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Old 09-28-2006, 01:18 PM   #15
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Chapter XIV

''When you understand a species' art, you understand that species.''
Grand Admiral Thrawn

Two hours later, that same day. In the center of his master-ship, sitting connected to the Force-amplifying neural interface in the center of the dim-lighted circular command room was Ralik. The red hood over his head still hiding most of his face and the golden hexagonal insignia with the two lines on its sides shining from the chamber lights.

He remembered the day he returned to the Dark Planet, his one last visit to that place. The specter of his unnamed master was waiting in the compound's Throne room, as always.

''You summoned, master?'' He said then.

''Yes, Ralik. Your time is approaching. Your destiny will soon be fulfilled, but I have one last task for you. One last thing you must do for me.'' The dark figure whispered.

''What is it, master?'' Ralik asked.

''Listen carefully, for this is my final lesson to you.'' The figure whispered, ''Concentrate on me. Feel the Force in my spirit.''

''I feel it, master.'' Ralik said a few seconds later.

''Good. Now hold out your arms and draw out the Force from me and into you.'' The figure whispered, ''Once you do this your power will grow vastly. Your last mission for me is to go to planets that have places which are strong in the Force, places like the tombs of Jedi and Sith and to take the Force energy from those places. After you have finished, you will be so powerful that no one will be able to stop you.''

Ralik obeyed his master that one last time and the dark specter turned into smoke and the smoke appeared to enter Ralik's palms. Ralik felt his power in the Force growing, his senses sharpening. His master had given him a unique farewell present. He taught him how to absorb residual Force power.

Ralik remembered how he left the Dark Planet for good and traveled from one planet to another, absorbing Force energy from certain locatons and enlarging his power. He fulfilled that task while his army and fleet were growing and now, after elaborate subterfuge and intimidation tactics the time has come to take his prize.
''You summoned me, Lord Ralik?'' The black skinned Lenari officer respectfully asked when he entered the command chamber of the master-ship.

''Yes, Faren. The time has come. In exactly two hours I want you to order our ships to attack.'' Ralik said coldly. Arrogance and confidence echoing in his voice.

''Yes, my lord.'' The black skinned alien said, bowed and left the room.

Meanwhile, back on Coruscant Darth Krayt has summoned the Moffs to an urgent meeting. The six Moffs, headed by Morlish Veed answered the call with no idea whatsoever what this was all about. They all heard the rumours, read the reports, but was this all truly because of some killer?

''The Moffs answer your call, Emperor.'' The six said after a bow.

''Moffs of the Empire, I am sure that you have heard all about the recent deaths of many of my followers, including my head of Sith Intelligence, Darth Maladi.'' Krayt started.

''Yes, my lord.'' Veed confirmed.

''I have called you here because I am in need of your services. I am declaring a quarantine over Coruscant. I want you to fly to our orbital spaceport and position our fleet around the planet. No ship will be allowed to leave Coruscant until this threat has been eliminated. If any ship wishes to land you will inform them of the status and if they still wish to land you will act according to standard procedure.''

''Yes, my lord.'' Veed answered for all of them.

''Grand Admiral Morlish Veed, you will be leading our fleet, the rest of you will work according to Admiral Veed's orders. Go now and execute my will!'' Krayt said and with those words the meeting was over, the Moffs bowed once again and departed.

''Did you hear that, Calixte?'' Veed said to the woman minutes after they left the Imperial Palace.

''Yes. Krayt's losing it, this may be our chance, if we play the cards right.'' The woman answered with a wicked smile.

It took them an hour to position the fleet, but when that hour passed the network of Pellaeon-class Star Destroyers, named in honor of Grand Admiral Gilad Pellaeon who once served under the infamous Grand Admiral Thrawn and later became one of the most valuable officers of the Galactic Alliance, was so tight that not even a fly could pass through it.

''This is Grand Admiral Morlish Veed to all ships: as of this moment the quarantine is in effect. No ships are allowed to leave the planet. If any ship attempts to break through you will respond with deadly force.'' Veed announced from his flagship, the Pellaeon-class Super Star Destroyer Vindicator.

On the far end of the system a ship left hyperspace. It was the shuttle of Marasiah Fel. She and her three allies have arrived. The huge fleet of Star Destroyers struck terror into the four and as they remembered why they were here, the courage they needed slowly returned.

''We are close enough, activate the cloaking generator and set course for Coruscant's surface.'' Marasiah ordered and in just a few seconds the shuttle disappeared from sight and sped up past the terrifying fleet.

''All those Star Destroyers. What do you think is happening here?'' Draco asked.

''I don't know, but I'm sure we can find out. Tap into their comm frequency.'' She ordered and Sigel, who was sitting in the copilot's seat complied.

'' of this moment the quarantine is in effect. No ships are allowed to leave the planet. If any ship attempts to break through you will respond with deadly force.'' The audio message sounded through the comm speakers.

''Looks like we've arrived just in time. Things have definitely went overboard around here.'' Ganner noticed.

''So it begins.''

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