S/N: This is only the interlude of an epilogue between this tale and its sequel...
As the fourth year since Revan's flight rolls around, another from the past makes a return aboard a Republic warship bound for Onderon. Someone who fought in Revan's forces during the Wars yet had not gone with him into the Jedi Civil War. A curious phenomenon in Kreia's eyes because if this one could resist Malachor, what else could be done through this Exile. She had found her candidate at last and so went off to find the Exile knowing either Sion or Nihlius would not be far behind if someone told them of this return.
The Harbinger transports the Exile presumably in secret, but the appearance of a Sith warship bothers Captain Rieekan, especially after picking up this Exile at the request of Admiral Onasi. The alteration of course from Onderon to Telos also factors into his 'bad' feeling about running into the Sith. A search of the Sith warship revealed nothing except a severely scarred man who appears to be dead and likewise the freighter found in the same area is equally 'abandoned' except for a utility droid and a 'protocol' droid. Over the course of next several days, people start to go missing, turn up dead, and ship systems begin to fail sequentially until the Harbinger is left adrift.
Kreia realizes she must act, but can no longer entirely sense the Exile aboard. Her search eventually leads to one of the ship's smaller cargo holds where the Exile is unconscious thanks to a mass dose of sedatives from the 'protocol' droid. She and some of the remaining crew sneak the Exile's unconscious body to the Ebon Hawk, and barely side track the stealth Assassins that had been killing the crew. Their escape is equally narrow as the Harbinger fires on the Hawk during its attempt to jump away, which damages the hyperdrive.
The freighter limps out of hyperspace into the Peragian Asteroids, which contains the shattered remnants of what is left of Peragus II, a mining world that provides the fuel that keeps Citadel Station among other places running or flying after the fuel shortages following the Jedi Civil War. The Republic after centuries of dependence on the Jedi is now learning how much of a crutch the Order had been as far as fighting battles or meditating difficult proceedings. The losses become hard lessons yet they learn just the same.
The devastation at Katarr is another tipping point in the on-going dejarik game between those that don the trappings of the Jedi and dress in the garbs of the Sith. The last of the Jedi were believed to have died at Katarr yet the Sith have not made themselves known until this encounter with the Harbinger. This twist does not surprise Kreia because while Sion and Nihlius are not Revan, they are however decent strategists as far not falling for the delusion that there are no more Jedi. There is a particular truism that goes as long as there is Sith, there is Jedi, as the two had kept blades at a draw from the beginning as they both channel the same source, the Force.
The differences between two depends on definitions of the methods and practices of the two. The battle between them continues like an endless dejarik game, and Kreia is nothing if not an adept practitioner of the game. She had not however thought to count on Sion to be the one to find the Exile first. However she admits to herself even the Force if can is not without a sense of irony. The damage done by Sion's new toy, the Harbinger has left the Hawk in worse shape than the Sith warship Sion had purposely used to deceive the Harbinger's captain.
Multiple ruptures trigger the lockdown protocol, and the blast doors cut off Kreia from the Exile. There is a further problem as the 'protocol' droid had gotten aboard though is stuck behind one of the blast doors with the deactivated HK-47. T3 is somewhere at the front of the freighter. The Harbinger survivors that got away with Kreia begin asphyxiating, and she herself succumbs to a lack of oxygen. She however sustains a reduced breathing method, a rare Force ability.
Peragian Mining Facility, near planetary remnants of Peragus II
Atton Rand is led to a Force Cage where he is left pending a hearing to discern the final punishment. He collapses into a seated position, head in his hands, and begins a mental Pazaak game with himself. There is a slight paleness to this dark haired man whose history is largely unknown, but life after the Jedi Civil War had left many people to wander the Galaxy for direction, for purpose. Rand had been running various routes for what felt like ages, but likewise he felt a small measure of relief to be doing something other than drinking and gambling from time to time.
He also understood to some extent why the Jedi had been 'wiped' out, and perhaps why the Sith were relentless. He had fought in the Mandalorian Wars and the Jedi Civil War under Darth Revan. His service record is a relative secret, but even the name he answers to is far from the man he was or the man he might become though his preference is to skip the philosophical pondering. At first security is back regularly to complain about the noise though it became more apparent that they had bigger problems to fry besides him.
"When I am getting any more food in this can?" shouts Atton
A guard brings a tray eventually, and Atton eats most of it though hides some scraps given the eventuality that they might not be back regularly enough. This is also not his visit to a Force Cage nor liable to be his last either. The hours pass without incidents and eventually he grows bored of mental pazaak. He munches on some left over bread and realizes it has been too long since the last full meal. His usual complaint about the food draws no attention.
"This place is too quiet even for a mining facility…" murmurs Atton.
The Ebon Hawk, (adrift nearing Peragus II)
T3 finally manages to reboot, the klaxon alarms alert him to the hull ruptures, and what is more troublesome is that the ship's engines are malfunctioning or offline as it drifts further into the Peragian Asteroids. There are multiple internal reroutes being made until he can find the time to make a full repair, but right now saving the Exile took precedence over his own damage. He bypasses the damaged systems locking him out of the Main Hold, and finds the 'woman' that took interim ownership of the Hawk 'dead' along with other 'passengers' in the Hold.
He hacks the control terminal to unlock the blast doors separating him from the Exile, and retrieves medpacs to stabilize the Exile for the time being however a kolto tank is what is really in need now. Another utility droid is found in the Cargo Bay, and so T3 repairs what he can of that one before it joins him on his quest for makeshift parts to repair his systems and the engines. 3D-FD operates the control panel's door interface functions allowing T3 to pass into the Garage, which is in the worst shape of any part of the Hawk. There are several large holes in the deck, the ceiling, and almost the entire back wall is open to the vacuum of space.
T3 takes what little he found to construct a few repair modules for himself so he can stop drawing power away from other internal systems to keep his motor functions running at full capacity. The modules allow him to disconnect the internal bypasses and resume functioning with minimal power drain. He returns back through the inner door, the inner door shuts behind him, the outer door opens, and he rolls out towards the utility lift. An exterior search is necessary to discern if there is anything salvageable for parts on the outer hull and to see how much damage the ship to ship fire did to the outside of the Hawk.
The damage to ship looks worse from the outside naturally from the carbon scoring, the ruptured hull plating, the quad lasers are also out of commission, the starboard engine's circuitry is visible, and an undetonated proton torpedo protrudes from the hull near the battered engine. T3 and 3D retrieve spare parts from both sides of the outer hull. T3 also deactivates and recovers mines that were left on the hull during the firefight with the Sith warship. The two droids return to the interior, a mine is set in front of the sealed engine room. The detonation disables the locking mechanism of the blast door protecting the engine room.
The two steadily work to repair and reactivate at least the port engine in order to get the ship into the lane to dock at the Peragus Mining Facility. The ship's computer voice reports that the port engine is now functional due to makeshift repairs, and so T3 leads the way to the cockpit to direct the auto-pilot towards the mining outpost. An audible bang follows the ship's acceleration, and the pair of utility droids turns to face their attacker. 3D takes the brunt of the blast while it only temporarily short circuits T3 as the freighter comes in for a landing in facility's hangar bay.
A team of mechanics and a security officer board the damaged freighter. They find a pair of damaged utility droids, a cognitive 'translator' droid, several corpses, and one barely alive human female in the ship's medbay. She is immediately taken to facility's medical bay and put into the only remaining kolto tank. The bodies including Kreia's ends up in the morgue.
The droids are sent to maintenance though 3D's damage gets him a place in the storage lockers as they have not the parts available to fix the damage to his systems. The 'protocol' droid is left in the company of the facility's chief maintenance officer. The administrator begins a series of discrete inquiries about the freighter and its passengers. He learns of the Exchange's bounty on all Jedi, which include her, and as for the ship, it has a history almost as complicated as hers.
The facility grows quieter, which each passing day, more mysterious deaths, aberrant behavior from the outpost's droid population, and the miners have it out about what to do with the female Jedi in the kolto tank. The administrator's group is intent on safe guarding her against the greed of a few miners that would use her bounty to get themselves off this 'rock' as they put it. Tensions escalate quickly, and the administrator's group takes refuge in the dormitories though find themselves stuck there.
Betrayals are the usual order of business when credits are the stakes for the prize. The outpost like the planet it hovers over is its own kind of grave yard, and so the place is truly a floating tomb. The bodies in the morgue have their own story to tell, but one is not dead, not yet anyway. This one gradually reaches out to the mind of the Jedi floating in the kolto tank. A bond is made, one truly unlike any other before in the history of the Jedi or the Sith.
"The time has come, your abilities, you specifically are in need, not just for yourself, but there is much that still needs doing, and the tasks ahead require a capable mind and a flexible frame. I rather not be asking you for this, but there are reasons that it has come to this… I will share why in time… but for right now, just know that there is something that threatens us all beyond the tasks that will meet you outside this place…"
Her eyes flick open, there is an audible gasp for air, the tank releases her, and she flops to the floor into a puddle of kolto. She keeps gasping as if unable to breathe for several minutes before regaining her composure and noticing the darkened state of the medical wing. The other tanks have bodies in them, but there are no signs of life in them. She remembers feeling the lives around her winking out one by one and feeling her own body resisting whatever took their lives. There is an inescapable coldness to the room, but she equally realizes she is only wearing a patient jumpsuit.
The room has cameras, and so she heads off into the office next door. The hack took a few minutes, but the records clearly show that a toxin had been put into the kolto's filtration system. The command to release had come from somewhere else on the outpost, but despite the quantity of the dose, it had not killed her though she suspects it was not meant to, only to kill them. She then unlocks the sealed morgue, and passes Kreia's body without as much as a passing glance. She picks up a plasma torch from a kit that belonged to one of the dead mechanics.
"I suspect you found what you were looking for… I also believe you are wondering what brought you here or what happen after your arrival…"
"Somehow I did not think anyone still used the death like trances, but as you were the one talking to me in my head while I was still recovering in the tank…"
"It is surprising you were able to hear me, but you felt far more receptive than any other I have met over the years except Revan."
"Revan? I thought he was dead…"
"In a manner of speaking, he did die, but he had become more or so I had heard…"
"I heard little aside from the rumors, but even then I did not entirely trust it."
A/N 1: I based most of what happens here on the back history told by Kreia and that assassin droid that had a hand in what happens to the miners. I enjoy T3's more proactive role in the second game so obviously he'll be even more active in this tale's sequel.
A/N 2: The Exile is wary of Kreia's motives, as one would expect, I mean I didn't really trust her from the off either, but I came to grasp her line of thinking. Also her voiceover actress is spectacular, I mean you want to make a game atmospheric, you need the voices more than anything else at least for me.
A/N 3: The Exile technically made an earlier cameo in one of the flashbacks, which if you were paying close attention to you might recognize the name I give her in the sequel.