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Old 08-03-2006, 09:09 AM   #10
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Chapter IX

Eight hours after his departure from Yavin IV, Ralik reached Vjun's orbit. He was quickly approaching his goal and he couldn't not feel a slight satisfaction. He entered the Ebon Hawk schematics and composition data into the Rebirth's computer (although he, or any other Vong would never call it a computer, since it had technological connotations) and commenced to scan the planet. He also included the search for faint energy readings as one of the search parameters. Ten minutes later he got the coordinates most likely to contain his search query.

At that moment something happened that can only be explained as a vision. Ralik couldn't recognize his surroundings, white light glowed from every direction. Suddenly a woman in Jedi robes appeared before him.

''You! The woman I saw at the Valley of the Jedi'' Ralik said as he stared at the woman, ''What do you want from me?''

''We must talk, my son.'' The woman said gently.

''Son? What do you mean?'' Ralik already knew the answer to that question, but he couldn't believe it.

''I am your mother, Ralik.'' The woman explained, again in a very gentle tone.

''I see. And what do you want?'' Ralik asked coldly. He could believe that his mother looked like that, but he wasn't completely convinced that the person he was talking to was indeed his mother, or maybe he just didn't want to admit it.

''You are playing a very dangerous game, my son. You are being pulled into darkness.'' The woman said, her voice showing great sadness.

''Power can never be gained by playing it safe, 'mother'.'' Ralik responded, slightly offended.

''Is power truly all that matters to you, my son?'' The woman asked with great fear of the answer.

''Of course it matters to me. Power means strength and strength means respect and fear.'' Ralik responded proudly.

''Then you have truly fallen beyond redemption.'' The woman said with tears in her eyes.

''Fallen? No, mother, I have risen! I have unlocked the legacy I got from you and I will use it with great pleasure on any who oppose me!!'' Ralik replied fiercely, his eyes started to turn red.

''You have unlocked the gift I passed on to you, son, but you are using it for the wrong reasons and for a dark and selfish purpose!'' The woman shouted in despair.

''And what would you suggest I do? Trade one master for another? Join the Jedi? Fight my own kind? Never!!!'' Ralik was offended and disapointed with his mother.

''You broke my heart, my son.'' The woman said and disappeared.

Ralik awoke from the vision to find himself still in the safety of his ship. He immediately set down at the coordinates the Rebirth provided for him.

The surface of Vjun was a wasteland where acid rains and earthquakes were perfectly ordinary things. During the time of the Galactic Empire Darth Vader had a fortress here, the dreaded Bast Castle. It managed to outlive its Empire, but was finally turned to ruin by Jedi Master Kyle Katarn and one of his apprentices, though the fortress still holds secrets to be discovered in the future.

Vjun was a perfect place, if you wanted to hide something. The coordinates Ralik got were the location of an underground web of caves. Under those precise coordinates was a huge underground cave, large enough for the Ebon Hawk to fit in. But Ralik knew the ship couldn't have landed underground, there simply isn't a single opening on Vjun's surface that the Ebon Hawk could enter. Either the ship was intentionally buried afterwards, or it was buried as a result of an earthquake, or some other natural catastrophy. Whatever the cause, Ralik was determined to find that ship. The weather couldn't have been worse, acid rain was falling from the sky and the winds were so strong that they could lift a small animal.
''That's just perfect.'' Ralik said as he saw the weather, ''Ah well, I never expected this to be easy and I've come too far to be stopped by a little rain.''
In order to avoid being burnt by the acidic rain, Ralik had the Rebirth's ''computer'' calculate which cave is the one with the largest probability of leading to the huge underground cave that was presumably hiding the Ebon Hawk. After he got the results he concentrated at that cave entrance, as he was taught in the Valley of the Jedi, and rushed towards it. He reached the cave in just a few seconds, successfully avoiding almost every raindrop. He entered the cave and started to descend to the Ebon Hawk.

Just as Ralik entered the cave, a small Jedi craft entered Vjun's orbit. It was Jedi Master Anduil Wrynn. ''I have you now, Vong. Master Skywalker may have wanted me only to observe, but I know a Vong can't be up to anything good with an important ship like the Ebon Hawk. I shall follow you to the Ebon Hawk, evil one and then I shall destroy you.'' Anduil immediately tracked down Ralik's vessel and minutes later he followed into the caves.


Approximately four hours before Ralik reached Vjun, the Raktajorr emerged from hyperspace near Yavin IV. Xerx was slowly catching up to his prey. The massive galaxy-shaped worldship was holding position on the other side of the Red Giant, the sun's radiation effectively hiding it from the sensors of the Jedi Academy, but still enabling the ship to search for hyperspace signatures.

''Perform the long range scans'', the order sounded through the intercomm.

''Long range sensors report that the stolen vessel has left for Vjun, Supreme Commander'', the crewman reported through the comm.

''Then that's where we are going, but increase hyperspace velocity! I don't want to lose that traitor this time.'' Xerx replied.

''Yes, sir'', the crewman replied and did as was ordered.

''You will not escape me again, Ralik.'' Xerx said to himself. He wasn't sure of the validity of that statement, but it was enough to feed his anger.

''One more thing, Supreme Commander'', the crewman said, ''A Jedi vessel is following the fugitive.''

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