REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part VI – The True Threat
Naboo seemed like the perfect place to get away. There were virtually no human species of life on the planet, meaning he could just meld away into the mountain landscapes and be at peace.
Naboo reminded him of another lush planet he had lived on, one he couldn’t dream of returning to. Not because he didn’t enjoy it there, but there was a lot going on. It had taken years for the Czerka Corporation to be driven out of the heartland of the planet and he didn’t want to temp fate by returning.
So when a friend had told him he had found a piece of land on Naboo that was out of the way, but close enough to get supplies, Jolee Bindo had jumped at the chance to travel once again. He had made his departure from the Jedi and the inner most part of the Republic to find solitude.
Bah! The masters were still the same as they had been when he was a padawan. He had hoped that his being a master would show them their teachings were – not wrong, but very flawed.
He could never understand their aversion to the concept of feelings. Yes, he understood that sometimes they could get out of control, but like everything that had two sides, so did one’s emotions.
That was what the masters refused to see – that there were positive emotions, as well as negative emotions. Love wasn’t a negative emotion. There was nothing like falling in love and being in love…it was filling and glorifying; he understood the power it had over a crazy couple of Jedi lovers.
Shaking his head, he gave a small sigh. He didn’t want to think about them or what had led him here. That was the whole reason he came incidentally. He knew he would be easy to find within the Shadowlands of the planet and he didn’t want to answer all the questions he knew Bastila to have over why he had left. Still a product of another age, that girl. He only hoped Revan had corrupted her somewhat. He sat down on a large rock that sat outside his small hut.
Something was stirring in the air and it was not to hold good tidings. He had felt last year the deaths of at least six Jedi masters and before that, the deaths of many of his fellow Jedi, including that of the Cathar Juhani.
He didn’t get much news out here, but he knew when trouble was coming and it seemed to be coming soon. He didn’t know what was happening, but there was a disturbance in the Force of great dimensions. He couldn’t know what was to happen, but he knew he was feeling uneasy.
Unknown to the former Jedi master, another refugee from the Republic had also found Naboo to be the perfect hideaway from all his troubles. He had come here after his illegal ale idea didn’t go over so well and he had to skip town – again – and he had come here. Everyone knew that Naboo had the best cigars in the galaxy and that not too many off worlders stayed past their welcome. So he figured he’d be safe from the Exchange.
He was wrong.
Apparently there was a new guy running the business now and he wanted all lose ends severely cut. They had found him easily enough, squirming his way through valleys and mountaintops. They had cornered him and beat him pretty good until he told them he had something they might want.
“My…my sister…” he stumbled. “She’s…she’s pretty cute and she…knows people.”
“What kind of people?” sneered one.
“That…that Sith Lord Revan…”
“Lord Revan?” another one asked, looking at his companions. “All right, Griff,” he said. “We’ll lay off, but you’re to stay put, got it? I think our new boss would like to know about the info you just gave us.”
He wasn’t sure what the time was, but Carth knew it to be earlier than he usually woke up. He had gone to bed only a few hours after they had left Coruscant on the way to Naboo. He was having a slow time adjusting to what had just happened; the Senate suspected that Revan wasn’t just on a jauntily cruise and the fact that Lynsel had just been ousted, but had decided to stay aboard. He knew some part of him – well, a large part – was glad at that.
And maybe that was the problem. It was just the events, it was the fact that he had been – dare he say it? – jealous when he discovered her ex talking to her. He had spent his night admitting to himself that he was indeed attracted to the lieutenant and would’ve been deeply saddened if she bent to the will of the Senate and her ex husband.
But the admiral was quickly discovering Lynsel Belyn was a lot like his wife — determined and stubborn to the core. But she was much more, too. She was strong and skilled; he remembered how she fought on Onderon against those Dark Jedi.
She seemed to just throw off any Force powers they launched at her and she was quick on her feet to not only dodge oncoming attacks, but to come out of no where with an attack of her own. She was a decent pilot, too. He could tell she was a relatively private person, just as he was, but he could tell she was starting to open up to him and he certainly was opening up to her.
This morning, he was determined to get his mind back on task. He figured Jolee would be the last person they picked up before Revan hammered out a plan of action. The former pilot got to work on making caffa for himself, then decided to make enough for at least two cups. He took a sip, taking a seat at the makeshift table they used for meals.
“Good morning,” whispered a voice, causing him to turn and smile slightly. Even this early, she was still beautiful.
“Morning,” he said, motioning his head to the replicator. “I made some fresh caffa.”
She nodded her thanks and headed over, making herself a cup. She took a seat in the chair next to the admiral and stared long and hard into her cup of liquid. “I don’t think it’s going to tell you the answers you need,” he joked, seeing her lips curl upwards.
“It seems like every other day, I’m apologizing to you.”
“It seems to be the going rate between us,” he chuckled. “I shouldn’t have made that crack about you.”
She shook her head. “I shouldn’t have said what I did,” she insisted. “It was rude. I should have…”
“You were reacting to what I had said,” he interrupted. “I know you had no choice and I shouldn’t have said what I did.”
Lynsel sighed, shaking her head slightly. “I really didn’t know they would call us in,” she whispered. “And I haven’t exactly been truthful with giving my reports.”
“Why didn’t you tell them?” he asked.
All she did was shrug. “I don’t know, really,” she said. “Maybe…maybe I thought this wasn’t something to be left up to by the Senate.”
The two sat in silence, but Carth could tell that Lynsel had something more to say. “Lyn?”
She looked up at him. “I should probably come clean now that I’m not official anymore, huh?” she asked.
“Come clean about what?”
She was hesitant for a bit, almost as though she was weighing whether to tell him or not. She had to admit she seemed to open up more to the admiral than anyone else on board.
Could it be their situations were the same? They shared the same career and the same past. Deep in her mind, she knew it was only a matter of time before she would need to tell everyone.
“I wasn’t exactly truthful about my part in the Jedi Civil War,” she whispered.
Carth looked at her, pretty sure she was going to tell him what he suspected. “Is this about how you were able to throw off the Force powers sent by those dark Jedi on Onderon?” he asked. At her surprised look, he chuckled. “I’ve spent the better part of seven years surrounded by Jedi,” he said. “I think I know a little bit about the Force by now.”
Lynsel ducked her head, a small blush on her face. Why am I always blushing around him? “I told you how I got sidelined during the Mandalorian War,” she began. “And that I was Special Intelligence through the Jedi Civil War. What I didn’t say is exactly why I was assigned to Intel.”
“I thought you said it was because of all the work you did with your ex.” Carth said.
“It was,” she said. “At first.” She turned away from him, staring at the console within the room. “When we learned that Revan had returned with the Sith,” she started. “A couple of Jedi came, apparently to finally aid us with this new threat we had. I don’t know what was said, but I was called in to a meeting. There wasn’t many, like maybe six or seven of us, but I guess it was enough.
“The Jedi told us that we…could use the Force, on a small scale or something. They made it clear we weren’t Jedi, but we could at least help ourselves by fending off a dark Jedi attack.” She turned back to him. “So they taught us…techniques,” she said. “Stuff that we could use to stop really bad Force powers from hurting us.”
“You mean like being immune to the Force?” he asked.
Again, she shrugged. “I don’t know,” she said. “I guess. They just taught us to defend ourselves, but…I didn’t really use it.”
“You got married.” She nodded.
“And then I came back,” she said. “It was only after the Jedi and the Republic realized what a huge threat Revan was to them as a Sith Lord. I was trained with the others and sometimes we had missions where I did need to be on guard, but then I was doing more covert stuff and…”
She looked down at the tabletop. “I wasn’t home very much,” she whispered.
Carth too looked down. He knew what it felt like to be away from and have those left behind feel you’ve abandoned them or resentful of your absence. “I know how that goes.” He whispered. They were once again silent with each other. “You know,” he said. “You took an awfully big chance coming back with us.”
“Some things are more important than others.” She replied, turning to look at him. She held his eye for a moment, her face unreadable. “What was your wife like?”
The question caught him a little off guard, but then he figured it was probably a natural course of conversation, due to their current topic. “She was stubborn, like you,” he said, a smile on his face. “Determined. She had courage… And she hated it when I signed back onto the fleet at the start of the war. I had planned on… on leaving soon, to join her…” He trailed off, looking a little shy at revealing that much information.
“I know how that goes,” she smirked, repeating his earlier words.
“How did you ever marry a guy like Robert Belyn?” he asked, wincing when he heard what he had said. Worried that she was angry, Carth was surprised when he heard her chuckle.
“Robert Belyn, Jr. wasn’t so bad a few years ago,” she said. “Before he got all power hungry and maybe before he knew my heart was split between him and the Republic. He found out quickly that I’m just not built to be a housewife, which ruined his plans of having a ‘token’ spouse.”
“Clean the kitchen and pop out some kids?” he asked, cheekily.
Lynsel rolled her eyes. “I don’t think he wanted kids,” she chuckled. “They ruined the image. He was trying to be a lady killer, I’m sure. In any case, that display in the Senate hall just proves he doesn’t know what he lost.”
“I think he does,” Carth replied, looking her in the eye. “But I don’t think he appreciates it.”
She gave him a smile, accompanied by another blush. “Admiral,” she said, leaning closer to him. “Are you flirting with me?”
He returned her smile. “I was afraid you hadn’t noticed,” he joked. “Is it working?”
She stood, heading towards the door, but she glanced over her shoulder at him. “I’ll let you know,” she replied, before leaving him chuckling in his chair.
It had seemed so easy moving from a beloved Jedi, hero to the Republic, to the most feared Sith Lord since Exar Kun. The war had made him hard, skilled at knowing when to fight and when to conquer. The answers had come to him while on Malachor; that the Jedi were weak and they had left the galaxy to die and writhe in pain. They had meant to stop anyone that tried to help the Republic. And the Senate…there was so much corruption within it that made the weakness of the council tremble in comparison.
And now, as he sat within his private quarters, he wondered if perhaps he truly was doing the right thing. Sometimes he watched as he conquered a planet, as he killed those that stood in his way, if perhaps…if perhaps he had chosen wrong. Malachor had made sense to him — he needed to save the Republic from itself and before it destroyed itself with its flawed leaders. He knew he could make things right; the first thing he needed of course, were allies.
He was still surprised at how many Republic officers had stayed with him, how many had easily realized what he had. And when he and Malak had launched the Star Forge, their officers had been stunned with the ships they now possessed.
But it wasn’t enough. By now the Jedi Council had deemed him and Malak threatening enough to actually move themselves about sending people to stop them. He needed to convince Jedi to come to his side; to see what he did; to see the truth of the previous war and the war he now fought.
“Do not despair, young Revan,” replied a voice.
Revan, always on guard, turned with his red lightsaber in hand, preparing for a duel. What he didn’t expect was a hunkering figure of a man – a spirit actually – and one that clearly dwarfed him at some where between six and seven feet.
The man, if he could be called that, was a pinkish color, with what looked like a small horn extension from his chin. He was dressed in a set of royal robes that were black, but with blue trim.
Though Revan was ready to battle, his lightsaber faltered in his hand. “Who are you, spirit?” he asked.
The apparition smirked at him.”I have watched you, young master,” it replied. “I see many good things from you, Lord Revan, and because of that, I would like to offer you some…assurance in your quest.”
“What kind of assurance?”
“I will supply you with the means to make sure those you wish to turn…won’t be so resistant to your charms.”
Revan stared at the spirit, his lightsaber now off and hanging limply at his side. “And what do you get in all this?” he asked.
The spirit shook his head.”Lord Revan,” he said, bowing slightly. “Both of our causes will be greatly advanced with a union between us. You will help our cause by continuing to be the great leader you already are.”
Revan woke, sitting up in his bed, his mind confused at the vision he just had. He knew the image to be one from his past memories, but who had he been talking to? Who was the large pink skinned man that had towered over him?
Bastila stirred slightly next to him, her arm now slug around his waist. He absently stroked it as he thought over what he had seen.
Perhaps it wasn’t so much the image as it was the fact Revan hadn’t had a vision of his former life since being on the Ebon Hawk. The two months since his return and the reunion with Bastila and Carth had seemed to ease his troubled mind some, but now with the emergence of the True Sith species and the very fact that his former friend had aligned himself with them seemed to be bringing his memories back in full force.
He rubbed a hand over his face; they would be arriving on Naboo at some point and he’d be able to see Jolee. If there was one person in the whole galaxy that could explain things to him, it was Jolee Bindo.
The ship was drifting through space, not a bump here or there. He had been wary about letting Dustil and Mission fly, as he wasn’t sure about either of their flying abilities, but with the way the flight was so far, he could say he had been proven wrong. He was also surprised that both of them were willing to be together.
The last he had seen, they couldn’t stand to be within a five-foot radius of each other, but now it seemed as though one or both went out of their way to be near the other. Perhaps Revan had been so consumed with his own demons – he thought Mission looked as though she was developing a crush – and that suddenly brought out a certain brotherly mode within him.
Thinking of that made him think of the woman who now shared his bunk. He knew things were a bit strained between them; he was pushing her away, he knew. He had been so out of sorts over his discovery; he worried about what he may have done to push Ellis so far; what his master may have done to lead them both down this path; what she may have done herself…in thinking those thoughts, he had withdrawn, feeling like a monster for the things he may have done…the things he may need to do if things would get worse and he had a feeling they would indeed get worse.
But looking down at the woman beside him, he could only see happiness – happiness at her stubbornness to leave him be; happiness at her wanting to stay by him; happiness at the thought of their life together and the children they would have.
And with thinking all of that, all of what she meant to him, he knew the time was right – as odd or ironic as that may have sounded – he knew he couldn’t put off what he wanted to do, had wanted since he had seen her again.
Bastila yawned, trying to pull Revan closer to her. When she realized he was sitting up, she propped herself up on her arm. “Why are you awake?” she asked, sleepily.
He smiled down at her. “Just thinking,” he said. He watched as she made a small noise that sounded suspiciously like a huff and then stretched out besides him. He slipped down next to her, wrapping arm around her waist and bringing her close to him. He kissed her cheek before nuzzling her neck.
“I haven’t been paying you enough attention.” He murmured.
She chuckled. “I’ve noticed,” she replied. “But I figured you had been ‘thinking’, so I didn’t want to disturb you.”
She turned to him, stroking his cheek where he had obtained a bit of stubble. “I’ve been worried about you.”
“I know, darling,” he said, bringing her closer. “There’s been so much…”
“I know.” They lay there in silence for a time, to the point where Revan had thought she had fallen back to sleep. “What are we to do now, my love?” she asked.
The former Jedi master took a deep breath and sighed. “I’m unsure,” he whispered. “He has to be stopped; they have to be stopped. The True Sith nearly ruled the entire galaxy and brought unspeakable horrors upon it. If the Republic thought I, as a Sith Lord, or even that of Exar Kun were horrible, we were nothing compared to the real thing. And with Ellis leading them…”
“Revan,” Bastila asked, pulling away to look at his face. “Could they start another war? The Republic is shaky as it is, thanks in part to your friend’s antics last year; another war could…could virtually destroy it.”
He didn’t respond, but then he didn’t have to. The look on his face told her the answer she dreaded — it was one she could see he dreaded as well. As a tactician, Revan could handle the Jedi and the Mandalorians and even the followers of the Sith, but he had never encountered anything like the true species of Sith. If it was anything like his experience on Yavin the first time, he wasn’t sure if they alone could save the galaxy.
The rolling green hills of Naboo were the first thing the small freighter saw as they approached the planet. Bastila, ever knowledgeable about planets, informed them of the history of the planet and how it may be possible that the Rakata elders may have built ruins on the surface.
Dustil was himself anxious to land; he hadn’t seen his original master since the transmission they had received on Telos. In all of his time looking for him, he had never once thought of Naboo as a place Jolee would go.
He now sat in the co-pilot’s chair, mirroring Mission as they approached to land. He made a glance towards Mission, watching as she seemed like a natural while sitting in the captain’s chair. He turned away, realizing he could feel a slight blush creeping over him.
He wasn’t sure when he began feeling attracted to the Twi’lek, but he knew it needed to be stopped. After Selene…well, he didn’t want to go there if possible and really, with the state things seemed to be in, he didn’t want to be involved.
Besides, they had more pressing business, such as finding an elderly black former Jedi master who would probably be as cantankerous now as he was then. That put a smile on the young man’s face. Though he had only been a padawan for those few months with Jolee, he had liked the older man.
He could admit now that he had been a bit wild then – he had just left the Sith – and he still held anger against his father and Revan for what had happened to his home and his mother. Jolee had set him straight; he forced Dustil to think about his past and his feelings and to see the future before him.
Things had happened; terrible things had been done; mistakes had been made — but this was a ‘new dawn’ as Jolee had said, and that new dawn included getting to know his father again, this time as a man and not as a little boy who had grown to hate him.
And speaking of his father, Dustil was quite surprised to see his old man lusting after the lieutenant. He had thought he would be mad, upset even, with this, but Dustil found he couldn’t be. When he had contacted his father on Coruscant, the two had talked once Carth got back to Telos.
It had been a bit heated, of course, but in the end, Dustil had come to realize something. His father had suffered just as much, if not more, than he had with his mother’s death. Carth was honest with him; he told him the thoughts of despair and yes, even suicide, that had crept into his mind those days after the Sith had come.
He told the young man how he had fallen apart and how his commanders had thought him a bit insane at one point. He talked about how his world had literally been destroyed, his wife dead and his son missing. After a while, Carth began thinking of getting back at Saul and until he became the advisor on the Endar Spire, he had spent his time searching for either Dustil or Saul Karath. In that moment, in those talks, Dustil began respecting his father again.
So when he saw his father getting the same look in watching Lynsel Belyn that he had when he used to look at his mother, Dustil didn’t become upset. He was, if anything, a bit uncomfortable, but the very fact that his father could look at another woman, could begin to perhaps feel what he had for his mother after years of closing himself off…Dustil hoped that Lynsel could see how wonderful his father was.
And every so often, the young Jedi would catch the Intel officer watching his father in the same way…that told him that Lynsel had indeed noticed.
Glancing again at Mission, Dustil saw she was smiling at him. She blushed prettily before turning back to her previous task. Dustil couldn’t help smile at bit at that and in looking up, he saw his father – who acted as their piloting instructor – raise an eyebrow at him, which only caused the young man to once again start blushing.
“So this is Naboo?” he asked, his voice making a small squeak.
“Would seem so.” Carth replied, not bothering to hold back a smile. “Bastila said it’s not all that inhabited, so I guess landing somewhere won’t be a problem.”
“How are we going to find Jolee in the middle of a grassy jungle?” Mission asked.
“Your guess is as good as mine.” Said the admiral.
The Twi’lek and her co-pilot managed to land the ship in an area that was wide enough, but also seemed to be out of the way. With the new dark lord and his helpers possibly looking for them, they didn’t want to be out in the open where anyone could see them. After the landing, the crew gathered within the main hold, Revan and Lynsel already looking at a holo map of the planet.
“This’ll be tough,” Revan said. “As you know, Naboo is far and wide; they even supposedly have an underground water city. Looking for Jolee might take some time.”
“Bastila said the planet isn’t even inhabited,” Dustil said. “It shouldn’t be hard to find a Jedi master’s hut.”
“Do you know how hard it was finding Jolee in the Kashyyyk forest the first time?” Carth asked.
“If Jolee wants to be hidden, I assure you, he will be hidden.” Bastila replied.
“Right,” Revan agreed. “So we’ll just have to look for him through the Force.” Looking at Dustil, he smiled. “And I can’t think of a better way of testing that young Jedi spirit of yours, Dustil.”
“Can I go too?” Mission asked, excitedly. Blushing, she swallowed. “I mean, I haven’t seen Jolee in a while, you know and well, I kinda missed him and all and you…you know.”
Revan looked at her, his eyes trailing over to the Jedi that stood next to her, and then back to her reddened face.
“Sure,” he said. “It’ll be like a hiking trip. Sort of. And besides,” he turned to look at the map again. “This is a nice little out of the way place. I’m sure we’ll be in and out.”
The trio headed out into the sun light of the green planet, standing only a few feet from the ship. “So,” Mission asked, looking around at the vastness of the area. “Where do we search, all knowing leader?”
“The first and obvious choice,” their leader replied. “The local cantina. There’s always some knowledge of the planet just waiting to be spoken of by the locals. I’m sure someone’s taken notice of an elderly black man with a lightsaber.”
Dustil and Mission looked skeptically at each other, before following the former Jedi over a nearby hill. It was as they saw from above — grass and greenery all around, with a miniature settlement type area. Despite the fact that there were little to no inhabitants on the planet certainly didn’t stop the trade route any.
The settlement itself seemed to be a bit like the Dreshdae area of Korriban; only a few shops were set up, but there were varied by weapons and other supplies. They even had a moderate looking swoop racetrack, which Revan filed away for later. The cantina, though relatively small, seemed to be the place of congregation and a sure fire way of getting information; at least Revan thought so.
There were people standing outside — from the looks of them, bounty hunters Canderous could love — and inside seemed to be as crowded as it could get. The three were wary as they approached, several of the mean looking bounty hunters staring intensely at them — mainly at Mission herself.
“Stay close and don’t leave our sight.” Dustil whispered, moving closer to the Twi’lek.
The young woman gave the Jedi a shrewd look. “I’m not a baby, you know,” she protested. “I can take care of myself. I don’t need you to get all bodyguard on me.”
“Cool it,” Revan chastised as they came to the entrance. As they tried to move through the door, the bigger of the hunters – a Mandalorian about the size of Canderous – blocked their path. When they tried to go around him, he just moved to block them again.
“I don’t know if you know this,” Revan started. “But you seem to be blocking the entrance. Now, if you wanted to stand here and dance with me all day, that’s fine and dandy, but I would hope you’d buy dinner later.”
The Mandalorian cracked a small smile before becoming serious. “Think you’re funny, do you?” he asked. “I don’t know who you are, but I can tell you right now that you have something we want.”
He used his chin to gesture to Mission, who immediately shrunk back behind Dustil. “Her.” He said. “She belongs to the Exchange now.”
The three looked at each in confusion, before turning back to the man. “What’re you talking about?” Dustil asked, standing protectively in front of the Twi’lek. “Everyone knows the Exchange was virtually destroyed last year by that rogue Jedi. There is no Exchange left.”
“Think that true, do you, boy?” sneered one hunter, a rough looking Rodian.
“What makes you think my Twi’lek friend here belongs to you?” Revan asked.
“Call her a payment for debts paid,” replied the Mandalorian.
Dustil bristled at the notion that Mission be perceived as property, his hand going to the hilt of his hidden lightsaber; however, Revan laid a hand on his arm to stall him.
“And whose debts is she being reduced to pay, exactly?” the elder Jedi asked.
“A client of ours,” the bounty hunter responded. Again, jetting his chin out to Mission, he said, “She knows him; it’s her brother after all.”