Merry Christmas! Arigato gozaimashita. Yonde kudasai to otanoshimi nasaimase (please read and enjoy). We have a little action, a little love, a little nostalgia at the end of things.
Other malarkey - I spent a week in paradise, lounging in a private cabana on the beach. Pics on my site. Defeated my Padawan in a pistol contest on the dueling tree, 3-2. My old Glock 22, .40 cal came through again. The last Kendo shiai of the year is on the 27th and I think I'll do ok. Sensei tore the sleeve off of my gi with a thrust that I barely parried. It was an epic duel. I defeated a San Dan kendoist 4-2.
At the End of Things – Part II
Telos – Citadel Station – Habitation Module
In the blinking overhead lights of the Habitation Module, a vicious firefight was being waged. Lieutenant Dol Grenn, Dustil Onasi, and the Telos Security Force had held off a Sith invasion fleet for hours thanks to a warning from Intelligence Officer, Lieutenant Commander Niki Helos. Staccato blasts and desperate calls for help filled the dimly lit room as Sith troopers poured in through breaches in the barricades and walls. Seeing the glossy armor of the enemy, Dustil emptied his power magazine, firing almost indiscriminately as he ran from cover to cover. Sparks and explosions rang around him, preventing him from taking proper aim. All he could do was try to stay alive and keep fighting.
The weight of numbers was against the stalwart defenders and they were driven back, module by module, street by street, and room by bloody room, to this last stand. Dustil saw Dol rush past him and a soldier fell nearby, screaming. He leapt over another man who was holding in his guts. He tried to reach down to help, but enemy fire rained down on them and he was forced to roll away. The wounded soldier reached out desperately, mouthing the word 'help', but Dustil couldn't go back. He howled in frustration as more explosions cascaded upon them. He could hear scuttling feet approaching and knew the enemy was closing relentlessly. He had to fall back.
On one of the last barricades, Dustil crashed down, trying to take cover and caught a glimpse of Dol laying down a carpet of blaster fire. Young Onasi took a breath and hurled a grenade back. The low crump of the detonation brought screams to his ears and he saw Sith troopers fly away from the blast. He rolled to the back of the barricade and landed hard, knocking the wind out of him. Things couldn't get any worse.
But he was wrong - a Dark Jedi somersaulted into the room and landed on the barricade, standing like a viper, ready to strike at Dol and Dustil. The Sith was clad in gray with his face shrouded by a mask. His red lightsaber cast a hellish glow.
"Darth Nihilus will crash this worthless station into your wasteland planet. Prepare for your doom."
The lieutenant couched his rifle and a burst of bolts streamed from the muzzle only to be swatted away like insects. More of the enemy were closing and Dustil had to choose his targets. He ducked behind cover and then popped back up to fire point blank into charging troopers. His muzzle flashed and men screamed and fell. With a feral shout, he emptied the magazine into them until the weapon would fire no more. As the last of them fell, he saw the Dark Jedi step over Dol and cock his weapon back. Onasi didn't want it to come to this. He was told not to reveal himself, but there was no choice now. He reached inside his coat and took hold of the secret object.
The Sith sliced down at Dol, intending to split the man's head in two, but a golden lightsaber met his attack, stopping it short. Dustil's hands held the other end of the weapon and he disengaged sharply to create an opening and then slashed the Dark Jedi across the belly. The Sith stopped in his tracks, his face forming a horrified expression of shock and pain. The enemy toppled backward, crashing down to the base of the barricade. Unexpectedly, all was quiet. As the smoke cleared, Dol looked Dustil up and down, equally surprised.
"I didn't know you were a Jedi."
Young Onasi shrugged, feeling a bit uncomfortable and guilty for having revealed his secret. "I've been studying under…under a friend of my dad's," he said evasively, unpowering his sun-colored blade. He was glad that he had saved Dol's life, but would his teacher be upset? Well, perhaps not. His teacher always seemed understanding and told him that life was important. He started to feel better.
Dustil pointed down the hall where the Sith continued their attacks. Perhaps the tide was turning. "Well, shall we?" he said to Dol. This was young Onasi's first real encounter with his lightsaber and he had not only survived, but done well. A little bit of confidence seeped into his limbs and his hands stopped shaking. He thought briefly about how he was shown to focus the lens and set the crystal of his weapon and how he had first crossed blades with his mentor. The Shii-Cho style was all that he knew, but the basics were always strong, his mentor said. In any case, it would have to do. There was still much fighting to be done before this day was over. His looked down at the silver cylinder in his hand and felt a certain pride in his heart as he ran ahead with Dol at his side.
From the grand area where dreams were made and broken on Telos, Bib, Rilia, and Lyn watched monitors depicting the unfolding last stand. The arena was devoid of all other life as everyone else…everyone with any good sense had fled. Bib "Bubble B" Surool stood glumly, his green headtails hanging limp as Republic forces retreated. Dressed in a revealing dancer's costume with high boots, Rilia grit her teeth, feeling helpless to do anything about the Sith onslaught. How could she stand by and watch as her dreams died? She paced, barely able to contain herself. "We've got to do something," she said.
Her dancing partner, Lyn, sighed, pressing her hand onto her elegant blaster pistol. "We've got to make a stand. Maybe we can cause a diversion?"
Bib shook his head. "You'd just get yourselves killed. I can lose you two. You're all I have. Ever since we got together on Taris…."
Rilia knew how he felt. They'd been like a family for many months since coming to Telos. Together, they had done so much good – Bib had lured many a slaver in the hopes that they might acquire the pair of dancers only to fall prey to them. Bib was like an older brother to the dancers and she could see the worry in his eyes. But, she couldn't just let the station be destroyed.
Then, one viewscreen caught their attention; it showed the old smuggling vessel, Ebon Hawk, slashing through enemy starfighters to land roughly in the docking bay. Her gut tightened with adrenaline. Could this be the catalyst that they needed to turn the tide? For a moment, Rilia quieted her mind and felt the presence of those aboard the approaching ship. They were allies and were risking their lives to save them. She knew that the time had come to act.
Rilia threw a hooded robe over her dancing costume. "Bib, Lyn, stay here and hide. I'll be back." She gave them a look that silenced all protests. With that, she rushed to the changing room and gathered some belongings. Then, she sprinted out of the hall.
The dancer ran past screaming refugees toward the docking bay, slowing only to get around the fleeing populace. As she rushed down a narrow corridor, a small astromech droid wheeled around a corner. Rilia looked down and a warm, nostalgic feeling filled her heart.
"Bereet, bweet!" squealed the droid, eliciting a smile from the dancer.
"Shhh Tee Three, it's a secret. I'm so very sorry I had to leave you, but it had to be done."
The woman knelt and pulled her hood back, revealing her raven hair. "It's good to see you too. Come, follow me…we must hurry," she said and guided T3 to a nearby terminal. The droid jammed his datajack into the port and twisted it.
The image of HK-47 appeared in the monitor. "Query: Why are you bothering me when I am preparing meatbag casserole?" HK's orange eyes then 'blinked' several times as he saw the dancer.
"Master…," he said in an almost awestruck whisper.
"Yes HK, I'm glad to see you too," she said. A forgotten sense of command reasserted itself within her and her confident voice rang out, "Take Canderous…or should I say the Mandalore, and make haste to the Habitation Module. I want you to initiate a flank assault on my orders. And HK, do not mention that you saw me."
The assassin droid's eyes burned fiercely. "Acknowledged: It will be my pleasure," he said, his voice resonating cheerily.
As HK's image faded, Rilia looked down at T3 warmly. It felt just like old times. "Remember, my friend, this is our secret."
Gathering the Force within herself, she tore down the hall toward the Habitation Module with T3 in tow. Soon, the sound of desperate fighting could be heard. Rilia took a knee and activated her commlink.
"Dustil," she said, hoping that he was still alive…hoping that she wasn't too late.
The image of the sooty young man appeared with a smile, a desperate smile, but a smile nonetheless.
"Rilia…I have to thank you. Your teaching saved me. We're pretty beat up though. The last Sith assault nearly broke through, but they let up for some reason and fell back. I think they're just gathering numbers for the final strike."
Dustil looked to the side and then nodded, stepping back to allow Dol Grenn to speak. Dol's face took on an exasperated look. "Rilia, what are you doing? Stay in your quarters - Admiral Onasi will be here soon."
"Dol, you're on an open channel. Go secure now," she replied, switching the commlink to secure to which the Lieutenant's expression changed. He was losing patience with her. There wasn't time to explain. "Just listen," she added forcefully. "Disperse your men behind cover, but prepare for a counterattack. You will have to consolidate your force quickly to punch through. Speed, violence of action, and flexibility are the keys."
Grenn now became angry with the stress of the conflict. "Look Miss Starsprite, this is a war not a dance. Just because you're the Admiral's girlfriend, doesn't -"
Other measures were needed now. They were out of time. A surge of the Force reached out through the commlink and Dol gasped as it surrounded him, penetrating his mind. He blinked heavily and stuttered for a moment before speaking, "Yes, it shall be done."
Rilia felt terrible, but there was no other way. I'm going to blow my cover, she thought, worried about how it would begin to attract unwanted attention. The Sith would surely feel the vibrations in the Force. However, none of that would matter if Citadel Station crashed into the planet. "Very good Dol, I'm going to create a diversion. Be ready to attack on my signal," she informed him and shut down the link.
The lithe Jedi padded along on soft boots up to a Sith command post. She tried to think of a better plan, but this was all she could come up with. It had better work. She peeked in and saw officers standing, monitoring their advance and coordinating the final push while men ran commlinks between units. Three Dark Jedi were also assembled to view the impending slaughter. It was now or never.
A Sith sentry observed her approach. He pushed his chest out and held his rifle tightly. "You…dancer woman, you shouldn't be here; it's a war zone. Are you a fool?"
Rilia bit her lip at the label, but continued to smile. She walked up to him using her slinkiest glide and gave him a wink. "I'm not stupid. I know who's going to win this war and I want to be with the victors."
An officer turned and noticed her. He looked her up and down for a second before motioning her forward. "Wait sergeant, let her in. We could use some entertainment for the victory party," he said, walking up to Rilia to get a better look.
She gave him her best demure expression and thrust her hip out to accentuate her figure. "I'll bet you could." The officer leaned forward with a leering grin. Apparently, he thought that the victory party was already starting. After all, Republic resistance was at an end, right? He reached out with a finger to touch her ebony hair. Then, a cobalt shaft of light shot through the officer's heart. The man was dead before he hit the floor and Rilia sidestepped to lop the head off of the sentry. She tapped her commlink. "Dol, HK, green light!"
The Sith in the CP turned in shock and surprise and all eyes widened in unison as Rilia flooded the room with a Force Wave, hurling the enemy in all directions. Armored men crashed over tables and chairs, smashing sensitive electronics, throwing sparks into the air. Lights dimmed amid groans and cries while the Jedi charged in, creating blue arcs of energy with her weapon. A head flew here and an arm, there. She skewered a trooper trying to bring his rifle to bear against her. The three Dark Jedi shook off the affects of the Force Wave and fell back to regroup, stumbling over debris while radio chatter filtered through the air.
"CP, this is Four-Seven, Republic forces are flanking us on the barricades! Enemy HK droid and Mandalorians coming from behind. CP? CP? Respond…they're all over us! CP? We need reinforcements now! C -"
Unfortunately, the CP had its own problems.
The room rapidly filled with the acrid stench of burning electronics and seared flesh along with the snarl and pop of lightsabers. Rilia saw a man reaching for a commlink. He had to be stopped before he could call for help. She rushed at him and swung her weapon, but he half dodged, half stumbled out of the way. The radio operator tumbled over a holographic projector, smashing it to pieces, while a Sith guard drew his vibrosword. Rilia beat his blade away and flicked her sizzling blue rod across his face, shattering both mask and helmet. With a flick of her wrist, she flung his body into another man, sending them sprawling. Amid blaster fire, she swatted two bolts away and inhaled deeply. Expelling the air from her lungs she unleashed a wall of energy, throwing troopers about like rag dolls. Following her into the frenzy was T3, unleashing blaster shots and stun bolts into the enemy. It was complete chaos now.
"Go on, Tee Three! Join up with HK and finish them off!" she yelled at the little droid and he motored off.
As sparks blossomed around her, Rilia pressed to the door, where the three Dark Jedi turned to fight. They wore the dark gray coveralls of Sith Force adepts and their faces were hidden behind black masks to intimidate the weak…but Rilia was not one of the weak. A long time ago, she had worn a mask herself, but the one she wore had been far more frightening.
"What kind of dancer wields a lightsaber?" asked one Sith, glancing quickly at the others. His red lightsaber hummed in front of him and he leaned back into a defensive Soresu stance as he studied her.
Another Sith narrowed his eyes and made a snorting sound. He crept laterally, menacing her with the tip of his weapon. "We cannot let one lucky fool stop the designs of Darth Nihilus."
The third took an aggressive stance, one from Ataru with his lightsaber held in a reverse grip. "She is strong in the Force. Her head will make a great prize."
Taking flanking positions, they advanced a step before Rilia swung her right foot back crisply, flourishing her weapon before extending her hands sharply upward. She exhaled, letting the Force surge into her lungs, her limbs…her heart. A fury was taking hold. The three Dark Jedi's eyes widened over their face masks. Perhaps this was more than they bargained for. "She is using Juyo," one said, trying to remain confident.
Rilia stepped cautiously forward, sliding her feet across the metal floor, the shuffling of her soft boots whispering her warlike intent. Then, with a grunt, the three extended their palms as one and white lightning burst from them. The Jedi angled her blade across her face, devouring the deadly energy and the Sith took a step back. One hurled a terminal at her, but a wave of her hand sent it into the ceiling with a crash. She pointed to the floor and the metal tiles buckled at their feet, rupturing upward like a tidal wave and they barely scrambled out of the way as shards of durasteel splintered in all directions.
They maneuvered again, rushing back to surround her. She remembered an old lesson in which her master had told her that one opponent was the same as many. For a moment, she remembered poor Master Vrook, recently slain by that demented crone, Kreia. Even after her redemption he remained cold and distant. It would be a regret that would last a lifetime for her. Rilia refocused and advanced, foot crossing over foot, controlling the distance and tempo of the fight. In line with the Juyo Style, she would change stances to continually disrupt her opponent's timing, diffusing their attacks and pushing them slowly back.
Finally, the Sith decided to retreat no more. Their breathing changed. Their bodies tensed. They quickly shifted positions and came at her as one mind.
A red blade chopped laterally, while two others came from different angles. Rilia twirled her body at impossible angles and speeds with blue streaks slicing the air. She landed squarely to face her three opponents and all was silent except for the hum of Jedi weapons.
Two of the Dark Jedi blinked and their lightsabers fell from their grasp. They choked and staggered, followed by their precipitous crash to the deck. With one final gasp, the two joined the Force. The last Dark Jedi's weapon shut off and the emitter clattered to the ground. She had cloven the weapon in two.
Rilia advanced again.
Her remaining enemy drew an alien weapon; a sparkling, sickle-like blade attached to a duranium chain. This time, it was Rilia who blinked.
"Interesting weapon you have there," she commented as she slid her feet laterally, circling for an opening. She had never seen this weapon before and it made her nervous. What were its capabilities? What was its reach? How could she defend against it?
The Sith spun the sizzling sickle in a figure eight, picking up Force-powered momentum. "I would like to acquaint you with it further if you'd permit me."
He accelerated the downstroke and the blade tore past a dodging Rilia and sliced through a chair with a sizzle. The Jedi cut at the chain, but the Sith was too quick and the sickle came around again to rip down Rilia's left arm.
She cried out as smoke and blood spattered her robes, but there was no time for pain. The Sith's weapon shrieked by, forcing the Jedi backward and then to jump over another sweeping attack at her feet. Rilia cut at the swirling sickle again to no avail and the Dark Jedi laughed. Sweat trickled down her face and she knew she was losing. The alien weapon was too much for her to handle.
"You had me worried for a bit," he said, keeping his weapon twirling in front of him.
The Jedi forced herself to relax and she lowered her weapon, leaving herself open to attack. She knew that her weapon skill was useless in the face of this strange style. She would have to change tactics…use a different approach. The Force flowed into her being and her every cell now tingled with power. Her eyes were sharp and her mind clear. The Dark Jedi accelerated the blade at her head and she flicked her wrist to alter its course with her mind. The path of the sickle changed only a hair's breath and it glided by her skull. Blending with her opponent, she sliced the weapon's handle apart in perfect synchronicity with the attack. The sickle blade clattered to the floor, but the enemy stepped in and seized Rilia by the neck. She had not anticipated that move.
He moved inside of her cutting arc and flung her over his hip, accelerating the Jedi into the floor. Instinctively, her weak hand slapped the ground to break her fall, but the impact was still bone jarring. Her head spun and every nerve in her body screamed.
The Dark Jedi was on her immediately and put a vibrodagger to her throat, letting its movement slice the surface of her skin. She was at his mercy. She was beaten.
Rilia lay there and let her body go limp. There was nothing more that could be done. Her power was spent. All she could do was whisper, "Goodbye, Carth." There was so much regret…so many unfulfilled dreams. The man smirked and drew his weapon back for the kill. She closed her eyes and waited.
"Die!" a voice rang out from behind followed by a blaster shot. Blood and gray matter spattered on her face. The Sith crumpled atop Rilia, smoke wafting from his head. As the Jedi struggle under the dead weight, a giant of a man, clad in gray armor with a thick helmet, entered. Rilia had seen this armor once before on a man she had slain many years ago – The Mandalore.
The helmet tilted down, looking at her. The arms crossed. The head shook slowly. "Hrmph, the great Admiral Revan…on her back with a stranger atop her. How disappointing," he said coldly. Then, noticing the dancer's outfit beneath her Jedi robes, he added, "How far she has fallen." The voice was full of dark venom, bitter like a bad cup of caffa.
The Jedi continued to struggle. She was exhausted. Her arms wobbled weakly like strands of licorice. "Canderous, get this guy off of me."
He stepped forward and knelt beside her, putting his gauntleted hand to his armored chin. With his other hand, he tugged at the strap of her skimpy sequined brassiere, which was showing through. "To think you left your power…your glory…me…for this…. All of the death and destruction you wrought…my homeworld obliterated so that you could now turn a cheap profit, gyrating your body before pathetic, gawking crowds. Why did I ever follow you?"
A smidgen of power had returned to her and she scrunched her face up and the dead Sith levitated into the air, causing Canderous to fall back on his behind. The Jedi sat up, the Force now swirling about her and she took The Mandalore's hand. He had to know. He deserved that now. All of the deception had to end…at least for him. The Force was flowing through her once again and an aura radiated from her body.
"Know that what I did was for the greater good," she said, her voice resonating with inhuman tones. Images surged into Canderous' mind.
Revan, dressed in her Jedi robes, sits with Carth, Jolee, Bastila, and Juhani in a conference room paneled in rich, earth tones.
"We have a plan," Juhani says hopefully. Her catlike eyes show Revan that this has been much discussed and thought through. Revan wants to hear what they have to say. There is so much at stake.
Jolee nods seriously as images of Darths Sion and Nihilus are projected from the holoemitter. "Revan, we know they're coming for you…and, by default, Carth and Sasha."
Knight Revan sighs deeply, wishing beyond hope for the endless conflict to vanish. The pebble that she had thrown into the lake all those years ago on Dantooine had rippled out to become a raging hurricane, feeding on the lives of millions. "What's your plan?" she asks, fatigue gripping her soul. She wants nothing more than to sleep.
"You leave Carth and Sasha," replies Bastila.
"Unacceptable." Revan grits her teeth and sweeps her hand downward across the table as if pushing the very idea away.
Old Bindo sits beside her, putting his hand on her shoulder, trying to give her reassurance. She doesn't feel reassured. He takes a breath and speaks, "Then you put your loved ones at risk. Hear us out."
The Knight nods without looking up and Jolee continues, "We have to make this scenario air tight for the Sith to believe it. You are to take Canderous, HK, and Tee Three and go to the edge of the Outer Rim. Your cover is that you are seeking the true ancient Sith to do battle with them. There, you must leave your friends with the story that you can only continue alone."
"Again, unsatisfactory. I will not abandon my friends."
"Please Revan, we've thought this through," says Bastila calmly, her words soothing like a cool shower. "I never liked Canderous or that crazed droid, but they did the Republic a great service and I know they are wasting away here on Telos…out of loyalty to you they will not leave. By doing this, you release them to fulfill their own destinies, which the Force has told us will once again serve the Republic."
Revan cannot not defy the logic of Bastila's words and she nods reluctantly. "I owe Canderous much. He deserves to be master of his own fate. I only wish I would not have to release him this way."
Juhani interjects, "For him, it has to be this way. Anything else would be for your own vanity."
"And Tee Three?"
Jolee smiles. "He'll be fine wherever he goes. He's a tough little droid."
Revan takes Carth's hand and looks to each of her friends. "And then what happens?"
Bastila looks to the other Jedi, seemingly unsure this time. "Then, you return here under the assumed identity of a dancer for Starlight Entertainment. We've contacted Bib Surool and Lyn and they are on board."
"What?" Revan stands sharply, aghast. Her immense pride is insulted. "I will not be lowered to become some two-credit trollop in a see-through skirt. I am a Jedi Knight and an admiral of the Republic Navy," she says forcefully, emphasizing her rank and title.
Master Bindo gently returns her to her seat. She feels the care and concern in his touch. "Do you want to be with Carth or do you want your pride. With a wee bit of synthiskin, no one will ever suspect you of being Revan and the danger to Carth and Sasha will pass."
The Knight shakes her hands, exasperated. "Gah!" She cannot compete with the old man's thinking.
"I'll take that as a yes," quips Jolee.
Carth leans back into his seat. A roguish smile begins to form on his lips as he puts his hands behind his head. "You know, you looked pretty good in that outfit back on Taris."
Revan points her finger at each of them. "You owe me…you all owe me," she says with a reluctant smile.
The vision passed and The Mandalore removed his helmet, revealing his weathered features. The old scar on his cheek crinkled under his gray hair. He looked away and his breathing was labored. It was clear that he was conflicted.
"I thought The Mandalore wasn't supposed to remove his helmet before lesser beings," Revan said cautiously, tapping once again into her vast knowledge of Mandalorian culture. "Canderous of the Clan Ordo, the iron fist of the Mandalorians, I make no excuse for what I did to you years ago. I did what I had to do and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. If you hate me for that, so be it," she voiced unapologetically, jutting her chin out.
Canderous thought for a moment, seeming to decipher his own inner turmoil; she knew he had to justify why he had been left behind by the mightiest Jedi and how he had grown to hate the memory of her…of how he had felt dishonored…discarded.
Then, she saw it in his eyes as he looked into her's. Deep inside his gut, he knew she had honored his dream of becoming The Mandalore. Without her…and without her releasing him, the dream would have passed and faded into nothing.
"You are not a lesser being," he answered, forcing himself to keep eye contact, feeling ashamed at his hate and shortsightedness. It was not the way of Mandalore.
Revan stood and extended her hand, which he took after a moment. "There is no dishonor here. There should be no regrets for these actions. It was war," she said, gently reminding him of the Battle of Althir and of fallen Jagi. She then held her lightsaber cylinder over her chest, silent emitter downward as prescribed by tradition.
Canderous gulped hard as he drew his vibrodagger and held it over his armored chest, point down, and they stood, warrior to warrior. No more needed to be said.
With a stern nod, The Mandalore turned to go. He strode toward the door, but looked back. "I will be leading the boarding party to the Ravager to destroy Nihilus. Care to come?" There was glint in his eyes now. Maybe it would be as it once was? "I have a few proton torpedoes we could toss around. It'll be like old times."
Revan smiled, but shook her head. "No, this is your destiny. My time has passed. Remember me with your victories."
"I won't tell anyone I saw you." A faraway look came over his face as he replaced the great helm on his head. He then marched out to strike fear once more into the hearts of the enemies of Mandalore.
She watched him walk away. "Death is life," she whispered, using the Mandalorian battle cry. She had learned it intimately during the many times she had crossed paths with Canderous when they were bitter enemies during the war. The Jedi closed her eyes and a silent tear coiled down her cheek. She didn't realize how hard it was to let go. The past had to remain the past. And besides, the Exile had her own destiny to fulfill and it would not do to have mighty Revan mucking it up. She reached down and touched T3 with deep affection. "Go with him Tee Three. Take care of her too."
"I know, my friend. I wish you could stay too, but your place is with her now. You have a great part yet to play in this drama." She knew he would give the greatest contribution to the peace of the galaxy and she would always remember him.
With that, the little droid rushed away. She knew it was the last time she would see him and it broke her heart.
Citadel Station – Admiral Onasi's Office – One Day Later
A sense of cautious elation swept Citadel Station - Darth Nihilus was slain by the Exile and the Ravager was destroyed. The rest of the Sith fleet was routed by the arrival of Grand Admiral Dodonna and Admiral Carth Onasi. Despite the damage done to the station, it was kept in orbit and the arrival of fuel from Vogga the Hutt eased matters greatly. Small parties had broken out all over the modules and people danced in the corridors. There was yet hope for the restoration project.
Carth Onasi sat at his luxurious desk, surrounded by trophies and military patches from across the galaxy. However, his prized possessions were two fishing poles that sat in the corner for him and his son, Dustil. He looked out of a window at the planet below, a once again green globe that shimmered against the dark background of space. It was just so beautiful and he realized just how close he had come to losing it all again…this time for good.
Standing at the door was the blue-skinned Twi'lek, Lieutenant Junior Grade Mission Vao, who ushered in the crew of the Ebon Hawk and led them to plush seats. "Admiral Onasi, your guests have arrived." He looked over to see her and she gave him a snappy wink, once again breaking military protocol. He had to chuckle. It would never change and he would never want it to. Dustil slid into a chair and poured a glass of Juma Juice for himself. Damn, he was proud of his son. Then, he caught the boy and Mission trading glances. He cleared his throat and Dustil blushed furiously.
Carth stood to greet the guests, shaking hands with them. He gave T3 a short rub on the droid's metal head and gave HK a smiling nod.
"Salutation: Greetings Admiral Meat…erm…Onasi."
The admiral then looked The Mandalore squarely in the eye and furrowed his brows. With a snort, he clapped the man on the shoulder. "Good to see you, Ordo."
Carth chuckled at the familiar interchange. "Say hi to Lashowe." Apparently, the two became an item in the interim and the former Sith had settled on Dxun with the clans. Canderous nodded.
Then, a young, blonde girl of about 12 standard years entered and brought refreshments as the crew sat.
"My daughter, Sasha," Carth introduced. He then bowed to the Exile and her friends. "Telos owes you a debt of gratitude. You and your crew saved this station and my family."
The platinum blonde Exile smiled humbly. "Call me Mai-Lyn, please," she said with sincerity. "We have more journeys before us, but we were glad to have helped. Admiral, I do have one question though…what became of Revan?"
Carth feigned an anguished look. He knew that they had been close once. Revan spoke about her a lot, always in a positive light. He glanced down at his desk and wrung his hands. "I…I knew she would leave. I knew she would have a greater destiny than me or Telos. She left for areas beyond the Outer Rim. Madame Jedi, I do not know where your travels may take you, but…but should you encounter Revan…tell her that Carth Onasi is waiting for her," he said sadly.
Mai-Lyn sighed, seeing the pain in the admiral's face. "I will do that. Thank you, admiral, for your hospitality. May the Force be with you." She stood and bowed and, together with her crew, filed out of the admiral's office, escorted by Mission and Sasha. Carth bowed in return and felt an old, familiar pang in his chest. A great part of him wanted to be back on the Ebon Hawk, sailing the stars, seeking adventure. Despite the dark and terrible time that it had been, he felt an odd nostalgia about it. After all, it was the journey that had brought his family together. He gazed over to his son. Damn, there was so much of Morgana in him – the smile, the eyes, the nose. Then, he thought of Dol's report and he thanked his lucky stars Revan had made him a Jedi and had taught him to use that lightsaber. Well, it was all over now. He tossed a fishing pole to Dustil.
"Get your bait, son. Let's take a shuttle to the surface. I think we're going to catch some dinner tonight. Tell your mother to get the oven ready."
The boy caught the pole with one hand. "She's not my real mother," he said with a hint of defiance. Carth gave him the evil eye and Dustil put his hands up, laughing. "Okay, okay, enough with the mean daddy look." Then, the boy looked down the hallway. "Alright, spill it, dad, what can I say to make Mission notice me?"
He knew this was coming. Plus, Mission often asked about his son while she was at the Academy. They seemed to have hit it off after they wiped out Korriban. It was about time Dustil had someone of his own that he cared about. "I don't think you have to worry too much, son. Just be yourself."
The boy nodded, seemingly satisfied. He turned to go and gather his supplies and Carth called after him, "Tell your sister to come along. I want to teach her too."
"You got it, dad."
As Dustil ran off, Carth sat again and laced his fingers behind his head as he leaned back. How did he come to deserve all of this? He thought about how much he had suffered and how his world had come crashing down all in a day. Would it happen again? He didn't think he could survive another disaster like that. Then, he chastised himself for such dark thoughts.
"Enjoy the moment, Carth old boy," he said, imitating Saul Karath, "enjoy the moment."
Near the Shuttle Bay
It had been a long and agonizing journey for Mai-Lyn. For ten years she had hidden in squalor, regretting the millions that had died in the Mandalorian Wars to save the Republic. For Revan, she had once bled and shed blood without a thought. Her fellow Jedi was her closest and most trusted friend at one time. But later, the dead haunted her every dream and soon, her every waking moment after Malak had obliterated Malachor V. Even though they were the enemy, so many innocents had perished in the blink of an eye. It was an event so powerful that it tore a gaping wound in the Force itself. Mai-Lyn began to doubt the righteousness of their glorious cause. Was it all for the greater good?
With the fall of the Mandalorians, she thought it was all over, but Revan wanted more. There was a hunger for power in her friend that she could not comprehend. Mai-Lyn could not take it any longer. She remembered sitting in a pool of her own vomit, too drunk to make any sense, telling Revan that she was done. She could still hear Revan's footsteps receding as their friendship was torn asunder. There was a point where she hoped her leader would die some glorious death and be done with it. Only guilt, regret, and madness filled her heart for a long time.
But much time had passed. They were just teens back then, so young and so full of blind passion. So much had changed. She wanted very much to see Revan now…to share her feelings. She had relied greatly on her friend back at the Academy…Revan's counsel was always something she could rely on. She imagined embracing the woman now, crying her pain into her shoulder. Revan would understand…she had been redeemed. But alas, it was impossible. Revan had gone beyond the Outer Rim to who-knows-where. No one even knew if she was still alive or had fallen once again. All she knew was that the Mandalore had hated Revan for years after being abandoned on some Podunk planet.
Then, there was a tremor in the Force. It felt like an ocean, hidden behind a dam. For the blink of an eye, the Exile thought she saw a raven-haired woman smiling at her. She gasped, but the woman was gone. It had to be her imagination…a spectre conjured by her wishful thinking.
"Something wrong?" asked little Sasha.
Mai-Lyn shook her head. "No…no, we should be going. Again, thank you and may the Force be with you and your lovely family."
Sasha and Mission gave them a deep bow as they boarded the Ebon Hawk and Mai-Lyn looked around one last time, hoping to see that ghost from the past. She sighed, disappointed. Would she ever see Revan again? It did not seem likely. They were going to Malachor V, where the madness all began. In the poisonous wastes of the devoured world they would have to face Darth Sion, the man held together by nothing but the Dark Side. And, even if they overcame him, Kreia awaited them. Mai-Lyn sighed. Would there ever be peace for her?
A hand grasped her shoulder and she turned to see Mical. "Come, we should go," he said in that gentle, quiet voice of his. She nodded and turned away from the station. With that, they left for the final struggle.
At the End of Things
Revan lay in Carth's arms, warm against his chest. She played with his sideburns, twirling the hair with her fingers. He snorted a couple of times and then went back to snoring. She ran her finger along his ear, remembering the first time they made love on Manaan. He was just a bitter shell of a man back then, so angry and so paranoid. He had come a long way since then. Manaan would always have a special place in her heart.
Occasional snippets of memory would pop into her mind, showing images of her time with Malak. She did love him once…. Well, it was what she thought was love. She loved the power, loved the attention, and loved they way he would march to her drumbeat. An image came to her of being snuggled in his arms as they leaned against a Bilba tree in the snows of a Dantooine winter. Then, she saw herself slice his jaw away in a duel for Sith supremacy. Was she really to blame for his demise as he had said? She shuddered and Carth snorted in his sleep again.
"I love you," he mumbled, clearly dreaming about something. Was it about her or Morgana, she wondered. It didn't matter.
"I love you too," she whispered into his ear. This was true love, not love inspired by power. "You've completed me. All that I am is because of you."
He smacked his lips and made a groaning sound. That was good enough for her. Dustil was turning out to be a fine young man and Sasha was the apple of her eye. What more could she ask for? Pretending to be a skanky dancer was a small price to pay for her family.
A dim light began to blink, drawing her attention. It was the commlink. She had been hungry for news lately ever since Mai-Lyn and the Ebon Hawk had departed for Malachor V. She really did want to go along, but she knew that it was not her destiny. Seeing Mai-Lyn again…it was like seeing a ghost. If she could just have said hello…told her that all was forgiven and to ask her forgiveness. That was all she wanted. Surely, the Force could bend on that one small favor. But she knew otherwise. The Force was a harsh mistress and punished the disobedient. She couldn't risk it. Too much was at stake.
Revan tapped the commlink and sat at the desk. The image of Jolee coalesced and he winced, looking away. "For Force sake, Revan, put some clothes on. You're going to give an old man a heart attack."
She had to giggle a moment as she threw on a robe. "Sorry, Master Bindo. I'm sometimes absentminded these days."
"So what's changed, kiddo?"
She could see it in his eyes now. Something was wrong. She leaned up against the desk. "What is it, Jolee? You wouldn't call for nothing."
He pursed his lips, frowning. "You're sitting down, I see."
"Just tell me!"
He signed slowly, letting his shoulders hunch. "Darth Sion…Darth Traya…the Trayus Academy on Malachor V…all destroyed."
"Wha…what? That's great news!" Revan furrowed her brows, confused.
"Of course it is, kiddo. I was just pulling your leg."
"Oh, you…you miserable old man! You're lucky you're a whole sector away." She settled back into her chair and they both had a wonderful, care free laugh.
Jolee then became serious again. "There is something you should know though…."
"Tee Three…yes, I foresaw it in a vision. He's gone," she said as her eyes misted up. She wiped her nose with a sleeve.
Master Bindo nodded solemnly. "I'll miss him too. He was a bright spot on that cramped ship. I heard he saved the day."
"I would have expected no less from him. Thanks for sharing the news, Jolee. Carth will be relieved."
"Don't be so quick to send me packing, young lady. There's more."
"Oh? What more could there be than the mighty overthrow of Darth Traya ushering in an era of unprecedented peace to the Republic for over four-thousand years and the Jedi growing and prospering, helping the innocent and punishing the wicked?"
Jolee rolled his eyes. "So narrow minded are we. You know, there was an Ulu Beast on Kashyyyk that-"
"Am I going to have to Force Choke this out of you?" she asked, raising a finger at him.
"Hrmph…kids now days. No respect for the elderly."
She bared her teeth and shook the finger.
"Okay, okay," he said in resignation. "I've spoken to the Council. You probably haven't heard yet, but Master Atris went mad…sort of got high on some ancient holocrons. Mai-Lyn had to take her into custody. Atris is back on Coruscant undergoing…treatment."
Revan's eyes opened in surprise. "Really? She always was a bitch to me…I mean, I'm sorry to hear that. Is there any hope for her?"
"We don't know yet. Master Vandar does wield a lot of power though. I remain hopeful. This brings me to my point here."
"It's about time."
Another eye roll.
"Okay, okay," said Revan. "Out with it."
Jolee snickered. "Well, the Telos Academy is without an instructor now. You've been offered the position, Master Revan."
Her eyes widened. "Wha…wait…what did you just say?"
He bowed his head. "Yes, that's Master Revan. The Council has asked that you travel there tomorrow and assume control. There are a number of Echani Handmaidens waiting for you."
"Yes, I recall them," she said, still not quite believing what was just said.
"One named Brianna will assist you in the transition. By the way, Bastila offers her congratulations."
Revan bowed her head. "Thank her for me and thank you too, Jolee. I don't know what to say."
"You just said it. In addition, someone named Juhani will be coming to join you. Her time with Master Quatra was well spent. She is considered an expert now in the Ataru Style. She seems to like this weird reverse grip for some reason."
Her heart leapt. That was welcome news indeed. "I look forward to working with her."
He nodded. "And a few others will be coming too – Mai-Lyn, that Atton Rand character, the quiet fellow, Mical, and that other firebrand of a woman, Mira. You two will get along nicely if you don't kill each other."
Revan snickered. "I'm sure we'll get to be good friends. So…is there anything else? Or do I have to drag that out of you too, Master Bindo?"
Jolee looked behind her. "Yes, Master Revan, tell sonny to put some clothes on. You two…shameful, simply shameful."
Revan blushed again and turned to see Carth standing there, wiping his face. "Congratulations, babe," he said and wrapped his arms around her from behind. He started to pull her to the bed and Jolee rolled his eyes again. Just as he started to speak, Carth hit the commlink, turning it off.
Revan's mouth opened wide. "Oh, how rude!" she said as he undid the knot of her robe and kissed the nape of her neck.
"Not quite the word I was thinking," he said huskily as he slid the robe from her shoulders.
There was no use fighting. She let him spin her onto the bed. Oh, the things she could do with the Force…. As he put his hands on her bare hips to make love to her, she smiled up at him. "Carth, marry me."
He leaned down and kissed her ear. "With pleasure, Missus Onasi."
The Telos Academy
Revan stood on the shuttle platform, bouncing up and down like a kid waiting for a carnival ride. The Handmaiden, Brianna stood behind her, trying to calm her down.
"Master Revan, they will be arriving any minute. Please relax."
Revan couldn't calm down. It had been so long since she had seen her friends. Juhani would have some great tales to tell of her work with Master Quatra. And Mai-Lyn…what could she say? Would the woman scorn her, holding a grudge all these years? She hoped for the best, but prepared for the worst. Be professional…that was for the best.
"So, Brianna, what can you tell me about the Exile and her crew?"
The Handmaiden shrugged. "Well, the Exile is a powerful Jedi. I accompanied her for part of her journey and have a lot of respect for her. Atton…well, I didn't like him at first, but he changed. He became much more serious in the end. I like Mical, he's very scholarly. Mira was a little too brash for my tastes and I barely spoke to Visas."
Revan had to admit that Brianna was pretty honest. "What do you think of me?"
Revan snickered, remembering her meeting with Atris and how she had threatened the Handmaidens. It took a while to clean out and properly dispose of all of those holocrons. The whine of a shuttle could be heard now and one came into sight. Revan's heart skipped a beat. It wouldn't be long now. The shuttle settled onto the platform and powered down. The hatch cracked open and a catlike face peered out.
A smile spread across the Cathar's face and they rushed together, wrapping their arms around one another. "I have missed you, Master Revan," she said in her distinctive accent.
"And I, you. Welcome to Telos, my friend."
Juhani stepped back and took a deep breath. She swept her hand back and pointed to the hatch. "Let me present the new staff of the Telos Academy," she said as they filed out and down the ramp.
Atton Rand immediately recognized her. "Master Revan…the dancer…oh, how stupid of me," he said, shaking his head as he put it together. "Do you remember me from the Mandalorian Wars?"
Revan nodded sadly. He was one of her top agents and Jedi killers from her war of vengeance on the Republic. "I do. I apologize for what I made you do. I hope we can work together now for peace."
He put his hand to his chin as if to think. Then, a roguish smile passed his lips. "I think I can make that happen."
Then, she saw Mai-Lyn. She had to gulp to keep her heart from bursting through her chest. "Knight Mai-Lyn T'Sing. Welcome to Telos. I look forward to working with you." Keep it professional…yes.
"Master Revan Onasi, thank you for hosting us. Congratulations on your marriage to Admiral Onasi. He is a fine gentleman. I will do my best to rebuild the Jedi and to serve you."
To serve you. Those words were all too familiar. It would be too easy to fall back into that role. "No…to serve the Order and the Republic. No one serves me here."
Mai-Lyn nodded and gave her a faint smile. She seemed to approve. Revan began to look away, but stopped. What did she have to lose? She took Mai-Lyn's hand. "Forgive me. I did some horrible things to you. I nearly ruined your life. Forgive me."
Jedi T'Sing froze for a moment and then exhaled. "I…I've waited ten long years for this moment. I dreamt of it…envisioned it over and over in my head…the moment when you would beg for my pardon. I hated you for so long."
Revan's heart sank. She put her soul on the line and it was crushed. She started to turn away, but Mai-Lyn pulled her back.
"I forgive you, Revan. I forgive you," she said as tears flowed down her cheeks and she pulled the master into a tight embrace.
Revan held onto her tightly as she was wracked by sobs. Ten long years of agony had separated the friends…years of torment and regret. It all melted away in seconds as the two Jedi held each other and slid to the ground, laughing and crying at the same time. They pressed their foreheads together and Revan could smell the salty tears of her lost companion. Then, Revan pulled back and looked into her eyes. Mai-Lyn reached up and wiped away her friend's tears and swept errant locks of hair aside.
"Here, at the end of things," said Mai-Lyn, half choking and trying to force a smile, "let us forge a new beginning."
And now, they were both redeemed.
Sixty Years Later
At the end of things, sixty years later, a thin, frail old woman sat, watching the HoloNews in a luxurious home on the surface of Telos. Fragrant flowering bushes ringed the estate along with tall pines over lush grass. A babbling brook ran through the property over smooth stones. The entire mansion was designed in a decidedly Freesian style.
On the monitor, Sasha Onasi, the Queen of Freesia was retiring after a fruitful reign of many years, passing the throne to her son. She had served in the Galactic Senate and was known for her fairness and strength of character. She was a great supporter of the Jedi Council and a close friend of Masters Vandar, Bastila Shan, and Mai-Lyn T'Sing of the High Council.
The old woman, a dignified and still attractive matron with silver hair and a delicate face, pointed. "That's my daughter," she said proudly to two nurses who were standing nearby. The nurses had recently come into the home to care for the old woman who had been acting oddly in recent weeks, most likely the onset of dementia.
The two, a man and a woman, smiled to humor her. "Of course she is," they said in unison. Then, the holographic image of Admiral Mission Vao appeared, standing next to Intelligence Director Helos as they met with Vandar, Mai-Lyn, and Bastila. Admiral Vao had served for many years under Admiral Onasi, subduing the last of the Sith and bringing an enduring peace to the Republic. It was the work of Director Helos that infiltrated the Sith and uncovered their plots.
"Those are my friends," the old woman added with a big smile. "Mission married my son-in-law."
The nurses walked away with the man circling his finger around his ear. When they were far out of earshot, the woman chuckled under her breath. "Crazy old bat. She's completely senile…says she was Revan, the great Jedi Master and admiral of the Republic. Like she could nearly conquer the galaxy…such a skinny old thing."
The two laughed heartily until they felt a presence. They turned and gasped; standing there, tall and powerful, was the old woman.
"I heard that," she said, lightning sparkling from her fingertips.
W/N - Thank you so very much, Jen. Holy moly, this rewrite ends my foray into KOTOR. We'll look at various POV's from Dustil to the Exile. The last scene is loosely based on Woody Guthrie, who became senile. In a hospital, he claimed he had written many songs and was a world famous musician. The doctors scoffed and located Guthrie's wife, who substantiated all of the claims, whereupon they felt a little foolish.