Foreword: This is an original story featuring original characters set in the universe of Bioware's 'Star Wars: The Old Republic'. Events depicted take place a decade prior to events in-game. Rated 'T' for depictions of violence and violent themes, as well as romantic scenes. (This is a followup to 'The Academy: Acolyte Ascension', and follows a pair of the previous story's main characters. Reading the first story is not necessary to enjoy this one, but references are made to past characters and events). Feedback is welcomed and appreciated.
Holocrons. Immense repositories of the past, sealed away in the most insignificant of packages. Prisms of arcane knowledge. Sith secrets lay hidden within these crimson pyramids, unassuming to the untrained eye. But those who have dealt in the artifact trade, delved into lands forgotten, walked amongst the shadows, they knew the truth… that there was a hefty sum of credits to be made off of them.
Grasping the sharp, mystical object within the palm of his hand, a solitary figure looked upon the fist-sized pyramid with a glint in his eyes. The man was not the object's creator, nor its proper bearer. The Human could not even access its dark bounty if he tried, for the device would never release its secrets to someone so mundane. But he nonetheless gazed upon its edges, its facets, its scripts of olden words. The crimson holocron glowed bright, brighter than all that surrounded it. Though that spoke more of its dingy surroundings than its own splendor.
The figure and the surrounding room were of the same kind. Rough. Disheveled. Drably colored. Every facet of the chamber was unadorned and without decoration. In fact, the only furnishing the cramped room possessed was a single chair situated behind a single desk, at which the lone Human sat. Leaning back in his chair, feet propped upon the metallic surface before him, the man was content to gaze upon the dark magnificence he held between his fingers. The sole object that looked like it didn't belong.
The rough figure was garbed in layer upon layer of heavy clothing. Thick trousers and a jacket lined with countless pockets and pouches gave him the appearance of a hardy spacer. A bit of an oddity, considering the terrestrial nature of the office he seemed so comfortable in.
Windowless, the room's single source of light was the dim fixture that hung from the ceiling above. Not that it mattered. The man would be content to stare at his prize amidst total darkness. He appeared consumed with calm rapture, a serenity overpowering his otherwise coarse visage. Serenity that would soon come crashing down.
A loud quake shook the room, accompanied by the thundering boom off in the distance. The surprise was enough to send the man tumbling backward in his chair, crashing into the ground. Scrambling upon the cold, hard surface, the man made sure his grip on the holocron was secure before hurriedly panning his gaze. A few moments later, another bang rang out, sending him crawling to his desk. Opening one of the many drawers, the figure dug around with his free hand, eventually returning with a blaster pistol. With one hand wrapped around the holocron, and the other secured around the weapon's grip, the man quickly raised himself and stormed out of his office.
The hall outside the chamber resembled its predecessor. Dull and utilitarian, not a single sign of excess. The lone figure scurried down the hall, almost tripping over his own feet. With nowhere to go but straight, the man's destination had already been chosen for him.
Storming through the door ahead, the figure stumbled into a room of actual purpose. Terminals and computers lined the walls, but most important of them was the security desk situated in one of the corners. A vast array of videoscreens lined the walls above the station, nearly touching the ceiling. Each panel depicted the feed of one of many cameras situated throughout the mundane facility.
A lone Twi'lek tended the station, dressed in similar garb as the other man. Upon hearing the Human stomp his way in, the seated man quickly spun around in his chair, a look of dread upon his scrawny green face.
"We got trouble, boss!" the Twi'lek shrilly called out, headtails quivering.
The Human rushed toward his underling. With a snarl upon his face, the boss pressed the back of his hand against the Twi'lek's shoulder, practically shoving his face back into the monitors.
"I want to know what's going on, now!" the Human barked.
"We're under attack! Look!" the Twi'lek directed, pointing a finger toward one of the many screens in front of them.
The pair watched as the fuzzy image of the wall-bound camera sent its information to the station. A number of men moved into view, blasters in the hands of each, thick mercenary garb covering their hides. They came to a stop, only to release a volley of bolts toward some unseen target just out of view. As the boss narrowed his gaze, trying to discern some detail from the screen, a vaguely humanoid blur moved into view, quickly blowing past the armed guards before disappearing again. The pair looked on dumfounded when suddenly, a second stranger moved into view. Lacking the other's blinding speed, this one moved with a calm gait. However, just before the full silhouette could be revealed, the feed cut out as if the camera had been destroyed.
"What the hell was that?" the boss muttered through gritted teeth.
"I don't know sir… but look, we've already done dark on five screens," the Twi'lek stated. "They're knocking us down left and right."
"What do they want?" the Human asked, scratching the scruff of his chin.
"What do… oh… oh no. They want that…" the Twi'lek said, almost with a whimper. The boss saw his underling staring at the item in his hand with wide, almost watering eyes. The Human's knuckles went white as he tightened his grip around the holocron, its corners digging into his calloused flesh.
The boss passed his gaze from viewscreen to viewscreen. The blur would appear on one, knocking the posted guards aside like ragdolls, only for the feed to cut out a moment later.
"Stop them. I don't care how you do it, but just do it. Stop them! Right now!" the Human shouted into the Twi'lek's ear.
"But sir, I can't… I don't… what do you want me to do?" the Twi'lek asked, uncertainty dominating his every facet.
"Damnit," the Human offered with a grunt. "Get someone on the comm. Anyone!"
The Twi'lek quickly went to work tapping at the terminal in front of him. A few seconds later, a communications channel had clicked on.
The sounds of errant blaster fire streamed from the terminal, alongside frenzied howls and panicked screams.
"Boss!" a frightened voice called out. "It's the Sith… they… aaaaahg!"
"Are you still there? Hey! Answer me!" the Human shouted at the receiver. "What happened?!"
The only response was the subtle click of the comm channel closing.
The Human and Twi'lek shared a stunned look. The silence hung heavy in the chamber as the pair were slowly filled with a creeping dread. But still, the holocron owner refused to yield his enduring grip. Before either could speak, before either could formulate their next thought, a loud thud rang out from across the room.
Quickly looking to their rear, one of the doors leading to the room now bared an indentation in its center, the once-flat metallic surface now folding slightly inward. The pair almost couldn't process the sight as another loud thud rang out, and the dent pressed inward even further. After the third strike, the sturdy door had been knocked clear of its frame, flying across the chamber before sliding to a scraping halt.
The room was soon filled with the slow, heavy thuds of boots as the first imposing figure stepped past the breached threshold. The man stood tall, encased below the neck in black armorweave beset by metallic plating. His face, unburdened by garb or protection, was that of a Pureblooded Sith, red-skinned and fierce. Stubby tendrils hung from his cheeks and chin, emulating a fleshy goatee. Dark hair with a slight red tinge was worn just long enough to be slicked back in an unobtrusive manner. In his gauntleted right hand, the warrior gripped a simplistic black hilt.
Entering shortly after, was a far smaller, but just as intimidating figure. As opposed to his well-armed and armored fellow, the Human at his side was covered head to toe in black, form-fitting robes, the hood of which obscured the wearer's face in a veil of mystery. What could be seen, told of a far softer individual than the rugged Pureblood beside him. Fair skinned, free of scars or baggage, the robed figure elicited fear from the determined stare that shined through his obscured visage. Eyes of gold peered from the shadows, settling on the holocron held in the mitts of the cowering spacer.
The hooded man cracked a toothy smile.