Gilejah, Dark Lord of the Sith, sat in the master bedroom of his castle, deep in meditation. Ne'kral had been

sending reports of his progress establishing Sith cells on different planets. Things had gone very well for

the past ten years, for of the seventeen worlds Ne'kral had visited, sixteen of them still maintained cells that

were active and growing. The one exception was the cell on Nar Shadda, which had been destroyed by an

assassin, Lored Kedaga. Ne'kral had made the mistake of trying to double-cross the younger man. When

Gilejah heard of the incident, he established a holocomm transmission with Ne'kral and asked him what his

next move would be. The loyal servant replied that he would stop creating new cells, and would instead

focus on consolidating the power of the cells he had already founded. Gilejah approved the plan, and then

gave Ne'kral new orders regarding his mission.

"Once a cell had reached planet wide membership of five thousand, the leader will be required to contact

me, and I will then give them the name of a planet not yet infiltrated by the Sith. The cell's leader will have to

choose one hundred and fifty of the most experienced and charismatic members of the cell, excluding

themselves. These members will become the expeditionary force and basis for the new cell on the designated

planet. Do you understand?"

Ne'kral indicated that he did, and said he would pass on the orders to the cell leaders. Gilejah nodded and

then cut the transmission.

A year later, Gilejah felt his servant's death through the Force. A pity , thought the Dark Lord, the man

was quite useful. Nevertheless, he did his job, and did it well. Now all that is left is to wait for the cells to

grow to an adequate number. And I am a patient man. I am willing to wait in order to insure my conquest of

this so-called 'Galactic Republic'. With that thought, the Master of the Sith returned to his meditation.

Mya opened her eyes and blinked away the vestiges of sleep. Sitting up, she cleared her mind and

prepared for another day at the Academy. These past couple of weeks had not gone well for her. After

waking to the mental screams of Orion, the student had gone directly to Master Vondo's chamber, a feat no

student had ever dared to attempt. However, the Jedi Master had also been awoken by the disturbance in

the Force, and opened his door at Mya's first knock and admitted his distressed pupil. When she asked the

Jedi Master if he knew what happened to her beloved, the wise alien replied that Orion was suffering

immense pain, and that even he did not know how long the youth would last against such agony. At that

Mya lost control and broke down, weeping uncontrollably against Vondo's chest. The Master put a hand on

the young woman's shoulder and told her to return to her room. Vondo promised that as soon as he heard

anything, he would let her know. Mya went back to her quarters but could not sleep, the anguished cries of

her soul mate echoing in the corridors of her mind.

The Jedi passed the next few days as if she were a machine, barely thinking about what she was doing,

simply going through the daily routine. Her friends quickly noticed the change and were immediately

concerned for her, but Mya wished above all to be left alone while she attempted to cope with the possibility

of never seeing Orion alive again.

Now, the Jedi again went through her morning rountine. She stepped out of the refresher, drying her hair,

when a message appeared on her comm. Frowning at the interruption, Mya bent over and read the message:

MYANDARA VICTURUS IS TO REPORT TO THE MASTER'S OFFICE IMMEDIATELY. PLEASE BE

PROMPT.

The student stood up and frowned. Why would Master Vondo summon me this early? Then the

realization hit her a moment later. Oh no, it has to be about Orion. Routine forgotten, she quickly got dressed

and wound her hair into a bun, then slipped out the door, simultaneously wrestling with hope and despair.

Mya reached the door a few minutes later, caught her breath, and knocked. The green-skinned jedi master

answered the door, his face a stone mask. "Excellent, you've come. Please, walk with me."

Vondo-baas walked with his pupil, leading her towards the stone garden where he always meditated. As

the pair wound their way through the grounds of the Academy, Mya attempted to glean from the wise alien

what was going on.

"Master, what has happened? Why have you called me here?"

"Well, why do you think?"

"It has something to do with Orion, doesn't it?"

"You see? You already know."

"So, what's going on?"

"Well, Cifan went to retrieve him from the so-called hospital in Von Ekka. He took him to a separate

facility, which is why you haven't seen him in the hospital wing. I received a message from him recently. He

reported that Orion suffered some serious injuries, but he is healing nicely and will be able to rejoin us in a

month."

At this, Mya let go the breath she had been holding in, sighing with relief. She would not lose Orion after

all. She opened her mouth to inquire further, but stopped when she noticed a grin spreading across the

Master's face.

"Master Vondo, why are you smiling?"

By this time they were almost to Vondo's favorite stone bench, but it was not quite in sight. He continued

to grin, almost on the verge of laughter.

"Because, my student, Cifan sent me that message almost a month ago."

As he spoke, the stone bench came into view, and sitting on it was none other that Orion himself, his face

also lit with a smile.

Mya's heart melted. In the space of a second, she crossed to him, and pulled him into a tight embrace.

Pulling back, the young woman looked up into her soul mate's face.

"Orion, tell me this isn't a dream. Tell me it's really you sitting here."

In reply, the young man gently pinched one of Mya's cheeks and smiled.

"Trust me, I'm real."

Mya turned to thank Vondo, but he had disappeared. Frowning, she looked back at Orion.

"Where did he go?"

"Before you came, Vondo told me that we would have the day of together."

Winking at her, the young man picked her up and they walked towards Mya's room, the rising sun

shining at their backs.