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As the sound of the com-system cut through the calm of the early Kashyyyk morning, Revan groaned as the ringing echoed without end through his brain. Throwing his legs over the side of his bed, he made his way towards the console and resisted the urge to utterly destroy the machine.
"Ebon Hawk here." He said, rubbing his eyes in an attempt to see more clearly. In front of him, the blue hologram form of Yuthura Bann appeared, the light casting a few shadows across the room in the process.
"Revan, I trust that I haven't interrupted you?" The former Sith asked, the tone of her voice showing sincere concern.
"No, I'm just a little slagged this morning. What does the Council want?"
"They've received a distress signal from one of our freighters. They wish you to investigate it due to it being extremely close to your position."
"How close? I just overhauled the Hawk's hyperdrive, and I haven't had the chance to properly break it in."
"Close to the edge of the Rim."
"That might be cutting it a little close." Revan replied, thinking for a few moments about how much force the hyperdrive could take. "Tell the Council we'll see what we can do." Giving a quick nod of approval, Yuthura's form disappeared from sight as the hologram faded away. Shutting down the machine, Revan turned back towards the bed, intending on at least trying to get a few more minutes of sleep if possible.
"They just can't stand to leave us alone, can they?" Bastila asked, her eyes still closed as she lay on her back beneath the sheets. Giving a sigh of disbelief, Revan nevertheless joined her.
"You figure that they would have realized that they will never regain our trust in them." He said, closing his eyes as his head hit the pillow. "Not after all they've done to the both of us in the past two years."
"Nomi and Vima have at least noticed it. The rest seem to be completely oblivious to it."
"Those two are the only Masters on the Council with a head that's not completely warped across the Outer Rim and back." His eyes still closed, he felt Bastila's arm wrapping around his chest as she pulled herself closer to him.
"Do you think we should at least start preparing the ship for hyperspace?" She asked, laying her head against his shoulder.
"It'll take at least an hour to do that. I'll have T3 start a systems check. I don't want the hyperdrive to be pushed too hard until we've properly broken her in."
"T3, how are the engines holding up?" Revan asked, throwing his voice down the hallway towards where the small astromech droid was still running his checks of the Hawk's systems. Ever since their escape from Taris, the droid and the ship's hyperdrive had developed somewhat of a relationship, as strange as the thought was. Revan had heard of the situation only once before, and since it had come from the mouth of a drunken cargo-transporter pilot, he hadn't given the tale much serious thought. Now, however, he could see that there was a shred of truth in the man's statements.
As Kashyyyk's clouds parted and opened up to the grand blackness of space, the Ebon Hawk's engines fully kicked in and the ship pushed forwards towards the Jedi freighter's last reported position. Yuthura had relayed more information regarding the situation to the Hawk's computer, and as the data flashed past her eyes, Bastila turned her chair forward once again as she prepared the ship-to-ship scanners.
"Any more interesting information?" Revan asked, his eyes never leaving the console before him as he continued to run various checks on the ship's systems.
"Nothing particularly interesting. The Council deemed us unworthy of having a complete idea of the events."
"Typical." Was the Knight's answer as he finally raised his head to face the view of space that stretched out as far as the naked eye could see. The freighter's last reported position continued to flash on the map at his side as the ship still continued on its path, cutting through space like a knife.
"Any other signals from the ship, like distress signals or burst transmissions?"
"None." Bastila answered, her attention still focused on the ship's sensors.
"How long has it been since anyone received a transmission from them?"
"Close to a few hours now. Hopefully we're not too late to pull anyone off of it."
"There it is." Revan said, leaning back into his chair as the damaged freighter grew closer and closer ahead of them. Across every inch of the freighter's surface, the unmistakable sight of blackened blaster marks continued without end. The comlink between the two vessels remained utterly silent, with not even a hint of static to add to the silence within the Ebon Hawk's cockpit.
"Still nothing on the comlink." Bastila said, raising her head in Revan's direction. "I'll keep trying to raise them."
"T3, get me a scan on that ship!" As his master's voice reached his audio-receptors, T3 beeped an affirmative and wheeled his body towards the ship's scanners.
"Do you think anyone's still alive?"
"Possibly. Who knows, maybe whatever attacked it knocked out its com-dish. We won't know until we get on-board." Returning to his feet, Revan moved towards the back of the ship, grabbing the medical pack off of the wall in the process. Giving one last glance at the ship's scanners, Bastila rushed after him, leaving T3 to assume control of the ship while they boarded the damaged freighter. As they neared the loading ramp, the two Jedi Knights equipped their breath masks, and with a simple nod, Revan lowered the boarding ramp. Ahead of them, the freighter continued to lay motionless, its own loading ramp slightly ajar as it floated in space.
The freighter's loading ramp was only a feet away from the edge of the Hawk, and as the two Jedi reached the end of their boarding ramp, they secured a small line to the Hawk, and then, they jumped. Their bodies flew through space for a precious few seconds before the cold metal of the Jedi freighter's boarding ramp was within their grasp.
The hull of the freighter was utterly silent as the two Knights continued into it, their lightsabers kept within close reach. A slight 'fog' covered every inch of the floor, its source coming from deeper inside the ship. Giving the room one last glance, the two Knights unhooked the lines fitted around their ankles.
"Where is everyone?" Revan asked, his voice sounding somewhat metallic due to the breath mask still fitted over his face.
"Help." The voice came out of the darkness, followed by the bloodied hulk of what could only be a Twi'lek. A breath mask covered his own face, but the bleeding wound in his side betrayed any confidence he may have had in his situation. Rushing to his side, Revan and Bastila slowly helped the alien to a sitting position against the cold metallic floor.
"Sith war-cruiser, came out of hyperspace…ahead of us."
"A Sith war-cruiser?"
"Not like anything we've ever seen before. It looked more…ancient." The Twi'lek hissed slightly as Bastila applied pressure to the wound in his ribs.
"Describe it to me." Revan said, his voice deadpanning despite the breath-mask.
"It was pure black, with jagged edges all along the bridge. Its turbo-lasers fired so quickly we couldn't even get our shields up in time."
"Just calm yourself. We're going to get you out of here. Are they any others on board that are still alive?"
"I don't think so. We all got hit pretty bad when the turbo-lasers got past our shields. I was lucky enough to throw up a shield in the Force before the full impact hit us."
"I'm going to check it out, wait here." Revan said, taking a cautious run into the deeper bowls of the ship. As his footsteps began to fade, Bastila turned her full attention back to helping the younger Jedi before her.
The hallways before him were just as empty as the ones before had been, and as he continued along his path, Revan reached out with the Force, trying to sense any other presences still alive aboard the ship. All around him, the area was deathly silent.
"Hello?" He shouted out, hoping his voice would stir any Jedi trying to hide his or her presence in the Force.
"Jedi." As the voice echoed inside his head, Revan felt his blood freeze as he recognized the exact voice. It had been in one of his memories, the voice of the True Sith, here within Known Space.
"Jedi." Again the voice called out to him, begging him to follow it to its origin. Willing his body to move, Revan turned and pushed his body for all the strength he could muster. As he reached the spot where Bastila continued to try and heal the Jedi's wounds, he landed hard on his knees, but he ignored the pain.
"Bastila, we need to go, now." He said, his voice sounding almost entirely unlike his own.
"What's wrong?" She asked, helping the Jedi to his feet nevertheless.
"I'll explain on the ship, just come on!" Wrapping the Jedi's arm around his shoulder, Revan pushed the group back towards the ship, his heart racing with each step he took. Not once in his life could he ever remember feeling this much fear racing through his body.
"You didn't think I'd let you go without seeing the truth, did you, Jedi?" The voice erupted through the hull of the ship, its sound no longer simply contained within Revan's mind. Turning her head in an attempt to see the source of the voice, Bastila's senses instantly became alert to the feeling of danger that was spreading quickly throughout the hull of the ship.
"Revan, what's going on?"
"Have a taste of what the future holds for both of you, Jedi." As the words faded away, the ship grew silent once more. And then, the overwhelming pain overtook every inch of both of the Jedi's senses, overwhelming every part of their bodies. The two dropped to their knees in pain, and as the vision spread through their vision, the pain only grew worse.
All around them, Coruscant was on fire, the streets crowded with the dead and the dying, both Jedi and civilians. Taking a cautious step forward, Revan could still hear every individual scream that flowed through the air, allowing no place for silence to take reign. He recognized every one of the faces, for they were the same individuals that haunted his dreams every night, haunted the memories that returned to him and anchored themselves in his mind.
The sky above them was blood red, with only the sound of fighters passing overhead disturbing the constant color. All around him, the Force was nothing but pain and suffering, the emotion that each being in front of him was feeling echoing throughout his own mind, allowing him no thoughts for himself. He couldn't sense Bastila through their bond, and as he tried to, he found the bond to be only another echo, the feelings shared between them lying broken and shattered in his mind.
He passed the bodies, wandering the streets as they continued to blaze, consuming every inch of a beings life. Lives that had been made here with only sweat and hope now lay shattered for all time, with no hope to ever rebuild. And as the Jedi Knight watched the flames continue to blaze, he could only sense the realization that all of this was his doing. Whatever had caused this untold destruction, he had brought it here in a way, had let the evil know where this all existed.
Everything was his fault. And as the realization ran through his mind, Revan died inside, over and over again.
"Revan." The voice echoed to him, the sound of it unmistakable despite the sound of the screams all around them. As he turned to the source, he found Anarra standing there, her clothes and hands covered with the red color of blood.
"You could have stopped this; you could have just given them what they wanted."
"You could have just given yourself to them."
As the vision faded away from the Jedi's eyes, Revan and Bastila found everything around them to be utterly silent, the effect unnerving them. As she slowly returned to her feet, Bastila looked at her husband with genuine fear in her eyes.
"I think we need to go to Coruscant."
As they moved through the halls of the Temple, Revan could already feel the overwhelming nervousness circling through Bastila's mind, the same emotion that was running through his own. Despite the decision that the Council had reached, both of them knew what they had seen in the vision. Something was coming, and it was without a doubt the thing that had haunted his memories. Whatever he had found out in the Unknown Regions, it was on its way here.
"I don't care what they say, there's something coming. You saw it just as well as I did." He said, trying to keep his emotions under control. He couldn't really explain what he was feeling, whether it was fear, anxiety, or simply the need to actually do something instead of sitting around waiting for this enemy to come and attack them.
"I agree. Despite Master Vandar's valid point that Force visions can be interpreted many ways, the one we witnessed didn't leave much in the way of alternatives. There is something coming, and we need to be prepared. I can't believe that the Council doesn't see that."
"After the last two wars, you think the Council would at least see that they can't be right about everything." Revan replied, his lightsaber swinging slightly on his belt. As they continued down the hallway, they passed several Padawans that stared openly at them, no doubt in some form of awe, considering their unofficial statuses as war heroes. The two had tried repeatedly to live the titles down, but each attempt had proved useless as the public continued to come up with new rumors and stories regarding them, some of them true, and some of them false. Carth hadn't been spared from the treatment either, although he seemed to ignore it as he continued to control his fleet above Telos, where the restoration effort was still in it's early stages.
"We need to find Anarra. She has to be still on this planet somehere."
"Do you think she's going to be a part of what's to come?"
"Possibly. She was in the vision."
"Still, at least we can get back to Vaner and Kera now, as much as I trust Mission with them, I'd still feel better at least being in the same room with them." Revan said, changing the subject in order to get some of the frustration off of his mind. As Bastila smiled back at him, they continued to make their way down the hallway, heading towards the entrance to the speeder bike landing pads. The mass of apprentices and padawans still moving past them, nothing seemed out of the ordinary.
In an instant, that changed. He remembered the sound of the explosion, the sound momentarily deafening him as he was thrown to the ground by the force of the blast. All around him, the hallway was carpeted with black smoke, the substance forcing its way into his lungs, causing him to cough as his lungs attempted to get more oxygen into his body. As his hearing started to return, a ringing still present in his ears, he could hear various individual screaming and shouting, some of them in pain, and some of them searching for help.
Looking around himself, his first thoughts were to find Bastila, and as he searched for her presence through their bond, he was met with an un-nerving silence. Struggling to move, he could feel what could only be bits of shrapnel imbedded in his right leg, the pain coursing through his body as he tried to move. Still, he pushed on, using the Force to subdue the pain enough that he could move without having to stop.
She was close by; he could at least still sense her through the Force. As he continued to pull himself across the floor towards her, the smoke making his eyes water and his lungs erupt into flames, his hearing continued to ring, his eardrums being bombarded by the increasing number of shouting. The rest of the Temple had finally managed to get down here, medical personnel no doubt here as well, with more on the way from other various sources across the city.
Finally he reached her, his heart dropping into the bottom of his stomach the minute he set his eyes on her. The front of her tunic was covered in the unmistakable dark red color of blood. As he struggled into a sitting position, he held her head against his knee as he tried to get a better look at her wounds. From what he could see, her left side had taken most of the damage from the blast, as evident by some of the shards of shrapnel still visible from where they protruded out of her rips.
His mind raced in every direction as he continued to look at her. Behind him, he could hear some of the medics already arriving, one of them rushing to his side. Looking over at him, Revan could see his lips moving, but yet, none of the words seemed to make sense inside his brain. The only thought that continued to circle around his brain was that he was holding the love of his life, her blood sticking to his hands and his clothes, her breathing shallow but still there.
He remembered the medics taking her out of his grip, moving her onto a nearby stretcher and then shuffling her out of his sight, the confusion around him continuing to grow with each passing second. One of the other medics also arrived at his side, asking to take a look at his leg. Leaning back against the wall behind him, Revan closed his eyes, trying to center himself in the growing chaos.