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Old 08-03-2006, 09:03 AM   #8
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Chapter VII

Supreme Commander Xerx was unusually happy this day. The news of Ralik's disappearance as well as the disappearance of one of their Yorik-Stronha's had spread through the Warrior caste. Some speculated he was sent on an undercover mission and others that he betrayed the caste and went to join their enemies. In the end only Xerx's opinion mattered and Xerx didn't really care why Ralik left. He couldn't wait to charge Ralik with treason.

It was only a matter of hours before every Yuuzhan Vong unit in the galaxy was alerted to report the traitor's whereabouts directly to the Supreme Commander. In the enormous spaceport above Yuuzhan'tar a worldship, Raktajorr, was prepared for immediate departure, should the traitor be spotted. Xerx wanted to dispose of the half-breed traitor personally, which is why he moved his entire base of operations to the Raktajorr. For some inexplicable reason, Xerx even moved all of his trophies to his new office onboard the massive worldship. Maybe he wanted to feel like home, maybe those throphies gave him extra confidence, who knows? The only important thing was that he was ready and eager to ''end Ralik's pitiful existence'', how he liked to put it.

A messenger hurried to Xerx's new office. It wasn't anything like the office he occupied on Yuuzhan'tar. This one was significantly smaller and instead of the bright green walls with black bone-like supports coming from the corners his old office had, the walls of this one were almost completely dark brown and, again unlike his old office that had a huge window overlooking the planet's surface, this office had no windows at all.

''I'm sorry to barge in, Supreme Commander, but the analysis of the missing craft's hyperspace signature is complete'', said the messenger nervously. He knew that the Supreme Commander is not a person he should cross.

''Well?'' Xerx asked anxiously, ''What do the results say?''

''Well, sir...'' The messenger paused. Little drops of sweat were running down his forehead.

''What? Speak!'' Xerx shouted, he was getting nervous.

''It appears, sir, that the vessel was headed for Ruusan'', the messenger replied.

''Is that so?'' Xerx said a little calmer.

''Yes, Supreme Commander.'' The messenger replied, ''The hijacked vessel's hyperspace signature points in that direction.''

''Ruusan? Why would he want to go there?'' Xerx talked to himself. The messenger stared at him, confused, waiting for an order.

''You may go'', finally Xerx replied. The messenger left with great relief.

''Ruusan?'' Xerx repeated to himself, ''Of all the planets in this abominable galaxy, why did he choose Ruusan?''

Xerx hated when there was something he didn't understand, but his hatred for the half-breed prevailed. Soon all that mattered was to track Ralik down and kill him. Ralik's agenda became completely unimportant to him.
Moments later, the intercomm passed Xerx's order to the Raktajorr's crew. They were departing for Ruusan.


Ancient vessel. Those were the words that kept going through Ralik's mind as his ship rushed through the vast and seemingly empty darkness of space. He immediately assumed that the voice was referring to an ancient Republic vessel and there weren't many places where he could find that kind of information. It was too dangerous to return to Yuuzhan'tar and infiltrate the former Jedi Temple. Half of the Warrior caste would swarm on him in a matter of minutes, which is why Ralik decided to pay a visit to the Jedi Academy on Yavin IV. ''It must be easier to infiltrate into a backwater place like that'', Ralik thought, ''regardless of its Jedi occupants.''

Five hours later the ''Rebirth'', as Ralik named his hijacked Yorik-Stronha, was in orbit of the Red Giant and its forrest moon. Ralik landed about two miles from the Academy, hiding his ship deep in the jungle and continuing on foot. The weather was cloudy, a rain was bound to follow soon. The night had just fell when Ralik reached the Academy walls. It was the perfect time for infiltration, since most of the Padawans and Masters were asleep and besides, Ralik was part Yuuzhan Vong, which made him almost completely immune to Force attacks and detection. He sneaked in through the hangar. He was surprised by the lack of security inside the Academy. ''The Jedi have obviously put too much trust in this Force, since they thought they didn't need tighter security in a compound of such importance to them.''

Ralik had little trouble sneaking through the Academy and finding the Jedi archives. Now all he had to do was find the information on the vessel the voice told him about. He sat in front of a terminal and connected his pad to it. First he searched for ''Old Republic vessels'' and the terminal's viewscreen showed a particularily long list and an option to sort the ships by category. Ralik activated that option hoping it will speed up his search. The viewscreen now showed categories in the following order:

Old Republic Starships
Old Republic Freighters
Old Republic Transports
Old Republic Fighters
Known Smuggler ships of the Old Republic

... etc. Ralik glanced at the name of each category and then under a subcategory called ''Jedi vessels'' he found a ship matching his requirements. The ship was called the Ebon Hawk. The file said that this vessel, although used by various people, was remembered by one owner Revan, the ancient Jedi Knight who turned Sith Lord, who turned Jedi Knight. The file said that the vessel was last seen in the vicinity of Vjun and though the Jedi of the Old Republic searched for it quite a few times, it was never found. Ralik quickly downloaded all the data on the Ebon Hawk to his pad. He was just about to leave when two Jedi Masters entered the room.

''Intruder'', one of them shouted.

Ralik wasn't really up for another battle, especially in a building filled with Jedi Knights, so he simply applied what he had already learned he quickly Force pushed the two Masters against the wall and stormed out of the compound and towards his ship. Rain started to fall and as Ralik went further and further away from the Academy the weather was getting worse.

After a long run through the jungles, despite the hard rain and strong winds of Yavin, Ralik finally reached his ship. He managed to escape unscaved. Now he knew where he needed to go next stop Vjun.

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