REVENGE OF THE SITH
Part IV – Discovery & Recovery
It has been a little over ten years since the Mandalorians were defeated over the skies of Malachor V; eight years since those heroes returned as Darth Revan and Darth Malak; six years since Revan had been captured and reprogrammed to be loyal to the Republic and to utterly destroy the Sith and his former apprentice; five years since that same man disappeared within the Outer Rim; and only a year had passed since three new dark lords had been killed by an exile of the Jedi, who also sought to destroy the Republic.
It had been many years since the time of Exar Kun and the Great Sith War, but only a few years separated the Mandalorian War, the Jedi Civil War, and the Star Forge battle of the previous war. The Republic is still on shaky ground and it seems that a new threat, one much more dangerous was to begin…
It had only been a week since Revan had said goodbye to his friends that the Jedi Council thought it was time to hold a press conference on the aftermath and recovery of the Star Forge battle, as most deemed it.
Jedi Knight Bastila Shan, Jedi Knight Juhani, Jedi Master Jolee Bindo, and Republic pilot Carth Onasi had been ‘requested’ to attend, as they were the only ones left on Coruscant. A few days after Revan had left, Canderous Ordo said his rather gruff goodbyes, not telling anyone where he was going, just saying he had “a favor to start on” and left it at that.
For Bastila, it seemed the worst kind of punishment. Surely the masters knew there would be questions as to where Revan had gone. There was already speculation on whether or not he was truly redeemed and the fact that the Council had lied about his demise had put the Jedi Order in a very bad light.
Carth and Jolee agreed wholeheartedly and had tried their best to get out of this ‘sham’ – as Jolee had called it – but for some reason the two went ahead, not telling her or Juhani what the masters had said to persuade them.
She had been awake since dawn, pacing around, trying to calm her nerves. She was not a public speaker by any means and she knew neither were the others. That’s what they needed Revan for. Even thinking his name saddened her.
Just as she predicted, their bond was once again strained by their distance and she felt as though she was literally losing her mind. She went to speak to Vrook about it, but all he said was, “It will be disconcerting in the beginning but will wear off.”
She had retorted, “That’s what you said the last time.” before storming out. A knock on her door stopped her mid-pace and a near anger rant.
Wondering who could be at her door this early in the morning, she opened it, grateful to see Carth, two cups of caffa in his hands. “Couldn’t sleep, huh?” he asked, his lips quirking up in a smile.
“No,” she whined, turning to start pacing again, when she came back and took the offered cup. “Thank you.” she murmured. The pilot walked in, the door shutting behind him as he took a seat on a nearby chair.
“What time is this inquisition?” he asked.
“0850.” She responded, taking a sip of the liquid.
“This is crap,” he whispered. “Pure bantha…”
“I know.” she sighed. She had heard everything he and Jolee had come to name this…spectacle.
“Revan should here.”
Carth looked up. He was a right idiot. He could tell from the little sob she gave that this was still hurting her. “But I know the kind of pain she’ll be in when I leave.” That’s what Revan had said, just before he left. He had known what leaving would do to her and he had told his best friend to watch over her, to make she would be all right. And he was making her cry.
“Hey,” he whispered, standing and walking to her. “He’ll be fine. You know he’ll be fine.”
“What if he’s not?” she said. “You know Revan, Carth. At the first sign some one is in trouble, he’ll jump in and save the day. He leaps before he looks and I’m afraid…I’m afraid that attitude will get him killed.”
Carth put a hand on her shoulder. “Bastila, he’ll be fine,” he said. “He won’t be gone long. I know he won’t.”
“What if…” she trailed off, horrible images of what could happen entering her mind. “What if… He’s not fine?”
“Then I would know.” The pilot replied. “We would know. And believe me, I told him what would happen if he came back all banged up or…I told him he’d be in deep bantha droppings if that happened.”
Bastila couldn’t keep a smile from gracing her lips. She was grateful to Carth for staying. She didn’t know what would’ve happened if he wasn’t there. “Ready for this…thing?” he asked, giving her shoulder a squeeze.
She rolled her eyes. “I just can’t believe the Council would authorize this.” She said. “It seems so…out of character for them.”
“You think something’s up?”
“I…I’m…not sure.” She settled on. “If Revan had asked me that same question, I would’ve said he was being paranoid, but now…I don’t know.”
The press meeting had been what the quartet thought it would be — a spectacle – and one that didn’t end well, in their opinions. There weren’t a lot of reporters, maybe about fifteen to twenty of them, but they all represented the majority of holo news watchers around the Republic and they had not been kind.
They immediately noticed that Revan was not among the group and the answer that Vrook gave them — that the redeemed Jedi knight had to go on an important mission for the council – didn’t fly either. One reporter had mentioned it paralleled Revan’s last disappearance, when he returned as a Sith Lord.
That got them to turn on the group. They asked how it felt to be traveling with a Sith Lord and many personal questions had come up, mainly directed at Bastila and Carth. “How did you feel, Commander, knowing the man who indirectly murdered your wife was traveling with you?”
“Is it true that your son was found on Korriban as a Sith spy?”
“What about you, Knight Shan? Rumors have it that you and Revan were having a torrid affair before he left on this ‘mission’, as Master Vrook pointed at.”
“Did he spurn you when he discovered you were the apprentice to Malak?”
“What about you, Juhani? Did you share Bastila’s feelings? Are you in love with Revan?”
“You’re a Cathar, aren’t you?” asked one reporter. “Your species were used as slaves during the Mandalorian War. How did you feel about that? Will you be doing anything to make sure this won’t happen again?”
“I heard you traveled with a Mandalorian. How did they affect the dynamic of the ship?”
“Did you see an inkling of Revan returning to his former self?”
When it was over – when it was mercifully over – the quartet stormed back to their quarters, each ranting and raving. “That was clearly the most horrible experience…” Juhani was saying as they each seemed to stop before Carth’s door.
“Where the hell did they get some of that information?” the pilot exclaimed.
“They’re reporters, sonny,” Jolee huffed. “They always have a way of getting information. Hmph. ‘Didn’t the Jedi think of barring you for marrying a Sith?’ How I would’ve like to…”
“At least you weren’t asked how if felt to be a slave.” Juhani spat. “Or if you were in love with Revan.”
“Oh, wouldn’t that make a dandy front page?” Carth asked, sarcastically.
“No one was supposed to know of my fall, no one,” Bastila whispered, shaking her head slowly. “Revan made sure of it.”
“Something’s not right, I’ll tell you that.” Jolee said.
“And what, exactly, are you gonna do about it?” asked Carth.
The old man looked at his three companions. “Am I a master or aren’t I?” he said, turning and continuing down the hall. Juhani and Bastila looked at each other in concern, then quickly hurried after the old man.
The pilot smirked, saying, “I’m gonna enjoy this.” before catching up to everyone. The scene they made before the Council was…well…a scene to be sure. Jolee didn’t even bother to knock on the large doors; he just burst in.
Juhani and Bastila were shocked to say the least, while Carth wore a small smirk on his face. Master Dorril did his best to calm the newly appointed Jedi Master, while Master Dario shared the same kind of look that Carth had.
Vandar tried to explain as best he could that the Council had been putting off this meeting for quite some time and they went ahead with it for the good of the Republic and its people. They didn’t foresee Revan leaving.
“We needed to pacify the people of the Republic.” The small alien replied, a sigh on his lips. “We have kept them in the dark on many things…”
“You think?” Carth muttered, receiving a jab and a look from Bastila.
“There are some who do not understand the path and responsibility of the Jedi.” Vrook replied.
“I think you’re underestimating us non-Jedi.” Carth retorted. He stopped from saying any more, least he encounter Bastila’s elbow again, though he did mutter, “You can bet the Republic would never ‘reprogram’ our soldiers the way you did Revan.” under his breath.
“Your concerns are noted, Master Bindo.” The Mon Cal replied, nodding to the quartet. “We have been…discussing recent events as well. But if you’ll excuse us…”
The four weren’t content to just leave things as they were, but they saw nothing more to do. Jolee sighed, telling the others to follow him and that a good stiff drink was what they needed.
The council waited until the group left before making any statements. “Remind me again why we let Jolee Bindo become a master within our order?” Veroba huffed. “Even as a padawan, he showed no respect.”
“And that Onasi,” Vrook spat. “It’s no wonder he and Revan get along so well.”
“I believe we are getting off topic.” Dorril replied. He looked at the small alien, who had been a chief member of the High Council for years. “You gather us once more, Vandar, and I sense you do not have good news.”
The alien shook his head. “As you know,” he began. “I had called you all together the eve before Revan’s departure. It has sense troubled me.”
“You believe he will fall to the dark side again?” Veroba asked, a smile on her face. “I told you no good would come from that bond between him and Bastila Shan.”
A few of the others rolled their eyes. “It is not the bond shared between the two,” he continued. “Though I do admit that…while we maintain a strict decree where it concerns the emotions they share…I believe it to be beneficial to them both.”
“That is not to say I condone their actions,” he insisted, quieting both Vrook and Veroba. “If what Bastila says is true, then it was Revan’s feelings for her and vice versa that saved them both. I do not wish to think of the consequences if Revan should fall again and take Bastila with him.”
He sighed. “The numbers in our order are dwindling and this new scandal has put us in a very bad light. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a certain amount of…politics that we do adhere to.”
“Master Vandar,” Dario asked, hesitantly. “You say our numbers dwindle and the last time you called us, you said that you worried for the order itself. Is…is something going to happen to us?”
Everyone’s eyes were immediately on Vandar and again, the diminutive being sighed. “As I said,” he whispered. “I believe we were…wrong regarding the Mandalorian War…”
“How can you say that?” Villard exclaimed. “Revan and Malak had already taken half of our number. He would’ve had us all slaughtered!”
“Vandar, I don’t understand,” Pernin questioned. “You had a vision right before the Mandalorian War and we all agreed that in this, there was no reason to act because there was no sight of the threat you had seen. Are you saying…are you saying you were wrong?”
“I am saying…” The alien lowered his head. “I am saying that my vision may have been of events that have yet to happen,” he whispered. “And if that is true, I’m afraid when the time comes to battle this menace, our numbers alone will not be enough. I feel…I feel as members of the High Council, that we should inform our brethren on Dantooine that perhaps…perhaps they should prepare to take leave.”
“Leave of what, exactly?” Vrook asked, suspiciously.
“I…am not sure.”
“This is ridiculous!” the Falleen cried. “Are you to have us believe…- Vandar, you have always been way too sympathetic with the students here and I think you’ve finally found a problem in Revan. You just don’t want to admit that this ‘quest’ that he’s on could very well lead to the path of the dark side.”
No one said anything, all of them too stunned to say a word. Most on the council respected Vandar greatly and for Veroba to call him out on his reasoning was just not done. “I…I too feel this way.” Vrook stated, not looking at the alien at his side.
“Our choice in the Mandalorian War, I believe, was correct. Had it not been for Revan and Malak, I think the Republic would’ve seen a weakness and could have stopped them.”
“I too agree with Vrook and Veroba,” Baster replied. “I have always felt the vision you had was that of Revan and Malak coming back under the Sith banner. We barely managed to survive that and I agree that this…bond…between him and Bastila needs to be put to rest. We were nearly devastated when she was by Malak’s side. I shouldn’t dare see what might happen should Revan take up his mantel of Dark Lord again. If anything…we need to find Revan. Monitor him, make sure he is indeed a member of the light.”
“Master Vandar?” Pura asked, softly. She and the others that hadn’t spoken looked to their leader in hopes he would be able to respond against these charges, but the small alien said nothing.
“We’ll need to find Revan.” Veroba replied, ignoring anything that was happening around her.
“You won’t be able to.” Vandar said. At their looks, he continued with, “While he has taken the Ebon Hawk with him, you will probably not be able to trace it. Revan was very delicate in this mission of his. He didn’t even confide in his friends or Bastila as to where he would be. I’m afraid the personality of a smuggler that we imprinted him with has come back to haunt us.”
“We’ll just use Shan to tell us,” Veroba stated. “She was able to get information from him before…”
Vrook shook his head. “It won’t work,” he said. “Bastila has already come to me with her concerns over this. It seems distance apart, as we had hoped would lessen the bond, has done nothing but made Revan extremely paranoid and Bastila a bit hysterical.”
“So we’re stuck.” Dario replied.
“I’m more worried on our own fates than that of Revan’s.” Vandar whispered, surprising them all.