Six of them had made it to the bridge. One she hadn't known had fallen in the hangar bay, the other, Thomas, had been killed by a Dark Jedi at the elevator. Three of them from Dantooine survived, the other three were Jedi Bastila did not know.
The bridge doors slid open and the six of them hurried through. All of their views were drawn to the Dark Lord. He stood at the end of the raised walkway near the main window, his back to them, watching the battle outside. Scattered around the room were a dozen or so technicians nervously working their terminals. In addition to them were six Dark Jedi, standing with their arms folded over their chests, glowering at the Jedi strike team.
For several long moments no one spoke. Eventually a great sigh escaped the Dark Lord; his shoulders slumped slightly. "Eight of you I felt come aboard but only six here now. It saddens me to know that my own soldiers would disobey my orders. Clearly they have already paid for their disobedience with their lives. Thank you for saving me the trouble of killing them myself." His voice was deathly calm and mildly distorted by his mask. He turned to face them, still with his hands clasped casually behind his back.
Bastila was once again struck by how imposing and intimidating Revan could be, yet still be so… short. Well… average height. But what he lacked in stature he more than made up for in raw power. Just standing in his presence was enough to reawaken the fear and doubts she had had when starting this mission. Looking at what he had become was like swimming through a darkness that clung to her limbs, weighing her down until she was drowning.
One of the Knights that had accompanied her from Dantooine spoke up, pulling her from her thoughts.
"In the name of the Galactic Republic and the Jedi Order, you are under arrest Revan!"
Bastila thanked the Force for Nolan. He was a shining beacon to Revan's swirling void. Tall, handsome, and as true to the light as any Jedi could be. She remembered that he and Revan had once been friendly rivals, almost evenly matched in power and skill. The authority in his voice pulled Bastila from the darkness and restored her confidence. They would accomplish their mission and capture Revan. They would have their answers about his fall and his traitorous actions later when they were safe on Dantooine again.
Despite the power in Nolan's voice, Revan ignored him entirely. "I felt the Battle Meditation you used to board my ship. Tell me, which of you possesses that power? It was brilliantly done." Revan's voice, though still perfectly calm, rumbled with the power of the Force.
Bastila felt compelled to admit her role in the assault. No, not compelled, not admit, she wanted to take credit for her actions, for her power. A power that impressed one as powerful as Revan was worth some recognition. Her left foot slid forward and her mouth opened to claim responsibility, but at the last second she managed to stop herself.
He was devious. A simple question goaded on with thoughts of pride and glory in her, no doubt feeding jealousy in the others. Was it so easy for him to turn others to the dark side? She closed her mouth defiantly and slowly moved back in line with the others, but it was too late. He had read it in her posture and half started actions, as well as the body language of the others. He had his answer.
"Bastila?" He said, almost sounding surprised. "This would explain much. Had I known of your ability before I left I would have taken greater strides to take you with me." He paused for a moment while she glared at him then continued. "You have the strength and power to become a great Jedi Bastila Shan. But with the proper guidance you could become a legendary Sith!" The other Jedi looked at her nervously as Revan held out his hand. "Come Bastila, join me. With your Battle Meditation we can end this war quickly. With your power you could limit the bloodshed. Together we would be an unstoppable force, the Republic would lose ground daily, and you could influence them into surrender rather than resistence. Think about it Bastila. You hold the lives of the entire Republic in your hands. Come to me Bastila, you will lead our troops to bloodless victory. You will be hailed as the great savior. The one who ended the war, ended the slaughter…"
His voice had softened, he genuinely sounded concerned. He wanted her help, her help, Bastila Shan, the lowly Padawan and her great gift. It was so tempting; she could almost see the end of the war, the celebration, millions of lives saved by her actions…
"Don't listen to him Bastila!" Nolan shouted, again saving her from her dark thoughts. "He is a Sith, he spreads nothing but lies!" Nolan ignited his lightsaber, the blue blade shone brightly in the dully lit room. Bastila and the other Jedi followed his example. Nolan continued. "This is your last chance Revan, surrender peacefully or we will use force!"
Revan slowly lowered his hand and put it behind his back once more. He seemed to consider Nolan's words before speaking. "Kill them. But leave Bastila alive. We still have much to discuss."
The Dark Jedi sprang forward, crimson blades extending from their own lightsabers and the twelve Jedi joined battle. The one facing Bastila moved slowly, almost hesitantly. She could see the fear in his eyes as he stalked forward. She risked a glance around. The others were joining battle with sabers or Force powers depending on their preference, each facing a Dark Jedi who seemed to share that preference. Revan had clearly chosen his minions very carefully for this. Even the one facing her, his fear could only mean he was a novice. His fear was a novice's fear of his first real battle, and it mirrored her own.
Damn him. She thought. He's mocking us.
But she did not have time for such thoughts. Her opponent started pressing hard. He fought like it was a training session; like she used to spar with her instructors, and for some reason that helped her. High, low, thrust, repulse, lock. She was forcing him back. Thrust, repulse, high.
She heard a scream, shaking her focus and turned to see one of the Jedi from Coruscant, and older man, shrinking back under a barrage of lightning, leaping forth from the Dark Jedi's fingers. Even as she watched the Dark Jedi moved forward and cut him down, silencing him.
Nolan moved to take on the now extra Sith, his lightsaber working in brilliant arcs as he fought off both of his assailants. With a twist and roll of his blade he pierced the heart of one Dark Jedi and delivered a slash across the throat of the other. He took a few steps forward and leveled his lightsaber toward Revan.
"You'll pay for all you've done!"
"Why can't any of you understand? Why can't any of you see that what I'm doing is necessary? How can you all be so blind? Even my own apprentice is blind…" it was difficult to tell if Revan was speaking to Nolan or simply musing aloud. It was a strange thing to say. Bastila decided that there must be some trick to his words, some hidden threat in his calm voice and casual posture.
She tried to call out to Nolan to be calm, but her attacker was pressing her too hard. She growled and pushed forward, changing her stance slightly, moving faster and flashing her blade before his eyes to distract him. She was pushing him back, hoping to finish him quickly so she could aid Nolan.
Nolan lunged at Revan, whose crimson lightsaber hissed to life. With only the slightest of movements, Revan deflected all of Nolan's initial attacks, not moving an inch, forcing Nolan to be the one to step back and prepare again. Revan raised his lightsaber casually in one hand. Nolan came on again, but still Revan defeated each of his attacks with casual ease, his left hand still held behind his back like it was all some sort of game. High, high, side, high, thrust. Revan rolled his blade up, forcing his over Nolan's thrusting blade and slashed out at the Jedi's face. Nolan ducked back just in time, and took an extra step back from the Sith Lord. Revan resumed his casual ready stance, his left hand still held behind his back.
Bastila pressed hard but while her opponent gave ground he would not leave any proper holes in his defense. She had pushed him back up the ramp almost to where Revan and Nolan were holding their duel. Bastila decided to abandon subtlety and began raining down heavy overhand blows with as much strength as she could muster. The novice continued retreating but without being able to look behind him his footing was unsure. She felt him falter beneath her attacks and held the next strike, forcing his blade down and to the side. She released the lock and thrust forward, he dodged but he had to move closer to the edge of the walkway putting him even more off balance, just as she had planned. She retracted her blade and came down with one last overhead strike. The novice raised his lightsaber, still not having fully regained his balance. His blade intersected hers but it did little good as the force of her swing drove his blade before it. Both her yellow blade and his red one passed across his face, effectively boiling it away in an instant. The novice tried to scream but could only make a choked gurgling noise as he crashed to the ground. Bastila had never killed anyone so directly before, but the adrenaline and the blood pumping in her ears delayed any impact that might have had on the young woman, at least for the moment.
She looked up just in time to see Nolan moving in for his third bout with Revan. But Revan finally moved his left had from behind his back. He reached out with the Force and grabbed Nolan, crushing him and slamming his body to the floor. Even through the rushing in her ears and the clash of lightsabers behind her she heard his neck snap and his last breath violently blast from his lungs.
As she watched Nolan's lifeless body crumple on the walkway, Bastila was vaguely aware of the other three Jedi moving to form up with her. Revan looked up from the body on the floor and looked directly at Bastila, assuming her the new spokeswoman of the team.
The other Jedi seemed to feel the same, each waiting at the ready slightly behind her. Nina, the one other surviving Jedi from Dantooine moved up beside Bastila and whispered. "We are with you."
Bastila blinked back tears and tried to swallow down her panic. Nolan had always been strong, and had been Revan's rival during training. But he had been defeated so easily. What hope could they have?
The mission! She told herself. Remember the mission! Lead them, take him down!
"You cannot win, Revan!" It took her a long moment to realize that she was the one who had said those words. And with such authority and power that she neither felt, nor believed. Around her she sensed the other Jedi stele themselves for the fight with the Dark Lord.
A terminal across the bridge began beeping an alarm, all but unheard as all the technicians had fled the instant lightsabers were ignited. Bastila and the other Jedi's gazes were drawn to something past Revan as he twirled his saber, positioning it at the ready high near his left shoulder, almost parallel to the floor.
Through the window they could see Malak's ship, the Leviathan, had pulled back from what remained of the space battle and turned broadside to Revan's. Even as they watched the Leviathan's cannons flared to life and lances of red energy shot toward the ship. Bastila was too stunned to shout a warning, but the female Twi'lek behind her managed to at least begin one.
"Brace yours-" was as far as she got before the explosions rocked the bridge. Nina, on Bastila's right was thrown from the walkway and in her fall hit her head on a nearby terminal. Bastila herself tried to use the Force to push off of the floor at the moment of impact, softening the blow somewhat. She was still thrown to the floor and felt a searing pain in her left arm. Her lightsaber was ripped from her grasp, and she used her now empty right hand to break her fall. The impact shook up the entire length of her arm, making it go instantly numb. The Jedi on her left was thrown backward to the ground, and the Twi'lek who had managed to shout the warning tumbled off the other side of the walkway.
Revan himself had been blown forward. Having been caught unaware and closest to the impact he had bared the worst injury and lay prone on the floor before a badly cracked window.
Bastila pushed herself up on her numb arm, shaking her head to try and clear it. "Re-report!" she managed to say.
The Twi'lek was the first to stand, swaying dangerously on her feet. "Mokay… ona… mokay…" She braced herself against the walkway with one hand, holding her head in the other, her legs shaking badly. The other Jedi hauled himself to his feet from where he had been thrown. "I'm ok. We got to get out of her, now!"
Bastila looked around for Nina, finally finding her body sprawled on the floor, her head surrounded by a halo of blood from where her head had cracked open. Her eyes were open, but glassy and dull in death. Bastila choked back a sob.
"Lets go!" The other Jedi said again, moving up and helping the Twi'lek up onto the walkway and starting back the way they had come. Bastila began to crawl forward to where her lightsaber had fallen near Revan's body. She was halfway there when he stirred and moaned weakly.
The Twi'lek had recovered enough to be astonished. "He's still alive…" she said. The alarms on the ship were blaring. The shouting of crewmembers in nearby corridors, the stomping of feet fleeing toward the escape pods. To the three Jedi all of it stopped as they heard a much more ominous sound: The slow, soft crack of glass.
They stayed motionless, scarcely breathing as the cracks slowly spread until suddenly the whole of the main window shattered at once, shards of glass being ripped out into the vacuum of space. Bastila saw her lightsaber being sucked toward the void as well as Revan's body being dragged closer to the gaping hole that used to be a window. She felt the air rushing past her, heard the angry roar of the void, and made up her mind in an instant.
She reached out with the Force, grasping not her lightsaber, which she watched helplessly as it sailed out into space, but onto Revan's unconscious body. She struggled to hold her concentration, to hold the Sith Lord's body in place for the few agonizing seconds it took for the emergency blast shield to cover the window, sealing the breach. Bastila collapsed for a moment before dragging herself to Revan's body.
"Leave him!" the Human shouted from the door, "He's dead!"
"He is not dead!" Bastila shouted back. "Our mission is to bring him back alive, and I for one will NOT let all this death be in vain, we WILL bring him back, and he will NOT die; I will NOT let him!" Bastila placed her hands on Revan's chest plate. She could feel his life ebbing away; in spite of her defiant speech she did not know how to stop it.
Damn it you will not die here! I won't let you waste their lives! Live damn you live!
As if in answer to her desperation, she felt power flow through her and into the unconscious Revan, as if stuffing his life back into him by sheer force of will.
The ship rocked with another set of explosions as the Leviathan continued to fire upon them. Bastila put one of Revan's arms over her shoulders and tried to stand up, but he was too heavy, and she was too weak. "Help me!" she shouted. The dazed Twi'lek disengaged herself from the Human and hurried over, taking Revan's other arm the two of them hauled the Dark Lord out of the bridge.
On their way back to the hangar, they encountered several soldiers and crewmen but none of them paid the Jedi a second glance. They were all too busy running for their own escape to care. They managed to get to their ship just as the explosions began to tear through the hangar. The two Jedi from Coruscant went to the cockpit, leaving Bastila to drag Revan to the small infirmary. Somehow she managed to get him onto one of the beds. As the ship took off and sped out of the destroyed hanger, Bastila carefully pried off Revan's mask.
She had not known Revan very well before he left for the Mandalorian War, but she knew his face had changed. His dark hair was still long and unruly beneath the hood, but his face was much harder than she remembered. He looked almost troubled. And there was a long scar under his eye that he must have gotten during the war. Stubble lined his cheeks and chin. Why shave when you wear a mask all day? She thought.
Carefully she hooked the unconscious Revan up to the life support systems. She checked the monitors, he was stabilized. Whatever she had done on the bridge of his ship, it had worked.
Of all the people who died today I managed to save only one life. The life of our greatest enemy and the man who killed Nolan, and Nina, and Thomas, and so many others… Please… Please let this not be a mistake.
She tried to hold on but she had reached the end of her endurance long ago. Bastila slumped forward as sleep overwhelmed her; her head resting on the body of the Sith Lord.