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Old 09-28-2006, 01:26 PM   #20
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Chapter XIX

''...what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Obi-Wan Kenobi

Another Star Destroyer exploded in a blaze of red fire as Grand Admiral Morlish Veed began to realize that this was a losing battle. The black spherical capital ships were barely scratched by their turbolasers and while he lost almost a third of his fleet the attackers lost only a couple of spheres. Veed saw no way out of this. And then an armada of ten Pellaeon-class Super Star Destroyers emerged from hyperspace.

''To all loyal Imperial forces: this is Emperor Roan Fel, we are here to assist.'' Veed heard the message over the comm.

''This is Grand Admiral Morlish Veed, your forces welcome you, Emperor Fel. It is a pleasure to hear your voice again, my lord.''

''Cut the act Veed! I know all about your little betrayal, but now is not the time for settling old scores. I am assuming command of the Imperial fleet. We have a threat to deal with.''

Fel's flagship received pledges of allegiance from all Moffs and he started issuing orders. He wasn't sure if even he would be able to defeat these aliens, but he had to try. For his daughter. He ordered his fleet of Super Star Destroyers to open fire as they made their way to the rest of the Imperial fleet. Meanwhile an ancient freighter left Coruscant's orbit and flew into the mayhem.

''See that sphere over there?'' Cade asked, ''The one that's larger and slightly different from the rest of them?''

''We see it.'' Draco answered as he and Sigel played the roles of pilot and copilot and guided the ship through this mess, ''What about it?''

''He's there. On that ship.'' Cade answered.

''Thank you for helping us at Rik's.'' Rav told the droid.

''Clarification: I was merely making sure that my target safely arrives to the Imperial Palace and eliminates the Sith Emperor.'' HK-47 answered.

''You really are one devious assassin droid.'' Rav said, ''I could use someone like you when this is all over. How would you like a place in my organization?''

''Statement: If there's murdering of meatbags involved, I'm your droid.''

''Good. Now all we have to do is get out of this one alive.'' Rav pointed out.

''Marasiah, is that you in that freighter?'' A voice came through the comm.

''Yes, father. I'm here.'' She answered, releived to hear his voice.

''I'm sending you the guidance vector to my ship...'' The message broke off. Marasiah looked through the viewport and saw a damaged sphere collide with a Super Star Destroyer, destroying itself and the other ship and creating a massive explosion in the process.

''Father!'' Marasiah cried out. The others tried to console her by telling her that the ship that was destroyed may not have been her father's, but she knew better. She sensed it in the Force. Her father was dead, which meant that she was now in command. She activated the comm and sent a message: ''To all Imperial ships: this is Princess Marasiah Fel, my father's ship is destroyed. I am taking command of the fleet.''

''This is Moff Nyna Calixte aboard the Sovereign, our docking bay is prepared and we await the arrival of your ship.''

Marasiah acknowledged and Draco and Sigel changed course and began to make their way to the Sovereign. The battle raged on as the two fleets exchanged weapons fire. The black spheres firing their particle beams and the Imperials hitting them back with every available turbolaser cannon, but they inflicted almost no damage at all.

Calixte was standing on the Sovereign's bridge when Marasiah and her companions, the two droids as well, made their appearance. Calixte bowed and stepped aside, relinquishing her command of the ship.

''This is Princess Marasiah Fel aboard the Star Destroyer Sovereign to all ships: concentrate your fire on the following coordinates.'' She said as one of the junior officers sent the coordinates of the Lenari master-ship to the rest of the fleet.

Suddenly the Sovereign shook. It was hit, but not from the Lenari weapons. This shot came from one of their own ships.

''Princess Marasiah. This is Grand Admiral Morlish Veed. I could have accepted your father's return, but now that he's dead I won't let anyone prevent me from becoming the Emperor!'' The voice sounded over the comm system.

''Veed! Have you gone mad?! What are you doing, you idiot!? We are in the middle of a deadly battle and all you can think of is your own petty ambitions!''

''Spare me the lecture, Calixte. You're no better than me, just more passive. But I have had it, my ship is superior to yours, I will have no problem destroying you and in the middle of this mess no one would be the wiser. Goodbye.''

But before Veed could fire the fatal shot an extremely strong particle beam coming from the Lenari master-ship hit the Vindicator's bridge, killing everyone there, including Veed. Veed's Super Star Destroyer was now floating dead in space as its remaining crewmembers made their way to the escape pods.

''Good shot, Faren.'' Ralik telepathically congratulated the Lenari commander from his neural interface chamber aboard the spherical master-ship. ''We can't have our opponents killing each other, now can we?''

''Thank you, Lord Ralik. If I may say so, sir, your idea to project yourself on Coruscant directly from here, using the neural interface to amplify your powers was pure brilliance.''

''Thank you, High Centurion.'' Ralik answered telepathically. ''Now, let's finish the rest of this pitiful fleet.''

One of the black spheres fired at another Star Destroyer and blew it out of the sky. The remainig Imperial ships fought back as hard as they could, but with little success.

''What's our status, Calixte?'' Marasiah demanded.

''Veed's shot took out our weapons grid. The bastard knew right where to aim.'' Calixte reported.

''Observation: Your ships are doing no damage to the enemy flagship, I suggest another tactics we should send a team to board it instead of shooting at it. Clarification: When our team, with me as the leader, gets aboard we would only have to find and kill their leader.''

''I'd like nothing more than to finish my fight with that... that madman.'' Cade said, ''But you've seen the firepower of those ships, even their fighters could take us out easily.''

''Exactly.'' Sazen agreed, ''We need to find another way.''

''But what?'' Draco asked and then the answer presented itself to them on a silver platter.

A massive fleet of organic-looking alien ships appeared out of nowhere. They fired upon the Lenari fleet and started destroying the black spheres one by one, their energy weapons ripping through the spheres like they were made out of paper. In the end only the master-ship remained intact.

''Who are they?'' Marasiah wondered out loud as she watched the mysterious fleet of stingray-shaped ships destroy the black spheres with little touble.

''The Aing-Tii.'' Shado replied.

''What?'' Marasiah said.

''The Aing-Tii. They are an order of alien monks who live near the Kathol Rift and rarely leave it. They have a unique space drive technology that allows them to travel instantly to any point in the galaxy. They also have a unique view on the Force and they hate slavers more than anything.'' Shado explained.

''If they can travel instantly, what took them so long?'' Rav asked.

''Who knows? Perhaps they just learned of this battle, in any case they are here to help us and that's what's important.'' Shado said.

When they finished destroying the Lenari ships, the Aing-Tii fleet surrounded the master-ship and sent a message to all Imperial ships in the area: ''This is the Seventh fleet of the Aing-Tii Order, we are here to assist. Please hold your fire, we will depart shortly.'' The alien voice echoed with incredible calmness and light. To Force-sensitives it was a feeling like no other, like a conversation with the Force itself.

The Aing-Tii addressed their next message to Ralik, but allowed the bridge of the Sovereign to listen. ''It is over, Ralik. You have been deceived. What you know as the True Teachings is nothing more than a perversion of them. Accept the truth and give yourself a second chance.''

''You lie!'' Ralik shouted, ''It is my destiny to rule this galaxy! My master assured me of it!''

''Clear your mind and look in your heart, Ralik. You will see the truth.''

For some reason Ralik decided to do as the Aing-Tii suggested and then it hit him. He remembered his whole life. He remembered why he left the Yuuzhan Vong army and why he accepted the teachings of the dark figure. He desired greater power and appreciation, but somewhere along the way he allowed himself to become a puppet of some spirit and wage a war that he never truly wanted. ''But...'' He said.

''Why haven't we shown ourselves sooner? The Aing-Tii do not believe in destiny, nothing is predetermined, only guided as we were guided to come here at this precise moment. You were guided too, Ralik, but not to rule this galaxy. Only to cleanse it of the evils that consumed her and you have done so by killing the Sith Emperor.''

''But, who are the Lenari then?''

''They are from another dimension, as their leader had told you, but they are an evil Empire of slavers and their only desire is to spread their rule throughout the universe. What he told you about their arrival here was true, but it wasn't the Rakata who destroyed the ship with the dimensional drive, it was the Aing-Tii. We come from the same place as the Lenari do. We have fought them for ages and kept them at bay in this universe. We thought we defeated them before the Rakata began their conquest, but we were wrong.''

''So what happens now?'' Ralik asked.

''The Aing-Tii invite you to join us in guarding the dimensional gate at Kathol Rift and learn the only truth that exists and the only True Teachings that exist. If you accept, we will transport you to our ship. If you decline you may go whereever you want to.''

''Very well.'' Ralik sighed ''I accept. I'm tired of war and power, some peace will be a nice change.''

''Very good. Be prepared, we will transport you to one of our ships.''

The dim-lighted command chamber bursted around Ralik into bright light and he soon found himself no longer aboard the master-ship, but with the Aing-Tii. Cade, Marasiah and the others watched as the Aing-Tii ships destroyed the Lenari master-ship and soon after disappeared into the depths of space.

''Statement: I am experiencing a very strange feeling.'' HK said, ''Statement: Protocol Reunion activated. Come on, T3 unit, we have to go. I regretfully reject that job offer.'' The droid told Rav and then both HK and T3 disappeared behind the bridge door and a few minutes later the Ebon Hawk left the Sovereign's hangar and jumped into hyperspace.

''So what do we do now?'' Cade asked.

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