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The air is so cold. I can feel the cold seeping through my mask, or perhaps it is my own breath that is so chilled. Even the stars outside the viewport seem cold. They might otherwise be a beautiful sight if not for the blanket of canon fire. I turn from the chaos outside the ship. I do not want to turn, but it is as though my body has a mind of its own.
Four Jedi stand before me, their lightsabers drawn. The one with the yellow lightsaber stands out among the others. "You cannot win, Revan!" I feel nothing but derision for this arrogant woman. Or is it derision for myself? It is as though I've looked into a mirror; but no, that cannot be. I look down at my hand. The gauntlet feels so thick and heavy. My fingers clutch a lightsaber with a death grip. It snaps to life with an ethereal red glow.
My mind is screaming to stop. But I am not in control of my actions. I step forward to destroy my enemies. Despite what the arrogant Jedi said, I can win. I know I can. My arm is raised, tense. My lightsaber is poised to strike at any moment. Or is it that I am hesitating to strike? Moments pass, and still I do not strike. It is as though time itself were holding its breath in suspense. Why do I hesitate? The grip on my lightsaber loosens ever so slightly. Am I about to drop it?
A blinding flash of light. I am consumed by fire. Terror grips me. I hear a scream. A woman's scream.
I awoke to the sound of my own scream. My fingers tightly clutched a blanket. My body was drenched in cold sweat. I sat up, wildly surveying my surroundings, my breathing heavy and irregular. I caught my reflection in the ship's small viewport to see two brown pigtails and a pair of blue eyes.
I was myself once more.
My breathing slowed as I slowly shook off my disorientation. I was sitting in the pilot's seat of my ship's cockpit. My pillow had slipped down to my lower back when I sat up. I took the blanket and used it to wipe the sweat from my face and neck. My hands were still trembling from the nightmare.
Or was it a vision?
"No, this cannot be," I whispered to myself.
There could only be one possible explanation for why I would dream of an event through Revan's point of view when I myself had witnessed it. My heart turned to ice at the full implications of this realization. My mind was bound to that of a maniacal Sith Lord. And unlike last time, not only a little bit, but a lot. For me to dream a fragment of his memory that had flowed into my own mind...It was a strong bond indeed. Fantastic. Just fantastic.
I rose from the pilot's seat, throwing the blanket to the floor. I had to see him. Part of me didn't want to. No, all of me didn't want to after that dream. But it was past time I checked on him. I reached the small cabin near the rear of the ship that I had turned into a makeshift medical bay. The ship was too small to have an actual med bay. I had had to make due with the little it had. It was my strike team's ship, actually. I was fortunate to have it at all. It had been a challenge to drag the broken Sith Lord's body from the bridge to the hangar. It was not just the physical exertion of dragging his body. No, that I could manage with the help of the Force. It was that seemingly every other deck or passageway leading to the hangar had sealed itself off. There were hull breaches everywhere, all courtesy of Malak's bombardment. When I had finally made it to the hangar, I was surprised the crew hadn't hijacked my small ship to escape. I think they nearly had, for our pilot lay dead outside, having given his life to defend it.
Revan was just as I had left him. Comatose. He was lying on the bunk in the cramped crew quarters. His face looked more hale than it had two days ago when we had escaped his flagship. The saline IV bag was running low. It was one of the few proper medical supplies I had found on the ship, and the only means I had to keeping him hydrated during the long hyperspace journey. It was the last one, and there was no replacing it. No matter. We would arrive at Dantooine in a few hours.
I inspected his bandages. At least the bleeding had stopped. But I knew it had anyway since I had applied every last kolto pack to his wounds. However, there was one wound that no amount of kolto on the whole of Manaan could heal. That was his head wound. The damage to his brain had been too severe. I had tried to heal his mind, to bring him back, but all I had gotten for my efforts was this comatose state.
And a Force bond with my captive.
I snickered at the irony of the situation. How the tables had turned! One year ago, I had been his captive. And now my would-be captor was at my mercy. Fortunately for him, I actually was merciful. I could not, however, guarantee that of the Republic when they asked for his comatose body to be tried for war crimes. Of course, the irony was lost on my captive. But if he could have known that our roles had been reversed, I know he would have given me his signature sarcastic laugh. And I would have gladly shared that laugh with him.
I shook myself from my reverie to peel off his kolto-soaked bandages. His wounds had healed well, leaving only the faintest of scars along his torso and limbs. I gingerly lifted his head. The kolto had healed the skin on the surface, but I knew that was only a symptom of the damage beneath. Blood was likely pressing against his brain. There was nothing more I could do, but get him to Dantooine's medical facility to be treated.
I sighed. How would I explain this Force bond to the Jedi Council? Worse, how could I convince them to help Revan? They would surely attribute my actions to the time I had been his captive. I had spent the last year since my escape from Revan's grasp proving that I was still loyal to the Republic—that Revan had not turned me to the dark side. I had used my Battle Meditation in every single major battle during that time. I was so close to being knighted, I just knew. All would finally be forgiven. And now this. They would surely think I was partial to him. That I was giving into my emotions. That I was a confused, maybe even brainwashed, Padawan under the Dark Lord's influence.
What argument could I possibly give that would prove otherwise? No, the Jedi typically did not kill their prisoners. But the Republic would certainly insist on a trial and inevitable execution. The mere fact that I had gone to such extremes to keep a dying Sith Lord alive would raise questions to which I don't think even I had the answers. But I knew he could be turned back to the light. We had to try. Malak had stolen his last chance before he could take it. Of that, I was almost certain. I just had to somehow convince the Masters of this. They had to be shown that he wasn't beyond redemption.
Determination filled me and I grabbed Revan's hand tightly, my way of promising to do all I could to give him that second chance at choosing right.
But would he take it?
Several days had gone by since I had arrived on Dantooine. The Jedi Enclave there was the peaceful balm I needed. Revan I left to the care of the medics. Master Zhar, a Twi'lek on the Enclave's Council, was the first Jedi Master I could find when I landed. He debriefed me and called a joint meeting of the Jedi High Council on Coruscant and the Dantooine Council. Today they had finally convened. I was not privy to their discussions. Rather, I passed the time in the gardens.
Peace eluded me, however. I feared the worst for Revan. For several hours I waited for word of the Council's proceedings. It was then that I had sought out Master Zhar, between Council sessions, to ask if I could speak to the Council. Not that I was so sure that anything I had to say would have any bearing at all on their decision. Nevertheless, I found out from him that my anxieties were unfounded, as apparently the Council already had it in mind to meet with me soon. Patience. I must learn patience.
Two hours later found me once again in the gardens, preparing myself to speak before the Council. It was then that I was summoned.
"Padawan Bastila, the Council is ready to see you."
I rose from my nook on the grass. Taking a deep breath, I followed Master Zhar to the Council chambers. He seated himself on a chair. I stopped in the center of the room and surveyed the members convened. Vandar, Zhar (of course), Vrook, Dorak, and holoprojections of the members of the Jedi High Council on Coruscant. I could feel my anxiety mount, and quickly recited the Jedi Code to calm myself.
I gave the Jedi Masters a deep bow from the waist.
Vandar, a small, green alien of an unnamed species, began. "Welcome back, Padawan. We understand from Master Zhar that you wished to speak with us concerning the fate of Revan."
"Yes, Master," I said. "I have come to plead for the life of Revan."
Vrook huffed. Zhar's lekku twitched. Vandar lazily blinked and titled his head ever so slightly. I could swear the holoprojections shimmered just a bit.
"Padawan," Vandar continued, "the Jedi do not believe in killing their prisoners, if that is what worries you."
"Yes, I know, Master. What I mean is, I believe his mind could still be saved, if the Council is willing to use their collective power to bring him back."
"Hmm, yes. I understand. It was our original intent that he be captured alive and in good health. The information he has is invaluable. It would be to our benefit to restore his mind. You have done well, Padawan, to save his life."
I exhaled in relief, suddenly realizing I had been holding my breath.
"However," Master Vandar continued, "his mind is too shattered. If he can be saved at all, it will require a special connection to his mind. And if Master Zhar has told us correctly, you are the only one with such a connection."
Master Vrook held up a hand to interject. He was an aged, balding human, known for a stoic disposition. And I was well familiar with his disposition, as he was my own Jedi Master. "Forgive me, Padawan, but how exactly are you certain that you have a Force bond with Revan? Especially one so strong?"
I closed my eyes for a moment, collecting my thoughts. "When I found him on the bridge, he was so near death. I did the only thing I could think of. I tried to heal his mind with the Force."
Realization glimmered in Vandar's eyes. "I understand. Yes, that could very well create such a bond. But that is not all, is it?"
"No, Master. While bringing Revan to Dantooine I had a dream of our confrontation, just before Malak's ship fired. I was dreaming from Revan's perspective. It was his own memory..." I trailed off.
Vrook shook his head. "If what you say is true, then why bring back the Dark Lord at all? Why not simply reach into his mind with the bond and take the information we need?"
It was Zhar's turn to speak. "I understand your concern, Master Vrook. Regardless of whether we want to bring him back or not, it will be far easier to access his memories if he is alive. It will be nearly impossible to find precisely what we are looking for in his current state."
"Nevertheless," Vrook said. "I do not feel it is wise to restore Revan to his old self. He will resist sharing any information with us."
Vandar sighed. "I'm afraid Master Vrook speaks correctly. It is unlikely that Revan will voluntarily help us. And one of his great power will not easily allow us to access his mind."
No, this could not be! They could not leave him comatose! "Masters, forgive me, but I think he will if given the chance."
At that Vrook's head snapped up, his sharp gaze meeting mine, making me cringe inside. His words came in a torrent. "Padawan Bastila, surely you don't have an attachment to this...this Sith Lord, do you?"
I could feel my cheeks flushing red at that accusation. "No, of course not, Master! I was merely saying that I think he was on the verge of surrendering to us before Malak struck."
Vrook's eyebrows rose. Zhar's lekku twitched. Vandar lazily blinked.
"You think?" Vrook said. "You are not certain, then?"
I shook my head. "I cannot be absolutely certain, but I could feel the conflict within him."
Master Zhar leaned forward in his chair, his hands clasped together, as though I were the only other person in the room. "Padawan," he said softly, "I understand your time as his captive was most difficult and confusing. It is not uncommon for captives to become sympathetic toward their captors. Especially after so long."
My mouth opened to protest, but he raised his hand. "I am not saying you have formed an emotional attachment to him. But yours is a compassionate soul. Are you certain that his 'near-surrender' is not merely wishful thinking on your part?"
Here it was. The moment of truth. "Masters, I know I have not spoken much of the day-to-day details of my captivity under Revan. I had hoped to leave all that behind me when I escaped. Perhaps it is time I told you everything. You know how I was coerced and manipulated as his prisoner. You know that I finally escaped. You also know that I have resisted the lure of the dark side. But what you do not know is the other side of Revan I witnessed. A spark of light lives in him still. And I believe I caught a glimpse of that same spark just before Malak struck."
Master Vandar closed his eyes for a few moments. Then he opened them again and looked me in the eye. "Please tell us, Padawan Bastila. It would be best if you started from the beginning."