W/N - Thank you all for reading and I hope you enjoyed this crazy long story. Thank you, Jen, for your dedicated support. Please check out the alternate LS ending, "Paradise Regained." This chapter is mostly action with a demented twist. Mon cher, Alan was the inspiration behind this ending.
O tiger's heart wrapp'd in a woman's hide!
William Shakespeare – Henry VI
The Star Forge – Day Three - 0546 Z
Revan slid to the deck, battered by Malak's power and she looked upon the Dark Lord with horror in her eyes, unable to believe the heinousness in his soul. Her gray eyes glanced up at the mutilated form of Jedi Master Deesra and anger surged through her being. She would make him pay if it was the last thing she did.
Nearby, HK-47 sprinted by Malak's guard, firing his blaster rifle in tight, controlled bursts. The Dark Jedi held Sasha in front of him as a shield, but HK took careful aim and a bolt found the man's leg. With a cry of pain, he dropped Sasha and the girl ran, screaming to find a place to hide. The Sith batted away screeching bolts, but one more found his side and exploded, casting sparks over his robes.
Sensing a weakness in his opponent, the assassin droid altered course and rushed at the Sith, rifle blazing, but the man leapt into the air as the bolts flashed by. The Dark Jedi landed with a powerful cut and clove through HK's blaster, that was raised in defense. The droid immediately unleashed a torrent of flame that bathed the enemy in liquid petroleum.
The Sith ignited like a candle, screaming, but focused a swirl of ions around HK and the droid wobbled, his eyes blinking orange.
"Culinary: I'm going to make you eat that ion soup," HK groused and a vibrodagger emerged from the back of his armored fist, to be plunged into the Dark Jedi's flaming chest.
Skin crackling from the inferno, the man continued to fight and he struck the droid in the leg with his lightsaber, shattering metal and severing servos and cables. Off balance, HK crashed to the ground, but pulled the Sith down on top of him, sparks and fire leaping up into the air.
A second wave of ions ripped into HK from the weakening enemy and the droid's body arched backward, gripped in the throes of electronic agony. The Dark Jedi then rolled off of HK and desperately tried to douse the raging fire. He stood, batting at his ashen robes and brought the Force in to end the blaze.
On the ground, HK twitched, soot and burnt flesh adhered to his metal frame. Jerkily, he turned his head at the Sith and his eyes blazed orange. "Helpful: Here, let me assist you with those nasty burns, meatbag!" he uttered with sincerity and unleashed a torrent of freezing chemicals at the man. Frost replaced fire as the Sith turned to ice, his voice howling in pain.
When HK was done, only the man's head remained unfrozen and the Dark Jedi focused his eyes on the droid, who drew a disruptor pistol. With a quivering hand, HK aimed at the Sith's midsection and fired, shattering the man's body into a thousand pieces.
With frozen bits showering him, HK lay back for a second to run a diagnostic. "Statement: Status…not good. Primary directive from the Master still to be completed. Find and protect the tiny meatbag."
Willing her limbs to respond, Revan leapt out of the way just as Malak's lightsaber carved the wall where her head had been, sending out a shower of molten durasteel. She cut at his back, using her old tricks, but the Dark Lord swung his blade behind him, intercepting the attack.
"I have learned even more since our last parting, Revan. You said once that I will defeat you one day…that day is today."
He hurled orange lightning at her and she met his power with equal force, their arcing pillars of energy crashing together in the middle. The air was electrified and the smell of ozone permeated the space between them during the battle of wills. Perspiration dripped down Revan's face and stained her white robes as her Force powers neared exhaustion. However, Malak had been renewed by draining Master Deesra and he unleashed the full fury of his might, unconcerned by fatigue.
Unable to sustain the surge of lightning any longer, Revan withdrew her hand and somersaulted out of the way as arcs of power struck the deck where she had been standing, blackening the floor.
Revan landed meters away and Malak launched a wall of energy at her. The translucent wave rushed at her and she tried to raise a shield against it, but it struck her with a crushing noise, knocking her on her back.
The desperate young woman rolled away before the Dark Lord's new onslaught. The ruby lightsaber slashed the ground, trying to find Revan, throwing up sprinkles of light and molten metal.
With a shout, Revan kicked Malak's legs out from under him and he fell to the deck with a crash. The lithe Jedi launched herself atop him, cutting down with one weapon, but he seized her wrist, stopping the blow. She straddled him, smashing his nose with her free hand and Malak cried out.
Revan cocked her fist back again, but Malak flung her into the air with the Force. With the reflexes of an athlete, she landed softly on her feet, but shook her head to clear it. Malak stood, a gleam in his eyes.
"Revan, it has been a long time since we had touched each other. Do you not miss it?"
With a frustrated grunt, the woman rushed at him, thrusting her blades out at her tormentor. All sense of form or style had left her and she used only pure rage in her assault. Malak swept her attack away with a wide circular parry and raked his weapon diagonally across her chest.
With an agonized scream, Revan staggered past him, parrying his next blow with weakened arms. Though her robes had taken the brunt of attack, she looked down to see the garment seared open and her flesh red and angry beneath.
"Don't be surprised, Revan," he said mockingly. "My minions searched far and wide for the most powerful cells and crystals to add to my lightsaber."
Revan's eyes widened in fear and then, Malak's real attack came.
With a leg mangled from the violence of the battle, HK crawled across the floor, arm over arm, toward the place where the little girl was hiding. The droid's eyes began scanning various spectra of the light frequency and a hot, orange and yellow glow appeared under a table next to a tall, fluid filled cylinder.
HK padded along, his arms, clanking on the metal floor and he inched his way closer to Sasha.
"Statement: This is a most inconvenient manner of travel. Salutation: Greetings miniscule meatbag, I am HK-Forty-Seven, your protector for the day."
Sasha quivered in terror at the approach of the battered rust-colored droid, but there was nowhere else to run. She hunkered down as the machine crawled at her.
As HK arrived at the table, he spun his head around to look at the cylinder. Contained within was the twitching form of an elderly man with graying black hair. The man made eye contact with the droid and tried to mouth words to no avail.
Unable to understand the Jedi, HK turned back to Sasha. "Advisory: I will not harm you. The Master has decreed that I keep you safe."
"You mean momma sent you?" she asked, looking around in terror amid the hissing and crackling sounds of lightsaber combat.
"Affirmation: That is correct. The Mast- ummm, your mother will not let you be harmed. Query: Do you have any information on the status of the other droid, Tee-Three-M-Four? Is he still functioning?" His concern for the little bucket of bolts was bothersome, but he couldn't seem to shake it.
The blonde girl nodded enthusiastically. "Yes, he and uncle Jordo are fine. That man only came for me. He said I could be used to hurt momma."
"Announcement: I am relieved to hear the little droid is unharmed," he said, bringing his torso upright to guard the girl and face any attackers. Sasha immediately wrapped her arms around him from the back, eyes wide, looking for any threats.
"Peculiar: I receive warm and positive input when you put your squishy, pink flesh on me. I am puzzled."
In the time that Sasha had been with Revan, her mind had expanded far beyond what would have been possible under normal circumstance and her Force fueled intellect began to show itself. "HK, didn't you know that momma input new programming into you to make you more human?"
HK spun his head to the rear in surprise. "Horrified: Oh, the agony! Why didn't she just memory wipe me? What's an assassin droid to do?"
Coruscant – The Office of the Supreme Chancellor – Day Three – 0551 Z
Supreme Chancellor Dakar sat at the grand table in his magnificent office. Black lamps illuminated the imposing chamber and the majestic gold statues that flanked the table. Next to the Supreme Chancellor sat General Phaleron in his dignified uniform along with military and civic leaders of the planet. Dakar sighed – he was not ready for this and would soon be in over his head.
Phaleron leaned close to Orrin and whispered into his ear, "Chancellor Dakar, I know I don't have to tell you this, but you must project confidence. The people must know someone is unquestioningly in charge and will protect them."
The Chancellor nodded, stood, and bowed to the gathered crowd. The general was correct as always. He took the deepest of breaths and forced the cold, prickly feeling from his gut. "Generals, senators, and councilmen and women, I thank you all for coming at my request. As you know, General Phaleron has, with the power vested in him as Commander, Republic Military Forces under martial law, appointed me interim Supreme Chancellor for the Republic. Until such time as the Senate can convene and vote in a permanent Chancellor, I ask for your support and obedience in this time of crisis." There, he had said it without quivering in utter terror.
"And when the crisis has passed?" asked a gray-haired senator.
"Then I shall once again be a humble servant of the Republic."
The gathered sentients nodded and murmured and an Aqualish stood and thumped his chest. "Supreme Chancellor Dakar, what are your orders?"
United as one, the new leadership of the Republic applauded quietly until Orrin raised his hands, palms out. He let out a huge sigh of relief. There would be some hope after all. He could feel his confidence returning and a new sense of purpose arise.
"My friends, we must make haste to prepare the capitol for the Sith attack. General Phaleron has outlined a plan."
The burly general stood and lowered a viewscreen upon which the defense of the planet was revealed. The military officers nodded in approval and they broke up the gathering to execute their orders.
When the leaders had departed, the Supreme Chancellor withdrew to gaze again upon the frozen form of his daughter. He choked, a lump growing in his throat and he shook his head. "I cannot do this to you any longer, Aerin. I don't care about the Jedi Masters' plan…Revan already knows the truth. There is no longer any purpose for this charade."
With hesitant hands, he pressed the controls on the carbonite block and it slowly began to shimmer. In seconds, light penetrated around the form of his daughter and her body appeared underneath. As she fell out of the solid block, he took her in his arms and swept her damp hair from her eyes.
"Aerin…Aerin, can you hear me?"
Slowly, the young woman's eyes fluttered open and she raised her hand to shield them from the light.
"Father? Is it you?"
The Supreme Chancellor laughed for joy and he embraced his lost daughter tightly. "I…I thought I had lost you forever." How did he ever agree to this scheme in the first place?
Then, General Phaleron entered abruptly, a frown on his face. Orrin looked up at him and worry snuck into his heart. "General, what is it?" What else could go wrong?
Suddenly, Phaleron's expression changed into a big smile. "Chancellor Dakar…the Sith fleet…it has turned away from Coruscant."
Supreme Chancellor Dakar blinked, unable to believe the news. How was this possible? The Sith had victory within their easy grasp. He sighed heavily, tears in his eyes and hugged his daughter tightly. "Thank the Force. Now, it is all up to Admiral Dodonna and Master Vandar."
The General nodded, turning serious. "And Revan…."
The Star Forge – Day Three – 0559 Z
Revan spun to face Malak, hot pain running from one shoulder to her opposite hip. She had to force the rage down and get control or she would lose this fight. She quickly returned to a defensive Shien stance, lightsaber points toward her opponent to intercept any attack.
The Dark Lord funneled power again and the young Jedi's mind was overcome with terror. Her face twisted in fear as Malak charged at her. Red swirls of energy wrapped around his form and he seemed to grow in stature as a Force Fury grew inside of him. With a fierce war cry, he charged at his former master, flourishing his crimson blade and a rain of blows cascaded down upon Revan and she retreated before his onslaught.
Revan raised her weapons in a high cross, blocking a powerful cut. The two combatants stood, locked in eye contact until Malak pressed her blades down with the awesome strength of the Force that he wielded, having infused himself with the life of a Jedi Master.
Her arms straining, Revan beat Malak's blade upward and raked him across the chest with both of her lightsabers, slicing his armor and his body.
The Dark Lord's face registered pain, but he held his ground and flung metal deck plates at Revan with the Force, one piece glancing off of her temple, ripping her skin apart. The raven-haired Jedi was knocked, head over heels, to the ground, her head ringing.
Through blurry vision, she fought to raise her head and looked up to see Malak swathed in blue light, drinking in the life force of another Jedi Master.
Revan arched her back and propelled herself back on her feet. Rubbing the side of her head, she let a smidgen of energy flow through her to ease the pain and stop the bleeding. When her vision cleared, she saw the Jedi Master, shrunken and blackened, and her hope and her resolve began to waver.
Join us, Revan. We are waiting for you, millions of voices called soothingly.
Another horror crept into Revan's soul as she realized that the voices belonged to every sentient that she had sent to become one with the Force.
"Silence!" she screamed as Malak advanced on her and she suddenly realized that she was under attack again. Revan brought her lightsabers up to intercept the Sith Lord's two handed stroke and their weapons sizzled and popped in contact.
Instinctively, Revan shifted her weight to throw Malak off balance, but the Dark Lord countered and seized her by the collar. Using his weight advantage, Malak spun, letting the centrifugal force accelerate Revan into a cylinder.
The young woman slammed into the clear barrier, cracking its surface and she collapsed to the deck, blood streaming from her nostrils and mouth. Coughing and sputtering, Revan crawled away, but Malak's boot found her belly, flipping her completely over.
"If it's any comfort, Bastila was broken much more easily than you, Revan," Malak said with mock sincerity as he knelt down and grasped a fistful of her ebony locks. He pulled her face up to his, looking into her vacant, defeated eyes.
"Those gray eyes…those beautiful gray eyes always played the strings of my heart."
He patted her on a bruised cheek, trying to bring her around. Her eyes focused slowly, ever so slowly on an area behind Malak. The Dark Lord turned curiously around to see the cylinder, containing a live Jedi Master. Suddenly, a sense of horror struck the Sith Master as a cobalt blue lightsaber flung itself, blade first through the clear container and into the heart of the floating Jedi.
Malak cried out in pain and reeled back; the connection that he had with his victims went both ways. He fought to recover and slashed the deck in front of him with his weapon, but Revan was gone.
Malak stood, bellowing, "I'll tear those eyes of yours out with my bare hands, Revan!" His own eyes searched in vain for the battered young woman, but all he could see was the broken cylinder, leaking fluid, the slain Jedi Master, and the empty hole where a lightsaber had been.
Then, in the far corner, he heard another cylinder shattering and Malak turned to see Revan thrusting her weapons into another Master. The Dark Lord cried out again and seemed to stoop with the loss of the Force that he was feeling. With a shout of rage, he leapt into the air and landed next to his foe and the melee began again.
Tears streaming down her bruised face, Revan retreated again before the fury of the Dark Lord, who unleashed a flurry of cuts and thrust, his scarlet blade creating lethal arcs of light. In near panic, Revan turned her backside to Malak and ran, parrying desperately behind her.
He chased her like a beaten dog until they arrived at the cylinder containing Master Dorak. The dark-skinned Master's bright eyes reflected his terror and pain as the two neared. Revan dodged under a cut and then parried another. She then spun, smashing Malak's face with a reverse kick.
The Sith Lord stepped back, stunned momentarily, and Revan turned to face Dorak. Sobbing now, she whispered, "Forgive me," and she unleashed the flood gates of the Jedi Master's life force, letting it flow into her.
A warming blue light engulfed the battered Jedi and energy surged into every fiber of her being as Dorak shook violently, his cells being robbed of life. Revan screamed in horror at the hideousness of her own act, but the voices sounded again.
Revan, you know you must come to us.
Master Dorak's pitiful twitching ceased and he floated, motionless in the cylinder, nothing more than a skeletal husk.
With a howl and new power, Revan spun Malak into the air and slammed him into the ground. On his belly, Malak reached out his hand and lightning surged into Revan. Smoke coiled up from her robes as she sagged to her knees, her limbs twitching. With a grunt, she stood in time to see the Dark Lord drain Master Bolook, leaving a hideous, shriveled figure behind.
By this time, Revan was nearly overcome with madness and somersaulted at Malak, slashing by in mid air. The fury took her again and she switched to Juyo, initiating spinning cuts from all angles, her blue blades flashing and hissing. This time it was Malak, who was forced to back away, but his movements were careful and controlled.
Something ate at the young Jedi as she pushed forward, but rage drove her on, her cuts coming fast and furious at the Dark Lord. It seemed as if Malak's confidence was growing as he retreated, step by step, until Revan made a bold move.
Lunging forward, she stepped on his foot, to prevent further retreat and with a grunt, she began the closest of fights with the most fearsome of foes. Body to body, their lightsabers glowed and cut, their bodies dodging and weaving at knife fighting range. Malak attempted to step back to avoid a cut, but Revan held her foot firmly and her blade laced into his thigh, tearing the armor and flesh away.
Malak howled, his left leg wobbling, but a wave of his hand brought a ventilation shaft swinging down into Revan's back. The impact of the blow propelled her forward…onto the waiting point of Malak's blade.
Revan looked down as the crimson shaft of energy penetrated her and she could smell her own burning flesh. She felt her life and power begin to flow from her shattered form.
"Revan…brtzz…-ou have learned much as well. I never would have thought it would go this far."
The young woman was unable to move, pain coursing through her every cell. Her eyes began to roll back in the throes of death, but the voices called again.
The Force is with you, Revan…embrace it.
Malak sighed. "And now, my lover, it is time to end this," he said sadly and lifted Revan off of the ground on the point of his lightsaber and hurled her into the air.
As she sailed across the room, Revan brought forth the last of her energy and she changed directions to land before the cylinder with Master Zhar. The young Jedi slapped bloody palms on the clear cylinder, looking up into Zhar's eyes.
"I'm done…I'm beaten," she cried, choking on her own blood with her vision dimming.
Through the glass, Revan could see Zhar mouthing words. Revan blinked, trying to understand. "Do it…do it," Zhar was saying, over and over.
Clear images of Zhar training Aerin on Dantooine flooded into her mind and she remembered the kindness that he had shown her. Revan cried out in horror, but knew what she must do. She connected with the doomed Twi'lek and uncorked the bottle of his soul. Revan drank thirstily of the Master's life force and blue light bathed her form, healing damage and infusing her with the Force.
As her limbs were renewed in energy, she turned back to see the desiccated corpse of her former teacher. Now, Revan was beyond madness.
Half screaming, half crying, she searched for Malak, who was advancing on Master Vrook – and the table that hid HK and Sasha. The Dark Lord limped ahead, his lightsaber rocking back and forth oddly with each injured step.
From 30 meters, Revan leapt at him, tackling him from the side and the two Jedi slammed into the ground. Revan seized Malak's head with both hands and rammed it back into the deck, splitting skin and bone. The Sith howled, but spun his arm around Revan's neck and pressed her carotid artery.
The young woman struggled while blood pooled in her neck, unable to find her brain. Her breath and her strength faded. Trying one last, desperate measure, she called, "HK!" and used her weight and momentum to roll Malak on top of her.
The Dark Lord seemed pleased by the reversal, which gave him added advantage and he pressed his forearm into her windpipe, but then, two pistol bolts slammed into his left arm, blowing gaping holes in the muscle.
Malak's arm fell limp and Revan smashed her foot into his head, knocking him off of her. The Dark Lord willed his lightsaber back to his hand and he cut her thigh open through her sooty, white robes. As the young Jedi collapsed to one knee, Malak stepped toward Master Vrook's cylinder to consume the last of the Jedi Masters.
Gritting her teeth, Revan sliced her enemy down the back, shearing off flesh and bits of red armor. She saw the opening…had the advantage and charged at him. Malak fell forward, but turned and raised the point of his lightsaber in time to skewer Revan as she leapt on him. The crimson blade punched out her back, sizzling through her body and she howled in agony.
It is time, Revan. Come to your brothers and sisters. Let go of your anger…let go of your hatred and forever be at peace.
Despite the lethal red spike through her chest, Revan kept her focus and clubbed Malak across the face with the cylinder of her lightsaber, knocking part of his metal jaw away. Sparks burst from the damaged jaw, revealing wires and raw flesh.
The Dark Lord winced and Revan pushed herself off of the red blade and looked down at the blackened hole in her body.
I should be dead.
Somehow, beyond reason, she felt no pain…only peace.
I am coming. I am almost ready.
Malak's eyes widened in surprise as the mortally wounded woman launched herself at him. He lunged at Master Vrook's cylinder, but Revan seized him by the back of the collar and spun him away. He staggered on his injured leg and turned to face her as she stood between he and her first teacher.
"Frotz…brtzz…you should be dead!" he shouted through his damaged voice synthesizer.
Alive through the power of the Force alone, the Jedi nodded. "Yes, I should be."
"No one since Darth Plagueis has had that power," the Dark Lord answered. His chest heaving from exhaustion, he knew he had only one chance left. Like a bull, he ran at Revan and launched a flurry of cuts with inhuman speed and precision.
Revan deliberately parried each one away, backing up until the final moment. Darth Malak struck obliquely, his ruby lightsaber snarling and the young Jedi picked up the cut in a tight circle. They began a seesaw battle, their blades pushing forward and back, never leaving contact.
As the Dark Lord pressed his weapon forward, Revan slid the hilt of her blade to the left and Malak compensated in the opposite direction. Then, the Jedi disengaged, her lightsaber finding open space and Malak's eyes froze upon the blazing cerulean point. In the blink of an eye, Revan thrust the lightsaber deep into the Dark Lord of the Sith's chest, the blue spike shooting out his back.
A gurgling sound emanated from his throat and he tried to reach out toward Master Vrook's prison. Seeing this, Revan twisted the blade and slashed it out the side of Malak's chest. With a weak cry, the Sith collapsed to the deck.
"Im…Impossible. I had…frotz…the ultimate power of this station at my command," he said, rolling on the floor, holding the fatal wound.
"This station, as powerful as it is, was no match for the will of the Force, Malak," she replied serenely.
Coughing painfully, he nodded his head. "Now…at the end of things, I see that you are right. Revan, why did you lead me down…down this path? What if our destinies were reversed and the Jedi had taken me instead?"
Revan closed her eyes and knelt down beside the dying Sith and took his hand. In her mind she saw only a strapping, blond young man, smiling with eyes full of love. "Eviran," she said, using his old name, "you chose to remain on this path, but now, all is forgiven. Let us embrace the Force together." She squeezed his hand with genuine affection, knowing that they had both found redemption at long last.
Spasms wracked Malak's body and his eyes began to roll up. "I feared the darkness," he said, twitching and growing weaker by the second. "But, I am thankful to have you here at the end." Then, all was quiet and he was finally at peace.
As Malak rejoined the Force, Revan held his head to her bosom for a few moments, rocking back and forth until the Star Forge shook. She looked out of the grand window to see the Leviathan burning and the Republic fleet closing in for the kill, unleashing their weapons on the Star Forge. It was all nearing the end.
Coming back to reality, Revan rushed to the table and found HK unmoving, his eyes dark. She used the last once of her power to infuse him with energy and his gears whirred back to life.
"Query: What has happened, Master? I last recall shooting the meatbag in the arm."
"HK, there is no time. Take Sasha and Master Vrook and go. Always protect her…she and Carth are now your masters," she declared while she worked the controls to Vrook's cylinder, draining it of fluid to free him.
The droid struggled to his feet. "Objection: What about you, Master? I'm not overly fond of Captain Meatbag."
Revan picked Sasha up in her arms. "HK, just obey my order." She then looked deeply into the blonde child's eyes. "Sasha, momma won't be with you any longer, but just know that I love you." No one could describe the agony in her heart at not being there to see her daughter grow up. Revan knew that this was the price to be paid for her sins. An idea came to her and just maybe…. "Sasha…find the real Aerin Dakar. She will take care of you," she said as she pulled out her holocron. "And give her this." Suddenly, she felt weak and dizzy and her body felt like lead.
With that, the young Jedi sagged to her knees and then lay back as Sasha stared at her, unbelieving, trying to pull her up. With fading strength, Revan caressed the girl's face and a smile graced her dying lips.
His new program giving him feeling, HK looked down in horror, but carried out his orders, freeing Master Vrook and taking them away. He opened the blast doors as the Star Forge rocked, debris falling from the ceiling. Carth and Bastila stood there, relieved to see the dazed Master and the droid with the girl.
"Thank the Force-" Carth began until he saw Revan crumpled on her back. Despite Bastila's protests, he rushed over through falling bits of metal, leaving HK to hold up Vrook.
"Aerin!" he cried, shaking her, mist forming in his eyes. He saw the violence that had been done to her body and he yelled, "No, not again!"
Revan opened her eyes one last time and smiled. There was nothing that could be done. He would understand. "Don't grieve, my sweet captain. We are victorious. Go and live and know that I love you and will await you in the Force and we will be together again." All sense of fight left her and she could now see the millions that she had sent to their dooms, but they were now smiling and welcoming her as a sister. She looked up thought her fading vision and imagined Carth gazing lovingly down at her. This was what she wanted to leave this world with. "Good bye, my love."
With those parting words, Revan became one with the Force, her sins finally forgiven and washed away.
Carth clung to her until Bastila pulled him away. "Captain, we have to go!" she shouted and pushed him away from Revan's corpse. He snarled, but saw the Jedi's sense of urgency. He wanted to die with her. He could not bear to live, having lost the two women that he had loved. He tried to go back to Revan, but Bastila pulled him along, using the Force to overpower him. As they ran, he looked back to see Revan's body diminish with distance. When he could see her no more, he let out a long, pitiful wail.
In shock, he ran along with the others back to the Hawk and flung himself on the deck. Mission knelt beside Zaalbar, who was wrapped in bandages and life support packs, but alive. Jolee's body lay next to him, his arms folded over his chest. Nearby, Canderous and Juhani lay on stretchers, nursing wounds while HK sat down to have his leg repaired by T3.
Bastila ran forward as debris rained down upon the ship with the imminent destruction of the Star Forge. She quickly powered the ion engines and flung the Hawk into space.
As the tough old vessel cleared the fiery landing bay, Bastila accelerated to full speed, chased by gouts of plasma and burning metal that bounced off of the Hawk's shields. With a huge sigh of relief, the auburn-haired Jedi contacted the Republic fleet. She nodded several times before returning aft.
Carth looked up at her, blinking, but not seeing. He was numb. There was no feeling left in his soul. Though the Republic had won, he had lost for all time. He vaguely saw someone in front of him. Bastila licked her dry lips and sat beside him. Uncharacteristically, the Jedi embraced the captain.
"Carth, we have won. Malak is dead and the Sith are in full retreat. Even their reinforcements and Coruscant invasion force is on the run. Master Vandar awaits us."
Captain Onasi returned the hug, fighting his raw emotions. "Why…why Bastila, why?"
This time, Sasha touched Carth's arm. He looked at her and his heart froze; the girl's hair was now raven black as the darkest night and her eyes were gray as a stormy sky.
"Carth," she said in very adult-like fashion, holding out the holocron. "Do not grieve…she gave her life for the greater good and we have not seen the last of her."