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Saga StarKiller-Clone-Subject-1138-A-New-Beginning

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Mick68, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. Mick68

    Mick68 Jedi Youngling

    Mar 14, 2013
    Fan Fiction Story in progress that continues where The Force Unleashed II novel stops.​
    StarKiller - Clone Subject 1138: A New Beginning
    By The Red String Fan Fiction​
    Summary: This story could be considered a continuation of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II. Juno Eclipse and Master Rham Kota have urged Starkiller, the clone, to go into hiding and change his name. He ends up staying on Dantooine following the lead of the Force. Little did he realize, he would meet an orphaned teen, who would provide the answers he needed to fulfill his ultimate destiny.
    The man topped a hill dressed in the familiar garb of a Dantooine farmer with the hood of his cloak drawn up over his head. His age could not be determined by his stature or his gait. He stopped at the crest and gazed out at the land below. His pride began to swell as he realized that the planting of his crops also meant that he himself had begun to establish roots for himself.

    It had been three standard years since Juno Eclipse and Jedi Master Rahm Kota had encouraged Starkiller to hide himself from the forces of the Empire and the Alliance, as well. At Juno's insistence, Starkiller had come to take on the name and identity of Galen Marek, Darth Vader's secret apprentice who was to help Vader topple Darth Sidious and rule the empire. Through a drastic turn of events, Starkiller turned against his former Sith Master and helped to capture Darth Vader. He and Juno had escorted Vader to Dantooine for trial. Vader's escape came as no surprise. Juno and Master Kota agreed that Dantooine would be the last planet that Vader would look for his former apprentice.

    When Juno suggested that he assume Marek's name and identity, Starkiller was opposed to the idea. He struggled to form his own identity and establish his humanity apart from his past and the reality of being Clone Subject 1138 of the true "Galen Marek." The very thought of taking on that persona was almost more than he could bear, yet his experience on Dagobah with Yoda flooded his mind and heart. It was a vision of seeing himself dressed in Jedi robes with light sabers in hand and then eventually seeing Darth Vader hiring Boba Fett to track him down which began his journey away from the Dark Side. This vision ended with Starkiller seeing Juno attacked and wounded. Betrayal and seeing the love of his life wounded had a profound effect on Starkiller.

    He had struggled with the full meaning of that vision ever since. "Why would he see himself dressed in Jedi robes? Why did he see vestiges of himself? Were Yoda and the force trying to tell him that Starkiller, the clone, and Galen Marek were truly one and the same? Could it be that Galen Marek's past could merge with Starkiller's present and future to become unified as a total life in the Force?" These questions and many others plagued him. Juno also had argued that he could no longer refer to himself as Starkiller due to his tie with Vader and its semblance of the Dark Side. So it was that Starkiller came to accept his new identity as Galen Marek.

    Over the past three standard years, Juno had supplied him with holo-records and files containing Marek's past which she had accessed through old connections that she maintained in the Empire. Through his ongoing secret contact with Juno, Starkiller had in fact not only taken on the persona of Galen Marek, but had actually become Galen Marek.

    Chapter 1
    Severed Bonds
    Order 66...such a short order but one that came from the Emperor himself and changed the galaxy forever. Order 66 meant the annihilation of the Jedi. It also meant the separation of families such as the Chatoks. The Chatoks, Jedi Knight Silanaeus Chatok, a Zabrak, his wife Jedi Knight Bez Chatok, a human and their son, Silas, who they were just discovering was a force sensitive when the order was given, were forced to flee Iridia and go their separate ways for the safety of them all. It was a very difficult parting, but a necessary one. Silanaeus found himself on Dantooine and learned how to blend in by hiding among the farmers.

    Bez and Silas made their way to Iridonia to make a new life for themselves...without Silanaeus. Bez felt the peace of the Force wash over her in the choice of Iridonia, but that did not change her broken heart. She and Silas would be separated from her husband and the father of their son indefinitely. Although the transition was immensely complicated, it was possible. She had learned how to face difficult situations with rugged determination through her marriage to a Zabrak, a species known for their single-minded determination and strong self assuredness.

    Silas sat cross legged in the center of his room in deep meditation. It was a simple room. There were few decorations, but the walls were a light red that helped to calm him down. There was also a bed with a small wooden table. The room also had a small window that let sunlight stream in. It was just enough for him. As his room became brighter, he could hear a voice calling out his name. Silas opened his eyes and arose from his spot knowing it was his mother calling for him.
    Bez Chatok was not a motherly figure. She was a very tall woman with broad shoulders and she rarely smiled. However, were someone to make her happy, they were to know. She had long hair that she always had pulled back from her face. Her face itself was generally fierce, as if she was always ready for a fight. That was a good thing, since she was Silas's master.
    Silas examined his room then walked to his dresser and pulled out a light beige tunic, black loose fitting pants, and a grey over coat and most importantly his paired light saber which he easily concealed under his coat.

    Bez called again from the main part of the house, "Silas! I'm waiting!"

    Her voice was fierce which meant that she was probably waiting to show him something new for training and Silas didn't want to keep her waiting. But, even more, he wanted to know what she was so excited about.

    "I'm on my way," he called back. Within mere seconds, he was standing before her. "Sorry master," he apologized.

    As she saw Silas look at her, his eyes somewhat sad, she flashed back to the day that Silanaeus had left for Dantooine. Their foreheads pressed against each other, an odd hotness pinching the back of her eyes, and a lump closing her throat. What her son said broke her out of her memory, and she nodded.

    "That's more like it," she replied curtly.

    Through this whole fiasco, her expression had never changed. After being married to a Zabrak for ten-odd years, she'd learned to hide her emotions so well.

    "Anything to please you, mom," he said giving her a half-hearted wink.

    "Ahem," she coughed, lifting an eyebrow. "I'm going to pretend that you didn't just call me something other than master, padwan."

    She took a simple silver cylinder from her robes.

    "We're going to work on defensive maneuvers today. You are severely lacking and if you ever are attacked, the opponent won't always wait for you to make the first move, I'm afraid."

    Even as Bez spoke, the corner of her mouth tipped up into a smile- one of those that only Silas could make her give. Silas drew his light sabers.

    "Yes, Master," he answered softly.

    She nudged him, walking past him. "Cheer up, kid. I won't bite."

    She turned and ignited her lightsaber, so that the bright blue beam lit up the room. Almost in sync with her, Silas ignited his lightsaber, also causing the room to be lit with a dark blue and yellow light. Bez closed her eyes and breathed and, with her eyes still closed, leapt at Silas, without any introduction. Reaching out with the Force, he made a very accurate prediction of where she was striking and easily parried her strike and knocked her back with a gentle Force push. She hardly lost her balance and came up behind him, reaching an arm around his neck, while knocking his saber out of his hands. He was incapacitated.

    "Rule number one of defense, never lose track of your opponent and never, ever, get cocky." As she said these words, she remembered a similar moment with her husband and released her son, gesturing to his lightsaber.

    "Again," she commanded.

    Silas reached out with the force and pulled his sabers back into his hands, took a quick deep breath to calm himself, then took a defensive stance. They continued battling until Silas was both mentally and physically exhausted. His mother disarmed him again and again, while bombarding him with lessons and rules. He couldn't win, it seemed, and his Zabrak blood started heating with frustration, as they set up once again for another round. Silas could sense his mother's skepticism through the force and he now was determined to prove her wrong. She once again leapt at him, going for the same attack she had previously been using by going for his legs, but she too was exhausted and she struck too low. Without hesitation, he parried her strike and had her on the ground, disarmed with the point of the blade mere inches from her throat. Her eyes were impressed and her mouth was smiling cockily.

    "Don't move your neck," she warned, "or you'll decapitate yourself."

    Sure enough, Silas could feel the heat of her blade against the back of his neck.

    "Rule 20: Never leave the disarmed weapon within distance for reaching out with the Force or it may be the last thing you ever do." She pressed the button on her hilt and the blade disappeared. "Come on, kid, lemme up," she said gruffly.

    Silas deactivated his sabers and gave his Master some room to stand. She stood and gave her son a rare and very special look: she was proud. "Very good, Silas. You can have the rest of the day to yourself." She was absently running her finger over her saber hilt and something engraved on the silver shaft.

    As she turned from her son, scattered and seemingly unrelated images of welding, crystals and trees flashed before her eyes and she looked down at the engraved heart with an 'S' on the inside, carved there so she'd never forget. As if she could. Silas could tell she was remembering his dad and remained silent. She turned to him again and was about to say something, but then she looked at her son and suddenly he was a foot taller and ten years older. It was her husband in the flesh.

    "You are dismissed, Silas," she said softly, keeping the emotion out of her voice.

    "Yes, Master," he said quietly and then walked outside without another word.

    As soon as she knew he was out of earshot, Bez crouched and hugged her knees to her chest. She didn't cry. She never cried. She just closed her eyes and waited. She anticipated for that moment when she would open her eyes and Silaneas would be there to help her up, but an hour later, when she did, he wasn't there.

    Silas leaned against the wall, crossed his arms and closed his eyes. There was no sound from the training room. In the past few months, Silas had noticed the prominent tiredness in his mother's eyes and her drooped shoulders. She was missing his father now more than ever, as he grew ever older and looked more like him. It hurt him to see her wince when she looked at him. As Silas reached out to her with the Force, Bez immediately put a Force barrier up to keep him out.

    "I said, you were dismissed, Silas," she called to him. It was neither an order nor a request, but Silas knew by the hardness in her voice, he was not who she needed.

    "Sorry," he called back gently.

    He heard his mother sigh and mutter to herself. He knew she was talking to his father. She had since he was small and it never ceased to break his heart to hear her quiet, one-sided conversations with him. The Empire had torn apart his family and broken his mother's heart. The first word that came to his thoughts when he heard Empire was "blood-lust". Silas took a deep breath, reminding himself that hatred lead to the Dark Side. He took one last look at the shut door leading to the room where his mother still spoke into the air and walked back to his room. When he arrived, he took his seat in the center of the room and resumed his meditation.
  2. Mick68

    Mick68 Jedi Youngling

    Mar 14, 2013
    Chapter 2
    Old Memories, Impassioned Love
    It was the early morning hours of Dantooine. The two moons of the planet had slowly faded, as the morning sun began to rise. The dew was still fresh on the ground where the footprints of the field's owner could be seen venturing from the farmhouse out to the main field. This was what the locals on Dantooine called "The Marek place." Galen Marek stood in the field of kilba greens matured and ready for harvest. He bent down on one knee to examine the leaves of the green plant. He recalled planting the seeds which had now sprouted to a full grown plant. It was in this very same field that Marek saw Master Rham Kota for the last time. Vader had been captured and Rham Kota and Juno Eclipse stood facing Marek, who at that time referred to himself as "Starkiller."

    "Well boy, I've got some news you really won't want to hear," Kota said.

    Starkiller's expression stayed constant, although internally he was confused and was dreading the news Kota was about to deliver.

    "What is it? Just give it to me straight," Starkiller replied.

    "Even though at one time you swore your allegiance to the Rebellion, you aren't trusted by the it's leaders and in particular Bail Organa," he answered. "To make matters worse the Imperials would try and kill you every chance they've got and you'll never see the end of bounty hunters."

    Starkiller's eyes remained fixed on Kota for a time and then suddenly dropped to the ground where he stood.
    After a period of contemplation, Starkiller asked, "So, where does this leave me, Kota? I am not wanted by anyone."

    "I would suggest you keep a low profile until the war blows over or until I can convince the Alliance leaders that you can be trusted," Kota answered.

    Starkiller felt as though someone had stabbed a shoto into his back. He had gone above and beyond to prove his loyalty to the Rebel Alliance. How could they not trust me after all I have done for them, he thought to himself. There wouldn't be a rebellion had Galen Marek not started it.

    "Do you think there is a chance that you can change the minds of those who distrust me?"

    "Possibly, but only time and the will of the force will present the right moment," Kota said.

    Juno Eclipse stood silent listening to the exchange between Rahm Kota and Starkiller. She could sense the heaviness of Starkiller's tone, as he asked Kota the questions. She remembered fondly the "actual" Galen Marek, who was passionate about so many things. Starkiller had some of the traits of Galen, but not all of them. Her heart sank as she realized that he really felt isolated and alone, yet there was nothing at present she could do to resolve this issue.
    Starkiller's pleading eyes shifted from Kota to her. She could tell by the look in his eyes that he was searching for answers from her. She was at a loss. What could she possibly say to ease his mind and heart?

    Finally, she spoke. "Starkiller, Master Kota is right. With the leaders of the Alliance not trusting you and the Imperials wanting you to meet your end, you have to remain blend in...Become virtually invisible. If you won't do it for yourself, please do it for me."
    Starkiller looked away again toward the ground. His mind was racing with thoughts...his love for Juno, his memory of past feats as a Jedi, his former life as an apprentice to Lord Vader. A moment of clarity struck him. Starkiller realized it was the Force leading him. An overwhelming sense of destiny calmed his mind. He did not know what the future would hold for him, but he knew his destiny was definitely following the suggestions of Kota and Juno. Starkiller looked up and over to Kota, who he could remember respecting immensely at one time and then to Juno Eclipse, who he loved from the depths of his soul. His eyes, as always, were intense and his expression showed little to no emotion.

    At last, Starkiller spoke. "It will be as you both have spoken and as the Force has guided me to this moment."

    Relief spread across both Kota's and Juno's faces, as they heard him speak the words. Both had expected greater resistance from the Jedi and former Sith.

    "Very well," said Kota, "that settles that issue. We still have one other that will be even more difficult for you, boy."

    Unbelievably, Starkiller's face hardened even more than before.

    "There is the matter of your name...your identity," said Kota.

    Juno picked up, as if they had rehearsed this conversation many times prior to this moment.

    "You can't keep using the name 'Starkiller'...we have no way of knowing who knows that name or who has even heard it before, whether they be Imperial or Alliance," said Juno.

    "And.." replied Starkiller.

    "Although you are the clone of Galen Marek, in essence you are 'Galen Marek'," said Juno.
    Starkiller felt his tension and anger rising. He knew where this conversation was headed and did his best to maintain his composure.

    "If you are suggesting that I call myself, 'Galen Marek', you can stop now," he said sternly. "Galen Marek is dead and I am nothing more than his more - no less."

    His comment shot a laser through Juno's heart. Oh how she wished this were not so. After regaining her composure, Juno continued to sell their idea to him.

    "Fewer will know the name 'Galen Marek'. It will be safer for you. Although you do not have all of Galen Marek's memories, you do have some and you continue to have more and more every day. You have a deep love for me and you still respect Galen's Master, Master Kota," Juno insisted.

    Starkiller had a moment of deep anger, then again, as before the Force began to soothe his rage and bring clarity to his mind. Staring at Juno, then back to Kota, he somewhat reservedly replied, "I will do as the Force leads and as you have suggested. It would not be my first choice or any choice for that matter, but I feel compelled by the Force to obey. It will be as you have said."

    From his kneeling position, Galen stood pushing these memories from his mind. He had made incredible progress in finding his way. He thought of Juno Eclipse often, yet they had little contact. As much as he desired to see and ultimately be with her, Marek also wanted to protect her from those who would go to any extreme to use her to find him. He had become a liability to both the Alliance and the Empire. She had secretly sent information to him through various smugglers to help him in his quest to understand the man, who was the source of his being.

    Over considerable time, Marek had come to accept that there was little difference between a clone and its source. He remained in seclusion, except for his droid, Proxy, who he had wiped of his former programming and re-imaged to recognize him as Galen Marek, the Dantooine farmer. He allowed Proxy to keep some of his training protocols, so that if he ever needed them again, with a voice command they would become available to him. In order to bury his past, as both a Jedi and a Sith Apprentice and Assassin, Marek had gone to great lengths to secure his twin lightsabers and Jedi robes in a durasteel box that could only be opened by himself or another force-wielder. He had buried that case in the very field in which he was standing. To him, this seemed the only appropriate place to pack away his former life.

    Marek began the trek back to his humble farmstead. He was in the main field, directly north of his home. He had acquired two other tracks of land to the east and west. He reserved those fields for yot beans, however it was the wrong season for planting the beans. Those two fields laid as barren as his heart. He yearned to be back with Juno. He did his best to keep those feelings in check, knowing that this was just not a possibility and he did not want to jeopardize her safety. As he reach the door to his home, Proxy met him.

    "Welcome back, Master. I take it that your personal time went well?"

    "As well as one could expect...what's for breakfast?" Marek retorted.

    "That is quite obvious, Master."

    "I believe I asked you a direct question," Marek replied somewhat irritated. "What's for breakfast? When I updated your programming, Proxy, I don't remember adding that I needed your opinions."

    "Sorry, Master."

    Marek walked further into the small kitchen and saw his table carved from Blba wood, which was native to Dantooine along with four chairs. The table was set for one. His heart yearned for a second place setting that would be for Juno. He once again pushed aside the emotions he was feeling and looked back at his droid Proxy. He was his only friend and companion these days.

    "So, I see you have at least set the table for me," Marek said.
    Proxy walked over to the counter and picked up a fresh cup of caf, then walked to his master's side and handed the cup to him.

    "Yes, Master."

    "Ooh nice and strong, just the way I like it. Remind me to thank your programmer," Marek said, trying to take the edge off his earlier mood. Marek knew that Proxy could not sense his frustration level, yet he felt compelled to treat Proxy with the respect he was due, considering that he was his only 'friend'.

    "Master, you might want to look in a mirror and say thank you, you are my programmer, and after all," he said and then added," Now is there anything else I can do for you, Master?"

    "Yeah, there is...we have to get started on harvesting that crop of kilba, if we don't want some of it to go bad, like the last batch."

    "Master, may I suggest something?"

    "And what would that be?" Marek replied, sensing what was coming.

    He had worked, almost round the clock, to get the kilba greens harvested last season. He ended up exhausted and almost sick. He knew that the part of the crop that spoiled was his fault. Proxy had been after him ever since, trying to get him to find help...a hired hand. Marek's reply was always the same, "I can't have anyone else here working for me. I have to do this alone." That answer never satisfied the ever persistent droid.

    "I believe it would be wise to hire someone to help you, that way you won't strain yourself as hard as you did the last harvest," he said quietly, expecting the storm of rage that was about to come from his Master.

    "Proxy, how many times must we go through this?" Marek barked at his droid. "I just can't have someone else poking their nose around here."

    "Master, you remember what happened last harvest."

    "I am well aware what happened last harvest ... so is my credit account," Marek said rather angrily.

    "Master, I refuse to have another rerun of last year and, as you remember, you programmed me to look out for your well-being."

    This was more than Marek could take. After the morning's return through his memories of Kota and Juno, he was unable to contain his frustration. He shoved his chair back away from the table and focused his eyes to a bead at Proxy's photoreceptors.

    "Alright, Proxy ... enough! If you think I need help, then do me a favor and go find help for me. Just leave me out of it. If anything happens out of the ordinary, then I hold you personally responsible and will wipe your programming again and this time, you will become a droid that will be responsible for cleaning all the refreshers on this planet. Do I make myself clear?"

    "Yes, Master."

    With that, Marek stormed out of the farmhouse to bring his emotions back under control and to center his mind. Ultimately, he knew Proxy was right. He was merely trying to protect all of them...Proxy, Juno, Kota and himself. The stress and anxiety of that responsibility was overwhelming him and he knew it. Something had to change. What that would be, he did not know. He hoped the Force would give him a sense of serenity and calm. All he could find was a sense of sadness, loneliness and chaos. This made him even more out of sorts. Surely, he would find the answers he needed.
  3. Mick68

    Mick68 Jedi Youngling

    Mar 14, 2013
    Chapter 3
    Wounded Hearts
    Silas sat meditating deeply in his room with his training light sabers floating in front of him, completely disassembled. His meditation was interrupted by a knock on his door.
    "Hey, Silas? ... I don't mean to interrupt," called a small female voice, "Master is out and I need help."
    The door opened to reveal a short girl with brown hair and violet eyes.
    "Sorry to intrude, but I slipped."
    She opened her palms to reveal blood and stones. Upon seeing the blood, he was on his feet standing before her.
    "What happened, Adilla?" Silas asked.
    She looked down.
    "I was training and I slipped. They sting. A lot."
    She seemed embarrassed. Silas looked at her. He had a soft heart when it came to those in pain. It had always been that way. Even as a young Zabrak, he had tried to comfort anyone who was upset or crying.
    "Come on, let's see if we can find you some bacta."
    She nodded and walked over to him, gently curling up her fingers again over the cuts and biting back a wince. For such a tiny thing, she was tough as nails. Silas could tell that she was in pain, so he quickly walked into the main room and opened the cabinet where he and his mother kept medical supplies. She stood by, quietly, not whining or crying...simply watching.
    After a few minutes of searching, he found a durasteel cylinder containing a blue liquid. He then arose and walked back to her. As he approached, he knew she had to be feeling the hurt, but had shut herself off from the pain. It always amazed him that she could do that so effectively. She immediately opened her hands and the angry red of her torn skin stood out against the dark dirt and numerous pebbles. Silas twisted the canister's top and sprayed the bacta on her wounds, speeding up the healing process and stopping the bleeding. She put down her hands and acted as if nothing had happened. Silas looked into the container and saw that he had used the last of the bacta. He made a mental note to tell Master Bez that the cylinder needed replenishing.
    "Well, thanks. I'll let you get back, then." Adilla said.
    "You're welcome to stay in my room until Mo- I mean Master Bez returns," He suggested.
    She lifted an eyebrow and looked at him with a devious expression.
    "Slow down, boy. I'm fifteen," she said with a smirk.
    Silas gritted his teeth. He absolutely hated to be called boy or kid. She smiled, knowing that she had just pushed his button.
    "Calm down, Silas. I was joking."
    He took a deep breath, calming himself. She nudged his arm.
    "You really need to get a sense of humor, kid. Sometimes, I feel like the older one."
    He grinned at her. She nudged him again. Another dig at him was always a good thing.
    "So, I'll go and see if I can't do something safer. I'll let you do something. Like talk to your imaginary lady friend." She winked.
    Silas shot her a look that would stun a rancor. He had always wanted a girlfriend, but just had not found the right girl. He thought about his mom and dad and how happy they had been together. He remembered them acting like giddy teenagers in love, even as adults. He wanted that same type of relationship. Being a Jedi Padawan complicated things. He doubted that he would ever have what his parent's had.
    "Shut it," he said. "I know."
    She laughed. Touché…she had pushed him far enough.
    "I'm so glad. Well, anyways, what should we do?"
    "If you don't mind, I'm going to Capitol City," he said.
    "Oh," she replied softly, "So, ah...what should I do then?"
    "Stay here and wait for Bez to come back, then join me at the library"
    She nodded and gave him a salute.
    He smiled and headed to the door. She turned and looked around. With both Bez and Silas gone, Adilla thought the house seemed so empty. It wasn't often she got the place all to herself.
    Silas walked around the house, where he kept his speeder bike hidden. He pulled off the tarp that covered it, took his seat, while revving it up. Adilla watched as he drove out of the secret alcove and sat waiting for Bez. She sighed. She wished she could go with Silas.
    Just before Silas left he mouthed, "It'll be okay," then he took off toward Capitol City. Adilla sighed and decided to clean up the house a bit before Bez got home. Thirty minutes later, there was a knock on the door. Adilla opened it to admit her Master.
    "You're back!" she announced, "Silas just headed to Capitol City."
    Bez looked at her curiously.
    "Why would he have gone there?"
    Adilla shrugged.
    "I've learned not to question either of you on your outings, Master," she said.
    Bez gave a small grin to Adilla.
    "Knowing my son, he probably wanted you to stay here until I came back, and then wanted you to come and join him."
    Adilla cocked her head. "Really? You think? But, I'm just baggage, aren't I?"
    "You're my Padawan, Adilla, not baggage" Bez said.
    She shrugged. "I am to your son, Master."
    Adilla looked down at her own two feet and wished she had not made that last comment. Bez could sense through the Force Adilla's embarrassment, shame and regret. She also sensed something else...something familiar...a teenage "crush". Bez remembered her own experiences when she first met Silaneas. She was younger than him. She had her eye on him for quite some time before he finally noticed her. She did everything she could to catch his eye, and more importantly his attention. Through those awkward years, she felt the same way Adilla was feeling about her offspring. Bez broke from her thoughts of Silaneas.
    "You are certainly not 'baggage' to either Silas or me. I am tougher on Silas because he is my son. He still has much to learn and I am afraid of him losing his Zabrak warrior heritage and mentality. He is becoming much too human."
    Adilla smiled a bit. "Well, I suppose so. Should I go meet him, then?"
    "Yes, you should. Never keep a Zabrak waiting...even a half-human Zabrak."
    Adilla laughed a little. "Alright then, I'll keep that in mind."
    Then, she coughed a bit and ran her hands over her arms, as if she wanted to say something more, but she turned away and started to walk towards the back hall. Adilla moved quickly as she grabbed her cloak and headed out the door. As she exited the house, she was stopped dead in her tracks by a man in red and silver Mandalorian armor. Her eyes grew wide, as she realized what was happening.
    She started to call out, "Master B-!" Before she could finish, the Mandalorian had his blaster to her head and a hand over her mouth.
    "I would suggest you remain silent about my presence," he said soft but sharply.
    She wretched herself out of his grip immediately and was Force running towards town before he knew what had happened. He cursed, but then turned his attention to his target, Bez Chatok. Silently, he crept towards the door blaster gripped tightly in his hand.
    Bez was in the training room, tidying up a bit. She was murmuring softly to herself, as she so often did when she was alone, but a squeak on the floorboards alerted her.
    "Adilla?" she called out. "Do you need something?"
    She waited, but there was no reply. Her hand dropped to her side, and she drew her lightsaber. For a fraction of a second, she closed her eyes, taking the time to calm herself, and get into her warrior mode. It was then that the door to the training room opened and admitted a tall, burly man. One of the bounty hunters had come for Bez, at last.
    Almost immediately, her saber ignited and she lunged at the man, sweeping the blade across his chest, but to no avail. Bez's lightsaber left nothing more than a burn mark on the hunter's armor.
    "I don't think that saber of yours is of much use to you."
    Bez furrowed her brow and tried to hide the fear from her face. She started scrolling through every defensive maneuver Silaneaus had ever taught her. Stalling seemed the only one that would work. She had to think fast.
    "Why are you here?" she hissed at him.
    "You really need me to explain that?" He said as he brought the stock of his blaster to his shoulder.
    "I think you misunderstood me," she replied, her eyes cool. "I asked why you were here."
    "Because I was paid to kill you."
    "Out of all the bounty hunters out there, why you?" she murmured, starting to walk around him.
    She hoped that she still had a bit of her charm after years of being a mother. She was thrilled to see him shudder a little, and she smiled her best cocky smile. He could tell she was toying with him, but all he could do was hold his ground until she faltered.
    "You know how lonely it can get after years and years without the person you love," she whispered to him.
    She dragged a hand along his arm and saw his eyes grow wide. She'd hit it right on the head. Quickly, he had the barrel lined up with a bead on her heart. She held up her hands in surrender.
    "Well, go ahead. However, do you really think that the girl who immediately popped into your head would be so happy to know that the money you used to buy her a nice and fancy dinner was made by killing me, a wife and mother?"
    "You are a di'kut," he said sharply.
    She glared at him. "That may be, but..."
    She wrenched his arm and tried to grab the blaster from his hand. Her actions had obviously caught him off guard, since he was so easily disarmed, but she was shaking.
    The bounty hunter took in a breath and smirked, "Run little Jedi, but even a pretty little thing like you can't run forever."
    Bez glared at him and rested her index finger on the trigger of the blaster. She hoped that Adilla would be back soon with Silas. She couldn't hold the bounty hunter off forever.
    Adilla ran as fast as she could with the Force helping. She had to reach Silas, and quickly. As she sped towards the city, she noticed a speeder bike in the trees. She didn't stop to wonder why it was there, and ran up and hopped on board. The bike was much too large for her, but she was too excited over everything to care. The tips of her feet only barely brushed the pedals.
    She swallowed, but she knew she had to find Silas and they had to go back and help Bez. Her master's voice filled her mind in a scolding tone as she kicked out the stand. Rule number one, never, ever, get cocky, Adilla. Cockiness is the last thing you will ever do.
    Adilla swallowed and wiped the sweat off her brow and eased up on the brake. The inexperienced, fifteen year old sputtered forward. Then, she started again and zoomed onto the road. The Force helped her to stay steady as she sprinted along on the bike. She took turns as they came.
    She was heading too fast through a turn-she was so close to Silas-when the bike slid out from under her. She rolled along the gravel road and the bike skid away from her...and off the cliff.
    "No!" she screamed.
    She crawled over to the cliff edge and saw the pitiful remains of the bike crumpled at the bottom. She threw herself up and started running again. She ran as fast as she could. In the way were acid pools that she leapt with stunning grace, but she was starting to falter.
    Her focus was starting to waver. What would happen to Bez if they didn't return in time? She almost fell into another pool. Her body was starting to exhaust itself. She didn't have a lot of time left. That's when she saw the spires of Capitol City approaching. With one last burst of strength, she leapt over one last pool and sprinted towards the city and towards Silas.
    Adilla finally ran through the archway of Capitol City and made her way towards the Capitol Square, ignoring the peeved looks of those passing-by. She ignored anyone she bumped into. She only had to get past the fountain in Capitol Square and there would be the library.
    She pumped her arms harder and her feet slapped the pavement beneath her. She could see the tower of the library building now. She shut her eyes and sprinted ahead. Come on, she urged herself under her breath. Come on.
    And then, she was in the square. There were people milling about, going to street vendors and chatting with friends. Adilla ran to the steps of the library and up the marble incline. She slammed open the door and ran to the section with holorecodings on history. There he was, sitting alone at a table.
    "Silas!" she choked.
    She bent at the waist and put her hands on her knees. Her vision was starting to flicker. Her breathing came in short, raspy gasps. She couldn't hear over her heart pounding in her ears.
    Having used a sustained Force run from the site of the wreckage of the speeder bike to the Capitol City Library, her body felt as though she could burst into flames at any moment.
    Silas, who had been looking through holonet news recordings and stories of the Emperor during his Chancellor days and the time period leading up to Order 66, wanted to piece together more of his parent's pasts. He was sitting on a stool with his datapad in his hands oblivious to his surroundings. His mind wandered as he looked at the images that flickered on his screen and wondered what it was like before the order was given. He wished to go back in time and stop the events from unfolding.
    Suddenly, a noise and a Force presence pierced through his obsessive concentration. He looked up to see Adilla more exhausted both mentally and physically, than he had ever seen her. He threw his datapad to the table and ran to where she stood doubled over with scratches and bruises from head to toe.
    Wanting to prove he could have fun and that he did have a sense of humor he asked mockingly, "What in the name of the Force happened to you? Did you get into a scuffle with a rancor on the way?"
    The moment the questions left his mouth, he knew that he had said the wrong thing. Bad timing was always his lot, when it came to poking fun at anyone. The look in her eyes said it all. Now was not the time for kidding around.
    "It's Master," she choked through gasps, "Bez. It's your mom, Silas. A ... a bounty hunter showed up at the house...I would've stayed, but I had to come find you. And ... and ..."
    She tried to take a calming breath, but it was all too much and she erupted into heaving sobs in the middle of the library.
    "I... I don't know..." she murmured. "If she's d-d-dead, it's my fault."
    Upon hearing Adilla's story, Silas felt as if the world was collapsing around him. He knew then, what all the Jedi whose fellow friends and family had felt as their friends had faced the torture and death at the hands of bounty hunters.
    He gathered his composure and asked, "Who is it?"
    She shook her head. "I didn't get a name. He grabbed me…a Mandalorian. I ran before he could do anything." Then, she bit her lip and looked away from his eyes. "And, ah, your bike is sort of crashed. It fell off a cliff."
    Silas knew that facing a Mandolorian would be a fight that would take all three of them. His Master and mother could never face a Mandolorian alone. He gathered Adilla in his arms and carried her around the back of the library to his waiting speeder bike.
    "That hunk of durasteel wasn't my bike...must have been his. At least he lost his ride out of there."
    Adilla had never been weak or taken kindly to help, but she couldn't help, but curl against Silas as he walked with a leisurely step towards his bike. It was her fault if Bez died. Then, Silas would lose his mother, as well as his father. What would he think of her? Would he be angry? She clutched a fistful of his robes in her hand and held it tightly.
    She'd never had the chance to tell him. She'd assumed Bez already knew how she felt about Silas. She'd been hoping that after they'd completed their training, Adilla and he might be able to have a life together, but if he blamed her for the death of his mother, that would be impossible. She curled more into him, the mental and physical exhaustion extending their hold over her. Her skin was still hot, like she had a fever. She felt as though she were the one dying.
    Silas could feel the heat resonating from Adilla's torn robes. He gently placed her on the speeder, climbed on and started the engine in one fluid motion.
    "Don't let go."
    Using the Force, he gripped the seat for both of them and trottled up the engine as high as it would go. His mind raced faster than the speeder trying to formulate a plan and strategy. Thoughts of his mom's state tried to force their way into his mind. It took all the concentration he could muster to keep those thoughts at bay.
    He knew that his Master was still alive because he could sense her presence in the Force, but not for how long. It had not been that long ago that she had taught him that skill and for that he was extremely grateful. Silas could also sense the heartache of Adilla. Using the Force, he planted a thought in her mind that their Master was still alive. He could feel the sobs of joy coming from her receiving the planted message.
    The hunter knew he had been bested by this Jedi. She had taken his weapon and his pride, but he had trained for situations just like this. His thoughts rushed as he realized that his only way of retaliation was a surprise attack that this Jedi would never expect. He quickly sized up his available weapons and made his decision. For all her mocking, he would make her death a painful one. He chuckled at his own brilliance.
    Bez narrowed her eyes. "What in the name of Force could be funny?" she growled.
    He gently raised his arm, ever so slightly. She never noticed his movement. Luck was on his side this day. After what seemed an eternity, he quickly tapped the grapple release on his forearm. The grapple flew through the air and made a direct course for the Jedi's chest. She seemed too distracted to even notice its release. The grapple punched into her chest and came out her back. This will be a handsome reward, he thought. He punched another button on his forearm and began retracting the grapple along with his prize Jedi.
    Bez could feel Silas reaching out to her through the force, trying to get a sense of her safety or lack thereof. She was just beginning to formulate a response when a sudden pop sounded from the bounty hunter. She looked up in time to see something coming at her through the air. By the time she had surmised what had happened, it was too late. She felt a sudden explosion in her chest that felt as though a training saber had been forced into her chest and swept clean through her back.
    When the grapple opened, she knew exactly what had occurred. She forced back the pain that swelled within her chest, and barely conscious, called her lightsaber to her hand, hidden from the sight of the bounty hunter. As the grapple retracted, a plan formed in her mind. As she came within an arm's length from the Mandalorian, she raised her hand with the hidden saber and forced the hilt to the neck of her attacker. She pushed the activation switch and the blue blade stabbed from front to back. The Mandalorian collapsed instantly to his knees and then fell in a heap to the floor.
    Bez had little time to rejoice in her victory. The pain was beginning to be too much to bear. She put her hands to her chest, and she pulled them away, covered in red. She felt her son reach for her again, more harshly this time and she could barely reply. She crumpled to the ground, hoping that she might get to see her son's face and, in that, her husband's, one last time.
    "Hurry, Silaneaus," she murmured to the air. "Hurry."
    Within minutes, Silas pulled up front of the house. Adilla had been rejuvenating through Silas' Force energy. They both hopped off the speeder and rushed inside to find Bez,lying in a pool of her own blood and the Mandalorian not far from her with a lightsaber still piercing his neck.
    Silas ran to his mother, cradling her in his arms. Tears swelled, as he looked into his mother's eyes and a flood of emotions poured from him.
    "I'm so sorry Mo- Master that wasn't here to help you."
    Bez slowly opened her eyes. They were dull. She didn't have a lot of time left.
    "It's mom for now, Silas." She coughed. "And, this is what the Force meant to happen. You're supposed to go on your own now."
    She tried to lift her head slightly.
    "Adilla, come here."
    The girl walked towards the two of them and knelt.
    "I'm so sorry, Master," she whispered. "I tried. I really did try."
    Bez looked up at Adilla, and her gaze caught Adilla's violet, bloodshot eyes. The look Bez gave her was one she had never given her before and it spoke volumes about how much she had come to care for her young Padawan. In fact, it was a deep love she was expressing. A tinge of regret crossed her mind for what she was about to say.
    "You need to go back to your parents on the other side of Capitol City and hide. It is just not safe here for you right now. That bounty hunter knew about me and possibly about you and Silas, both."
    Adilla frowned. "My ... my parents, Master?" she murmured. "I don't understand. My ... my parents will not just let me come back with open arms. I ran away to come here and train, if you recall. And, that was nearly five years ago." She rested her hands on her legs and looked down.
    "Yes, Adilla, you must return to your parents. The Force has given me a vision that I have tried to stave off, but the Force wills what it wills. I am still your Master and you still must listen and obey me."
    She gritted her teeth, as sharp pains rolled through her back and chest. She used the Force to push past the pain and continue, "You must stop blaming yourself for anything that has happened to me. There is nothing you could have done to stop or prevent this. Rule 25: Blame leads to guilt, guilt to remorse and remorse to anger. Anger will lead you to the dark side."
    "Silas looked Adilla, "I'll give you a ride to your old home and explain to your parents that you needed some time to yourself. They will understand and I will stay until they do."
    Adilla took in what both of them said and nodded. She clenched her hands in her lap.
    "I just wish you didn't have to leave us."
    Looking back into his mother's eyes, Silas asked, "What about me?"
    There was so much meaning wrapped in that question. Where am I to go and what am I to do? He had never been alone or had to fend for himself. There had always been his Mom to give him a place of safety and security.
    Bez again fought the pain that tore through her body. It wasn't just the fact that there was a gaping wound in her chest and that she was dying causing her pain, but the knowledge that she was leaving two young Jedi behind that she cared for immensely.
    "As for you my son, your father and I have prepared for just such a time as this. There is - a searing pain tore through her chest and she paused for a long moment. She had lost a great deal of blood and was fading fast. She knew that her son needed information and that it had to be said before her time came, and she parted from this life.
    She continued, "There is a network set up to get you from Iridionia to your father. You need to look in my room under your father's chest that he made for our initial journey here. There is a secret compartment that is only opened telekinetically. In it, you will find what you need."
    Adilla's eyes filled with hot, angry tears as she leapt up and ran out the door. She couldn't watch her Master die, when she wasn't brave enough to have stayed back and helped.
    With a gasping breath, Bez tried to call out for Adilla. It was a futile effort. She then tried to send encouraging thoughts through the Force, but she could tell Adilla had cut herself off from the Force and would have nothing to do with receiving them. Worry pierced Bez's mind and heart. She knew that sending her back to her parents would be difficult for Adilla to accept, but it was a necessary step in her training and journey in the Force.
    Silas felt tears begin to stream down his face.
    "Where exactly is dad?" Silas asked softly.
    Suddenly, a parting thought came to Bez, as she lay in a pool of her own blood. She began to try expressing her concern to Silas, but could not form the words. All that she was able to do in those final moments was express through the Force her love to him and the words: Adilla, danger, and Dantooine. As those thoughts passed from Bez to Silas, she heaved her last breath, murmured, "Silanaeus" and then became one with the Force.
    He felt his mother's presence vanish from the Force. Gently, Silas placed his hand over her his mother eyes and moved it downwards, closing her eyes, as the tears began to pour from the young Zabrak's eyes.
    There came a soft knock on the door and Adilla called out roughly, "Need a friend?"
    "Yes" he said.
    The tiny human walked up to him and sat down, resting her head on his arm. At another time, she may've blushed at the intimacy of this moment, but for right now, that crush of her's seemed nonexistent, as the salty tears made tracks down her cheeks.
    "I - I could have saved her," Silas said between sobs. "If only I hadn't used all the Bacta, I might have been able to have prevented this."
    Adilla didn't say anything, but she looked at the soft, pink shade of the palms of her hands. It was then, that something silver lying next to her caught her eyes. It was a long metal cylinder. Adilla reached over and grabbed it, running her finger over the engraved 'S' that Bez had once showed her.
    "I ..." Adilla swallowed. "She would've wanted you to have this, Silas," she said softly, placing the lightsaber into one of his hands.
    Silas looked at his mother's saber and gripped it tightly in his hand. The heartache returned with a vengeance. All the questions of If only…raced through his mind. He fought with his mind and heart, not with a weapon, such as his lightsaber, but with the teachings of his Master and Mom. The fight was as fierce as any duel he had ever encountered. Finally with a burst of self-determination, he pushed the grief aside. He knew this was how his Mom would have wanted it. Now was not the time for regret or self-doubt. It was the time for action and reflection.
    "At least, she is no longer suffering from a broken heart. She really missed my dad," he said trying to look at the positives, even though there was still sorrow in his voice.
    "Look,"Adilla said gently, pointing to the 'S' engraving. "She did that after leaving your father, so that whenever she fought, he'd always be with her. She told me that once. I thought it was beautiful."
    He nodded sadly. "So what now?"
    A determined look in came into Adilla's eyes and her tone said it all.
    "We go find your father, like Master told us to do."
    Silas looked at Adilla.
    "She told me to go and find my dad."
    "And I'm going with you," Adilla replied firmly and calmly.
    Silas shook his head in disagreement.
    "It's too dangerous for us to leave together."
    She tipped up a smile. "I can do dangerous. I'll leave a day ahead of you and we can find a rendezvous point where we can meet up and then do that until we get to your dad."
    "Master Bez told you to return home"
    "I know she's my Master and all, Silas, but that is not going to happen." She looked away from him. "You don't understand why I ran away."
    Silas sensed Adilla's fear of returning home. "It's because your parents are spy's for the Empire and you were afraid they would sell you out if they figured out you were force sensitive."
    Adilla looked at him with complete surprise. "How did you know?" She asked.
    Silas shrugged. "I go to town often. When you first came here, Mom wouldn't let you go out of the house, remember? It was because your parents were looking for you. They suspected where you'd gone."
    Adilla's eyes found the floor. "So, you think that they'll kill me when I go back?"
    "I have no way of knowing. The Force hasn't shown me any of this. The best case scenario is that they take you back and be happy that you are finally home...or another possibility is that they make you work as a spy to find other Jedi. Worst case..."
    Silas looked down at the floor at his mother. He knew that her parents could very well have her killed or kill her themselves. He just could not bring himself to say it.
    She glared at him. "Then, you have to let me come with you. You have to, Silas! Be-besides, I-" She cut herself off there.
    "You what?" he asked.
    "Nothing," she snapped.
    "Ok, ok," he said defensively.
    She stood up. "I'll go get some towels or something."
    She seemed so worked up. Silas wondered what she had been about to say.
    "Adilla," he called after her, "really, what was it?
    After waiting a few seconds, but never getting an answer, Silas realized it was probably a touchy subject for her.
    "Your mom knew, but then I had to go and let her die," Adilla hissed after a moment. "If I hadn't been training this afternoon and been such a klutz and gotten myself hurt, there would've been Bacta and then I had to go find you and-"
    The last was lost in a scream as she slammed her fists against the wall near the door. She was furious with herself, with Silas, with Bez, with the Force, with everything and everyone.
    "It's all my fault," she added more softly, as a hot, angry tear made its way down her cheek again.
    Silas arose and walked towards her, sensing the anger and the sorrow that radiated from her. He put a hand on Adilla's shoulder and pulled her into his arms.
    At first she pushed away from him, but Silas, knowing she needed him, held fast and tight. She eventually sagged into him.
    "She knew," Adilla whispered. "She understood, but they won't."
    There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no ignorance, there is knowledge. There is no passion, there is serenity. There is no chaos, there is harmony. There is no death, there is the Force, Silas quoted to himself silently.
    "I just wish she could've been here when I told you," she murmured.
    This comment shook Silas from his trance-like state. Through his bloodshot eyes, Silas looked at her with confusion registering on his face.
    "When you told me what?"
    Adilla swallowed hard, but looked at him steadily.
    "I love you, Silas. That's why I must come with you. Otherwise, what will become of me?"
    She swallowed again and looked down, but seemed somewhat relieved.
    Silas was now more confused than ever. He mind wasn't processing much, due to his emotional state.
    "I love you too, Adilla. You are the closest thing to a sister that I have. You are like family to me...I don't know how I can do this without you, but traveling together is a recipe for disaster. If a bounty hunter could trace our Master, who covered all her tracks, then I have no doubt that we will be found for sure. Just let me get to my father. He always has a plan and will know how to come back for you. I just can't bear to lose you too."
    Adilla's face and heart fell.
    "No, no, what I meant..." She cut off and looked down. "Come back for me. I don't think you quite understood what I was saying, Silas. I love you," she said again.
    She regarded him with a look of steadiness, but hope.
    His mind began to race with thoughts and his emotions were now getting the best of him.
    "Adilla, I just can't deal with that right now. I hear what you are saying...I really do, but I am not sure what I feel right now. All I know is that I have to follow our mother's directives, and so do you. You must go back to your family and I have to go find my father...alone. I promise that we will come back for you and then we can sort all this out. It's just that right now is not the time or place for this."
    Her eyes left his and she took a step away from him.
    "I hate to break it to you, Silas, but your mother is dead. See?"
    She gestured to the Jedi still lying on the ground.
    "And you aren't even willing to try to see? Silas, please, I love you. I can't just put this on hold. I can't go back. They'll kill me, or worse, take away what I am. You don't know my parents and what they are capable of."
    She turned her eyes to him again. "Silas, please let me come with you. I can be stealthy and careful. You know I can. Silas, I beg of you." She walked to him again. "Let me go with you. We can find your father together, then we can work on your feelings. Your emotions."
    She had tugged at his heart-strings and he knew it, but his Zabrak stubbornness and determination held steady. Silas fell back to his Jedi training. His Master and mother had always stressed compliance with directives given by a Master.
    Suddenly, his mothers final force messages that she had sent him came rushing back into his memory, as if she had just sent them ... Adilla ... danger ... Dantooine ... He wasn't sure of the exact meaning of what she was trying to convey, but he knew for certain that if he and Adilla were to leave together that they both would be in danger.
    He steadied himself and using as much strength and forcefulness as he could muster said, "Adilla, Master Bez was adamant that you return to your parents. If there were a danger to you, she would not have told you do it and that is what you must do. Remember your training as a Jedi. We must put our feelings aside and comply with our Master's directives. I am to go to find my father...of that I am sure. I know it won't be easy for you to return to your parent's home, but it won't be for long. Dad has a way for everything. He can and will find a way for us to come back for you."
    With that being said, Silas turned away and walked to his mother's room to find the chest that his mother had referred to. It was a simple durasteel box with Zabrak engravings, which resembled the tatoos that Zabrak's wore proudly on their bodies as a mark of their rite of passage. His father's artistic flair was well-known among his kinsmen. For a moment, Silas felt a small sense of relief from the grief he felt earlier. He was going to find his father.
    He was just about to open the box, when he heard the door slam and the unmistakable revving of an engine. Silas ran to the front door just in time to see Adilla hop onto the seat of his speeder, ease up on the brake, and begin driving towards town.
    "Adilla!" Silas called. She didn't even turn to look. "Adilla!" He called out twice more before he sagged against the open door. She was gone. Not for good, he reminded himself. He would see her again. He would get her back and then the two of them would be able to try to understand their feelings. Silas watched until Adilla was just a speck on the horizon. He then turned and walked back into the room, shutting the door behind him. He sucked in a deep breath and walked back to the chest.
    He turned the box over and examined it. By simply looking at it, he was unable to find the secret compartment that his mother had spoken of. He took in another deep breath to steady himself and focus, drawing deep into the Force. In an instant, a small hatch plate slid open to reveal a piece of flimsiplast with the simple scrawling of his father's handwriting that read, 'Thoran'.
    Silas stood running the name through his mind, but drawing a blank. "Bantha fodder," Silas said out loud, struggling to make sense of the message. Taking the flimsy, he turned and went to his room, his last bastion of hope and safety. He sat down cross-legged and began his deep meditation. He hoped that the Force would lead him to the answer he so desperately needed. He closed his eyes and tried to clear his mind. He couldn't do it. Immediately, his mind was filled with the final moments he had spent with his mother. He tried pushing that aside and it was replaced with his final conversation with Adilla. Had I done the right thing? Was I too hard on her? Have I driven her away for good?
    He pressed ahead, but still was unable to find the peace that was required for his meditation. Frustrated to the point of exhaustion, tears began to run down his cheeks and drop to the floor. He sobbed even more deeply and heavily than he had ever in his life. He mourned for his mother, for Adilla, for his father...Oh, how he wanted his father there to tell him what to do and that it would all be ok. He felt so alone. He hated to be alone.
    After what seemed like an eternity, he had cried himself out of tears and numbness set it. He gently lay down on the bare floor and out of sheer emotional exhaustion closed his eyes to a fitful night of sleep.