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Old 05-23-2006, 02:39 AM   #150
machievelli
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Endgame

Danika

As I ran on, I considered everything that lay before and behind. In so doing, I was struck by a revelation.

I had discovered the secret of the dark side. Something so deep that even the others that had succumbed had never seen it. Something you could only find by first falling, then dragging yourself back out of the abyss.

The dark side is fear. Nothing else. The fear of being weak, so you fought to be strong. The fear of attachment to others, so you made few friends if any. The fear of being supplanted, so you trained only one apprentice. Even then, you watched for the day when that apprentice became strong enough to challenge you. If you timed it right, you remained the master. If not, you died. Even hate, anger and pride, all of which leads to the force comes down to fearing the unknown, or fear that you must fall, as the prideful always do.

Last the fear of death. You knew that when you returned to the Force, you would be added to the balance. It is what all who live and die know will happen. But those who can feel the Force know it on a deeper level. How can you be great in the Force in life without knowing this? When you died, your energy returned to that well spring. Would you life add to the balance or throw it off?

In knowing this, I also knew the secret of the Jedi, one that only those that had already died knew.

For I had died.

The Jedi are not here to rule. They are not here to control. Even the Sith as much as they hold to that power can never really control it.

They are here to maintain that balance. Too much of the light would be just as harmful as too much of the dark. There is and must always be a balance. Death must balance life, light must balance dark. Chaos must balance order, and freedom must balance oppression.

The entire Galaxy, probably the entire universe was a living entity, and we as people were not even large enough to be a virus in such a body. But we could infect it, weaken it, Force help us, kill it if we weren’t careful.

I looked at the Republic, and inwardly I smiled. So many worlds, so many views, so many struggles, for struggle is part of life, the Sith had that much right. But the struggle is not the reason for living. It is part of it, but never all. The struggle defines only what is won or lost. Every gambler knows that simple fact. You only went down or up. Tomorrow would be different. The universe was one massive game of Pazaak, and no one won or lost forever.

There was a deeper secret that I saw in the light. The Jedi that had originally joined The Sith had not been banished to destroy them, they had been banished because the Sith who had lived then were the balance. As they lost battle after battle, some of the Jedi must have seen what would occur. The light would be triumphant. But in that it would destroy itself from within. They would forget that the dark was always there and the seeds of their own destruction would be planted. Or perhaps the Force, as any living thing, itself had assured that the dark would survive as needed.

Even the Sith code was ours, merely perverted. Both should end the same, though the Sith had forgotten that simple line.

There is no death, only the Force. To which, if anyone would believe me, I could add a line;

There is no dark, there is no light. There is only the Force.

It was so simple.

I stepped into a smaller room. Large matter transmitters aimed at the six platforms around the room. I was curious, because it hadn’t been here before. Of course the Star Forge could change and grow on command. Whatever it was for, it had been built because Malak wanted it. I knew the last passage to the observation deck lay around the corner, and I ran that way.

The door opened, and my lightsaber lit off. Malak stood there, two struggling Jedi hanging in the air behind them.

“Excuse me a moment.” He walked toward me, then his lightsaber flashed in an arc at one of the Jedi. He reached out, and the other man’s neck snapped as he spun his head completely around. “I had some garbage to take care of.” He finished the sentence. He stopped five meters away, hands clasped behind his back.

“I tire of this farce, Revan. You have been a thorn in my side ever since I seized the mantle of dark Lord from your feeble grasp! But you made your last mistake when you came here. The Star Forge feeds my command of the dark side even as it weakens your grasp on the light! You are no match for me here, and this time you will not escape.”

“I have no intention of escaping.” I replied. “Surrender. The Jedi can heal you-”

“Heal me!” He laughed. “Is that what you call what they will do? You think stripping away your power and identity was merciful? I would rather die!”

“They saved me from the darkness, Malak. They can save you too, if you allow it.”

Spoken like a true slave of the Jedi.” He sneered. “Save your sermon, I have already had enough of it. You are an insignificant speck beneath my notice here. I have surpassed you in every way and found the last secret of the Star Forge, what you had not even imagined! You have no idea what you took over here, Revan. You saw a factory that could turn out ships and droids forever, but I understood it so much better. The Dark energy of the Force fills its very walls, the people below are it’s food, supplying more energy with every birth and death.”

“They can’t use the Force.” I murmured.

“They can’t because all of it comes here. They are sucked dry of the Force even as the Star Forge grows stronger.” He sighed. “But as I said, I will not deal with you. The Star Forge will do that for me. Enjoy it.” The door between us slammed shut, and I spun around. The matter transmitters hummed, and light flashed down. But as I watched, it flickered and died. Curious, I went to one of the workstations.

CONSTRUCTION ABORTED. ALL RESOURCES ASSIGNED TO OTHER PROJECT.

I grinned. COUNT ON SHELTERS CONSTRUCTED. I typed in.

4,975,792,210,442. the computer replied. INCREASING TO 5,000,000,000,000 IN FIVE SECONDS

I chuckled, and opened the door. The other door opened, and I saw Malak standing in the center of the Observation deck. Beyond the transparisteel I could see ships approaching, just pinheads from where we stood.

“I’m sorry, but the Star Forge is busy right now.” I commented.

He turned, glaring at me. “What do you mean?” He snarled.

“I put in a priority rush order for tents. Quite a few tents, actually.”

“What?”

“Right now there should be enough tents that every man woman and child in the Republic can live in them with enough to go camping if they‘re of a mind.” I shrugged. “You never can have too many.”

“Well done. I had thought I removed your access. It seems I should have checked more carefully. I see that you retained more control over the dark side than I might have imagined. You are strong. Stronger than you were when you were the Dark Lord. I didn’t think it was possible.”

“The Force is the Force. There is no difference between the Dark and the light in strength.” I replied.

“I am almost tempted to capture you instead of killing you, Revan. Breaking your will as I did with Bastila would be merely a matter of time. You would make a far better asset that she could be. By the by, what ever happened to Bastila?”

“She is using her battle meditation to help the Republic now.”

“No matter. They have less than thirty capital ships remaining. I still have over a hundred. They will die here, and my fleet will destroy the Republic they can no longer defend.

“I wonder. Would it be worth the effort to make you my apprentice? Perhaps not. You are already too powerful for me to guarantee that you would remain the apprentice for long.”

“I will never serve the Dark side again.”

“Foolish words. I have known you since you were a child old friend. The Dark and the Light has fought over you all your life. The balance is tipped toward the light for now. But you will tip the other way again eventually.

"Savior, conqueror, hero, villain. You are all things, Revan, and yet you are nothing. In the end you belong to neither the light nor the darkness. You will forever stand alone." He sighed. “There was only one thing you could never be.”

Think of the power an unrequited love could generate in your soul Bastila had said.

Looking at him, his eyes cold in hate, I realized how much of what was happening now was my fault. He had been the older brother I depended on when I first arrived, a frightened girl of six looking up to the ten year old who had started his Jedi training at my age. He had been the friend I admired when I was assigned to his class, when I had begun to outreach him in the Force all those years ago, I only fourteen, he eighteen and a man worth admiring. we had played together, trained together, gone swimming in the lake near the Academy as unashamed as only children could be. Hugged each other when I had a nightmare, slept in each others arms later as Padawan on our first missions.

He had felt more, wanted so much more, but had never said so. The Jedi teach that love is something that cannot be focused on just one thing, it must be given unsparingly to all. Love of all men if you will, rather than love of a man. I had been blind to it then.

Then the war had come. We had been friends, family in all but flesh, and I had grown to love him, not only for what he did in the name of the Republic, but as the man he was.

If only we had allowed what our bodies wanted then, we wouldn’t be enemies now. But it hadn’t happened.

When I had turned to the dark, he had followed, not out of need, but out of love for me. When he had lost his jaw at Trantor he must have thought it bothered me.

[I had run into the medical bay. Before me I could see my oldest friend, my love, hanging supported only by the liquid. “Report.”

“A console exploded during the attack. He was dragging a crewman from it when the explosion came.” The medtech wiped his face. “The console ripped his jaw completely off. The crewman he saved used pens to link the torn cartoid arteries and jugulars.”

His eyes opened, and I turned away, facing the med tech. “He will live, or you will die.“[/i]

I had come to see him in the Bacta tank, and turned away. From repugnance, he probably thought. But I had turned away because I had never kissed those full lips and now never would. Never felt his arms around me in an embrace that wasn’t for support or warmth. Never felt his flesh against mine since we were children too young to understand the joys a few years could bring. It wasn’t until his injury that I suddenly realized that I had yearned for that pleasure, now torn away from me. I had hurt more at that moment than I had from every wound I had taken before, and I knew more than I had suffered since. I might have offered him my love then, but I had not. He would have seen it as pity, and hated me for it.

If I had been wholly in the dark I could have ended his life then, but I loved him still, and more desperately than before. Instead I made sure he was as well as he could be before assigning him again. I had given him his own ship, not to separate us as he might have thought but to give him space to grow beyond that injury. Part of me hoped that he would, that he would eventually accept what I had yearned to offer.

Instead he had festered, and when it was possible, had struck me down. That explained his rage at Taris, at Dantooine. He could not have me, and refused to let others have what he could not. If he could, he would have fed the entire galaxy into the Star Forge, including himself. As long as he assured that I went into the furnace before him.

I had known him for eighteen years then and I had known in all that time that he had an enormous capacity for love, but as large a capacity for hate.

Since he could not enjoy the one, he had indulged the other.

“I believe in redemption for all I care about, Malak.”

“Of course you do.” He spoke as if to a child. “It is all the Jedi masters left you. Fate and destiny have conspired to have you destroy the Galaxy, then to save it. You have been thrust into the role of savior again, and I must fight you because this is all I have left. Once again we face each other in mortal combat. This time only one of us leave here alive. But first, say hello to my guests.” He motioned, and a series of cylinders slid up into the room. I looked at one, and my blood ran cold. Belaya hung there, peaceful as if in death. But I could still feel her life force. Zhar, a few others I didn’t recognize.

“What have you done?” I asked in horror.

“Remember when we had the winnowing of the Jedi after we found the Star Forge? The Sith suggested killing them all, but you were merciful.” He laughed. “And who but your good right arm could be in charge of their detention?” He walked up to a tube, looking into it. “So I found a use for them. For all those that followed you into hell, but wouldn’t drag the rest of the Galaxy after you. Those that surrendered believing your promise of good treatment. That didn’t even know they could feel the force until the selection process.

“I told you the Star Forge was alive. In many ways it needs to be fed like any animal. Every Jedi that has been captured, every force sensitive from the captured Republic troops, every Sith Dark Jedi that disobeyed my orders has been encased in cylinders like these, scattered through the entire station. They have become parts of this machine, and it feeds off their energy. Disposable parts that are replaced as they wear out. You were too busy to even notice.

“Look around you! These are the Jedi that fell at Dantooine. Dead in every way save one. They cannot return to the force. I have stayed their decomposition, and they draw the Force from the Galaxy itself to feed themselves instinctively. And in so doing, they power the Star Forge.

“And I have discovered more. I can drain their Force into myself, making myself stronger with every life, making me immortal. Once I have beaten you, I will add you to my collection, and you will fuel my conquests! I shall rule forever!”

I felt a part of my mind reel, but in the same instant, I understood why Ajunta Pall had gifted me. I had instinctively used one of the many powers he had gifted me with when I had sent his spirit free. I reached out, and I felt the life forces of those trapped people. Not just the eight here, but hundreds even thousands trapped between death and life throughout the station. I felt the life force, and gathered it to me as I had with Ajunta Pall.

The bodies spasmed eyes open and screaming, then I felt them slacken throughout the station in true death.

“What have you done!” He screamed as he saw the bodies collapse. I smiled, and held out my hand. A glowing ball arced up, then sprayed the room with sparks. Every one of those ’disposable parts’. One of them floated before me, and I heard Zhar’s voice as they faded.

Well done, my beloved daughter.

Malak screamed, and he caught me with an angry arm of the Force, slamming me into the wall storming toward me with his lightsaber lit. “I will win the day!”

“No.” I held out my other hand. In it was the grenade I had made. I triggered it. There was a blinding flash that flung us apart.

Picture having every cell of your body suddenly explode, but you’re alive to feel it. I screamed in agony, and knew even as it happened that every ship in the system, every being in every ship was feeling it. Perhaps everywhere in the Galaxy. For those used to the Force, it was bad. For the two of us, it was sheer agony that seemed to never end.

I found myself kneeling, shaking my head to clear it. Across the room Malak was trying to get back on his feet. “What madness is this?”

“I always wanted to defeat the Jedi, not destroy them.” I gasped. I could stand, but I was shaky. “Before I left, I had asked the main computer on the Rakata home world for a way to neutralize the Force. It didn’t want to tell me.“

The Star Forge staggered, and I could hear metal sheering somewhere. One of the transparisteel windows fractured in a crazy pattern, but didn’t burst.

“It designed a grenade that neutralizes all of the force within its blast area. That was what you just felt.”

“What is the blast area?” He staggered, and steadied himself.

“I don’t know.” I admitted. “ Farther than this room obviously. A few light seconds, maybe the entire system.“ I shrugged. “Possibly the entire galaxy.”

“You, you fool!”

“Perhaps. But think of this. On Tatooine we found the wreckage of Rakata ships, but the metal has proven worthless. It doesn’t have the strength and rusts away very rapidly. Even now 30,000 years of history is catching up with everything constructed here.” I pointed out the armorplast. A Sith fighter had been flying by, followed by an Aleph. It had made a sharp turn to evade, and collapsed as if the main supports had vanished. “How much of your fleet out there right now came from here?”

He screamed and charged me, lightsaber humming. I blocked, and I could see in his eyes the loss of all his dreams. He cut again and again, and I blocked him. He had never been my equal with a lightsaber before, and he hadn’t been fighting for his life every second of the last two months. All I needed to do was wait.

I struck, and knew he was dying. Yet instead of striking again, I dove forward frantically catching his body as he began to fall. His lightsaber fell, and his hands once so strong, so sure, weakly pawed at me as he tried to breathe. I lowered him to the deck, holding his head up, looking into his eyes. The Star Forge shuddered. The fleet was pounding it, shattering a structure older than time itself, and I didn’t care that I was inside that target. All I cared about was the fragile life slipping through my hands.

He looked up, and for the first time in years, I saw actual pleasure. “Revan.” He whispered.

“Forgive me old friend. No. Forgive me, my love.” I whispered back, tears falling onto his face.

“All these years.” He husked. “I yearned to hear those words. Too late, Revan. Too late.”

“No my love.” I held him against my bosom, caressing his head. “I wanted to do this for so long. But the war came between us, then the dark side did. When I wanted to give myself freely, you felt that I was repulsed by your condition.” I touched the metal facemask he had worn all this time. “I wanted to show you that I loved the boy you had been. The man you had become. That I had always loved you. But you would have thought I pitied you.”

His eyes looked confused. “Then..?”

I nodded, kissing his cheek.

“You know what I regretted most then?” I asked. He looked even more confused. “That I never kissed you while you still had lips. But now I regret that I never bore our children. Never held your arms around me as we watched our children play.”

His eyes understood my pain, then regret. “A waste.” He whispered. “My life, all I have done. A waste.”

“No my love, you were part of the balance as I was.”

"Still... spouting the wisdom of the Jedi, I see. Maybe there is more truth in their code than I ever believed. I... I cannot help but wonder, Revan. What would have happened had our positions been reversed? What if fate had decreed the Jedi would capture me instead? Could I have returned to the light, as you did? If you had not led me down the dark path in the first place, what destiny would I have found?

"I wanted to be Master of the Sith and ruler of the galaxy. But that destiny was not mine, Revan. It might have been yours, perhaps . . . but never mine. And in the end, as the darkness takes me, I am nothing."

“No my love. I know the secret of the Force. The Dark and the Light.” I bent down and whispered in his ear.

While he no longer had a mouth, I could see the idea made him want to smile. “How droll.” He reached up, and I caught his hand, holding it against my face long after the muscles had gone slack.


'To argue with those who have renounced the use and authority of reason is as futile as to administer medicine to the dead.' Now who said that?

From the one who brought you;
What we die for...
Acceptance
KOTOR excerpts
Star Wars: The Beginning
Star Wars: Republic Dawn
Return From Exile
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