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Old 11-23-2005, 01:06 AM   #60
The Commander
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*Huff...Huff* Yes I know I'm late..only by a few minutes though...Here it is! The final part of Chapter 5!

Chapter 5
Shift of Power
Part 4

Strider was calm as he was escorted to the hangar. He looked around the rather empty, abandoned town with only slight disdain. It had been years since he had been there last. “These streets used to be bustling full of people…the buildings were magnificent…the city at peace. Now I’m here, probably ‘round 15 years later, and the place is a mess. It’s amazing what simply joining the Jedi Order did to the planet…to think that my action caused so much trouble for this planet…” thought Strider.

After awhile of tossing this idea around his head, Strider soon came to feel guilty for the fate of the planet. He was starting to believe that it was his fault, that he alone had caused the damage that had been done to his home world. His hand gripped tightly around his lightsaber hilt, his knuckles turning white before long. They crossed several blocks, Strider’s focus seemed to have faltered, having lost track of which directions they’d been going.

It wasn’t long before the sounds of warfare were once again upon his ears. Strider snapped out of his daze. As they neared the hangar, the sounds of combat became louder; blaster fire could be heard being exchanged, with the shouts of men falling in battle ringing out above it. Strider knew immediately what was going on. “There’s a struggle between the resistance and the Sith for the hangar…” he muttered. One of the squad members heard him and nodded in acknowledgement. They burst out into a sprint in order to get there in time to help.

The Sith had the hangar guarded rather well. They were well armored and equipped with heavy weapons, against the resistance’s light armor and blaster carbines. Strider’s men opened fire as soon as they were in sight, moving in to assist their fellow soldiers. Strider ran alongside them, deflecting shots that came their way. “This looks like it’s gonna be tough…” he thought as he counted the Sith in the hangar. He estimated well over fifty.

Strider got on top of the blaster-resistant steel stands covering the resistance, serving as cover for the soldiers, and leapt forward, somersaulting in the air and landing in the midst of the fray. He swung his lightsaber in all directions, his arms a blur as he deflected incoming fire from Sith soldiers. After a brief cease in fire, Strider took off running towards one of the groups and swung his lightsaber horizontally, decapitating the Sith in half. He spun his blade by his side, then proceeded in performing a swift upward vertical strike, cutting the barrel of the heavy repeater off, then proceeded in swinging downward in a diagonal strike, bringing the second Sith down. The third Sith, he held out his hand and yanked it backwards. Suddenly the Sith felt a sweeping wind underneath his feet and was pulled off the ground towards Strider. Strider stepped to the side and stabbed downward as the Sith flew past him feetfirst from the Force pull, driving the blade square through the Sith’s chest.
Strider whirled around and deflected two more blasts from some distanced Sith soldiers. As he did so, he began to notice the Sith moving in their position. They were moving to surround him, in an attempt to trap him. Blaster fire started raining heavily on him, and he had to deflect blaster bolts on his way towards another metal cover to hide behind. He was breathing hard, looking around in all directions, sensing the Sith closing on his position.

The sound of an igniting blade was heard, and shortly after screams of pain from Sith soldiers were heard amidst the sounds of searing slashes and bone-snapping noises caused by breaking of limbs. Strider used this moment to leap up over the cover he was using, do a twisting flip in the air, and landed facing Sith soldiers. He swung with a powerful horizontal sweep, taking a few down; as he did so he spotted Jayde not too far away, fighting her own share of soldiers with incredible ease. He began to fight back against them as well, taking down Sith after Sith with incredible agility and strength. They ended up fighting together, their moves with their lightsaber, the leaning, ducking, jabbing, deflecting, slashing; all of it, made it seem like an elegant dance that went on for quite a bit of time. Finally, with some now reinforcing fire from the resistance soldiers, the Sith began to fall swiftly, until finally the hangar was clear of all enemies.

Strider looked at his master, exhausted. Jayde looked over and smiled at him, obviously proud and impressed with his performance. “You handled yourself rather well, my young padawan,” she stated, deactivating her blade and placing it on her belt. Strider did the same, and simply nodded. “Of course I handled myself well, they weren’t very challenging and I’ve spent too much time in the training chambers,” thought Strider to himself, not saying this towards his master so as not to sound overconfident in his ability to her. Instead, he simply replied with a light bow and a, “Thank you master.”

The resistance took over the hangar and set up a perimeter of defenses to prevent the hangar from being retaken. A few mechanics began to work on a few of the Sith starfighters, prepping them for flight. Jayde took Strider aside for a moment, speaking with him.

“Are you sure you didn’t overexert yourself? I don’t want to bring you up there with me if you’re too tired,” she questioned in a concerned tone.

“I’m fine, master. I’ve used far more energy before; I just have some things on my mind that’s causing me to use more energy than intended. I have my demons to deal with,” replied Strider.

“Want to talk about it? We have a few minutes,” offered Jayde.
Strider sighed. This wasn’t exactly something he wanted to share, and Jayde knew it. On the other hand, she’d get him out of it one way or another, he thought, might as well get it done and over with now.

“You seem less like yourself, more focused on the goals of this mission than your usual self-minded, ‘I’ll do things my way,’ self. What’s up?” asked his master in a worried tone.

Strider sighed. He ran a finger through his black hair. “I can’t help but feel responsible for what happened here, master,” he said, regret in his tone.
Jayde tilted her head, and asked, “And why do you say that?”
Strider sighed again. He looked away, looking out the hangar and at the city, then drew in a deep breath before speaking, “Kyron would never have been involved in the Republic if Jedi had not discovered me here. Kyron would never have been involved as one of the first battlegrounds between the Jedi and the Sith… Kyron would not have had to suffer such death and pain, if it wasn’t for me...” he said, letting out his breath and trying to relax.

Jayde walked up next to him and put her hand on his shoulder. “Strider…you are not to blame for the events that happened here. If it weren’t for your Jedi training, you wouldn’t be able to be here to fight back against the Sith, because with or without the Republic, it was still a flourishing planet and therefore was a target to either side. This wasn’t your fault. Don’t blame yourself. You’re an extremely talented pupil, and I can only wonder how extraordinary you’re going to be when your training is complete. That is incomparable to anything you would have been if your potential had been left undiscovered. Don’t let that go to your head though. You are powerful; I won’t deny you knowledge of that. You will achieve great things, but don’t let these thoughts drive you to expect too much of yourself. You’re only mortal, and although the actions of those Jedi and the people of this planet set these events into motion, there’s a high likelihood that even without your inauguration into the Jedi Order, the Sith would still have attacked.”

Strider sighed, resisting the urge to slam his fist down, he turned and faced Jayde, responding angrily, “But there’s plenty chance they might not have been attacked either, Jayde!”

“Relax, Flamehart,” she said concisely, not trying to invoke anger from her apprentice.
Strider took a deep breath, and then continued calmly after regaining his composure. “Don’t you see? Kyron wasn’t even in the Archives of the Jedi Order until those Jedi, guided by the Force, landed there and discovered me. When they were identified and then later joined in the Republic, the Sith obviously gained knowledge of it and found out it’s potential as a planet to harvest to nothing for resources.”
Jayde sighed, then placed one hand on Strider’s shoulder and looked at him in the eye. “Strider…think about what you said. Did you not claim that the Jedi found you through guidance of the Force due to lack of prior knowledge of the planet’s existence?” she questioned.

“Yes…?” Strider replied, confused by what she was getting at. “Oh Lord. She found something to use back and I’m probably not going to have a reasonable, legitamite, or concrete evidence to support another argument back,” he thought to himself.
Jayde continued, “So is it not possible that, if the Jedi had not arrived, took you into the Order, and then later inaugurated Kyron into the Republic, that the Sith could have been guided to you through the Force, found out about Kyron, and inaugurated the planet into the Sith order?”

Strider ran a finger through his hair. “I hadn’t thought about it that way,” he thought, and his expression clearly showed this.

His master tilted her head and looked at him, “So the question is, would you have rather been taken into the Order, trained as a Jedi to fight against Evil such as the Sith, and have to fight back against the Sith to retake your home planet, or would you rather have been undiscovered by Jedi, and instead by this point, be a Sith Apprentice under the influence of the Dark Side, massacring innocent people and crushing the resistance we’re currently fighting with?”

Strider looked around at the resistance men, an appearance of some familiarity in his blue eyes. “There are many here, from seeing the name, I recognize as former neighbors or childhood friends. I haven’t said anything to them because many do not recognize or remember my name,” he said, “It’s good to see that many were able to escape the Sith’s wrath.” He paused for a moment, another lingering thought, “I still haven’t heard anything about my mother…” he thought to himself.

Jayde looked at him. She could sense his lingering thoughts, but could not read them in his clouded mind. “Is there more bothering you, my apprentice?” she asked softly.
“My mother…” he muttered, looking around. “I haven’t seen her since I arrived…my father claims that she joined the resistance. I’m going to ask about it providing she’s still alright after this rebellion against the Sith…” he trailed off.

Master Averre nodded. An engineer waved them over soon afterwards. Jayde and Strider began to walk, and his master put one arm around Strider, guiding him towards their ships that they would take to combat against the Sith.

When both Sith interceptors were in flight, Strider spent a few moments familiarizing himself with the maneuverability, agility, and weapon potency of the ship. Jayde was flying wingman to him. “She’s not much of a pilot,” he thought to himself, “I may be spending more of the space time covering her until we dock with the Sith warship than dealing with incoming targets. Then again…I’ve never seen my master fly, so I have no idea of her competence behind a stick…” he finished his thought.

When they broke the atmosphere and got into space, they could see a battle already commenced between the Kyron resistance and the Sith. Strider and Jayde flew their ships past and towards the battle ship that was stationed just a bit north of the space battle. Very little attention was paid to either of them. When they were in vicinity, they sent their requests to dock to repair and reload, and they were accepted without question. As soon as the ships were docked and the hatches to the ship opened, Strider and Jayde leapt out and began attacking the Sith in the hangar.

They began clearing the floor of the room, working together, a unified fighting force. It wasn’t along before the alarm went off and several Sith soldiers came along the walkways hanging from the ceiling above them, firing off at the two Jedi. Strider’s arms moved swiftly, deflecting the bolts around his master and him while Jayde continued to attack the ground Sith. It wasn’t long before Strider drew his spare lightsaber off his hook and began deflecting with both, his arms moving so swiftly it created a magnificent blur of blue and green around Jayde and him, not a single bolt came close.

It wasn’t long before the ground was clear, and both Jedi leaped up into two separate narrow walkways on the ceiling and began dispatching of the Sith. Strider had put away his second saber and continued slashing and deflecting his way through their squad on the walkway. Jayde stuck to hand to hand, using Sith soldiers’ bodies to either guard against other blaster bolts, or knocking them off the walkway to their impending doom upon contact with the metal floor below them. It wasn’t long before the both of them had completely demolished the Sith force on the walkways, and leapt back down and proceeded to find the hangar exit door.

They managed to find their way into the main hallway of the battleship. They heard gunshots in the distance. The other boarding parties had made it. They moved on, intending to clear the way for them to make planting the demolitions easier. They fought several small groups of Sith soldiers and droids, but nothing too challenging, and they were moving right along.

As they made their way through, Strider began to feel more and more like he was himself again. His discussion with his master was settling rather well with him, and was beginning to feel better about everything. They soon got to the bridge. Before entering, they both paused. Jayde looked at Strider. He sensed it too. There was a strong Dark side presence in the bridge. Suddenly the door opened and they both turned to look in. A dark, robed figure was standing ahead of them, and several Sith were walking around the bridge of the ship. The cloaked Sith turned and lowered his hood, revealing a man bearing a familiarly striking resemblance to Strider. His eyes were that of a bright yellow, corrupted by the Dark Side.

Strider recognized him instantly, and spoke boldly, stepping into the bridge while doing so, “So you’re the one behind all this, father. The man we captured in the city hall, I presume he was merely a decoy?”

His father smiled wickedly, “If there’s one thing the Jedi didn’t take from you, it was your intelligence, son. You’re definitely fast to catch on. I could tell while I watched your capture of that decoy that you weren’t fully convinced it was me behind those bars, speaking to you.”

Strider gripped his fist tightly, and then asked, “So, if that’s the case…Where is mother?”

“She’s dead. She tried to turn against me when I turned, and I struck her down. This showed the Sith how willing I was to go to any lengths for the power I sought,” he replied with a wicked grin.

Strider growled, his lightsaber was in hand and activated. Jayde started to come in behind him but the bridge doors suddenly slammed shut before she could get in. The other Sith in the room seemed to pay no mind to the two force users in the room, going about their business piloting and controlling the ship’s functions. Strider’s father’s red blade was ignited, and the two of them began making their way across the bridge to the middle.

They stopped and faced each other. His father’s eyes looked at him with sick cruelty and wicked amusement. Strider gazed back, hatred in his eyes.

“I can smell the anger in you Strider…give in to it, let it fuel your strength,” he taunted, smirking at him with some hidden intent.

Strider realized what he was trying to do, and suddenly his expression turned to some form of amusement. “You know, Gerric,” he said, using his father’s name. “I’m glad I left Kyron when I did…” he started to say.

Gerric shot back before he could finish, “Because of your departure, the Sith discovered our home and took it over. You are all to blame for what we have done to Kyron,” in an attempt to anger Strider.

Strider laughed sarcastically. “At least by leaving I didn’t turn into one of the Sith.” He pretended to examine his father, and continued, “I’ve always heard the Dark Side makes you ugly. Being I look a lot like you, I have a pretty good idea how bad I’d look if I did join the Sith.”

His father growled and struck with his lightsaber swiftly. Strider’s hand jerked just as fast, blocking the attack as if by second nature. Strider looked at his father with just a bit of confidence. “What drove you to become a Dark Jedi, Gerric? I don’t recall you being gifted in the Force,” he asked.

Gerric growled, “Address me by my title as a respectful son would do, if you’re going to speak to me. As for my Force potential, I suppose if my son could be Force sensitive, he had to get it from his parents, and I knew your mother was weak and worthless so it couldn’t have been her.”

Strider responded, “My father was a respectable politician and noble, not a lord of the Sith. My father died four years ago in the Sith conquest. I owe you no respect; you ruined your own image. And as for your self proclaimed ‘force sensitivity…” You have none. I can sense it now. Younglings at the Temple have more Force potential than you. You were tricked by the Sith,” he said tauntingly.

Gerric roared in anger and advanced at Strider with a flurry of attacks. Strider walked backward slowly, deflecting each one. Their blades moved in a magnificent mix of blue and red, although it was clear Strider knew well more of what he was doing with his lightsaber than Gerric. Gerric, however, was physically more built than Strider, and delt a hard blow. Strider attempted to block it and his saber was knocked clean out of his grip, deactivating and scattering across the floor.

Strider backed up, not knowing what to do. He was thrown into the wall by a strong Force blast emitted from Gerric’s hand, who chuckled and used the Force to pull Strider’s lightsaber to his hand. Strider grunted and pulled himself back up.
Strider’s eyes suddenly widened. At the same time, there was a sound of searing flesh. He shouted in pain, and turned to look at where the pain was coming from. He saw the blue blade of his own lightsaber driven into his left shoulder. He felt the heat increasing. He managed to reach forward and pull the blade out of his shoulder. He deactivated it. Gerric gave him a cruel smile. He had thrown Strider’s own lightsaber at him. Strider growled, activating the blade in his right hand. He leapt forward and began swinging ferociously. Gerric barely was able to keep up and backed up as he defended against Strider’s swift blows. Gerric delivered another hard strike, being Strider was only holding his blade with one hand, it threw him off balance. Gerric took this moment to impale his blade into Strider’s right leg, and then swiftly withdrew it. Strider screamed in pain and fell to his knee. He looked up at Gerric, who merely looked back down at him and smiled. “It is wise of you to kneel before me, my son,” he said, cackling at him.

Strider lowered his head, his face sweating, his teeth gritting from the pain, and his body aching with fatigue. “What to do, what to do…think Strider…” he thought to himself. Suddenly his vision began to fade in and out. “Am I blacking out…?” he wondered to himself. He felt his body getting weak. He was barely able to stay awake. His vision went black, his eyes closed.

Gerric nor his crew had any idea what to expect. Strider was still in his kneeling position, his head lowered and eyes closed. Gerric looked down at his son curiously. He laughed. “He must have lost the will to continue the fight. Guards, take him to the detention bloc-…”

A sudden blast rocked the ship. The demolitions crew had apparently done their work. At the same instant, there seemed to be a surge of the Force around Strider. A large, invisible force suddenly sent everyone in the bridge into a wall or across the ground. Gerric pulled himself back up and stared, confused as to what just happened.

Strider’s blue blade suddenly reignited and he was back on his feet, he swung at Gerric. Gerric raised his hilt and activated it just in time to block. He made eye contact with Strider. Strider’s eyes appeared to be a pale blue, instead of their usual dark. His expression was neutral. For a moment, he seemed to have a ghostly white glow about him. Gerric pushed him back and struck as hard as he could. Strider parried and slashed swiftly twice. Gerric’s left arm fell to the ground, shortly followed by his right leg. Gerric howled in pain and dropped his lightsaber and fell to the ground. Strider put his blade to Gerric’s neck, looking down at his father. He deactivated the blade of his lightsaber and merely walked off towards the blast doors to exit.

Just as he got close to the door, the white aura around him seemed to fade, and his eyes returned to their normal hue. The bridge door opened and Jayde was there. She saw Strider and blinked, unbelieving at how he was still standing with the wounds on his shoulder and leg. “What happened to you Strider…?” she asked frantically.
Strider opened his mouth to answer, nothing came out, he closed it again, then gazed at his master for a minute. That was the last thing he saw before feeling the cold, hard metal against his body…

Strider awoke what seemed to have been a lifetime later. It had only been several minutes in real time. He found himself in a Sith transport that the demolitions crew had arrived in. He looked around, familiarizing himself with his surroundings. He saw Jayde helping the crew get in safely from the attacking Sith soldiers. The entry ramp closed and the transport was off. Strider could see out one of the windows as they departed at high speeds away from the Sith battleship. For a minute, he could sense the fading life Force of his father. Moments later, the whole ship exploded from the rest of the timed explosives going off. Strider felt a very small vacuum, barely an echo, in the Force as his father died with the ship. He looked away, trying to shift his position. He grimaced as he did so. His body ached with pain in his leg and
arm. “How am I alive…?” he wondered to himself. He looked up and saw Jayde walk over and sit next to him.

“Good to see you’re alive,” she commented, looking at him with an expression clearly telling she had been quite frightened for his life.

Strider could only give a smirk in an attempt to indicate it had been nothing, but Jayde obviously knew better. He knew she would ask, so he decided to share what happened now anyway. “My father was on that bridge…When the bridge door closed behind you, we dueled…some comments exchanged, and he managed to drive a lightsaber through my shoulder and leg,” he said, grimacing at the thought, and the pain. “It was after that I felt myself black out…then when I opened my eyes, I saw myself facing my father again, but I didn’t really know what was happening…like I was spectator of my own body as it acted on the will of the Force…” he ended, seeming kind of bewildered by the whole turn of events.

Jayde looked at him curiously. “You think the Force took over when you blacked out?” she asked him. She had never heard of such a thing, and this was new to her.

“That’s what it kind of felt like…” he responded.

Jayde sighed and patted Strider on his shoulder. He hissed in pain and winced, growling, “Holy kell dragons…that hurts…,” under his breath. Jayde jerked her hand back, realizing which shoulder she had just patted.

“I’m sincerely sorry Strider,” she apologized quickly. Strider shrugged, and looked at her in the eyes. Jayde heard a voice in her head, saying “We’ll continue the rest of this conversation back on Coruscant…” She realized Strider was speaking to her in her mind through their connection in the Force, and nodded in response. She pushed back his head against the headrest behind him. “Get some rest. We’ll get some kolto put on those wounds or something when we get back down to Kyron.”

The planet was almost peacefully quiet as they returned. When they were brought back to the Kyron resistance’s headquarters, Strider was immediately taken to the medical wing, while Jayde went to report the success of the attack. It wasn’t long before Strider was actually on his feet again, although walking with a considerable limp, came into the meeting hall to hear the end of the briefing, and to report the possibility that all, if not just one, of the men they took captive were decoys. The resistance council leader personally thanked Strider and Jayde for their assistance. His earlier pompous nature seemed to have faded upon seeing the potential of Strider and Jayde in combat, and was much more humble to them now as he spoke to them.
“We will work diligently to get Kyron back to the way it was,” the council leader assured to Strider. “If you would like to stay and help out with the restoration effort, that would be much appreciated,” he offered.

Strider nodded, and looked at the council leader, “I would be more than happy to stay and assist the effort, but I’m afraid our mission here is done. I will however, put in word to the Republic to send aid and supplies here to better help your efforts. I’ll be sure to come back one day to see how the progress has been coming.”

The council leader bowed to the both of them. Jayde and Strider bowed back, and were escorted back to their ship they arrived in. As they walked the streets to the hangar, they already saw free civilians walking about, as if their normal lives had just started once again.

As they walked to the hangar, Strider discussed with one of the escorts about suggesting to the resistance council to search the other territories of Kyron to make sure no Sith were left behind. The soldier nodded, making a note of it, and continued to guide them to the hangar.

Jayde and Strider boarded their ship. Strider got comfortable in the co-pilot’s seat, being in no condition to pilot due to injuries. Jayde looked over at him for a minute, then commented, “You handled the mission exceptionally well Strider, although I fear a part of you took control over you for the first moment of your encounter with your father,” she lectured as she brought the ship off the ground and blasting off into space.

Strider shrugged, “You said it yourself master, I’m only human. I’m going to have some conflicting emotions, and that’s a devil I’ll have to deal with one day won’t I? To answer your fear, yes I give in to anger for awhile. When he started talking about it though, about the Dark Side and everything,” he paused, “I wasn’t really paying attention to everything he said, you see,” he added, then continued, “I realized what I was doing, and sought some sort of inner calm to bring myself back to a more…neutral emotion,” he finished.

Jayde nodded, obviously impressed. She set the hyperspace route for Coruscant, and then continued. “You handled yourself well then. I’ll let you take a bit for break when we return to the temple, but as soon as you’re in condition for training once again, I’ll start regularly teaching you more of my knowledge,” she stated.

For a moment, Strider was confused. He looked at her, and asked, “All of your knowledge? I thought just hand to hand?”

“That’s what I said at first…but I think progressively teaching you everything I know before you take your trials would definitely be most wise,” she responded.
Her apprentice smirked, and responded with amusement. “Why? Are you growing senile to the point you think you’re going to forget what you know, so pass it on before it’s forgotten?” he said with chuckle.

Jaude smiled at his jest, and then replied, “No, Strider. I know that neither of us will live forever, and there’s much I know that I would not want to fall by the wayside without being carried on by my apprentice, and my apprentice’s apprentice.”

Strider raised his eyebrow, then said jokingly, “Whoa now, who says I’m having a padawan? I mean, I’m a handful enough as it is I’m sure, I wouldn’t want to run into myself when I become a Master and then have to train a mini me.”

Jayde smiled, then replied, “Strap yourself in Strider. We’re on our way home.”

Strider turned his head to face the cockpit. He watched as all the stars in view from the cockpit in front of him blurred into streaks as the ship entered hyperspace.

Check out my fictional novel writing project, Immortal Judgement, at my dA page.
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