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Old 08-26-2008, 05:46 PM   #161
Darth_Yuthura
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Chapter 33

Master Vash said the speeder bike we received was damaged, but brought back up to working condition. It had a transponder that we needed to get past the base's defenses. From the moment I got behind the controls, I assumed it was a bucket of bolts. I didn't think about it breaking down because we just needed it for a fairly short trip.

As we got on and started our departure, hundreds gathered to see us off. I didn't think I should have spoiled the moment for them by casting doubt upon the mechanics who repaired the bike. I should not have played hero for them when I should have asked to have the bike checked again.

I stood behind Ross as he tinkered with the speeder bike after it died about 100 kilometers away from the Republic station. He was clad in the same black sith robe as I, so he was unbearably hot. We didn’t carry much survival gear, so we were forced to keep our robes on to avoid dehydration. We didn't have any survival gear with us at the time... even bottled water carried a Republic mark on them. I also wasn't concerned with wilderness survival at the time. I still wish we brought some water and just thrown away the bottles before entering the base.

I was more capable of enduring the heat, but Ross had to work in these conditions as well. He stayed in the shadow of the bike to avoid the direct rays of the star over the horizon. I also cast my shadow to give him more shade under which to work. Since I wasn’t doing much else, I might as well have provided even that little sum of worth.

I stared at the locker on the bike that normally would have held survival gear, or even a toolbox. Instead, it was filled with everything we needed for the mission. There was no room for anything else.

In a large insulated case were 20 small demolition plasma charges. They were simple white blocks with a cylindrical device in the center. Designed for efficient packing and simplicity, each one could punch a hole through 25 cm of duracrete or 10 cm of armor. At the back were magnetic and adhesive strips.

Canderous briefed me on the workings of those explosives, so I got an idea as to what they were capable of. Only half of their weight represented the explosive. The other was taken up by the detonator; equipped with every kind of function that could be found on a mine or grenade. It had a proximity sensor, timer, remote detonator, impact fuse, and ‘collective programing’ as Ross described it. Since he knew how to work the mines better than I, he carried the remote control.

Another item I included was a compact blaster pistol. Although neither of us used blasters, I thought we should have at least one ranged weapon with an advanced sniper scope. Although not very powerful, it was accurate up to 100 meters. We might have needed it for a sniper attack or for a distraction. It had only 25 shots, but I didn’t included another power pack... We likely shouldn’t have included the pistol at all.

Communications had been jammed by the ionized particles in the planet's atmosphere, but we had comlinks along that allowed us to send and receive simple signals. It wasn’t enough for us to talk with one another, but we could transmit pulses on a few different frequencies. Up to 8 responses could be set.

The last mission item was a data pad equipped with the advanced lock-breaking features we would need to interface with almost anything. With my computer skills, there would be little that I couldn’t do with the pad.

We did have some room for a few tools, but we couldn’t risk carrying anything with a Republic emblem. Everything except for the explosives and my data pad were captured from the sith. Our lightsabers were unique, so they didn’t matter. I only wished we had some red focusing crystals to complete the ensemble.

-----

After almost half an hour of working, Ross was getting frustrated and cursed in another language before turning around and laying with his back against the bike. Although frustrated, I knew that he had to keep working. A sat next to him and pulled his opposite shoulder into a comrade-like embrace. “So what did you just say?”

He was hunched over and didn’t intend to relax. “It was a term that means tainted by the ones who made it. The lift fan is a Republic design and it wasn’t meant to work with the sith engine.”

“Can it be fixed at all, or is the damage irreversible?”

“There is permanent damage to the clutch between the two. Both seem fine, but if they can’t work together...”

“What does the lift fan do? How does the clutch work?”

He got up and pointed to the front of the engine. “The engine’s drive shaft runs to the front of the bike and provides the lift fan with its power. The problem is that the engine would cause the front of the bike to nose up or dive. The clutch bleeds off excess energy, but it doesn’t allow any energy to the lift fan if it’s damaged.”

I saw exactly what he meant by it. “Is there anyway to transfer power directly to the fan? That would cause it to nose up while we are going faster, but we could sustain about 50 Km per hour to avoid that.”

He pulled his head up at the idea. “That would not work for non-jedi, but we would have to levitate the bike while going at slow speeds. And there is a better solution to slowing down. We can’t waste that much time anymore. So if I...” He leaned over to slide under the back of the bike and started fidgeting with some systems that I couldn’t identify.

After he removed a completely separate part the one that was damaged, I asked what he was doing.

He was still on his back under the engine nacelle. “I’m compensating for the additional power devoted to the front of the lift fan. We’ll have more thrust downward, but we’ll be able to reach 200 Km per hour without any problem. We just have to worry about the bike at slow speeds.” He then shifted himself to the front of the bike and fixed the lift fan to the drive shaft. He left the damaged clutch in place.

He rolled back to his feet and started up the engine. There was no hesitation, but it was louder than before. He brought the throttle down to speak to me. “Since I modified it, I should take over. We can’t afford the time to test it, so we have to be underway.”

I gestured him to get on and I sat behind him. “Are you sure of this?!” I yelled over the engine which had been pushed to full throttle.

“It’s fine! I'm sure we'll reach our destination, but I wouldn’t take this out again! Don’t worry... It’s not likely to explode!” He put his helmet on.

I didn’t like the sound of the engine, but I didn't say anymore. There was little choice but to go on. The sith base was less desirable in any event.

The bike took off with only his force power to hold it off the ground. He slowly let the lift fan take over as he reduced his force levitation. The ride was much more nerve-racking after that. I kept hoping that there wouldn't be another breakdown, or we would be out of time and likely have had our remains scattered across the surface. It sounded better than any other death we would endure, but it wasn't pleasant to think of how best to die.

I didn't want to suffer by the hand of the sith, but it didn't mean I wanted to ensure it never happened. Many sith would kill themselves than face the wrath of the others, but I wanted much more to get back to Alfred and Revan. I also didn't want to see anything happen to the kid... I hated the thought of him suffering that fate because of me. I just hated being liable for him as well.

-----

When the sith base had come into view, we received clearance to enter the perimeter and return to swoop garage 3. Ross took over with using his force power to balance the bike and came in to the closest swoop hanger we could identify. It didn't have any numbers on the exterior, but we were allowed to go in without being stopped by security.

When we set down, Ross leaned his head back in relief. I realized that I never formally briefed him on how to behave while he was with me. I got off the bike and spoke quietly into his ear. “Now that we're in, you are to never say anything other than what you must. There will be no lessons, small talk, or anything outside the mission. We are not jedi... we are sith... follow my lead and don’t act if you don’t know what you’re doing. That is an order.”

He still had his helmet on when we nodded in acknowledgment.

After he got off the bike, a mechanic was looking at us. He was wearing the standard gold and black uniform of a sith soldier and carried a datapad that was likely the repair log or something that we weren't on. After examining us and checking the info on the pad, he confronted me. Through the voice box, he stated “I have no record of this bike being used. What were you...”

I snapped right at him with the boldest tone I could use. “I was doing an exercise with my apprentice.” I faced Ross and gestured for him to follow me. “Come along... keep up!”

The sith stepped in front of me, but not in my path as to directly oppose a sith master. “I have no record of this bike being taken. I can’t just let you go without clarifying things first. Who authorized...”

You stopped and stared incredulously at him. “I don’t have time for this! There is nothing wrong with the records.” I started walking past him with no regard to his duty. We clearly weren't on the record, so I had to make him disregard the issue by portraying myself as a sith with little patience and a bad temper.

“I assure you that no such bike was granted to this ‘exercise’... which was authorized by me. I’ll would rather let security decide who is right.”

He started logging onto his pad and I knew I had to end the incident that was about to brew. I stepped up to him in a threatening manner. “Are you calling me a liar?”

“I’m saying there has been a mistake.”

“If there was, it was your mistake.”

He paused for a brief moment and stopped tapping the pad. “With all due respect, I would not have made...”

“There are three outcomes I see that security will come to. Either you are calling me a liar; by which case I’ll execute you. If a mistake has been made, it was yours; and security will execute you for your incompetence. Or they are no mistakes, but which case you will stand aside and I will complement you for your good work.” I put my face within centimeters of his helmet and he leaned away. "Are there any problems they should be aware of?"

His face was hidden by the gold mask, but I could see the fear brewing within him. He had a duty to perform, but he didn’t want to go up against a sith master. I think I was both convincing and threatening enough to make him step back. “Uh... no. There are no mistakes Master...”

“Ban... Yuthura. Keep up the good work and carry on.” I looked back to Ross and then started walking at a brisk pace. The average sith was not one for patience, so we had to move very quickly. Once I found a corner where we could get out of sight, I turned right and saw no others around. When Ross caught up to me, I had to discuss our plan.

He grinned at me for my wonderful acting back there. “You were great. I wouldn’t have wanted to be that...”

“Save it. We’ll compliment each other later, but for now... there will be no pleasantries here. If you do well, I’ll praise you later. For now, we have to find the AD towers and plant the charges.”

His smile vanished as if I just struck him down. He did understand that it was not personal. “I have set timers to have them go off at a specified time. We will be able to trigger them by remote or reset the timers if we need to. We’ve got three hours before the strike fighters are deployed.”

I nodded and looked around. There was an AD tower in sight and I gestured for us to go for it. How we would get to the power generator was going to require some thought.

-----

Being among the sith again was a very uncomfortable experience. I could blend in and not be seen, but I was concerned that Ross would be exposed and I wouldn’t be able to help him. I still didn’t like bringing him along. He may have solved the speeder bike issue when I wouldn’t have, but he was now a liability to me. Even if that weren’t an issue, I need him to infiltrate the towers and work the explosives. The consequences to both influence the mission outcome, so I knew I could not leave him behind if he were captured.

The base was a collection of hangers and barracks that were simply placed wherever needed. The base did not go by an overall design, but rather a small city of various buildings and hangers spread across about a kilometer. The encampment was fairly uniform in height with few structure more the four stories. There was one hanger that appeared large enough to house strike fighters, but there were no fighters inside. I was requested to confirm that there none when we had the chance, but it was not our priority.

There was bare ground where no duracrete or buildings rested, but no vegetation anywhere. If there were, the base would have resembled a city I visited on Dantooine. Almost everything was prefabricated, but many of the simple structures were made of materials were dug up from the land. The fuel tanks, hangers, and command centers were state of the art while the warehouses and barracks were unremarkable.

When we first saw the encampment, the first AD tower was among the other buildings while the other two were either outside or on the outskirts on the far side. Because they were the tallest objects, it was easy to locate our primary targets. The command center and war room were likely not going to be as easy to find. We would have to follow any data cables to their source, but they were buried and difficult to trace. The orbital image we got was very distorted by electronic interference, so we could only identify a few of the locations within the base.

-----

The towers were about fifty meters tall and appeared to have a single weapon at the top level, but the emplacements were heavily fortified and could shoot down fighters with ease. Getting inside appeared more difficult than originally believed. When we reached the first one, there was one entry at the ground level and a security perimeter around the foundation that appeared dangerous to walk over.

As I stared at the field, Ross told me about it. “The power generator has a conduit running under the ground. It doesn’t drain much energy unless a something passes over it. It works very much like a lightsaber... only gives off light energy until something comes in contact with the blade.”

I smiled at the clever nature of the kid. “I assume you know how to get though?”

I looked at him with positive anticipation, but didn’t see much confidence. “This tower has its own power generator and is independent of the base’s power grid. The only way to shut down the security field surrounding the base is from the inside.”

“I thought you’ve dealt with this kind of fortification before? How did you get inside?”

He nodded nervously. “The tower’s security grid is tied to the shield network. That’s another reason that they don’t simply lock down the entrance. We could step through an energy shield because the security grid drops during a battle.”

“So are you saying that we need to make them think an air strike is in progress?” I asked.

“Maybe, but I think there should be an easier way of going about this.” He rested his head upon his knuckle to gesture that he was thinking seriously. I didn’t like how obvious it was that he didn’t know what to do. I had often given off the impression that I was thinking about a problem when I knew I wouldn’t come up with a solution... just to make it look like I hadn’t already given up. Ross wasn’t expecting to come to a solution, but he wanted me to believe that he was.

I had to come up with the solution on my own. “They have to maintain these towers, so a repair crew could get through. We just have to dispatch someone and see how they pass through.”

“And then use the technique for the other two... brilliant.”

“I said save the compliments.” I hissed. “You don’t know who may be watching.” I turned away to go for the most likely building where I could arrange for a repair crew to report for the tower. I had turned my back on Ross and expected him to follow, but instead... he offered resistance.

He followed and got right behind me to speak into my ear. “Yuthura... you’re being paranoid. You expect to be...”

A surge of anger flooded my mind and I shot around to drive my order into him. “And you’re not taking this seriously!” I shouted at the loudest volume I could whisper. I grabbed him and dragged him into a narrow alley between two barracks. “You can NOT underestimate the danger we are in. I’m trying to keep us out of sight and all you’re doing is attracting attention!”

He looked as though I had just offended him in the worst way. “Me?! All I did was complement you!”

I was getting even more frustrated that he didn’t realize his own error. I grabbed his robe and pressed him against a wall. “You don’t know anything about the sith! If you let your guard down, they will see your weakness and exploit it. Don’t EVER assume something you don’t understand. If I must beat that lesson into you... then I will!”

He was fearing that I meant what I said. Ross turned his head away as though I were going to hit him. Although he was terrorized of me, he did not whimper or tell me what I wanted to hear. He uttered words that he didn’t want to say. “Master... please don’t do this. I don’t want to go against you, but you're not being rational...” He turned to look me directly in the eye. “...please don’t do this.”

I saw the fear in his eyes that I had come to enjoy while I walked around Korrian as a sith master. It was the same fear that I had in my eyes when I was on Sleheyron. That was the fear I wanted to never see again from anyone... and here I was seeing it in the one who had braved the sith alongside me. Suddenly, I had noticed how easily it came to me to threaten him in order to get what I wanted... not to get caught. Although I was giving a good show, there was no one around... and I wasn’t acting.

I let go of him and stepped back, hitting the opposite wall behind me. I was not expecting it and my reflexes drove me forward, almost hitting the opposite wall. Ross saw that I was off-balance and caught my left arm before I lost it completely. He was relieved that I released him, but at the same time still concerned for me.

I had been breathing intensely at what had just happened. Ross kept quiet, but I knew that he wanted an apology. “I’m sorry. I was letting my anger take control, but you didn’t recoil. I didn’t mean to threaten you.”

He looked like he wanted to physically comfort me, but kept his distance. “Can I say something... without angering you?”

I leaned my head back against the wall opposite of him. I was trying to relax for whatever he was about to tell me. “Go ahead.”

“I know what you said about not being discovered by the sith. I don’t know what the consequences are, but you don’t have to assume I need to be reminded. And I’m willing to put of with anything you need to do, but I didn’t exactly appreciate being blamed just then. You and I both need to communicate to do this... I didn’t do any more than you did that could pot us at risk.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.” When I heard some distant gunfire, I remembered that we had to complete our mission as soon as possible. We were secluded in that alley, but we might have been seen. I stepped past Ross and pulled him by the shoulder. “We have to keep moving. We need to get out of here.”

He gently held me back by the same shoulder. “There’s one other thing... I know not to underestimate the sith, but I told you that you’re being overly cautious. I still believe it.”

I stood up confidently. “If you knew the sith as I have, you would not say such a thing.”

He looked at me grimly. “I can’t say that I have, but you seem to expect danger everywhere. You can’t look left... you can’t look right. Fear is a powerful thing, but you can’t let it influence your judgment. If you can’t keep your mind focused because you’re afraid of the outcome... then I will go without you.”

I just stared at him in amazement. I just thought he trusted in me implicitly, but I came to understand that I had to earn his trust. He wouldn’t have wanted to be my apprentice to just anyone. Ross wanted me and I felt great comfort to have his respect and admiration. I didn’t want to lose it or to see him face the danger on his own. Going on alone was foolish, but it was the kind of foolishness that motivates those like me into action.

I turned back and I embraced the kid. Something about him really made me feel more alive than ever before. As Revan had won a place in my heart, so did Ross. This must have been why Revan and Alfred were willing to sacrifice so much for me. Whatever the feeling was, it felt greater than when I plunged that knife into Omeesh’s throat. They were like everything that the Hutt was not... and I felt more like the belligerent protector I often fantasized myself as. This wasn’t just my imagination anymore... I was becoming that person.

Ross waited for a few seconds before gently pushing me away. “You aren’t acting like a sith. Didn’t you imply to never let your guard down?” He said in a jocular tone.

I smiled. “Not until after we are far away from this place. We still have to keep up the appearance of a sith master and her student."

We both smiled for a long moment before we nodded and got back to the task at hand. I was confident that we were not noticed... the sith didn't have eyes everywhere. That still didn't mean we could just leap into a corridor or a confined space to break character whenever we wanted to. I was confident that we wouldn't have to go through it again.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 08-27-2008 at 10:00 AM. Reason: Completion
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Old 08-26-2008, 06:06 PM   #162
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WOW! I love this story! Great Job! Keep Up The Great Work There!


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Old 08-26-2008, 07:08 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by Darth_Yuthura View Post
I turned back and I embraced the kid. Something about him really made me feel more alive than ever before. As Revan had won a place in my heart, so did Ross. This must have been why Revan and Alfred were willing to sacrifice so much for me. Whatever the feeling was, it felt greater than when I plunged that knife into Omeesh’s throat. They were like everything that the Hutt was not... and I felt more like the belligerent protector I often fantasized myself as. This wasn’t just my imagination anymore... I was becoming that person.

Aw, that was the most perfect ending to a chapter, ever. Really leaves a warm feeling in your heart! Or maybe that's the tea I just drank... Either way.

Loved it, very Ross and Yuthura oriented. I do like how Yuthura's progressed so far, and that moment of weakness she showed was brilliant... almost like she became the apprentice.

Even if you did make a few spelling/grammar mistakes and put 'you' instead of 'i' at one point...

5 stars.


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 08-26-2008, 07:16 PM   #164
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Thanks. I was aiming more that Yuthura was fearful than that she was acting like a sith. At first, she was supposed to be acting, but as they BOTH became more visible, she would overlook her own fault and be fixated on him. When she saw the fear in him, she realized that she was not just acting anymore... she was reverting to her old self.

The moment at the end was meant for her to show that she was willing to take a moment to show she was no longer paranoid and would demonstrate it to him. I hoped to have her be more interested in herself than him, but she has come to believe that boy's life would have been on her conscience after that. She was more concerned about being caught than she was at keeping him safe.
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Old 08-26-2008, 07:20 PM   #165
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Thanks. I was aiming more that Yuthura was fearful than that she was acting like a sith. At first, she was supposed to be acting, but as they BOTH became more visible, she would overlook her own fault and be fixated on him. When she saw the fear in him, she realized that she was not just acting anymore... she was reverting to her old self.

The moment at the end was meant for her to show that she was willing to take a moment to show she was no longer paranoid and would demonstrate it to him. I hoped to have her be more interested in herself than him, but she has come to believe that boy's life would have been on her conscience after that. She was more concerned about being caught than she was at keeping him safe.
Indeed. I noticed her sudden change from acting to being, before Yuthura realised it herself. It was a good process, which made that particular paragraph even better!


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 08-26-2008, 09:26 PM   #166
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I definitly noticed that Yuthura was more scared and not acting like a sith when shge got angry at Ross. This confrontation was very well written. I have a love for this kind of thing.

The ending made it perfect though. Realizing Ross' respect has to be earned, him correcting her. It's just a good thing the sith didn't see all that.

*****

~HOP



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Old 08-27-2008, 10:26 AM   #167
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I'm just noting here that the chapter is complete. I may have more to add, but I'm satisfied to leave it as it is.


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Originally Posted by HIGH ON PIE 14 View Post
I definitly noticed that Yuthura was more scared and not acting like a sith when shge got angry at Ross. This confrontation was very well written. I have a love for this kind of thing.

The ending made it perfect though. Realizing Ross' respect has to be earned, him correcting her. It's just a good thing the sith didn't see all that.

*****

~HOP

She actually was thinking like a sith when she threatened her padawan. She was only pretending to be with the speeder bike mechanic, but as Ross started proving to be a liability, she becomes increasingly paranoid. That is not limited to cowering behind every corner, but lashing out at the wrong time and at the wrong person. It was fear that caused her to threaten Ross, but she behaved exactly as she would have before Revan.

She got angry at Ross because she feared for both of them. She believed that her threat was meant to make him do what was required to stay hidden. Yuthura acted like a sith for a selfless reason, but she didn't understand that her caution was leading her down a familiar path.

Does this make sense, or did I not show it?
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Old 08-27-2008, 01:38 PM   #168
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I've been away from the boards for a bit and just finished reading all that I'd missed. I continue to believe that you are doing a wonderful job.

I think that, in reference to the last chapter, I was able to tell the difference between Yuthura's act and her true anger. She is very much afraid of the consequences of being discovered and she realizes that Ross is not helping the situation. Fear is a powerful emotion that can affect even the most stable person.


"You'll find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view."

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Old 09-01-2008, 01:21 PM   #169
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Chapter 34: A Moment of Panic

When Ross and I first set off from the Republic fuel station, we had nearly six hours to set our explosives and get out, but with the speeder bike delay and security issues, we set out for our second target with less than two. In order to hide our activities from the security personell, I had to delete the records of the repair requests. That meant accessing the base’s command center and mainframe computer... not exactly the most accessible place to be. Although I was a sith, that didn’t mean that I could just walk in and do whatever I wanted. AD towers didn’t routinely need repairs, so there was an even greater risk of discovery if we tried the same stunt as last time. Given the importance of covering our tracks, we had no choice but to take the risk.

The mainframe was in a fairly small building... only two stories high, but I traced almost every physical data cable to converge on that single location. It looked heavily guarded from the exterior appearance alone. With reinforced duracrete, no windows, and guards near the entrence, it was where we had to penetrate.

I approached the main entrance and placed my palm on the touch screen with the hope that my identity was still in the records. The guard next to the control panel looked at the panel to ensure that everything had been cleared before he would allow us through. A sense of relief came when I saw my portrait displayed on the panel and the electronic male computer voice just said, “Identity confirmed: Yuthura Ban. Rank: Force sensitive master. Access: Granted.” Along with the voice was my profile displayed on the screen. I hated the portrait of me in that grey uniform and a long list of my achievements while I among the sith.

The soldier read the screen and was surprised at what he saw. “So you’re the one who taught on Korriban. I thought it was a man.”

“What do you mean I’m ‘the one’? There were many instructors.”

He looked at me with some confusion. “I meant the one who was left standing after the academy fell. But I suppose that when you killed Uthar that anyone who didn’t respect your leadership deserved the same fate.”

I had completely let it slip my mind, but there was likely another sith out there that had survived the massacre at Korriban. I didn’t like the idea that there was one witness who could verify that I betrayed the sith, but that was not something that I could allow myself to think of at the moment. I just said, “Right. Now if you don’t mind, I would like to go through.”

When I passed through the open door, Ross followed only to be stopped by the same guard who welcomed me in. “You must have your identity verified as well.”

I turned around. “His identity is not on record.”

He faced me with that golden helmet and took a moment to realize I expected to bring Ross with me. “Why not?”

“Because he doesn’t have an identity.”

Ross wasn’t too thrilled at hearing me say that, but he hid his surprise. He probably expected to be given a false name or something, but no name at all?

That confused the guard, who shifted his attention between both of us. “I don’t understand.”

“He is not a true sith... yet. Until he earns that title, he does not have a name or anything that makes him more than he is... nothing.” I looked at Ross. “I will be accountable for his actions.”

The guard stared at both of us and must have given a look as if to say ‘force sensatives...’ Then he stepped aside. “Very well. You may go in, but you had better stay with your master.” Ross nodded and then followed me through.

I just walked through naturally and went across a room filled with personnel seated at their control panels. Each of the twelve stations were responsible for a specific function around the encampment, which ranged from security to defensive countermeasures. Only four were flesh and blood while the remaining eight were droids. None looked up from their work as we passed through.

This was not where we wanted to be; we had to enter the mainframe computer, which was much more heavily guarded than the control room we had passed through. Ross kept close as we entered a stairway leading to a sub level and eventually found what appeared to be a vault. Although they had security in mind, the door also kept an airtight seal against the elements of nature.

Ross looked like he had a question, but I told him to remain completely silent while we were inside... there were cameras watching us here. I had to get through the locking mechanism to the mainframe, but we had to disable the security sensor watching us first. I asked Ross to hit it with a small burst of ionized energy so that it would just appear to be a result of the planet’s atmosphere; he was successful at distorting its signal without destroying the device altogether.

With the lock breaker, the vault door should have taken a long time to crack, but it only took a few seconds. After what seemed like a pleasant surprise came an unpleasant realization. Within the mainframe computer control room was a technician and a droid tending to one of the massive boxes of circuits and memory chips that had been dissected.

The human male stood up and looked at me as if he knew I were an intruder, but I didn’t react in any way. “Who are you? You don’t have authorization to be here!”

I calmly tried to get him to relax his guard and used the mind trick to help him see reason. “It’s alright. I’m authorized to be here.”

His mind was resilient, but I got him to act as I ordered. “You’re right. You may go about your business.”

The utility droid wasn’t so cooperative. In it’s droid language of beebs and electronic sounds, it addressed me. [Where is your security cylinder?]

“Security cylinder?”

[You must have a security cylinder if you are to enter the mainframe computer. You two do not have one with you.]

I noticed the male had a metal cylinder attached to his left chest pocket and realized that only certain individuals can enter restricted areas regardless of rank. It didn’t matter what rank I was; I didn’t have that special device.

The male looked at the droid and realized that the situation wasn’t right. “She has proper clearance. Why are you alerting security?”

The droid was interfaced with the terminal and turned its ‘head’ towards the male. [Security has already been alerted. Those two do not have the proper authorization.] The droid’s head faced me. [You are to stand down when the guards arrive to...]

I jumped to deactivate the droid before it could finish its statement, but I knew I was too late. Guards had been alerted and were on their way. The human was too confused to know what was happening, but clearly realized that I was an intruder. After deactivating the droid, I started choking him to keep him silent. “Ross! Has the droid alerted them to our presence?”

He ran in and checked the terminal in front of the droid. “Intruder alert. We got to get out of here!”

He turned and grabbed my arm, but I didn’t allow him to run away. “We’re not leaving! Seal the door!”

“We have to get out of here!” He cried out in desperation.

I grabbed his arm and brought his face right in front of mine. “Seal the door now!” I snapped his arm away and turned my attention back to the human, who was still being strangled, and I removed his security device. After that, I snapped his neck and allowed the body to hit the floor.

Ross had done as I ordered and pulled the door closed, but didn’t yet lock it. “You want me to seal it?”

I faced him and shouted in anger. “Yes!” Then I turned my attention to the security cylinder and realized that the lock breaker was still in the terminal outside the door. “No! Not yet! The lock breaker is in the terminal out side... get it!”

He was getting scared, but was quick enough to snatch the device and close the door again. “Sealing it now!”

I rushed over and grabbed the device and almost frantically plugged in the security cylinder to interface with it. I squatted to the floor and started tapping the data pad, trying to establish a link.

Ross got next to me. “What are you doing?” Fear clearly present in his voice.

“Quiet! I need to concentrate!” I kept tapping the keypad and running through the security of the cylinder, trying to establish the interface.

Ross stood up and started pacing slowly turning his attention from the door to me and back again. I was distracted by his movement, but then came up with something I needed him to do. “Ross, I need you to destroy that body.”

“What!?” He shouted almost in protest.

I got up from my squatted position and calmly addressed him this time. “I need you to destroy that body or make it so they cannot ID him. I’m changing this cylinder to match me. If they can’t ID him, then we could say that he was an intruder.”

He looked at me with a gruesome expression. “What about the droid?”

I glanced away from my work and saw the droid was going to have to be destroyed. Then I thought of a brilliant way of covering up all the evidence we had with us... the blaster, the explosives, everything.

I pulled out the pistol I had in my pocket. “Use that on the droid. Make sure the memory is destroyed. Then set up our explosives around the room; make it look like he was going to bomb this place. Two bombs on the six computer cores leaves us with all we need. Place every other one on the body.”

He took the pistol, almost in panic. He feared that we were going to get caught this time and was on the verge of panic.

I couldn’t afford that... I needed him to do what I didn’t have time for, so I put my face within centimeters of his and tried to get him to calm down. I held his shoulders and got his attention on me. “Ross... I need you to do this. I need you to set up the bombs so it looks like an intruder set them up, but be able to disarm them. After this, we still need at least six. Then put whatever else we have on the body and move it away so it doesn’t take us out as well.” He was getting to the point of panic and I moved my hands to behind his head. I forced myself to smile as if everything was going to be alright, even thought it was the last thing I wanted to do. “We’ll get out of this... but I need you to act quickly. I know you can do it.”

He looked at me with great fear, but nodded and let go me. “I need you at one side of the room. Give me your charges.”

I removed my cloak and gave it to him. “I need to get this cylinder ready. Take out the droid’s memory and put the pistol onto the body. That would be even more convincing to have on him. I’ll say that I blasted him with lightning...”

“Yes! I know!” He shouted at me.

I would have been angry at him for that, but it was the greatest thing I ever heard from him. Anger was much better to have than fear.

I turned my attention back to the lock breaker and kept working. The sound of the blaster was very deafening for such a small weapon, but the droid was out for good. Then I heard the rhythmic sound of timers counting down as Ross moved across the room and by the computer cores. Then he dragged the body to the far side of the room to plant the last explosives... five remaining.

Then I heard the sound of the lock breaker completing the task of getting the interface with the cylinder. “Got it!” I shouted in great joy.

Ross looked at me with great relief, but it was broken by the sound of the door being accessed from outside. We had little time to celebrate. “Five bombs would be too much. I would only use one for this.”

I still had to download my information to the cylinder, so I didn’t have time to deal with anything else. “Just do what you must!”

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Old 09-01-2008, 02:30 PM   #170
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Ooh very suspenseful.

It's very interesting how Yuthura thought 'anger is better than fear' - does this mean that she's subconsciously turning Ross to the dark side? Yet another Jedi failing, that Yuthura isn't aware of?

Brilliant piece, here... can't wait to see the continuations. And no, that isn't me trying to make you speed up the process. Take your time.


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 09-01-2008, 02:43 PM   #171
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She was glad that Ross was angry, but only because it meant that he had enough awareness of the situation to act. If he had not yelled, she might think that he would be too afraid to act. Anger was better than fear in that situation, but being calm would have been even better.

I'm trying to establish a range of feelings between these characters and show how dynamic one's thoughts are for the other. Ross would have to fall pretty far before you need to start being worried. Next chapter is well underway.
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Old 09-01-2008, 08:43 PM   #172
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wow. brilliant Darth_Yuthura! I really cannot wait until the next chapter. You really have me hooked now. Brillant I say!

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Old 09-01-2008, 09:21 PM   #173
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wow. brilliant Darth_Yuthura! I really cannot wait until the next chapter. You really have me hooked now. Brillant I say!
Appreciate the compliment. I really am trying to explore certain issues in great depth and avoid repetition. There are certain lessons I try to include and hope that others take something away when they set this down.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:05 PM   #174
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This chapter had a suspenseful feel to it, all the sneaking around the base. Ross seems to have realized not to be totally submissive to Yuthura but they have very different views. Good suspense, good tension between the characters...

They despite their conflict work well I think. Ross keeps her aware of her anger and Yuthura is slowly turning him away from the goody goody to the what it takes to get it done guy. Slow, but I think I see it happening.

Take your time. Remeber the five week where I didn't post a single addition. *shudders* dark times...anyway, we will wait. Excellent addition.

~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 09-10-2008, 08:53 AM   #175
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Most fanfiction is of little interest to me but your fic is addictive. I'm hooked. Next chapter, please?
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Old 09-17-2008, 10:12 PM   #176
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To loyal fans:

This is an update, but not a new chapter.

I'm going back to the beginning to overhaul Shrouded in Darkness. Most of the present chapters will have very limited changes that do not directly change the plot. I'm correcting grammar, spelling, past tense problems, and other flaws like these.

There will, however, be some significant additions worth going back to reread. I will update everyone on my progress and specify which chapters have been significantly modified from the first drafts. I know that this is a very cheap way of updating this story without having to write all new chapters, but I think you'll like what will be added to the prior draft.

Chapter six has a new ending that will lead to an original chapter 7 soon to come!

Chapters updated: 1 - 6

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Old 09-18-2008, 04:26 PM   #177
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I miss the quick installments. When ever shall this great story have a chapter 35?


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 09-19-2008, 01:42 AM   #178
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^


I also agree. Thanks for the information though Darth_Yuthura!

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Old 09-20-2008, 12:27 PM   #179
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How did you get chapters out that fast!? Dang!

Well, I just finished this. Took me three days. I really like the story so far. I didn't know I could turn Yuthura to the Light Side! I'll have to do that next time through. I thought 'Meeeeeeekul' was the only one I could turn.


I didn't like the parts where Yuthura and Trevalyon were 'giving into their animal instincts', but it makes sense that they would do that if Revan were to fall in love with her instead of Bastilla. BTW, I really like it that Revan jilts Bastilla! That's just priceless! You captured Atris perfectly. Same with Vrook. (I loved the part where Yuthura made him run the course again! )

I'm a little skeptical about Ross in the Sith Base. It's not hard to grasp that both he and Yuthura have to act like Sith if their mission is to succeed. Why is he having so much difficulty with this? And about those technicians being killed--I don't buy that he's so all-fired upset about Yuthura killing them. If he's really seen battle, then he knows that people die in war. It's what happens. Even Jedi realize that. They might not kill their prisoners or kill without neccessity, but they usually know that someone has to die, and if it's not them, it's the enemy.

Just mentioning.

Keep up the good work! I eagerly await more!


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.

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Old 09-21-2008, 04:33 PM   #180
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Just letting everyone know that I started this story a long time before I started releasing the chapters on a semi-weekly basis. I also had a significant amount of free time to go wherever my imagination could take me. I do have a some proto-chapters lined up, but need to go back in order to clean up some mistakes before I can proceed.

I am taking advice that has been given as well so I'm finding it's faster and easier to make corrections than to keep churning out new chapters, so I won't deny that I'm taking an easier path. If anyone is dying from the suspense, I'll send a private message with what happens next, but realize that the coming chapters are still open to change.

I am also going to take into consideration how I introduced Ross and a few other characters. I won't make any extremely drastic changes, so the story will remain largely intact. Sorry to disappoint.
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Old 09-21-2008, 07:59 PM   #181
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Disappoint? (looks around) Darth Yuthura, I don't think any of us are exactly 'disappointed'. Try 'about to die to know what happens'! (Don't send me the PM, I want to read it )


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 09-22-2008, 01:40 AM   #182
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Disappoint? (looks around) Darth Yuthura, I don't think any of us are exactly 'disappointed'. Try 'about to die to know what happens'! (Don't send me the PM, I want to read it )
QFT!

You really are an awesome writer Darth_Yuthura, whether you like it of not.


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Old 09-25-2008, 09:39 PM   #183
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A new chapter 7 and 8 are up. Post #16 is original, so I'm officially updating the story here.

I also added a part with Bastila and Yuthura speaking alone about the other's crimes. This is the start of chapter 8.

PS: The chapter after that will be changed as I come back to it, so there will be two chapters of the same number as the revisions are made.

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Old 09-30-2008, 01:12 PM   #184
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Another original chapter has been added. Chapter 8 is completely new, so this post is not for content that has simply been changed, but added to the original story. Feel free to comment on any new content, but be sure to make it explicit that you are addressing something from page 1 and not the later chapters.

I would appreciate feedback on the revisions and whether new content damages or enhances what you've already read through. I will not simply make a minor change and call to an entire post that has already been read through.

Until the last chapter (34) has been redone, there will likely always be a discrepancy in the story between the revision and the first draft that don't yet match. Any original chapters will ultimately add to... not replace the first drafts posted. Although there are OFFICIALLY 34, this story has gone through 36.
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Old 10-16-2008, 12:11 PM   #185
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Chapter 40: Desperation

SiD will resume normally from now on, but I will continue the revision. This chapter will be numbered to take into account the new chapters I will add in the revision.

-----

The blast from the explosion was deafening. After the flash was a dense cloud of the explosive byproducts. Powerful explosives often contained toxic materials that were deadly if used in confined locations. I was a fool to forget that the computer core room was both confined and air tight. Although there were only trace amounts of the toxic particles in the air, they would have filtered through our lungs and killed us slowly if we could not get out of there.

Ross warned me about the limited time we had before we would start choking on the gas and said we had to get the door open. At first, I was very calm, but quickly discovered that it had been sealed by the fire suppression system. I tried to override it, but knew that getting out of the room was going to take too long.

The smell of the explosive residue on the air had a pleasant odor like inhalants, but I knew that it was slowly killing us with each breath. I reached to my side, but remembered that my lightsaber was confiscated earlier. Of all the times!

As a last resort, I attempted to tear the door of its hinges with the Force, but it was going to require a concentrated burst of force directed to fracture the metal. I reached out and focused the Force to break the bonds of the very metal... a delicate act, but as I began to hear the door groan under the stress, I my concentration began to break up as I began choking.

Ross grabbed my shoulder hard and rotated me to the left. “You have to hold your breath! The you’re drawing more toxins into your lungs with each breath. Do you not know the breath-control trance?”

My choking was getting worse and I shook my head because it was too painful to answer verbally.

“Gag yourself if you must! The toxins will kill you before you run out of oxygen!”

I couldn’t understand the nature of the breath control trance, so I could not understand how Ross was able to speak while not inhaling or choking like I was. The choking was getting worse, but I fought the reflex that was forcing the air out of my lungs to inhale more of what was killing me. I covered my mouth to gag myself as Ross ordered, but I was in agony and couldn’t believe that this was how I was going to die... suffering to endure for as long as possible while I slowly blacked out.

Suddenly, I realized that there was a technique I knew that would have worked, but it meant leaving myself vulnerable and likely a liability to Ross if I didn’t establish it properly. A hibernation trance was not meant to last for less than a day, but considering all other options, it was my only chance to survive. Of course, I only had a window of about two hours that I HAD to revive myself before the fighters were on their way. But the difficulties faced with short-term hibernation was that the bodily functions might not have become completely dormant and I would have lost consciousness, but kept breathing.

I concentrated all my effort into reducing my breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and all other bodily functions as rapidly as possible. What normally took at least a minute I did in only ten seconds and I fell into almost perfect stasis.

The hibernation and breath control trance were equally difficult to perform, but one allowed for the user to continue functioning while the other involved losing consciousness. If I didn’t come out of it in time, Ross would have had to go on without me.

I felt reality draining from me and allowed the force to keep me alive. I did not know how long I would remain in that state, or if I could bring myself out of it early; but I had to sustain myself with the force until I could allow myself to breath again. Darkness took me and I vaguely remembered seeing Ross hover over me and almost breaking my concentration. Even then, I could not fall out of the trance.

-----
(Five years ago)

Korriban was a truly desolate and terrible world. Deserts spread across its surface as far as the eye could see, yet it held many traits of a temperate; or even tropical planet. For every dune sea was a landscape carved by flowing water. Valleys could be seen from space, but there was nothing that explained why there were no bodies of water or clouds overhead.

The planet was a rock, but there remained traces of life in the few areas where water had not yet evaporated. There was one such cave near the Academy and it teemed with the presence of Tek-ata and Shyrans that often ventured into the valley searching for food. Although they weren’t accustomed to being out in the burning sun, they could endure long enough to be a nuisance to the students.

My first impression of the sith was a strange combination of fear and disgust. Sith hopefuls, as they are called, flooded Dresdea with their presence; unaware that they were just waiting to be slaughtered. None who couldn’t hear the force were admitted into the Academy, so they either gave up or died trying to prove themselves.

Since I was already admitted into the Sith Academy, I didn’t have to stand around in the colony all day watching foolish, yet innocent people be tormented by real sith. Alfred said it was my responsibility to help those in need, but I just left them to their fate. Anyone who was foolish enough to come to this place should have known the risks. It was their choice to come.

-----

After being invited into the Academy, I was given a few hundred credits to do with as I pleased and a room to myself. The small open alcove was open to the public, so I didn’t leave anything behind to be stolen. I had no idea what was in store for me, but I hoped it would lead me on the path I was meant to walk.

The sith were unlike the jedi in every way, but in another light, there was nothing indistinguishable between the two. Both involved mastering one’s emotions in order to control the force, but where the jedi focused on freeing themselves from their feelings, the sith used those emotions to achieve their superiority. After my treatment at the hands of the hutts, I suppose that I was destined to conquer my anger and use it against my former oppressors.

I waited for the other sith to arrive so I could start training as soon as possible. At some point, I saw who I believed was an instructor and he noticed that I was just waiting around with nothing to occupy my time. “Have you been into the Valley of the Dark Lords?”

I shook my head.

“It’s quite a sight. There are many great ruins that are being uncovered as we speak. It might even give you an opportunity to get a lead on your competitors.”

“Competitors?” I asked.

He looked at me as if confused. “You don’t know much about the sith, do you?”

“Not much more than rumor. I doubt any of it is true.”

“Well if you have questions, Master Uthar would be the one you should go to. I think he’s in the Valley right now if you are interested.” He nodded and bowed. “Welcome to the Sith Academy.” Then he kept walking along.

I have been told to never trust a sith, but that one seemed interested in helping me. That man was not like the nuts that I’ve seen in Dresdea... maybe they become more disciplined as they get older?

Either way, I wasn’t interested in just sitting around doing nothing; so I followed that advice.

-----

The Valley of the Dark Lords was not nearly as remarkable as I was lead to believe. The old ruins didn’t seem any more interesting as the ruins near the Dantooine Academy; and these were supposed to be the tombs of ancient sith. I guess I was just expecting more.

As I walked down the path, I ran into three students that were returning to the Academy. I was still dressed in commoner’s clothing, so when I came into view, the alpha dog of the three broke off and got in my way. “Hey guys... look what we’ve got here. They admitted one of the hopefuls. What do you say...?”

I stepped out of the way to go around him, but he kept blocking my path. “Not in your life, buster.”

One of the thugs took that as amusing. “Ooh... she’s got some spirit. Maybe you can’t handle her alone?” That one came behind me and sandwiched me in between the alpha and a wall.

The alpha pushed that guy aside. “She had to have been clever to get past the guard... I’ll give her that much.” He put his head right next to mine and whispered. “You wanna be a sith? I can make that happen... how about I give you a lightsaber?”

I was absolutely offended at such a remark that I instinctively slapped the bastard across the face. The force of my slap was enough to push him back and give me an opening through him and the wall. After I was through, I turned around to see the guy’s nose was bleeding from the hit.

He rubbed his face and nose to discover the blood that started running out his nostrils. Then he looked up to me in great anger. “You think you can defy me? I can do anything!” Then he reached for his lightsaber and activated it.

I reached to my side and was reminded that I left mine on Dantooine. I should not have been so stupid! Surprise and fear were clearly visible on my face as I found myself at the wrong end of a lightsaber. If I had my sword of light, I would have just charged in and emerge victorious, but I only had my wits to protect me.

The guy just casually walked towards me with the saber in his left hand and wiped away the blood from his nose as he and his friends approached. One of them said, “Why not make her our personal slave? Surely it’d be much more fun.”

The alpha was not interested. “Anyone stupid enough to attack a sith isn’t worth the trouble.”

The last guy’s comment about taking me as their property filled me with great anger and hate. It seemed to surge through me like it did did on Dantooine, but I remembered the outcome and wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

When the guy lifted his saber to torment me, I kept perfectly still, displaying fear so he would let his guard down. When he started taunting me, I unleashed a force wave at the three, throwing them more than ten meters away. Then I sprinted in the opposite direction, towards the valley.

I kept looking back to ensure I wasn’t being followed, but only heard one shouting at the top of his lungs. “It doesn’t matter where you run, coward! I’ll hunt you down and kill you!”

Panic started flooding through my soul as I ran as fast as I could to find a place of cover. Maybe if I could find a decent hiding place, I could out endure them in the blazing heat. Maybe they would stop searching or I could figure out how to reason with that guy. That was a lot better than trying to confront them on their terms, but I could not let them think I was just someone’s escaped property; I wanted to kill that bastard.

I saw at least one come into the valley, but I avoided putting my head over the boulder that was between me and their eyes. This was almost like being an escaped slave again; they would not stop hunting me until one or three of us are dead. I didn’t know if I should have tried to go around the valley and return to the Academy, or keep hiding from them and wait until I can fight back.

I was on the roof of the tomb of Naga Sadow and kept track of the three to ensure that I wouldn’t be found. As I saw two of them breaking off the chase, I had a great sense of relief. If I had only one to deal with, then all I have to do is wait for him to get distracted and... the word ‘kill’ didn’t stick in my mind very well.

After I ducked my head from behind the boulder, I realized I was not alone. It was a bald human male in his early twenties. The expression on his face was one of great anger, but with a strong degree of control. I pulled back against the rock as if expecting him to lash at me, but he didn’t.

“Fear is clouding your mind isn’t it?”

I was afraid of the man, but I was not cowering... I was on my guard with a defensive stance. If that guy had a lightsaber, I could escape with a force jump.

He saw right through me and knew that people often take up a defensive stance when they are afraid. “If I wanted you dead, you would be already. So sit down.” He gestured for me to get behind the boulder. I squatted instead... enough to comply, but not leaving myself open to attack.

He walked up and sat down normally as if this were just a day at the park for him. His back was against the wall in a relaxing manner while I was in an uncomfortable squatting position, but I didn’t want to let my guard down. He didn’t face me as he started talking. “Most sith masters say that a true sith is to be without fear. Terror clouds your senses and you do not hide it well. Those three students saw it and that was why they confronted you.”

I turned to face him directly. “They thought that I was just a hopeful who managed to sneak in. If they knew I could harness the force, they would have just ignored me...” I was starting to lose confidence in my own explanation and got quiet by the end of that statement. “...wouldn’t they have?” I asked.

His eyes were closed. “Perhaps. If you were competition however, they wouldn’t have just toyed with you; they would have killed you the instant you showed weakness. For now, they consider you a coward and are likely to just ignore you.”

I looked at him, confused. “I don’t understand. You said that if I showed weakness, they would kill me.” I stood up and was on my guard for the next question. “You see me as weak; so why did you not just kill me? Why are you even speaking to me?”

He opened his eyes and turned to face me directly. “You are not weak. You ran away from that fight and were called a coward; a true sith would not have allowed such insults to go unpunished.” He paused a moment to let it sink in. “That often leads the majority of our best students to an early death.” He pointed his right index finger at me. “Darth Malak would have had you executed because you ran away from them, but Master Uthar thought more highly of you than them.”

“He would think highly of a coward?”

He shook his head. “You were outnumbered three to one. They had lightsabers. There was nothing cowardly about retreating... even Master Uthar recognized that you made the best choice in that situation.”

I became a little more relaxed and wanted to know more about the one speaking to me. “And what did you think?”

He gave me a look as though he didn’t care one way or another. “I despise sith students who gang upon the others. Master Uthar is the strongest of us on Koriban, but even he could not take on three of his best students if they combined their efforts. Darth Revan was back stabbed by his apprentice; anyone could have done what Malak had performed.” He leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “Master Uthar recognizes the difference between a weak student and one who is simply ignorant.” He pointed towards the valley. “Those three are not going to last a week, but your potential in unknown.” He stood up and gestured me to do the same. “You will come with me.”

“Where are we going?”

A look of agitation came from his body language, but quickly faded as if I had just insulted him out of ignorance. “In the future, you don’t talk back to your superiors. Fallen jedi are granted some amenities that other students are not, so do not interoperate any compassion from your superiors as weakness.”

“I understand. I didn’t mean to sound objective, but I would like to know what is going on.”

“I’m doing my duty. Master Uthar has appointed me to dispatch vultures like those three and safeguard more talented individuals when they first arrive.”

I looked at him as if admirably, but I didn’t know what to make of being regarded above the rest. I thought that sith don’t endanger themselves for each other. This was a welcome change to the ways of the jedi, who restricted the elite by burdening them with the problems of the ungrateful. It was comforting to be the one who received the protection.

I stood up and nodded to the stranger. “Alright... I trust you. Lead the way and I’ll follow.”

His expression became very scornful. “Never trust another! Don’t put your life into another’s hands, or they will have control over you. I am only going to protect you for as long as you show potential. If you do not learn to handle yourself, you will be dispatched as well. Do not mistake this for compassion... that is something we all must be free of. If you become a great sith, then you strengthen the Empire.” He gestured for me to go ahead and in front of him towards the Valley of the Dark Lords. “Master Uthar is waiting... you may either follow me or keep hiding from them.” He turned around and started walking down the path alongside of the tomb.

He feigned no interest in whether or not I followed, but I kept close. I found it odd that he would walk with his back to me... if I had a weapon on me, I could kill him. “May I ask a question?”

He didn’t turn around. “Just ask it.” His tone was one that seemed to get less pleasant the more polite I was to him. I was always taught to act with manners all the time when I was a jedi. He must have realized that was a jedi trait and was frustrated that I was not very direct.

“You have frequently left yourself open to attack. Why do you have your back to me? If I had a hidden weapon, I could have killed you.”

He stopped where he was and turned around slowly to intimidate me with his expression. “I do not leave myself vulnerable. If you wanted to kill me, I would have felt it and acted accordingly. There is nothing reckless about turning my back on you... you are not that foolish.” Then he turned his back to me again and kept walking deeper into the valley.

I saw two of the ‘vultures’ wandering in the direction of where he was walking. I saw a path that could have lead us away from them and wanted to go in that direction, but the stranger simply said “Don’t be a coward.”

I wish I could have more confidence in that, but I soon saw the one with the bloody nose come into view and it was evident that they saw me. At that moment, I kept my eyes fixed on them, but kept close to my escort. When the three approached, the alpha vulture looked extremely angry and wanted to retaliate.

I was on my guard and bracing myself for a looming showdown. When they activated their lightsabers, the one in front of me pivoted on his left foot and almost instantly came between me and them. “Turn around and leave.”

“This isn’t about you Bandon. Don’t get involved.”

“If you do not turn around and do as you are told, then it will.”

The alpha looked at me from behind ‘Bandon’ and I could see the wheels turning in his head. I found his perplexed expression very amusing. The sight of a sith master standing up not only for another, but for a coward must have blown his little mind. He then looked at Bandon and almost started laughing. “Are you actually standing up for her? Is this compassion... from you?”

“If you think it is... then does that mean you wish to challenge me?”

I could see fear in the guy’s expression. Clearly this Bandon was intimidating... that’s what I wanted to be in the eyes of the hutts. The other one stepped back to at least 3 meters away. “I just want the twi’lek. This has nothing to do with you...”

Bandon stepped right up to the guy, who still had his lightsaber ready. I didn’t understand why he just put himself in the reach of one holding a lightsaber. “I ordered you to walk away. If you do not obey, I will kill all three of you. Do not say another word, or it will be your last.”

The three had their eyes fixed on Bandon and slowly withdrew with their lightsabers still ready. When they were about 10 meters away, Bandon barked contemptibly “Cowards!” and turned back to the valley to keep walking without even addressing me.

I didn’t know if he just expected I would keep following, or if that was why he brought me out there; but I got behind him again and looked back as the three vultures stared at me with great contempt. I got the impression that I was in a worse position than before. If I had simply vanished, they might have forgotten me, but Bandon may have made me an even greater target than before. If someone had wronged me and had the grace of a master, I would have been more determined to deal out punishment. Although Bandon had protected me, he did not eliminate those guys and escalated their perception of me as a coward.

Those vultures had to be dispatched as soon as possible. I knew that they would be a threat who would not back down until they were dead. Already I had enemies and I had only been on Korriban for a day, but at least I was recognized and had the favor of the headmaster. I just hoped that whatever reason I was favored would remain that way.

Bandon lead me to the entrance to one of the tombs, where a few students and a master had been working to excavate a large stone pillar which had broken to pieces and buried. Unlike the pillars that were standing in the valley, this one was well preserved from the ancient time it came from. There was writing carved along the sides that was eroded, but still readable to one fluent in the language of the ancient sith.

The group used very simple tools and delicate techniques to brush away the sediment without harming the inscriptions. The master looked very engaged by the experience; his excitement was clearly visible while the rest of the students were bored and uninterested in playing archeologist. Every now and again, one would use more modern tools, such as a holo camera and recording what they found onto a data pad.

While we approached them, I had seen and heard the master shouting at a student with extreme rage. His voice echoed off the walls of the valley and I seriously started to doubt my reason for coming to this world. Never did I hear even Vrook shouting in my face like the master was to the student. I could not hear exactly what he was saying, but his hands gestured to some rubble that appeared to have just been dug up. I could tell that the student had recklessly extracted an artifact and destroyed the surface of. As Bandon brought me closer, I watched his rage get ever more intense.

Shortly after that, the student was lifted off the ground with his hands around his neck. The sight of a master attacking a student was a significant change from what I was used to. The common jedi tradition was that masters would put the safety of their apprentices before themselves. I had been walking normally, but the sight of such a radical departure from what I’ve come to know hit me as though I had just hit a wall.

What followed was one of the most gruesome executions I’ve ever witnessed... and I’ve seen many on Sleheyron. Never had I seen a person eviscerated alive. His scream lasted only a fraction of a second before his body was ripped apart, spreading flesh, bones, and blood splattered everywhere.

I was on the brink of screaming in horror, but I forced my mouth closed with my hands to not draw attention to me. I was terrified and sickened beyond anything I had ever been before. Although I had seen Omeesh commit terrible acts upon his slaves, there was nothing that compared to the raw potential of the force. Never had I seen someone’s flesh be torn apart so quickly that the organs continued functioning for even a few seconds after death.

All that remained of the student was a twisted pile of flesh and bones with almost nothing left that was distinguishable. All the blood had spread across at least a two meter radius, staining the ground red almost to where I was standing.

A few seconds after the student’s death, Bandar started laughing as if to give praise to master Uthar for such a display of brutality and cruelty. His laugh reminded me much of Omeesh’s sadistic sound. “Brilliant! Just when I think you’ve mastered the art of execution, you show that the possibilities are unlimited! You are just brill...”

Uthar barked back in anger. “Shut up! I didn’t do it for anything other than to deal out proper punishment!”

I continued holding my mouth closed with my hands, but not to keep myself from screaming. I was getting queasy and had to keep from vomiting, but knew that there was nothing I could do to stop it from happening.

Bandon spoke to Uthar without the excitement in his voice. “What did he do that enraged you to such a degree?”

Neither one's attention was on me until I turned away, fell to my hands and knees, and expelled everything I had for breakfast onto the ground. I was so sickened that I couldn’t keep my head about me anymore... it was suspended above the puddle of partially digested food that I couldn’t keep down.

Silence had befallen everyone around me. I could not see Uthar and Bandon, but I knew they were watching and wondering if I could really become a sith. Considering what I’ve learned of them, I was expecting to die right there; but I didn’t hear footsteps or lightsabers blazing. I knew that I had disgraced myself and would not have been regarded as worthy as I had first hoped.

After an agonizing few seconds, I heard Bandon speak to Uthar. “Master, are you sure of this one? Even for a fallen jedi, she’s rather pathetic.”

I heard a few footsteps crunching the sandy soil as Uthar moved beside Bandon. He wasn’t addressing me, but he spoke just loudly enough for me to hear. “She has potential, but her mind has been polluted by jedi teachings. Her strength in the force and the anger she possesses are equally impressive.”

“Then why not just break her?”

Upon hearing those words again... the last time from Omeesh... I raised my head as faced Bandon as if all the anger and hate that I have tried so hard to bury had begun to resurface. I must have lost all control of myself because I wanted to kill Bandon and didn’t care whether or not I stood no chance against him.

Before I could, Uthar looked in my direction while he gave an answer. “Not this one. We can’t force the sith upon her; she must embrace it willingly.” Uthar started walking towards me with an odd expression. It was almost as though he were impressed with me... it had to be a trick.

Bandon crossed his arms and shook his head in frustration. “Well in the meantime, what do you think the other students... even the masters would think about giving her protection? It doesn’t much matter to me, but imagine how many more corpses and how few students we’d have after that. Is this one worth that much to you?”

Uthar turned his head to face Bandon, but I couldn’t tell his expression. Then he faced me again and took a knee to speak. “I sense much anger within you. It must have been difficult for you to spend four years trying to repress those feelings, hasn’t it?”

I remained silent, not because I was afraid, but because I didn’t care to reveal everything to just anyone... I never even told Alfred about those feelings. I certainly wasn’t going to tell a sith.

Uthar was content with just silence. “The jedi... did they respect your emotions? Did they allow you to be what you were meant to, or did you have to become something that you were not?”

I had wanted so much to hear that question. I had always thought that, but was never allowed the freedom to choose who I was. They said I had that freedom... as long as I chose to be one of them. That was not freedom at all. I nodded slowly and as if hypnotized. “They claimed to be guardians of the peace... yet they ignore the ones most in need. I demanded justice; they forgive those who trample upon the very people they claim to protect! When I followed their example, the masters struck me down because I acted and they wouldn’t! They struck me down because I threatened their positions!”

Uthar smiled proudly. “They wanted you to accept mediocrity... to surrender what made you stronger than they were, but you knew that your anger gave you the power they couldn’t wield. That is why you came to the sith isn’t it? We are not bound by any restrictions other than those we place upon ourselves.” Then extended his hand to under my neck and gestured me to stand all the while displaying one of the nicest smiles I’ve ever been given in my life, not one of friendship, but more as if to give encouragement.

When I was standing, Bandon started staring either at me or Uthar, but his patience was being stretched. I looked directly into Uthar’s eyes. “What do I have to do?”

“You are free to think or act exactly as you choose, but remember that the strongest always rule. If you are perceived as weak, you will be treated as such. If you demonstrate your strength to competitors, then not only will they leave you alone, but you will become the dominant one.” He reached behind his back and took hold of something attached to his belt and held it in front of me... a lightsaber. “The darkside is who you are. Your anger gives you strength. Be what you were meant to be.”

-----

I had come back to reality almost as rapidly as I left it. A huge, desperate gasp came as I lifted my head, followed by painful coughing. I was no longer in that room filled with toxic smoke, so I was breathing clean air, but the toxins that I had inhaled earlier had hindered my breathing.

After a moment of darkness clearing from my eyes, I slowly came to feel my surroundings again. I felt extremely cold, as the body would do when dormant, and I was shivering and numb. I was on a bed and covered with a blanket, so I was in a medical facility.

I had a breath mask over my face with a hose attached to a tank of pure oxygen. There was no point in fitting one on me, given that I wasn’t breathing at all until now. In fact, I should have been in the morgue if I appeared dead. Ross must have gotten me here.

Then I looked around, but didn’t see him. On a table next to my bed was my lightsaber, which I grabbed desperately. As I did, something clattered on the floor that had been under the weapon. Despite being cold and out of breath, I pulled the mask off and threw the blanket aside so that I could reach over to see what it was. It turned out to be a sith notepad with an encrypted message on it, obviously from Ross.

When I tried to view it, I was asked a security question to verify my identity: ‘Who is your apprentice?’ I entered ‘Ross,’ but the answer was rejected. What was wrong? I tried the same answer again and saw I didn’t get the classic case-sensative password.

Then I put in ‘Ross Senegal’ and hoped that was how his last name was spelled. It unlocked the message...

-----
Master Yuthura,

Your plan worked. The security didn’t even suspect us. I knew that you were still alive, but could not bring you out of the stasis trance. I had no choice but to continue without you.

I have no idea when you will wake up, but if you do before the attack, you must determine whether I was successful or not before you escape the base. I could not access the computer core without your expertise, so I must breach security for the last two AD towers and will likely be caught. I just hope that I can sabotage both AD towers before I’m discovered. If I’m caught before that, you must complete the mission and destroy the last target for me. Don’t worry about the prior targets. The charges are almost impossible for the sith to disarm w/out the remote detonator code.

If I’m caught, I will not surrender to the sith and likely will already be dead. If I should be captured, don’t try to rescue me, whether the attack has already happened, or all three AD’s have been disabled. Just get out of there.

If these are to be my last words, then I just want you to know that I have no regrets...
-----

The message continued on, but I didn’t read the rest. I had to find out what time it was and learn what happened to Ross. I couldn’t bear the thought that he went on without me, but he put the mission before himself and I had to confirm what had happened and whether I still had a job to do.

I didn’t know why I was in a medical facility, but there was no one around to tend to me. There were also no patients, which meant the attack hadn’t yet happened... or it had and failed. There was a computer terminal in the room and I logged onto the net to see what the situation was and found the security database.

My heart sank when I saw two intruder reports, one at the computer core control room, and another near a defense installation. Instead of checking to see whether Ross was dead or alive, I saw another file that had the word ‘sabotaged’ in it and accessed it.

I was relieved to see that Ross had indeed taken out all three targets without me. The time index of the file showed that all three AD towers were disabled an hour ago... Ross must have detonated them prematurely, but what about him?

My heart was racing and beads of sweat were collecting on my forehead, despite my body temperature still being low. I was dreading the prospect of seeing the report and learning of what happened to Ross, but at the same time, I was desperate to know.

When I opened the file, I knew.
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Old 10-16-2008, 02:57 PM   #186
Endorenna
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Yes! Another chapter!

I really liked the flashback into her Sith past. That was freaky! Now I know why I hate Uthar so much!

Any idea when the next chapter's gonna be? I wanna know what's gonna happen to Ross!


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 10-16-2008, 04:32 PM   #187
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Originally Posted by Endorenna View Post
Yes! Another chapter!

I really liked the flashback into her Sith past. That was freaky! Now I know why I hate Uthar so much!

Any idea when the next chapter's gonna be? I wanna know what's gonna happen to Ross!
I know how much people hate cliffhangers, so I'll just skip with that. Of course, I can't get spoilers to work, so I can't throw that bombshell out there.

I'll be posting much sooner than just 45 days ago, but I'll also be writing for 'Prior to Exile.' I've got a story arc coming after she returns from AR159.

I REALLY want feedback on my revision chapters! I have posted in regards to completely original chapters added to the story... new conflicts instead of the same things being written differently. Bastila makes an earlier confrontation as well as Yuthura being caught drunk while the Council deliberated on her acceptance. Please at least tell me that you don't care at least.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:11 PM   #188
Endorenna
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Whoa, I didn't know you made such drastic changes! I thought you were just fixing grammer!

Soon as I have some time, I'm going to go back and read what you fixed! I'll need about an hour. I like to read good stuff like this slowly.


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 10-16-2008, 05:26 PM   #189
Darth_Yuthura
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Whoa, I didn't know you made such drastic changes! I thought you were just fixing grammer!

Soon as I have some time, I'm going to go back and read what you fixed! I'll need about an hour. I like to read good stuff like this slowly.
Yeah, I guess that it must have been taken the wrong way. I have explicitly stated which chapters were original, but I am revising all the story as well, but not enough to notice a difference. If I post about a revised chapter, it is ONLY when I have added something significant, otherwise, assume I just made simple corrections not worth going back for.

Chapter 6 - 8 are completely original, but there are some additions to prior chapters as well... but hold to the same plot.

Thanks for reading.
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Old 10-17-2008, 09:00 PM   #190
HIGH ON PIE 14
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What happens to Ross?!!

Oh, a cruel cliffhanger DY. Sorry it took me a while to see this, I been so busy this week. I liked the flashback a lot. I was always curios about Yuthura's early experiences at the acadamy. Uthar seemed very accepting yet his harshness came thrtough clearly in his talk with Yuthura. I think that was done perfectly. He is not a hack and slash obvious evil to her at that point. She sees his cruelty, but he a "kind" to her while telling her she has a choice, but then telling her if she wants to surevive she will have to toughen up.

Excellent job here! I will make sure to go back and read your revisions when I get the chance.

~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 10-21-2008, 10:31 PM   #191
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Given how disappointed I was with that "The Old Republic" announcement, which killed all possibility for an authentic KOTOR III, I am fed up with cliffhangers. NEVER again will I do what Lucasarts did with the conclusion for TSL. The worst cliffhanger is one in which the conflict is officially unresolved.

Here is to ensure I don't follow Lucasarts' example: Ross was not killed.

The next chapter is in progress, but is still at least a few days away.
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Old 10-27-2008, 07:29 PM   #192
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Okay, D_Y asked me to post these, as due to his ban he can't. So here it is:

Chapter 41
No, Ross wasn’t dead, but he might as well have been. There were many fates worse than death and being captured by the Sith was most definitely one of them. The Sith had been recording sessions where Ross was being tortured and transmitting it to the Republic station over the last few days.

It was a sickening feeling to watch Ross being subjected to Force lightning, beatings, and psychological trauma. I feared that they were trying to turn him to the Dark side and that I was too late. Each day since he was captured, they transmitted live video, but it had ended two days ago.

When I watched the last video, I saw he was growing weary, but I didn’t think that he had yet broken under the torture. Unlike the last three, the fourth video ended after only two hours where the other sessions were much longer than that. It didn’t make sense that they would have stopped transmitting unless... something happened.

I quickly went to check the security reports on that day and discovered the prison facility had been broken into. Among the files was some extra footage of the last session which was not transmitted to the station. It turned out to be quite interesting:

As Ross was screaming from the pain of Force lightning, the Sith who was conducting the session received word that the facility was under attack. He intended to have Ross moved to a secure location, but shortly after being unshackled, the door to the interrogation room was blown open.

Coming into view was a cloaked and masked woman who went directly for the Sith, but was quickly beaten. Before he delivered a killing blow, Ross had attacked him unarmed and gave her the distraction she needed to escape death. But Ross paid the price... his left arm to be precise.

At that point, I gasped at realizing that I may have been watching his death, but then something else grabbed my attention. When Ross’s arm was severed, the woman started screaming in pain as well, grabbing her own arm. They shared a Force bond!

When the Sith interrogator saw the connection, he laughed. “Tell me, is it lethal?” Then he prepared to kill Ross, but the woman went at him with great ferocity and killed him easily with anger flowing through her.

When the fight was over, she hovered over Ross and turned him on his back. After examining the wound, she threw him over her shoulders and carried him out.

I was stunned at what I had just seen. Ross had lost an arm, but also shared a bond with another. Who could it have been?

--

I had spent nearly an hour going through whatever files I could in the database, hoping that I could uncover something that could help me find Ross, but things just got stranger and stranger as I learned more. In the last few days, the Sith forces have been tearing themselves apart as the 4 Dark Jedi started fighting amongst themselves for command.

Unlike at the academy on Korriban, these four have been using their followers to attack each other rather than facing their enemies directly. None of them were female, so it couldn’t have been any of them who took Ross.

I leaned back in my chair, wondering who had rescued him and where she could have gone. Although she was masked, I knew it wasn’t one of the other Jedi from the Fuel Station. She had to have been either a sith, or someone acting independently. Given that the second option only narrowed the number of candidates to almost any Force-sensative in the Galaxy, I could only narrow down the options among the Sith within the base.

After evaluating the records of the Dark Jedi, I found that there were seven originally stationed, but that number dwindled to three over the last six months; two female. Neither one seemed to be like the one who screamed in that video. It was odd to make that judgment without even speaking to them, but I just didn’t think either one did it.

After nearly an hour of searching, I found the record of another Dark Jedi who had arrived shortly after Ross’s rescue... a woman. Her photo in the profile and the voice seemed to match, but she clearly arrived a few hours iafteri/ Ross was rescued. Despite that, this Alexus Seagate was the one.

--

I was quite astonished at everything that’s happened that I walked through the base with more anxiety than fear. I didn’t know how Alexus would react when I approached, but I had prepared myself for the possibility that I would have to extract the info from her. When I thought about what I would say, I realized that I would have to expose myself if I hoped for a peaceful solution. If that didn’t happen, we might end up clashing lightsabers... and I was in no condition to fight.

That hibernation trance weakened me significantly and if we got into a fight, she would have a significant advantage over me. Even if I had been in my prime, she would have been a challenge, but in my weakened state... If I had any sense, I would have just tried to save myself, but something was drawing me to discover the truth. Who could possibly have had a bond with Ross? Was he still alive? Could I convince her to tell me without revealing myself? I just didn’t know.

Among a some medical supplies left behind, I found a pair of adrenal boosters and some combat rations. If I had to fight, at least I could make up for my weakened state. The rations were freeze-dried, but they were not safe from rodents. All 6 packages were torn open and some were completely consumed, but I desperately needed to eat. I took whatever remnants didn’t have teeth marks or insect larvae and managed to get enough of what was left to ease my hunger, but it would have taken hours before it did any good. Before I left to find this Alexus, I injected myself with one of the boosters and would save the second if and when I needed it.

--

Alexus was currently stationed in one of the command centers on a routine shift, so I went directly there, verified my identity to the guards, and was soon in front of her. Since she was new around this place as well, she wouldn’t have been surprised to see a ‘Sith Master’ she didn’t recognize, so she would have respected my rank above her ‘Dark knight’ status. That still didn’t keep her from admitting that she didn’t see my name among the other dark Jedi.

“Are you Alexus Sapphire?”

“Alexus Sapphire.”

“Yes, Alexus Sapphire. Are you her?”

She turned her gaze away. “No. You must be mistaken.”

I folded my arms in an intimidating manner. “Don’t mess around with me. I know you are Alexus.”

“Then why did you ask a question that you already knew the answer? When you need to identify someone, you’re not supposed to say their name in the question, otherwise they could answer yes or no.” She glared at me. “What do you want?”

“I would like to speak with you in a less public location.”

She stared at me for a short moment as if to read if I had hostile intentions. Then she looked back at a uniformed officer. “You are now in command. I’ll be back shortly.” Then she faced me again. “There is an office nearby that belonged to the late Darth Polenin. He probably wouldn’t mind if we used it.”

--

I found it odd that she just dropped her position when confronted by a complete stranger, but I was a Master after all. She was just following the chain of command, but if that man in the video was Darth Polenin, why didn’t she take credit for his death? Once elevated to Grand Master, she could have done anything she wanted with the Sith on this base.

After entering, she stood by the doorway and asked. “What is this about?”

“Close the door. We don’t want any of this to become public knowledge.”

“If this is about some plot or scheme, I want nothing to do with it, so don’t ask.”

I tranced over to the door and pressed the control to slide it shut with Alexus still in the way. When she tried to move to the opposite side before it closed, I pulled her into the room with the Force. She didn’t take kindly to that, but I started speaking before she could threaten me. “I know that you are the one who captured the Jedi yesterday.”

She dropped her shoulders in annoyance. “I’ve been through this already. I was not even here at the time it happened. There was no way that I could have done something like that from afar and I can’t be in two places at once... it would be nice though.”

I tiled my head and raised an eyebrow. “The time index on the records are perfect, so I believe that you didn’t change the records. You were, however, the one who did it.”

“Do you have any real proof? Why would I do such a thing even if I were here? What...”

I cut her off. “You came here for the sole purpose of rescuing the Jedi. You share a bond with him and that’s why you came to this miserable planet at all.”

“I have a better hypothesis... The Jedi was only a padawan, but the master was never found. That master was the one who shared a bond and she came to rescue her student.” Everything fits and if she could have remained hidden for days, surely they both escaped.”

I paused a long moment, wondering if I had to reveal myself in order to get her to talk. “It wasn’t the master who rescued him.”

“Oh. How did you come to that conclusion?” She asked as if gloating her innocence.

“The one who saved him didn’t have lekku.”

She stared at me for a moment before realizing the severity of the situation. Terror clouded her mind and she went for the door to escape.

“That wouldn’t be in your best interest.” I slowly moved between her and the doorway. If you told them that I was the master, then it would bring up the next question of who was in the video. It was clearly not me, so it had to be one of the other Sith. How long do you think it would be before they find the truth?” I stepped up to her. “We are now in this together, whether you like it or not. If you expose me, you will expose yourself. If you want to keep breathing, you must help me and Ross to escape. Once that’s done, you could come back as if nothing happened, or you can return with me and be free to do whatever you want with your life.”

She was stunned at being discovered by the master and being discovered in spite of the airtight alibi of hers. Alexus just stared at me for a long moment to consider the consequences, but eventually nodded.

I gave a small smile and nodded as well to inspire cooperation. “Where is he?”

She sighed deeply. “He’s alive, but I had to drug him to remain unconscious. I couldn’t risk his thoughts being sensed by the other Force-sensatives.”

“He had suffered severe injuries before that. Did you stabilize him before injecting him with drugs? Where is he?”

“He lost an arm, but it won’t get infected. Other than that, he’s just as you left him... why did you leave him anyway? I thought Jedi don’t abandon their padawans.”

“It would take too long to explain. I need you to take me to him.”

“Not yet. Do you even have a means of escape?”

“Don’t you? You seemed to plan your arrival quite well. Did you plan your escape as well?”

“I did, but I didn’t exactly consider that a group of rebels would hijack the ship I arrived on. The base is now locked down and anyone trying to leave would be discovered. And even then, they would not have a means to get off this world.”

“I do. And if you want to escape as well, I could provide it.” I said.

“No thanks. I just want to get through this as discretely as possible. As long you don’t screw this up, I will help you to get out of here. And after that... please don’t make me rescue him again. You’re the master... keep it that way.”

I saw great frustration within her, yet I didn’t really know why she rescued him at all. “You and he share a Force bond. How did that come to be?”

“It wasn’t by choice, I’ll say that.” She hit a wall in anger. “When the little was being tortured, he was transmitting his pain to me. I tried ignoring it for a while, but there came a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. It was like the more desperate he was, the more painful it became for me.” She paced around for a moment. “I abandoned my post and followed him here so I could save him and then return him to you, the Jedi.”

I nodded, but then I came to realize who I just found. “Alexus... that is not your name, is it?”

She looked at me over her shoulder. “It is, but Ross knew me by another.”

“Alastria.”

She looked almost as though she were holding back tears as she nodded. “So he never had forgotten me. What did he tell you about me... about us?”

“Not much. He said you went off to fight in the Mandalorian Wars, but never returned. He thought you had died.”

“I thought he had as well. I remembered losing the bond between us slowly, but there came a time when it seemed to die altogether. I haven’t felt him since until only a few days ago.”

“I never heard about that bond, but I guess I never asked him about that. How did he react when he first saw you again?”

“He never knew it was me. I just wanted to return him to the Jedi and leave forever.” She stated.

“Well now is a time to plan an escape. If you want to get off this world, you and I will have to get back to the Republic fuel station. From there, you can do whatever you want with your life.”

“Alright, alright, but if you do something stupid, I won’t hesitate to kill you. I’m doing this for myself and only myself. Got it?”

I raised my hands to gesture acknowledgment. “Lead the way and I’ll follow.”

--

Ross had been taken into an abandoned building that had once stored fuel for Sith fighters, but was only collecting dust with no fighters to supply. Alexus said that it was the most unlikely place the Sith would look for a captive padawan. Before she opened the door, she turned to face me. “You are not going to revive him, are you? You don’t even know what you’re going to do after this.”

“I’ll get to that, but for now I need to know if he can walk on his own or if he’ll have to be carried out.” I stated before opening the door myself.

Before I could go in, she held me back. “I’m staying out here. As far as he knows, I’m still dead.”

I raised an eyebrow at what I just heard. “Aren’t you the least bit interested in speaking to your brother? You and he shared a bond and I think you would both like to talk to each other...”

“This is not the time for that. Once we’re gone, then we will have all the time in the galaxy. Until then, I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Fine. I’ll not say anything to him.” After that, I went into the building, which was dilapidated and filled with rusting canisters of fuel. Most of them were spent and thrown aside while others were neatly stacked and would explode with just one spark.

Ross was at the far end behind a few empty canisters. When I moved them out of the way, got down on my knee and checked his left arm to see for myself that it indeed was severed. I know what I saw on the video, but it just didn’t seem real until I saw for myself. It was almost like seeing the corpse at a funeral instead of the cremated remains.

I saw that it was not as terrible as I thought. The arm was only cut off to the elbow, but it looked like the joint wouldn’t have to be replaced. Prosthetic limbs were more powerful than the originals, but were not as reliable because artificial joints don’t have the nerves or the means to heal like flesh. And usually the greater the scale of the joint, the more difficult it becomes to work in unison with the flesh.

The wound was not properly dressed. Although the lightsaber sealed it from infection, the elements would have eventually opened the wound and the blood pressure would have dropped if the coagulated blood was worn away with time. I ripped off a piece of my cloak and covered it properly.

Before I could wake him, Alastria yelled from the outside. “We can’t linger here! Do whatever you must so we can plan our next move!”

“One moment!” I shouted back. After I turned my attention back to Ross, I put my hand on his forehead so that I could stimulate him in spite of the drugs that were keeping him asleep.

He lifted his head and stretched his limbs, but soon turned his attention to the phantom arm. Then he saw me hovering over. “Yuthura... what happened? What’s going on?”

“It’s alright, Ross. I came back for you and you lost your arm to save me. We are still in danger, though. Can you walk?”

“Wait, no. It wasn’t you who came for me. It was someone else... she seemed familiar...”

I interrupted. “I’m sorry Ross, but we don’t have time. Can you walk?”

He leaned forward and I pulled him up by the healthy arm to his feet. The drugs made it difficult for him to keep balance, but he could move on his own. “Yeah. Where do we go from here?”

“You’re going to have to stay for a while, but I’ll be right back for you. The whole base is locked down and we need to come up with a plan.” I explained.

Alastria came running in with great concern. “Something’s happening out there.”

“What?”

“I hear vehicles starting up. I think that they are mobilizing for an attack or something.”

“We’re at the far side of the base. If they are planning to attack the Republic outpost, we can get a pair of speeder bikes and outrun them.”

“I think they’re getting closer. I don’t know if we can reach the speeder bike hanger even if he could run. We should stay where we are until they pass by.”

“No. If they are getting closer, then we must have been discovered!”

She stared at me in utter horror. “This is what you had planned all along! You wanted me to deliver the Jedi into your hands and then have me killed!”

“No! I’m his master and they are coming for me! We have to escape!” I desperately shouted.

“A Jedi couldn’t just break in without attracting attention.” She protested.

“I was with the sith, which was why I was selected to infiltrate this facility. I’m a Jedi and Ross is my apprentice.”

“Surrender him, or die!” She pulled out her lightsaber and held it just centimeters from my heart.

I was almost in panic because I had the means to stop her, but I didn’t want to kill Ross’s sister in front of him. Although he apparently didn’t recognize her, I couldn’t afford to do it. “Alexus, you have to trust me. It’s your only hope. If we work together, we can escape this place... all three of us. If not, you will be against all of them.” I gestured to the troops gathering outside. “Even if I were lying, would the alternative be any worse? But if I’m being sincere, you can escape the fate that awaits all Sith. It’s only a matter of time before the Republic destroys them or they destroy themselves.” I paused for a moment. “Please... we can all escape this together, but if you can’t trust me... trust Ross.”

She looked at me for a long moment, but then looked to Ross almost as if to hear from him that it was alright to trust me, but he remained silent. After looking at me again, she lowered the lightsaber and retracted the blade. “At this point, what have I left to lose?”

“Or what have you to gain? Now, are there any other speeder bikes than those on the other side of the base?” I asked.

Before she could answer, I heard someone outside shouting outside. “Alexus! Surrender the Jedi!”

She looked at me almost apologetically, but I didn’t acknowledge it as I went to the entrance to see what we were facing. Through the crack in the door, I got sight of a Dark Jedi, various troops, two tanks, and a few speeder bikes scattered throughout the formations.

Alexus came up behind me and gently touched my shoulder to get attention. “What do you see? How many are there?”

“Too many to fight off. One is a Dark Jedi. Do you know who he is?” I moved away from the crack and see took a look for herself.

“Most of the Force-users here are unremarkable. I’m more concerned about all those blasters that would be aimed at us.” She said as she faced me.

I replied, “We need to take him out first. If we both attack him at once...”

“We’d be up against dozens of blasters focused on us! I can’t fight and block at...”

“We’ll have all those blasters firing on us anyway! At least if we are fighting at point blank range, he’d have to block the incoming shots as well.” I turned to Ross. “Once he’s down, I need you to take his lightsaber and help us fend them off. I know you’re wounded and in no condition to fight, but I need you to watch yourself so that once I get a speeder bike, I don’t have to worry about you.”

“What if the fight doesn’t go as anticipated? Things often don’t go according to plan.”

I stepped back from the doorway and unclipped the lightsaber from my waist. “No, they don’t.” I looked at Alexus as she held her lightsaber in ready position. “If one of us should fall, then the other must take Ross and escape. There is no sense in risking two to save one, but whichever of us it is, Ross must be with the other. Do you both understand?”

Alexus looked at Ross for a long moment almost as if expecting it to be the last time she could tell him the truth, but I couldn’t let her emotions get in the way. I grabbed her shoulders and put myself centimeters from her face. “Alexus... I need you to stay focused. When this door opens, it will not end until we are all safely back at the Republic station. After that, then you tell him.”

“Tell me what?” Ross asked.

“It’s no concern of yours! I need you both for this to succeed. Stay behind one of us, Ross and take his lightsaber once he’s dead.” I faced Alexus again. “After that, you follow me or Ross will know the way back if I don’t make it.” I ignited my lightsaber and got by the door. “Whenever you two are ready... remember that this will not end until we are all back at the fuel station.”

They both nodded. Alexus ignited her lightsaber as well. “Let’s get this over with.”


"If God is a DJ, then life is a dance floor, love is the rhythm and you are the music."



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Old 10-27-2008, 09:32 PM   #193
Rev7
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Yeah! A new chapter! Good job D_Y!

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Old 10-28-2008, 11:12 PM   #194
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Hey DY, hope to see you back soon. Thanks for posting Burnseyy.

This was a very interesting chap. Alastria...that was an unexpected twist. I like where this chapter has taken the story and how it set the stage for what I'm assuming will be a fairly large battle sequence. Great stuff, DY, I'm glad for the update to this great fic! Glad to see the inspiration back.

~HOP



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Old 10-31-2008, 01:17 AM   #195
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Chapter 41: An Unexpected Guest

No, Ross wasn’t dead, but he might as well have been. There were many fates worse than death and being captured by the Sith was most definitely one of them. The Sith had been recording sessions where Ross was being tortured and transmitting it to the Republic station over the last few days.

It was a sickening feeling to watch Ross being subjected to Force lightning, beatings, and psychological trauma. I feared that they were trying to turn him to the Dark side and that I was too late. Each day since he was captured, they transmitted live video, but it had ended two days ago.

When I watched the last video, I saw he was growing weary, but I didn’t think that he had yet broken under the torture. Unlike the last three, the fourth video ended after only two hours where the other sessions were much longer than that. It didn’t make sense that they would have stopped transmitting unless... something happened.

I quickly went to check the security reports on that day and discovered the prison facility had been broken into. Among the files was some extra footage of the last session which was not transmitted to the station. It turned out to be quite interesting:

As Ross was screaming from the pain of Force lightning, the Sith who was conducting the session received word that the facility was under attack. He intended to have Ross moved to a secure location, but shortly after being unshackled, the door to the interrogation room was blown open.

Coming into view was a cloaked and masked woman who went directly for the Sith, but was quickly beaten. Before he delivered a killing blow, Ross had attacked him unarmed and gave her the distraction she needed to escape death. But Ross paid the price... his left arm to be precise.

At that point, I gasped at realizing that I may have been watching his death, but then something else grabbed my attention. When Ross’s arm was severed, the woman started screaming in pain as well, grabbing her own arm. They shared a Force bond!

When the Sith interrogator saw the connection, he laughed. “Tell me, is it lethal?” Then he prepared to kill Ross, but the woman went at him with great ferocity and killed him easily with anger flowing through her.

When the fight was over, she hovered over Ross and turned him on his back. After examining the wound, she threw him over her shoulders and carried him out.

I was stunned at what I had just seen. Ross had lost an arm, but also shared a bond with another. Who could it have been?

--

I had spent nearly an hour going through whatever files I could in the database, hoping that I could uncover something that could help me find Ross, but things just got stranger and stranger as I learned more. In the last few days, the Sith forces have been tearing themselves apart as the 4 Dark Jedi started fighting amongst themselves for command.

Unlike at the academy on Korriban, these four have been using their followers to attack each other rather than facing their enemies directly. None of them were female, so it couldn’t have been any of them who took Ross.

I leaned back in my chair, wondering who had rescued him and where she could have gone. Although she was masked, I knew it wasn’t one of the other Jedi from the Fuel Station. She had to have been either a sith, or someone acting independently. Given that the second option only narrowed the number of candidates to almost any Force-sensative in the Galaxy, I could only narrow down the options among the Sith within the base.

After evaluating the records of the Dark Jedi, I found that there were seven originally stationed, but that number dwindled to three over the last six months; two female. Neither one seemed to be like the one who screamed in that video. It was odd to make that judgment without even speaking to them, but I just didn’t think either one did it.

After nearly an hour of searching, I found the record of another Dark Jedi who had arrived shortly after Ross’s rescue... a woman. Her photo in the profile and the voice seemed to match, but she clearly arrived a few hours iafteri/ Ross was rescued. Despite that, this Alexus Seagate was the one.

--

I was quite astonished at everything that’s happened that I walked through the base with more anxiety than fear. I didn’t know how Alexus would react when I approached, but I had prepared myself for the possibility that I would have to extract the info from her. When I thought about what I would say, I realized that I would have to expose myself if I hoped for a peaceful solution. If that didn’t happen, we might end up clashing lightsabers... and I was in no condition to fight.

That hibernation trance weakened me significantly and if we got into a fight, she would have a significant advantage over me. Even if I had been in my prime, she would have been a challenge, but in my weakened state... If I had any sense, I would have just tried to save myself, but something was drawing me to discover the truth. Who could possibly have had a bond with Ross? Was he still alive? Could I convince her to tell me without revealing myself? I just didn’t know.

Among a some medical supplies left behind, I found a pair of adrenal boosters and some combat rations. If I had to fight, at least I could make up for my weakened state. The rations were freeze-dried, but they were not safe from rodents. All 6 packages were torn open and some were completely consumed, but I desperately needed to eat. I took whatever remnants didn’t have teeth marks or insect larvae and managed to get enough of what was left to ease my hunger, but it would have taken hours before it did any good. Before I left to find this Alexus, I injected myself with one of the boosters and would save the second if and when I needed it.

--

Alexus was currently stationed in one of the command centers on a routine shift, so I went directly there, verified my identity to the guards, and was soon in front of her. Since she was new around this place as well, she wouldn’t have been surprised to see a ‘Sith Master’ she didn’t recognize, so she would have respected my rank above her ‘Dark knight’ status. That still didn’t keep her from admitting that she didn’t see my name among the other dark Jedi.

“Are you Alexus Sapphire?”

“Alexus Sapphire.”

“Yes, Alexus Sapphire. Are you her?”

She turned her gaze away. “No. You must be mistaken.”

I folded my arms in an intimidating manner. “Don’t mess around with me. I know you are Alexus.”

“Then why did you ask a question that you already knew the answer? When you need to identify someone, you’re not supposed to say their name in the question, otherwise they could answer yes or no.” She glared at me. “What do you want?”

“I would like to speak with you in a less public location.”

She stared at me for a short moment as if to read if I had hostile intentions. Then she looked back at a uniformed officer. “You are now in command. I’ll be back shortly.” Then she faced me again. “There is an office nearby that belonged to the late Darth Polenin. He probably wouldn’t mind if we used it.”

--

I found it odd that she just dropped her position when confronted by a complete stranger, but I was a Master after all. She was just following the chain of command, but if that man in the video was Darth Polenin, why didn’t she take credit for his death? Once elevated to Grand Master, she could have done anything she wanted with the Sith on this base.

After entering, she stood by the doorway and asked. “What is this about?”

“Close the door. We don’t want any of this to become public knowledge.”

“If this is about some plot or scheme, I want nothing to do with it, so don’t ask.”

I tranced over to the door and pressed the control to slide it shut with Alexus still in the way. When she tried to move to the opposite side before it closed, I pulled her into the room with the Force. She didn’t take kindly to that, but I started speaking before she could threaten me. “I know that you are the one who captured the Jedi yesterday.”

She dropped her shoulders in annoyance. “I’ve been through this already. I was not even here at the time it happened. There was no way that I could have done something like that from afar and I can’t be in two places at once... it would be nice though.”

I tiled my head and raised an eyebrow. “The time index on the records are perfect, so I believe that you didn’t change the records. You were, however, the one who did it.”

“Do you have any real proof? Why would I do such a thing even if I were here? What...”

I cut her off. “You came here for the sole purpose of rescuing the Jedi. You share a bond with him and that’s why you came to this miserable planet at all.”

“I have a better hypothesis... The Jedi was only a padawan, but the master was never found. That master was the one who shared a bond and she came to rescue her student.” Everything fits and if she could have remained hidden for days, surely they both escaped.”

I paused a long moment, wondering if I had to reveal myself in order to get her to talk. “It wasn’t the master who rescued him.”

“Oh. How did you come to that conclusion?” She asked as if gloating her innocence.

“The one who saved him didn’t have lekku.”

She stared at me for a moment before realizing the severity of the situation. Terror clouded her mind and she went for the door to escape.

“That wouldn’t be in your best interest.” I slowly moved between her and the doorway. If you told them that I was the master, then it would bring up the next question of who was in the video. It was clearly not me, so it had to be one of the other Sith. How long do you think it would be before they find the truth?” I stepped up to her. “We are now in this together, whether you like it or not. If you expose me, you will expose yourself. If you want to keep breathing, you must help me and Ross to escape. Once that’s done, you could come back as if nothing happened, or you can return with me and be free to do whatever you want with your life.”

She was stunned at being discovered by the master and being discovered in spite of the airtight alibi of hers. Alexus just stared at me for a long moment to consider the consequences, but eventually nodded.

I gave a small smile and nodded as well to inspire cooperation. “Where is he?”

She sighed deeply. “He’s alive, but I had to drug him to remain unconscious. I couldn’t risk his thoughts being sensed by the other Force-sensatives.”

“He had suffered severe injuries before that. Did you stabilize him before injecting him with drugs? Where is he?”

“He lost an arm, but it won’t get infected. Other than that, he’s just as you left him... why did you leave him anyway? I thought Jedi don’t abandon their padawans.”

“It would take too long to explain. I need you to take me to him.”

“Not yet. Do you even have a means of escape?”

“Don’t you? You seemed to plan your arrival quite well. Did you plan your escape as well?”

“I did, but I didn’t exactly consider that a group of rebels would hijack the ship I arrived on. The base is now locked down and anyone trying to leave would be discovered. And even then, they would not have a means to get off this world.”

“I do. And if you want to escape as well, I could provide it.” I said.

“No thanks. I just want to get through this as discretely as possible. As long you don’t screw this up, I will help you to get out of here. And after that... please don’t make me rescue him again. You’re the master... keep it that way.”

I saw great frustration within her, yet I didn’t really know why she rescued him at all. “You and he share a Force bond. How did that come to be?”

“It wasn’t by choice, I’ll say that.” She hit a wall in anger. “When the little was being tortured, he was transmitting his pain to me. I tried ignoring it for a while, but there came a point where I couldn’t stand it anymore. It was like the more desperate he was, the more painful it became for me.” She paced around for a moment. “I abandoned my post and followed him here so I could save him and then return him to you, the Jedi.”

I nodded, but then I came to realize who I just found. “Alexus... that is not your name, is it?”

She looked at me over her shoulder. “It is, but Ross knew me by another.”

“Alastria.”

She looked almost as though she were holding back tears as she nodded. “So he never had forgotten me. What did he tell you about me... about us?”

“Not much. He said you went off to fight in the Mandalorian Wars, but never returned. He thought you had died.”

“I thought he had as well. I remembered losing the bond between us slowly, but there came a time when it seemed to die altogether. I haven’t felt him since until only a few days ago.”

“I never heard about that bond, but I guess I never asked him about that. How did he react when he first saw you again?”

“He never knew it was me. I just wanted to return him to the Jedi and leave forever.” She stated.

“Well now is a time to plan an escape. If you want to get off this world, you and I will have to get back to the Republic fuel station. From there, you can do whatever you want with your life.”

“Alright, alright, but if you do something stupid, I won’t hesitate to kill you. I’m doing this for myself and only myself. Got it?”

I raised my hands to gesture acknowledgment. “Lead the way and I’ll follow.”

--

Ross had been taken into an abandoned building that had once stored fuel for Sith fighters, but was only collecting dust with no fighters to supply. Alexus said that it was the most unlikely place the Sith would look for a captive padawan. Before she opened the door, she turned to face me. “You are not going to revive him, are you? You don’t even know what you’re going to do after this.”

“I’ll get to that, but for now I need to know if he can walk on his own or if he’ll have to be carried out.” I stated before opening the door myself.

Before I could go in, she held me back. “I’m staying out here. As far as he knows, I’m still dead.”

I raised an eyebrow at what I just heard. “Aren’t you the least bit interested in speaking to your brother? You and he shared a bond and I think you would both like to talk to each other...”

“This is not the time for that. Once we’re gone, then we will have all the time in the galaxy. Until then, I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“Fine. I’ll not say anything to him.” After that, I went into the building, which was dilapidated and filled with rusting canisters of fuel. Most of them were spent and thrown aside while others were neatly stacked and would explode with just one spark.

Ross was at the far end behind a few empty canisters. When I moved them out of the way, got down on my knee and checked his left arm to see for myself that it indeed was severed. I know what I saw on the video, but it just didn’t seem real until I saw for myself. It was almost like seeing the corpse at a funeral instead of the cremated remains.

I saw that it was not as terrible as I thought. The arm was only cut off to the elbow, but it looked like the joint wouldn’t have to be replaced. Prosthetic limbs were more powerful than the originals, but were not as reliable because artificial joints don’t have the nerves or the means to heal like flesh. And usually the greater the scale of the joint, the more difficult it becomes to work in unison with the flesh.

The wound was not properly dressed. Although the lightsaber sealed it from infection, the elements would have eventually opened the wound and the blood pressure would have dropped if the coagulated blood was worn away with time. I ripped off a piece of my cloak and covered it properly.

Before I could wake him, Alastria yelled from the outside. “We can’t linger here! Do whatever you must so we can plan our next move!”

“One moment!” I shouted back. After I turned my attention back to Ross, I put my hand on his forehead so that I could stimulate him in spite of the drugs that were keeping him asleep.

He lifted his head and stretched his limbs, but soon turned his attention to the phantom arm. Then he saw me hovering over. “Yuthura... what happened? What’s going on?”

“It’s alright, Ross. I came back for you and you lost your arm to save me. We are still in danger, though. Can you walk?”

“Wait, no. It wasn’t you who came for me. It was someone else... she seemed familiar...”

I interrupted. “I’m sorry Ross, but we don’t have time. Can you walk?”

He leaned forward and I pulled him up by the healthy arm to his feet. The drugs made it difficult for him to keep balance, but he could move on his own. “Yeah. Where do we go from here?”

“You’re going to have to stay for a while, but I’ll be right back for you. The whole base is locked down and we need to come up with a plan.” I explained.

Alastria came running in with great concern. “Something’s happening out there.”

“What?”

“I hear vehicles starting up. I think that they are mobilizing for an attack or something.”

“We’re at the far side of the base. If they are planning to attack the Republic outpost, we can get a pair of speeder bikes and outrun them.”

“I think they’re getting closer. I don’t know if we can reach the speeder bike hanger even if he could run. We should stay where we are until they pass by.”

“No. If they are getting closer, then we must have been discovered!”

She stared at me in utter horror. “This is what you had planned all along! You wanted me to deliver the Jedi into your hands and then have me killed!”

“No! I’m his master and they are coming for me! We have to escape!” I desperately shouted.

“A Jedi couldn’t just break in without attracting attention.” She protested.

“I was with the sith, which was why I was selected to infiltrate this facility. I’m a Jedi and Ross is my apprentice.”

“Surrender him, or die!” She pulled out her lightsaber and held it just centimeters from my heart.

I was almost in panic because I had the means to stop her, but I didn’t want to kill Ross’s sister in front of him. Although he apparently didn’t recognize her, I couldn’t afford to do it. “Alexus, you have to trust me. It’s your only hope. If we work together, we can escape this place... all three of us. If not, you will be against all of them.” I gestured to the troops gathering outside. “Even if I were lying, would the alternative be any worse? But if I’m being sincere, you can escape the fate that awaits all Sith. It’s only a matter of time before the Republic destroys them or they destroy themselves.” I paused for a moment. “Please... we can all escape this together, but if you can’t trust me... trust Ross.”

She looked at me for a long moment, but then looked to Ross almost as if to hear from him that it was alright to trust me, but he remained silent. After looking at me again, she lowered the lightsaber and retracted the blade. “At this point, what have I left to lose?”

“Or what have you to gain? Now, are there any other speeder bikes than those on the other side of the base?” I asked.

Before she could answer, I heard someone outside shouting outside. “Alexus! Surrender the Jedi!”

She looked at me almost apologetically, but I didn’t acknowledge it as I went to the entrance to see what we were facing. Through the crack in the door, I got sight of a Dark Jedi, various troops, two tanks, and a few speeder bikes scattered throughout the formations.

Alexus came up behind me and gently touched my shoulder to get attention. “What do you see? How many are there?”

“Too many to fight off. One is a Dark Jedi. Do you know who he is?” I moved away from the crack and see took a look for herself.

“Most of the Force-users here are unremarkable. I’m more concerned about all those blasters that would be aimed at us.” She said as she faced me.

I replied, “We need to take him out first. If we both attack him at once...”

“We’d be up against dozens of blasters focused on us! I can’t fight and block at...”

“We’ll have all those blasters firing on us anyway! At least if we are fighting at point blank range, he’d have to block the incoming shots as well.” I turned to Ross. “Once he’s down, I need you to take his lightsaber and help us fend them off. I know you’re wounded and in no condition to fight, but I need you to watch yourself so that once I get a speeder bike, I don’t have to worry about you.”

“What if the fight doesn’t go as anticipated? Things often don’t go according to plan.”

I stepped back from the doorway and unclipped the lightsaber from my waist. “No, they don’t.” I looked at Alexus as she held her lightsaber in ready position. “If one of us should fall, then the other must take Ross and escape. There is no sense in risking two to save one, but whichever of us it is, Ross must be with the other. Do you both understand?”

Alexus looked at Ross for a long moment almost as if expecting it to be the last time she could tell him the truth, but I couldn’t let her emotions get in the way. I grabbed her shoulders and put myself centimeters from her face. “Alexus... I need you to stay focused. When this door opens, it will not end until we are all safely back at the Republic station. After that, then you tell him.”

“Tell me what?” Ross asked.

“It’s no concern of yours! I need you both for this to succeed. Stay behind one of us, Ross and take his lightsaber once he’s dead.” I faced Alexus again. “After that, you follow me or Ross will know the way back if I don’t make it.” I ignited my lightsaber and got by the door. “Whenever you two are ready... remember that this will not end until we are all back at the fuel station.”

They both nodded. Alexus ignited her lightsaber as well. “Let’s get this over with.”

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 11-01-2008 at 12:14 PM. Reason: Replacing a chapter
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Old 11-01-2008, 02:23 AM   #196
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Ross died?!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

The suspense is killing me.

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Old 11-01-2008, 09:30 AM   #197
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DY...tell me you're not going to kill Ross. PLEASE tell me you're not going to kill Ross! THEY JUST FOUND HIS SISTER, YOU CAN'T KILL HIM NOW!!!!!!!!!

Great chapter.


Chapter 12 of A Soul Adrift is out.

Short stories:
T'katlu: On the planet Felucia, a young apprentice of the Dark Side thinks back to the beginning of her training as she lies in wait for her prey...

All the Time: After four years in the Unknown Regions, the Exile returns to the known galaxy to visit an old enemy.

Broken: A master of the Dark Side finds himself about to lose the one thing he cares about--and he will do anything to stop her from endangering herself.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:57 AM   #198
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Chapter 42: When it Ends

When the door was opened, the Sith knight was standing much closer to the group of soldiers than I originally thought, but because I had committed us to a plan, I made a Force jump to take him out as quickly as possible. Alexus followed close behind, so I made another jump over the Sith, forcing him to fight one of us and leaving himself open to the other.

As expected, there was heavy blaster fire on all three of us. While I held up the enemy, Alexus had a clean shot, but he jumped straight in the air to avoid her blade. That was a mistake because he left himself open to a Force attack.

Using the Force to move objects was relatively easy, but moving organics was very difficult to do without causing harm. It also meant it was that easy to deliberately cause harm by directing an attack at the right organ. When he jumped, I took hold of his heart, keeping it in place as his body continued moving. After hearing the organ being torn, restricted, and crushed, the lifeless body stalled in the air and plummeted back to the ground.

Alexus had positioned herself beside me to provide mutual protection from blaster shots, but there was only so long we could hold out against so many blasters. Shortly after that, Ross followed us out and took the Sith’s lightsaber to spread the bolts even further.

When the armored vehicles began firing their grenade launchers, I was too focused on taking one of the speeder bikes that I did not noticed them coming. Alexus had saved us when she redirected the projectiles back at one group of soldiers, taking out nearly a dozen of the guns directed at us.

In battle, you didn’t concern yourself with manners, otherwise I would have thanked her. I had let myself get distracted and she saved us all with that quick and brilliant act. Instead, I just shouted “Speeder bikes!” It was both to indicate the new threat and our means of escape.

One of the soldiers on a bike came charging at us, blasters raging. I deflected the shots so that the bolts were redirected towards a line of soldiers. As he came closer, I moved my lightsaber almost like a mirror scattering the shots perfectly so each bolt hit the soldier next to the one who had just fallen like a line of dominos. When the rider was within ten meters of us, I grabbed his bike with the Force, allowing his momentum to throw him off as the vehicle came to a sudden stop.

I didn’t care about taking out the soldier, who was likely still alive, but in taking his ride. I pulled the bike towards me and got on, but I could not stop to grab Ross. Instead, I cranked to full throttle in order to draw their fire away from the other two.

When I saw a second bike charging them, I grabbed the driver, holding him in the air while the bike moved out from under him. When I had enough room to do so, I pivoted my bike and fired the blaster continuously at the enemy formations who were unlucky enough to be in front of me.

While pivoting, the bike moved in the opposite direction due to my momentum as the thrust slowed me to a complete stop before I started moving forward again. In that brief moment, I was a still target and found myself in the path of several blaster bolts. I activated my lightsaber again to deflect three of the five shots which would have made their mark. The two that did hit the bike were not enough to disable anything, but I was soon back in motion and moving too fast to be hit.

The bike that I had made available just a few seconds before was still heading for Alexus and Ross, but she did an impressive jump that positioned her hands to make contact with the bike’s handles. Once she made contact, the bike nosed up and her own momentum allowed her to land on the seat all while the bike kept moving.

Ross was left alone, but I brought myself between him and the soldiers, using my lightsaber to defend while I was again still. He jumped on, but almost fell to the other side because he didn’t have the left hand he would instinctively have used to hold onto me. When I felt what was left of his left arm against my side, it seemed almost a grim reminder of what he lost, but at the same time, reminded me to throttle up so we could escape.

Alexus was in front, but turned her head to find me and used a hand signal telling me to take the lead. Although we were at the far end of the base, I knew that we would have needed to go through dense formations of troops if we went directly outside the perimeter.

I got beside her and shouted. “Follow me through the base!”

“Through the base?! That’s crazy!”

“We have the Force... they don’t!” Then I pushed the bike up to full throttle and went for the corridors between the old hanger and warehouses leading through the narrow lanes leading into the base and towards the opposite side.

-----

Before we were clear of the perimeter units preventing our escape, I heard the distinct sound of a seeker missile. I could not turn my head back to look for it, but it was still a long way from impact. I decided that the best action was to hide within the base and the missile would likely hit something else before it caught up with us... it did.

I was still holding my lightsaber in my hand while controlling the bike and came up with a brilliant plan to not only clear out a corridor for Alexus, still behind me, but to take out dozens of troops unfortunate enough to be in my way. Ross had that Sith’s saber still in his right hand, so I took it and activated both.

With a violet and red saber in each hand while holding onto the controls, I created a fan of death for everything within three meters. The corridors were not perfectly straight, but there were no sharp turns, so I decapitated, severed limbs, and ran over every trooper that were brave or foolish enough to try stopping me.

Nearly 50 loyal Sith fell before reaching the edge of the opposite perimeter, but when I thought we were through, some armored vehicles had moved into position to block our escape. There was no way to get a speeder bike to jump over the obstacle, so I used the Force to do it instead.

At the same time, I threw the sith lightsaber at the tank so that at the same moment I lifted us over, the lightsaber would go right through the armour. I hadn’t considered that we would have been right over the tank when the explosion happened, so when the lightsaber killed the driver, I just let it go instead to catching it after it went through the disabled war machine.

I Pulled my head back to see that Alexus was still with me, but behind us were a number of other speeder bikes that were moving to intercept us. I didn’t realize it at the time, but one of my bike’s two fuel canisters had been damaged. That meant that I could not go to full throttle for the rest of the way before I ran out of fuel. There was enough that a single rider could take it back going at only 100 km/hour.

I tried to reach Alexus to have her take Ross, but I heard and saw shots firing at us. Only ten meters in front of me came an explosion originating from a projectile. Shortly after that came the same dreaded sound of a seeker missile.

I turned my head back to see that it was locked onto Alexus’s bike. She noticed and attempted to deflect the rocket, but it didn’t lose its lock. When she turned her attention back to the bike, she didn’t realize that all she did was make the weapon tumble in mid air for a second before resuming its original course. I attempted to come to a full stop so I could disable it, but the weapon reached her before I did.

I watched as the explosion came directly astern of her and rained its destruction upon the bike. It protected her from the explosion, but the bike was critically damaged and, at almost 150 km/hour, the bike did a nose dive.

My heart sank as I watched a plume of dust and sediment rise around her as debris shot through like projectiles. The crash was deafening and almost rhythmically died down as the bike and Alexus tumbled helplessly across the ground.

I pivoted the bike around as quickly as I could, stalling out, and accelerating in the opposite direction. The enemy speeder bikes were still a great distance away, but they were holding their positions for reasons I did not understand. When the dust and sand had cleared enough, there was debris scattered everywhere and I feared the worst.

Then I saw a patch of black among the debris, which was her cloak’s shade, and I went right for it without any consideration for myself or Ross. All that mattered was determining if she survived. I jumped off the speeder, leaving Ross, still drugged, on the back with great concern in his expression.

I turned Alexus on her back and felt her neck to confirm the pulse that indicated life was still there. Her cloak and robes were fairly thick, so she did not have significant external bleeding anywhere other than her forehead, but her vital organs were likely in critical condition. I could visibly determine that her right femur was shattered, fractured extremities, and the ribs apparently punctured a lung.

Ross looked at me almost in panic. “How bad is she? Can we still save her?”

I stood up and took a moment to consider all the options I had available. There was no medical kit with us and the healing trance would not have stabilized her before her internal injuries became too extreme. Then I remembered what I told her earlier... it did not stop until one of us got Ross back to the fuel station. I turned around and faced him. “Get to the front of the bike.”

“What?”

I turned back and gently got my arms under her back and knees. “You heard me! Get to the front of the bike.” Slowly, I lifted Alexus off the ground and I heard her breathing become restricted, but I was determined to get her on the bike.

When I started carrying her over, Ross had moved to the front and realized what I had in mind. “Wait... you don’t intend for me to just leave you here?”

I dropped her on the backseat, causing Alexus to release another pained groan. “There is not enough fuel for three of us to make it back, let alone in time to save her. I know you have only one hand to work with, but you must get her back as quickly as possible. I’m the only one who stands a chance out here.”

“Who is she, anyway? Why did she save me back there?”

I felt that it may have been the last chance Ross would have to know of what became of his sister before death, but I felt that he shouldn’t know while her fate was still in his hands. I didn’t want to lie to him, but I had to ensure that if I died, that he would eventually know when the time was right. “There is still good within her, but she must choose her own path. If she makes it through this, I need you to watch over her for as long as she is willing to accept your aid.” I fastened the safety harness around Alexus’s waist and ensured she would not fall off. “Don’t exceed 100 kilometers per hour, or you’ll run out of fuel before you make it back.”

“Wait. We didn’t burn that much fuel back there. There should be plenty.”

“A fuel canister was cracked open and there is only about a third of what we started out with. She’ll have to hold on for at least an hour and then a kolto tank should save her.”

“What about the other bike? Are there any fuel canisters we could take from the debris?”

I took Alexus’s lightsaber from her belt, as I would be needing it for what was ahead of me. “The odds of one surviving without being punctured is slim... not to mention the time it would take to search through the debris. This is her best chance. She needs you, so get going... now!” I ordered.

He nodded very reluctantly and did as he was told.

As I watched them disappear over the horizon, I looked back to see the Sith mobilizing a small army to intercept me. I didn’t know why they were waiting, but they stayed a great distance from me. I soon came to know what they intended for me to do.

-----

For over an hour, I have been moving across the barren landscape. With extreme temperatures reaching 45 celsius, I wanted nothing more than to shed my robe, but I was far from any source of water to replenish myself. I had no choice but to retain whatever I sweated. I had no hope of making it back to the station, but if any rescue attempt were made for me, I stood a better chance closer to the station than to the sith base.

Despite my Force abilities, I was only able to get 10 kilometers further than where I started, but I could still see the Sith base on the horizon. On the other side was a pack of speeder bikes keeping ahead of me, but not getting close enough for me to snag one from them. Behind me were armored vehicles armed with a wide range of weapons, which included seeker missiles ever so often.

I couldn’t stand just how much effort the Sith were going for a single Jedi. Considering all they lost, they kept pouring more troops, weapons, and vehicles into killing me. While I was glad to have made an impact of them, it wasn’t exactly great to know that for me, they had to sacrifice over 100 lives. I just wish that they were more reasonable and just let me go... it wasn’t like I was going to survive long out in the desert anyway.

I was physically exhausted from all the dodging and jumping that it took to get out of the way of projectiles and occasional laser shots. At that distance, the targets were too far away to bother attempting to deflect the bolts back. Every attempt I made to catch a bike ended with them pulling back and directing me away from the fuel station, but I followed the direction of the sun setting on the horizon.

Even if night came, I would not be safe from danger. It might give me a window to escape both their eyes and IR scanners. Given how long it took for the ground to cool, I would have been invisible for at least an hour. Unfortunately, I was becoming dehydrated so quickly that I might not have been able to endure the rest of the night.

When it was almost pitch black, but not absolute darkness, I heard the roar of a starship engine approaching. I couldn’t tell what it was exactly, but when I saw a plume of flame come from one of the vehicles, I knew it was Republic.

I knew that the ship was there to find me, so I ignited my lightsabers and waved them to signal them to me. However, that also illuminated me to the enemy’s eyes as well. When the explosions began again, I saw what was going on and dropped Alexus’s lightsaber where it was and disengaged mine so that I could leave a signal flare out and not make myself a target.

When the fighter hovered near the ground towards that flare, it activated its formation lights and I saw it was one of the fighters that I helped to rebuild. I thought they were wiped out in the attack... nearly a week ago.

I pulled the signal lightsaber to my hand and prepared to make a huge jump for the RIO seat, which was open and vacant. The pilot only slowed down, but did not stop completely... he still had enemies shooting at him. My jump wasn’t perfect, but I managed to grab hold of something in the aft compartment and pulled myself in. Almost instantly after that, the canopy above my compartment was sealed and we accelerated to escape the range of the enemy’s weapons.

I released a huge sigh of relief and utter exhaustion. I felt like I could just fall asleep there, but the pilot kept me from it. “Are you alright?”

“I’ve been better. Thanks.” A moment of silence elapsed. “I though all these fighters were shot down.”

“All that were dispatched to the base, yes. This was that last ship we couldn’t repair in time... glad we had it.”

I nodded, despite him not seeing it.

I tried to get to sleep again, but he kept talking. “This is Talon 6. I have her and we’re returning to base... over.”

Master Vash’s voice filled the speakers with a pleasant sound that was soothing to hear. “Good job. Is she alright?”

He looked over his shoulder to see my eyes closed, pretending to be sleep. “Just exhausted I think. She’s resting now.”

“Alright, but get back as soon as possible. When you touch down, I need you to wake her and... have you told her of the situation here?” She said.

“No, not yet. Do you want me to?”

“No, let her rest. She’ll know soon enough...”

Before she dropped the signal, I spoke up. “Know what? Did Alexus die?!”

“No... it’s Ross.” She said sadly.

“What?! What happened?” I demanded.

“I’ll tell you when you get back...”

“Tell me now!” I shouted.

“Please remain calm. The last thing you need is to get angry aboard a small fighter. You’ll be back in fifteen minutes anyway, so be patient.”

I was left with no choice but to wait anxiously for bad news. Alexus was the one who was critical, but Ross? And why didn’t she even bring her up in the communiqué? Suddenly, sleep was not going to come so easy anymore.

Last edited by Darth_Yuthura; 11-02-2008 at 01:33 AM.
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Old 11-01-2008, 11:40 PM   #199
HIGH ON PIE 14
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Oh, Vash, your toturing me!

I hope Ross is okay. An exciting chapter to be sure. The speeder sequence was described in so much detail, and that it the key to a fight/battle scene. The suspense is killing me though...

A great addition DY! Good to see you back.

~HOP



Viva La Resistance!
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Old 11-05-2008, 07:57 PM   #200
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No, this isn't quite the update some were hoping for... it's coming soon... I have revised everything up to chapter 16 and would like to draw your attention to an ORIGINAL chapter that has just been added. Chapter 9 "A Slobberingly Drunk Twi'lek" should say it all, but I would like to draw your attention to this.

I also have a greatly extended chapter 14 (now two posts long) It's not much different than before in terms of the plot, but there is a new sequence where Yuthura has to dive from over 30,000 feet w/out a parachute as well as an additional conversation about Alfred from Nevski at the end of Part one.

Please comment if you haven't already read through the new content. Three completely original chapters have been added and I hope readers check them out. Chapters 6-9 are not the same plot rewritten, but original plots added to what is already written.
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