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Old 09-28-2006, 01:12 PM   #10
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Chapter IX

''The Dark Side of the Force is a pathway to many abilities some consider to be unnatural.''

''Your progress on these murders, Darth Maladi?'' Krayt's hologram demanded.

''We've made some progress, but unfortunately not much, my lord'' She replied submissively.

''Not much?'' Krayt demanded, ''Not much!? It's been four days since Darth Stryfe's death, Maladi! Four more deaths have occured since then, all members of my Order!''

''Yes, my lord... I know, I... I understand your anger, but we are...'' She didn't get to finish.

''You are slacking off! After Stryfe's death I put you in charge of this investigation because I thought you could handle it appropriately. Was I wrong, Maladi?'' Krayt demanded. His deep voice echoing through the sound speakers.

''No, my lord. I will handle this, I will not disappoint you.'' She said with determination.

''See that you do not. Now, tell me of what little progress you've made. And of course the progress about tracking down our threat. Have you learned why he visited all those planets in the last six months?''

''I believe I have, my lord.'' She paused for a second, '' Every single planet he visited either housed a tomb of a certain Jedi, or a Sith, or was once a resting place of powerful Sith, or Jedi artifacts.''

''I see. Go on.'' Krayt said calmly.

''The locations of those tombs, or artifacts had a residual Force aura. Even after the artifacts were removed the aura remained. And now it's gone.'' She said.

''Gone? Interesting.'' Krayt admitted.

''Yes, my lord. It is my belief that our target went to all those places for the sole purpose of gathering that Force energy. I have yet to figure out why and knowing so little about him, or his power in the Force I can't make a proper assumption.''

''You don't have to. It's pretty obvious. He's powerful in the Force, but he isn't a Jedi, or a Sith. His powers are like nothing anyone's ever faced and they are vast. But, he's not satisfied. He wants more.'' Krayt said calmly.

''My lord?'' Maladi was at a loss.

''He is using that Force energy to strengthen himself even more. He must be found and stopped. The sooner the better.'' Krayt said with a dose of satisfaction.

''I believe I have made some progress in that department as well. As you know, my lord, the murders here on Coruscant started a day after that incident on Raxus Prime. After that there were no sightings of our target on any other system. I believe that he is here on Coruscant and that he is responsible for the murders.'' Maladi said finally.

Krayt's holoimage stood still for a moment. He was deep in thought. ''Good work, Maladi.'' He said finally, ''This is a lot more serious than I though. Come to the Imperial Palace, we must decide carefully what our next move will be.''

She nodded her head in acknowledgement and Krayt's hologram disappeared. Maladi downloaded all the data she had on the case to a datapad with haste and rushed out of the Sith Intelligence headquarters.

Meanwhile, back at the Imperial Palace, Morlish Veed just finished listening to Krayt's conversation with Maladi. A Grand Admiral, the most influencial among the Imperial Moffs and now he was reduced to eavesdropping. He heard footsteps approaching and he quickly turned around and moved away from the Throne room entrance. Then he saw who it was that was approaching. Nyna Calixte, a Moff and former head of the Imperial Intelligence. She lost her job when Krayt took over and the Imperial Intelligence was replaced by Sith Intelligence. Now she was only an admiral in the military and only by rank. In reality, she spent most of her time filing paperwork. The irony was that she was the person through whom the Sith made contact with the Empire.

''Eavesdropping again, Morlish?'' She said as she approached him.

''Ssshhh. Not so loud, Calixte.'' He replied nervously.

''I'm sorry, Morlish, but this is really amusing.'' She said more quietly, but with a mocking smile.

''I'm working for all our benefit, Calixte. Instead of laughing at me, you and the other Moffs should be helping me.'' He hissed.

''Come on now, Morlish. You don't care about the rest of us, you're just angry because Krayt double-crossed you. You wanted to be Emperor, remember?'' She said with a subtle, but mocking tone, ''I, on the other hand, have accepted my fate, so have the rest of the Moffs and so should you. There is no gain in trying to go against the Sith. Unless you're a very powerful Jedi.''

''Funny you should say that.'' Veed countered, ''I just heard something very interesting. Apparently there is some sort of Jedi, or a more powerful Sith Lord killing Krayt's agents.''

''You are sure about that, Morlish? You didn't misinterpret anything?'' She asked, slightly interested.

''Misinterpret? No.'' He said, ''Krayt just finished a conversation with his head of Intelligence and she said that the killer is here. On Coruscant. He killed that brute idiot Stryfe and a number of Krayt's agents.''

''Alright, Morlish. I'm interested. You may actually have something there, now let's figure out how best to use it.''

Maladi was half way to the Imperial Palace by now. Her personal transport was flying on autopilot and she could review the material in more detail, but she wasn't going to get that chance.

''Darth Maladi.'' A dark voice said.

The Devaronian looked around, but saw no one. She was the only person aboard this transport. She lowered her look back to the datapad.

''Maladi. What an interesting name.'' The voice sounded again.

Maladi looked around again and now saw a male figure in the back of the transport. The red hood was covering most of his face, but she noticed that he was wearing a black Vonduun crab armor with a golden hexagonal insignia on the chest. With that ragged red legdress over the armor leggings he looked almost like a wraith.

''W... who are you?'' Maladi asked with apparent fear in her voice.

''I am the future, Maladi and I have come to cleanse my Empire of you usurpers.'' He said.

''What are you going to do to me?'' She asked not even wanting to know the answer.

''Like I said, you have a very interesting name. You know that the root of your name is the word ''disease''? It is a rather fitting name. You so-called Sith Lords are a disease and I am the cure.'' He said rising his head just a little, revealing his eyes.

Maladi was utterly afraid. She thought of igniting her lightsaber and charging at him, but she gave up that idea as suicidal. In reality nothing she could try would work. She looked at his red eyes and knew that she was about to die. She felt a pain through her entire body, then the wooziness started and a few seconds after that she saw a blister appear on her right hand. It wasn't the only one. More and more blisters popped up on various parts of Maladi's body and each of them produced a sharp pain. She fell down on her knees, trying to crawl towards the hooded figure. She tried to beg for her life, but the words wouldn't come out of her mouth. She started to lose breath and just before she exhaled her last breath she looked up to see that the figure was gone. Disappeared. She fell down, dead, with an expression of horror on her face.

''One more down.''

A ship orbited the capital of the Sith Empire. There was an ancient aura about it. Its crew were only one ancient astromech droid and one equally ancient rusty-red assassin droid. The red droid was listening to the transmission between the Sith Emperor and his head of Intelligence. The ship started its descent on Coruscant.

If the droid had a mouth, he would have smiled with satisfaction, but as it is he simply said: ''Statement: There you are. I was correct.''

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