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Star Wars: The Darkness Within

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Star Wars: The Darkness Within

The Cold War is over. All out war has erupted across the Galaxy once again as the forces of the Galactic Republic and Sith Empire prepare to eradicate one another once again. Jedi and Sith wage their battles across the Galaxy and the various Hutts and Criminal Syndicates have done their best to capitalize on the chaos caused by the two main warring factions. Weapons trafficking and smuggling are at an all time high. The body count on both sides rises at an alarming rate. Among the chaos of the Galactic War on the Jedi home-world of Tython, chaos is rapidly spreading. Master Voleran, a powerful and respected Jedi Master has vanished along with classified data. Master Satele Shan in collaboration with the Galactic Republic has called an emergency meeting of several promising Republic individuals to deal with this disaster...

 

 

Tython

Jedi Temple

Zarev gingerly put weight on his legs and was relieved to find that he no longer felt the slightest bit of pain despite the injuries he had taken. It had taken a few weeks in a bacta tank but he felt he could finally at least walk without having to summon the power of the force to keep his balance and to keep from screaming with pain. A medical droid was waiting for him with a fresh pair of robes that were folded in a neat stack with his battle-worn double bladed lightsaber on top of the robes. "Good day to you Jedi Zarev! How are you feeling today?" The droid asked in a pleasant tone of voice. Zarev smiled briefly at the droid before putting on his robes and hooking his lightsaber to his belt. "Much better then I have been these past few weeks." The smile vanished a moment later as the knowledge that he would never see his Master again hit him. He looked at the empty bacta tank and then back at the droid. "My Master...was she properly put to rest?" He asked quietly.

The droid paused for a moment as it accessed the recently updated Jedi database. "Indeed she was, sir. From what I can tell it was a rather large crowd that showed up." Zarev smiled sadly as he checked to make sure he still had his com-device. "Thank you. I'm glad to hear that so many showed up to pay their respect. Have the repairs on her Ship been completed yet?" The droid nodded. "Indeed. The repairs were completed three days ago. I am curious why you are asking about it though." Zarev pulled his hood forward over his head. "I plan on taking a trip."

The medical droid paused for a moment as it tried to comprehend his meaning. "I wouldn't advise that course of action, sir. A situation has developed since you entered the bacta tank. Master Satele Shan has asked to see you when you left the tank. She is currently waiting in the Council Chambers for you and a number of other individuals." That was all the information Zarev was able to get out of the droid despite his best efforts. He shook his head in confusion and headed for the Council Chamber.

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TYTHON: JEDI TEMPLE

Vesi Svari, gazing at her upturned palms, marveled at their bluish-gray tinge.

She'd done it. For the first time in her twenty years, she had gained her first true glimpse of her surroundings - via the Force. 

Her mentor's voice reverberated through the stillness of deep meditation: "Well, apprentice? What do you see?"  

"My empty hands," Vesi replied, "prepared for service. Ready for the Light to fill them, as it is beginning to." 

"Of course." Jedi Master Canitha Vek offered a subtle smile. "Welcome to my present world, and your new one." 

The young Knight still couldn't believe it. "Is...is this real? Am I dreaming? How can I tell if..." She pinched herself. "Agh! No." 

"Look at me." When Vesi stalled, Master Vek repeated her command. When she obeyed, the girl staggered backward. "Too bright? It's a reflection of your admiration for me, bordering on awe. In time, you'll come to see me as I truly am: not so overwhelming."

"You're joking, right? Not only are you Miraluka, but one of the most powerful Jedi in this temple. Don't deny it." 

"I do not, but neither do I exaggerate my abilities. Follow me." She stretched out a blinding cerulean hand and beckoned to Vesi. 

When she blinked, the panorama of the Force fell away, filling her environment with the countless details of mundane life. So much distraction in the waving blades of grass within the meditation grove, in the twittering of birds, in the burbling of a nearby stream. So much to lose oneself in or ignore, depending on your inclinations. As a Youngling, Vesi had done the former. Her instructors had often had to tell her to get her head out of the clouds and her feet back on solid ground. Now she strode after her Master with firm purpose. 

Once she realized where they were headed, however, Vesi again fell back a step. "This is the way to the Council Chamber."

"Indeed. We have business here, for our leaders have summoned us. Don't be afraid, and don't hesitate. Now is the time for action." 

 

 

 

 

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Tython - Jedi Temple

It was just before noon on the Jedi homeworld of Tython. The sun's rays shone brilliantly through curving polished wood walls of the Jedi Temple. An air of serenity permeated through the exterior courtyards, and the smell of midsummer was ripe to any who were outside. In other words, just another day on Tython.

Two humanoids were walking through one of the hallways, one waving his arms about gregariously.

"So I'm telling you man, I think I'm in love," said Kif. Clad in a worn battle jacket with an even more worn blaster on his hip, the rutian twi'lek continued. "She wanted me to propose! Oh you should have been there."

The other was much more built lean, wearing red robes garnished with yellow trim, with two lightsabers hooked to his belt. "And I'm telling you you're an idiot," Varik said, shaking his head. "She's a zeltron. You do realize that they have telepathy, right?"

The twi'lek spacer froze. "Wait, so you're telling me that she could read my mind?!"

Varik chuckled for the rant that was about to follow.

"Are you serious?! And here I was thinking that she was into me! Wow, reading minds, that's just absolutely sick. And I don't mean in the good way. I mean in the dirty, rotten way."

Varik cut him off before he could get too heated. "I keep telling you and you never listen. Women are trouble."

"Easy for you to say, Mr. Abstinent," retorted Kif, furrowing his brow. "You Jedi are a silly bunch. You have all the physique in the world, and you do nothing with it! You could have any woman you want, yet you just keep swinging your laser swords around and getting yourself into trouble that I have to bail you out of."

A few months prior Varik went on a trip to Korriban. To say the mission was disastrous would be putting it mildly. He ended up getting captured, where he had to rely on Kif and Light Fang, an old friend, to bail him out and escape guns blazing.

"That was one time," he said. "And how many times have I had to haul your sorry inebriated self out of some dive? A lot."

"I have the most fun lifestyle the galaxy has ever seen. You might not agree with it, but don't question the fun results."

"Kif... the results are almost always bad."

"That's what makes them so fun. You never know what to expect. Remember, monotony is boring my friend!"

The two continued walking until they reached a hall with a massive, ornate door at the end.

"So... any idea what this meeting is about Varik?"

"Nope. Not a clue. Guess we're going to find out though."

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Tython - Jedi Temple

The call had been vague, but that was not surprising. Vagueness was something Janek was dealing with on almost daily basis. What was curious though, was the location: Jedi usually cleaned up their own messes, so why would the presence of a spy be needed? The thought was not only confusing, but also unsettling - the Jedi breaking out of their habits could only mean something bad, right? Deep in this line of thought, Janek entered the Temple and stopped for a moment to take in the scenery (exits: check, ambush locations: check).

Tython. Why it had to be Tython of all places?

To say that the sheer amount of Force-users lurking around the halls was making Janek nervous would be an understatement; for someone with a lot to hide, the fact that anyone could dig into his innermost secrets without him even realizing was a living nightmare. And on top of that, the architecture itself was making him dizzy. That was not good. Focus, Janek told himself. Putting his hands into his pockets, he half-consciously started to calculate totals to twenty, and moved forward, trying to find the meeting location.

Easier said than done. He was told to get to a meeting in Jedi Council chambers... but not how to get there. Perhaps nobody realized he wasn’t familiar with the location? As this was his first time visiting the Temple, he had no idea where he should be going. After taking a wrong turn for the twentieth time, Janek finally gave up and asked for directions, which did give him some sense of where he was going, at last. Afraid of being late of the meeting, he rushed forward, almost colliding with a group of Jedi walking on opposite direction, but finally found the correct door. Hopefully.

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Zarev arrived at the door to the council chamber only to see a number of other individuals already there. He recognized two of them at Jedi despite not knowing them that well. Varik and another Jedi he had only seen a few times who went by the name Vesi Svari with someone who appeared to be her Master. He nodded his greetings to the others without saying a word as he stared at the door, lost in thought. Was there anyway I could have saved my Master? He wondered. Why would they already assign me a mission? Why was I chosen? Is this some sort of punishment for my failure?

The door opened a moment later as a Jedi Master whom he didn't know pulled it open from the inside. Zarev could already see a few member of the Jedi Council. Jaric Kaedan, Master Oteg and...Grand Master Satele Shan?! The unknown Master ushered the group inside with a wave of his hand and Satele turned away from Master Kaedan towards the group as the door closed behind them.

"I apologize for the short notice of this meeting but time is short." She said without preamble. "We've had a security breach here on Tython."

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TYTHON: JEDI TEMPLE: COUNCIL CHAMBER 

Security breach? Vesi blinked. Beings who possessed implant nodules in their skulls felt sheer terror, not mere concern, whenever they heard those two words. It meant the Temple had been compromised, either by hacking or Force use. Both were massively unappealing.

If cyber-criminals had circumvented their sanctuary's security systems, it meant a reaming for the guards and the agents assigned to maintain them. The thing was, they'd dealt with several such attacks and had apprehended those responsible without a Council meeting.  As far as the masses in the Temple were concerned - and Jedi were among them - the less public these breaches were, the better. As for Vesi herself, she'd suffered one or two cybernetic illnesses because of them, but none severe enough to take her down. Ringing in the ears, migraine headaches, and spotty vision were serious, but for one of her kind, not debilitating.

A security compromise this bad, however? One that required the attention of Grandmaster Satele Shan herself? 

I could die, Vesi thought. I'd better see an implant tech as soon as this meeting is over, but what if the breach has nothing to do with cyberware? Even worse. We could ALL die if that's so. Hackers are one thing, but malevolent Force users - including the Sith - are another. 

"Remain calm," Grandmaster Shan told her audience, Jedi and ordinary members alike. "If we panic, then we yield to the perpetrators before our investigation's even started. Along with this deliberate assault on our security systems, one of our own has gone missing."

Murmurs of shock. Vesi bit down on her lower lip, then released it when she saw Master Vek give her a reassuring glance. Although Miraluka were born without eyes, their subtle body language, both mundane and through the Force, was more telling than any stare. 

"Master Voleran," continued Shan, "has disappeared - as has a quantity of highly-classified data." 

"Which data?" asked Master Vek, after raising her hand and being given permission to speak. "Voleran has full access to our..."

"Archives?" Shan nodded. "Indeed, although the nature and amount of such data shall also remain classified. I shall release it only to those I select for a critical recovery mission. I want both Voleran and our information back in one piece. Alive, not the alternative." 

Young Vesi found her head swimming, and not just because she needed a brief implant recharge.

 

 

 

 

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"Quite a transition, for a grizzled soldier..." an old familiar voice spoke. "Moisture farming... so not you..."

Flint Jaegar turned away from the moisture vaporator he planted into the soil dug away from the coarse sand, to face his old Commanding Officer. 

"Admiral..." he saluted.

"At ease... you aren't under my command anymore..."

Jaegar lowered his mechanical arm. "You're a long way from the core worlds..."

"I would not have come if it was not an urgent matter, believe me Jaegar."

Jaegar lowered his head. "I don't do that sort of work anymore, Admiral...". He turned and knelt down continue tweeking with the moisture vaporator planted into the soil. As soon as the lights on the meter begun flashing, he flicked the lever and the vaporator plunged its legs into the earth to lock into place.

"I knew you would say that..." the Admiral smirked. Jaegar huffed.

"You came all the way out here just to hear me say that?"

The Admiral walked forwards, and stopped to admire Jaegar's handy work. He followed him to the next marked spot. Farming for water was no easy task, especially on Tatooine. 

"I came all the way out here to make you an offer, Flint." he reached into his Jacket, and pulled out a datapad. He handed it to Flint. His prosthetic eye glowed brighter.

"...you found her..."

"We can grant you full custody, Flint. We can offer you and her a better life."

"...and what if she doesn't want to see me?" he looked up at the admiral. Jaegar's prosthetic eye, although expressionless, could somehow project his grief and sorrow.

"I'm offering you a second chance. The rest is up to you." The admiral stated. 

Jaegar hesitated... breathed a heavy sigh. Then looked back up at the Admiral with fierce determination.

"What's the mission?"


PRESENT DAY, TYTHON


The meeting had already begun. Jaegar and the Admiral were still lightyears away from Tython. So they had to make due with the virtual presence of holograms broadcasted from their ship, to take their place during the meeting.  

The Jedi were already aware of this, and were very accommodating. After all, they needed all the help they could get. As soon as the meeting is adjourned, and Jaegar is briefed, then they should be able to rendezvous with the team.

The admiral had already filled in some of the basic details regarding the retrieval of Master Voleran and the classified data - but there was obviously more to it than that. 

"I want both Voleran and our information back in one piece. Alive, not the alternative." 

Which was more important was the real question - was the sensitivity of such information more important than the life of a Jedi? Or the other way around?  Jaegar knew from experience It cannot work both ways.

"When was he last seen? Do we have any leads?" Jaegar gruffly spoke from his projection.


 

Edited by Phantom
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Tython - Jedi Council Chamber

"We've had a security breach here on Tython ... Master Voleran has disappeared..."

The hairs on the back of Varik's neck stood up on end. This meeting was more serious than he thought. He leaned forward in his seat, clasping his hands and staring down at the central holoprojector.

Security breach? How could the Jedi Order get a security breach? Here? On Tython?

What really bothered him was the second bit about Voleran. It's one thing for a Jedi Master to disappear, but with sensitive data? Obviously no good could come from that combination.

"What do you mean, missing?" His eyebrows narrowed and his face turned into a slight scowl. "How does a Jedi Master go missing?"

He looked over at Kif. He appeared to share the same sentiment. However, he was much more tense, squeezing his fists and looking as if he was biting his tongue.

Oh no. I know that look.

Kif shot out of his seat and slammed his hands down on the briefing table, leaning forward.

Don't do it Kif. Sit back down. NOW.

"I could tell you what that means! Even a blind man can see it!" Kif snarled. "It means one of two things. Either he's dead, or he's turned traitor."

Varik audibly groaned and pressed one of his palms to his face.

Shut UP Kif! Don't make a fool of yourself here!

Kif flew his arms out incredulously. "I mean, are you kidding me? How else would a Jedi go missing? WHY else? This is an absolute mess you guys-"

Varik yanked back his free hand. Kif promptly flew back into his seat.

"Calm down Kif! Get a grip!"

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"When was he last scene? Do we have any leads?"

Satele looked up at the hologram projection and nodded. "We believe so. One of our agents on Nar Shaddaa believed she saw Voleran. Her last communication with us ended abruptly however." She turned to the left and grabbed a small handheld hologram projector and activated it so everyone could see what the council had seen. "This came in early this morning." She said simply as the figure of a woman wearing gang colors and clothes that didn't match at all. Her stance and the fierce intensity in her eyes seemed to scream "SIS".

"This is Gandala Reskos with the SIS. I have an urgent message for Satele Shan on Tython, We may have found the target but he did...something. Target entered the domain of Kaburka the Hutt for unknown reasons. Shortly after he left, the entire area turned into a bloodbath. T-They turned on each other. Blasters, force-pikes, their bare hands. They slaughtered each other within minutes. Nobody is-"

The distant sound of two lightsabers igniting in the background of the hologram seemed to catch Gandala's attention and the hologram's eyes widened in shock and she went for her blaster. "Calling all Agents, he's not-!" All that was heard after that was the sound of blaster fire and the sound of the twin unseen lightsabers deflecting blaster bolts. Finally the hologram cut out.

Satele Shan turned off the projector and turned to look at the strike team. "We need to find him." She said quietly. "Your mission is to track down Voleran, determine if our agents on Nar Shaddaa are still alive and recover both the Data and Voleran. We Jedi are stretched to the breaking point. We've already lost many of our number in the Cold War and now that open war once again engulfs the galaxy, we need people with your skills more then ever. You've each been selected due to your past accomplishments and your skills which we believe will be useful in finding Voleran."

"It means one of two things. Either he's dead, or he's turned traitor."

Jaric Kaedan nodded. "We've considered that as well. But if he did turn traitor we can't figure out why. He's taught Jedi for many years, he fought against the Sith at the Battle of Coruscant and was a firm believer in the ideals and practices of the Republic. If he did turn traitor, we have no idea what his motivations were."

Satele spoke up. "Whatever the case, this issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible. We have a shuttle waiting for you in the hanger which will take you to our orbital station. The ship should be able to seat all of you comfortably and is fully stocked." She turned to look at Flint. "What is your ETA to Tython? The sooner we recover Voleran and the data, the better."

 

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"What is your ETA to Tython? The sooner we recover Voleran and the data, the better."

"We should be there in the next couple of hours" the Admiral interjected. 

"We've been traveling all the way from Tatooine... for nearly a whole day" Flint added gruffly.

"But we aren't far off. We will meet you at the orbital station by the time you are ready for lift off." the Admiral continued. "Use this time to get yourselves ready. We will see you shortly."

The hologram projections disintegrated, as the communication ended. 

Flint turned to the Admiral. "What do you think about all this, Admiral?"

"Your speculation is as good as mine... something definitely does not seem right." the Admiral crossed his arms in contemplation. "but we wont know until we recover either the data or Voleran."

"Do you think he has gone rogue?"

"I've fought along side with Voleran during the Battle of Coruscant... its hard to imagine he would do such a thing... but its not unheard of Jedi switching sides. Even the most powerful masters of the order. But we wont know for certain until we find him..."

"If he has... I will be ready for him..." Flint said coldly. He has killed many Dark Jedi before. 

The Admiral sighed. "We can only hope it does not come to that..."





 

Edited by Phantom
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On 8/14/2018 at 7:09 PM, LDR said:

 

TYTHON: JEDI COUNCIL CHAMBER

"Excuse me, Grandmaster," interjected Master Vek, "but are all of us in this chamber on the task force to find Voleran and the data? Will we all venture into unknown territory?" She looked around, eyes veiled but seeing everything and everyone. "We'll require several ships." 

"When I said 'task force,' I did not mean 'strike force.'" Shan narrowed her eyes. "Are you volunteering for the latter, Master Vek?" 

"Yes." Vesi gave a start. The Miraluka had always taught her about caution, patience, weighing assignments before accepting them. Now this? The young Jedi couldn't believe her ears. "As is my apprentice, Vesi Svari, Jedi Consular of the second rank." 

"Excuse me," Vesi replied, trying not to stammer, "but with all due respect, I am grossly unqualified for such a mission. As my Master said, I've only reached the second rank of Consular training. Against experienced assassins, Dark Jedi or Sith, I doubt I'll achieve victory." A beat. "Besides, I'm equipped with an implant nodule at the base of my skull that could be hacked - exploited - by our attackers. I do not decline such a duty out of insubordination, I assure you, but a desire to protect myself and others from my inexperience." She bowed deeply to Grandmaster Shan, the other Council members, and finally to her own mentor. "I'm sorry." 

Murmurs from the other Councilors, followed by a firm silencing gaze from the senior Jedi. "May I ask you a question, Knight Svari?"

"Of course." Vesi blushed. She sensed that whatever Satele Shan had to say to her next, it would result in disciplinary action. 

"Was I always this experienced? At your age, with my Force and lightsaber talents, did I hold my current rank?" When Svari shook her head, the Grandmaster continued, "Nevertheless, even in my novice years, I was sent on important missions to serve this Temple - along with my superiors. I did not work alone. Neither shall you. Even if you're assigned to clean battle and reconnaissance droids, will you forsake your chance to serve? Will you fulfill your duty despite your fear? Your Master sees much that you do not, young Jedi." 

"I...I know." What does she see in me? On a mission of this magnitude, why send someone so weak? However, if I'm needed..." "I accept."

"Good." A small smile tweaked the corners of the Grandmaster's lips. "Now, then:  My fellow Councilors, I have delegated roles upon the strike force or the task force here at the Temple to each and every one of you. As for the Masters, including you, Canitha Vek, you shall report to your Council superiors each day with the progress you have made on your various assignments. Any other questions?" When silence ensued, Shan said, "Very well. This Council meeting is adjourned, and in the meantime, one by one, come and report to me." 

As everyone filed into line, Councilors in front, Masters behind them, and apprentices and various attaches in the rear, Vesi asked Vek:

"Why?" 

"Why not?" Seeing as this cryptic reply did not satisfy her apprentice, the Miraluka said: "Trust me, as you always have. Now is the time to put such loyalty and devotion to the test. I'll be with you every step of the way. Let your fear subside, and let courage take its place."

 

 

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For the most of the meeting, Janek just sat silently, listening and observing; he had nothing to add, and on top of that, taking a reading of others was equally if not even more important than getting all possible information out of the conversation. To say the least, this didn’t sound good. When agent Reskos’ hologram appeared, Janek blinked an extra time, crossing his arms, doing his best (athough not completely succeeding) to not break from his neutral appearance. No, this most definitely didn’t sound good.

Well, at least there was no telling what to expect, which could be a very bad or a very good thing. Probably both.

”Splendid”, Janek said as casually as possible, despite his growing nervousness, when a suitable moment finally presented itself. ”Let me get this straight. We’re supposed to dance straight into the lair of a Force-using, mind-controlling, dual-wielding, unaccounted entity, who either is or is connected to a missing Jedi master, and who creeps out the most seasoned undercover agents?” He took a quick breath, and continued: ”Don’t get me wrong, I’m not backing off. I simply prefer to know where I stand.”

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”Let me get this straight. We’re supposed to dance straight into the lair of a Force-using, mind-controlling, dual-wielding, unaccounted entity, who either is or is connected to a missing Jedi master, and who creeps out the most seasoned undercover agents?”

Kif was about to get up again to shout in agreement the absurdity of the mission before meeting the gaze of Varik. He shot Kif a stern glare, and Kif lowered his head with nary a peep. He had nothing to add that was not already covered, and would do well to not make another fool of himself in front of some of the senior Jedi.

Varik sat with his hands clasped. This was definitely going to be one interesting escapade. Taking alive a Jedi master? One who presumably would rather not be? While he had been on worse missions, this is one tall order. Especially for a rag-tag motley crew of Jedi and co. He surveyed the group in the room. He had not taken much notice until now.

There were two Republic soldiers from hologram. He couldn't gleam much from them before they left, but they at least seemed capable. Probably grunt fodder, like most soldiers are, but nevertheless still useful. There was Kif. While an idiot, quirky smuggler, Varik would be the first to admit he had a great shot. He saw Zarev around a few times but had only spoken to him on occasion in the dueling chambers. He has a lot of potential with his double-bladed saber and has good technique for a younger Jedi. He'll be fine. The silent SIS agent, who had only peeped up recently, was an oddity in a room consisting of mostly Jedi. But if he had even half the craftiness of some of the other SIS agents Varik had worked with, then he was arguably one of the biggest assets to the team.

And then there was Vesi. Poor Vesi. While Varik had much respect for miraluka, especially Master Vek, he could not say the same with the doubtful young Jedi. Is she gifted with the Force? Absolutely. But so are all Jedi brought in for training. She has a thirst for knowledge that is second to none. But so does Varik. And it burned him in the past. Almost literally on Korriban.

But the thing that bothers him more than her lack of confidence is her implant. A Jedi that can be hacked? He has never heard of such a thing before, and it's a reason why he generally doesn't trust droids. While many can be afflicted mentally through the Force, Vesi can be literally hardwired. He agreed with her self-assessment. Not only is she grossly underqualified, but she could even be a threat to the mission. Even if she does not, Varik is not impressed with her combat or Force abilities. He had seen her train once or twice in passing. While her issues can be due to her being very young, the fact remains that they exist today.

Varik kept such assessments to himself. Maybe he can be proven wrong. Maybe not.

Maybe he's being too harsh. Nevertheless, this is a risky mission. There can be no room for error in bringing in a Jedi master alive. If the mission is at stake, he will make no hesitation in leaving behind anyone who can't pull their weight. Even Kif.

He looked up to see everyone filing in a line. He sighed. He'll get up soon.

Yep. This was going to be an adventure alright.

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”Let me get this straight. We’re supposed to dance straight into the lair of a Force-using, mind-controlling, dual-wielding, unaccounted entity, who either is or is connected to a missing Jedi master, and who creeps out the most seasoned undercover agents?” He took a quick breath, and continued: ”Don’t get me wrong, I’m not backing off. I simply prefer to know where I stand.”

Satele shook her head. "It's not quite that simple. Those of you who are not force sensitive have come highly recommended by your superiors or have already gained our trust. We believe that you are the best suited for this mission. If you do require assistance you have the permission of the council to request any and all republic assistance in this matter. If they have any questions or problems tell them they can bring it up with us."

 

Nar Shaddaa Space-port

Gotta keep running, gotta keep going, can't let them catch me!

The hooded woman ran as hard as she could as she heard the sound of blasters being fired behind her. The woman pulled her lightsaber from her belt and ignited it. She knew the lightsaber was badly damaged but she just needed to get away this one time. One more chance to escape was all she needed. The blade ignited with a high pitched whine and was barely able to deflect the numerous blaster bolts being fired at her before it flashed intermittently as the power source struggled to keep the blade active.

Almost there..Almost there...

The woman used what little remained of her strength to propel herself over a railing onto a ship rising from the level below her. She landed on the ship with a thud as her lightsaber's power source finally gave out. All she could do was breath heavily as the hatch next to her opened and a shocked human face stared at her in bewilderment.

The woman stared back at him with despair in her eyes. She knew her bones were broken, her body was battered and bloodied. All she could do was hope this one was different. That this one had managed to stay away.

"Please...Help me." She whispered as she passed out from the pain.

 

 

 

 

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TYTHON: JEDI TEMPLE: COUNCIL CHAMBER

When Master Vek and Vesi's turn in line came, Grandmaster Shan greeted them with a bow and a determined gaze. 

"Canitha Vek," she said, addressing the Miraluka first, "your role on this mission is one of scouting and reconnaissance." Vek gave a slight nod in reply. "However, since I've already delegated others for this purpose, it follows that your duties will be slightly different."

"I'm to search for significant Force signatures, whether light or dark, and trace them to their ultimate source?" 

"Correct." Satele's expression turned from stone to steel. "You'll also take your apprentice with you, and if battle ensues, you will fight." 

Vesi leaned forward, aiming to protest once more that she was too inexperienced, but she bit her tongue just in time. 

Shan beckoned the young girl closer. "You, Knight Svari, shall not only be at your Master's disposal, but all mission leaders on your ship. Do as they say, no matter how humble their tasks for you. All are essential if we're going to succeed. With that said..." She lowered her voice to a whisper. "Your real role in this endeavor is not as a servant, but as a master of knowledge. Look for datapads, holocrons, archives, and any and all encrypted messages. You're rather skilled at decoding them, yes?" Vesi nodded. "Good. To others shall fall the duty of direct action, but to you the duties of knowing, learning and reflecting. You know the basics of battle, but against stronger opponents..." She trailed off. "Remember your training, and all shall be well. Go, and may the Force be with you." The Grandmaster bowed, as did the young Jedi. 

As Vesi left her place in line, she thought, So I'll be doing grunt work. Better than field work, especially if it involves killing, and yet...

A biochemical signal from her skull implant told her it was high time for a recharge. All right, all right. Hold your bantha reins. I'm going.

TYTHON: IMPLANT MAINTENANCE SERVICE STATION

"You...you can't be serious." Goran Chano, great-grandson of the famous Opo Chano, stared at Vesi with startled red eyes. 

She nodded. "I'm leaving as soon as our leaders are ready. For where, I don't exactly know, but as a Jedi, I know how to follow orders." 

Chano shook his head. "I'm afraid for you. Too young, too untrained. I don't intend to offend, but I still think you should stay here." 

Vesi started to agree, murmuring in assent, then stiffened. "When duty calls, I serve. I may be a rookie, but I'm not an idiot." 

The Duros raised his palms in surrender. "No, no! Not what I meant. Let us drop the matter and see to your implant. Come here." She obeyed, sitting down, and he took up his tools and cybernetic components. He worked fast, yet his haste didn't impede his caution. He'd been working with augmentations such as hers for nearly three decades. Only in his hands did Vesi feel completely safe from attack. "Good, good. Fully recharged, and I added several layers of hardwired security to protect you on the mission. You need it." After a beat, he continued, "Also new feature: holoport. Plug a holo directly into your skull, and you'll be able to view it without  the aid of a reader." 

Svari swiveled her head. "Incredible. Isn't that dangerous, though? What if someone or something attempted to hack me through it?"

"As I said: added security, several layers. Do not discount it." Chano finished up his work. "Ready, set, go. I shall miss you." 

She stood up and gave him an impulsive hug. "Likewise, Goran. Don't worry. I'll come back stronger, having proven myself." I hope.

 

 

 

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Four Hours Later

Tython Orbital Station

Zarev stared at the ship outside the docking port and shook his head in disbelief. I'll give them credit. They managed to fix it up quickly. I don't know who's sick idea of a joke this is but I'm going to be having a talk with someone very soon. The Jedi had a somewhat angry expression on his face and for good reason. This ship had belonged to his deceased master and someone had been insensitive enough to rename her ship. Zarev had been her apprentice and no one had thought to clear this with him?! And what sort of name was "Redemption?! What exactly was that supposed to mean?

Zarev shook his head as two technicians walked past him with confused looks on their faces. He was probably overthinking this. He walked through the hatch and a wave of sorrow and nostalgia hit him. He aimlessly walked through the ship for a few minutes as memories of the past continually overcame him.

"Welcome to your new home Padawan Zarev. I am Jedi Master Beveral and this vessel will serve as your home and training center." Zarev looked up expectantly at the face of the woman who had taken him as her apprentice. If this was anything similar to the training he had undertaken on Tython it should be relatively easy. His new Master pointed at a table that had a few different pieces of foods on it. Food that smelled quite good. Zarev eagerly approached the table but stopped as Beveral's voice reached him. "I am considered a bit of an oddity among the other Jedi instructors. I like to combine lessons for lack of a better word. Like this." The food suddenly begin to lift off the table and began to float around the room without coming into contact with anything. He looked at his new master in confusion and she grinned. "You'll eat today...but you have to use the force to get at the food."

Zarev narrowed his eyes.

"Challenge accepted."

More and more memories began to rise to the surface of his mind. Many of them much more recent.

"Zarev, we've been issued a new mission. Apparently the Hutts have something the Jedi want. Looks like we're heading to Nal Hutta."

"You know, for being relatively low on the Hutt Social ladder, he has impressive security."

"By the force that's a really big battle droid. Get your Lightsaber ready!"

"Master! No!"

"I-It's alright Zarev...there is no death, there is only the force."

Zarev knew that for the moment he was alone on the ship and thus no one was going to see what he was about to do.

He sat down on the bench near the back of the ship and he simply let the tears fall as he began to weep.

 

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After a day and a half worth of space travel, Flint was not particular looking forward to another embarkment. He walked off the entry ramp of the freighter he was cruising along. Soon the Admiral followed, and the crew members for shore leave. 

Flint flung his bag over his shoulder, and holding the case containing his equipment he would use for the mission. 

"They will be leaving soon, so you better hurry." The Admiral spoke after a long silence of walking through the spaceport terminal. "We are already running behind."

Flint grunted in acknowledgement. 

"Docking Bay 209... This is where we must depart..."

Flint turned to his old CO and saluted. "Its good to see you again, Sir..."

"At ease, Commander..." The admiral smirked. "Just come back in one piece... if you need anything, you know my old comm channel..."

"Just make sure... she is safe..." Flint requested.

"I'll try... Good luck, and safe journey..."

Flint nodded and continued on.

Within a matter of minutes, he finally arrived at the Docking Bay. Crew members were already making final preparations before lift off. Redemption was the name of the ship. He stepped aboard and entered the ship. Nobody there to greet him, at least not that he was aware of. The Jedi were probably still on their way. Flint made his way to the crew quarters and went to his assigned locker to drop off his stuff. He thought he could hear someone crying in the background, but he did not want to disturb. He was there to do a job, nothing more...

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