inquisitively.

    "They grow on ducks. An aquatic avian species from Naboo, I believe."

    "I see, sir." The aide saluted and exited the Moff's chambers.

    Moff Flennic relaxed back into his chair. "Now," he said addressing the officer that had been sitting quietly across the table from him, "where were we?"

    "First, I would like to know what that 'security briefing' was about."

    Flennic grinned slightly. "It appears the Jedi have revived a rogue Jedi Master of old, who is now out roaming the galaxy."

    "And you want this one for your collection? You have the two Dark Ones and their apprentice already. Aren't you afraid of losing control of them?"

    Flennic rapped his knuckles on the table. "That's were the others went wrong! This is hardly the first attempt at using a Dark Jedi to revive the Empire. I'm just not so naïve as to think that I could possibly control them."

    The officer tilted his head. "You're not going to try to keep them on a leash?"

    "No, dear General. I intend to give them the resources they need to continue their slow coup. I am not in this for a power-grab, General. My loyalty is to the Empire itself. If there is someone who can take over the Emperor's place, then I will gladly let them lead the way, and I will follow... so long as we have a strong Empire, and not this puny mush of a fleet that Pellaeon has managed to scratch together and ally with the Rebels.

    "Mister Scaur is right in his thinking," Flennic continued. "I have no issues with there being peace between the Empire and the Rebels, but we must be strong again. In the Emperor's day, the Yuuzhan Vong would have been torn to pieces before they ever gained a foothold in the Outer Rim. Instead, they take
     
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