A/N: This is based off of the video game "Knights of the Old Republic". This is also part of a multi-crossover series around Lexen, but feel free to read anywhere in the series. (This was the first story actually written even if it isn't first chronologically.)
Chapter 1: The Endar Spire
There's a rumbling sound like unearthly thunder. The ground shakes and shudders like an angry bantha, bucking and buckling underneath me.
What's going on? The sky turns red, like blood spilling across the heavens, choked with black clouds. The ground breaks apart, tremors opening impossibly wide chasms. The world shatters beneath my feet.
A billion voices cry out in terror and are suddenly silenced.
I wake. A dream. It was a dream.
What an awful thing to be dreaming about. I sigh and rub my head, hoping to push aside the vivid imagery.
The ship shudders beneath an impact. That wasn't just a dream.
I quickly sit up in alarm, just as the door to my quarters whooshes open. An unfamiliar man comes in, wearing a uniform that I feel like I should recognize. He looks just about as panicked as I probably do at the moment.
"We're under attack!" he says.
"What's going on?" I ask in a rush. "Who's attacking us?"
"The Sith have boarded the Endar Spire," he replies. "Come on, we've got to save Bastila!"
"Wait a minute. Who are you? How do I know you're on my side?"
"I'm Ensign Trask Ulgo. I'm a Republic soldier, same as you! We work opposite shifts. That's probably why you haven't seen me before. Grab your gear from your footlocker and let's go!"
I suppose that makes sense. I guess I am a Republic soldier, like he says. Why else would I be here? Even though whatever I did yesterday is kind of hazy at the moment.
As I go to open my footlocker, I ask, "Who is Bastila?"
"Did you hit your head on the bunk when the ship was attacked?" Trask wonders, looking at me strangely. "She's a Jedi, and she's in command of this mission. She's the one who defeated the Sith Lord, Darth Revan! You swore an oath to protect her like everyone else on this ship!"
Why would I do something like that? I'm not one to make oaths or promises unless I really mean it, and I don't even know who this Bastila person even is. Never mind that I can't remember making any such oath now. But now isn't the time to be wondering. I'll just go along with things for the moment and try to figure out what's going on later. My mind is still kind of foggy, but I'm pretty sure I can fight.
I finish getting hurriedly dressed and pull out the weapons from the footlocker. A light blaster and a knife. It'll have to do for now, I suppose.
"I know you're a scout and not a soldier," Trask is saying. "But I hope you can fight. I'd think you'd have gotten into a scrape or two in your day. They say you've been all over the galaxy and have seen things I couldn't even imagine!"
I don't bother to tell him that if this is true, I must have some memory problems, because I don't even remember what planet I'm from, never mind anyplace I might have ever visited. Maybe he's right, and I did get a concussion or something when the ship was attacked. But there's no time for medical attention now.
"Alright," I tell Trask. "Let's go find Bastila, double-time!"
Outside of our quarters, we encounter a group of soldiers wearing silver armor fighting others dressed in Republic uniforms. These must be the Sith that Trask was talking about.
"For the Republic!" Trask cries, charging into battle like an idiot.
Well, at least he provides a good distraction while I get my weapons sorted out. I shoot a few of the Sith with my blaster. The damage is negligible, and I'm lucky to have not hit any of my apparent comrades in the process. Clearly, I'm not cut out for this sort of weapon.
The Sith notice my wild, ineffectual shooting, and fire several shots at me. Stinging blaster shots tag me in the leg and the side, and I stumble to one knee. Another shot hits Trask square in the chest, and he collapses in front of me. I glance at the side in alarm to see him sprawled out on his back, dead eyes staring blankly at the ceiling.
I don't have long to ponder his fate, however, as the next hit does it for me.
I wake, sitting up in my bunk in alarm. Was that a dream? I must be having nightmares about the ship being attacked now. Well, that's not going to happen. We're perfectly safe and nothing of note has happened so far. The stress must just be getting to me.
The ship shudders under an impact, and Trask Ulgo rushes in through the door. "The ship is under attack!"
Okay, so perhaps it wasn't just a dream after all. How strange. "The Sith found us? We have to protect Bastila!"
"Right," Trask says. "Grab your gear and let's go!"
I quickly get dressed and look at my weapons. A small blaster and a long knife. I'm not very good with the blaster, I know that much. Maybe that's what that dream was intending to warn me of. Well, I'll take that warning in good faith then. I tuck the blaster away and grip the knife instead.
Trask is talking to me, echoing the very words I had just been dreaming of. How odd. I say nothing and head out into the corridor.
There are several Sith fighting some Republic soldiers out here. "For the Republic!" Trask cries as he charges into battle.
While the Sith are distracted with the Republic solders, I slip up into the fray behind them and slit one's throat, then in a swift motion, slide the knife between the ribs of a second one. The blade feels much more natural in my hand, I note with approval.
As I wipe off my knife again and head after Trask, I think about how casually I just killed two men. Two human beings. Should I feel guilty about it? Probably not. They would have killed me, after all. But if anything, I feel excited. They're the enemy, people I can get away with killing without consequences. What am I, some kind of psychopath?
I find that thought doesn't really bother me much. I might not be able to actively remember a single battle, but I have well-honed battle instincts to fall back on. The minute I mentally tag someone as needing to die, I let my body do what it knows how to do, and bodies hit the deck.
"You're good with that knife," Trask says. "Smart move, using a weapon their shields can't stop."
"I wouldn't mind something with a bit longer blade, though," I comment. "A little more reach."
"A vibroblade would be a nice upgrade if you can find one," Trask says.
We round the corner to the sounds of humming energy blades. A woman in brown robes is fighting a man in black robes, and they're both wielding lightsabers, green and red respectively. I stop and stare for half a moment, frozen in fascination at watching them.
"A Dark Jedi!" Trask says. "And she must be one of the Jedi who came aboard with Bastila. We'd better stay back. We'd just get in the way."
"Black robes make someone a Dark Jedi?" I comment. "That's positively cliche. What are those things they're wielding?"
"Lightsabers," Trask replies.
"They're beautiful," I say, staring raptly at them. "And I want one."
"Good luck on that, you're no Jedi."
Both of them are very skilled, but they fight in completely different ways. The woman is all calm and precision, and seems to lean toward defense. The man, on the other hand, is all rage and power, leaning toward the offense. I readily pick out the weaknesses in both of their styles.
Unfortunately, the woman notices us, and in a moment of distraction, the man steps into his window of opportunity. With a swipe of his red lightsaber, he cuts her down, slicing vertically straight through her body.
Trask swears beside me as the Dark Jedi turns his attention toward us.
I ready my knife. "Trask. Run."
I parry the man's first lightsaber strike. Blue sparks fly.
"No," Trask says. "I'm not going to leave you." He pulls out his blaster and tries to shoot at the Dark Jedi, who easily blocks the shots with his lightsaber.
"Fine, then you'll die too, idiot," I say with a snort.
The Dark Jedi laughs at us. "Such heroic fools. You think you can hold me back for long with that little knife, even if it's cortosis weave?"
Slash! Clash! "Not particularly," I comment. "But maybe I'll surprise you, instead."
He sweeps his lightsaber over to my left, neatly cutting Trask Ulgo in two on a diagnol slice. I don't bother looking for more than a moment. I narrow my eyes in anger and grip my knife more tightly.
"Heh," the Dark Jedi says. "Go on. Give in to your rage. The Dark Side will make you strong."
"Most people wouldn't consider it wise to try to give combat pointers to someone trying to kill them," I say with a smirk. "Or are you just trying to taunt me into letting down my guard?"
I block another attack, and get in a kick to his kneecap. He stumbles for a moment, but quickly regains his balance before I can take advantage. I'm not going to last too long, at this rate. I don't have enough reach.
"You are beginning to annoy me," the man says. "I tire of toying with you. Fine. Die already. You can't block this."
He raises his hand, and a surge of electricity erupts from his fingertips and courses through my body. I cry out in agony. My body twitches and spasms in pain. Then he shoots a second burst of lightning at me, and it's over.
I snap awake, sitting up in my bunk suddenly. A dream? Yes, that had to have been a dream. Why would I ever do something so foolish as try to take on a Dark Jedi head on with only a knife, anyway?
What's going on? Dreams within dreams, nightmares within nightmares. As I get up and start getting dressed, I start to wonder if the Endar Spire really is under attack. Until the ship shudders under an impact and Trask Ulgo comes running in.
"The Endar Spire is under attack!" he says.
"I've noticed," I comment dryly, finishing getting dressed and arming myself.
"You ready?" Trask says. "Let's go. We've got to get to Bastila!"
We head out into the corridor, and I smoothly slip into combat with my knife, cutting down Sith after Sith as we go. Then we come upon the two Jedi fighting, Dark and Light, red and green, and I have to stop and stare for a moment. That dream was just too vivid, and too precise. Could it have been a warning of some sort?
"A Dark Jedi!" Trask says. "We'd better stay back. We'd just get in the way."
"What kind of an attitude is that?" I snap at him. If I'd helped before, in the dream, perhaps I could have saved all of our lives.
The Dark Jedi is engrossed in his battle with the human woman, allowing me to slip up behind him. Don't see me. Don't hear me. Don't notice me. I'm just a shadow darting across the ground. Slipping a blade into your back.
Blood spills out of the dying Dark Jedi's wound and onto my hand. Both Trask and the woman are staring at me.
"Thanks for the help," the woman says. "I didn't even see you there. My name's Kara Vir."
I go over to search the Dark Jedi's body, saying, "I'm Lexen Skywalker, and that's Trask Ulgo. Do you know where Bastila is?" I pick up the red lightsaber that had fallen from the man's grasp and flick it on experimentally. It feels good in my hand.
Kara pales visibly. "You should leave that alone. You could cut off a limb if you don't know what you're doing. You need Force training to properly wield a lightsaber."
"That's superstitious nonsense and you know it," I tell her. "There's nothing inherently mystical about this particular piece of equipment. Anyone with sufficient skill should be able to wield one without a problem."
"Even if that were true, it's still a Sith lightsaber," she says. "You wouldn't want to wield something like that. People would get the wrong idea if they saw you swinging around a red lightsaber."
"What, is there something inherently evil about the color red now, too?" I say. "Look, if we survive this, we can get it swapped to a more suitable color, alright?"
"You still shouldn't be allowed to keep it or wield it. You're not a Jedi, not even a Padawan!"
"Either way, this isn't the time to be discussing this. We're wasting time. Where's Bastila? We need to find her and get off this ship."
The Jedi woman sighs and nods, dropping the argument for now. "We should head to the bridge."
"Good idea," I say. "Let's go. You take point."
We head through the corridors, fighting our way through more Sith. After seeing the way I handle myself with it, Kara stops staring at me like I'm going to accidentally decapitate her at any moment.
"You are... better with that than I had anticipated," she admits. "The Force is strong with you. I can feel it. Perhaps that's why Bastila wanted you brought along. You might be Force sensitive. Although, I'm still not comfortable seeing someone wielding a red lightsaber near me, though."
"Noted," I say. Maybe that's what's been happening with me. I must be seeing glimpses of what might be through the Force, or something. I'm not entirely certain how that's supposed to work, but I'm pretty sure I'm not just hallucinating.
There's no one on the bridge but more Sith. We dispatch them as quickly as possible. "We need to get to the escape pods!" Trask says.
"Bastila must have already escaped," Kara says. "I no longer sense her on board."
"To the escape pods, then," I say.
A short ways down the corridor to the escape pods, we spot another man in black robes wielding a red lightsaber. He's noticed us, and striding ominously toward us. I feel a chill run down my spine when I see him, and for a moment our eyes meet.
"Another Dark Jedi!" Trask says.
"I'll take care of him," Kara says. "You get to the escape pods!" She darts past the doorway into the next section of corridor.
"Kara, don't be rash-" I start to say, but the doors seal behind her. "Damn it, that was completely unnecessary."
We continue on toward the escape pods. A voice sounds over the comm. "This is Carth Onasi. I've been tracking your movements through the Endar Spire. You're the only ones left on board."
"What about Kara?" I reply.
"I'm sorry, she doesn't appear to have made it," Carth says. "All I'm picking up are more Sith. You need to get off the ship, quickly! I can't wait for you much longer!"
I didn't ask her to sacrifice herself for me needlessly. What a waste. We could have killed that Dark Jedi quickly and moved on in short order if we had worked together instead of playing the stupid hero.
Trask and I fight our way past a couple more squads of Sith before finally making it to the escape pod bay where Carth is waiting for us.
"Come on," Carth says. "There's only one escape pod left. Let's go!"
"You don't need to tell me twice," I say.
The three of us quickly pile into the escape pod and plummet toward the planet's surface as the Endar Spire blows up behind us.