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Old 11-10-2006, 03:41 PM   #5
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Chapter 4


A lightsaber blade came to life, lighting Tanith Vessa's face with a red glow as she stared thoughtfully at its owner. She seemed almost bored as she regarded the young man who'd agreed to be her sparring partner... a foolish decision, but the fool wouldn't know that until it was too late.

“What is it about a red blade you Dark Jedi love so much?” she asked, turning slightly to remain facing the young man as he circled her. “It's not a very pretty color, you know.”

A sneer came to the man's face. “Pretty?” he scoffed. “It's not meant to be pretty! Red is the color of blood.”

“So?” Tanith inquired, now sounding even more bored than she looked.

“So, blood is something we like to shed!” the man explained, raising his saber and charging at Tanith. Quicker than he could react to, she used the Force to nudge his saber slightly to the side, completely missing her. Then, just as fast, she wrapped her right arm around his waist, lightsaber pointed in toward his side. A cry of pain echoed in the large dueling arena as a deep blue blade pierced the man's side and came out the other.

“That we do,” Tanith whispered in his ear. She deactivated her saber and kicked the dying man to the ground, watching as his lightsaber skittered away from his dying hand. “That we do.”

Clipping her new lightsaber to her belt, she turned to the sole spectator and smirked. “I guess it works.”

The young woman smiled. “Just as well as you'd expected, I see.”

Tanith shrugged. “He desperately needed that lesson,” she suggested. “So unfortunate it had to be his last.”

“That sort of lesson wasn't your last,” the girl pointed out. Tanith shook her head.

“No, it wasn't,” she agreed. “And that is why the Jedi will not survive.”

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

“You are not focused, Kevannis,” Reibé scolded, shaking her head solemnly. They stood with the other Sith Hunters in a large, empty room, lightsabers active. Jast held his hazy yellow blade at the ready and nodded.

“Forgive me, Hunter Reibé,” he said. “Any thought of Tanith Vessa reminds me of Tarika. It is too much.”

“Clear your mind,” Reibé told him. “We begin again.” Turning to address Craig, she said, “Brother, if you don’t mind?”

Craig nodded and announced, “Initiate random attackers, multiple skill levels.”

Suddenly, the room was not empty. Several adversaries flashed into place and Reibé spoke. “When we face Vessa, we will enter into combat with one mind. Fight as one. We join now in preparation.”

We are joined. We have one mind, one voice.

But one of them had a separate voice. Jast announced firmly, “Include simulation of Tanith Vessa. Set her to watch…”

The voices began to agree and all of them began to speak in unison. “… as her supporters battle us. When we finish with them, Vessa will engage.”

“Commands confirmed,” the computer announced. “Multiple voice patterns in accordance. Vessa will remain spectator until followers are disabled.”

“Begin,” they ordered. Vessa’s followers sprang into action. The Sith Hunters and Jast remained connected and began the fight. They dominated the room, destroying their opponents before they had a chance to react. As they spun, flipped, and engaged the ‘grunts’, as Jast called them, Jokemaster noticed and pointed out to the others that Vessa was nowhere in sight. But when her Dark Jedi followers were destroyed, she entered the room through a holographic door.

“My, my,” she remarked coolly. “I hadn’t expected you to get this far.”

“We did not come to talk,” the Hunters and Jast told her in unison. “We cannot let you remain in power.”

“This I know,” Tanith said, nodding slightly. “But a little chat won’t kill you.”

“A little chat will separate us,” the common mind said through seven mouths. “It is what you want. It is what we will not allow.”

And just as she had when Jast fought her the first time, Tanith Vessa laughed and announced, “Well, you’ll have to catch me!” With that, she slipped out the door behind her.

We follow her as one…

“Hey, there!” Reibé yelled angrily as Jast broke the connection and sped off in pursuit of the holo-Vessa.

“End simulation,” Craig sighed at the same time. The simulated walls and dead bodies faded away, leaving Jast and the Hunters in a large, open room. Annoyed, Jast deactivated his lightsaber.

“How can we hope to succeed when you end the sim every time we get to her?” he demanded.

“How can we hope to succeed when you run after her, hot-headed because she killed your girlfriend?” Reibé shot back. “If we’re going to succeed, this can’t be about revenge, Kevannis.”

“Revenge?” Jast exclaimed. “I already got my revenge. I killed Vessa the first time, remember?”

“But your strike did not leave her dead forever,” Craig countered. “Therefore, you feel your revenge has come undone.”

“Don’t deny it, kid,” Jokemaster added. “The current companionship you find yourself with have had three-hundred years to fine tune our senses to this sort of thing.”

Jast said nothing, which was further confirmation of what the Sith Hunters had already sensed. Reibé sighed.

“Alright, Kevannis,” she said slowly. “As you know, we have updated the Tanith Vessa program with as much extra power as we believe she has gained by returning to life. When you have lost the simulation enough times to recognize your foolishness, let us know.”

With that, the Sith Hunters filed out of the room. Just as Reibé approached the door, she told the system, “Initiate the Vessa program. When Kevannis utters the words, ‘I give up’, end the program.”

“And what if I defeat her?” Jast demanded. The Sith Hunters laughed and Reibé stepped out of the room. The door slapped shut behind her, leaving Jast Kevannis alone with a simulation he was sure he could beat.


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Hidden Histories: The Galaxy Hacker

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