End of Innocence chapter 8: The More Things Change
AN: OMG!!! I am SO sorry for not updating for the longest time. I have not forgotten this story. Please forgive me.
I had to refresh my memory to what I have written already for this story and was thus looking through the last chapters. Wow. This was my first story that I posted on and I can see that my writing has gotten so much better.
I have not forgotten my other story "Not So Alone" but I've been so swamped with finals (icky torture I hate school but alas….anyone who is in high school, do not complain about your work load. Just think of how much you will have in college, and the misery I am going through aka Hell Week. You lucky high schoolers.)
So a brief recap. (I'm planning to go back and edit and revise the previous chapters, so they aren't so short). Elik's background and how he came to be, then scenes showing him with his father Obiwan, Anakin, and a few others. Then the plotting of the Sith in the background. Then the temple scene where Elik sees his 'big brother' destroys all in his way. Elik, the Knight Jax Pavan, and his friends are able to find a place to hide where the attackers couldn't find them.
(Still bad grammar despite the hell known as English class, so bare with me)
Obiwan looked down at his young son that he was holding in his arms. Even though he knew he had to let go soon, since they had to get out of there before they were discovered, he didn't want to. He just wanted this moment to last, because the Force was telling him this was going to be the last time he saw his son for a very long time. But time was short. Looking down at his son, he saw that he looked much younger than his thirteen years. The things he had seen had been undoubtedly horrible, and Obiwan knew that his childhood was over. He had been thrown from the relatively safety of his little world, where even though he knew there was a war out there he had never thought that something like this would happen. Things were changing and fast.
Looking up at the other children, he knew that they were going to grow up just as fast. If they survived, that was. He tried to thrown the betrayal and all his other feelings to the back of his mind for the moment, as he focused on the present. His eyes focused on the young knight in front of him, holding the other children (briefly he wondered how his back could take the weight). "Knight Pavan, thank you for protecting them."
Jax just nodded his head in response, not trusting himself to speak. As a horrific thought came to him, he was forced to though. "Master Kenobi, the clones…." He swallowed, "they were ordered to capture Elik alive, sir."
That caught Obiwan's immediate attention. Why would they…"Did they say why?"
Jax shook his head in the negative. "No…but it was Sk….him that said it. I don't think they said why, just that he wants Elik alive. They even showed a holo-picture of him."
Obiwan was puzzled, and very worried. Whatever Palpatine wanted Elik for it wouldn't be that good. This was very worrying. Whatever Palpatine's plans were, they must be stopped. At all costs. He sighed. "Jax, I am putting the children in your care. You must protect them, especially Elik. Palpatine must not get a hold of Elik."
"Jax, I know I can depend on you to get the children out of here. There has to be a ship somewhere…I wonder." Obiwan trailed off, reaching out with the force just enough to check. "Yes, somehow they missed it. Jax, there is a hidden hangar below the Temple. Very few Jedi knows…knew of it, and certainly A…Vader didn't. The ship is still there. It is ready to fly and enough food and supplies have been stocked that will last at least two months. I need you to take the ship and the children, and then find a good place to hide. It must not be anywhere anyone else knows of. There are several locations, ancient Jedi and Sith temples and training grounds that might work."
"There are numerous places around the galaxy where the ancient Sith Order used to train. They are abandoned now and very few discovered by others. While they might now be the best place for a young Jedi to be, they are safe. They would be the last place the Sith would look. But just in case, there is one location that would be the best. You'll know what I'm talking about. Go there, and stay away from the rest of the galaxy for a while. You'll also find copies of all the information that is in the Jedi Archives here in that location. Use a number of memory crystals and put them around in the different locations. Use force shields to keep unwanted thieves away."
Jax nodded, not trusting himself to speak. The two children in his arms had fallen into a partial doze, and even though his arms ached he didn't move them. He wasn't that good with children, or rather had not really gotten any experience. Now, he would have to look after three of them. Three children who had just witnessed a massacre of their Jedi family. On top of that, if that wasn't enough, he had to avoid all those that wanted all of them dead (or captured in the case of Elik, but he didn't know what was worse). He just had his work cut out for him, didn't he?
Obiwan gently shook his son. He didn't have that much time left, he had to leave soon. "Elik look at me." Eventually, he was able to get his son to look up at him. He sighed. "Elik, I'm…going to have to leave."
"Leave! No, you can't…"
"Elik, look at me. I'm going to have to go stop Vader. I'm….the only one who can. You need to go with Knight Pavan. Do whatever he tells you to do, alright?" Elik nodded.
Obiwan swallowed painfully. "I will always love you, son. Never forget that."
"I won't daddy. Are you going to meet up with us daddy?"
Obiwan knew he probably wouldn't be able to. "I…don't know, son, I don't know. Just obey Knight Pavan, okay. I love you." He had to leave now. They all did. He looked up at Jax. "I'll take you to the ship."
He never caught back up with them. Obiwan faced his former apprentice above the fires of pools of lava. There, Vader was defeated but Obiwan was not able to bring himself to destroy his former apprentice. He left, and took Padme. Padme later died after giving birth despite all efforts to save her. The twins were left orphaned by the death of their mother and Vader was all but dead. If he would survive Obiwan did not know. He had sensed Palpatine arriving at the last moment, so it was possible for him to have survived. If he had, he was still not going to be trusted with his children. Leia was taken by Bail Organa and adopted in to the royal house of Alderaan. Luke was taken to his Aunt and Uncle on Tatooine and Obiwan stayed near to protect him. Yoda went into exile on a forgotten planet far away.
Time moved on, and things passed. Then more change came.
Five long years had passed since the terrible events that had led up to the rising of the Empire. The galaxy was much different than it had been five years ago. With the Empire had come many changes in politics, economy, commerce, and people's social life. The Jedi were all but extinct now, their influence nearly gone. People lived in fear. The Emperor had already shown what happened to those that defied him. But there were those that still did. The beginnings of the Alliance had formed, mainly with the leaders forming support and meetings to decide the mechanics of what would later be known as the Rebel Alliance. They were starting to gather money, weapons, and machines, but all that had to be done in secret.
Unknown to those that saw them, there were a few Jedi around mainly in planets far from the main cluster of systems near Corescant. Few dared to travel beyond their current location. And so they lived on. A few would live to see the Empire fall. They would live, hiding who they are so well that not even Darth Vader would find them.
In the dusty and downtrodden port on a nameless planet, the people went about their lives with relatively few intervene from the Empire. This planet was not too influential or powerful. They did not give trouble to the Empire, nor were counted among the most loyal. They were mostly ignored. A few ships here and there could be seen refueling, but those generally left fast. Those on board quickly forgot about the planet they had just been at, and so life continued. It was here that became a safe haven for a certain small ship and its crew. The ship at the moment was resting in one of the docking bays, having just been repaired after it had 'appeared suddenly' in a small asteroid belt.
Two teenagers were arguing near the ship, their voices getting louder as the argument continued.
"It looks stupid, Toni. Get rid of it." The girl said, her green eyes flashing in anger at the boy who bore the blunt of her anger.
"It does not! Anyway, I can do whatever I want to do with it." The boy retorted, his eyes almost seeming to glow. The two continued to glare at each other, their eyes trying to stare the other to death. The third teenager who came upon the scene stopped in amazement. There seemed to be lightning flashing between the two. He rubbed his eyes, blinking, and then looked again. Yep, the lightning was still there. He rolled his eyes. Not again.
"Toni, Lana, stop it." Elik told them, striding forward.
At nearly eighteen years of age, Elik had grown into his power. He had grown older and matured, as it is natural in five years. He looked like his father at that age, except for the hair which he changed a lot. Naturally, his hair had remained the same reddish-brown, with it looking even lighter in the sunlight. But more often than not, he changed its color often. It went back and forth from black, to his natural color, and to a mix of the two (blackish with small streaks of red and brown). Sometimes he died it other colors, like blond, white, and blue for both disguises and fun. His eyes, when he didn't have contacts in to change their color, were the same blue as they had always been. They were just colder and darker with the reality of his life. When he got angry, they could look like chips of ice. He was still short, to his utter horror, and would only grow to be average height when he stopped growing. He hated that, and it was a focus point of teasing between his 'family'. At the moment his hair was the mix color of black and the streaks of red and brown. Somehow, he was the only one that was able to make it work.
Both of the other two teens turned and looked at him. They had grown too. Lana had changed into a young woman who had human men of all types looking at her. She was beautiful, something she used to get information (not that way, you sickos, she just made people especially men slip up information when they were focusing on trying to…you know…which never happened). She tended to just have her hair just two different ways. Her natural hair color, red, or a mix of colors (red, black, brown, and gold). Antoni had gotten much taller, two feet taller than Elik who grumbled about that a lot. His hair was the same color as before, except for the streaks of light blue he had applied in his hair. Oh, he changed his hair color for disguise purposes but didn't like to. He hated when he had to change it to a different color like black or brown, but degrudingly did so.
The reason they had to change their hair color so much, and use a variety of other disguise techniques was to stay a step ahead of the hunters on their trail. The hunters, mainly the Empire since Palpatine didn't trust bounty hunters not to harm them in anyway, had been getting more desperate to get them and they had to move around all the time to stay ahead. They hated it, but it was necessary to stay out of the Sith's hands. Palpatine wanted Elik just as much as before, and would not take no for an answer. The only times they were not at one of their many 'bases' or refueling and getting supplies, they were just hanging around in space. They didn't get out much but had to make sacrifices to stay free.
They had all grown closer, like a family. Jax was the guardian/mentor/older brother while they were the students/younger siblings. Jax had been the one to teach them the Jedi skills they would of learned from a Jedi Master if things didn't turn out differently. He used his own experiences and what he had been taught to teach them. Thankfully, the information that had been copied and stored by unknown Jedi (the same exact information that had been in the Jedi Archives) had helped. Jax still did not know who had copied it all, but histories, tales, techniques and so much more would have been lost if that unknown Jedi hadn't done so. Jax had done what Master Kenobi had said and copied the information on about fifty or so memory crystals. Memory crystals could store so much. Just one could store all the information in the Jedi Archives and that is what Jax had done. He had then slowly but surely hid the crystals around the galaxy, mostly on planets in the outer rim or beyond. These planets had been forgotten for years, and many of them training grounds for the Sith. Many artifacts were there still, along with numerous tombs of long dead Sith. Palpatine left them alone. Jedi could not last long there, with the dark side having been absorbed in the very rock themselves. They would go crazy from the exposure. So Jax had used this, and had hidden the crystals there. Only Jax and Elik knew where they were. The spirits and dark side energies left the crystals alone, since they were made of a material that gave no indication to the force that anything was there.
So the Jedi Archives had been saved. Elik in fact also wore a crystal around his neck, disguised as a simple decorative necklace.
"I got the supplies and as soon as Jax returns we can leave. Stop drawing attention to yourselves. You can argue when we leave." One serious recent flaw of Elik's was that he tended to get way too serious at times like this. He would be tense the whole time he was anywhere but in the safety of hyperspace or the Hide-Out (as Toni had named the planet they had made their main hide away place. It was this planet that they had gone to first five years before. It was the planet Korriban, and even though the place gave them the creeps, from all the dark side energies there, they had come to get used to it. the nightmares had taken a bit to get used to though.) While it was good to be serious at times like this, Elik tended to take it to extremes. He also tended to make himself sick afterwards from all the stress.
The two others looked at each other for a brief moment. While they had their "husband-wife" moments, as Elik and Jax called it, they knew the seriousness of the situation. They also were agreed that Elik needed to get away from this place or he would have a heart attack. They didn't know what it was this time, but this supply trip was making Elik nervous. Elik was much stronger in the Force than them, and he had been trained to trust his senses. If he knew something was wrong, then something was wrong.
"Where's Jax?" Toni asked, looking around. Actually this place was starting to get him nervous.
"Right here…get on the ship now!" Jax's voice rang out at them, making them instantly look. The dark haired man was running in their direction. Then they felt the warning in the Force and obeyed his command. They ran aboard the ship and closed the hatch after Jax limped through. Elik was already at the controls. It took no time at all for the ship to lift and take off. They were just in time too, since three stormtroopers ran into the hangar right then.
Lana had gotten Jax to sit down. The bottom of his left leg was red with blood and strips of cloth hung off. "What happened?"
Jax panted, and accepted her help without complaint. Normally he hated being helped, but this time it was necessary. Hissing as she poured alcohol on his wound, he gritted his teeth. It hurt like hell, but it needed to be cleaned. She was using the alcohol, so apparently they had ran out of medical supplies again. "A man came into the shop when I was about to leave. He was talking about troopers having just landed. I hurried here as soon as I can, but it wasn't just troopers this time."
Lana gasped. "It wasn't Vader?"
He nodded glumly. "Somehow they knew we were there. He knew where I was, and almost got me. I gave them a little chase. Not sure where Vader went, but I had to get to you guys."
"I know where he went." Elik's strained voice came from the cockpit. Lana helped Jax up and they went to join the others. All of them were pale and looking straight ahead. They followed their eyes and then gulped. Three star destroyers were blocking their way. There was no way to get past them.
"Now that is just overkill. Three of them is a bit much." They knew they were caught. Damn. Five years they had lasted, but it was all over. Toni voiced all of their thoughts. "I just want to know why he wants you so much, Elik."
"I know, I want to know too. Guess we'll find out, won't we?" Elik said, sounding defeated. Then he straightened. "Toni, erase the main computer. We can't let them found out where we were." Toni nodded and then turned to the little box that stored all of their destinations. He agreed. They couldn't find their hide outs. (AN: I have no idea of the layout of ships' controls, so bare with me. If I get it wrong, don't shoot me.) Toni took out his lightsaber and ignited it. The pale green beam shot out, and in less time than it takes to brink the control box was laying on the floor in pieces of melted metal and wire. He made sure it was destroyed past hope, and then put his saber away. "It's done."
They were separated when they reached one of the Star Destroyers. They had to sit helplessly as they were pulled in by tractor beam. At least that gave time for them to destroy everything they didn't want the enemy to get their hands on. That included any indication of their hiding places, and a few other odds and ends. When they were brought aboard, Elik and the rest of them were separated. Elik was taken in the opposite direction, and had the dubious pleasure to be taken to Darth Vader. He glared at the man, machine really, with all of his hatred. This was the source of everything that had happened to him, besides Palpatine. This had once been the man he had looked up to with all of his being, the man he wanted to be like someday. He hated Darth Vader, and had not been able to get rid of the hatred in all the mediation he had done. Hatred was not a good emotion for a Jedi to feel, but no matter what he tried he couldn't get rid of it.
He felt Vader before he saw him. The darkness surrounding him was almost palpable, so much that even the non-Force sensitive people around him could feel it. Vader looked at him, he couldn't tell what he was thinking because of the mask, silently. "You have been most troublesome to catch, boy." Vader could almost feel the gears turning inside the boy's head, trying to think of how to get out of this situation. "I wouldn't try anything, if you are smart. There is nowhere for you to go. If you do, terrible consequences will befall your friends."
"What do you want with me, Vader? Why don't you just kill me now?" Elik knew he couldn't try anything. He would never bring harm to his friends, and besides Vader did have a point. Where would he go if he did escape? They were in space, and heading for the capital.
"The Emperor has requested your presence. You should feel honored, boy. Not many has the chance to have audience with the my master at his request."
"Somehow, I really don't feel honored."
"Take him away and put in a cell far away from the others. Put the ship in a private bay and do not board it." Vader turned and walked away, feeling the burning gaze on his back as the boy was dragged away. He could feel the hate in the boy's gaze as he looked at him. That was good and would make it much easier for his master. Shrugging away the memories of a weak man and this boy so long ago, he strode to inform his master of the news.
He felt the presence of the Emperor before he even set foot on the planet. It was like a vast darkness, eating away at the light. It was centered around the palace, and he knew he did not really want to go there at all. But he had no choice. His family was still on the ship and would stay there for the time being. For their safety, he had no choice but to quietly follow the stormtroopers. The path they took was empty of any people, and for that he was glad. He hated being stared at, and the sight of him being surrounded by stormtroopers would make it impossible not to stare. It was utter agony, walking along that seemingly long stretch of hallway. He lifted his chin, disguising his feelings for defiance. That disappeared when two large black doors came into view. He could feel the source of the darkness right behind the doors, and he was getting closer. Soon he would be in the room. As they reached the doors, they slid quietly open. The stormtroopers surrounding him stayed behind, but there was no chance of escape. Two masked, red guards of the Emperor came forward and took over. He couldn't do anything with them around. They were the elite. They have trained for years to hone their skills, along with natural talent. He was still an apprentice Jedi; even though Jax taught him along with the others he wasn't his master. They were masters in their own right, of their way of fighting. He would have no chance.
The room was large, and seemed only to hold the one platform at the other end. The thrown on the platform had its back to them, the person seated upon it not even bothering to turn around as he entered. Elik was escorted to right before the thrown, and made to stand there. He could feel the darkness pushing at his mental shields. It knew something he didn't and seemed to echo with satisfaction. Minutes passed, and Elik was focused on trying to stay still and quiet. He knew what the man was doing. Finally the thrown slowly turned, and he was face to face with the man who had caused all of his misery.
He was startled to see that the man once known as Senator Palpatine, and then later as Councilor Palpatine looked…so old. His skin had shriveled, and the shadows under his eyes deepened. Out of the caverns that could be called eyes, two yellow eyes looked down at him. Palpatine looked down at the young man…no boy that stood before him. To think that this boy had been causing so much trouble for him and not coming forward was amusing. This boy held so much power that he almost burst with it. He had waited five long years to have this boy in his possession. Somehow, he had escaped the temple with his friends. Ever since then, he had led his hunters on a game of hide and seek (with him in the lead). He had gotten quite a few officers quite upset at him, with his ability to get out of any trap they set up. It was really a stroke of luck that he had been caught, with three Star Destroyers to make sure he did not escape again. It might have been considered overkill, but it had been necessary. Somehow this boy had the most luck in the galaxy.
He had been trained, at least partially in the Jedi Arts, but not enough. It was obvious that the one teaching him was not a Jedi Master, though that did not mean he was not a good teacher. It was to Jax Pavan's credit that his students were trained as good as they were. Lord Vader had told him of the training he could tell just by watching the prisoners. The way they moved, so they could move at any second and yet still be relaxed. It was the mark of someone who had trained their body to do that. Palpatine actually found it quite ironic that the son of the man that had almost ruined, or at least set back, his plans so many years ago was one of those to survive. Not only did he survive, but he prospered and fought back. Mainly by protecting and teaching the three children with him. While the elder Pavan had not been a Jedi, he had had qualities that Palpatine did not see that often. Resourcefulness, cleverness, and a determination that was unmatched by most people.
Each of his students had the same qualities, either inborn or taught. It was interesting to observe.
He observed the boy in front of him. Seeing the dyed hair and therefore more ways of disguise, he mentally mused on how such simple methods had prevented his hunters from spotting him in a crowd (even when right in front of them). It had happened more than once, quite a few times actually. He saw the concealed emotions in the boy's eyes. Fear, nervousness, confusion, trepidation, and anger: all were there. He was pleased to see the anger. Lord Vader had reported his hatred. Good signs. More ways for the dark side to get its grasp on the young Jedi.
"Elik Kenobi, how good it is to see you at last. I was beginning to fear that I would not be able to see you myself." A lie, he knew he would no matter how long it took. He always got what he wanted. He felt the surprise of the guards when he had spoken the boy's last name, but did not fear it getting out. They were too well disciplined and trained for that. "I must say, I am impressed on how you have escaped my servants for so long."
"Maybe they need to be replaced. They are obviously incompetent. Even your little pet Vader needs to be trained more." The boy retorted, almost spitting Vader's name out. Palpatine smirked mentally. That was something he would have to play off of later on, during his training. His rather…negative emotions toward Vader could be put to good use.
"Hmm, it wasn't just them my dear child." He bristled at the 'child' part but kept silent. "Let's discuss the foolishness of my men later, shall we. We have much more to talk about."
"We have nothing to talk about."
"Yes, yes, we do. We will have to discuss the…benefits of you joining my side."
The boy was struck speechless. Obviously everything he had thought of why the Palpatine wanted to see him was nothing near the truth. "I will never join you."
Palpatine chuckled dryly. "Let's not dismiss it before you hear more, my young apprentice. It is after all, your friend's fate we are talking about. Along with other…benefits."
The boy hesitated. He could see the conflict in his eyes. That was a good sign. "Of course, you don't have much of a choice. I have the means of securing you and making sure you don't have any means to get out." He gestured, and before the boy could do anything, he was held still as a needle was injected in his skin. The blue-ish liquid inside the needle was painfully injected, and it was quite a lot too. The liquid was specially designed by his scientists years before, and enhanced in the years after being designed. It was simple really. The liquid would be absorbed by the blood cells, then the bones, then the organs, and everything else in the body. Each cell would have the liquid inside of them, and as they divided would just produce more. Not just one injection was enough though. There were about twenty in the period of ten days that would be needed. But after that, Elik would have no choice. Elik would not be able to end his own life, and would be forced to obey his master's commands or else cripplingly pain would flood each cell in his body. There would be no physical side effects, for the pain was not physical, but he would feel it all the more. Whenever Palpatine wanted to, he would trigger the pain. Eventually, it would make sure that Elik obeyed his every command whether he wanted to or not. It was like training a pet or a small child, actually, very similar. Obey or face the consequences.
The boy was released after all the liquid was injected, and he fell. Palpatine knew that it was very painful when it was injected. He had had it tested on many test subjects before he knew it was ready, and each one had the same reaction. Well, the reaction now was worse than the first test subjects', because he had made it worse. He waited for a moment longer for the boy's eyes to fall on him.
"What has just been injected into you is a special little liquid. It will spread to every cell in your body. When each cell divides, it will be reproduced. It will be everywhere in your body, and would be permanent. At just a thought," he triggered the pain and the boy collapsed again, "or a movement, well you see what will happen. You cannot get out of it. It also makes you unable to injure yourself, so no trying to kill yourself now. Any attempt will trigger it, and it will last for one week after the attempt."
He waited until the pain faded slightly for the boy, and he knew he had made his point. "You are mine now, Elik. You will train under me, and at times under Lord Vader. During the training I will know when you are disobeying me, and I will trigger the pain again. Any lack of effort or improvement will also do it. I suggest you work hard, or these coming few years won't be so pretty for you. You will never be physically hurt, unless I deem that you need to be and so I will head your punishment sessions myself. Do you understand?" He triggered it again, and watched silently, enjoying the waves of agony off the child. He asked again. "Do you understand?"
He triggered it again. "Not what I want. Try again."
"Yes my master." The boy obviously hated the words, but uttered them anyway.
"Good, good. I suggest you work hard, since your friends' lives hang in whether you do or do not. There may be rewards if you work hard enough, so I suggest you do so."
Later on, Elik huddled next to the wall in the small cell he had been oh so generously given. If he worked hard, he may be moved to a more comfortable room but until he did this was what he had to look forward to every night. One of his lightsaber burns stung, and he held the whimper in. His training had started that day. Vader had been called to 'test' his lightsaber skills. He really wished he hadn't, since he had been pushed torturously by the former Jedi. He had not been given any breaks, and had been forced to desperately keep the red blade of the other's lightsaber from inflicting any more wounds. Every time he fell Palpatine had also flooded his body full of pain, too. He had been almost unable to move by himself when Palpatine had called for a stop.
After that, he had been dragged off the floor and then taken to a 'special' lab. There, he had been implanted with several chips, along with blood replenishing medicines that had been dumped down his throat. One apparently for tracking, but he wasn't told of the purpose for the others. One of the he had found out, though, its purpose when it had knocked him to the floor when he tried to call upon the light side of the Force for comfort and healing. Apparently his new 'master' had covered every possibility.
His friends were in similar cells as he was, but apparently with slightly more comfortable privileges. They had a bed. Every one of them had force restricting collars and bracelets on, and was guarded at every moment. Each of them worried for Elik, and for themselves. They didn't know what was going on but didn't like it.
Hope that chapter was good. R&R