Ilona "The Exile" Jamil staggered unsteadily from where she had faced down and finally slain Kreia, or Darth Traya as she had called herself at the end. "Ding dong, the witch is dead!" she sang drunkenly. After finally ridding the galaxy of that traitorous old manipulator, Ilona decided that what she needed was to become very drunk, very quickly. She figured that with the sheer number of Sith apprentices she'd been forced to slaughter on her way through the Trayus Academy, at least one of them would have a stash of juma or the equivalent local alcoholic beverage of choice.
She'd been right. Fortunately, being stripped of the Force only to regain it a decade later hadn't dulled her instincts. She'd found enough Juma to get her whole crew comfortably legless. Along with some holocards of naked Twi'leks contorted in positions that couldn't possibly be natural. She had looked fixedly at them for some time before realising she was wasting valuable drinking time. "Bottoms up," she addressed the room at large and waved her glass in salute to the Sith corpses scattered around the dormitory.
Now she reeled drunkenly from side to side back towards where she'd left the Ebon Hawk parked. Only 'parked' wasn't really the right word. 'Parked' implied that the driver had put the ship down with some measure of skill. Instead, the ship had slammed into a number of rocky outcroppings and ledges before slamming into the ground.
Ilona tipped her head back, trying to get at the last drops of Juma. A few droplets splashed the corner of her mouth and rolled down her neck and that was it. "Empty? Bah!" The Exile hurled the empty three-litre jug away. It fetched up with a dull crack against the head of a storm beast that lay dead a short distance away. She'd lost track of the number of those she'd had to kill on the way through. Couldn't things be easy just once?
Ilona suddenly stopped and almost fell down with amazement. "Is that? Nah..coudn't be." She closed her eyes, opened them and rubbed them with her sleeve for good measure. The sight before her was still there. "You," she pointed a shaky finger at the apparition, "Are one hell of a good mirage."
The figure, clad head to foot in dark robes strode forward silently and stopped a few paces from her. It pushed the cowl of its robes back from its head, revealing a dark eyed man in his mid thirties. He shook his head when he saw the state she was in. "A Jedi is supposed to be above such things," Revan said in greeting.
"Hey, don't jerk me around. I've been through a lot of aggravation these last few months and the last thing I need is to be lectured by you!"
Revan took Ilona's arm, guided her to a boulder and sat her down. He knelt beside her.
Ilona asked "What are you doing here anyway? Aren't you supposed to be out fighting the true Sith Empire?"
Revan blinked and a look of confusion came over his face. "I'm fighting the what now?"
Ilona sighed and told Revan what Kreia had told her. "You know, the Sith Empire out beyond the edge of the galaxy. That's where you've been all this time right? When you disappeared from Republic space after the war?" By now a note of pleading had entered Ilona's voice. Was nothing that Kreia had told her true at all?
Revan shook his head again. "I don't know what you're on about. Sith Empire? I've saved the galaxy once already and that was quite enough thank you very much. Do you know what it's like to be the former Dark Lord of the Sith and to come back around to the light? Suddenly everybody wants a piece of you. Scumbag journalists, papparazzi, people trying to make money out of you."
Ilona was shocked. This was a side to Revan she suspected nobody else had ever seen. Where was the confident leader exuding that aura of charisma?
"And another thing. Haven't you gotten sick of people coming up to you with all their problems and expecting you to solve them?"
Come to think of it, Ilona had found that more than bit annoying now that Revan had raised the point.
Revan began ticking points off on his fingers, "Hunting down missing droid companions, finding a cure for the rakghoul disease-"
Ilona cut him off, "Paying off peoples' gambling debts."
"Looking for parts of a map to some promised land," Revan butted in again.
"Getting scumbag Exchange bosses to lay off civilians on Nar Shaddaa."
"So you do understand what I'm getting at," Revan said. "Good. Then you'll understand why I had to leave. I couldn't be held responsible for the welfare of the entire galaxy."
"So, if you didn't leave to fight some threat from beyond the Rim, what have you been doing all this time?"
"Oh nothing much. I did establish a chain of hotel casinos on a world a few light years away. Good business, gambling."
Ilona blinked a few times. "You're saying you left known space to become...a businessman?"
"And you've opened...casinos?"
"Lot of money in that. I mean, a lot."
"Um, aren't we Jedi supposed to be above such concerns?"
Revan rolled his eyes in exasperation. "Sweetie, I'm about as much of a Jedi as you are right now. I even left my lightsaber back at one of my casinos. It's a museum piece now. The locals love all that Jedi stuff. They'll pay huge amounts of money just to be in the same room as a lightsaber."
Ilona considered this. It seemed like a huge leap, going from saviour of the galaxy to casino operator but Revan always had been unpredictable. Certainly nobody had seen the Jedi Civil war coming. "So why are you back? And why here of all places?"
"It's time to expand my empire...business empire I mean. I don't know what I was thinking all those years ago when I was trying to conquer the galaxy. I mean, do have you any idea how much work is involved running a galaxy? Any idiot can overthrow a government or bomb a world into oblivion, just look at Malak. But damn..." Revan trailed off, looking off into the distance. Probably calculating how many hotel casinos he could fit on the fractured Malachor landscape, Ilona thought to herself.
"So anyway, I figured I needed to expand and why not come back to Republic space? People here do still gamble right?"
"Ye-ess," replied Ilona.
"Great! See, my thinking is this: establish trade routes from here - well not hereobviously. This place is a mess but here as in the Republic and open up trading between my little corner of space and the galaxy. As for why I'm here on this dirtball, the hyperdrive on my ship fell apart and I came out of hyperspace here. Kinda strange coincidence, don't you think?"
Ilona looked blearily up at Revan. "But what about your companions? All this time we've been led to believe you had to abandon them because where you were going you couldn't take anybody you had feelings for."
Revan shook his head wearily. "See that's the problem with becoming a living legend, people make up all sorts of stories about you and why you're doing this, that and the other. I left the others behind because I was getting sick of the sight of them. At one point I considered killing them all and throwing them out the airlock. Well, except for HK. We always did get along well."
"But what about Bastila? Weren't she and you...you know?"
"Are you nuts? You know what Bastila was like, always banging on about the dark side and how we must always be on guard against the darkness within us and all the rest of it. One time I start talking to her about some lightsaber techniques and she turned it into a lecture on the evils of the dark side."
"Yeah, she did tend to go a bit," conceded Ilona.
"And then she herself fell to the dark side. When we confronted each other, I almost fell down I was laughing so hard. She didn't appreciate the irony of the situation, though."
"You killed her?"
"Nah, I spun her some crap about how I had always loved her and managed to bring her back around."
"What about Carth?"
"Onasi?" Revan snorted. "Let me tell you something about that 'Hero of the Republic' He was insane. A total psychopath. The only reason the Republic didn't drum him out was because they'd lost so many soldiers in the Mandalorian Wars."
"Admiral Onasi is insane?" This Ilona had trouble believing. What little she knew of the Admiral suggested he was exactly as he appeared to be - a loyal citizen of the Republic and a hero.
"Admiral? What idiot put him in charge of a Republic fleet? Oh man. When he found out who I really was during the Jedi Civil War, he went completely gonzo. Shoved me against a wall and jammed a blaster into my crotch."
"Oh yeah, he had some issues I don't want to go into."
"So what happened?"
"HK and Canderous both pull blasters and there's the three of them all aiming guns at each others' heads. Now that I think about it was kinda funny. Then Bastila breaks things up and points out that they still need me alive and intact because apparently only I can stop Malak."
"So things weren't all rosy on the good ship Ebon Hawk then?" Ilona inquired at length.
"You could say that, yes."
"OK but what about the navicomputer voicelock on the Ebon Hawk and the message in T3's memory core?"
"The navicomputer's a no-brainer. After I ditched everybody back on Dantooine, I voicelocked the computer so nobody could follow me, pointed the ship to the Outer Regions and go the hell out of there. Then after I was settled, I set the Hawk on auto-pilot and sent it back into Republic space. I figured a nice ship like that would find a new home soon enough."
"And the message in T3?"
Revan shrugged. "Don't know, don't care."
Ilona rose from the boulder and stretched. Her spine made little crackling sounds. "As much fun as it has been talking to you, I really have to get back to my ship."
Revan also stood up and placed his hands on his hips, "Ah your ship. The Ebon Hawk? It is not your ship."
Ilona froze and then reached for her lightsaber, then dropped her hand to her side. For a moment Revan sounded just like Atris when she and Ilona had faced each other on Telos. And wasn't that a happy reunion?
"Look Revan. I've been travelling all over this Force-forsaken galaxy in that ship and I'm not giving it up now. You're a businessman now. How about I buy it off you?"
Revan appeared to consider this then smiled. "You don't open up a string of five-star rated hotel casinos without having an unnaturally strong urge to gamble. How about we place the ownership of the Ebon Hawk on a few hands of Pazaak?"
Even as she agreed to it, a little voice in Ilona's head was screaming, actually screaming at her not to do it, not to be so incredibly stupid. At least wait until she had sobered up completely before she...ah crap.
Sometime later, the former Dark Lord of the Sith turned saviour of the galaxy turned businessman and Ilona made their way back to the Ebon Hawk. Or what was left of it. As they rounded a corner, they saw the ragged tear in the ship's hull plating and saw where T3-M4, the ship's astromech droid had been jammed into the hull breach with scraps of metal welded around him.
"Damn," was all Revan could say as he approached the open entrance ramp. From inside the ship a number of people emerged. Atton Rand drew his blaster and pointed it at Revan. "Oh now I've seen everything."
Ilona waved a hand at T3 and asked, "What the hell is that?"
Atton replied, "We didn't have enough spare panels to fix the hull breach so we tried to convince HK that he'd make a good hull substitute. So he threatened to shoot us all and throw us out the airlock. So we just jammed T3 in there and welded around him."
Bao-Dur stood looking critically at the droid wedged into the hull. "Dwooooo," T3-M4 said.
"Don't worry, T3, it's only until we get back to Telos. In about six weeks," Bao-Dur tried to console him.
T3-M4 let out a series of high pitched bleeps and whistles, the astromech droid equivalent of harsh language. "Who taught you how to curse like that? Atton!" Bao-Dur turned to look at the pilot who shrugged.
"Got to do something to pass the time and you can only play so many games of Pazaak before you get bored."
"Uh, yeah. Speaking of Pazaak, I have something to tell you," began the Exile.
Atton looked from Ilona to Revan and back to Ilona. "Tell me you didn't," he said.
"If it's any consolation, I was drunk at the time."
Atton looked the Exile in the eye and replied, "No, it's no consolation at all."