Let me first point out that this story is, in essence, a rewrite of my other story "The Secrets Inside of Me". I felt that the idea shouldn't go to waste and so I created a seperate story that had a smoother flow to it and better plot formation. It is similiar to the aforementioned but is still a different tale.
Hope you enjoy,
Blue light flanked the viewports of the Republic cruiser Resolute with shards of white passing by them at speeds faster than the light. The proud ship has seen many battles and is expected to go through many more. It fought at Sullust when Separatist dreadnaughts tried to destroy the planet, it broke the once impenetrable blockade of Ryloth and it even saw the destruction of the super weapon Malevolence. Most of the ships success can be credited to its valiant clone crew and the headstrong general who led them.
General Anakin Skywalker, Jedi Knight and commander of the now legendary vessel, observed his crew as they work hastily on the command bridge of his cruiser. He took note on the feelings he was receiving from them through the Force. They were anxious but only in the slightest for they were all bred with nerves of durasteel and wills of Mandolorian Iron. But still, no amount of conditioning could block out all sense of fear, especially when you're going to the one place in the galaxy everyone tries to avoid.
"Master," A strong and now mature feminine voice said from his side. "Why do I sense you're just as jumpy as the rest of the boys?"
Anakin smirked as he just noticed the not-so-young girl approach him. He had been so deep in thought that he his own padawan managed to sneak up on him and get a whiff of what he was feeling.
"Not so much," He replied. "But I guess you could say I'd rather jump into a sarlacc pit than go to where we're headed."
The padawan smirked, spreading the tips of her cheeks so far that they nearly touched the lekku hanging from her head. "The bravest knight in the Order is actually scared?" She rolled her eyes sarcastically. "Next thing you know the universe will implode."
He regarded her and gave her a soft but earnest look that spoke volumes. "Trust me snips, this place is not something to joke about."
The Togrutan padawan got the message and couldn't help but wonder if her master had a history with the upcoming planet. He was arguable the strongest Jedi in terms of raw power and swordsmanship and has never shied from a fight. She was proud to be his apprentice and ever since they met on Christosis in the middle of a battle, it's been one adventure after another with the two of them constantly getting into situations that always ended with a couple rounds of aggressive negotiations. Despite all they've been through she couldn't recall one instance where her master felt unease.
"Ahsoka," Her master spoke again. "I need a favor from you."
"Anything master," She said without having to think.
"When we drop in-system, I want you to stay on the ship."
The words didn't come to her as clearly as she thought. She could've sworn her master had just told her to sit the fight out and mind the cruiser. The long silence that ensued drove her to the conclusion that he was being serious.
"Master you can't be-"
Anakin's look silenced her. "I know how you feel about this and had we been anywhere else I would've been more than happy to let you fly next to me. But since where here I need to ask otherwise."
Ahsoka shook her head in confusion. "But what makes this battle any different from the other? I've flown with you for the past year and proven myself more times than a Gree can count. Master, you don't need to be so protective all the time. I'm not that kid straight out of the Temple anymore, I'm a Jedi and pilot just likes you."
He breathed inwardly and, for a moment, wished she was that kid again. In the time he's trained her as his padawan in the ways of the Jedi, Ahsoka Tano has grown greatly in both body and mind. He passed on the knowledge he learned from his own master and added his own touch to it. In result, Ahsoka has become much like Anakin which, in a way, was a bad thing. Along with his strength and skill, he also ended up passing on his hardheadedness.
"I know you're more than capable to but that's not why I'm asking you to do this." He shifted his gaze at the corridor of hyperspace before him. "It's where we're going that concerns me. Out of all the places in the galaxy to visit, Korriban is the one planet you want to avoid at all times." Just mentioning the planet brought back memories of the dark red planet. "The place is permeated with the dark side and just going near it will cloud your senses and distract you."
Ahsoka has read about the planet before but only knew the parts that the Jedi permitted younglings to know. It was the planet where the Sith species evolved and formed an empire that nearly conquered the Republic nearly five thousand years ago. The Sith Empire was defeated along with every last warrior. It had been a dark time for the Republic and they feared another Sith Empire would rise, so they exterminated every last one of them. Despite being extinct, the Sith's teachings have been passed on over generations to new sith lords that rose to take the place of the older ones.
"The battle will only be in the space around Korriban right? I don't see how I can be affected from that distance." Ahsoka put in, still trying to sway his master's decision.
The older Jedi shook his head in disagreement. "I once visited the world when I was around your age and it wasn't something I'd like to remember. Even in space you'll feel the effects of the dark side radiating from the planet. The old Sith's impression on their home world still remains and it can be corrupting to an untrained Jedi."
"Untrained?" Ahsoka said, almost offended. "With all due respect master I-"
She stopped again as her master's gaze, now a glare, disarmed her. "I am asking you to stay here Ahsoka. Please don't make me change that to an order and confine you to your quarters."
This was no laughing matter as Ahsoka just realized. She sensed this wasn't him being overprotective, which by itself was a shock. He was truly afraid of her being effected by the dark side.
"Okay master," She said softly, eyes fixed on the ground. "I understand,"
Her footsteps fell silent by the time she left the bridge, probably to find a quiet place to meditate and wait out the battle. Anakin grimaced as he regretted ever bringing her on the mission. If he had left her at the Temple than this bitter disagreement would never have happened. He thought the worst part was over but he had a deep feeling that the problems have only just begun…
The instant the Resolute reverted into real space it had been engaged in cutthroat combat with three Separatist frigates. The Resolute's twoescort ships pulled up in front with their turbo lasers blazing with azure fire while the cruiser hanged back and deployed its starfighters. All the while the two enemies fought over the dry, desolate and destroyed world of Korriban.
Clone intelligence had ample evidence that the Separatist were planning to use the system as a staging area for an attack on nearby systems. To prevent this, Anakin and his ships were deployed to intercept the advance forces of the Separatist fleet that was incoming to the system.
Three frigate wasn't much of a threat in Anakin's eyes but still, the fact that they chose Korriban as their staging point disturbed him. Perhaps they wanted to throw off any Republic advance into that sector of space but occupying a key hyperspace lane or maybe they wanted to disturb the Jedi by controlling one of their tabooed worlds. Either way, Anakin wasn't going to let them get what they came for…
The hanger bay of the Resolute was vaster than usual which was due to sudden abundance of space. Just about every fighter craft had been launched from the bay at the beginning of the battle, leaving Ahsoka's fighter to stand out as a needle of red against the uniform white.
The Togrutan Jedi leaned against the Jedi starfighter and was more than tempted to jump in it and take off after her master. She had her eyes closed and she was reaching out with the Force to sense what was going on in the battle nearby. Faint explosions came to her as well as the pain and suffering of the clones dying in battle. It was unbearable for her to feel everything from a distance and not be able to do anything for them. She didn't resent her master for his decision but still she couldn't help but wonder what the big fuss about a dead planet was.
Her master may have rebuked her for even considering what she was about to do next but he was out there and she was stuck in here.
Taking her senses away from the battle she focused them on the planet below to get a feel for the dark side energies herself so that she could at least find some justification to her master's verdict. What she sensed was cold, obscure and devoid of light. It made her skin crawl for a second before she got used to the feeling. It was something she didn't enjoy because it was felt like the opposite of everything she and the Jedi Order stood for. And yet it wasn't as bad as her master had made it out to be. Granted she may have felt a disturbance if she got close to the planet but it would've never been enough to distract her from flying. She had been trained to block herself from unwanted Force presences' and that alone would've been enough to let her go about the battle without hinder.
Suddenly, her mind screamed with a vicious howl. She went pale as her legs refused to support her, forcing her to slam an arm on the edge of her fighter to keep herself from falling over. A disturbing feeling had pulsated through her, leaving her in utter confusion.
Her first thought was that the dark side influence was stronger than she had thought but once she took a moment to regain her bearings she soon felt it was something else entirely. It had reached out to her, touching her through the Force but not in an aggressive way. In her brief moment of contact with – whatever it was – she had glimpsed into the near future and saw the very battle unfold before her. It was like she was in space and watching the ships go at each other's throats from only meters away. In this brief glimpse she saw a starfighter trailing smoke and falling towards the planet below. It was impossible to make out color and small detail but what was clear was that the damaged fighter was dagger shaped and had an astromech's head poking out from the center.
She quickly looked at her own starfighter which perfectly fit the analog of the fighter she saw damaged in her vision. Her master flew the same fighter and the vision could very well be of him getting shot down and possible worse.
Now she has all but forgotten her master's orders while she leaped into the cockpit of the fighter and began starting it up. She worked the switches expertly and in merely a minute she was almost ready to fly. In that minute she had thought long and hard about the vision. She of course had her doubts since it was somehow connected to Korriban.
The fighter being shot down could've been hers for all she knew and jumping to save Anakin could result in him trying to save her and thus make him vulnerable to an attack. The last thing she needed was to crash land on an eerie planet with her master worried sick. But then again… what if it comes true?
Neither eagerness nor foolhardiness compelled her chose as she concluded that it was either going to be him or her. Anakin was of far greater importance to the Republic. He was one of the closest people to her and she'd gladly sacrifice herself for her if she had to.
With the final flick of a switch, her engines ignited with ion blue embers and her fighter shot out of the open hanger bay shield…
Anakin punched the accelerator to the max and pressed his nimble Delta-7B for more speed. The golden blur of a fighter out maneuvered another pair of Vultures who ended up going too fast to handle and crashing into each other on a tight turn. He would've smirked if the dark energy from below didn't put a damper on things.
So far the battle went in favor of the Republic. One Separatist frigate had been completely destroyed with the other two not going to last much longer. There were still many Vulture droids hanging around the debris of their lost mother ship along with the heavier Tri-fighters protecting what's left of the small flotilla. Anakin's flagship has taken minimal damage but one of his escort ships had been destroyed along with a small amount of clone fighters.
He needed to end this battle soon so he can prevent any further loss of life and get Ahsoka far away from this dreaded place.
Taking his fighter in close for a killing stroke to one of the two remaining Separatist frigates, Anakin danced dangerously close to the ship's hull. The frigates bridge stuck up from the main hull which was just as armored as the rest of the ship. The shields through had gone down a while ago and it only need a direct hit for it to be destroyed.
Pressing his middle finger over the secondary trigger on the control stick, Anakin released a pair of lightning fast proton torpedoes that were capable of punching a hole through the burliest of materials. To Anakin's satisfaction the torps' did their job and blew the bridge clean off the frigate in a cloud of superheated metal. His victory was short lived though.
In the midst of the chaos that ensued after the frigate blew, a Tri-fighter unexpectedly appeared out of a cloud of debris and fired its entire payload of homing missiles nearly point blank at him.
The Force guided his hand as he depended deeply on it to avoid each missile. There were so many of them and they had a solid lock on his engine's ion signature. If it wasn't for the diluting dark side energies he would've had an easier time. But alas that was not the case.
A few missiles detonated harmlessly away as he dodged them but several had exploded close enough to inflict damage. It would only take a single direct hit now to end his fighter and him. He felt the Force binding around him as he called to it to him for greater insight. The missiles were as clear to him as the stars around him and he had a solid read on their location. And yet he kept on getting chipped away and losing power.
In a last ditch effort he tossed his ship into a dangerous loop that would've ended him if his speed did not hold. The missile – now only two left – strayed from their path only by a hair before realigning. The missiles were now closer than ever and his senses screamed at him to get away. There was nothing he could do.
His fighter was struck and it began spiraling away at an awkward angle. Anakin would've thought he had been hit if not for the fact that it didn't feel like an explosion. He managed to keep his eyes open against the g's that pressed him deeply into his seat and examined the ship's readout screen.
Several systems were failing, including power but none of it was caused by an explosion. In fact the missile had not hit him and it only exploded near him. But if that was true then why was he spinning like something solid had crashed into him?
It only took a second for his trusty astromech droid, R2-D2, to stabilize the fighter with the still operable repolsor drives. He looked around to finally realize in horror what had really happened.
Another dagger shaped Delta-7B starfighter had crashed into his own, pushing him away from the missile but ended up taking the missile itself. There was only one other ship like that in his command and he watched in utter shock as it went spiraling out of control and dropping nose first into Korriban's atmosphere with Ahsoka in it.
He wanted to reach out to her with the Force and call to her, tell her to pull up. That would prove useless because she obviously took too much damage to even stabilize. He did it anyways to see if she was still alive. In a brief moment he felt her touch through the Force which told him she was alive, for now.
"Artoo, give me comms, now!" Anakin said to the droid but it buzzed a solemn negative. The communications array was damaged. There was no way for him to call the Resolute for help.
A pair of Republic Z-95 Headhunters pulled up on both sides and attached tow cable to his crippled fighter. He wanted desperately to tell them to forget about him and go after Ahsoka. He was somewhat relieved to see a another pair of his clone fighters going after Ahsoka but they were soon followed and chased off by lingering Vultures.
Ahsoka's fighter was now burning up in the atmosphere and glowing red hot. The Jedi Knight had never felt so helpless before in his life. Even when his mother died he at least had to ability to exact vengeance, despite the Jedi Code. But even with all his power he couldn't do a blasted thing to help her. Not so long as he's crippled in space.
Anakin took a deep breath and remembered the Jedi Code.
There is no emotion, there is peace.
Ahsoka was far more resourceful than most other Jedi her age. If anyone can survive this ordeal it would be her but that doesn't guaranty she will and Skywalker knew that…
Thank you for reading kind people and I thank you even more for voicing your opinion of the story in the reviews,
Oh and I have a very off topic story to share. When initially writing this I incorperated indenting to make the sentences more organized and give it a neater appearal. Well when I uploaded to the site, it removed all of the identing which just threw the whole doc into a mess. I tried to redo it on the site but apparantly FanFiction does not recognize the "Tab" key. Even then I tried to trick it by puting in five or so spaces to make up an indent. Still, when I saved it it removed all the space between the margin and the first word on the line. I've never felt so agrivated about such a minute subject.
Don't do what I did and waste an hour trying to trick the site. -_-