W/N - I love to procrastinate. Big BIG mahalo (thanks) to Bald as Malak for the beta. This is sort of a dark comedy or perhaps more of a sting. It's also a possible ending for 'Burned'.

A Funny Thing Happened to Me on the Way to the Star Forge

A Dark Comedy

Yes, a funny thing did happen to me on the way to the Star Forge…. Funny, 'haha', or funny 'strange', you ask? Hmmmm, maybe a little bit of both.

With strands of bloody brown hair lying over his eyes, Revan lay dying on the deck of the command level for the mighty Star Forge. His face was covered in dust and sweat from his final battle and a hole was burned through his chest where Malak's crimson lightsaber had pierced it. Blood trickled down his chin and cheeks and his face was bruised with angry welts. Nearby, his left hand lay smoking, having been shorn away by the power of a lightsaber.

Malak, you were always the stronger fighter, but I was always trickier.

Footsteps rang on metal plates while the hum of a lightsaber sang in the air. Revan blinked hard and choked on the clotted blood in his throat.

He heard Bastila shriek and then the sound of her fleeing footsteps. Revan was now alone…and at the mercy of the Dark Lord of the Sith.

Standing over his broken body was a dark shape, a tower of strength…it was Malak. Revan's former apprentice had taken his share of wounds too – part of his metal jaw hung in tatters, its wires exposed, part of his face was seared by the intense heat of Revan's lightsaber and his right eye was a smoking ruin.

Malak's posture was crooked with one of his knees shattered. Both sides had bled in this battle, but it was Malak who remained standing.

Lights flashed and sparks jumped from Malak's damaged mechanical jaw and his voice came through in a halting, distorted tone.

"Frotzzzzz…She betrayed us both, Revan," Malak said, fatigue and pain obvious in his voice despite the mechanical vocabulator. "She will have to live with her weakness. That will be her curse."

"Brrrrzt…Y-y-y-you fought well, Revan, but I…frotzzzzzzz…am victorious. Now, as I…grrrrtzzz…promised, I will devour your life to power this station. How ironic, that in the end your power will provide the means for my victory. Your soul will live on in the warships birthed by the Star Forge. Hahaha…frotzzzz…they will say you were the father of the new Sith Empire…hahaha."

Malak reached down and seized Revan by the throat and hoisted him up off of the floor. Revan gagged and struggled weakly. He looked down at where Malak had kicked his lightsaber, but he was too weak to summon it.

The Dark Lord turned him from side to side, examining him like a specimen. "Not much…Gzzzt…life left in you, eh? It is just as well – Bastila would have hated to see you die like this. Yeszzzzz, Bastila…that faithless whore… The last joke will be on her when I hunt her down like the dog she is."

To Malak's amazement, Revan smiled through swollen lips and broken teeth. "You know, Malak, a funny thing happened to me on the way to the Star Forge…."

Five Minutes Ago

Malak staggered under the onslaught of attacks from both Revan and Bastila, two golden lightsabers raking repeatedly across his heavy armor, leaving it sizzling and smoking. The Dark Lord howled in pain and turned to fight the two Jedi, but a bolt from Carth Onasi's blaster smashed into his chest. The Republic captain stood behind the cover of the command console,yelling, "Down ya go!" with each shot.

With a desperate wave of his hand, Malak flung orange lightning into Bastila, Revan, and Carth, hurling them backward. As the three lay smoking on the ground, he slapped the palm of his hand onto a fluid filled cylinder in which floated a Jedi Master. Light and energy surged from the master's body, engulfing the Dark Lord and bathed him in power even as bolts from Carth's weapons were absorbed like raindrops in an ocean.

The now healed Sith straightened his back and flexed his muscles leisurely, before reigniting his weapon. As Bastila and Revan struggled back to their feet, Malak laughed and the sound of his mirth chilled his enemies like a winter storm. Even Carth's blasters fell silent.

"Fools," bellowed the Dark Lord, "you cannot contend with the dark power of this station. It draws its life from the star itself. You cannot defeat me here."

Despite this, Revan's face held a look of cold, iron determination. He had not come all this way to let fear or doubt destroy him now.

Malak turned away from Revan and his golden eyes bore into Bastila. She shuddered under the withering gaze of the Dark Lord and the young Padawan's knees wobbled and her eyes shifted from hazel to gold.

"It is nice of you to return, Bastila. I would have missed the warmth of your caresses."

Revan got to his feet and stood engarde with his feet shoulder width apart and his weapon held forward toward Malak. He looked at Bastila and realized his mistake in allowing her to come.

Her lower lip quivered at first, but then became still. One side of her mouth then curled upward. "Jon…I'm sorry," she said mockingly, using the alias that he was given by Master Vandar. "The joke's on you." With a stroke of her golden lightsaber, she sheared off Revan's left hand.

Revan screamed while the gale of Malak's laughter rang in his ears. Bastila unleashed a flurry of strikes that Revan parried weakly with his one hand. From behind the command console, Carth, who had been silently working on the computers, cried out in anger. The captain leveled his weapons and fired at Malak, who merely swatted the energy away in different directions.

Malak stood boldly with his arms crossed as Bastila thrust one of her blades at Revan's throat. Retreating, Revan brought his weapon down awkwardly to intercept it and they stood, face to face, with lightsabers crackling in contact. The two combatants swung around to where Revan's back was facing toward the Dark Lord and, unseen by Malak, Revan nodded at Bastila with a knowing look. Revan lowered his guard and in an instant, Bastila's foot came around in a spinning reverse and collided with his face. He flew backward and landed hard with a pained grunt.

Focused on the duel, Malak watched his former master's fall with satisfaction. As Revan lay groaning, the Padawan turned to Carth, who was placing something in his pocket.

"Carth," called Bastila coldly. "I know you have always been jealous of Revan. Come and embrace me…embrace the Dark Side."

The captain's face twisted into a scowl and he fired at Bastila, who casually deflected them away. "I'll never follow you, never!" he yelled.

It was Bastila's turn to laugh as Malak stepped forward, emboldened by this turn of fate. The Dark Lord joined the dark mirth, reveling in Bastila's betrayal. The woman pointed at Carth with a pale finger. "It is better, I think, to let you live and spread the word of Malak's power. Run, little man…run home to your precious Republic…or what little of it remains."

Carth cried out in anguish, knowing he was beaten. "I will kill you! I swear it!" he yelled as he fled toward the open door to the command center.

"Like you swore to avenge Morgana? How empty…." Bastila said, her voice mocking the captain's cowardly departure.

Malak nodded and, even without a mouth, Bastila could tell he was grinning from ear to ear. He approached Bastila and put his arm around her waist. "I knew you would return to me, my apprentice. It is our destiny."

Malak looked over at Revan, who was struggling to rise. "Oh yes, Revan, your pathetic little adventure is over. I'll admit you caused me some worry, but I have crushed you once and for all. Like a bad Bith music group, you will quickly fade from memory." The Dark Lord's hands caressed Bastila's body to demonstrate to his former master and friend how utterly defeated Revan was.

"Kneel before me, Bastila." Malak said, pointing at the ground in front of his feet.

"As you command, my lord." The young Padawan knelt, but there was something in her eyes that spoke of treason.

The Force screamed a warning within Malak as Bastila smiled and her eyes returned to a hazel hue. "The joke's on you, Malak," she said as her lightsaber flared to life and she swung the blade at his knee. The golden rod sizzled into the heavy red armor, piercing the cortosis weave. The Dark Lord screamed and collapsed to his knees.

The tables had turned again and Revan was on him.

With one hand, Revan sliced down at Malak's head, but the Dark Lord caught his wrist, deflecting the blow. The sizzling golden blade brushed Malak's face, slicing through his right eye and down through his metal jaw. The Dark Lord screamed again, and with inhuman command of the Force, he hurled Revan and Bastila back. Smoke roiling from half of his face and with his metal jaw sparking, Malak struggled to his feet.

Bastila rolled back onto her knees and pulled Revan up beside her. He turned to her, his eye and cheek swollen from her kick and placed his hand on her shoulder. "It is time, Bastila."

"Revan, no."

Before she could move, Revan launched a flurry of attacks against Malak, backing the Dark Lord up against a wall. He drew back his blade and thrust at Malak's heart, but the Sith spun away, letting the lightsaber pierce the metal bulkhead by Malak's side. As Revan struggled to free his weapon, Malak drove his closed fist into Revan's mouth, shattering teeth and lips. Revan wobbled, stunned, and Malak's crimson lightsaber tore through his chest.

Bastila shrieked.

Like a rag doll, Revan was hurled by invisible hands to land at her feet. As Malak limped toward them, Bastila fled, screaming.

"Frotzzzzz…She betrayed us both, Revan," Malak said, fatigue and pain obvious in his voice despite the mechanical vocabulator. "She will have to live with her weakness. That will be her curse."

"Brrrrzt…Y-y-y-you fought well, Revan, but I…frotzzzzzzz…am victorious. Now, as I…grrrrtzzz…promised, I will devour your life to power this station. How ironic, that in the end your power will provide the means for my victory. Your soul will live on in the warships birthed by the Star Forge. Hahaha…frotzzzz…they will say you were the father of the new Sith Empire…hahaha."

Malak reached down and seized Revan by the throat and hoisted him up off of the floor. Revan gagged and struggled weakly. He looked down at where Malak had kicked his lightsaber, but he was too weak to summon it.

The Dark Lord turned him from side to side, examining him like a specimen. "Not much…Gzzzt…life left in you, eh? It is just as well – Bastila would have hated to see you die like this. Yeszzzzz, Bastila…that faithless whore…. Well, the last joke will be on her when I hunt her down like the dog she is."

To Malak's amazement, Revan smiled through swollen lips and broken teeth. "You know, Malak, a funny thing happened to me on the way to the Star Forge."

Malak cocked an eyebrow up. A sad look spread across his face as if he were remembering some bittersweet memory, long forgotten. "Funny, huh? Revan, you were always a jokester. Brrzzzt…I wonder if you recall how we played pranks on Dantooine? It was…a simpler time." A snorting sound emanated from his damaged vocabulator. "I have time for one last jest from you."

Revan choked for a moment and then chuckled weakly. "You, Malak, you helped me to remember this joke when you forced snippets of my memory back into my mind. After the Leviathan, I recalled that I did not trust you while I was the Dark Lord."

"You were wise in that at least."

Revan looked out of the grand window to see the Ebon Hawk streak away. After a moment, the ship, along with the Republic fleet, began to jump into hyperspace.

The Dark Lord followed Revan's gaze. Nodding, he said, "It is of no matter. Running…frrrrtzz…will only mean that they will die tired and afraid when my massive fleet, powered by your soul, hunts them down."

"My life indeed. Malak, did you think me so foolish? Did it not occur to you that I might install safeguards in this station? Recall that the Star Forge not only creates fleets, but it also regulates the power of the star. Did you not see Carth Onasi put something in his pocket? He stole the command chip and so disrupted the smooth fusion process of the star. There is no way to reverse it now. All it takes now is one final act."

Malak's eyes widened with surprise and he hurled Revan onto the deck near the command console and looked at the power readouts. The gauges of the star's energy showed rapid spiking. In rage, Dark Lord smashed the console and picked Revan up once more. "I will drain your life and rejuvenate myself to escape. I will have the last laugh."

Blue and white tendrils of the Dark Side swirled around them. His skin blackened and shriveled as energy was ripped from his soul.

From his mottled lips, Revan whispered. "And now it is done. My death is the catalyst for the star's death. Malak, the last joke is on you."

Malak dropped the empty husk that was Revan and looked out the grand window to see the star go nova.

A long time in the future in a galaxy far, far away

Three men rode through a desert on hump backed animals. They were swathed in loose robes with elaborate wrappings around their heads. A brown-haired man led the three, his face covered in dust and sweat. He looked tired and weary from long travel.

Behind him came another man who was taller and broader of shoulders. He was bald beneath his headdress and a metallic scarf covered his lower jaw. A crimson cape fluttered behind him in the sand-laden wind.

Finally, a woman rode with them. She was young and slender with hazel eyes and auburn hair that was braided in pigtails.

Their animals were burdened with bags full of gifts, frankincense, and myrrh. A point of bright illumination drew their attention upward and the brown-haired man looked up into the heavens. "Behold, a star in the East."