Story Summary: What if Revan managed to save the female Jedi aboard the Endar Spire from the explosion which took her life? What will this mean for his relationship with Bastila, and the fate of the galaxy?

A/N: Just like my other KOTOR fic, 'Heart of a Padawan', I want this story to be as significantly different as possible from the KOTOR canon-established storyline as well as other fanfics, without going overboard. Please keep in mind that I will take numerous liberties with the KOTOR I storyline and events for entertainment and originality purposes.

Also, please be sure to support Renee Enderson's two KOTOR fics, "Second Chances" and "Revanchism", as well as THE-WRITING-GEEK's "Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic". Renee's fics are both outstanding ones that take place before the first KOTOR game, and TWG's story is a KOTOR I-based story like this one, with a twist to the plot of its own.

Full credit is given to the developers of Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.

Chapter 1

Attack on the Endar Spire

"Get up, soldier! Get your ass up! Now!"

Ensign Kael Deren reluctantly came to his senses, shooting up out of his bed in alarm as he was rocked about by a violent tremor aboard the Endar Spire. He looked up to see a fellow Republic soldier with short, cropped blonde hair looking at him with impatient eyes.

"Wha…what's going o—" Kael drearily blinked, taking notice of the soldier's name, 'ULGO', printed on the left upper section of his uniform before he was promptly interrupted.

"I said get your ass up now, soldier!" Ulgo ordered his equal-ranking soldier in a way a general would a private. "The Endar Spire is under attack by a vanguard of Sith vessels! They've boarded the ship and are overrunning all sections! Gear up and prepare to move out!"

Kael frantically got out of bed and made headway to his footlocker which was nearby. He hastily equipped himself with a light combat suit, a blaster pistol, short vibroblade and a standard-issue energy shield and quickly ran to the door where Ulgo waited for him.

"This is it," Ulgo braced himself. "Keep in mind that I came in here while coming under heavy fire. The Sith have completely taken the main corridor and are making fast progress. Be prepared for one hell of a fight. Are you ready for this?"

"Sure am," Kael nodded, mentally preparing himself for the encounter.

Ulgo looked at Kael curiously over his shoulder while he worked away at the security console, taking notice of the fact that Kael had not his blaster pistol, but vibroblade ready in hand. "There's literally swarms of Sith out there. You serious about going up against them with a vibroblade?"

"Definitely," Kael answered. "Never could use a blaster pistol perfectly. I'm much more comfortable in the melee."

"Suit yourself. Just hope and pray that your energy shield doesn't fail you. One unlucky soldier already lost his life because of that in the eastern corridor," Ulgo grunted. "I'll just punch in this code, and—"

Ulgo was interrupted by a sudden thud against the door amidst a hail of blaster fire which riddled its surface. A bead of sweat trickling down the side of his face, the ensign nodded at Kael who responded in kind, then slammed his hand on the 'Enter' key which confirmed the key code. The blackened body of a Republic soldier slumped before their feet as the doors slid open, and a squad of five Sith soldiers charged towards them; three armed with blasters and two with vibroblades.

"We'll have to fight our way out! I'll cover your advance! For the Republic!" Ulgo let out a battle cry as he began to fire in rapid succession at the advancing Sith, taking out a melee combatant as well as a rifle-armed soldier behind him.

Taking a quick, sharp breath, Kael sped forward at a lightning pace that the Sith blasters could not meet, engaging them in a vicious yet brief melee. In a matter of seconds, the one remaining vibroblade-wielder was dead, and the two surviving blaster holders frantically reaching for their swords after failing to cut through Kael's energy shield with their attacks. Their lack of preparedness cost them dearly, as they both soon lay dead on the floor.

"You're one hell of a duelist, soldier!" Ulgo complimented him. "I seemed to have failed to properly introduce myself. I'm Trask Ulgo."

"Kael Deren," the slightly dazed swordsman replied. "So where to, next?"

"There's no question about it – the ship's going to blow soon. It can't take any more of a beating. We have to move to the escape pods as quick as possible."

"Let's get on to it, then."

The two ensigns steadily progressed through various sections of the ship, valiantly defending against the Sith onslaught that surged towards them with valor and courage. But once they reached a door from behind which could be heard the loud clashes of weapons that were beyond their skill and ability, their hearts began to be filled with dread. Nevertheless, heeding the responsibility that came with duty, they bravely opened the door to find a female Jedi battling against a male Dark Jedi.

"Stay back, Deren! This fight is too much for us!" Trask held him back with an arm.

Kael watched in awe as the two lightsaber duelists displayed skill and finesse which he thought he could only dream of. The fluidity of their movements; the swift yet precise and powerful strikes; the flawless sense of balance – they only served to lower his self-esteem and confidence in his own abilities for future encounters where he may have to defend himself from a Dark Jedi.

After a brutal struggle, the female Jedi prevailed, much to the relief of the two watchers, as she cut across the chest of her opponent following a tense grapple. She stopped a moment to catch her breath and recover from her fatigue, looking back at the two of them. But then, Kael lurched forward and let out a cry.

"Get out of there! Move!" he yelled as he ran towards her.

"Huh…what?" the Jedi looked incredulously at him, failing to take notice of a section of the wall which was sliced open, exposing a series of cables while flickered dangerously. She gasped as Kael tackled her in time and leapt sideways, barely managing to save her life from the resulting explosion which left a nasty singe on the back of his uniform as he cried out in pain. Kael twisted and turned in midair to protect the Jedi from the blast, and the two of them landed on the floor in a dazed manner.

"Are…are you alright?" the Jedi knelt by Kael's side and shook him by the shoulders. When he did not respond, she turned his side-lying head forward to look upon his face, but then gasped in horror.

Having briefly lost consciousness, Kael half-opened his eyelids, his vision blurred by the vicious flashes caused by the exploding power circuits as he focused his vision on the Jedi. Although his hearing was temporarily reduced to static due to the tremendous noise which had engulfed him, he could judge from her panicky pulling and tugging at his uniform that she was begging him to get up on his feet.

The Jedi shook her head and squinted, seemingly frustrated by his lack of any quick response. She then slapped him across the face to knock some sense into him.

"Get up! Quickly! We don't have time for this!" she yelled. Suddenly taking notice of two more Sith who came charging at them, she used the Force to grip one in a telekinetic hold before throwing him at the other, killing them both due to the impact which snapped their necks.

"Are you two alright?" Trask asked, running up to them.

"…I've had better days," Kael groaned and groggily got up with the help of the Jedi.

"Let's get going at once. Follow me, the escape pods are this way," the Jedi said, not wasting any time.

"What happened to Bastila? Is she alright?" Trask shouted forward as they ran.

"Her escape pod has launched approximately five minutes ago. Don't worry about her, I distracted the Sith on board to buy her time to escape!" she replied.

"What's your name?" Kael asked.

The Jedi yelled back. "No time for introductions! The ship's gonna blow! We have to get out of here. To the escape pods!"

The trio charged through an open door, Trask covering the Jedi and Kael while the two of them dispatched more Sith with their melee weapons. With no more enemies in sight, they rushed through another entrance, before Trask treaded curiously towards a closed door.

"There's something behind here…" he mumbled, typing in a security code to open the door, only to find another Dark Jedi to his dismay. "Damn! It's another of them!"

"Stand back!" the female Jedi ordered and stepped forward, only to be surprised as Trask pushed her away and caused her to fall on her back.

"Don't be crazy! The two of you have to get out of here. Now!" he cried back at them as he rushed in. The door sealed shut, leaving the stunned Jedi panting on the floor as she had to be pulled away and up on her feet again by Kael.

"Wh…why did he…," she murmured.

"He knew that you were much more important to the cause than him. There will be time to mourn his sacrifice later. He lay down his life so that we could get to the escape pods, so let's not waste any time!" Kael implored her, pulling her by the hand as they ran to the starboard section of the Endar Spire.

"This is Carth Onasi. Do you read me?" a voice came from the Jedi's personal communicator.

"Elena Adarné here," the Jedi immediately responded.

"Good to see you're alive. There's still about two squads of Sith standing between you and the escape pod bay, where I'm sending this signal from. The first squad should be relatively easy to deal with, as they're scattered. There's one patrol in the hallway, and another two within the first room you'll enter. The second squad is just outside the escape pod bay, and there are five of them armed with both blasters and vibroblades. And…uh…"

"Yes? What is it?" Elena asked.

"Try and be quick about it, yes? They're…trying to slice through the door, which has already been weakened by grenades," Carth chuckled optimistically.

"Don't worry, Carth. We'll be there soon," Elena assured him and switched off her transponder. "Let's move."

With surging speed, the two of them speedily dealt with all the Sith that came their way, Elena's Force powers and saber skills acting in perfect unison with Kael's swordsmanship. Once they dispatched the final Sith, Carth unlocked and opened the door from the other side and greeted them.

"Good to see you – I thought I was a goner for a moment. Now come on, we have to take this final escape pod. With luck, we might be able to find Bastila on Taris, where she's already blasted off to," he said, and typed in a series of commands on the nearby console.

The central escape pod hatch opened, making way for them to enter. Making a small gesture with his head, Kael gave Elena the sign to enter first. He followed after her, and Carth entered last, shutting the hatch and pressing the launch button of the vessel. The escape pod ejected itself from the Endar Spire, narrowly escaping the great explosion by only a few meters. The force of the impact was so great that it rocked the entire escape pod, sending Kael's head crashing against the roof as his vision faded to blackness.


"Ugh…where…where am I…?" Kael groaned, coughing slightly upon waking. Observing his surroundings, he found himself in what appeared to be a small and quiet apartment room. Sitting up from the bed on which he lay, he saw Elena fast asleep, a peaceful look on her face as she knelt by his bedside with her hand laid upon his.

Placing his hands over his throbbing forehead in order to refocus himself, Kael thought back to the battle that took place aboard the Endar Spire. He still remembered the carnage and merciless assault that took place, and also recalled how he managed to save the Jedi from an untimely death. But beyond that, everything else was nothing more than a blur. He couldn't, no matter how hard he tried, remember the reason behind the Sith's sudden assault on his vessel, let alone just how he managed to wind up where he presently was.

Deciding that it would be best to acquire the answers he sought from the woman who was resting by his bedside, Kael gently sat up and shook her forearm to wake her.

"Hmm…what?" the Jedi responded, groggily opening her eyes and letting out a slight yawn. "Oh, I see that you're finally up. It was about time." She got up and sat on the side of the bed to speak to him further.

"'About time'?" Kael questioned. "Just how long exactly was I out for?"

"Three days," she informed him. "After the destruction of the Endar Spire, our escape pod crash landed someplace in the Upper City of Taris. Fortunately for us, we landed at night-time. If it had been during daylight, I would have feared the worst for us. Carth and I managed to carry you out of the escape pod before Sith search teams came onto the scene. We found this abandoned apartment room and decided to use it as a temporary residence while we search for Bastila. Naturally, we also decided that it was important that we all got a new change of clothes for ourselves – running around in Republic uniforms and Jedi robes isn't exactly what we'd consider to be a wise course of action."

Kael looked down and saw what she spoke of. His Republic uniform was replaced by a combat vest which also doubled as everyday clothing in the eyes of the unaware civilian. The mention of Bastila's name also served as a useful reminder of the mission that was yet to be undertaken.

"Well, I must thank you and Carth for all that you've done for me in the past few days," Kael said. "I, uhh…can't seem to recall your name."

"Elena," she smiled warmly, extending her hand to him. "Elena Adarné. I am a Jedi Knight who has been assigned to protect Bastila."

"Kael Deren," he replied, shaking her hand. For a moment, he maintained a bright demeanor, but his smile faded once more memories of the battle settled in.

"Is…something wrong?" Elena said in concern, placing her hand on the side of his arm.

"Trask…I uh…couldn't do anything for him," Kael shook his head with a sigh.

"It is I who should be ashamed for not taking on the duty that should have been mine," Elena shared his regrets. "But he was a fine soldier. He understood the greater picture of things. I can only hope to honor his and so many others' sacrifice by ending this war once and for all. Eventually."

Kael nodded with a shrug. "I guess it's time to make a start on that vow of yours. By the way, where's…"

"Carth?" Elena asked, receiving a nod of confirmation from Kael. "He's currently in the Upper City cantina, hoping to perhaps get some potential leads on Bastila's whereabouts. We should join him soon."

"Right on," Kael agreed as he proceeded to move out. "Let's meet with him right away, and—ahh!" he winced the moment he got off the bed, and clutched at his lower back.

"Careful," Elena warned him, immediately tending to him and helping him regain stability. "You're still suffering from the wounds you received the moment you saved me from the exploding power conduits. I applied some kolto on your back, but I wasn't expecting you to regain consciousness so quickly while you were still recovering. I know we have to move out right now, but…just take it easy."

Kael smiled weakly, appreciative of Elena's help. "Thanks."

Elena smiled back, taking the opportunity to properly thank the man to whom she owed her life. "No. Thank you."

Kael paused, his eyes unwittingly wandering to a small wooden pendent which lay strung around Elena's neck, and which eerily seemed to appeal to him for a reason he could not determine. Something about this object, which should have been of no importance to him, perplexed him greatly, and his mind simply would not stop wondering why.

Noticing Kael's sudden focus on her necklace, Elena at once reverted her attention to the matter at hand. "Come on, Carth is waiting for us. And remember, take it easy. We don't want to arouse any suspicion, got it?"

Taking a sideways glance at Elena's steel-grey eyes, Kael couldn't help but notice and feel that she had so much more she wished to speak about, and yet forced herself into suppressing her emotions, like any Jedi should.

Was she truly that remorseful still of Trask's death?

Could she be that fearful for Bastila's life?

…Or was it something else?

Having supported Kael in his steps until he was no longer hampered by the pain from his wounds, Elena could no longer bear the feeling of knowing that Kael's eyes were upon her, attempting to fathom what thoughts were racing through her mind. She walked ahead of him, all the while silently shedding tears and being torn by guilt and sorrow, knowing that she had no choice but to keep him oblivious to the truth.

She dared not tell him the reason why she looked upon his face in horror after he saved her from the explosion aboard the Endar Spire. Why the act of merely seeing him filled her with fear and doubt. Or just who it was that had given her the necklace which she kept around her neck and treasured ever since the day she received it. Or even who was partly to blame for his current state of ignorance. That she was not the 'Jedi Knight' she claimed to be.

She could not explain such things to him.

Not now.