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Old 08-17-2006, 06:35 AM   #14
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Chapter XIII

Hours have passed since the Grondel was destroyed. Most of its crew evacuated successfully, some of them were forced to land on Vjun, but there were others who went to Yuuzhan'tar for help. In the next twelve hours all of the survivors were on their way back to Yuuzhan'tar. All, except one.

A lone coralskipper slowly approached the Dark Planet. Its pilot was Master Shaper Jashra. He was a person with a very curious mind. He knew about the High Prefect's conversation with Supreme Commander Kraal. Being a member of the Shaper caste, the other crewmen, who were all from the Warrior caste, didn't trust him very much, so he had to use alternative methods to learn what was happening on the ship. He assumed that the entire crew would be branded as traitors and executed as soon as they returned to Yuuzhan'tar, seeing how their commanding officer disobeyed a direct order to return and none of them didn't do anything to counteract his decision. That is why Jashra decided to try his luck with that place they were going when the Grondel was sabotaged, besides he was very much interested to find out what was that investigation all about.

As he approached the Dark Planet in his coralskipper, he noticed the wreckage of a Yuuzhan Vong ship. ''This must be what's left of the worldship we were searching for. Looks like we were chasing ghosts, Supreme Commander Xerx couldn't have survived this.'' He thought, ''But, what possesses such power that can destroy a Yuuzhan Vong worldship?''

Inside the compound on the Dark Planet's surface the Dark figure was just finishing another lesson with Ralik.

''Someone is coming.'' Ralik said.

''Yes, I can sense him, too.'' The Dark figure whispered, ''He is of the Yuuzhan Vong.''

''The Yuuzhan Vong?'' Ralik asked, ''How could they have found me here?''

''I don't think they did.'' The Dark figure replied, ''I think this one is the only one.''

''Yes, I sense nobody else approaching the planet.'' Ralik confirmed.

''That is good news. Kill this one and ensure your own safety.'' The Dark figure insisted.

''No. I sense that this one might prove useful to me.'' Ralik replied.

''Useful? How?'' The Dark figure whispered.

''I sense he is of the Shaper caste. He can produce many useful implants for me.'' Ralik explained.

''Implants? Why would you need implants, my apprentice?'' The Dark figure objected.

''Your race's history has taught me that mastering the ways of science is equally important as mastering the ways of the Force.'' Ralik replied coldly.

''Heh, heh, heh. You have learned your lessons better than I thought. Good.'' The Dark figure was pleased.

''I tried to be extremely careful in our classes.'' Ralik replied with a dose of humour.

''Very well. You may keep this one alive, but be careful with how much knowledge you share with him, he is not entirely trustworthy.'' The Dark figure said and then disappeared.

Ralik went to the Throne room to await the newcomer. Jashra's coralskipper just landed on the large building. Jashra left the ship and entered the building. He was amazed with it and terrified at the same time. The most terrifying thing was that he thought he was hearing a voice calling to him, leading him to a certain part of the compound. He wasn't imagining it, that was Ralik's doing. Ralik was leading him straight to the Throne room.

As Jashra entered the Throne room he saw a figure sitting on the shadowed throne. He approached slowly and the figure stood up. He could see the figure's face now.

''You must be Ralik.'' Jashra said, ''The halfbreed traitor to the Yuuzhan Vong.''

''Yes. Yes, I am.'' Ralik confirmed, ''I sensed you coming. How did you find me?''

''Sensed me? How?'' Jashra was confused.

''With the Force, of course.'' Ralik replied, ''You see, the Jedi believe that the Yuuzhan Vong species is not a part of the Force. They are wrong, as I've come to learn. Every single creature has a spark of the Force inside, no matter how small that spark is in some creatures, it is still there. That is why the Jedi cannot harm us with the Force, they can't sense that little spark inside us. But I can. Now, tell me, how did you find me here?''

''I was part of an investigation force whose goal was to find out what happened to Supreme Commander Xerx. Our commanding officer managed to get his hands on instructions that showed him how to adjust our ship's sensors to scan for a hyperspace trail on a subspace level. The trail would eventually lead us here, but let's just say that we had some trouble with the ship's propulsion and we failed.'' Jashra replied.

''Ah, I see. A Jedi sabotaged your efforts. She didn't want to allow you to find this place of darkness. I sensed her, too.'' Ralik added.

''Yes. Exactly.'' Jashra confirmed.

''You have taken a great risk by coming here. Why did you do that?'' Ralik asked.

''Because I am now a traitor, just like you, so I came here to offer my services to you, in exchange for your protection.'' Jashra said.

''Very well, Master Shaper Jashra, you may remain here with me and my teachers.'' Ralik replied coldly.

''Teachers?'' Jashra asked and in that moment the spirit of the Dark figure appeared next to Ralik.

''Yes.'' The Dark figure whispered, ''We, the ancient Lords of the Sith are his teachers and we have come to agree that your services will be highly useful to our pupil, but beware, Shaper, we will not tolerate a slightest hint of treason.''

''Y... yes, I understand.'' Jashra said, terrified. He could barely breathe.

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