Once word of they're leader's demise reached they're ears the surviving soldiers defending the citadel were thought to have thrown weapons down and surrendered. They did not. Instead the Alliance assault forces found themselves in heavy fire fights and skirmishes throughout the base, bodies of both sides littered the corridors and chambers.
The Sith fought to the last man, and when the full one thousand two hundred soldiers of the garrison were finally killed off they had taken nearly nine hundred Alliance soldiers, fifty Stormtroopers and two Space Marines with them. Ten hours after the beginning of the ground campaign the base was reported as secure.
And even after that is took another two hours of searches before he and his advisors were allowed to board a shuttle and ferry down towards the planet. The gunship came through the open double hanger doors and came to a landing in the centre of a wrecked landscape. Several starships had been damaged through heavy weapons fire, explosions and shrapnel. Bodies of Sith troopers and Alliance soldiers alike where scattered across the bay, medics and soldiers rushing around them, checking pulses and bagging those who were already dead.
Joseph Halos looked across the bay and shook his head as he walked across the charred landscape, his advisors and a squad of crack Stormtroopers in tow. The battle had been fiercer than he thought, the Sith warriors were determined to take as many of his soldiers with them in death, and they took quite a few.
A man, dressed in the attire of a Stormtrooper commando marched up towards him, his helm under his arm and his blaster holstered at his side. He stopped, and saluted "Grand Admiral, I am Jordan Basset, Imperial Stormtrooper Commando on extension with the 95th Imperial Stormtrooper Legion"
Halos returned the salute, and looked around "Commando, what is the situation?"
"The enemy fought to the last man" the Commando replied, leading him down the carbon scored corridors, ignoring the smears of blood across the walls and pooling on the floor "And they tried to take as many of our boys down as they could. They set traps, set cross fires; there are even reports of soldiers strapping bombs to them and charging into ranks of Alliance troops. Anyone we tried to capture either blew themselves up with grenades or committed suicide with their weapons"
"Just what we need" Halos growled "Fanatics, my least favourite enemy"
"What of the Inquisition and Jedi contingents?"
"All of them are suffering from injuries and are being treated in a makeshift first aide centre" the Commando replied "One of the Jedi has been killed in action, the bodies of another three had been found in the laboratories and another has a fifty-fifty chance of surviving. Most of the others have between minor to serious injuries"
"Which was killed?"
"Jedi Knight Chadaara Ji"
Joseph shook his head sadly, one of Gabriel's lot, he would probably be taking the news hard "And the one with a fifty-fifty chance?"
"Jaina Solo sir. She is in intensive care, and her parents are by her side"
"I see" Gabriel replied, massaging his temple "I will visit the survivors myself and try and gain their stories first hand, the rest of you continue on"
The Commando nodded, and gave him directions to the medical chamber, flanked by two senior Stormtroopers. When he arrived he saw that the chamber might have once been a throne room, or a large meeting hall. The large area was now covered with stretchers, all holding a wounded soldier. Screams of pain filled the air. Antiseptic and spilled blood assaulted his nostrils. Medics were carrying those able to be moved through the entrances towards landing bays where gunships were waiting to ferry them to the Medical Frigates in orbit.
He was led through the lines of beds by a young intern, through a set of doors to a side corridor leading to former living quarters that have been restructured into amphitheatres, surgeries and rooms to place those to badly injured for the main chamber outside. Finally he reached a former large bedroom.
Jaina Solo had apparently left surgery, and was in one of the six beds in the room, hooked up to a respirator until a bacta tank became available, the continuous beep of the machine and the rising and falling of her chest the only signs of life, her family by her bedside, looking on worriedly.
He spotted Alana on the next bed, and by the redness of her eyes it was obvious that she had been crying. At her bedside were Gabriel and a heavenly bandaged Ishta, her arm in a sling. Gabriel holding onto her hand as a medical droid was checking her shattered shoulder blade, another which was in serious need of a bacta tank.
The Inquisitors two surviving agents were in the other two beds, heavily bandaged and in a sedative induced sleep while a couple of medics from the Space Wolves looked them over. The woman's looked like she had been tortured with knives and electric devices, and he considered it may be several months before she was fully combat ready again. The male had obviously suffered from several slash wounds and poisoned barbs of splinter weapons, but he was stable.
And when he saw the person in the next bed his heart jumped into his throat, his relief was evident on his face for a split second before his political mask took over again. Robyn lay on the far bed, propped up by pillows, finishing giving her report to her superiors at Terra via a video link. Deciding to go to her later he turned to Gabriel and Ishta first.
Gabriel rose to his feet upon seeing his old friend, wincing from his cracked ribs "Joseph, been a while"
"Indeed it has my friend" Halos replied before turning to his two guards and sending them away with a wave of his hand. They left and took up positions at the other side of the door "I heard you lost a pupil, I'm sorry to hear that"
"Thank you, she will be missed" he replied, Ishta putting a hand on his shoulder, to which he placed his over hers and gave an affectionate squeeze.
"How are you holding up Ishta?"
"I will live Grand Admiral" she replied with a bow "Thank you for your concern, but thanks to my failure I am unworthy of it"
"She fought Jacen Solo by herself" Gabriel explained as Ishta returned to Alana's side, holding onto the youngsters hand as she winced through the medical droids examinations "And was beaten badly"
"I see" Joseph replied with a sigh "Looks like the high command can no longer afford to have him listed as missing in action"
"I have already talked to the Solo's about this" the Jedi nodded "They have…given their consent to put him on the renegades list"
The Grand Admiral nodded. The Renegades list was a list of Jedi who had left the order and had evidence against them that proved they were involved in shady activities. To date there were five forclings on the list, six now that Jacen Solo had been entered.
The Jedi master looked over to Robyn, who had finished her report and fell into her bed with a despondent sigh of irritation. Her hand reached up to rub her eyes "You should go to her. She needs someone to talk too"
He looked at Gabriel in surprise, only for the Jedi master to offer a sad smile before returning to his wife and surviving pupil's side. Panic took over the Admiral for a moment, but for just a moment as he remembered who it was that found out. It was Gabriel, the two were close friends and he knew well that the Jedi master would not be reporting his findings to anyone.
He turned and walked past the Solo's, offering words of comfort and optimism to them which they took with smiles and nods, before arriving at Robyn's bed and closing the curtain, giving them a measure of privacy "Inquisitor, a moment?"
She looked up, smiled sadly and nodded. He took a seat and the two were silent, each starring into the others eyes.
It was another week until the Jedi were able to return to Ossus for the burials of four of their own, and in that time much had happened, some for the better, others for the worst.
The burial was done with full rites, the bodies placed on their funeral pyres and cremated. The entire Jedi order had assembled for this ceremony, New and Resurrected alike. For the deaths of these four young knights made a very clear message strike home. The Sith had returned, and they were planning something.
Alana walked down the corridor. Her head hung low, mind wandering a million miles a minute. Chadaara had been her best friend, her confidante, over the last few years they had done almost everything together. Anakin had joked that they were inseparable. Now she was gone.
There was a bittersweet consolation in that she had killed the bastard who killed her best friend. But it was a sour comfort, for at the end of the day her best friend was gone, and she was never coming back.
Gabriel and Ishta were both worried about her. They had stayed by her side the whole trip back to Ossus as she sat beside her friend's body. She had to admit that without them she would have probably gone mad. A Jedi was not supposed to feel such feelings of lose and regret, but Gabriel had told her that the law was outdated, and whether the writer believed it or not she was still human, and she needed to grieve.
Entering her room, locking the door behind her she fell into her bed, burying her head against her pillow and cried softly. She needed to get this out of her system, she needed to get over her friends death. She was a Jedi Emperor damn it, she needed to be ready for anything. Death was not a stranger to her. She had lost her father and mother to the Dark Eldar scourge, hell she had even witnessed her own mother being murdered in front of her.
But that seemed like a lifetime ago, and she had almost forgotten about the pain.
"Come on girl, what are you lying there for?"
She stopped, swearing she could hear her friend's voice, before shaking her head. She must have been going crazy.
"Didn't I tell you not to cry?"
She definitely heard that one, turning in her bed her eyes met with Chadaara, it was her. She squeaked, jumping in surprise, watching as the Togruta herself jumped back, and then she began to giggle. It was her friend, but her form seemed to be emitting a soft glow.
"I thought you were dead" she whispered, reaching out to touch her and finding to her surprise that her hand went straight through.
"I am" her friend shrugged "But the powers that be have given me one wish, and I decided to come and visit you"
She had heard of this, a deceased Jedi coming back from the grave to communicate with someone, she had heard of such encounters when she was studying under Gabriel, but had dismissed them at the time as silly superstition.
At her look Cha frowned "Don't tell me you were sleeping through Gabriel's lecture on force ghosts?"
"I thought they were just superstition" she replied dumbly "You aren't staying are you?"
She shook her head with a sad smile "I'm sorry Ally, but it's out of my hands now. I have become one with the force"
"So there is an afterlife, without Chaos?" she asked.
"What's it like?"
Her friend grinned mischievously "You'll find out yourself one day"
Both giggled before falling silent "I'll miss you Cha"
"Me too Ally, I'll miss you. But remember this, I will be watching over you, just because you can't see me doesn't mean that I'm not there" her friend replied "Consider me your guardian angel or some insane stuff like that. Oh and I was meant to tell you one more thing"
"Stand up, live your life as long and as well as you can. Find a boy you love, get married, have a swarm of kids, and die of old age with your family and friends surrounding you" she smiled warmly "That is my wish for you Ally. After everything you've gone through you deserve a happy ending. And when it's all over, I'll be there to collect you"
She nodded "But only if you do what I just said, if you don't then I'll be giving you a lecture" she hesitated for a moment, then a small smile spread across her face "There will be choices, life altering choices which will change your world…one is coming right now, I suggest you say yes to it"
She looked to the door "What choices?" she asked, turning to see that her friend wasn't there anymore. She rubbed her eyes, and then there was a knock. Getting up she walked across the room and opened the door to see Robyn standing in the archway.
"It was a beautiful ceremony" the Inquisitor said as Alana invited her into her room "How are you holding up?"
"I think I need a little time" she replied, plopping down on her bed "So when are you heading back to Terra?"
"Early tomorrow" the Inquisitor replied, pulling out a desk chair and taking a seat "I need to make arrangements with the Adeptus Sororitas to retrieve Michelle's body"
"How are Lara and Marcus?"
"Both recovering thank the Emperor" Vallace replied "Looks like we all went in and came out worse for ware" she hesitated for a moment, before her figure seemed to deflate "I never thought I would be saved by an alien, ever"
"Cha was a true Jedi till the end" Alana replied with a smile, remembering her friend's memory and the conversation they had a few moments ago "For as long as I have known her she had always been selfless, courageous and self sacrificing"
Robyn leaned back in her chair, looking at the setting sun "You know, before we made contact with the Alliance I always thought aliens were evil creatures created for the sole purpose of destroying the Imperium and all it stood for. Then we met the Alliance, and saw aliens and humans cooperating, eating together, living together, and fighting together. To many of us, even the most open minded the experience seemed to surreal"
"I'm from the same galaxy you were" Alana replied "When I first set foot on that Star Destroyer, I thought I was going mad. The first person I met on that ship was a Zeltron woman who gave me a guided tour. I think she was a technician or something like that. It was surreal, but eventually I came to accept it"
"But you were a child" the Inquisitor pointed out "It's always easier for a child to accept new ways than an adult"
"You might be right" she conceded "But the experience was surreal to me all the same"
The two descended into a comfortable silence, after a moment Robyn finally spoke up "I have a proposition for you Alana"
"Before this mess the Jedi and the Inquisition were in talks about an exchange program" the Inquisitor explained "Placing a Jedi in an Inquisitors team and vice versa. I have already talked it over with the Grand Master, and I want to put it by you"
Chadaara words screamed into her mind, and Alana, slightly bewildered nodded for her to continue "I was wondering if you wanted to take part in the program, serve under me for a few months. Get to see the galaxy from a different viewpoint"
"I would like that" Varne replied, deciding to heed her friends advice "I think that is just what I need at the moment" she hesitated for a moment "I'll have to put it past Gabriel though, the mans like a father to me"
Robyn nodded "Of course, and I need to tell the Grand Master about your decision"
"Do I have to leave straight away?"
Robyn shook her head "No, I'll give you two weeks to do what you got to do, then I'll come back to collect you"
As Robyn said her goodbyes and left, Alana undressed into her nightgown and slipped into bed, asleep before her head hit the pillow. The air grew light, and Chadaara reappeared, sitting on the same chair the Inquisitor had a few moments earlier, watching her best friend with a smile "Good girl"
Corny I know, but what is a Jedi tail without a force ghost or two? So it has finally come to an end, thank you everyone who have waited and read this story.