REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part V – Reunited
Revan sat at the makeshift command table that Canderous had dug out for them, with his head in his hands. He, the current Mandalore, and Bastila had left the leader’s home and had entered the command center for the Ordo Clan.
There, in one of the storage rooms that Mandalore kept locked, the three had entered for privacy reasons. The former knight couldn’t seem to apologize enough for what he had done, but the elder man shrugged it off, finally patting him on the back and saying it was good to see him again.
Though he had gotten the forgiveness from his intended victim, Revan himself didn’t feel particularly worthy of it. In a fit of rage, he had nearly strangled the larger man and worse, he didn’t know why he had become so angry.
He knew it disappointed and scared his lover at the same time and though she sent him some of her calm, underneath he could tell the action had frightened her.
He had asked Canderous about those he had traveled with in the ship. He already knew three of those occupants and was disheartened when the Mandalorian confirmed that his former master had been one of those passengers as well.
He mentioned a Zabrak, to which Bastila had said he was currently resting within the medical unit of Telos’ Citadel Station; as well as a woman named Visas Marr, who had been quick to try and kill the exile. He also mentioned a Wookiee named Hanharr and a large droid called GOTO, though he was just an extension of his crime boss personality.
Canderous told them he didn’t know what happened after he, Ellis, and Visas had destroyed the flagship of Darth Nihilus; only that something of importance had happened when they had arrived on Dantooine and that both the handmaiden and Ellis smelled of death when they returned from the hidden academy within the polar caps of Telos. That information alone stunned both Jedi. Neither knew that there had been anything on that side of Telos or that in fact, it housed a small Jedi academy.
But it was the knowledge that his teacher had betrayed him, that’s what put Revan into an even fouler mood than before. Kreia had always been straightforward with him, which was why this seemed…callous to him.
Had she planted the idea of a true Sith species in his head in order to lure him away from Republic space? Had that been her plan all along? He shook his head. He couldn’t blame her.
It was he who was at fault.
He had left her, left her on Malachor V, knowing the planet was steeped within the dark side and he hadn’t stopped her. He had known she was falling to the dark side, had even met her apprentices, and yet he hadn’t stopped her from the course she was on. And perhaps that pained him even more. While he didn’t agree with the Jedi Council, they had given him a chance and he hadn’t used it to turn back his former teacher.
And that lapse in judgment could possibly cost him in the long run.
She had trained his former friend in the ways of a Sith Lord and now Ellis Yoly was trying to kill him and for the life of him, he didn’t know what he had done to cause the young man to view him with such hatred. While he always suspected Malak hated the role of sidekick or second fiddle, he never could see any malice within Ellis. Never. But apparently it was there; as it was in Malak; as it was in him.
“Where is this Visas Marr?” he asked quietly, startling the only two people with him.
When he didn’t receive an answer, he lifted his head to look at Canderous. The Mandalorian wouldn’t look at him for a few moments and when he did, he asked, “Why do you need to know?”
“She was a Sith, wasn’t she?” he asked. “Not to mention a Miraluka and one that survived the devastation of Katarr. She may have information that could be useful.”
Again, Canderous looked away for a moment before responding. “I’ll tell you on a few conditions.” He noticed Revan raise his eyebrow at this. “First, you call back here and tell when you plan on going,” he stated. “I’ll transmit a chart of where the planet is. Second, you fly back here to get me, cause you won’t see her without me onboard to show you.”
“What’s your interest in this Miraluka?” Revan asked, curious.
“That’s my own damn business,” Canderous replied, gruffly. “And you’ll do well to stay out of it.”
Revan took only a few minutes to decide. He nodded his head, saying, “All right. It’s not where we’re headed next, but it’s on the list.”
The former bounty hunter walked to the door, grabbing the helmet he had removed earlier. “Let me contact her about your coming,” he said, before walking out and leaving the lovers to themselves.
He’s hiding something.
I got that, too. Odd that Canderous wouldn’t just tell us the information. He knows more than he’s telling, that’s for sure.
As do you, my love.
Revan glanced up at her as she crossed the room to lay a hand on his shoulder. “Perhaps,” he muttered.
“I wish you’d let me in.”
“I’m afraid of what you’ll see,” he sighed.
“We’ve been over this…”
The former master shook his head. “Not now, Bastila,” he said, standing. “While I love our little game, I’m not in the mood for it at the moment. I need…” He stopped, trying to come up with a word for what he needed. He needed to be alone, he knew, but he didn’t want to be alone.
His head hurt from all he had learned; it felt full and ready to burst, but yet if he was left alone to meditate, he knew that he would dwell on his failings as a Jedi, as a Sith, and as a friend.
He shook his head, trying to clear it. “I think…” he mumbled. “I need sleep.”
Without saying a word, the young woman took his hand and led him to the small hut that Canderous had assigned them.
Lynsel still wasn’t used to all the surprises that seemed to be coming her way lately.
After watching Carth and Dustil have a few drinks, the young man had told them he would take them somewhere where they could talk about the problems of Onderon without Vaklu’s kath hounds upon them.
They then left the cantina and headed straight, only turning to the left when it seemed they couldn’t continue further. They entered a large room, which seemed to only have one person within it. He sat at a desk, but looked up, a hand going to the blaster on his side until he saw who it was.
“Didn’t anyone ever tell you to not sneak up on people?” the man asked, relaxing, but looking curiously at her and Carth.
“Sorry, Ramma,” Dustil replied, sheepishly. The group walked over to the man, Dustil holding out his hand for the man called Ramma to shake. “I brought some help.”
Ramma looked at both people, smirking when he landed on Carth. “You must be this brat’s old man,” he chuckled, holding his hand out to shake the admiral’s. “He doesn’t seem to stop talking about you.”
Carth smirked. “Whatever he said, I hope it was all good.”
“Well, mostly good,” the younger man said, moving to avoid his father’s hand. “This is Lt. Belyn,” he continued. “She’s with my dad.”
Lynsel, shaking the man’s hand, quickly spoke to derail that last comment. “I’m on this mission with the admiral,” she said. “Technically, I’m just an observer for RSF.”
Ramma just smiled and looked at Dustil. “When you said you brought help, I didn’t think it be this.”
Dustil smirked. “Wait till you meet my other friends,” he said.
This time, the man laughed and clapped Dustil on the shoulder. He then went over to the door and locked it before coming back towards the trio. He looked at Carth and Lynsel again before saying, “Follow me.”
He pushed past them towards the back of the room where a lab station sat. He motioned for Dustil to come over and together they pushed the station to the side. Then Ramma bent down to the floorboards and removed a large section of it, revealing what looked to be a long staircase.
“I’ll go first,” Ramma replied, heading down the steps. “Then your friends and then you close up, Dustil.” Ramma nodded his head to the other two before continuing his descent.
The stairway wasn’t long and soon they reached a dirt floor, where Ramma reached for a light by the side of the wall. When Dustil joined them, the quartet headed straight. It seemed as though they had entered into a long, dark tunnel that went as long as 10 meters, but light came through the darkness as they entered a rather large area.
It was the size of a room and there were charts that littered the dirt walls and floor. There were several men in uniform, though theirs were quite different from the General’s preferred choice.
“Welcome to the Underground,” Ramma said, as the group stepped within the area. “We are, in the very sense, a resistance movement against the current ruler of Onderon. As usual, the planet once again split when he was put into power — those in support of him and those against. I’m sure you noticed the deserted streets?”
Carth and Lynsel nodded. “Vaklu has basically put the whole planet on blockade again. He plans on completely seceding from the Republic.”
“Those were his plans last year, too,” Carth replied. “It’s odd though that he had troops come down to Telos to help stop the Sith.”
Ramma laughed. “That wasn’t because he had your interests at heart,” he said. “It was a political move, I assure you. He wants to get other planets to secede as well and he figured as long as Telos is getting resources from us, they would do well to side with him.”
“No one said he was smart,” Dustil remarked, seeing the look of disgust on his father’s face.
“I think Dustil can explain the situation better,” Ramma said, giving the younger man a look. “Why don’t you…?” He made a motion with his head, to which Dustil nodded.
“Follow me,” he said, continuing their walk until they reached what looked like a back room. He knocked on the makeshift door, giving out a password before it opened to reveal an older gentleman.
“Well,” the man said. “Doing more errands for Mandalore, I see.”
Dustil smiled at the man. “You could say that,” he chuckled. He held out his hand and shook the other man’s. “How are you, Dr. Ghent?”
“Pretty good,” the elder answered. Looking at the two who accompanied the younger man, he asked, “Who’s the cavalry with you?”
“Needed help,” replied the younger man. “Is she here?”
“Where else is she to go?” The elder man moved to allow the three to enter.
The room was slightly smaller than the outer and it looked like a bedroom of sorts. It was well light and had a medium sized table off to the side; it also contained charts that lay haphazardly on top. Across from that was a bed, with a chair pushed to the wall next to it. Off to the side was a couch.
“Dustil?” asked a voice, which was soon traced to a woman who came from another door on the left. She had brown hair that hung to her shoulders and the darkest green eyes. She was dressed in a goldish-red robe that brushed the floor.
“I’m here, Your Majesty,” replied the young Jedi, causing his companions to gasp.
“You can’t possibly be Queen Talia,” Lynsel blurted.
“Let me explain…”
Dustil told them how the Queen had been left for dead after Vaklu, aided by the Jedi exile, had stormed the Royal Palace. A few of the remaining palace troops had only been knocked unconscious, but when they awoke, they found themselves within a room outside the palace gates. That was how they had found the queen, barely breathing from the wounds sustained from her fight with Vaklu and the exile.
Those troops who were still loyal to her managed to flee from where ever they were and quickly found Dhagon Ghent, the doctor who had greeted them at the door. Ghent, being a friend to both Mandalore and the Jedi Master Kavar, quickly put up the queen in his home, building the refuge they were currently in. It was Ghent who had met up with Dustil when Mandalore had first sent him to Onderon.
When he had first seen her, she was still in pretty bad shape. Dr. Ghent, though not a very good doctor, had at least tended to her injuries as best as he could. Dustil had used the Force to heal her, hoping that the damage wasn’t too great.
After repeated visits, the former queen recovered and requested to see the young man who had helped her. And that was how the young Jedi became the unofficial advisor to the former queen of Onderon.
“I do not fault all Jedi for what has happened,” the Queen began. “As you can tell by my choices for advisors, but I do not understand why this exile would want my cousin to run the planet.”
“There’s something else at play here,” Carth said, beginning to pace the room. “I’m sure Revan knows more about it. He knows the exile.”
“Revan?!” the Queen exclaimed. She looked at Dustil. “Then you were correct when you said he would come.”
The young man shrugged. “I thought he might,” he said, answering the question that seemed to be on everyone’s mind. “He told me he’d be coming home soon the last I saw him.”
Carth nodded. “I know he wants to try and make this situation a lot better,” he said. “Especially knowing what Vaklu plans on doing. Are you serious about this, your highness? About overthrowing Vaklu. Because…I know it can be done, especially if Revan is at the head of it.”
“I have heard Revan was a great military leader in the wars that plagued the galaxy,” the Queen replied. “If he is willing to help us, we would be most appreciative.”
“We’ll be fine, Your Majesty,” Dustil confirmed. “If anyone can put a plan into action, it’s Revan and my dad is the best pilot in known space. I know we can get the Mandalorians to help if need be.”
“The Republic is certainly at your disposal, Your Majesty.” Carth said. At her look, he smirked. “Being admiral has its perks.”
“Don’t worry, your majesty,” Lynsel added. “We’ll do all we can.”
The return to Dxun was pretty much quiet, at least for Lynsel. The information she had learned was taking her mind a little while to wrap entirely around. The Queen of Onderon was alive and planning a coup, much like her cousin had when he had overthrown her. She was going to be involved in a coup against the reigning ruler of Onderon. Lynsel couldn’t believe it.
It had only been about a week or so since she had been sitting within the cantina on Ord Mantell, desperately wishing to be away from the place when she had spotted her target. The Intel officer had no idea that the chance meeting would end her up in this quest, which currently involved overthrowing the king of a planet.
And it only seemed to get deeper. Carth Onasi’s son was a Jedi. She knew it, had seen it by the way he had easily persuaded the guard to let them pass into Iziz and Queen Talia had even stated that he was indeed her Jedi advisor.
That was the reason he had blown up at her over the Jedi comment their first night. But how was she to know?
Things…things were getting heavy and they hadn’t truly embarked on the cusp of the mission that lay ahead. How did the admiral do this for nearly a year? It had only been a little over a week for her and already Lynsel was feeling lost in the loop of things.
So lost in her thoughts, she hadn’t noticed the descent of the shuttle back into the hanger on Dxun until Dustil tapped her shoulder, startling her a bit. She nodded her thanks and left the cockpit.
The trio quickly went in search of both Revan and Bastila, who had been assigned a hut close to Mandalore’s own. While Bastila seemed to be the more alert of the two, Revan was quickly in his element as Carth and Dustil explained the situation to them.
They then gathered within the Mandalorian command center where they discussed possibilities. Revan said he would go with Carth and Dustil tomorrow to meet and talk to Queen Talia himself.
This was also the time Dustil finally got to meet Mission and the two instantly didn’t hit it off. Mission had been told, probably through the rumor mill, that he had been a former Sith soldier and she was quick to make sure he remembered that; Dustil, who of course took offense to her ‘sith boy’ comment, made a crack about the Twi’lek slave trade — “I think there’s a table calling your name.” — which earned him a swing at his face from the young woman, which missed, but the kick to his shin didn’t.
The two had then stalked off to their respective huts, causing Revan to groan, “Why must every trip start off with everyone not liking each other?”
Only after everyone had gone off to their own devices did Lynsel ask Carth to accompany her around the compound. She led them off to a small nook that was near the front of the entrance, turning to face him once they came to a stop.
“Your son’s a Jedi,” she stated, wondering if he did indeed know of his son’s path.
Carth nodded. “My son’s a Jedi,” he repeated, “Has been for about six years now.” He looked at her in contemplation. “Are you going to yell at me about it?”
The Intel officer shook her head. “I wanted to know if you knew or not,” she replied. “And the rumors about him being a Sith?”
Carth sighed. It was something that was only common knowledge to those he trusted; for everyone else, it was a rumor started up by the press in the aftermath of the Star Forge.
He figured he wouldn’t have to address it unless someone asked, which was why he was going to let the explanation to Mission come from Dustil. Seeing as they get along so well, he thought sarcastically.
“The rumors are true,” he whispered, turning his head to look out into the distance. “But it was Dustil who realized what they were and how they were, that’s why he got out. That’s why he found me.”
The two were quiet after that, just staring off into space. “Can I ask you something?” The question caught her a little off guard, but she nodded for him to go ahead, seeing as it was only fair that he ask her something after all her questions.
“In your records,” he began. “It said you were involved in the beginning portion of the Mandalorian War, but then you were absent from battle until about the Jedi Civil War, then you took a personal leave. Can…can I ask what that’s about?”
Well, she didn’t think he’d ask something like that and it must’ve shown on her face, because he immediately backtracked and said, “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“No, I…” she chuckled a bit. “I was thrown off a bit by the question. I guess that’s my punishment for asking you so many.”
“Lynsel, you don’t have to…”
“No, I…I want to,” she interrupted. “I, like you, have pretty much been a career solider all my life. My profile is correct, in that I went to war with the Mandalorians as soon as they started hitting Republic worlds. I…I got hurt, pretty bad I think, at least to the point that it sidelined me for the duration of it. But…that’s…that’s not the only reason I didn’t get back in when I was better.”
She turned from him, looking down at the ground. “When I got hurt,” she whispered. “I was on leave and was placed inside the Senate to maybe persuade them we needed more help. that’s actually how I got into the Intel department. I did such a good job of looking up things for our cause and gathering the right evidence…anyway, I uh…while I was there, I…I met someone.
“If I remember correctly, he was an intern for his father, who was a senator and he helped me with a lot of the things I found. One thing led to another, as they say, and we got married.”
She stole a glance at Carth. “You know what it’s like when you first get married,” she said. “You…you only want to be with that person and…”she gave a shrug of her shoulders. “By the time we got married, Revan had come to the proverbial rescue, so I was allowed to go on a honeymoon. But then Revan and Malak came back and…”
She sighed, turning to fully face the admiral. “Long story short,” she said. “The reason I was put on leave was because…my husband and I had a difference of opinion. I thought I should try to save the galaxy and he thought I should stay at home baking and cooking. The end result was him trying to explain to me how his secretary had fallen naked into our bed and how he had somehow tripped and fallen as well.”
“Let me guess,” Carth smirked. “Somewhere in the fall, his clothes fell off too.” Lynsel nodded, with a small smile on her face. Again, they stood in silence, this time a slightly more comfortable one than before.
“You know, you didn’t have to tell me that,” he began. He held up a hand before she could speak saying, “But I’m glad you did. I know how hard…I know how difficult it was to tell me, so…thank you.” He smiled at her and Lynsel found her heart beat a little faster.
Shaking her head clear, she smiled. “This…this is so out of my league,” she chuckled.
“You’ll get used to it,” he said. “I felt so out of the loop when we landed on Dantooine that first time, I didn’t know what to do exactly, but…Revan told me what was going on, almost as though he knew how I felt. Sometimes I get that he does; know what people are feeling inside and he does what he can to put them at ease.”
“He’s…he’s different than I thought he would be.”
“You’re still suspicious.”
She nodded. “Carth, I know he’s your friend, but…”
“I know,” he interrupted. “It took me a while, too, especially…especially when I learned who he really was. That…that stung a bit. After everything, I learn I’ve been piloting the ship for the man who had caused all the trouble in the first place.” He laughed.
“What did you do?” she asked, quietly.
Carth looked down, suddenly very interested in the dirt beneath his feet. “I told him I wouldn’t be betrayed by him,” he whispered. “I was so mad that everyone rallied behind him as soon as they heard, as though they forgot what he had done only two years ago. Then…” He chuckled and then looked back up at her.
“He came to talk to me and apologized. Apologized for what he had done, even though he couldn’t remember doing any of it. He didn’t even know he was Revan until Malak had told him and there he was accepting responsibility for his actions when he wasn’t even aware of them.
“Well…I can’t really say what happened after that, but it made me respect him more than I had when he had come to help us.”
For a third time, they were in silence. “Thank you.”
Carth regarded her. “For what?”
“Telling me that,” she whispered. “I should…it’s late.”
“Yeah.” They continued to stand. “Let me…let me walk you back,” Carth said.
“You don’t need to do that.”
“Help rebuild my ego after the bruising it took from you today.” That caused her to giggle.
“I thought you were made of stronger stuff, Admiral,” she joked, as they started to head towards their rooming. “Next time, I’ll go easy on you.”
Carth chuckled. “Don’t back down on my case,” he said. “My man feelings are pretty solid, thanks.”
Lynsel rolled her eyes. “Oh, I’m sure they are.”
“You’re doubting me?” he asked. “Go on, say something. I can take it.”
“Carth,” she said, patting him on the shoulder. “I think I’ve hurt your man feelings enough for one day. You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow for more of my witty comebacks.”
The admiral laughed right out. “You really are something, you know that?” he said, his face lighting up in a small smile. She responded with a smile of her own. They stopped when they reached the door to the hut she would be sharing with Mission.
“I guess I’ll have to come up with better come-ons for tomorrow then,” he said, instantly blushing when he had said it.
“So you admit then that you’re coming on to me?” she asked, innocently.
“I…no…I…” he stumbled before taking a breath. “I’m not going to respond to that,” he said, calmly. “I won’t even go there.”
“Spoilsport,” she said, sticking her tongue out at him as she entered her room. She gave a small wave to him as she closed the door, watching as he turned and headed to his own bedding. She stood at the door, her room darkened and a figure in the far north bed moved for a time before settling down.
Lynsel shook her head. What was going on with her? She was on a mission, and if she didn’t know any better she had just ended the evening flirting with a commanding officer.
Well, he flirted back! Her mind tried to reason, but she pushed it to the back. She was not going to jeopardize this mission for a simple roll in the hay, though some part of her mind thought Carth Onasi would be quite good at it.
That thought caused her to nearly gasp out loud. What in hell was wrong with her? Why in all that was good did her hormones decide now was the perfect time for them to lose all control?
Shaking her head again, she went to her bedding and lay down. It was the morning”s events that had her mind wandering off. That was it.
Tomorrow things would go back to normal and they could think how they would get Vaklu out of office and replace him with the rightful ruler of Onderon. Then they could go and defeat the Jedi exile and beat this ancient race of Sith. that’s what they would do. And after that, she would never see these strange people again.
The next morning, as they had agreed, Dustil took Revan and Carth with him back to Onderon to speak with the former queen. They entered much the same way, with Dustil using the Force to persuade the uniformed officer to let them through.
The former knight smirked, patting Dustil on the back, and said, “Much better.” Dustil led them as he had the day before through the deserted Merchant Quarter and then through the rough looking Western Square until they had reached the residence of Dhagon Ghent.
And as before, Dustil was greeted by someone who acted as a guard and then they both moved the lab station to reveal the hidden base underneath. And as before, the young Jedi lead them through the outer area into the room where Queen Talia rested.
The queen was very honored to meet such a heralded Jedi master such as Revan. Her previous advisor, Kavar, had told her how he had nearly gone to fight with the Republic as well and that the Mandalorians had figured he would be the one they would face.
They had not counted on the charismatic young master, and that would lead to their downfall. Revan thanked her for her words, blushing a bit at such a compliment. He told her he would assist in any way he could to see she was put back in her proper place as queen.
The group sat down and plotted, Revan easily handling the role of tactician; plotting out weak points within the palace and using hidden passageways to their advantage. As far as Talia and Dustil were concerned, Vaklu was living it up in the palace with no thought that there could be someone trying to unseat him.
He had kept the blockade of the planet, forcing many people who wanted to leave in squalor and then putting his own men and some of the mercenaries as standard hour guards to keep those in their place.
Revan and Carth discussed possible ways to get those that needed to leave off the planet, one including transport by the Sojourn or even the Hawk. Revan reminded him that Mission was also doing transporting from the planet of Nar Shaddaa. When it was all said and done, the group decided they would need Vaklu and his loyalists out of office first before planning an escape.
It took most of the day, but when Dustil sent word to Mandalore on Dxun, he told them they had finalized a plan of action and they were going to carry it out. Tonight. Dustil left the underground base in order to escort the first group from Dxun that would arrive, while Dr. Ghent would take the next group. Both groups passed by without notice and were able to get into the hidden base.
Carth, Revan, and Talia waited for them within the makeshift command center of the hub. Again, Revan fell into the role of commander with ease, breaking their group into three — “I want at least one Jedi in the group and I’m thinking at least five or six people in each. Bastila, I want you, Mandalore, and some of his troops to directly walk in the front door. You’re the distraction we’ll need. Dustil, you’ll take Mission, Talia, and some of her troops in the back way to the west, while Carth, LB, and I take the back way from the east.
“I want Vaklu surrounded so he can’t escape. If Talia and Dustil are correct, Vaklu’s got a little bit too full of himself trying to rule the planet, so I doubt if he’ll have heavy guards walking the place. We just lay low until tonight.”
There was nervous activity the hours before dusk. Even though most in the room had been through this before — the tension before a full blown war — there was still heightened energy in the air.
Most sat around, trying to stick to their previous daily routines; Mission conned Carth into a couple of games of Pazaak, which lost the admiral a couple of creds; Lynsel sat in one corner, cleaning her blaster over and over; Revan continued to talk to Queen Talia…
And then suddenly, it was time. The groups lined themselves up and went in smaller groups in order to avoid detection.
The coup was on.
Bastila had thought Revan had completely lost it when he suggested she and Canderous head the group that would “walk through the front door”. Where was the element of surprise in that? She understood they were supposed to be the distraction, but just how many people did Revan think they would encounter?
The young woman shook her head. She had never understood some of the tactics her lover had used when he had led the Republic against the Mandalorians, nor when he turned and lead the charge with the Sith.
It wasn’t as if she had no faith in him; it was the fact that he was rather unorthodox when it came to such things that she thought needed a well thought out plan. While they were merely going off the plans set by Queen Talia’s camp, Revan had come up with this plan that had to be executed tonight.
So now the former Jedi found herself and her companions walking brazenly through the Merchant Quarter on their way to the Sky Ramp. For all Bastila cared for right now was getting off this planet. Dustil had asked her earlier if she felt odd while being on the planet itself and the answer was yes.
She knew he could fell the dark side taint that the planet was drenched in, but they could neither determine if it was from previous years or if the current ruler was using it as a way to keep his power. She had sent a mental message to Revan, feeling the undercurrent of anxiety even as he exuded a sense of determined calm. She had her answer in less than a minute.
Of course Bastila was well aware of what had transpired in Onderon’s history with the dark side and those that practiced it; it was standard learning for all padawans in the Order. It was a lesson in how the dark side could be passed along through generations, and how, even after you remove the head, the body can still thrive if given enough reasons to.
The group stopped around the small corner as they viewed one guard that stood watch. Canderous smirked — or rather it sounded like he did — at her as some of his men used their stealth generator belts to disappear.
Within minutes, the lone guard didn’t know what hit him and as he fell limp, he was dragged away. Another few minutes passed until those three men returned. “All clear, Mandalore,” reported one, “He was the only guard we can see. You want us to scout ahead up the ramp?”
The new leader chuckled. “Where’s the fun in that?” he asked. “Besides, I think our Jedi princess wants to get rid of some of that excess tension she’s got.”
Bastila rolled her eyes. “Even with your new found responsibilities, I can see you haven’t lost your crude sense of humor.”
Again, the Mandalorian chuckled and motioned for them to move. He contacted Revan and Dustil on their com-links, telling them so far, so good. The group walked silently up the long ramp until they found themselves at the top.
Again, the coast seemed clear and Canderous told the others they could proceed. The only thing that seemed to block them was a force field that stood in their way, which the Mandalorian leader mentioned to the others.
“Just be concerned about troops coming out of there,” Revan’s voice replied. “There may be more inside, so when we flush them out, they’ll head straight to you.”
Mandalore laughed silently. “I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Queen Talia’s group had seemingly gone underneath the palace in order to come into a medium sized room from a secret door. Talia explained she kept both doors locked, the secret one as means of escape should something ever happen.
The room led out into the western hallway, where a console sat by the door. Mission immediately went to it with the intention of using it for information when Dustil stopped her. “You have no idea what could happen if you use that!”
The Twi’lek looked at the former Sith in annoyance. “Listen Sithy,” she replied, “What if this is a console, or one of several, that’s gonna help break into the throne room? Do you know how annoying it is when something is set up on a multitude of system consoles and you have to go find all of them?” Sighing, she turned back to the console. “Besides, what could it hurt?”
As soon as Mission touched the console, it short-circuited and exploded, causing injuries to several members of their party. Dustil was quick to heal them all with the Force, but he turned an evil glare on to the young woman.
“Why don’t you just send them a transmission announcing our presence?” he growled. “I should let you suffer for injuring half of our party like that.”
“You would leave me to suffer,” Mission muttered. “It’s the Sith way.”
“If you call me a Sith one more time…”
“Enough of this!” Talia hissed. “We don’t have time for petty squabbles. Be thankful that explosion didn’t bring out half of the troops my cousin employs. Now let’s stop standing here and get going. There is a primary console in the back room there –” She pointed down the hall to their right. “- that will be needed. If I know my cousin, he has placed a barrier between the entrance and the throne room.”
Mission and Dustil continued to glare at one another until the Jedi turned briskly and followed the queen into the room she had indicated. The Twi’lek’s shoulders slumped as she watched two of the troopers limping off behind the Jedi and the queen. With a heavy sigh, she followed as well.
“Are you crazy?”
“No, that’s the truth.”
“Harvey Spacer? Where have you been? Shecky and the Slice are the ultimate Bith band. Have you ever seen one of their shows? It’s to die for, literally.”
She couldn’t believe it.
Here they were, about to unseat the current ruler of Onderon in a silent takeover and their leaders were having a discussion on who the best Bith band in the galaxy was.
Lynsel had tried to do what Carth had, go with the flow of their unchallenged leader, but she was finding it incredibly hard to do, especially when he engaged in things like this. Being a Republic officer, she couldn’t help but feel insulted with the way Carth was carrying on.
They were on a mission! Well, the side path of one, but still. They were about to change the leadership of a planet and he was arguing the merits of a good drummer. With an ex-Sith lord to make matters even worse.
She caused a glance at some of Talia’s underground resistance group and saw they had the same look on their faces. It was more of they probably couldn’t believe that the former dark lord of the Sith was not only standing beside them, but was helping them in an uprising, but the Intel officer liked to think that somewhere underneath all that they couldn’t believe the conversation that was going on.
“Look, we are not that far apart age wise, but come on! The Spice? The Spice!?”
“I thought we weren’t going to talk about that ever again.”
“The group, you nerf.”
“Are the two of you finished?” she exclaimed. She couldn’t take it anymore. “We are embarking on a very important mission here and the two of you are discussing Bith bands!? Can you try to have a little more respect and maturity about the situation!?”
Both men looked at her. “What has crawled up your ass?”
“No, I’m serious!” the former knight replied. “Carth and I are fully aware of our mission, thanks very much. But it doesn’t mean we have to go in there all commando like. I’m trying to break the tension within the ranks, which obviously isn’t working, as you seem to be the tightest wound. You could choke the air out of a rock, you know that?”
“Hey,” Carth replied, more demanded than anything, “That’s enough. We go in there like this, Vaklu’s surely going to beat us easily. A team member doesn’t gripe about protocol to their leader — ” Revan smirked, causing the admiral to look at him. “Nor does a leader berate his troops. Haven’t I done this before?”
Revan cleared his throat. “Sorry, LB.”
“A leader also knows when to address his troops by proper name.”
Lynsel nodded. “As I am, Revan,” she whispered.
“Okay?” The two nodded. “Let’s get back to this then.”
The group also came through a secret passage that had doors when they entered. One was to their right and the other straight ahead. Revan split the group up, three of them going to the door in front, while the others headed to the right.
Revan watched as three of Talia’s troops went ahead and entered into another room. He waited until he saw the leader of that group come back to the door and give an ok sign that it was safe. The former Jedi nodded, inclining his head to the right.
Carth and Lynsel followed him as he entered the room. There was only a console in the room, which Revan went to immediately. Tapping into it, he gave a slight chuckle, and then went to work.
After a few seconds, he announced, “All done.” He motioned for his other companions to follow him as he went out the way they came and into the room where the other three occupants were.
“We know that door leads into the hallway, sir,” reported one, as he pointed to a door ahead of them.
Revan nodded. “Any weird traps to worry about?”
The soldier shook his head. “Only the turrent system,” he said. “But that’s on the west side where the queen is.”
Revan patted the man on the shoulder. “She’ll be fine,” he said. He moved to the door ahead and opened it, peering out into the hall. He motioned for everyone to follow as he headed to the left. They walked the corridor, making several turns until they met with Talia and her group.
“I’m glad you made it,” she greeted them. “This door leads to the outer chamber of the throne room, with the last room being the throne room itself. So far, we haven’t encountered anything and…I do not wish to worry, but I have a feeling my cousin is up to something.”
Revan nodded. “I think so, too,” he replied, “This is way too easy and I hate to think he only managed to gain the throne because Ellis gave him an in.”
“Ellis?” she questioned. Suddenly, she knew who he meant. “The exile? So you do know him?”
Revan looked away. “I thought I did,” he whispered. Clearing his throat, he turned to look at the door in front of them. “Shall we?”
The group stood at the door and opened it. They were surprised to see Gen. Vaklu standing in the middle of a large group of his troops intermingled with several dark Jedi. The current ruler began clapping.
“Good job, Talia,” he said. “I was sure you were dead, but I always held a belief that you would send someone after me. I didn’t want to make it too easy, however I do want a second chance at killing you.”
“You were always a cad, Vaklu,” Talia retorted.
“Kill them all,” he commanded. “But leave Talia to me.” He then turned and ran for the throne room, the former queen quick on his trail.
“It’s been too long, Revan,” said one of the dark Jedi.
“We’ll finally be able to do something others have failed in,” replied another.
Revan turned on his light sabers, flourishing them in his hands. “You have to catch me first,” he retorted. “Everyone pick a partner. Time to dance.”
The fight began, as the Jedi of the group concentrated on their dark side counterparts while the others handled the troops. Vaklu’s troops didn’t stand a chance and soon some even began to surrender and run away.
The dark Jedi, however, were quite happy at getting the entire party to themselves. The dark Jedi were skilled, but they were truly no match for the group they fought. Within minutes, they had all fallen dead.
“Check the perimeter,” Revan commanded. “Who knows where those other guards went. And find a way to get that force field down from outside.” Looking at Carth and Lynsel, he said, “You two are with me.” And with that, he ran to the throne room.
Inside, Talia and Vaklu battled with their swords, in almost an exact replay of their previous encounter. “This seems familiar, does it not, Talia?” Vaklu asked.
“This time, you will not win, Vaklu!”
“I have already won!”
The trio watched as the two continued to battle. Vaklu, his overconfidence taking him, made a fatal mistake, causing Talia to land a blow to his middle. The general staggered backwards, clutching his stomach and dropping his sword. “This can’t be,” he mumbled, looking at his cousin in shock. “I have failed again.”
“What exactly did you expect to do as king?” Revan asked, rhetorically. “You were ruining the planet.”
“How dare you address me,” the general seethed, “A traitor such as yourself. You’re not going to win. My masters will see to that.” Revan stared hard at the man, approaching him slowly as Vaklu staggered on the steps. “They said you were strong once, but you’re nothing now,” Vaklu coughed.
“Why did you want to secede from the Republic?” Revan asked, eyebrow raised in curiousity.
Vaklu chuckled. “Those dogs of the Republic have never come to our aid,” he said. His face then took on a painful expression. “They told me to secede,” he murmured, “They said I would be rewarded after my transgression with Telos.”
Revan’s eyes grew bigger, then narrowed. “Kill him,” he said, earning surprised looks from everyone present. He turned to Talia, a pleading look on his face. “You must kill him.”
“There must be another way…”
“No!” the knight exclaimed. “He must die. He…must.”
Vaklu laughed at him. “Do you think killing me will stop them, Revan?” he taunted. “They will find you and kill you, then they will rule again. You can’t stop them.”
“Kill him, Talia,” Revan growled. “Or I will.”
“Revan, what’s wrong with you?” Carth asked, highly concerned over the change in Revan’s personality.
“Kill him, Talia.”
“Do you truly believe he will be a threat in the future?” the former queen asked. “I agree that I do not want to go through this again.”
“You pathetic fools,” Vaklu spat. “You think you can save this wretched planet from the fate it was always meant to have?! You have a vile, traitorous space dog as your leader and a weak minded fool as your supposed queen! You really can’t hope to…”
Vaklu lost the ability to speak as he rose in the air slowly, his feet dangling about an inch from the ground. He clutched his throat, clawing at an unseen hand that had him. Revan stood before him, arm outstretched. In an instant, his hand — which had been previously curled — now closed tightly, the resulting affect having taken form in Vaklu’s body.
His throat was now crushed, the taking of a breath no longer an option; his eyes rolled in the back of his head and his body landed hard on the floor of the throne room.
Revan lowered his arm, stealing a glance towards the former queen, now the legal heir to the throne. “I’m sorry, Talia,” he murmured. “But it needed to be done.”
“Yes,” the woman sighed, shakily. “It was something that needed to be done. He would’ve posed a bigger threat if he was still alive.”
“Thank you, Revan,” she replied, turning to the former Jedi master. “You have done a great service to the people of this city. Please, let me give you something in reward for your help.”
The young man shook his head. “You don’t have to give me anything, Your Majesty,” he whispered. “I’m glad I could help.” He paused for one moment, then said, “I’m going to try and clean up, see if they are any of Vaklu’s supporters still around.”
He turned from the scene, ignoring the horrified look on Lynsel’s face and the worry and concern etched on that of Carth”s, and walked out the door.