Greetings, internet! I have a brand new story for you to gawk at. Should I really be posting a new story when I've got so many others in the works? No. But, simply put, there's no way I can work on my other stuff when I've got Star Wars in my head. This story will only be updated when the interest strikes me so be warned of possible long periods without an update.
I, do not, in any way, shape, or form own Star Wars.
The Coruscani skyline at night was always something that Colt found breathtaking. The shining lights of the buildings, the lines of craft of all shapes and sizes zooming about, there was nothing like this on his homeworld. The young human found that one of his favorite things to do in order to pass the time was to watch the skyline from his room in the Jedi Temple while looking at pictures of those he had left behind.
Colt was an unusual case for the Jedi. His homeworld, isolated and cut off from the rest of the galaxy, had been invaded by the droid armies of the Separatists. When a Jedi Knight had been sent to the planet to investigate the possibility of Separatist activity, he had discovered the eighteen year old Colt as a force sensitive amongst the scattered resistance fighters. Seeing potential in him, the Jedi had brought him back to Coruscant and presented him before the Council.
The young man found himself as being one of the rare few to be accepted above the usual age limit, and began his training as a Jedi Padawan. Now here he sat, looking out of his window at everything before him. His master was off world, in route to a special mission in the Outer Rim territories. Under normal circumstances, Colt would have accompanied him. But the mission required that his Master travel alone, so he had been forced to stay.
Meditating was also something that helped pass the time. When troubled, he would seek out a Master that wasn't busy and meditate with them. It wasn't that he had trouble with meditating, it was the memories that often flooded his mind when he did. Haunting images of his time fighting against the Droids, his friends and family shot down and killed. The mental healing progress was slow, but there was progress none the less.
Aside from this and his daily training with a lightsaber and force abilities, Colt was also assigned to the Temple Security Force, thanks in part to his background as a guerrilla fighter. The recent Battle of Coruscant had made the Security Force jumpy and paranoid about the possibility of another Separatist attack, so they had readily accepted him as another pair of boots on the ground.
Glancing at the clock that rested next to his bed, Colt sighed and stood from his perch next to the window. It was time for his evening patrol around the Temple Foyer. He made his way out of his room to a small Security Armory located not far away. The first time he had come here he had gotten lost because he couldn't read the signs.
It wasn't that he didn't speak Galactic Basic, the vast majority of his homeworld did in fact. It was that he couldn't read the Aurebresh Alphabet that was so widely used. The High Galactic Alphabet, however, was something that he could read and write in. The downside was that people got the impression that he was snobbish and thought very highly of himself, as High Galactic was usually reserved for important government officials and wealthy individuals only.
"Padawan Harding, on time as usual I see," said the main Security Officer that sat behind the desk.
"Anything special going on tonight, Strass?" Colt asked as he opened a locker and slid on a gray Temple Security jacket and placed a helmet over his closely cropped brown hair.
"Nothing special on the list. But Master Jurokk seemed a little antsy when he passed through here, so you may want to keep your guard up on your rounds tonight," Strass replied.
"Which Master is in overall command tonight?" Colt asked as he picked up an A280 blaster rifle, along with a few extra power packs. The rifle was just another example of the growing paranoia amongst the Security Force, beefing up their weapons from the usual blaster pistols.
"Shaak Ti. At least until Master Windu returns anyway." Colt remained silent as he finished with the last of his gear. As far as he was concerned, whatever business the Masters had was their own and far above his pay grade. He had learned long ago that it was better to keep to yourself, and only get involved when the situation came knocking for you directly.
Slinging his blaster across his chest, Colt set out on his patrol. His route took him all around the Foyer, and gave him a clear view of the ancient architecture of the building. It was quiet, so he allowed his mind to wander as he walked. He thought of his home, and everything that had happened in the short year it had been since he left.
His skill with a lightsaber had grown beyond anything he had anticipated. He was able to outmatch any of the other Padawans in a duel, and even some Knights as well. But regardless of his talent, he still preferred a blaster in most situations. That was how he had gotten his baptism of fire, by using a captured droid E-5 blaster rifle against the occupying army of his homeworld.
Shaking his head in an effort to fend off bad memories, Colt came out of his thoughts and looked at his surroundings. He was on a walkway overlooking the Temple's main public entrance. The golden city skyline could be seen from here. But that wasn't what drew the young man's attention, like it had so many times before.
It was the Legion of Clone Troopers marching up the stairs that led to the entrance.
Leading the Clones was a single person wearing black Jedi robes. Colt didn't recognize the person, as the figure had it's hood up. He did, however, recognize someone else below. Master Jurokk, the Temple's Gate Master and therefore one of his commanders, was walking out to meet the figure and the troopers.
Colt watched as the two conversed back and forth. He was too far away to hear what they were saying, but he instantly understood the situation as he watched the figure activate a blue lightsaber blade, impaling Master Jurokk and killing him instantly. Colt felt his eyes grow to the size of saucers as he watched the Jedi Master's body fall to the ground. The full gravity of the situation crashed down on him as he watched the Clones break rank and began to fan out.
The Temple was under attack. He had to warn someone.
Taking off at a sprint, Colt made a bee line back toward the living quarters. It was late in the night, so he passed no one as he ran. A majority of the Temple was asleep, blissfully unaware of what was descending upon them.
"Unit Seven Seven to all Temple Security, Code Black! I repeat, Code Black!" he shouted into his comm link.
"Unit Six Two to Unit Seven Seven, what are you talking about, Harding? The droids were forced off world weeks ago."
"Not droids, clones! They just killed Master Jurokk and they're swarming the Public Entrance!"
"I'll need conformation, Seven Seven..." the link suddenly cut to static as the sound of blaster fire filled the air.
"All Units, Code Black! Code Black! Troopers are attacking the Temple, repeat, Troopers are attacking the Temple!" another voice chimed in over the link.
Corellia. Three Years Later.
Colt's eyes shot open as he awoke from his nap. After the intense realism of his relived nightmare, the sounds and smells of the dimly lit cantina were both disorienting and confusing. It took a moment for his brain to process where he was and remember what he was doing here. He was currently sitting in a corner with his feet propped up on a chair, watching the various patrons come and go with their drinks. He wore black knee high combat boots, gray pants, and a brown leather aviator jacket. A pair of DL-18 blasters rested in the holsters on his hips.
"Sleep good, cap?" came a gruff yet feminine voice from across the table. Colt turned his head to find a female Zabrak looking at him with an amused smile. She wore a dark mustard colored jacket and brown pants. The smile she wore was almost predatory in nature, adding even more of a sense of danger to the facial tattoos that she wore over her pale features from her neck to the crown of horns atop her bald head.
"Any prospects come by while I was dozing, Serena?" he asked, choosing to ignore the question. Serena frowned slightly at the question, which Colt suspected was for three different reasons. The first being that she hadn't gotten a rise out of him like she had hoped, the second that he had used her full name and not her preferred nickname of Seri, and the third was because she didn't have good news.
"Aside from the usual spice dealers, just one potential passenger" she reported.
"Yeah, a ride to the Outer Rim, no questions asked."
"Who?" Serena motioned toward the bar.
"That Togruta there. I told her she could discuss terms with you when you woke up." Colt followed where his companion was pointing and found a young orange skinned, blue and white striped Togruta sitting at the bar with her head down, staring intently into her cup. Colt exhaled deeply through his nose. He didn't like taking on passengers, especially ones trying to leave the tightly controlled Imperial Core for the wilds of the Outer Rim. But money was still money, and that was something he was hard up for at the moment.
"Alright, let's hear her out," he said. Serena nodded before she stood and made her way over to the young woman at the bar. He watched the two women converse for a moment before he turned his attention to his own cup. Lifting it to his lips, he took a quick drink before setting the metal container back on the table. The Corellian whiskey burned as he ran down his throat, but it was a burn that he found satisfactory.
"Jak Hex, Captain of the Achilles, he's the man to plead your case too," Serena said as she and the Togruta appeared before the table. The young man mentally cringed at the use of his cover name. He hated it with a burning passion. But with the Empire cracking down on former Jedi, he found that an alias saved him a lot of time and hassle.
"Captain Hex," the Togruta greeted. Colt remained silent as he looked her up and down. What caught his notice was the silver metal cylinder that hung in her belt. The way she had it arranged, to the passing eye it would look like just another piece of equipment. But Colt knew better, for he knew exactly what the cylinder was.
"Seri, oversee departure prep, make sure the cargo is nice and secure," he said.
"Aye, cap'," the Zabrak said before vanishing into the throng of people. After watching her go, he returned his attention to his potential passenger.
"My first mate tells me you want passage to the Outer Rim, no questions asked," he said, getting right to the point.
"That's right. She said you could do that no problem." Colt motioned for her to sit.
"Passage to the Outer Rim ain't cheep," he said as she sat down.
"Name your price."
"Two thousand. A thousand now, a thousand on arrival."
"Two thousand credits?!"
"That's my Corellian discount, sweetheart. This system may be lacking in Imperial presence, but the Empire is here all the same. If we were on any other Core World my price would be much higher," he said.
"What makes you think my travel depends on the Empire?" she asked, her sapphire colored eyes narrowing.
"Someone who's bartering passage on a freighter to the Outer Rim from the Core is doing one of two things; resettling or running. Either way, you got an Imperial problem. Which means that if you hire me, it becomes my problem." The two stared each other down for a long time, an uncomfortable silence falling over the table in an otherwise noisy establishment. Finally, after several tense moments, the Togruta sighed.
"Fine. Two thousand, no questions asked," she said. Colt smiled at the completed deal.
"I'm glad we can do business. Docking bay three, pay Seri the first half and she'll get you set up," he instructed. The Togruta nodded before she slipped out of her seat and into the crowd. Colt watched her go for a moment before he returned his attention to his drink.
He was tired, not just physically, but emotionally as well. It had been almost four years since he had laid eyes on his homeworld. The last reports he had gotten about it before Order 66 had stated that the Republic had fully liberated it from Separatist control. That meant that it was a planet under Imperial control now, and a virtual death trap for him if he ever returned. Unless the Empire left, he could never go home. And once the Empire had a world in its iron grasp, it never let it go.
"You seen this girl, spacer?" came a synthetic voice. Colt looked up and found himself face to face with a wanted poster being held by a figure in a suit of armor. His eyes glossed over the figure for a moment before settling on the poster. It was the Togruta he had just made a deal with. According to the poster, her name was Ahsoka Tano, and she was wanted dead or alive by the Empire.
"Never seen her before," he said, looking into the visor slit on the bounty hunter's helmet. The bounty hunter continued to stare at him for a long moment before turning away and asking other patrons as well. Colt watched him go before scanning the crowd for others like him. He'd had his own fair share of experiences with bounty hunters over the past few years. The Empire had put a high price on the heads of any remaining Jedi. Some bounties were high enough that a single catch, dead or alive, would be enough to set someone up for life.
After finding singling out a few individuals who's attire or stance matched that of a possible bounty hunter, Colt put his feet down and went to stand. Suddenly, he found himself with a blaster pistol stuck in his ribs.
"Sit down, kid. No sudden movements," the new voice said. Colt did as he was instructed, slowly easing himself back into the chair. A man wearing a set of bounty hunter armor with a long facial scar running from his eye down his left cheek walked into view, holding a DL-44 blaster level with Colt's face.
"Thad Anton, you are alive," Colt said, his voice containing a bland mixture of surprise and contempt, along with a hint of disappointment.
"Surprised to see me after that stunt you pulled on Byss, Hex?"
"Not so much surprised as I am annoyed," Colt replied, his fingers tapping lightly on his knee.
"Well, imagine my surprise when a simple smuggler suddenly pulls a lightsaber on me. Got me thinking and doing a little research, Hex. Or should I call you Harding?" Thad asked. Colt groaned inwardly. He had just bought some time for a possible fellow Jedi from bounty hunters, only to have one of his own appear.
"The Empire put quite a price on your head, Harding," Thad continued.
"What's it up to now? Twenty thousand?"
"Fifty thousand actually. Turns out the more you Jedi get caught, the rarer you become, and a higher paycheck for people in my line of work."
"Evidently you suck at it, have you considered looking for another job?" Colt asked, his right hand slowly inching its way his leg toward the blaster on his right hip.
"Why would I have to? I'm the one with the blaster, I'm the one who got the drop on you, Jedi. There's no where to run now," he said.
"Who said anything about running?" Colt asked before he swiftly kicked the table into Thad's legs. The bounty hunter yelled in pain and anger, his blaster going off as he doubled over. Colt's Jedi reflexes allowed him to lean his head to the side, dodging the bolt that would have otherwise slammed into his face.
With smooth, practiced speed, Colt drew his own blaster and shot Thad in the center of the chest. An explosion of sparks and smoke erupted from the bounty hunter's chest before his smoking body clattered to the floor, smashing through the table as he fell. The entire cantina fell silent as all the patrons looked toward the scene. Colt stood, looking down at the body before he holstered his blaster and began to walk out.
"Sorry for the commotion," he said as he walked past the bar, tossing the bartender a coin as he went past.
Docking Bay Three.
Ashoka looked up at the VCX-100 light freighter with a combination of nervousness and eagerness. Although she had left the Jedi Order roughly four years ago, the Empire had still attempted to hunt her down. The constant threat of being captured and killed, combined with Imperial policies against non human species had made it impossible for her to remain in the Core any longer. Which was why she was standing in the docking bay now, with only a rucksack slung over her shoulder containing the few possessions she had.
On top of her need to disappear, there was something else that drew her toward the Achilles and it's Captain. She would be lying if she said that she didn't find the sun tanned, black haired human attractive. But it wasn't his looks that had caught her eye in the cantina. No, it was something else. Something she couldn't quite put her finger on. Almost like the Force was drawing her towards him for some reason.
"I take it you and the Captain settled on a deal?" Seri said as she approached. The two women eyed each other with a wary sense of caution, not fully trusting each other.
"We did," Ashoka replied before tossing the Zabrak a sack of coins. Seri tossed the sack into the air a few times, judging its weight before nodding in satisfaction.
"You'll get the empty bunk room as your quarters. We have three meals a day in the galley, and the cargo hold is off limits," she explained.
"Seri, we 'bout ready for take off?" Colt called as he entered the Bay. With his brisk pace, Ashoka figured that some kind of trouble had happened in the cantina after she left.
"Everyone's here, Cap. Just waiting on you," Seri replied.
"Alright, get our guest settled in and then let's get moving, our window might be closing on us faster then we'd like," Colt said. Seri nodded before she motioned for Ashoka to follow her. As the two women boarded the ship, Colt took one final look around. Corellia was one of his favorite worlds. But it was still an Imperial planet none the less. He couldn't afford to call this place home, not with the Empire breathing down his neck.
"Hey, you! Spacer!" came a shout from the entrance Colt had just come from. Turning, he found himself looking at a pair of clone troopers marching toward him. The Empire had slowly been phasing out the clones over the past few years, integrating them with the new Stormtrooper Corps. Shining white armor was the standard wear of the new Stormtroopers. These were wearing older clone armor, beaten and ragged with it's shine long gone.
"We're looking for this girl, have you seen her?" one of the troopers asked, holding up a data pad with Ashoka's face on it.
"Cute. What'd she do? Pickpocket a Moff?" Colt asked as he picked up a crate and began to walk toward the ship's ramp. He was hoping that his posture told the troopers that he wasn't interested and they would leave.
"She's a Jedi, and a traitor to the Empire," the trooper replied. Colt sat the crate down and walked back toward the troopers. He leaned in and looked at the poster again before picking up another crate.
"Sorry boys, haven't seen her."
"Come on, let's go," the trooper without the data pad said.
"Hang on, maybe there's someone in here he recognizes...hey, wait a minute." the trooper said. Colt felt a chill run down his spine as he sat the crate down. The sound of blasters being snapped up made him close his eyes and sigh through his nose.
"You're gonna want to walk away now," he warned.
"Colt Harding, by the authority of the Empire you are under arrest!" one of them snapped, raising his blaster so that he was aiming at the back of the smuggler's head. Neither of the troopers noticed the black metal cylinder slip out of his jacket sleeve into his hand.
"Last chance, troopers," he growled.
"On your knees, Jedi."
A three foot long emerald green beam of light sprang from the emitter as Colt leapt into the air, flipping backwards before either of the troopers could react. He landed in front of the first trooper, bringing his saber down and slicing the extended blaster in half. Reversing his slice, Colt brought the blade upwards across the trooper's chest.
As the first clone fell, Colt turned and threw his saber at the second. The weapon sailed through the air and lodged itself through the second clone's heart. The trooper dropped to his knees, clutching at the saber hilt now resting firmly in his chest. Colt raised his hand, and the saber yanked free of the clone before sailing back into his palm. He caught it with practiced ease, giving it a twirl and bringing it to a ready position, holding it straight up and down with both hands.
For a moment, the only noise in the docking bay was the hum of the lightsaber. Colt pressed the activation switch and with a hiss the emerald blade retreated into the hilt.
"I warned you," he said before returning the saber to it's hiding place. He could have used his blasters, but he figured that the sound of blaster fire would have brought more troopers. That, and it had been a long time since he had gotten some saber practice.
"Seri! Cargo's loaded, lets get off this rock!" he shouted as he walked up the ramp, eager to put some distance between himself and the Empire.
And that's a wrap for the first chapter. This story will include of a lot of elements from the expanded universe, mainly cause when it was first thought of, Darth Micky had yet to wave his paw and make all of that non canon. But I will do my best to keep the information true to the canon. Other then that, please feel free to leave a review, drop a PM, ask questions, let me know what you liked or didn't like, and I'll see you all in the next one!