Standard Disclaimer: I do not own Star Wars or any of the Star Wars characters. I do not own Dragon Ball Z or any of the Dragon Ball Z characters. They are owned by those who own them. I do, however, own the story all of this is in. That is all.
Authors Note: I apologize for this chapter being more then a bit late. I won't go into any details except for the fact that everyone in my family that's within a hundred miles has a nasty habit of knowing exactly when I start writing because I could only get out a sentence or two out at a time every other day -- still have that problem today. And, yes, I have all messenger services turned off.
It was dark and cold in the void, a place where his mind and soul had wandered to in his unconscious state. Everything around him was gone, the wind and sand of the desert planet, the heat that came from the twin suns, the twists and turns of the battle that had taken place only moments before. Or, at least he thought the battle between the two sides of the Force had been only moments in passing, yet in reality it was longer then that. His mind had yet to register the differences in the flows of time in the reality that was outside this void and the world that was inside of it.
Inside that infinite void, there was nothing there but himself and a faint light, an orb that circled around in the path of a hoop just above his head. He floated among the voices and screeches that came from within the darkness itself, with low mutters in languages he could not understand and constant flapping of wings from creatures that he couldn't see but weren't really there. He was alone, save for that orb of light that bobbled up and down and just out of his reach. If he could reach it, his body paralyzed by a force that held him there in that one spot. Every muscle in his body held him down in that spot, in a place he didn't know existed and wanted out as soon as possible.
"I see great fear in you, child," A voice said from inside the orb, a voice that sounded with age, wisdom, and familiarity. He was staring at it, that much he could do on his own and watched it move towards him from the loops that it had been doing over his head. "I see you have not changed since the last time I saw you."
"Who are you?" He heard himself say. "What do you want?"
"I am someone that you once knew. What I want is not your concern." If the voice had a face to it, there would have been regret all over it and it's features would have sagged in the apparent sadness. "That is not important right now. What is, is that you need to release your anger or this void will continue to consume you."
"What anger?" He answered plainly, almost growling at the thing. He was surprised to hear those words echo throughout the void, like the orb and himself were in a cavern of some sorts.
"The same anger that you used just now. The anger that will be passed down to your apprentice, if it hasn't done so already." The orb bobbled down twice, as though to mock him. "The boy has his own feelings to deal with, not yours as well."
"I know that! I can control anger, it's just that..." He stopped short, not wishing to discuss what had happened to him in the years prior to this moment. In fact, the memories of what he had done, who had been killed beside him, and the events surrounding his life seem to flash along the void for all to see. The orb twirled around in these images, stopping and pausing at the ones that it seemed to have the most interest in.
"Your mind is a grand thing, child. I'd hate to see it move down the path that even those that walk in the light of the dark are afraid of." The orb stopped moving long enough to turn around and stare at him, if the thing had a front and back to it. "Everything has a purpose in life, even death."
He wanted to grab the orb and fling it across the void, to see how far the thing would go before it hit something or it managed to stop itself by it's own accord. And still his body would not move by his own will, remaining just as paralyzed as it had been before. He floated there, transfixed on this orb of light and watched it move up to his face, as though it was gazing into his eyes. It was fascinating on how it made him feel light as a feather, the orb, but still have the weight of an entire planet upon his shoulders. The words of the orb seemed to penetrate the weight of the void, making the pressure of any unseen weight just a bit less tight upon his body.
"The void is a part of you, it's the path that even those that dance in the darkness do not wander down. They know what it leads to and that's why they fear it." The orb shook where it floated at. "Those that dwell in the light know of it's existence and fear it as well, but not as those that are tainted with the darkness."
The words didn't sink into him when the orb had spoken to him, the questions he wanted to ask all swirling in his mind and words that were left unspoken. He wanted the orb to explain itself and what it was saying, all of which was more then confusing to him. Instead of letting himself speak, his mouth froze up and vocal cords silenced, as though he had suddenly lost the ability to speak. The orb moved away from his face and fell back into the void that surrounded them,moving silently in the darkness. It turned several shades of yellow, red, and orange, the sades of a distant sun, then split into two orbs that rotated together and moved in sync with the other. They continued to mix the oranges, reds, and yellows together, moving faster and faster together before they stopped altogether.
The brightness from the orbs was enough to blind him so much that his eyes squeezed shut tightly and his head moved to one side. There was a dull pain at the back of his head, like something had smashed up against it and his body rolling over onto what seemed like his back. He laid in a position that was similar to laying down somewhere, his body tingling and jolting with energy that came from somewhere he couldn't see. The void started to spin wildly as it slowly turned into lighter shades of gray, then into all kinds of whites and brightness. In the mists of the lighting, he heard a voice that boomed within his mind, his ears ringing with the sound of the familiar voice. One that brought him out of the void and back into reality...
"About time you woke up," A familiar voice snapped as Obi-Wan opened his eyes, a confused look on his face. Vegeta stood a foot away from him, his eyes staring down at him and a expressionless face watching. The light shining down from the twins suns was fading, an indication that he had been out longer then he originally thought, his mind slowly coming out of the haze it had been in. He still felt the presence of the void within him but that feeling was fading away as he brought himself back into reality and away from the state that had created the void. He hadn't even been aware that he was awake due to him blacking out from the battle yet Vegeta seemed to know that he was awake even before his eyes opened wildly.
It would take a few minutes more for him to push himself into a sitting position that he was comfortable with and looked up to see two beings staring at him, both looking worried, tired, and at least somewhat happy that one of their own hadn't become a body to add to the dead. That much he could get from both Vegeta and Ki-Adi's faces, both of whom he was more then glad to see alive and well. How long Vegeta had been there, he didn't know and he safely assumed the battle between him and Frieza had gone without the Saiyan loosing any limbs or massive amounts of blood. Ki-Adi looked just as well, if not better, despite going up against a Sith Lord alone.
Vegeta's body held signs that he had been in a battle and won, which took another several moments for the Jedi to process correctly in his mind or at least be able to work through the haze it was still in. It took another thirty seconds for the feeling of the Force to come over him, bringing him information of what else was going on around him and throughout his body; it was funny how the Force worked and had delayed the information sent to him. If only those not so sensitive to the Force could feel and see what Jedi could.
He felt a stabbing soreness at the back of his head and cold despite the hot Tatooine heat that surrounded them; whatever had knocked him out cold had done more to his body then that. There was no where to exactly pin-point the throbbing pain but if he could this certain paint felt like it started at the base of his neck and worked around to his ears and then up to the top of his skull. The coldness was from feeling that void he had been in before he had been jarred awake by a familiar face; had it been someone he did not know, Obi-Wan would have done more then just sit up slowly.
Vegeta looked worn and tired, his body showing more then what his face showed; his arms were red and looked longer then the last time he had seen the Saiyan. They weren't broke, that much he could tell from the Force that returned to his body and the senses that overflowed him. No, his muscles were weaker and took the appearance that they were sagging, an illusion on Obi-Wan's eyes no doubt but he wasn't standing as ridged as he had before. There were no visible wounds that he could see that required immediate attention and Vegeta wasn't in much pain that warranted medical nor did it seem like he would die from the wounds that were visible. That didn't mean that he was showing any signs of internal injuries, just that if he had any they weren't bothering him at the present time.
The area around him was deserted, except for Vegeta and Ki-Adi, who was sitting down not far from where Obi-Wan had been laying in his unconscious state. He couldn't tell the exact amount of time that had lapsed between him falling into a world of darkness and him coming back to the world of the living, yet it couldn't have been more then twenty minutes since there was no other's around him to give the exact details of what had happened during their battles. Although with the senses through the Force and the way that Ki-Adi and Vegeta were at in their present conditions, he could very well assume that they had won his round of battles. There was, however, the slight tingling that something else was wrong sent needles all over his body.
Ki-Adi looked better off then Vegeta and Obi-Wan did combined, his eyes watching the other Jedi intently and Obi-Wan could tell that he was trying to assess the stability of his companion. That is, if he was ready to be doing long range attempts at finishing what they had started or if they were going to have to wait to see if there was any side effects to his blacking out. Other then a few scraps that would heal within days and his lightsabre slightly damaged from sand and the Sith, there was nothing wrong with Ki-Adi; in fact, if Obi-Wan hadn't been focused on trying to get his thoughts back in order, he would have seen an irritation on his face that seemed to be growing.
"What happened?" Obi-Wan asked, ignoring the look that Vegeta was giving him and the way he was opening and closing his mouth. The Saiyan wanted to say something, but Obi-Wan did not want to listen to it at the present moment. First he had to figure out what went on between Jedi and Sith before he heard what went on elsewhere on the planet. "And where did you come from?"
"I came from where Frieza's body is currently buried and found him wiping sand off of his face," Vegeta said, nodding towards the other Jedi before Ki-Adi could even open his mouth to speak. "If you're worried about some stupid creature wanting to dig it up for whatever reason it has, don't worry. They won't get much out of his body, since a good portion of it is too charred to do anything about. After I stuck one of his own horns through his body, I used some of my energy to make sure he was really dead and burned."
Vegeta had said that all with an eerily calmness about him, his eyes looking into the general direction of where he had presumably buried Frieza's body. Obi-Wan had no doubt that Vegeta killed the creature by his own hands, that much he saw in truth on his face without having to use the Force to detect decit; whether or not he buried it was another question entirely. If the Saiyan had, it would be dug up eventually by wandering nomadic creatures that were looking for it's next meal. If it wasn't, then it would be hauled off somewhere to finish rotting in another place and time without worry. Neither Jedi seem to be worried about what others would do to a dead body they knew nothing about since the inhabitants of Tatooine were sometimes known to ignore the bodies of the dead except in times a great bounty was at stake. However Frieza was just another wandering unknown to this universe and would be left to rot wherever his body would be left at.
"It looks like we have a friend somewhere out there or at least someone that wanted the Sith to get away." Ki-Adi stood up from where he had been sitting, dusting off the sand from his robes. He stole a quick glance towards Vegeta to make sure that he had said all that he wanted to at the moment before returning back to Obi-Wan. "He got away."
"That's just great," Obi-Wan grumbled to himself, a sour look appearing on his face for a moment before that look disappeared. "We don't have the time to waste sitting here while we still have a chance."
He moved his body into a position where he was comfortable standing up, ignoring the look that Ki-Adi had on his face and the shifting movements of Vegeta. His mind shifted for a moment, a faint dizzy spell washing over him before it faded just as quickly as it had come onto him. It wasn't so much as a dizzy spell as it was his body telling him to stay put until his balance could shift back into it's right position; he ignored that warning sign, his legs standing himself up for no more then ten seconds before he fell back onto his backside in almost the same position he had been sitting in. That caused him the most embarrassment, his face glowing slightly. To think that a Jedi could not stand on his own feet was something he didn't want anyone, not even a fellow Jedi, to see or even cross their minds.
He had expected Vegeta to laugh at him or give him a callous remark about his lack of balance, but heard nothing come from the Saiyan. Instead, Vegeta walked over to him and stood there for a moment without moving before he grabbed the Jedi underneath one of his arms and pulled him into a standing position. He held him where he was, his eyes narrowing and a frown creasing his face as though he wanted to snarl but his face wouldn't let him do so. The expression that was now on his face sent a chill down Obi-Wan's back; it was an expression of calmness, like middle of a storm that had yet to finish passing over.
"We aren't in a position to go after the Sith at this time," Ki-Adi said, the irritation that had been on his face seeping into his voice. "We both want to go after him, but there is no telling what he could do if he got away again. The main focus is getting the portal closed before anything else happens. And this wasn't your fault. Neither one of us expected to have anything from the outside help in the Smith's escape."
"If he got away, what makes you so sure he didn't go through the portal himself?" Obi-Wan asked as he pulled his arm out of Vegeta's grasp. There had been a momentary glance between the two of them, a way of showing and accepting thanks between the two without the use of words. "He does have a ship close by and not many would be able to stop anything from leaving the port."
"There was no indication that he left Tatooine just yet, I can still sense him on the planet. He knows that we're near his ship and would just as easily overwhelm him," Ki-Adi said with a quick nod. "However given his lack of interest in fighting several minutes after you had blacked out, I say he doesn't want anything to do with Jedi at this moment. I say something out there scared him to a point where he didn't want to be near us. I can barely sense that something out there now, but it's too far away to determine what it is."
"I'll go after him, then," Vegeta offered quickly. Ki-Adi looked at him, not exactly surprised at the offer but weary none the less.
"No, no one is going after him. It could be a trap after all and at least the three of us are not in any shape to go through another prolonged battle," He said matter-of-factly. "We don't who is out on the planet that could be helping him or could be helping us. "
"Exactly what happened here?" Obi-Wan pressed, taking a wobbly step forwards and before any more protests could be made. His body was stable enough for him to stand alone, Vegeta moving slightly like he was on the ready should Obi-Wan fall down again. The look that the two shared because of that motion was not a look of pure distrust but more along the lines of do it and die types of looks. Obi-Wan's eyes turned back to Ki-Adi, who was fighting down a sigh. "The last thing I remember is my body freezing up and then blacking out."
Ki-Adi didn't respond right away, his eyes looking around the area around them for a moment. He was quiet like that for a reason, like he was trying to come up with an answer as to what had happened after Obi-Wan had fallen in the midst of battle. There was no indication that he was trying to hide something from a fellow Jedi -- none the least as far as Obi-Wan could tell by the look on his face and through the Force -- but perhaps he was trying to best put it to words without giving a long explanation as to what had happened. From just these few senses and movements gave him a better piece of mind not to assume anything else was wrong.
"I can't explain it fully, but it looked like the Sith had used the Force in a way that hasn't been seen before or even a known tactic used by any Jedi or Force-sensitive being." He paused for a moment then continued. "It appeared that he had used the Force to bind you to where you were so that you wouldn't be able to move at all. Then you fell, like he had used the Force to knock you out."
"Not enough to kill me?" Obi-Wan asked, a doubtful look on his face. "Wouldn't he have had to keep himself trained on me and not worry about you?"
"That's what I had thought at first, then he had turned to me and paused there for about a minute after you had fallen. I could tell he was surprised at that, not by way of his face but by his moments and the way he resumed attacking me." Ki-Adi took another pause, putting a hand upon his lightsabre. "He was nervous in his forms and so was I, since there was no telling what would happen to either one of us if there should be something else that came out from no where. Before I could take full advantage of the situation, the Sith used the Force to kick the sand up and shield himself from any more advancements and blinded me enough for his escape. Where he went and how far he is, I can't tell you since his last attack left me vulnerable enough to let him go undetected long enough to be far away from anything that would bring him harm."
"Why didn't he kill you instead of escaping?" Obi-Wan asked, frowning. His mind thought back to what he knew of Sith and some of them were quite the escape artists when they wanted to be, even if they were to have to put their plans on hold if their lives were in danger.
"If he were to kill one, maybe two, Jedi not only would he have the Council looking into it but also the Republic." There was no irritation in his voice during this explanation, not even the slightest of emotion. "That's the last thing he wants, to have Jedi and Republic soldiers breathing down his back. At the present time he knows that the Jedi is somewhat aware of his plans and has reason enough to go after him."
There was no movement from Obi-Wan not even to scrunch up his face and shake nor nod his head in acknowledgement. He understood completely what Ki-Adi had implied and it gave him more the reason to hunt down this Sith; he had already killed one of Siddious' apprentice's and it was unknown if he had already gotten another in the short span since Maul's death. If there was a new apprentice then it would only serve as a new barrier between exacting something for the hand that had guided a death that shouldn't have happened. In the eyes of Jedi he wouldn't be exacting revenge, just a sweet justice.
"Then it had to be...?" Obi-Wan started to respond before a sound of something moving down from the air caught his attention. His body tensed up, in part because his lightsabre still was in it's resting place on the ground and partly because there was no telling what else would come after them at this moment. There was a thud behind him and sand along their legs as though something human-sized had landed behind them and the cloud of dust and sand was from it's landing.
His first instinct was to turn around and use the Force to protect himself, but that instinct soon gave away as he turned around quickly to see who was standing there and what they wanted. Instead of finding an unknown enemy, Obi-Wan found Goku standing there, a smile on his lips and a small body slung over his shoulder that was presumably dead or close to that point as it could possibly be. All three looked relieved that it was a familiar face that stood there instead of an unknown that they would have to face down and battle again in their state.
"Had to be what?" Goku asked innocently enough, unaware that something was amiss.
"And where in the hell have you been?" Vegeta demanded, glaring towards Goku. He didn't respond in the way of words, his demeanor losing it's innocent touch as his smile faded to a slight movement of lips that barely resembled a smile. Dropping Garlic, Jr.'s body down in front of his feet was all that was needed to explain what he had been doing, Obi-Wan and Ki-Adi glancing at each other and sharing a frown between themselves. This was the second valid source that gave them something to see so that they knew that a past they knew little of was gone for good.
Vegeta was the first to move towards the still body of Garlic, Jr, who was laying face up towards the sky and eyes closed, looking as though he was just asleep. That was true in a sense, considering the magical properties that kept him alive rather then dead; had the Sith taken him from an earlier point, he would have been dead in the way in which he had been tossed around by the second Saiyan. Hookup's smile faded entirely and then turned into a frown when Vegeta reached the creature, slightly kicking Garlic, Jr. with the toe of his boot. Ki-Adi was the first to get into a defensive state, Obi-Wan raising an eyebrow as he shakily walked next to Vegeta and stood there, towering over the body.
"He's still alive, very much so," Obi-Wan observed, looking at Goku who was still staring down at the ground around Garlic, Jr.'s body. "Alive but not able to do anything."
"And he very well will be for a long time." Goku slowly rose his eyes up and met gaze of the Jedi for the first time since they had split into their respected groups and fought their own battles. "We can't kill him, he's immortal."
"Are you still going to go with your plan to close the portal up?" Ki-Adi asked softly. "There are other ways."
"Yes," He said solemnly. "It's the only way."
"I'm not going to be the one to tell your damned wife that you got yourself killed again." Vegeta stared hard and long at him, then grunted something under his breath. Goku smiled as best as he could in the current situation, rubbing the back of his head and tried his best to look the part of the innocent child once again. If anyone else had not known him, even the slightest, they would have seen that innocence come out. However, he wasn't in the company of total strangers and they knew that he was putting on an act.
"Well, it's the only way to make sure that he doesn't get away this time and besides – someone needs to be there to make sure the portal is closed securely." Goku then took that moment to look around, counting the person's still standing verses the ones that weren't there. He could sense remotely that there were others still alive and he didn't need to worry about those beings, yet something else was missing that he couldn't put his finger on. "What happened here?"
Obi-Wan, Vegeta, and Ki-Adi took this moment to look at each other, all of them sighing and shaking their heads. Only one of them could give Goku a decent explanation of what had transpired from the moment he had taken off to follow Garlic, Jr to the moment that he had landed down next to them. Two pairs of eyes went towards Ki-Adi, who sighed a second time and inwardly expressed to himself that he didn't like to repeat what he had said once before.
"I'll explain," He said slowly, taking in a deep breath and starting to go over what he had told Vegeta and Obi-Wan only moments before. Obi-Wan tuned Ki-Adi's voice out of his mind and began to take a better look at the surrounding buildings, sand, and other structures. He didn't expect any townsfolk to be peering out of mud buildings and homes for the remainder of the day and into the night if they were lucky, or even longer; if they didn't have to come across anyone that was going to be asking questions then that would speed up their retreat. The battles had scared them more than the thread of Hutt's did and it drained him more then he had expected; he would be glad to put this behind him regardless of how it ended.
Moving away from the three, Obi-Wan traced the path most likely taken by Siddious and made mental notes of remaining footprints in the sand. Most were old ones that had been from earlier and were of no use to them, others were too long gone to be traced to any one person or other such being. He looked up at one of the few ways out of the immediate area, his eyes scanning the distance, or as far as he could see. The Force prickled at the back of his mind, telling him something -- or someone -- was nearby but was not a threat to them. At the base of his shoulders he could feel the same weaves of the flowing Force that told him someone -- or someones -- were coming towards them with speed and wouldn't be there long. It was one of the few times that he could be certain that he knew not to get defensive when he should be.
But he wouldn't wait for them to come find them as a disturbing thought crossed his mind, one that he mentally slapped himself for before muttering a few words underneath his breath. It was loud enough for Ki-Adi to stop speaking and stare at his fellow Jedi; that prompted Vegeta and Goku to look at him as well but with rather wondering looks. Neither one of them seemed to have heard what he had said and were just looking at him because Ki-Adi had. Obi-Wan turned half-way around and his eyes moved along the walls and sand like he was trying to look for something that would suddenly pop out of mud and sand. He had a deep gut feeling that he knew where his Padawan had gone off to and the queen wouldn't be too far behind.
"Where's Anakin?" He had to ask that question in case this distinct feeling was wrong and he needed to go on the words of others. When his gaze fell upon the three, Vegeta didn't respond, Goku just shrugged, and Ki-Adi smiled faintly. "Don't answer, I have a faint idea. The queen should be with him as well."
Obi-Wan wasn't going to wait for the other three to come find them and, along with the other feelings he had, knew that they would find them before long. Turning around, he started to walk towards an archway that lead towards the port and the much larger ships, leaving behind the others to gather up their wits or wait for the three that were still behind. Vegeta just shrugged at some unspoken question while Goku looked down at the unmoving body in the sand; they still found this all to be a bit odd in a sense but their lives weren't far from odd either. This small adventure was something that they could add to their journey's that have happened already.
And they didn't have to wait for their comrades to find them after long. Not even forty seconds after Obi-Wan had started for the port -- and he was going slow as he could -- Krillin was the first one to land beside where Vegeta, Goku, and Ki-Adi were standing. Neither one of them even looked at him with any surprise; Vegeta and Goku had long since gotten used to people landing and taking off like they were birds and Ki-Adi had learned to accept that nothing in life was as it should be. Krillin looked at the three that were standing there then turned to where Obi-Wan was walking to, an eyebrow raised and a half smile forced upon his lips.
"And leave us behind?" Krillin as innocently enough as Goku picked up Garlic, Jr.'s body and slinged it over his shoulder rather forcibly.
"You'd know where we'd be." Goku didn't look happy about something as he started to follow in Obi-Wan's footsteps and Krillin had more then an inkling as to what he now seemed to be upset about. Yamcha and Tien landed not far from where Krillin did, both of them doing the same as their friend had before but did not question where they were going. Instead they looked around and counted who was there, partly satisfied that there was no Frieza to be found; they knew where Cold and Ginyu were at and had left those bodies to decompose on their own.
"Where's Frieza's body?" Yamcha asked, scratching the back of his head.
"Where do you think it is?" Vegeta said coldly but did not add to that response with a glare. "Lets go, we don't have all day."
Vegeta started to trudge through the sand along the path that Goku was taking, hardly intent on staying on Tatooine for every much longer then he had already. Obi-Wan was already out of their sight but would wait rather impatiently on the other side for the rest to catch up if all else failed. Krillin, Yamcha, and Tien had questioning looks about what had just happened and had turned to Ki-Adi for an explanation on it when he raised a hand before any of the three could speak or ask a question.
"Don't ask, we'll explain it when we find Anakin and the queen. It's best to do one rather then more." Walking past them, he lowered his arm and started to follow Goku and Vegeta out of where they had done the battle. The three remaining figures stood where they were in a moment of confusion right before they all sighed at the same time and followed Ki-Adi.
They wouldn't need much of an explanation as to what had transpired but were more then a bit curious as to where the body of that so-called Sith was at. Where was his body? Had they buried it already or had he gotten away? If so, where was he and why wasn't anyone going after him? They'd know in time if they kept asking the right questions, that or have a lightsabre to their throats demanding that they be quiet. Either way they'd be returning home in due time and that lifted their spirits.
To Be Continued