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Sith Politics

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            As I get off my personal shuttle, I wince at the horrid Korriban wasteland. No matter how many times I’ve been here, I hate it. So, I can understand Dad despising Dark Council meetings. I prefer Dromund Kaas’ dreary weather than this, which is really saying something. As my eyes become accustomed to the harsh light, I see Overseer Tremel impatiently waiting. Even from here I can sense how anxious he is. “Overseer Tremel, why the acceleration of my trials?” I respectfully call as I walk closer. He calms slightly with my presence. “Ah my dear Thea, I hope your journey here was uneventful. And I am sad to say Darth Baras is closing in on who his new apprentice will be, an impure rat by the name of Vemrin.” Father warned me that his old friend was getting obsessed with pure blood if there is such a thing. “Well, he hasn’t meant me yet, so his judgment is off,” I confidently reply. Tremel smiles smugly, “No my dear he has not. But to secure his favor, we must get you on equal footing. Even though you are by far more powerful than Vemrin, he has been here longer and has a Sith war blade.” He stops when he sees my smile. “So, I know my trial.” He nods and as I head out of the room, says “When you’re done meet me in my office in the Academy.” 

            As I exit the building, I notice a young girl walking down the ramp and staring at the k’lor’slugs. She has light brown hair tightly pulled in a twist bun. She confused. There’s something about her presence that’s familiar but I can’t figure out what. “Their called k’lor’slugs.” She jumps, oops I frightened her. Now she’s on the defensive and cautiously looking around. When she finally sees me, I notice there is a look in her blue-green eyes, my mom’s eyes. Anger flares within me I know that look, it’s one I’ve seen in slaves, and she barely looks fourteen. She’s wearing a red tunic with black pants, acolyte’s clothing, then I notice the sparks of purple force lightning and a training blade on her back. My father told me a lord was looking for an apprentice from Force-sensitive slaves. She’s old enough to be my sister, where did that thought come from. But with her age, power, and eyes, she could be. My baby sister is the reason I’m even being trained as a Sith, she was taken about ten years ago at the tender age of four. Mom was even amazed at her Force ability.

            I attempt to ease her with a smile, “My name is Thea, and I didn’t mean to alarm you. I just saw you looking at them and sensed your confusion. Are you also going in Ajunta’s tomb?” Upon hearing my accent, she calms. She turns a little shy and starts acting like the child she is. I mentally add slavery to the things I want to change about the empire. She gingerly returns my smile and tentatively says, “Yes, I am. I’m looking for a Lord Spindrall.” I wonder if the Lord Dad was talking about is Lord Zash, she’s the only I know who would respect him enough. “I’ve heard crazy things about him, so I wish you luck. I’m going in to get my war blade. What’s your name?” I say trying to open her up and find out why she’s familiar. I almost stop breathing when she replies, “Allura.” Could it really be her?

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            Even if it is her, do I just tell her “Hey, I’m your sister! We’ve been searching for you since you were four!” Yeah right, like she’d believe me. I hear a soft, “You okay?” Takes me a while to respond, “Yeah, I’m fine. Want to work together, I mean since we're both heading there anyway.” She smiles brightly, “yeah sure, safer in numbers, right?” I return her smile, “Well, let’s go.” As I leap to attack yet another group of k’lor’slugs, I’m struck with how much of a team we make, with her zapping them and I leaping to finish them off with a few slashes. Even though she started off not knowing her abilities, she has a strong affinity for lightning. We sort of came to a silent agreement that I’d lead and she’d follow. When almost a hundred or more k’lor’slugs bodies litter the ground, we finally enter the tomb.

            As we head to the first floor of the tomb, I see more enemies. “Oh fun, more of them, and looks like we’re going to be up against some tomb raiders up ahead,” I call back sarcastically. “Most likely they’ll be all dead, by the time I’ll get there. So, it’s more you than me,” she yells, I turn around, walking backward to smile at her. Dad’s advice of acting like a true Sith, to hide that I follow the light, comes to mind, so I reply, “Your loss then. I don’t know about you but I want to see how many I can take out,” punctuating the end with a leap into a large group of k’lor’slugs. I kill four before they even realize they’re being attacked, stars have I missed this, being able to fight without fear of greatly injuring the other.

            “Well, lookie here boys, we got ourselves some pretty ladies,” one of the tomb raiders called to the others as we approach, catcalls soon follow. I can sense their intentions. I try to talk them out of it, though I wouldn’t mind if they ignore it, “I don’t think you know who you’re dealing with, do you?” I see Allura look at me. “You think pretty highly of yourself, don’t cha. You see we didn’t come to Korriban, without knowing how to fight Sith like you. But we ain’t gonna kill you straight off, we’re goin have some fun first, ain’t that right boys.” Dozens of agreeing shouts follow. No one will hurt my sister ever again. My emotions got the better of me, and I pounced killing him instantly then dare the rest.

            Come on, show me how you’ve killed Sith. Four raiders go on the attack, as I face them, hear Allura scream, “No!” I turned just in time to see her instantly kill four raiders with a single bolt, causing the rest of the raiders to run for their lives. I can feel how much that took out of her, but doesn’t make it any less impressive, “Well it looks like you learned a new trick but it took a lot out of you.” She nods as she sits down. I walk next to her and sit down, wiping the blood off my hands onto my pants, “Good idea, I’m assuming our first trials are going to contain more fighting.” We fall into a peaceful silence. I’m getting protective of her. After about 10 minutes, we go deeper into the tomb.

            “This is it. Do you want to do our trials separately, then meet hereafter?” I ask when we enter a room with three different hallways, four if you include the one we just came from. She nods, I point her in the correct direction, then head to where the war blades are kept. When I enter the room, I can see the blades in the center. Cautiously I walk to where they’re held, what’s the challenge in this? Then when I pick up my two new blades six droids activate. I smirk, let’s see how last I can defeat ancient droids. Leaping to the droid, I disabled it before any of them have time to attack. This is a lot easier than it should be, as I disable the last one. As I head up the stairs to exit, two more droids activate, after those two are done, two more droids activate, okay this is just sad. I just hope Allura is having as easy of a time, instead of just waiting I go in the direction I pointed her, getting there just in time to see her face off against two Acolytes.

            Allura knowingly faces one so the other is behind her, she’s playing with them. She ducks the first’s attempt at lighting, and strikes his hands, breaking them before saying, “If you want to use Force lightning, you have to use all your emotions, like this,” striking him with a lengthy bolt that encases him with an electrical field. Then the last one attacks, she drops the apparently dead body and blocks his blade with her hand while striking with her saber breaking his ribs, then running her blade through his heart. Wow, she’s definitely learning a few new tricks since we met earlier. Malicious laughter follows, “Good, thank you for freeing me from those filth, Acolyte. You were wise to feel and use their terror against them. You have earned my attention and judgment. Now, go. Return to Harkun and nurture your hatred for him and use your fear of him to grow stronger. He may raise his fist to strike, but it is Lord Zash who will determine where the blow will land.” I wouldn’t mind her being my sister, but I want to learn about her before I get my hopes up that she is. She notices me when she turns to leave. “Thought we were meeting in the other room?” Allura asks as greeting, as she walks towards me. I smirk, “I was wondering what was taking you so long, didn’t realize that you like to tease those you kill.” She rolls her eyes, “Whatever, come on I’m getting tired of this tomb, let’s go surprise our Overseers!” Doing a twirl at the end, chuckling I ask, “How old are you, Allura?” Facing me, “Fourteen, and you?” She’s my sister’s age, responding “Twenty-three.” She tilts her head to the side, “So how long have you been Sith?”

            “Officially ten years, before that I was trained by my parents.”  She looks at me like she’s deciding if she can trust me. I almost forget to breathe when she says, “I was a slave since I was four and the pirates who stole me, sold me for some easy credits.” I tighten my fists, “Do you remember your family at all?” I ask trying not to be too hopeful. “Somewhat,” she answers, “I know I was with a couple of my sisters and my father when I was taken, and my two oldest sisters were trai—” she stops midsentence. I don’t think anything of it until I notice she’s no longer following me. She’s looking as if this is the first time she’s seen me, what if she’s remembering me. “You okay, Luna?” I almost facepalm when my sister’s nickname slips out. Then suddenly she runs and tightly hugs me, “Oh my stars, Treea!” It’s her! It’s really her! I’m struggling to not broadcast it, “We thought we lost you, but we never gave up looking,” then slightly pulls away, “May I?” After her nod, I enter her mind, 'Hi Luna.' She looks at me startled I send her a calming aura, ‘don’t be alarmed, sis. This is how our family stays in touch.' My heart breaks when she asks, 'Can I talk to them?' I smile, 'Ratiin1! Always!' I show her how the Force bond works, as we head to the Academy. She hesitantly reaches out to our family, and we both feel their shock, thankfully they don’t start all it once. 'Stars, I’ve been so worried about you, and I can’t wait to give you the biggest hug!' Tali begins. Then Jaida 'Hey baby sister, glad we finally found you!' Chey is nervously trying to find what to say but settles on, 'Luna, I’m so sorry I couldn’t protect you.' I focus on their emotions when they finally hear her voice, 'There wasn’t anything you could have done, Chey or even you Jai. I’m just glad you’re alive.'

            'Oh, my baby, it’s you! It’s really you,' comes Mom’s voice, I look over at Allura and see her fighting back tears. I’m tempted to wrap an arm around her when Dad speaks 'My sweet ladybug, how much I’ve missed you,' My heart breaks when I hear her voice cracking, 'Mom! Dad! I love you so much! I’m sorry I stuck on your ship, daddy! I wanted to surprise you.' She stops when her tears threaten to fall. 'Oh sweetie, have you carried that around all this time?' Mom and Dad say together. 'We forgave you long ago, we just wanted you back safe and sound. And here you are, now focus on what’s ahead.' We enter the Academy together, I smile when I see her stunned face as two Imperial guards bow. 'Everyone should have bowed to you before this, with who our family is and all.’ I wish her luck as we split to go to our Overseers. When I enter Tremel’s office, there are two men waiting for me. “Hey there, acolyte. Hold on a moment. Let me get a look at you,” the smaller of the two starts, “Hmm. So, you’re Overseer Tremel’s secret weapon, huh? Impressive, to be sure. Afraid the old man waited too long to make his move, though. I’m Vermin, and unlike you, I’ve fought and bled for everything I have. I demand respect.”

            Unimpressed, “I’m Thea,” stepping closer and continuing, “Just because you demand respect doesn’t mean you have it. You need to convince people respect you, not force them. And yes, I may be earlier than expected but that doesn’t mean I got here easily.” He scoffs, “Please. Everyone knows what Tremel is doing. If he had made his move a year ago, when I first arrived, you might’ve had a chance. But now—too little too late.” His friend cuts in, “This is ridiculous, Vermin. Let’s just kill her and hide the body.” Vermin rubs his face, “We’re not on Balmorra anymore, Dolgis. There are rules. Traditions. We’ll leave the shortcuts to Tremel and his last pathetic hope here.” I roll my eyes, “Don’t underestimate me, Vermin, it may be your downfall.” It will be his downfall. He chuckles, “We’ll see about that. Coming, Dolgis?” Dolgis nods, “Be right there, Vermin.” Then as Vermin leaves, walks closer to me “Listen to me you useless priss. Acolytes aren’t allowed to murder each other. But accidents happen. It isn’t murder without witnesses. No more warnings. Vermin’s the alpha monster here. You go after Vermin, you die!” then leaves. Oh, lovely, glad Tremel gave me a warning.

            Going farther into Tremel’s office, I see him and his daughter, Eskella, talking. On seeing me he stops “Good, you’ve returned. You seem to be in one piece. Tell me, how do you like your new blades?” I smirk, “They will serve me well in the coming trials.” Eskella interrupts, “What are you doing, Father? I only just got my warblade, and I’ve been here six months.” I sigh, “Good to see you too, Ella.” She gives me an evil look, she still hates me. “Don’t even start, both of you! I have no idea what happened between the two of you but get over it! We are going to be a team in this!” ending with a warning look to Ella.“Eskella, go finish your training for today. I need to speak with Thea privately.” She rolls her brown eyes, giving me, a look silently saying, ‘we’ll finish this later’ as she leaves. “You still haven’t patched things up, have you?” he asks me. I look at him, “Apparently not, I’ve been trying to, believe me, but I don’t even know what happened.”

            A lie really, she hates me because I have her parents love, and she thinks she doesn’t and I’ve tried to fix that. Right then Tali touches my mind, 'I can’t believe you found her!' I roll my eyes, 'Seriously Tali!? You have no respect for personal bounties! I could have been doing something personal!’ Tremel smiles knowing what’s going on, as my twin continues amused, 'You forget that we can only feel emotions and thoughts you allow us too. And besides, if you were doing something ‘personal’ we’d know anyway,' I mumble causing her to say 'Oh relax Treea, you know we’ve blocked those thoughts and emotions from coming through. We only know those thoughts when you broadcast it like Chey did earlier today.' I giggle, 'Thankfully I missed that, was too worried why Tremel asked for me. Which is who I’m with right now, so talk to you later!' Refocusing Tremel is in front of me amused, “Done yet?” I look down, “Yes, sorry! Talia is just excited that we found Allura.” I look up, and see his stunned face, “You found her?” I smile, “Yes, we did. As it happens she’s here on Korriban.” He swallows, “That innocent young girl is here?” I nod, he closes his eyes and rubs them with his right hand. “Then I can’t wait to see her. Now, I thought I heard Vermin’s voice in the adjacent chamber before you arrived. Did he make his move so soon?” I shake my head, “He was just testing the waters.”

            “Hmm. If he didn’t attack, he must not fully comprehend the threat you are. We can work with that. But first your next trial, I have summoned some off-world prisoners, your task is to judge them and decide their fate. Go to the jails speak to Jailer Knash then return to me after you have passed judgment and I will assess your choices.” Walking to the main room, Allura touches my mind, 'Are you finished yet?' I chuckle, 'Yes sis, now I have to go to the jails.' I’m close enough to hear her sigh of relief, 'Same here, however, I don’t know where it is.'

            “Well, it’s a good thing that you have me then,” I say aloud scaring her. She faces me, I smile then my eyes rest on newly forming bruises on her face. As I walk toward her, I motion to her face, 'Did your Overseer do this?' when she nods, I narrow my eyes and when I’m asked what's wrong, growling I send a mental picture of Allura’s face. 'If he ever does that again, tell me and I’ll show him what his hands are good for,' I darkly say. 'She isn’t the only one,' Cheyanne and Jaida join in. 'When I find who your Overseer is, he’ll know the full wrath of a Dark Council member and father.' She just makes thing worse when she says, 'I’m fine. I’ve suffered worse.' After realizing her mistake tries fixing it, 'I have my trials to complete. Besides, it’s in the past anyway.'  We nod as we part ways.

            As I enter I hear, “One more chirp from you, little bird, and you’ll regret it.” Then “Chirp. Chirp, chirp” then a scream of pain followed by, “ow! Jerk. If you don’t like that just say so. I can do other animals too. Dire-cat, frog-dog, Kowakian monkey-lizard, you name it.” And as I walk in I see it’s a young blue female Twi’lek with a shock collar on her neck. Oh, I hope she’s not part of this trail, she’s about my age! The guy who’s been shocking her, notices I’m there just as he’s about to shock her again. “You. I’m Jailer Knash,” he begins. I roll my eyes and the girl covers her mouth to hide her amusement. He continues, “I run these cells and slave pits. You’re the acolyte Tremel sent for the test, right? Hrmph. He thinks highly of you.” Trying to stop myself from making a snarky comment, I politely say “Yes, I am!” He put a hand on his hip, “You should know this situation is highly unusual. Normally, an acolyte goes off-world for the interrogation. Overseer Tremel had these three shipped in for you.” I hope no one else is noticing, I don’t want Tremel to get hurt. He continues, “He thinks you’re the next coming of Exar Kun. But you ought to know, Tremel ain’t the only paying attention to you.” I swallow, “and who might that be?” He chuckles, “You’ll find out soon enough. Now, these three prisoners have been transferred here for your inspection. You gotta interrogate them as needed, and then decide their fate. The convicted are usually executed or given a trial by combat to see if they’re worthy. Whatever you decide, you’ll be to one to carry out the sentence.” The jury, judge, and executioner. Lovely. “Makes sense to me. Shall we get started?”

            “Hrmph, right. Let’s start with this one on the left.” The female in the cell exclaims, “You, freaks aren’t getting anything new out of me. Just do whatever you’re gonna do.” I walk up to the cell, “You can talk to me or to the inquisitors. And I promise I have a much sunnier disposition.” Can’t believe I said that with a straight face! “Get lost. I’ve been through this routine. I already know all your inquisitors by name.” Knash chuckles, “Impudent to the last. As I was saying, she was sent to kill an Imperial spy in the Yavin system. Throughout her torture, she maintained that she was hired anonymously.”

            “Get it through your damn head. I had no idea he was Imperial, and I don’t know who hired me!” She cuts in. “So, you don’t deny trying to kill him?” I ask she shakes her head, “Interesting.” Knash cuts in, “Now you must decide—execution or trial by combat. Which do you choose?” I smirk, “Neither, free her and put her in Imperial Intelligence.” Turning I study his reaction, “An interesting choice, Acolyte.” I turn and walk to the next cell containing an older man. “Please. I am a fellow Sith, judge me with an open mind and grant me a trial by combat. I beg you.” I don’t even let Knash speak before Force choking the old man and snapping his neck, I hear the Twi’lek gasp. I feel Allura leave the jail touching her mind, 'You go ahead, Luna. I’ll meet up with you after.' Behind me, Knash chuckles, “Good. I won’t have to look at his sad weathered face anymore. Thank you. This last prisoner is a bit of a puzzle. He’s called Brehg, and he’s a jittery little wretch suspected of supplying forged documents to Republic agents, but keeps saying he’s innocent even though torture.” I rub my face, why did Tremel want these prisoners!?  “Keep interrogating him,” I say tiredly hearing Tremel saying, ‘leave no stone unturned.’ “You’re an interesting one, kid, I can see why people are keeping tabs on you. Head back to Overseer Tremel, see what he thinks of your choices.”

            I hastily leave whispering apologies to those last two prisoners, hoping they can forgive me. I basically run to Tremel’s office, only stopping just outside to catch my breath, and slowly walk in. Thank the stars I did, because I walked in on a conversation between Tremel and an apprentice. “Is that everything?” Tremel asks. I grimace, feeling his irritation. The apprentice nods, “Everything Lord Renning was able to obtain, yes.” Tremel sighs, “Then run back to your master in the beast pens, before I cut you in half.” I chuckle, as the apprentice basically runs out with his tail in between his legs, “Problems, Uncle?” He groans “No, just dealing with idiot Lords and their equally idiotic apprentices. I received Knash’s report. Choosing the best decision every time, even more importantly, Darth Baras would approve of your choices. I’m proud of you, come on give your uncle a hug!” I smile and go directly into his opened arms. I smile when he whispers, “I know your dad is proud of you as well!” I pull away slightly, “Thank you that means a lot to me, that I made you both proud of me.” He smiles, “We are always proud of you, Treea!” He lets go and I step away, “Now your next trial is in the Tomb of Marka Ragnos, it requires you to slay his Beast deep within its chambers. But that is tomorrow’s trial, go rest to your chambers and rest, my dear. Tomorrow will be a big day! Sleep well!” I smile as I leave, even with him as my overseer he is still the same. Since I can still feel Allura’s presence I decide to wait for her. On seeing her, “Have you been assigned where you sleep yet?” She frowns slightly, “No, I think slaves sleep outside.” The moment she said slave, I thought of that poor Twi’lek girl still in that cell, probably getting shocked by that jerk of a jailer. “Well for one you are not a slave, and two, I have quarters, so you’ll be sharing with me.” I smile at the thought of sharing with my sister. She smiles, “Well, aren’t I just lucky to have met you.” I put my arm around her, “Yes Luna, we all are,” giving her a side hug, leading her down the hall to my chambers.

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            I wake up before Allura to wash off the Korriban sand. I’ve hardly had to use my chambers here, only did when Dad was called to a Dark Council meeting. His chambers are a floor below mine with stairs connecting the two, so I can visit him without drawing any attention. We slept in what I claimed to be my bedroom, but there are many other rooms, a kitchen, dining room, living room with a large holo terminal, a large entry room with a small refresher, plenty of empty bedrooms with their own personal refreshers and closets, and rooms for training and other things.

             As I finish in the refresher and walk out I see Allura looking around the room, I’ve decorated all six rooms I use roughly the same. “I hope you don’t mind the décor, reminds me of home and Alderaan,” I say brightly. She smiles, “I can tell.” I return her smile and motion behind me, “The refresher is through those doors and whatever is in my closet is yours to choose from.” I laugh when she runs to the doors, opening them both before going inside. After a bit, I tenderly knock at the door holding some fresh towels, when she opens to door I set them on the counter and quickly leave heading to make breakfast.

            The kitchen is one of my favorite rooms, maybe because growing up I always would watch our servants cook. I have my own, but they are still in Kaas City, since acolytes aren’t allowed any. I finish preparing the hotcakes then tell my chamber droid to keep them warm and put together some fruit and a drink. I knock again only to tell her breakfast is about ready, when I don’t hear anything I open the door and freeze. Her back is covered in dried blood, I let out a small sob, “Oh my stars Luna, why didn’t you tell me?” I carefully walk in farther, getting kolto and a wash cloth, then kneel beside the tub to wash her back revealing over a dozen healing slashes. “What happened?” I softly ask, not wanting to know but somehow needing too.

             “I had talked back to my overseer, the punishment for which is flogging. He had barely started the lashings when one of the ladies who raised me stopped him. For her daring, her punishment was instant death. My anger overwhelmed me, and I killed him with lightning. It’s how they learned I was Force-sensitive before it was carefully hidden. After, I was ushered straight to a shuttle bound for Dromund Kaas, to wait with others then sent here to Korriban. That was two days ago,” she says flatly as I put on the kolto. “Her name was Camille. She had just lost a son when I joined their group. She and her husband made it their job to protect me.” I get up to get the shampoo and conditioner Cheyanne insists I have, then kneel back down. Gently take her hair down freeing her curls then summon a glass which I fill with water to begin washing her hair, “Then it seems we have a lot to thank them for.”

             Once I’ve finished with both washing it and putting in conditioner, I rinse her hair with cold water then proceed to dry it, “This should help your natural curls… at least that’s what Mom, Talia and Cheyanne say.” She giggles, “What’s happened since I left?” I shake my head chuckling remembering everything that’s happened, “Tali is training to be a Jedi Knight and is on Tython with Mom. She just got assigned to her last master, ironically Master Orgus Din. Jaida is working with Uncle Braden as a bounty hunter, trying to enter the Great Hunt. Cheyanne is a flirtatious smuggler. If you remember Jessi, she’s a Republic trooper now. And Mom and Dad have been trying to keep everything under control.” I mentally add, all because of you. “No doubt you've felt Grammy and Grampy's death. Papa and Gram are, well, doing what they do best.” Chey and Jai started smuggling and bounty hunting to find any hint of Allura’s whereabouts. Jessi joined in the military to honor her grandfather and to prevent what happened to us from happening to others. Tali and I were being trained as Padawans before Allura was taken.

             Now I’m styling her hair into a partial updo, continuing “And out of our family, you have probably heard about the ‘Sacking of Coruscant’ and the so-called Treaty. And what you might not have known is if you hadn’t stuck on Dad’s ship that you’d be dead with the other younglings. The Republic and Empire have been in a Cold War since, neither side willing to break the ‘Treaty of Coruscant.’ The Jedi lost many good Knights and had their temple destroyed so they retreated to Tython to rebuild and study their heritage.” I pause when she motions that she’s done and summon a towel as she stands, holding it in front of me before wrapping it around her.

             “And this is my closet,” as I open the double doors and head inside. I smile when she gasps saying “Someone could get lost in here!” I laugh nodding my head, “Yeah I know. Wasn’t what I really wanted but being the daughter of one of the most powerful Sith in the galaxy has its perks. Thankfully only my quarters here and our family’s strongholds have this size closets filled with the fashions of the planets it resides on. But as soon-to-be apprentices to Sith Lords, we also have our share of armor and Sith apparel. Thankfully most everything here shrinks or grows with you; Nanotech. Choose what you want!” I finish, running my hands over the clothes picking out the ones I like. I go for a simple black look because Sith never where color, that shows off some skin here and there along with my figure but allows me to move. I whistle when Luna walks out looking like an angel of death. She shakes her head, “You’re going to make men not be able to focus around you, Treea.” I smirk, “That’s the idea. Looks like you have the same idea though, sis,” ending with a wink. “Oh hush, come on let’s get this over with.”

             We eat and pack our bags for the day, still leaving before the sun has risen. I can tell Luna is worried that no one else is up and about yet, and apparently doesn’t realize the speeder is always running. “We want to go to Wilds Laboratory it’s the closest to the Tomb,” she nods trusting me. The speeder droid already has our speeder waiting. “So, what do you have to do?” she asks while I pilot us towards the lab. “I have to kill Marka Ragnos’ beast. You?” She sighs, “I have the ‘impossible’ task of retrieving an ancient Holocron that no one has figured out how to acquire in the last millennia.” Whoa that’s harsh, “He really must not like you.” She nods, chuckling, “That’s an understatement, Lord Zash has singled me out pretty much ignoring his favorite. And I’m beginning to think he finds me attractive. Whenever we are alone, Harkun closes any distance between us and forces me to look him in the eyes.” So Harkun is her overseer, good to know. I give her a sympathetic look, “Well, can I be there when you enter his office dressed like that? Oh, I almost forgot Tremel wants to see you!” She smiles lost in memories, “How is he doing?” I smile, slightly giggling, “He’s still the same, even though he’s my overseer.” She gives me the ‘duh’ look when we reach the Lab. I roll my eyes pointing to where we’re heading to go, “Well, there is where we’re going! Doesn’t look like there is anything between us and there, but we might want to tread carefully. There’s some troops that have gone crazy where we’re heading.” She nervously swallows, and we begin our journey, which is thankfully uneventful.

            Entering the tomb, we follow the only cleared path leading to a large chamber with two hallways not including the one we’re just in. We split to do our trials, myself to the right and her to the left. My path leads me down to a much larger room with a large tablet in the center. I walk close to the stone tablet and as my hand touches it the room starts to tremble then I hear a roar and a huge Terentatek comes charging me. Then it gets closer I leap over him slashing his back then landing with a roll as he turns and charges. I remember Dad telling me that Ragnos tortured it to make it powerful in the Dark side, having it become a Sithspawn. Knowing I can’t win by force, I figure tiring him out is the best strategy. Hitting his feet making him charge me. I sense Allura watching me, as I continue and finally land the killing blow. Suddenly a shock wave runs through the Force, I close my eyes groaning, as Luna exclaims, “I don’t think you should have done that!” I look at her on the ramp letting out a nervous laugh, “Yeah, I think I’m noticed now.”

            We hastily exit the Tomb, where we fight crazed slaves and soldiers on the way back to the Lab. We are both silently pondering on the way back. When we land, the Academy is buzzing with life. 'Let’s turn yours in first, Luna. I have a feeling mine won’t be so good.' She nods and leads me to Harkun’s office. I lean on a wall behind the other acolytes in the group, watching what happens. Luna stands in between a cloaked Sith, who must be Harkun’s favorite, and three large men. He stops talking to the others when he sees her, his eyes slightly widening as they rake down her body but sneeringly says, “I told you not to return until you had that holocron, slave, and the others have barely woken up.” How dare him call her slave! I’m impressed that Luna doesn’t even bat an eye at the word.

            “I thought you said that this was a trial of intellect, and well I was expecting a challenge,” she smugly says holding out the holocron. I smirk, that’s my sister alright. He narrows his eyes at it, “I strongly doubt that a mere slave could remove something the strongest Sith couldn’t. I bet you took that from the library!” to prevent from growling I cough, bringing the men’s attention to me, “I’m sorry Overseer Harkun, but it seems like you are saying that my friend here is lying.” Harkun visibly swallows when I stand beside her, good you should be nervous, “My apologies, Acolyte Thea. I didn’t know we were graced by your presence.” Luna raises an eyebrow, ‘I didn’t know he knew respect!’ I chuckle silently, he does if he likes living.

            Harkun gives Luna a dark look, “I’ll deal with you later. Now, I believe it’s time for another demonstration. Gerr, step forward.” Luna straightens bracing herself I internally groan, he’s one of those that likes killing the failures in front of everyone. The man next Luna says, “Yes, overseer,” it an emotionless voice as he walks forward. However, I was not expecting Harkun to say “Ffon-kill him.” The hooded Sith, Ffon, steps in front of him but stares at Allura, “With pleasure, overseer.” Gerr turns to run away but is shocked within a few steps towards the exit, then the pureblood grabs his training saber dealing the killing blow. I stare at Gerr’s body too shocked, horrified, and angry to say or do anything. Luna cautions me not to do anything, but I can’t help but stare darkly at the murderer. Then Harkun states, “Let Gerr be an example to you. Ffon destroyed him easily, like he will destroy all of you. Are there any other objections?”

            “Yes, there is Overseer. I want to know why you to see fit to treat us like animals then attack us when we bite back,” Luna states causing me look her, she sure has courage. Harkun walks towards her, “You better watch it, slave.” I’m impressed once again as she looks up at him defiantly and says confidently, “Can you think of a better insult than slave? Because it’s beginning to lose its touch.” Harkun’s jaw tightens, “Now, the rest of you know your next trial. Go. You, Mutt—stay here.” He smirks, his eyes only on Allura so not seeing my fists tighten. I sigh when she nods to me, I leave after giving Harkun one last look, just you wait Harkun. I stop to lean right outside the door to his office halving my focus on what is going on behind that door and touching Dad’s mind, carefully making sure I don’t anger him. I chuckle when he exasperatingly says, 'What is it, Thea?' I roll my eyes, 'Can’t a daughter just want to talk to her Dad?' He groans, 'You only do this went you want something!' I growl, 'No, you’re thinking of Cheyanne, Dad!' He chuckles, 'Oh yeah, I remember that now!' I frown, 'Anyway I found out who Luna’s overseer is… and I want to make the empty chambers a crossed the hall from mine Allura’s.' He sighs, 'I’ll see what I can do. And who is this Overseer?' he ends with a growl. I smile, 'Overseer Harkun. The Sith he’s preparing them for is Lord Zash.' He grumbles, 'Well that makes sense, keep me appraised.' I smile, 'Of course. I love you, Daddy.'  He silently says, 'I love you too, Treea.'

            When Allura comes out I say, “Come on, let’s see what’s next.” As I lead her to Tremel’s office, I feel Dolgis waiting for me. Upon entering I automatically block his view of my sister as he speaks, “Well look who’s here. Remember me?” I don’t have time for this, “You need to move out of my way, Dolgis.” He smirks crossing his arms, “I put myself in your way buddy. On purpose. Notice anything interesting? No witnesses. No witnesses means no rules.” I groan, you really want to kill me now?! I tell Luna, ‘Whatever happens let me do this alone.' As he continues, “No more shortcuts. No more special treatment. You’re just gonna be another dead failure on Korriban.” The fight is rather short and one sided. “No! Hold up, hold up! Look I was wrong. What they’re saying about you… totally true. So… strong. I don’t wanna die!” Dolgis says from the floor. I cross my arms, tempted to just end his miserable life but say “Then don’t cross me again, this will be your only warning. Go before I change my mind!” Luna looks at me, “I can’t believe you let him live.” I shrug, “Maybe with any luck he’ll tell his friend Vermin not to trifle with me, but I doubt he’ll listen. Come on, let’s go.”

            Tremel has his back to us as we enter, “I don’t think I should have killed the beast, Uncle.” He chuckles sadly, “You are right! In my haste, I made a slight miscalculation, one that sadly has lost us our invisibility. The beast of Marka Ragnos was a great source of dark energy on Korriban and its death sent a tremor in the Force, which no doubt you felt,” He finally turns around, “Ah my dear Allura, look how much you’ve grown!” he exclaims on seeing Luna, giving her one of his famous bear hugs. I roll my eyes and cough. “Oh right, I was saying Darth Baras felt that tremor and has become aware of you. He demands an audience.” Kriff, this isn’t good “I’m not ready!?” He nods understandingly, “I know but we have no more time. I am sorry I failed you Treea,” What? “You haven’t failed me, Uncle. You never could,” realizing why he’s saying that. “I’m proud of you,” he whispers in my ear as I hug him. When it ends I’m fighting back tears, “Go now, don’t keep him waiting. Allura you stay here with me.” I nod and give Luna a parting hug, then I feel Jaida touch my mind. Luna and I stare at each other as we hear her say, 'Uncle Braden and Jory were killed yesterday. I’m sorry it took me this long to tell you but I was trying to figure out the best way to say it and arrange for their burials. Hope you can forgive me!' Be strong, I can do this. I must do this. I give Allura another hug trying to control my emotions before I go speak with Baras. Dad sends me strengthening thoughts as I make the journey up the stairs to the Lord’s and Darth’s chambers floor. Just as I enter the hallway to Baras’ chambers, I run across four acolytes. “There. Teeno, I believe that’s the one,” says the only female in the group. “Really. All right. Hey, you!” the largest one, Teeno, says. “Careful Teeno,” she exclaims as they walk closer. “Come on, Phyne, I’m antsy for some action. You there! Are you the big shot they’re talking about? The one who’s been personally summoned by Darth Baras himself?” I nod as I cross my arms “Yes, that’s me.” Phyne swallows, “Please pardon my overeager friend. It’s just that we’ve heard so much about you.”

             “And we want to get in good with you,” Teeno says. “Teeno! What my blunt partner here means is that if you need anything or anyone, say, dealt with, we’d like you to consider us,” Phyne exclaims and ever the blunt one Teeno says, “She’s talking about Vemrin. We’ll kill him for you.” She groans, “Sorry, I should have had Teeno muzzled. So, what do you say? We know Vemrin tried to have you killed. Would you like him eliminated?” I slightly smile, “I’m preserving the pleasure for myself.” She nods, “Far be it for us to rob you of such an experience. Let us know if you need anything.” I think for a moment, “Well I’m always in need of sparring partners, the training dummies don’t offer up much of a challenge. If that interests you, I’ll be there in the late evening.” She smiles and nods as I walk by them. As I walk far away, I hear Teeno say, “What does that mean, Phyne?” She softly says, “It means she’s going to help us become better, and we’re going to have the most potent of allies.” I slightly smile as I walk in Baras' office before removing all emotion from my face as I hear Baras’ metallic voice speaking to a group of acolytes, “Most of you will not return from this endeavor. If you die, you will be forgotten. If you give up, you will be killed. Now, out of my sight.” I lean up against the wall as they exit, overhearing one say, “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Vemrin scoffs, “You should. This is the end of the line for you, Klemral. Just make sure you stay out of my way.” Klemral sees me and smirks, “Look here, Vermin, I see the upstart but no sign of Dolgis.”

             “Klemral, Vemrin, you have been dismissed,” Baras says as he stands. “Yes master,” Klemral says before he departs. “I underestimated you by sending Dolgis. It will not happen again,” Vermin growls before leaving as well. “Are you having trouble with Acolyte Vemrin, supplicant?” My jaw tightens but I respectfully say, “Nothing I can’t handle.” He chuckles, “He is thoroughly capable of backing up his threats. Vemrin has paid his dues. He’s fought a deck stacked against him to get here. You, on the other hand… Tremel brought you here because of your father,” I hold back a growl that threatens as he continues, “Your warblade came early, prisoners flown in for your convenience, even a beast here on Korriban instead of off world in the wild. Your mind is soft, unhoned, undisciplined.” I look up at him defiantly, “My father has nothing to do with this. Look at me ignoring my heritage, and what do you see?” He growls slightly, “You do not even have a rudimentary understanding of what it means to be Sith! The first month of trials should be dedicated to Philosophy, conceptual tactics, understanding of the Sith Code. Recite the Sith Code for me, acolyte, and explain its meaning in battle, war and politics.”

             “Peace is a lie, there is only passion. Through passion, I gain strength. Through strength, I gain power. Through power, I gain victory. Through victory, my chains are broken. The Force shall free me,” I say with emotion, “Conflict and passion is necessary in everything in the Galaxy. Through use of all our emotions, we work with nature and gain strength from it. With strength comes power and victory becomes easy to achieve. Unless victory is achieved, freedom is only an illusion. When one has freed themselves from everything that binds them, only then have they reached perfection. The Force is both our master and our slave.” When I’ve finished Baras is silent for a while, “Perhaps I was wrong. You have ability and understanding but still need grooming under the right instructor. I am your master now. Tremel’s unwillingness to adapt to the evolving Sith paradigm has made him a liability.” When he pauses, I form a connection with Tremel sharing with him what he says next, “These are the actions of a traitor. Traitors are executed. I grant you immunity from punishment if you kill him.” I sever the connection as my heart beats faster, “As proof bring me his right hand.” I nod, “Of course, master.” If he wasn’t wearing that hideous silver mask I bet he’d be smiling, “Good. Now go. I’m sure Tremel is still in his chambers. Don’t return until you’ve killed him.” I nod then head back downstairs to Tremel.

             When I enter, I see him hugging Allura, when he sees me he pulls away and states, “Allura please leave us.” She turns and sees me, I try to keep my emotions in check when I see the despair in her eyes. As she leaves she stares at me, but I keep my attention on Tremel. “So, he wants me dead then,” he says emotionlessly. I nod causing him to sigh, “Then so be it.” I look up at him, “Uncle, no. I will not kill you.” He closes his eyes and sighs, “This is in your best interest, Thea.” I shake my head, “No, it is not. I will not betray you or Dad. All that is necessary is that Baras thinks I killed you.” At that he raises an eyebrow, I smirk “All he asked for was your right hand with your ring as proof.” He smirks knowingly, “Well then it’s a good thing I have this,” as he ignites his red lightsaber then in one fluid motion cuts off his right hand. I gasp, and he just grunts from the pain, “I think it’s time I went on that vacation I’ve been wanting to.” I hurriedly walk to him to make sure he is alright, “Treea dear, I’ve suffered worse injuries. Baras has no idea what an incredible apprentice he is getting. I’m proud of you and so are your parents.” I smile slightly as he gives me one last hug before he leaves through a secret exit in his office.

             I walk to where Tremel was standing, then use the Force to make a powerful illusion of a terrible fight and Tremel’s lifeless body. Before I head out, I grab his severed hand. I hear Allura swallow before looking up at my face as I close the door tightly then walk to stairs, only pausing to make sure she’s not looking inside before heading up the stairs then to Baras’ chambers. I finally speak only now actually looking at her, “Wait for me here, please. I don’t want Baras to learn about you yet.” She nods then I head inside, “What’s this? The acolyte returns and with a bloodied weapon. I assume this means Tremel is no more. Give me his hand. Here. Take this one ring as a memento. Remembering the past can strengthen resolve and embolden the spirit. I am impressed you had the fortitude to destroy him. You know, he thought of you as family. How did it feel to betray him and your father?” So that’s why he did it, “He trained me for many years. It was quite difficult, master.” He nods, “Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. Remember that. By embracing the Code and destroying Tremel, you have freed yourself from his shackles. And escaped his fate.” I nod, “I understand.”

             “That’s more like it. I had a feeling you’d be a fast learner. Now, there are sacred ruins in the tomb of Tulak Hord. The ancient inscriptions that once adorned the walls of each ruin lie in pieces. You will venture through the entire tomb, search all the ruins, and bring me a shard from each of these inscriptions. You will do this or you will die. Vemrin and my other acolytes have already been sent. There are no rules regarding how they secure the shards, and they will stop at nothing. Fight your way through the tomb of Tulak Hord in the Valley of the Dark Lords, and bring me the shards from each ruined shrine, now go.”

             As I leave I put on Tremel’s ring, when I see Allura I state, “I have to go to the Tomb of Tulak Hord to recover shards of some ancient tablets for my Master.” She tries to smile, “I have to go there as well. Should we do this like we did the other trials?” I look up and give her a nod, and we silently fall in step as we leave. The Valley of the Dark Lords is just outside of the Academy so we enter the tombs entrance easily. “Pardon me, my lords, but I just wanted to let you know that the tomb is filled with k’lor’slugs and rebelling slaves,” a young soldier states as he sees us. He pauses to nervously swallow, “If I may ask, my lords, if you are going in would you mind killing their leaders as all the soldiers here are all protecting the tomb workers.” I look at Allura, 'Your decision.'  She nods, “We will take care of them since they are hindering the clearing of the tomb.” As we walk past him she pauses to say, “Good work, Officer…?” He swallows, “Sergeant William Taylor, my lord.” I join in, “Thank you, Sergeant Taylor, you’ve have made our trials a little easier.” Then we both nod in parting and go farther into the tomb. It just so happens that both of our trials are in the same room as the others. The first piece is in the Antechamber, which is the entrance, the other two are in the Archives and the Machine Vault through the Ruined Atrium, all in rooms with large tablets. Allura’s trial is apparently copying the tablets, while I collect two shards of each shrine. We finished quickly then headed back to the Academy, once inside we part ways.

             On entering the same hallway as when I met Teeno and Phyne, the acolyte from earlier, Klemral, is waiting with two others. “You—you did it, didn’t you? You got the shards from the tomb, and you’re on your way back to Darth Baras.” I tilt my head slightly, “Of course.” He smirks, “That’s all I need to hear.” Then the three of them attack. I block the first acolyte’s attack with my warblade, then Force kick him breaking his ribs and he crumbles to the ground. Klemral and the other acolyte must have decided that their best chance is to work together, because they both circle me then attack simultaneously. I block Klemral’s attack with my hand using the Force to strengthen it while using my blade to block the other’s attack, then Force leap kicking them both in the face causing them both to collapse. Only Klemral gets back up to continue fighting, I let him tire himself out before methodically bringing him to his knees my blade to his neck. “You fought well, you should be proud.” He swallows staring at the blade cutting his neck, “Stop! I—I’m sorry. I made a mistake! I tried to get through the tomb, I barely got out. I figured better to ambush you and take your shards. But I see that’s just as futile. Vemrin is already inside with Baras, all the others died. You were my only chance. Now I’m doomed. I’ll never become Sith. Unless I return with the shards, Baras will have me killed.” I remove my blade and help him up shaking my head before reaching into my bag and removing one set of the shards. “Here, take these.” He looks at me shocked as I place them in his hand, “Come on let’s go see our master.”

             “Ha, Klemral and the prodigal supplicant returns, both with the shards from the tomb. Superb. It seems your hopes have been dashed, Vemrin.” Baras says on our arrival. “Appearances can be deceptive,” Vemrin say crossing his arm and narrowing his eyes at me. “Klemral, leave while I talk to the other two.” He nods “Yes master,” giving me one a last look before leaving. “The tension is thick between you two. A great source of emotion to feed on. I wonder what will happen when it boils over. You two stand on the precipice of becoming Sith. But only one of you will have the opportunity to claim a special lightsaber and serve as my apprentice. I thought it would be you, Vemrin, but I’ve changed my mind.” Vemrin’s fists tighten as he exclaims, “What?  I’ve done everything you’ve asked. Better than any of the others. The honor should be mine!” I bow my head “I’m sorry, Vemrin. I know how much you wanted this.”

             “Today, Vermin is every bit your equal, but the Force is stronger with you, acolyte, and there is a power sleeping within you. It was a simple decision. Now Vemrin, go wait in my antechamber for your instructions. This instant!” Vemrin’s jaw tightens, but he does what Baras says. “Now, I hope you fathom how fortunate you are to be singled out. If you become my apprentice, the galaxy will bend before you.” I slightly bow, “I am honored, master.” I can sense his pleasure, “The lightsaber you will seek is old and powerful. It is housed in a forbidden cavern in the tomb of Naga Sadow where few Sith have ever set foot. Almost no one knows how to find the secret entrance. But there is a Twi’lek in the holding pens who was caught breaking in there.” The girl I saw! “I hear she’s quite willful. Take her and make her show you the entrance to the forbidden cave.” I nod, “I will take care of it.” He nods, “Other acolytes seeking to complete their trails are sent to the tomb, where Academy laws are waived. They will try to murder you. This final test will determine if you become Sith. So, bolster yourself. To set foot in the tomb of Naga Sadow is to breathe in death itself.” I nod that turn to go back to the jails where I hear the Twi’lek say, “Ouch! Give it a rest, will you?”

            “I’m getting my fill of fun while I still can slave,” Knash says, “Ah, as if on cue, look who’s back. Word is you might become Darth’s Baras’ apprentice. Hrmph. Nice work, if you can get it. So, I hear you’ll be relieving me of this Twi’lek. She’s a pain in the neck.” She laughs, “Ha! Who’s a pain in the neck? I’m the one wearing the shock collar.” Knash shakes his head, “Hrmph. Consider that a going away present, Twi’lek. Seems you might be useful for something after all—this acolyte is taking you into the tomb where we caught you.” She laughs again, “None of you can figure out how to activate the tomb statues to open the forbidden cavern, huh? You got some kind of business in that secret Sith chamber, do you?” I nod, “Yes, and I’d appreciate you help.” Knash cuts in, “Don’t bother being pleasant. Here, kid, take this shock control collar. I’ll set it to a higher level. Use it enough, she’ll show you the back door to her mother’s house.” She sighs, “I suppose I can play tomb tour guide. A lot of work went into cracking that nut, but I did it once, I can do it again. Just so we’re clear, I’m officially on strike when it comes to domestic duties.” I chuckle as Knash opens the cell letting her out. “Lead the way, I’ll show you the unlocking point throughout the tomb and then open the secret door for you.”

             “So, what’s your name?” I ask after we leave the jails, stopping near the cantina. She looks at me stunned, “Vette.” I smile at her, “An interesting name. I’m Thea, and I’m sorry about all this. Is your neck still hurting?” She nods when groans, I dig though my bag coming a crossed some Kolto and hand it to her, “That should help.” She looks at me wide-eyed. “Come on, there’s someone I need to meet up with.” We head to the entry room where I see Allura waiting, I motion for her to follow me outside. “Hey, this is Vette, she’s going to help me retrieve Naga Shadow ancient lightsaber in his tomb.” Vette raises an eyebrow when she hears ‘help’ but otherwise says nothing. Allura smiles at her, “I’m Allura, nice to meet you.” Vette looks at me, I sigh “Vette, you can answer freely. Anyway, what is your trial?” I chuckle as she groans, “Unlocking an ancient Sith assassin, who is ‘likely’ to kill me, to retrieve a map inside Naga Sadow’s tomb.” Both Vette and I raise our eyebrows and Vette giggles slightly, “And here I thought ‘working’ with a Sith wouldn’t be fun.” I looks at her “Hey, I take offence to that!” slightly giggling as well then look back at Allura, “Want to work together on this? We watch each other’s back?” She grins, “Sounds perfect!”

             Once inside the tomb, we start fighting the other acolytes and apprentices. Allura watches our back as Vette activates the hidden switches then we watch hers as she removes ancient looking rods. We’re starting to be a good team; the younger girls fight in the distance with Force lightning and blasters while I do close quarters by the time we’ve activated and gotten everything. We go the medic droid to sell everything we picked up from the fallen, then split ways Allura going kiddy corner while Vette and I go across the hall. On entering Vette says, “Hey this is it. The secret entrance to the hidden cavern is in here. Just let me get my bearings.” I nod then go stand in the middle of the room to meditate when I sense Vemrin’s presence behind me trying to ambush me. I turn abruptly with a kick to his stomach. He gets back up, “Take your time, slave. Just have the entrance uncovered by the time I finish killing your new master.”

             “You’ll do nothing of the sort.” His eyes narrow as he reaches for his blade, “My passions run deeper than yours. I am the true essence of what it is to be Sith. My legacy as suffered long enough. After today, you will be forgotten. It ends here and now.” I sigh, “You’re right, your legacy will end here and now in less you walk away!” He scoffs “It never will end,” then he attacks. Vette continues working as our blades dance. We are rather evenly matched until I notice and exploit his weaknesses, pushing him then relenting, slowing tiring him. When he starts panting, I quick up the speed of my hits each one strike damaging his already weak state. I push him until he falls to the floor then I step back. He stands with his blade on his back and holding his injured side, “Becoming Baras’ apprentice was my destiny. Did I come this far and overcome such adversity, only to be proven unworthy?” I look down, “Don’t be so hard on yourself, Vemrin. You have been a worthy opponent.” He scoffs, “Shut up! There is only victory or death. I refuse to live a… lesser life. Finish me. I will not accept mercy.” I sigh then kick him so he is on his hands and knees then strike him with my blade, instantly killing him. “Wow nice work,” Vette says. I try to smile, “Thank you, I guess. Have you found it?” She grins, “Um duh.” I shake my head at her as she continues walking up the only stairs in the chamber, “It’s right here.” She hits something in between two statues which then turn to face each other than pull away as the smooth panel between them starts moving down revealing the secret chamber. Vette just stands there looking very smug with her hands on her hips, “Um, you’re welcome!”

             I roll my eyes, “I was going to say great job Vette, but I think I’ve changed my mind on that.” Her lavender eyes narrow and I stick my tongue out at her causing her to chuckle. We walk inside where there are dozens of statues in different poses, Vette stays back as I continue walking farther in heading straight to the sarcophagus, staring at each statue as I pass feeling like they are watching me. Once I reach it I use the Force to remove the lid, finding the lightsaber next to a skeleton of Naga Sadow. The saber rises of its own accord before I call it to me, each it readily does flying into my awaiting hand. I ignite the ancient blade smiling when the red blade appears. Suddenly I hear a rumble from behind me. I groan, of course Naga Sadow would have his tomb protected. I turn just in time to see four of the statues crumble revealing strange creatures. “Um, did you know that was going to happen?! Because I didn’t?!” a frighten Vette exclaims bringing their attention to her. “Um no, I wasn’t expecting it but I guess I should’ve,” I call back making the creatures snap back to me. Well, this is going to be something… I leap to the first, the force of the landing crumbling it as Vette shoots its back with her dual blasters. I motion to Vette, signaling that we take them together. I run towards them, running the red blade through one of them while blaster fire penetrates the other, leaving only one. I face it then Force jump behind it making it stumble as Vette shoots.

             I walk back to Vette slightly smirking, “Well, that was something.” She shakes her head, “You’re crazy.” I chuckle “Come on, Allura may be waiting for us already.” She nods then we leave the secret chamber which closes back up behind us. “I didn’t think Sith usually worked together?” Vette asks as we enter the room where we last was Allura. “They normally don’t, but I’m not your typical Sith either and Allura is my baby sister,” I say then we fall silent as I begin playing with my new lightsaber, while Vette rolls her eyes. Soon we see Allura and Vette brightly says “Hey, you’re done!” then we both notice the huge creature towering over her, “Woah, is that the assassin you were talking about?” She smiles then nods before motioning to him, “This is Khem Val! He was Tulak Hord’s Dashade assassin,” whoa, that’s cool, “but now his code of honor means he must serve me since I defeated him, until he regains his strength and devours me.” That not so much, I whistle “Well, it’s an honor to meet such a great warrior, but I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t eat her. I am Thea and this is Vette,” she smiles and shakily asks, “You won’t eat me, right?”

             Khem makes a series un growls, which I can only guess is Dashadi, which hasn’t been spoken since Urkupp, the homeworld of the Dashade, was destroyed 353 years ago. But apparently, Allura can as she translates “No, I only devour Force-sensitives.” Vette and I look at each other before I ask, “Do you like them alive or already dead?” Allura raises an eyebrow but Khem answers with her translating, “I prefer to kill them myself.” He pauses to look to his master, “but I feel like I’ll need my strength serving the little one.” Vette and I chuckle. I point back to where Vemrin’s body still lays, “Well there is a dead acolyte in there we just recently killed. But if he is not to your approval, I bet we can find some more failed acolytes and apprentices.” Khem grunts and goes into the room, Allura follows. “How many siblings do you have?” Vette asks after a while. “I’m the second oldest of five girls while Allura is the baby.” She whistles, “Lots of girls, I bet your dad just enjoyed that.” I slightly smile, “He didn’t mind. I think he was grateful he didn’t have a son to take after him.” She raises an eyebrow and I shake my head so instead she says, “I have an older sister, and I never really knew my father only was with my mother.” I look over at her, “I’m sorry.” She shrugs, “No big deal.” We both fall silent until they come out then we silently leave the tomb heading back to the Academy where Allura takes him to see Harkun, and Vette and I head to Baras’ chambers.

             “You! My father loved you and you murdered him!” Eskella exclaims, as she’s waiting right outside Baras’ office. “I can feel your anger that it was me that ended his life because you wanted to be the one,” I reply crossing my arms while Vette nervously swallows. “Now, now… I can feel the power coming off both of you, but you are blocking my acolyte’s entrance,” Baras’ voice says from behind her. Startled she turns “Darth Baras, my apologies.” He tilts his head observing her then looks back at me, “Go inside.” I lower my head then Vette and I hurriedly enter not even daring to look back. After a minute or so he returns, “I am beside myself. Not only did you get the Twi’lek to cooperate, but you completed the task and claimed the ancient weapon. Vermin was not in my chamber as I instructed. I take it he sought to stop you and claim your place.” I nod, “He tried and failed. Vemrin was nothing if not consistent.” I sense his pleasure, “Bravo. I see you may indeed become one of the strongest Sith in the galaxy. Your trials are over. You are now my apprentice.” I slightly bow, “Thank you, master.” I sense Vette’s unease and sent her a calming aura as my new Master continues, “Kneel before me, Apprentice.” I internally frown as I leave Vette’s side to kneel in front of my new Master, “This is only the beginning. With you as my right hand, we shall strike fear into the Empire’s enemies. From now on you will be called, ‘Ari1 Asha2. Rise my apprentice,” he pauses as I stand, wishing that I can go back and stand at Vette’s side as he continues, “I must convene with the Emperor and inform him of your progress. This shuttle pass will take you to Dromund Kaas tomorrow. Meet me at the Citadel there,” he slightly pauses waiting for my nod, and he continues, “Take the Twi’lek slave as my gift. Do with her as you wish. If she’ll be of use, by all means, take her with you to Dromund Kaas.”

             “So, master, what will you do with your new slave?” Vette asks after we’ve left I give her a silencing look. “We will discuss that later,” I try to harshly say as a group of acolytes walk by. “Come on let’s go wait for Allura and her assassin.” We reach Harkun’s office just in time to see Lord Zash walk out. She stops when she sees me, “Acolyte…” she pauses seeing my lightsaber, “My apologies, Apprentice Thea, I wasn’t aware you had your trials.” I slightly smile, “I just finished them, Lord Zash.” She raises a blond eyebrow, “So who is the lucky Sith to have you has an apprentice?” I slightly tilt my head, “Darth Baras.” Both eyebrows rise, “Well done! I wish I could speak with you more but many things to do. Oh, do give your father my regards!” I roll my eyes as she walks away causing Vette to chuckle. After a few moments Allura and Khem leave “Hey, all done?” I ask. She smirks, “Almost, just have to talk to my Master,” causing Vette and I to look at each other. “We’ll walk you there then. Then we can head back to my chambers for a much-needed rest,” I say stretching.

             “Wow, Lord Zash’s office is right down the hall from Darth Creepy,” Vette remarks as we get to her office. Allura slightly giggles, “You’ll have to tell me all about him later,” before both walk inside. “Hey, let’s head to the training room. I want to test this lightsaber out a bit more,” I abruptly say causing Vette to jump then roll her eyes. “You and that dang thing. I never understood the thrill about those. Blasters are much better not to mention better for long-distance,” she replies staring evilly at the saber resting on my hip. “Hey, you are just jealous because it looks cooler than a blaster,” I say matter-of-factly her eyes narrow. “I’m not…” she stops, I turn and walk backward, “Are too…” I sing before entering the training room, where Teeno and Phyne are waiting. “Hello guys,” they both nod at my greeting staring at Vette. “Oh, this is Vette. Vette, this is Teeno and Phyne,” I say pointing at them. “Well, I have good news and bad news. Good news is I am Baras’ new apprentice, bad news is I’m leaving tomorrow for Dromund Kaas so this will be the only training session we’ll be able to have for a while.” Phyne gets up, “That’s great! So Vemrin’s really gone?” I nod “Yes, he decided that our rivalry will end only in one way. So, shall we get started?!” They both rise then hesitant when I ignite my lightsaber. I chuckle, “Don’t worry, I’m using the Force to block the blade from cutting anything. See,” bringing my hand up then doing the same motion that Tremel did earlier, except my hand stays there. Three sets of eyebrows rise, and I roll my eyes, “Come on.”

             When our training session starts, I’m suddenly glad I didn’t send them after Vemrin, they wouldn’t have even been a challenge for him. Half into it Klemral comes in, he chuckles at the sight, “So you fight lowly acolytes…” I look over at him and smirk, “And yet you still couldn’t beat me.” His eyes slightly narrow, and my smirk turns into a smile, “Stop taking everything personal. I’m just doing this for fun,” I say as I send Teeno softly flying into the opposite wall. “Besides you can always join in give me a challenge!” He smirks then grabs his warblade and joins, now making it three against one with Vette observing in the corner. Klemral makes it a bit more challenging but I can still easily fend the three of them off. After a while when they start panting I say, “I think that’s enough for today. I’m rather tired actually.” They all look at me skeptically, Vette chuckles. “Just keep training, perhaps even training together, and you’ll be amazing Sith and powerful allies.” Teeno and Phyne grin before leaving, while Klemral raises an eyebrow, “Ally, really? I see that you’re now an apprentice but why on earth would you want me as an ally?” I smile “Because I see your potential Klem, if you’d use your emotions for your own gain instead of letting them work against you.” He walks closer to me so I can see his grey eyes peering at me, “Is that what you do? Let your emotions control you?” He’s near enough that I could run my hands through his brown hair as he towers over me. “Yes,” I say in almost a whisper as I look up at him. His eyes stare at my lips as he swallows then leans closer. Just as his lips almost meet mine, a cough comes from behind him.

             He draws away quickly then looks behind him, where Eskella is standing tapping her foot impatiently. She motions for him to leave which he hastily does. She smirks obviously pleased “Well, here I was going to train but instead I found a mere acolyte and an apprentice about to share a heated kiss. I didn’t know Baras allowed such things. I wonder what he’d say.” I shake my head and turn to leave when I see Allura and Khem fighting and I run towards them, “Oh stars I’m sorry. Vette and I went to the training room.” Allura raises her hand, “It’s fine… Khem and I easily handled them. Come on, I can’t wait to remove the Korriban sand off.” Vette and I chuckle before I ask, “Where you off to next?” she smiles, “Dromund Kaas!”

            “So, this is where you and I will stay whenever we are on Korriban, Vette.” I state once we’ve entered my chambers, “You can pick any empty bedroom and you can decorate it however you please. You will have your own refresher and closet. Tonight, you can either stay with Allura and I in my room or sleep in your own…” Vette looks at me surprised, “Really?! I can have my own room!” I hesitantly nod making Vette squeal “Oh, thank you!” I shake my head, poor girl, “Your welcome. Why don’t you go find your room and wash up while Allura and I make dinner?” Vette hastily nods and runs down the hallway to choose her room. Allura giggles, “I think I’ll like her... Khem you are free to do whatever you wish,” He grunts and leaves, and my sister turns to me “Um ok sis, what are we making for dinner?” I shrug, “Have no clue!”

            “So, did you kill Tremel?” Allura asks when we enter my kitchen. I close my eyes tightly before looking at her, I can see her fear that I did. “No, I didn’t. I couldn’t do that to him or Dad. Sorry if I made you think I did but I couldn’t let Baras know he’s still alive.” She nods, and I can tell she’s relieved, “So since you’re an apprentice now, what are you going to specialize in?” I smile, remembering the first time Tali and I saw Mom and Dad sparring, “Sith Marauder, like Mom with wielding two lightsabers. You?” She lightly shakes her head, “You would. I want to be a Sith Sorcerer, work on my lightning.” I nod, slightly amused, “Figured you’d say that! You are pretty skilled with your lightning.” She smiles, “Thanks!” I return it, “No problem. So, let’s get cooking.” She nods, and we start cooking dinner. We finish by the time that Vette is finished with choosing her room and her shower then comes into the kitchen, “Smells good, what are we eating?” Allura answers happily, “Chandrilan pasta and wine. Why don’t we go eat in the dining room?!”

            After we’ve finished eating, Allura and I both go to wash off the Korriban sand before going into my room. I finish first finding Vette sitting on my bed messing with her shock collar. “Here, let me help you,” I state walking toward her. She looks up at me nervously before nodding, I smile slightly before standing behind her and removing the collar from her neck. She gasps, “What are you doing?” I chuckle “Well, since you are technically ‘mine’ now, I can remove it. Unless you want it back on…?” She shakes her head furiously, making her lekku fly, “No, it’s fine. You just surprised me is all.” She looks up at me, “Thank you.” I smile as I sit down on my bed, “You’re welcome, Vette.” The Twi’lek frowns, “Why did Baras give you a new name?” I sigh, “Mostly that I’d be known has his. To erase my identity of who I was before. Not that I mind, I do prefer to keep my history secret. I do somewhat wish I could’ve chosen my new name, but ‘Ari Asha works just as well.” She tilts her head, “What is ‘Ari Asha’?” I chuckle, “It is Sith for Lord Victory, or in my case Lady Victory. I think he chose it because of my victory over Vermin and my victory overcoming my Overseer’s fate.” She frowns just as Allura comes out, “So where are you two headed now?” Vette jumps and trying to not chuckle, I answer “Going back home to Dromund Kaas.” Vette tilts her head to the side, “Home?” I nod, slightly chuckling “It’s not really home but it’s where our Dad lives most of the time.” Vette’s eyes widen, “Most of the time?” Allura giggles while joining us on the bed, “Our dad is a Sith Lord, Vette.” She gasps, “Really!?” We nod, and she squeals, causing us both start laughing before I clear my throat, trying to mimic Mom “Okay, bedtime guys. We have an early shuttle tomorrow.” Allura groans “Oh, come on Treea, don’t be like that.” I give her one of Mom’s stern looks, making both climb under the covers, I smile to myself before using the Force to shut off the lights.

Chapter Text

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            “Ally, really? I see that you’re now an apprentice but why on earth would you want me as an ally?” Klemral states as he raises an eyebrow. I smile up at him, “Because I see your potential, Klem. If you’d use your emotions for your own gain instead of letting them work against you, you’d be unstoppable.” He walks closer to me, so I can see his grey eyes clearly, “Is that what you do? Let your emotions work with you?” He’s close enough now that I could run my hands through his brown hair as he towers over me. He stares at my lips as I say “Yes,” in almost a whisper as I look up at him. He swallows then leans closer. His lips touch mine, and he timidly kisses me until I wrap my arms around his neck and kiss him back then he wraps his arms around my waist bringing me closer to him as his kiss becomes heated. I gasp when my back suddenly hits the wall, which he uses as an opportunity to explore my mouth. He picks me up with the Force and makes my legs wrap around him then pulls me closer, finally breaking the kiss as he groans. He pulls away slightly to rest his forehead on mine, I can see that his eyes are almost black as he smirks “Well then, maybe you should teach me.”

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            I wake up with a start, my heart pounding from the vivid dream. I groan, still being able to feel the heat from his body. Realizing I’m in bed next to my baby sister and Vette, I quickly get up so I don’t wake them, then quickly run into my refresher. I go to the mirror, wondering why I’m disappointed that it was just a dream and why I had the dream in the first place. I had my fair share of crushes growing up, one of them being Mom’s Padawan Derrin Weller, but I’ve never had a desire to act on them. I run my hand over my lips, how does it feels to be kissed… Is it anything like my dream… then sigh before looking at the chrono and seeing that it’s only three in the morning. I groan then I go into my closet to change into a purple tank top and dark grey shorts, putting my hair in a high ponytail. Since I’m no longer tired, I head out of my chambers to the training room on the second floor and find it already occupied, by none other than Klemral.

            “So, what brings you up here so early?” Klemral asks with an eyebrow raised, as he pauses his beating on the poor training dummy and faces me. I groan, “I couldn’t sleep, you?” trying my hardest not to stare at his lips or his bare sweaty chest. He smiles as he walks over to me, “Enjoying a quiet workout before I leave, Baras has tasks for me.” He pauses to nervously scratch the back of his head, “I’m sorry about earlier…” I bite my lip unsure of what to say as he walks as close as he was then so I decide to smile up at him, “Are you up to spar?” He smirks looking me over “Sure, I don’t see why not.” I walk over to where some training blades are and grab two of the same before turning around to face him, who has an eyebrow raised. “I’m going to be a Marauder,” I state matter-of-factly. He rolls his eyes, “Of course you are,” then he summons a second training to him and smirks, “Shall we?” I smile and nod, this will be easy…

            Klemral smirks then charges, I quickly avoid his attack then initiate my own to his back which he amazingly blocks, his back still to me. He swings his saber and I duck then roll to his other side landing a hit on his legs. One knee gives out, but he fights through it turning to face me. The next several minutes is just our blades dancing until both of us see an opportunity and take it. I knock the sabers out of his hands as he efficiently pins me to the wall of the training room, much like in my dream. “I’d say we’re pretty evenly matched,” I manage to say as we’re both panting. He smirks “Yeah,” then seeing our position he quickly moves away, “Um, see you around, apprentice.” I give him a slight smile, “Thea…” he returns the smile before leaving and I throw my head back to hit it against the wall, silently cursing my dream, Baras, Klemral, and the fact I’m disappointed that he didn’t kiss me yet again. I walk purposely to my chambers and go directly to my refresher to clean up. I sigh to myself, silently praying that I might cross paths with him again then I get dressed.

            “Rise and shine, girls! Time to get ready to go!” I happily sing, Vette groans and grabs her pillow to block out me out. Allura shakes her head and pokes her making her giggle then looks at me and together we tickle her awake. “Seriously?! You guys are mean,” she exclaims once we’ve dragged her out of bed. Unimpressed, I roll my eyes “Oh, if that’s the case I won’t let you go through my closet then.” I look at Luna with a smirk as Vette squeals, “I take it back then,” as she runs to the double doors leading to the closet. Luna rolls her eyes before seeing that her clothes from yesterday are washed and placed on the counter, along with her lightsaber and a burgundy crystal. She looks at me with an eyebrow raised, “I thought you’d like a different color blade then the normal red.” She squeals and runs to hug me before going over to it so I can show her how to change the crystal.

            After we’ve all changed, Vette into a white shirt, tan pants, and black boots, and Allura and I in our clothes from yesterday with our black hooded cloaks, we exit the room to see that T3, my chamber droid, has made a quick breakfast for us. “Oh, thank you, T3. I forgot to ask you to do that,” I says when I see him. He slightly bows, “I live to serve you, Mistress,” making me groan and the girls lightly chuckle before grabbing our food to go, and Luna searches for Khem. As we leave, Allura and I put our hoods up while Vette puts on a long black jacket, then the four of us quickly head to the shuttle. I’m slightly stunned that it is one of Dad’s shuttles that is waiting for us. As we get closer, I’m pleasantly surprised that Dad also sent a familiar face as our pilot.

            “I’m sorry but this shuttle is only for the Apprentices of Zash and Baras and their respective crew,” Matthew Price, our shuttle pilot states as we approach. Amused that he doesn’t recognize me, I put my hood down and he instantly bows, “My apologies, my Lady. I had no idea it was you.” I nod, “It’s alright, Officer Price,” then I look at my sister, “I’m sure you remember him, Luna, but if not this is Matthew Price, one of Dad’s best pilots,” trying to be impassive. I can sense both of their shock, as they were childhood friends, but they hide it remarkably well, Matt slightly bows to her, “Pleasure to see you again, my Lady.” She smiles, “You as well.”

            Out of the corner of my eye, I see him wink at her, causing Luna to blush, before he turns to me, “Whenever you’re ready.” Vette looks at me, as I nod and start walking to the shuttle, “Ready when you are, Price.” He nods and silently escorts us into the shuttle. Once we’re inside Vette whistles, “Nice shuttle!” I laugh, nodding in agreement as Matt states, being more informal then he was outside, “We are going to make a small detour. Jaida needs a ride from Vaiken Spacedock, she’ll have a couple of friends with her.” I nod before turning to Vette with a smile, “You get to meet another sister of mine, Vette.” Then I sense Allura’s apprehension “Lunabug, it’s going to be fine. You know that right.” She slightly nods as she sits down, “I’m just scared that I won’t be able to recognize her.” I go sit next to her, putting a reassuring hand on her leg, “She hasn’t changed that much, Luna.” She scoffs, “Just gotten ten years older. She’s what now… about twenty-one, since you and Talia are almost twenty-three.”

            As the shuttle takes off, I look over to Vette, who’s sitting across from us and looking very puzzled. Allura sighs, “Sorry Vette. Khem. I should probably give you a little background on my life.” She pauses minutely, “When I was four, I was on my father’s ship with my sisters, Jaida and Cheyanne, when it was attacked by pirates. They took me away from my family and later sold me as a slave for some quick credits, I was ‘freed’ earlier this week.” Vette gasps looking at me, “That’s why you are so kind to me.” I shrug, “I would’ve been kind to you regardless.” Luna smiles and nods in agreement before looking over at Khem, “Enjoying yourself?” He grunts and she sighs, “Glad to hear it,” leaning back into the seat.

            Vette suddenly smiles, “So why were you blushing, Luna?” I can feel her embarrassment as she says, “What? I-I wasn’t blushing!” I slightly smirk, “I’m pretty sure she’s right, I saw you blushing too. Does it have anything to do with an old childhood friend?” She looks down to hide her raising blush, making Vette exclaim “Oh my stars, it does!” She buries her now red face in her gloved hands “Oh, be quiet.” I look at Vette and we high five, before she looks at me knowing. I grimace knowing what’s coming before she says “Oh, by the way, Thea, what was going on after your training session yesterday?” However, I still blush, “It was nothing.” Allura, now pleased that the teasing as moved from her, says “So give me the story.” Vette grins, before going into the story, “Well you know that Thea and I were in the training room, but we weren’t alone there was these acolytes waiting there, apparently for Thea to train them.” Luna looks at me raising her eyebrows in a silent question, as Vette continues, “Their names were Teeno, who’s a large man, and Phyne, a rather tiny woman, then partly into the training session this guy comes in. Well after she beat all three of them, Teeno and Phyne leave to nurse their bruises leaving the man and us all alone. For a while the two of them are just talking, then he starts getting closer to her and just as they’re about to kiss, a young woman we saw earlier in Baras' chambers comes in and interrupts,” she looks at me now her story is finished, “Who were they, by the way?”

            I can’t hold back my groan, “Eskella Gryton, my Overseer’s daughter. She was my best friend when we were children.” Allura gasps, “Ella is becoming Sith?!” I grimly nod, before continuing, “The man is Klemral, he's one of Baras' acolytes,” then looking at Vette, “And he was not going to kiss me!” She smirks “Oh, he so was.” Luna rolls her eyes then gets up and heads into the cockpit, most likely to speak with Matt. Vette and I share a knowing look before she asks, “So… would you have let him kiss you?” I groan, throwing my head back onto the head rest, “Really, Vette?!” I raise my head enough to see her nodding fanatically, I sigh, “I don’t know… Maybe…” I pause to think about last night (and this morning) and the feeling of disappointment and irritation that Ella had interrupted, not to mention my dream about what if… “I think all I should say is, that I was very disappointed that he didn’t.” Vette squeals, “I knew it! Do you think we’ll ever see him again?” I chuckle, “Maybe.” Then I think of what Ella said about what Baras would say and I groan but that doesn’t stop me from saying, “Hopefully,” I pick my head up to see Vette with a huge knowing smile on her face. Oh, what have I done… Then remembering where we’re going, I quickly get Vette’s shock collar and toss it to her. She groans when she sees it, “Trust me, Vette, things will be a lot worse if the Imperials knew you’re not a slave…” She looks at it in disgust but puts it on anyway, I give her a smile, “And don’t worry I disabled it.”

            “Hey guys, we’re at Vaiken but we need to go find Jaida,” Allura states quite happily. I lift up an eyebrow just as Matt's voice comes thru the com, “We’re almost at our landing bay,” over the intercom. I smirk knowingly, grateful to have her to tease, “So that’s where you went, to talk to our handsome pilot,” ending with a wink. She groans then turns to Vette and the ever silent Khem, “Are you going to come with us or stay here?” Khem stands just as we land and Vette states, “We go where you go,” with a smile. I sigh “Come on, let’s get this over with,” wrapping an arm around Luna’s shoulder. Once we get out of our hanger I internally groan, I hate this place almost as much as Korriban, with it’s annoying red decor and the Sith Empire symbol, as if you could forget you’re in the Empire. Vette sighs, “I guess the Empire doesn’t want you to forget you’re in the Empire.” I grimace, looking around to make sure no one overheard her as Allura chuckles and I begin to hush her. Vette whispers, “Sorry…” and I face palm “Come on, let’s find Jai before Vette gets herself killed,” earning a glare from the Twi’lek. After making a full sweep of the Station, and talking to our respective trainers, we head to the center of the station where the cantina is. Just as we sit down, Allura gets up and walks toward a group in a daze, I slightly smile sensing the cause, Jaida is here as well as another familiar presence, our adopted cousin Mako.

            Once Allura as walked to the group I motion for Vette and Khem to follow as I go toward them. In Jaida’s and Mako’s group, there is a male and a female Rattatakis. The male, gives off an Imperial air around him, though he is wearing what a pirate would, and is quite at ease until I approach. I silently chuckle, of course Jai would manage to find an Imperial Agent. The female seems to just be here because it pays, and doesn’t seem to alarmed that she is joined by two Sith. “This is my sister Thea,” Jaida says before giving me a hug, to reassure the agent, “and I see you have made some friends on Korriban.” I chuckle, “The large Dashade is Luna’s,” motion to Khem then I place a hand on Vette’s shoulder, “and this is Vette. And it’s a pleasure to meet all of you.” The Agent pulls Jai off to the side as our cousin walks closer. “Hi, I’m Mako.” Allura tightly hugs her only letting go then I go to hug her as well. “I’m Kaliyo Djannis,” says the Rattataki woman just as Jai and the Agent rejoins. “I guess that just leaves me. I don’t really have a name anymore but you can call me Ash, like your sister does,” he says with an arm wrapped around Jaida just as my holo beeps. Already figuring who it would be, I answer it and thankfully Matt appears, maybe it isn’t who I think it is…

            “Apologies, my Lady, but I have a holo call for you.” Or not, “Who is it?” He lightly chuckles “Darth Talon, my Lady. I asked her if it couldn’t wait until you returned to the shuttle or even when you were on Dromund Kaas yourself but she said that it was a matter of importance.” Lovely, “Put her through, Price.” He nods then his image is replaced with Dad’s apprentice. “Ah, good Price was able to reach you,” she begins with a soft yet demanding voice. She looks around “Well, I was going to lecture you on why you hadn’t let your father or myself know about your trials or your rise from Acolyte to Apprentice but it seems that you have your hands full. Now I am just calling to make sure that you and your companions come to meet with your father and I, before anything else.” Thankful I don’t have a lecture coming, I nod “Of course.” Talon smiles then turns to Luna, “It’s nice to see you again Allura,” before she disappears and the call ends. On the way to the shuttle I grumble to myself, “Not what I was wanting to do… the annoyingly persistent woman…” So I only hear Jai say, “Oh yeah, you probably don’t remember her, do you?” To which I answer, “She’s lucky she can forget that woman. I wish I could.” Jai chuckles, “Treea! Be nice! That is a powerful Sith Dark Lord!” before turning back to Allura, “Talon is one of Dad’s apprentices and our ‘Aunt’ Mia. Don’t let Thea fool you, as I know she adores her greatly.” I chuckle when Mako and Vette squeal then break into laughter.

            Matthew is waiting for us outside the shuttle, and smiles when he sees us enter the hanger. He slightly bows to Jai “Lady Jaida, it’s nice to see you again. And…” he pauses when he looks at Ash, who smirks “Hey, Matt.” He rolls his eyes as he walks towards Ash, and they grasp each other’s forearms in greeting, “Hey is right. Didn’t think I’d run into you here.” Ash smirks, “I met Jaida here on the shuttle to Hutta,” as he wraps an arm around her again. Confused on many different levels, I hear myself ask, “Okay, you two know each other how?” Matt looks over at me smirking, “We graduated from the Imperial Academy together a couple of months ago. Of course that was before cocky Imperial Intelligence Agent here got his first mission.” Ash scoffs, “I was not cocky!” Matt raises an eyebrow, “Really? You weren’t? So that wasn’t you who said, and I quote, that ‘only the best get chosen for Intelligence gathering’?” Jaida chuckles “Yeah, that sounds like Ash,” earning a hurt face from Ash who still has an arm around her. Once we are all seated inside the shuttle, Matt heads to the cockpit motioning for Allura to follow him, and when she does with a nod, Vette and I give her a knowing wink.

            “So I don’t think we ever got your name?” Jaida asks Khem, who grunts, “I am Khem Val, once the servant of Tulak Hord. Now because of the law of my people I serve the little one until I regain my strength and devour her.” She whistles, “I’m honored to meet such a warrior, but don’t eat my sister.” He grunts again then falls silent. “So you’re an Imperial Agent!?” Vette asks excitedly. Ash nods “Yes, I am.” Mako grins, “He’s also the pirate Red Blade.” Vette squeals, “Awesome!”, Ash looks amused by the two girls until he notices Jaida is looking at him with a smirk and turns to her to stare intently. Apparently Allura and I aren’t the only ones who have a crush… “Is there something going on between the two of you?” I ask. Ash looks away and smirks “Well, everyone in Nem’ro court knows her as Blade’s girl,” he stops looking back at Jai, “So I’d like to think so.” She slightly blushes and looks away, “So why did you two wink at Luna earlier?” Vette and I share a knowing look, before Vette exclaims, “You’re so much like Allura,” Then I say matter-of-factly, “Luna likes Matt.”

            She rolls her eyes “Oh, that’s all?! She had a crush on him when we were younger, but she just didn’t know it. Guess she hasn’t grown out of it yet.” I should of known, “Of course you’d know that.” Jai smiles and lays her head on Ash’s shoulder, which he looks very pleased about, and wraps an arm around her. When we come out of hyperspace, Vette whistles “Well, that was fast.” Mako smiles, “Should be. This is one of the newest and fastest Imperial shuttles there is.” I look over at her questionably before remembering that her implant connects her to the holo net, “I’d ask how you know that but I’m pretty sure I know why already. So is this anyone’s first time to the dazzling Imperial Capital?” Mako and Vette nod as Kaliyo says, “Never had a reason to,” as we begin landing in the Kaas City spaceport, which despite its name isn’t in Kaas City. Jai rolls her eyes “It’s nothing dazzling, like Treea said. It’s just a huge rainstorm all year long, rather depressing actually.”

            “Not to mention rules, rules and more you guessed it rules.” Ash adds. “I thought you loved rules, Ash,” Matt says slightly smirking leaning against the wall. Ash rolls his eyes “Well, aren’t you in a good mood today.” Matt smiles before teasingly punching him in the arm as we exit the shuttle. Allura and I exit first, “All we have to do now is check in at those consoles,” as I motion to dozens of machines lined up against the walls. “Thankfully this will be the only time we’ll need to do this,” Jaida says with an eye roll as she and Mako walk toward one.

            After Vette and I check in there is a man that waves us over and we cautiously do. “You’re the one, yes. Not like the scabs that exited the shuttles before you. You radiate power, lord. I bow before you,” the man states as we approach, “I’m Sunder Ghettz, I serve Lord Baras. He sent me to meet his new apprentice. And I made sure I was here on time, I certainly did. Yes, indeed.” I internally groan, “So, I’m met. Now what?” I hear Vette suppress a chuckle. “I’m just a slave who owes his every breath to the tolerance of Lord Baras. He said to introduce you to Dromund Kaas, and I take that seriously.” I nod, it’s not like I’ve lived here or anything… “Lord Baras order me to encourage you to explore Kaas City before reporting to him. Imperials maintain the order, but they won’t both you. When you’re ready, Lord Baras will meet you in his personal chambers. You, uh, you will tell Lord Baras I was good, yes? That I served well?” I grimace, sensing his fear, “That I will, Ghettz.” He bows deeply then walks away as Vette says, “Wow, what a weasel. Dromund Kaas needs some pest control.” I grimly nod, “Not that it’s his fault,” my mind going to the recent whipping Allura had. I’m so wrapped up in my thoughts, I barely notice that Jaida and Mako join us. “You okay?” Jai asks as she puts an arm around me. I nod, “Was just speaking to one of Baras’ ‘loyal’ slaves.” Jai grimaces, “I always feel sorry for them.” I nod in agreement, 'Allura was one,' making Jai lightly growl.

            “Come on, Allura. We should speak to our ‘bosses’ before going to speak with Dad and Mia,” I shout after everyone as checked in. Vette and Mako both groan once we’re outside. “You weren’t kidding about being depressing,” Mako sadly states. Vette nods, “Now I understand why Imperials are sticks in the mud. I’m even losing my chirpiness just landing on the planet.” Oh, Vette, as the rest of us chuckle. “Come on, guys let’s get some speeders and get to the Citadel. This storm is getting to me,” I finally state. Thankfully there is a speeder shop right in front where we get a speeder for each of us.

            Once we get to the entrance to the Citadel, Jaida says, “We’ll see you later. Apparently Keeper wants a word with me then we’ll be heading to the Enclave,” as the four of them head over to Imperial Intelligence. I slightly smile before Vette, Allura, Khem and I all enter the Sith Sanctum. I hear Vette lightly gasp, “Wow those lights, come in here and you get an instant headache.” Though she sarcastically whispered it, I can still sense her fear. Vette and I go to Baras’ chambers which are off to the left of the entrance. “Not a minute too soon. Your timing is impeccable,” Baras states with his back to us. Vette looks around, “Did it just get considerably colder?” she asks as Baras walks around his desk to us. “I see you decided to keep the slave. I hope she amuses you. I trust you’ve been acquainting yourself with your surroundings. Did my minion point you in the right direction?” Minion?!“Yes, he did.” I can sense his pleasure and amusement then he looks at Vette as he says, “A probably beaten down slave is the only trustworthy creature in the galaxy,” Vette shrinks and I have to suppress a growl. I never really thought I’d want to kill my master as is the Sith way until Baras.

            “Your responsibilities will mandate contact with my various minions. Meet my directives, and you may do as you will to anyone you encounter, adversary or ally.” The way he says minions almost makes me think of Darth Jadus and his intricate web of followers, “You can trust that I’ll use good judgement, Master,” I state. “I have painstakingly built a vast network of spies and operatives embedded throughout the Sith, Republic, and Jedi alike. I have fingers, eyes, and ears everywhere,” Baras continues as he turns away from us. Yep, very much like Jadus… “Which am I to be—a finger, eye, or ear?” I can sense Vette’s amusement. “You’re my enforcer—deployed to protect my interests, intimidate my rivals and destroy my enemies. It’s time for your tenure to begin.” He pauses briefly, “A military starship is touching down at the Kaas City cargo port delivering a vitally important prisoner to me. You’ll meet Commander Lanklyn there and make sure he and his men successfully off-load this prisoner.” I nod, “It will be done.” I can tell he is pleased with that answer, “Good, now go.”

            Thankfully the cargo ports isn’t difficult to find and we enter quickly to see only three Imperial soldiers waiting for the ship. “All right, men, let’s hurry up and get this hunk of carbonite to its owner,” says the men’s commander, Lanklyn, just as Vette and I walk right behind him without him noticing. “Hey, Captain Oblivious—boo,” Vette says, very amused. “Oh, I—I didn’t see you enter. Lord Baras didn’t need to send a welcoming party.” I slightly smile, “He just wanted to make sure everything went as planned.” I hear a chuckle from behind us and a familiar voice say, “Or more like, he doesn’t trust me to complete it for him.” I turn and see Klemral, who slightly smiles, “Surprised to see me so soon, Thea?” I roll my eyes, “Hello again, Klemral,” just as I sense three men entering behind us with weapons drawn, I groan then reach for my lightsaber on my hip. “Not so fast. My master ordered that block of ice. So, step away from the carbonite man and no one ends up in a grave,” the leader states as I turn to face them igniting my lightsaber, and I sense another man in the corner with a sniper rifle trained at my head. “Your name?” I state. “My name is of little importance,” the leader says pointing his blaster to me as my lightsaber is still at my side, “I’m here to relieve you of your burden. Whether that includes your own lives as well, is up to you.”

            “Lookie lookie, if it ain’t Slestack. Your master be wanting the froze man, too, huh? Too bad for you. It mine,” says a large Houk. I turn to Slestack, “A friend of ours?” I can hear Vette chuckle at that. “To know TuMarr, is to hate TuMarr,” he says looking at the Houk. “That go true for you too, Slestack. If you don’t flee, this be like killing two stone with one bird.” Klemral and Lanklyn walk up beside me. “I’m such a fool. I’ll never doubt Lord Baras again. What do we do?” Lanklyn asks. I can feel both their unease, “Just calm down.” Slestack continues, “On their own, TuMarr and his lackeys wouldn’t be much of a fight.” The Holuk, TuMarr, growls, “You mouth always get you in trouble, Slestack. It about to chew off more than it can bite.” Enjoying the ‘debate’ between them, I add, “You going to take that, Slestack?”

            “Very amusing. I do relish the opportunity to rid the world of TuMarr and his drones. So I’ll be with you presently, instigator.” Slestack states. “Come on, boys, we smash the talk from Slestack’s big mouth now!” Then a fire fight breaks out, and giving the Imperials time to remove the Carbonite prisoner to Baras. As we exit with Klemral and myself blocking any stray blaster shots as the rival gangs kill themselves off.

            “Lanklyn and Klemral informed me of the ambush at the cargo port. Apparently, there are more eyes on us than even I thought. I have felt a disturbance in the Force. It leaves doom imprinted on my dreams—a grave and mysterious threat that could bring down my entire power base,” Baras states as we enter his chambers. “This frozen man is a top Republic agent, captured while investigating my most deeply imbedded spy on Nar Shaddaa—one of my ‘invisibles’.” Well, maybe he isn’t so ‘invisible,’ is what I want to say but I hold my tongue as he continues, “The Force grants me a vision of doom, and immediately, my untraceable spy—who has left no footprints, no trail—is almost exposed. It makes me furious. I must learn what tipped off the Republic agent. He is the key to uncovering the nature of this threat.” I grimace, the poor man… “Now while I thaw the prisoner and painfully siphon every morsel of information I can from him, I have some concerns that require your special talents.” I nod, “Tell me what I must do,” since I really don’t want to see him ‘painfully siphon’ anything from the unfortunate agent. “No rest for the wicked, I guess,” Vette barely whispers at my side. “Go to the Imperial post in the jungles outside the city. Commander Pritich is stationed there. He has a seek-and-destroy task for you.” I nod, “It’ll be done before you know it.” He nods then turns to the thawing man, “I must tend to the torturing of this miserable Republic agent. Waste no time. I have more for you to do once this is complete. You are dismissed.”

            As we exit, I notice one of Dad’s men is waiting for us, who bows when he sees me, “Greetings Lady Thea, Darth Marr would like a word with you now.” I nod, “I’ll be right there.” He bows again before walking to do his other duties. Vette nervously swallows, “He’s a Dark Council member, isn’t he?” I look at her “Correct, Vette. Come on we don’t want to keep him waiting.” She nods and I can sense her nervousness as we travel to the second highest floor where Dad’s office resides only to find that Allura, who’s wearing a sliver mask, and Jaida are already there. “Where have you two been?” Jai asks. I sigh, “Baras needed me to oversee a delivery for him, and let’s just say that I was needed.” Vette nods “Yeah, Darth Creepy was right about one thing.” I chuckle then ask, “Why are we all out here?” Sergeant Maxwell, one of Dad’s guards, states, “Darth Marr is speaking privately to a few of your companions. You are free to join them now,” just as the door opens behind him. I nod and head inside with Vette following. As we enter, I can see Ash, Kaliyo, and Mako are nervously sitting on one of the couchs.

            “Miss Djannis and Ash leave us,” Dad says after everyone has entered. He continues once the door closes behind them, “Agent Ash’adath Landis keeps interesting company, but I guess Ms. Kaliyo Djannis is ‘working’ with Intelligence now, much to my displeasure. Darth Jadus, Keeper and the Minster of Intelligence all think the benefits are worth the risks of having a known anarchist work for them. Anyway, now who is your companion Apprentice Thea?” Always so formal, calling grandfather ‘Keeper,’ and his daughter ‘Apprentice.’ But I answer anyway, “This is Vette. She was a slave briefly before entering my care.” Dad nods understandingly before I go to hug him, “Hey Dad.” Vette looks at me stunned. “That’s your father!?” she exclaims. Dad chuckles “Yes, I am their father, Vette.” Then he turns to Mako, “It is nice finally put a face to the girl Braden would brag about. He loved you like a daughter. I hope you know that,” he pauses looking at Jai, “In fact I have something for you.” Just as he finishes, a door opens revealing Mia.

            “Just as I have things for Thea,” she says joyfully motioning for me. I sigh and enter her office, which is surprisingly designed in happy colors, which is an oddity in the Sith Sanctum. She smiles brightly at me, then wraps me in a tight hug “Oh, I am so proud of you, Thea! Becoming an Apprentice!” When she lets go she quickly motions for me to sit, which I do. Then she places a box in front of me causing me to look up at her questioningly. She smiles, “Open it, Thea!” My curiosity getting the best of me I open the box to find dozens of parts. I gasp looking back up at her, “Parts to build my own lightsaber!” She nods then hands me two lavender crystals, I squeal, “Thank you, Mia!” She chuckles, “You are welcome. The crystals come from Zora and the rest from me. I know how much you wanted to build your own like Talia will, but until then,” she hands me yet another thing, this time a lightsaber, “You can use the one I did during the war.” I hug her tightly whispering in her ear, “Thank you! This means so much to me!” She nods and watches me place my new crystals into my sabers. Once I’m done I rise, placing the sabers on my belt, and give Mia a smile before leaving. “Oh um, I’ve been requested to find out about a dissidence here in Kaas starting at the Colossus,” I hear Ash say. “Looks like we’ll all be working together then,” I say with a smile. “Well then, I suggest you all get moving since you don’t want to be out in the jungles at night,” Dad says looking directing at Jai and I.

            I internally groan, 'That was forever ago, Dad!' He chuckles, 'That it maybe, but you still need to learn from it…' I sigh defeatedly as we leave. We ride on our speeders to the Imperial outpost Baras mentioned. “Wow, they weren’t kidding that statue is huge,” Mako and Vette exclaim before saying, “Jinx!” then breaking into giggles. “If those slaves were smart they’d have revolted before the statue is almost completed,” states an unimpressed Kaliyo as I go to talk to the man Baras mentioned. “Commander Pritch—at your service, my lord. Lord Baras informed me you’d be paying us a visit. I’m prepared to offer you full assistance,” he says after bowing. I smile, “Aren’t you a good little soldier?” Vette chuckles. “Lord Baras has always found me so, lord. Permit me to update you on the situation here.” I nod and he continues, “There’s been much unrest in these parts recently, my lord—capped off by a violent slave revolt that has the surrounding jungles overrun with armed slaves. What no one knows is that Lord Baras orchestrated this insurgence to disrupt one of his rivals,” I have to hold back a growl, “and he wants his involvement kept secret.” I internally scoff, of course he does… too bad his new apprentice just happens to be the goddaughter of this said rival, Darth Vowrawn. His apprentice, Qet, is the one who wanted to secretly build this statue to honor him. “Now the slave captains who led the revolt are threatening to expose Baras’ involvement unless they receive more potent weapons,” Pritich continues, “Lord Baras wants you to kill enough of the blackmailing slave captains to make the others lose their resolve.” I grimace, “That would work, but they may regain their resolve and go through with it. Is there another way?” He thinks for a moment, “Well, I suppose. Many of the slave captains are former criminals with ties to the underworld. In fact, some have been selling their fellow slaves to the black market. If their followers found out, they’d be furious. If I had proof that they’re selling their own people back into slavery, I could blackmail the slave captains to stop blackmailing Lord Baras.” I have to stifle a chuckle, “Blackmailing blackmailers sounds poetic.” He nods putting his hands on his hips, “I bet they keep records of their transactions. If you rifle the slave captains’ footlockers and find proof, I’ll do what I can to use it against them.” I nod, “Just tell me where to look.”

            “The slave captains have their home base around the unfinished colossus,” Pritch states, “I’ll wait for any proof you salvage from their belongings.” I nod then Vette and I rejoin the group. “All work together?” I ask. Jaida tries to smile, “Of course. Have to watch my sisters’ backs somehow.” Allura chuckles “They don’t stand a chance,” as her fingers already have the cackle of Force lightning. After we’ve crossed the bridge to the camp, Ash finds the nearest cover before removing his rifle from his back, then he, Kaliyo, Vette and Jai open fire while I leap to the nearest group with Khem by my side, as Allura stuns the slaves coming in and Mako as our healer. We slowly and efficiently carve a path through the camp, unfortunately I do have to kill a few of the captains in order to reach their belongings, but at least I get the proof Pritch needs to prevent them from blackmailing my master again. And Allura and Jaida seems to find what they needed, when Jai emerges from a nearby tent. “So guys,” a rather disgusted Jai begins, “Mako and I will see you guys back at the cantina, we think we’ve found our bounty only he’s no longer here but in the city.” We all nod before they both leave and Allura holos Zash. I only hear Zash say, “Good. The plans suggest that his apprentices guard this base. I don’t doubt they hold the keys to acquiring the tablet. Best kill them all to be sure.” As the call ends Khem, who’s behind her, says “Command me and I will devour them.” Then Allura turns to the rest of us, “Guess I got my next task.” I chuckle, “I’ll help you out I’ve basically finished with my task for Baras.”

            The entrance was easy to find then it was just going down the cave until we’ve reached the entrance to the base. Upon killing all the guards both inside the cave and at the entrance to the base we finally enter Skotia’s bunker. I wait as Allura works with the Security Station then destroy the bases three monitoring systems. When all three stations are down, we head to the chamber that holds what she’s searching for then we leave, after pretty much killing everyone inside the base. We cross the bridge again, so I can speak to Pritch and give him the proof he needs. “My lord, you’re back. Did you find sufficient proof?” I nod, “Fortunately I had to kill some of the captains anyway, so I hope this helps to prevent this from happening again.” He slightly smirks, “Now I can threaten to expose the truth. If they don’t want to be torn limb from limb, they’ll stop blackmailing Lord Baras. I must say, my lord, it’s been inspiring to watch you work.” I politely smile at him, “Thank you. You’ve done well, Commander.” He nods, “Thank you, my lord. I’ll inform Lord Baras that the situation has been handled.” I nod before rejoining, Ash, Kaliyo, Allura, and Khem at the speeders then ride back to the Citadel.

            I instantly regret walking into Baras' chambers as he’s still ‘interrogating’ the “I—I don’t care what you do. Break my bones, burn my flesh—I’ll tell you nothing!” the SIS agent screams as we enter Baras’ chambers. I sent him a calming aura that will remove any pain he is currently feeling then tentatively touch his mind. 'Who are you?' he asks. 'I am a friend. I am sorry this happened to you. What is your name?' He groans, 'It’s not your fault I got captured. I’m Girk Sonosan.'  I internally grimace, thankfully the exchange goes unnoticed by Baras has he is still angered by the man's earlier statement. “I will not be denied!” Baras exclaims not noticing us. “Ah! Argh! G—g—g—g—go s—s—s—s—s—spit, you m—m—m—monster!” Grik screams as Baras' lightning surges through his body, I have to applaud his strength to refuse the Sith Lord.

            “I didn’t know bodies could bend like that. I think I’m going to be sick!” Vette whispers as we get closer to see him. “Spare yourself. You shouldn’t have to see this.” I whisper back she shakes her head, “I appreciate it, but I’m not leaving you alone with that thing.” I chuckle but nod, thankful for the Twi’lek, making Baras aware of us. “Ah, apprentice, you’ve returned. Commander Pritch confirmed the slaves have been silenced. Good.” He looks back at Grik, “I’m still trying to extract the information I crave from this Republic agent. He’s much more resilient that anticipated.” I suppress the urge to say, ‘I thought you said you were good at this,’ letting the Sith continue his rant, “Even as I brutalize him, I twist the Force to keep him alive and feeling every sensation.” I feel Vette’s disgust as she whispers, “That’s the cruelest thing I’ve ever heard.” I nod in silent agreement as Baras continues, “I have another important task for you. It involves a renegade Sith Lord named Grathan. A particularly bothersome thorn in my side. Meet with my apprentice, Dri’kill Ba’al. He’s my covert operative in Grathan’s compound. Ba’al claims to have made a key discovery.”

            “Do you know the nature of this discovery?” I ask. Baras shakes his head, “Ba’al only communicates in predetermined signals. He was to find Grathan’s exploitable weakness, and today he sent the success signal. Grathan’s presence is useful to me, so I don’t want him killed, just crippled. Tomorrow you are to find out what Ba’al has discovered and do exactly as he instructs.” I nod, “It will be done,” then bow and leave before he has time to return to torturing Girk. We didn’t leave as fast as we should because we can hear Baras exclaim, “Tell-me-what-I wish-to-know!” and Girk’s screams as we exit. Once out of his chambers, I have to internally pull myself together before we rejoin Ash, Allura, Khem, and Kaliyo then search for Jaida and Mako.

            “Ah, there you are. I was wondering where you all were,” Jaida states when she sees us. My tummy growls then I see they’re eating basically a buffet. Jai grins “Hungry, sis?” I nod before sliding into the seat next to Mako as Ash sits next to Jai, who rolls her eyes. “Well come on everyone. Let’s eat then we’ll head to Dad’s stronghold for some much needed sleep. Sound good?” Jai says as everyone starts digging into the food on the table. When we’ve all finished, we head outside where a large speeder is waiting for us. “Young Mistresses, I am to escort you home,” T1, Dad’s droid, states as we approach, “There is enough room for you three and your companions to travel in comfort.”

            “Thank you, T1,” I say with a smile as he bows then states, “I live to serve you, young Mistress.” Then he turns to Luna “It is a pleasure to see you again, young Mistress Allura.” Allura who wasn’t expecting him to know her says, “Th-thank you, T1.” He nods then he and Ash help all us inside the speeder to take us to the Marr estate, home to Dad, us girls and Matt. Our grandparents, Keeper and Darth Zora, live on an estate outside of Kaas City, away from prying eyes. The Marr Kaas City estate is a lot like our home ‘Sky Palace’ on Coruscant and is definitely the one of the most beautiful places on Dromund Kaas. Vette whistles at the sight as Mako exclaims “Wow, this place is amazing!” Vette chuckles, “That’s an understatement,” slapping Mako lightly on the back. “If I lived here I’d probably never leave,” Kaliyo states then in an almost bored tone, “Tell me you have something worth stealing in this place.” I smirk, “Of course we do. But it’s impossible for anyone to steal.” The group chuckles as we land, but it’s true we have the same protections on this estate as we do on all our estates throughout the galaxy.

            “Welcome to your home away from home, Luna,” Jai says as she wraps an arm around her. I chuckle then turn to T1, “Could you show our companions where they can stay and freshen up, T1?” He bows “I’ll do so at once, young Mistress,” before turning towards everyone else, “If you’d please follow me, gentleman and ladies, I’ll show you to your chambers.” Mako, Kaliyo, Vette, Ash, and Khem all follow him leaving us three sisters alone. “Well, I was wondering when you were getting here,” Matt says from the balcony. Jai and I both say, “Hey Matt,” at the same time. We both look at each other, secretly formulating a plan. “We’ll leave you to show Luna to her room,” I state before we both turn to face her. “See you in the morning, sis. Have a good night sleep,” Jai says before giving her a hug. “Yeah, and don’t stay up to long talking,” I begin as Jai walks away, “We’re going to have a long day tomorrow.” Allura gives me a hug, “I love you too, sis. Goodnight!” Then I join Jai walking up the stairs. “So do you think this is going to work?” she asks once we’re in the hallway and out of earshot. I shrug, “Might work, I’m pretty sure that Matt likes her too. So we’ll just have to wait and see in the morning,” stopping at Jai’s door to give her a hug, “Good night, Jai.” She smiles, “Night Treea,” then enters her room.

            I go to my room down the hall from Jaida’s, and enter just in time for my holo to go off. Sighing, I answer it and a beautiful older woman with wavy grey hair and hazel green eyes appears “Thea dear, Mia told us that you have become an Apprentice!” I smile “Hello Gram, and yes I did. To Darth Baras actually…” Gram grimaces, “That man… I hope he is treating you well! I’d hate to have him need a lesson from an aged Darth!” I chuckle “Well, if he doesn’t, I can assure you I have no qualms about killing him.” She smiles and chuckles “Good, I’ve had it with that man. Especially with the number of times, he’s tried to kill Alarick, your mother, Vowrawn, and Escala.” I silently chuckle, though Gram ‘retired’ from the Dark Council to work on her research, she’s still the true definition of a Sith. “You can add Eric Tremel to that list now, Gram. He wanted me to kill him. I didn’t, of course, but I’ve made everyone think so.” She stops and looks at me then growls, “The nerve of him! I’ve heard he’s added two new apprentices besides you, my dear, and that Eskella is one of them. You must be careful, darling, I fear that Ella has let her jealously get the best of her.” I groan but nod, “How is Papa?” She looks away for a moment then he appears next to her still in his uniform, “Treea dear! I heard you’ve been up to quite a bit!” I chuckle “Of course, Papa, us Marr’s never do nothing!” He chuckles, “Good!” Gram rolls her eyes, “Anyway, my reason for calling was to tell you that you, your sisters, and your friends are coming here tomorrow.”

            “We’ll try to, Gram, but who knows what we’ll be required to do…” I state hesitantly. She sighs and Papa nods “Yeah, if things keep looking how they are, I’ll be busy for a long time.” Gram’s eyes narrow at that but she still happily says “Sleep well, Treea! We love you!” I smile, “I love you guys too,” then the call ends. I shake my head then prepare for bed before sitting in mediation to work on my new lightsaber.

Chapter Text

=-=-=-=-=-=

            The sound of dozens of song birds, my alarm, wakes me up as I had fallen asleep working on my lightsaber. I put the work in progress away to get ready for the day before going downstairs, where I run into Vette. “Good morning,” Vette exclaims chirpy as ever. I roll my eyes, “Good morning, Vette. Sleep well?” She grins, “Of course! The beds here are like sleeping on a cloud, like at the Academy but here I’m not afraid someone will kill me in my sleep.” I chuckle, “That got dark, Vette.” She nods grimly, “Yeah, it did. Dromund Kaas must be getting to me.” She stops stiffing the air then squeals, “I smell breakfast!” before running into the kitchen where she is shooed into the dining room. My sisters and Mako are already downstairs and eating when we walk in and T1 delivers our meal. We eat in silence until Kaliyo joins the group and Allura speaks, “I thought you’d with be with Ash, Kaliyo.” Vette and I both turn to the new arrival to see her confusion as she says, “Isn’t he here?” It’s T1 who answers, “Apologies, but he left after I showed you to your rooms.” My eyes widen and I look nervously at Jaida who asks, “He’s been gone all night?” T1 shuffles, “I, um, told him I’d stay to return him here after he left the cantina. He and his company left together.” I close my eyes tightly, hoping it won’t affect Jai, until a holo chimes. Apparently its Jai’s as she sets it on the table before answering it and Ash appears. He looks around at everyone before directing his attention to Jaida, “Good morning!” I internally grimace as I see that my sister can’t even look at him and give Ash a glare. Ash groans, “What’s everyone’s next assignment?” Mako answers, “We have to go to Grathan’s estate.” Allura answers next, “So do I.”

            “Same here,” I add, still watching Jai as she finally looks up at him. “So, it looks like we’ll be working together then, because our assignment is in the same place.” Kaliyo and Jai cross their arms but Kaliyo is the one who speaks, “Oh really? When were you planning on telling me that…” Ash swallows, “Watcher called me last night to get the remaining information we’ll need,” he pauses as he looks behind him then a pair of arms wrap around him, he groans then gives Jai an apologetic look, “I’ll meet you all at the Wall,” then the hands turn off the holo. Suddenly I’m glad I’m not gifted with Force Lightning or else I’d have shocked Ash, as I can feel what this is doing to Jai who looks up at both Allura and I with an attempt at a reassuring smile, 'I’m fine. It wasn’t his choice.' Allura sighs and I’m unconvinced but I move on, “Are you all ready to see a wall!” Vette and Mako look at each other before breaking into giggles, Kaliyo just looks bored, and the Dashade breaks his silence with a grunt. “Let’s just get this over with,” Allura and Jai say at the same time. We go outside while the sun hasn’t risen yet, as if you could see it if it was, where T1 is waiting, “I will be taking you wherever you need to, young mistresses.”

            Grathan built the wall to keep unwanted eyes from seeing what he does in his estate but since he's gone against the Dark Council, it’s where the base of operations to remove him is located. Ash is indeed waiting for us, as we get off the speeder. My sisters and I all share a look as we can feel his repulsion for his recent actions as he walks up, “Hey ladies, Khem, there’s a man who wants to speak with us.” We nod and Ash leads us to a familiar hooded Sith “Ah, you come, good. I am the apprentice and voice of Darth Charnus. I speak in his name, and I would bargain for your services.” Sandor always liked sounding better than he was. “Oh, and why does this require such secrecy, Sandor.” He quickly glances up surprised someone knows his name, then smirks seeing it’s me, “Thea, I heard you’re at my level now. Never thought I’d see the day that you’d be the apprentice to your father’s biggest rival.” I smirk, “Baras’ power structure is more rewarding than Father’s.” Especially when I run it into the ground. Sandor chuckles, “I’ll speak more to you later Thea,” as he turns to the rest of the group, “I require individuals capable of gaining prestige in a society weaned on secrecy and madness. Individuals who can earn… respect, if not love. I need infiltrators to eliminate an enemy of the Sith. You would serve well,” I hear Allura growl at that, “Our enemy is the Order of Revan—a cult of fools hidden at every stratum of Imperial society. For years, the Revanite heretics have secretly recruited military officers, powerful Sith, wealthy mercenaries—anyone who can add to their power.”

            “So, let me guess, you want us to join?” Jai interrupts him. His eyes flick to her and he smiles nodding, “Yes. Instead of following the Emperor and his Dark Council, the Revanites follow a long-dead Sith Lord tainted by Jedi ways.” My eyes narrow at ‘tainted,’ but thankfully Sandor is more focused on Jai at the moment, “If you can uncover the Revanite leader’s identity for us, my master will reveal him to the Dark Council. His destruction would be assured. All you have to do is join the cult. I can get you inside, but you must earn their trust.” I nod, “Of course.” Sandor smiles and hands tokens to the four of us then continues, “They have a camp in the jungles. Earn an audience with their leader. When you have seen his face, return here and you shall have your reward,” we nod then walk away. “So, shall we go see these Revanites then?” Jai asks as we all look where he was pointing and we all sigh before I say, “Might as well.” We have T1 drive us over there, where a hooded man stops us, “Did you lose your way in the jungle? You have my sympathies, but we can’t help. We have no food or water to offer. There’s nothing for you here, and strangers are not welcome in this place. You’d best be going.” I just shake my head, slightly amused, and show him the token motioning for the others to do the same.

            “Ah, you do have the token. Someone must have had great faith in you to send you our way. Welcome to the Order of Revan, initiates. Welcome to your new life. This place is our haven, built by the Master and protected by the faithful. Here, we leave our duties to the Empire behind. This is where the Master guides us in the mysteries of Revan, the one who begin a Jedi, but grew into a Sith… and then something more.” He chuckles when he sees our confusion, “As a Jedi, Revan was a warrior who slaughtered armies. As a Sith, Revan was a teacher who trained a thousand dark apprentices. Eventually Jedi and Sith both turned on Revan. But instead of being destroyed, Revan was reborn. Revan was stripped of power, stripped of life, of memory—and left to rot. And still, Revan relearned the ways of the Force. The reborn Revan destroyed Jedi and Sith and came to Dromund Kaas. Although Revan’s life ended here, the Master preserved that life so that we may learn from it. Revan mastered the light side and the dark side—war and peace. We seek to walk the same path. Take part in our rituals. Learn Revan’s path to greatness. Succeed, and you earn the right to join us.” We look at each other before saying together, “Then we look forward to learning.” The man smiles, “Around you, you’ll find your new teachers, Revanites who have spent their lives recovering the works of Darth Revan. Speak to them. Complete the tasks you are given. When you are through, return to me, and the Master will give you your final lessons.”

            We nod and walk to a Revanite who motioned for us, “Come here. Come closer. You are among the initiates who wish to join our order—and this is good. But tell me something: You are here because of the Order of Revan. Are you ready to die for us?” We all look at each other, “I’m afraid we don’t quite understand,” I state cautiously. The man nods, “Consider carefully, for every Revanite must face a trial of death—just as Revan died at the hands of Jedi and Sith. Death freed Revan, left him unbound from all oaths and promises. It paved his road to rebirth. Will death free you from your past?” At our hesitant nods, he smiles “Before us is a path. Beyond the path is a cave—a cave dedicated to Darth Revan. Initiates fall on the path. Initiates are torn apart by things inside the cave. But initiates who reach the end are reborn. Remade.” We look at each other once again before nodding and the man chuckles, “Go. Free yourselves from the life you’ve made. The petty choices, the mistakes, the oaths sworn—all of it will be washed away,” and with that he leaves us. Allura swallows “Come on, let’s follow Revan’s path.” The path is rather easy to follow, and not a single beast attacks us on our journey to the cave but the cave itself is a different story.

            There’s an indescribable feeling inside the cave, and I can feel the Force like never before. Allura seems the most effected through as she enters the cave first, in some sort of daze then unknowingly leads us straight to an ancient statue of Revan himself. There’s an energy surrounding the statue as our group walks up the steps leading to it. I feel a slight pull telling me to go just a bit closer, and my sisters and I do before we all kneel in front of it. A fire appears around us, blocking our companions from helping or the four of us from escaping. My attention is torn to stare at Allura, as her eyes follow something that looks like a dark mist then passes out as it touches her. As she falls, the mist vanishes and the stones around us glow purple. I turn to look back at the statue to see that it’s eyes are glowing the same purple as the rocks then everything goes dark. It feels like seconds later that I open my eyes, blinking in confusion as I’m on a bed in a medical tent inside the Revanite camp. I sit up looking around seeing that everyone else is here as well along with the man who sent us to the cave. Once everyone is awake he begins speaking, “You return. Dripping with the blood of the womb, you are reborn.” I close my eyes testing for pain that doesn’t come as I sit up, feeling rather well-rested. The man continues, “Your old life, everything you were—all of it is dead, buried inside that cave.” Allura nods and answers, “What was that cave. It was…” she pauses and I can’t even imagine what she experienced, “strange.” He chuckles, “Darth Revan’s shrine. Every piece of Revan’s life that we’ve recovered is in that cave. It’s the last thing initiates see before dying. Tell me how it feels. Your obligations have vanished, your past no longer burdens you… how does it feel to see the world reborn?” I answer automatically, “Like the power of the Force flows through me.” He grins, “You’ve done well. And I’m proud that you’re begun your new life as Revanites—choosing allegiance to us first of all. Take this gift to guide you in your new life. It will remind you of what you’ve become. Leave now, and may the Force make you strong.”

            A female Sith pureblood motions for us next as we leave the tent, “Come forward. Speak to me. We’re all students of Darth Revan, and I enjoy the company of initiates. I remember when I was like you. I remember my trials and the joy of killing in the Master’s name. You’re so fortunate. I’m Ladra. Once the personal assassin of a Sith Lord. I am now the serene protector of the Master and his students. I contemplate Revan’s teachings as I execute intruders and heretics. But I also guide initiates and help determine their trials. Every Revanite’s initiation includes a trial of the past—a rite to bind the initiate to Revan. Your rite will be very special. You will find the mask of Darth Revan—what he wore after becoming Sith. It’s powerful symbol of his greatness, long lost to us. The mask is in a collection of antiquities possessed by my former teacher, the Sith Lord Grathan. It must be freed from that heretic. Rescued in a rain of blood and death!” she exclaims, “Then I can give it a place of honor in the compound, so every Revanite can see it. Speak to Torrun, our curator. He’ll give you the spiritual guidance you need and tell you where the mask is. When your journey’s done, bring the mask to me. Good luck. Welcome the peace that comes with serving the Master.” We nod, thankful to get away from her, and go find Torrun. He is quite easily to find, studying scrolls in a tent not far from Ladra. His droid alerts him to our presence, ‘// T9-N9 alert = strangers approaching //’ making him look up from his work. He sighs moving away and standing, “What’ve we got here? I wasn’t expecting a visit from any initiates—but you’re welcome to stay and talk, in any case. I’m Torrun, devoted servant of the Master and student of Revan. What can I do for you?”

            “Hello, we are searching for Darth Revan’s mask,” Allura states with a slight smile, “We were told you can help.” He groans “So, Ladra sent you. She wants me to ritually prepare you for contact with Revan’s mask, eh? A pointless ceremony. Ladra’s devoted to the Revanites. She’s also obsessed with that mask. Says it talks to her! She wants the mask to represent everything Revan ever was, but he wasn’t just Sith. Before his rebirth, he was both Sith and Jedi.” Ash responds, “I could tell from talking to Ladra that she’s lost her mind,” we all nod in agreement. Torrun nods sadly, “I’m glad you noticed. There is a fine line between worship and mindless obsession. It’s tempting to seek answers in material objects. Ladra will use the mask to teach that Revan was a being of only darkness. I don’t want that mask becoming our order’s sole focus. Bring it to me. I’ll keep it safe among a few like-minded scholars.” He pauses looking at Allura then says, “I not do want the mask for myself. I have no use for it—except for what it represents. I’m sure Ladra promised a grand reward for the mask. I can’t match it, but I can promise your initiation will proceed smoothly.” Allura nods, “We’ll do what we can, first we must find it.”

            ‘// T9-N9 reliquary database + activated // Mask of Revan + contained in a secure vault in estate of Lord Grathan //’ Torrun’s droid beeps at his master’s nod. Torrun looks up at us, “I don’t have to tell you to be careful, but… may the Force be with you. May it keep you strong and guide your return.” We all nod then go to T1 to return us to the wall where we continue on our original assignments finally entering into the Sith Lord’s estate. There is a trail of bodies by the time we reach the warehouse Vette and I need to enter. After sneaking past the guards inside we enter the room where Baras’ other apprentice should be.

            “You must be the operative Lord Baras sent. I thought he’d choose a stealthy assassin, not some senseless savage,” Dri’kill Ba’al says. I have to stop the eye roll, “I’ve been sent personally by him. So in less you think you know better, be silent.” I can feel Vette’s amusement as Ba’al growls, “You’re not talking to one of Baras’ Imperial peons. I’ll be working for Lord Baras long after you’ve worn out your welcome.” I chuckle internally oh, I think not, instead I clear my throat, “Is that so, well then we better get to work then. Wouldn’t want Baras to learn you can’t work well with others.” I smirk when his eyes narrow as he basically growls, “Grathan is a rogue Sith who boldly defies the Dark Council. Locked away here, he’s been untouchable. Baras wants to let him know he can be reached. And after a year undercover, I’ve discovered the way—Grathan has a son!” I raise an eyebrow, “Really!? That’s all you could find in a year!? Maybe in another year, you can find out his shoe size. And what makes you think he cares?”

            “He wears boots not shoes, smart mouth. I was assigned to find his weakness, and he’s kept his son a secret in order to protect him from his enemies,” Ba’al says after tightening his jaw. “Or he’s ashamed of him,” I state matter-of-factly. “What makes you think you know Sith Politics?” he asks clearly irritated. I smirk, “My bloodline.” He scoffs, “Clearly mud.” I can’t stop my growl or the Force hold on his neck, “Watch who you insult, Ba’al. It may be your last words, now if you excuse me I have a weakness to exploit.” Then with that I sharply turn and walk out of the room with Vette right behind me. I can feel her eyes flick to me as we go down the stairs silently as well as her nervousness. Once we’re out of earshot of anyone, I breathe in deeply trying to calm down then glance at Vette, “I’m sorry about that. Normally I have a better hold on my emotions.” She slightly chuckles, “It’s okay. He touched a nerve.” I nod, that’s an understatement. As we rejoin the group outside the warehouse I see Jaida and Ash wrapped around each other and Jai say, “Already forgiven,” with a quick kiss, I roll my eyes and cough.

            Ash groans but kisses Jai before moving away refusing to look at me, I chuckle, “Sorry to interrupt but may I remind you, we are in unfriendly territory here!” with a slight glare at the Agent. Ironically it’s Jai who comes to his rescue “It was my fault, Treea, not his,” I can’t help my sigh. We fall silent until Allura and Khem rejoin us then we continue on. When we enter the main compound, we clear out the hallway leading to the lift and I destroy the Elevator monitoring station before all of us go down to the next floor. When we defeat everyone in the first room, I destroy the monitoring station inside before Ash and Kaliyo split off as we continue farther inside to a dead end hallway, where my sisters and their companions go right and Vette and I go left.

            In the hallway I destroy the last monitoring station, leaving only the security door that his son should be behind, which he is but he isn’t alone. “Mother, a stranger approaches,” he states. I silently chuckle, definitely ashamed. I hear Vette mumble, “You don’t know the half of it, kid.” The Mother turns, “I can see that, Beelzlit. I am Ceilvanta Grathan! How dare you enter my son’s room uninvited. Who are you?” I look at her unimpressed, “Who I am does not matter as I am here for one reason only,” pointing to her son. Her red eyes narrow, “You’ll find that reason slightly impossible. My son may still be an acolyte but I am Sith and I will not let you near my son.” I close my eyes as they both get into their fighting stances, “Vette, let me handle this.” She glances at me but nods, “As you wish.”

            I ignite the lightsaber in my main hand in time to block Lady Grathan’s first strike as her son circles me. His first strike is to my back which I block with my second saber before turning a kicking him in the stomach sending him flying to the opposite wall, which he crumbles against. Lady Grathan growls and starts attacking furiously. I block every strike easily as she gives into her anger. Her slashes continue but each losing its power. I sigh, before flicking my wrist and sending her next to her son, “Now if you are through embarrassing yourselves. There’s something I must do.” Lady Grathan’s closes her eyes before looking at her son, who’s a groaning mess on the floor, “I have a proposition for you.” I force a dark chuckle, “You think you have a position to do so? Clearly I’ve won, so what makes you think I’ll listen.” She looks up at me, “A challenge.” I raise an eyebrow, “I’m listening…” She smirks in victory, “Kill my husband and I’ll make sure you’re richly rewarded.” I scoff, “As lovely as that sounds, I am only here to show he isn’t untouchable.” She laughs, “And you think Grathan cares if his son is lost?” I told you, Ba’al. “Let me tell you, he doesn’t. Everyone knows my husband cannot exist without his helmeted mask. So when you kill him, my son will replace him. He’ll publicly rant that his ‘son’ was killed. No one will be the wiser.” I cross my arms, “You’ve clearly thought this through,” I state not surprised. She nods, “I married him for power, a means to an end. Now I’ve grown tired of being under his thump.” And if her son wears the mask, she’ll be the thumb. I sigh, “I prefer a challenge.” She grins “Lovely! With this pass-card, you may enter his secret chamber. Deal with him and bring me his mask.”

            “My uninvited guest finally arrives. Your feelings betray you, youngest. I sensed your murderous intentions the moment you entered my sanctum,” Grathan states with his back to me. I scoff, “I haven’t betrayed anything.” He chuckles, “You have not, your slave however has. What’s more she’s revealed your accomplice—my loving wife.” I quickly glance at Vette before returning my attention to the masked Sith, “She sends her love.” I feel Vette chuckle as Grathan continues speaking, “Ceilvanta is a user, child. She’s obsessed with power. It’s one of the things that attracted me to her—but it’s outgrown its amusement. I am death itself, child. Come embrace the darkness!” He pounces as soon as he udders the last word, igniting his lightsaber mid jump. I block the strike easily, but the sheer power of it makes me stumble and his next attacks quickly follow. I breathe in deeply before going on the defensive. As soon his strikes lose their power, I go on the offensive testing his defense. After finding several weaknesses in his form, the speed on my attacks increases dramatically and I can hear Grathan struggling for breath. The final blow is my blade piercing his heart. Jaida touches my mind, 'Sis, something happened to Allura so we’re returning to camp,'  as I collect his mask. I close my eyes trying to calm my worry as I return to the Lady of the House.

            “I sensed my husband's death. Lord Grathan is no more. What pleasure to think he suffered,” Lady Grathan exclaims as I enter. I internally grimace and I can feel Vette's disgust. I just nod and hand her the mask as the son says, “Mother, what does this mean? Am I truly to become the master of this house?” I close my eyes slightly chuckling, as she turns to him, “You will wear his mask and assume his identity. But you are not yet ready to rule, my dear. The voice will be yours but the words will be mine.” He nods, “I have longed for my father's death and the chance to claim his power.” I roll my eyes as I hear Vette mumble, “What is wrong with this place!?” I slightly chuckle as Ceilvanta turns to me again, “Yes, this is a great day. You have served us well, my new friend. And I don't care why you did it, as long as it's done. For appearance sake you'll still be unwelcome here. But today, my son and I have become your secret allies.” I nod and slightly bow, “Farewell. It's been a pleasure.” I'll have to warn Dad and Vowrawn about this. They might be more unpredictable than Lord Grathan. They both nod, and Vette and I turn to make our leave, returning to Ba'al.

            “I'm surprised you survived. So, is it done? Is Grathan's son dead?” Ba'al states as I enter his room crossing his arms. I smirk, “I wouldn't of returned, if it wasn't completed, Ba'al.” His brown eyes narrow, “Doesn't say much for Grathan's security forces if a clumsy clod like you was able to bang into his private chamber and off his son.” I chuckle, “I find your empty chatter amusing.” He chuckles darkly and I'm already anticipating his response, as he reaches for his lightsaber, “You'll find my lightsaber a bit sobering.” My main lightsaber is ignited before his, as he goes in for the attack. Despite his posturing he is surprisingly weak and I can easily match his two hand strikes with one hand, keeping the other behind my back. I play with him for a little while not going in for any attacks and meeting his blade with my own. “You really don't play well with others, do you?” I ask casually. His eyes narrow and his strikes become faster, but he's breathing to heavily to respond. I chuckle, even with me increasing his anger he' s still weak. I've fought acolytes stronger than this. Now getting bored, I stop fighting defensively and start returning strikes. His eyes widen in shock, as he tries in vain to block them now heavily panting. “Giving up yet?” I ask as he's missed two of my attacks. His eyes narrows as he says, “Sith never give up,” through his pants. I sigh defeatedly, “Then so be it,” before increasing the speed my strikes and ending the fight quickly with a final blow.

            As his body falls, Vette and I turn to leave running into two guards, They look at each other before smirking, “So you're the one who murdered the heir of Grathan. Our lord will reward us handsomely for your death.” I groan and look over at Vette who nods once, then opens fire on the second guard as I leap to the first. When they fall, we finally sneak out of the warehouse. Once we've escaped the estate I stop Vette, “Something has happened to Allura,” I raise a hand to stop her question as she opens her mouth, “I don't know what but Jai and Ash took her to the closest camp.” Her lavender eyes widen and I can feel her worry, she nods “Lead the way then.” I return her nod then we make our way back to the camp by the 'Wall' quickly finding the medical tent. Just as we enter, a medical droid stops me, “I'm sorry, my lord, but the tent is busy at the moment.” I give the droid a glare, “My sister is in there.” If droids could swallow it would, “O...of course, then you may go inside, my lord.” I stop it from leaving, “What was wrong with her?” The droid looks at the tent, “We never treated her as there were no injuries to speak of and her vitals were normal, but she is unconscious.” My eyes widen and I nervously swallow  before sharing a worried look with Vette as we enter. Allura is on a cot but thankfully awake and Ash, Mako, and Jaida are sitting near her with Khem standing guard and Kaliyo leaning on a nearby pole.“What happened?” I ask. Ash, Jai and Mako share a look before saying as one, “Revan's mask.” Allura groans, apparently not wanting to discuss this, “Can we please just take this to the camp,” motioning to the object that’s in her hand. Jai and I share a worried look before nodding. T1 takes us to the camp again where we return to Torrun, and Allura quietly hands him the mask before walking off, leaving me to say, “Be careful with that, it did something to her.”

            Trying not to bother Allura, we only motion her back over to speak with a bald man, “More initiates? Huh. The compound’s getting less secure all the time. Still, I suppose the Master knows what he’s doing… and if you follow the ways of Revan, we’ll judge your worth. Revan didn’t work alone. Revan had allies—all walks of life. We’re no different. You want to join us, you need to face the men and women who got here first and who’ve proved that they’re loyal to the Master.” He smirks, “You need to show those in the Master’s inner circle that you understand Revan’s teachings. They’ll ask questions. You’ll answer. If they’re not satisfied, they’ll abandon the tests of wisdom and begin to test your strength. Revan didn’t suffer the weak. Your pilgrimage starts in the jungle—you’ll find your first guide there. He’ll determine whether your worth sending on to the rest. Be ready for anything initiate. The jungle’s dangerous, and so are the true Revanites.”

            The first member of the 'inner circle' is rather difficult to find, but after a long walk we finally see our first guide's camp. “So. You have come. You who would join the Order of Revan. I am Morrun Dokaas, lord of beasts. I am Revanite, and I am Sith. What do you say to me?” the Chagrian male says as we approach. “It is an honor to meet you, my lord,” I state slightly bowing my head. “Interesting. For decades, I have served the Master. He found me when I was a larva and saw that I was strong in the Force. Against the Empire’s traditions, he trained me. This is the way of Revan—to teach all species the path to power. Now you will answer a question—and you will answer well, or face the claws of my pets. Why do you think Revan trained aliens in the ways of the Sith? Why did Revan offer power to all seekers?” I internally groan closing my eyes, knowing the answer he wants, “Revan knew that servants are more useful when they’re powerful.” Morrun nods, “You answer well. You answer wisely. You speak like a true Revanite. You proceed on your pilgrimage and seek worth in the eyes of another.” I give him a weak smile, mostly glad that's over, “Thank you.” He nods, “Seek the mercenary called Ceta Farr as she teaches her soldiers. Then shall your trial continue.” We all nod before we turn and walk away.

            “Takan! Have some of the men head into the city. They’ve earned a break from training,” says a Mandalorian woman to a man next to her. “Yes, Commander!” the man, Takan, says before walking off. “It’s good to see you alive—not everyone makes it past Morrun,” Ceta says as we approach her, “Raymon contacted me from the base—said you wanted to join our society. Is that true?” Jai nods, “It’s true. We are seeking the approval of the inner circle.” She smirks, “I’m called Ceta Farr. I teach these mercenaries how to fight. My services to the Master is a matter of honor. Centuries ago, my clan fought Revan when we invaded the Republic with the rest of the Mandalorians. It was our privilege to battle Jedi. We lost the war over Malachor Five—but that was a privilege, too. It’s out of respect for Revan that I agreed to join the Master.” Jai nods understanding, “Mandalorians honor their foes—respect a hard-earned victory.” Ceta looks at her, “You’re not Mandalorian.” She shakes her head, looking at Allura and I, “Our uncle and grandparents were.” Ceta looks at the three of us, “Clan?” Jai looks down, unable to say it, so I answer, “Draé.” Ceta looks at me surprised but nods then looks at Ash, “I serve the order to ensure Revan’s name isn’t forgotten. Revan was a warrior, a leader, and deserves to be remembered. Since you’re not bound by honor, how do I know you won’t sully the Dark Lord’s memory? What can you do for the order in Revan’s name?”

            “I’ll learn all I can about Revan’s past,” Allura states bringing Ceta’s attention to her before the Mandalorian nods. “The order has enough warriors. You might be able to serve. You’ll need to speak to one more person before you head back to the compound. Find Major Pathel he oversees security on the Wall.” We all nod turning to return once again to the Wall, as we hear her say, “Glory to Mandalore… and glory to our Master.” We find Major Pathel easily, without anyone pointing us to him. “Come on over—there’s nothing to trouble us here, and we can speak freely,” he exclaims when we walk to him, “I’m Major Pathel, at your service. It’s always wonderful to meet new initiates—The Order of Revan needs all the dedicated young people it can get.”

            “You’re awfully cheerful, aren’t you?” Kaliyo says. The major chuckles, “A necessary precondition of living on the Wall, I think. To keep healthy out here, one needs spirit! I don’t know how your other meetings went, but I like to conduct these interviews informally. No point making your life difficult, eh? Quite a few initiates—young officers, acolytes and the like—think our ‘secret society’ will help them become Moffs or Dark Lords. You’re not like that, I presume?” Ash chuckles looking at Jai as he says “No, we prefer to earn it ourselves not be given it.” Pathel nods grinning, “Good. Not every initiate realizes that advancement in the Revanites does not guarantee advancement in the Empire—nor how dangerous being a Revanite really is. The Dark Council seeks to root us out. So how do we respond? How do we answer the Empires accusations of heresy?” Ash smirks, “We move secretly. We manipulate those in power.” Pathel smiles and nods, “Exactly. We work in the shadows to reform the Empire—but we don’t betray its ideals. That’s all I needed to make my judgement. I’m going to send a message to the compound. Raymon will be waiting for you.”

            “So you’ve finished the pilgrimage?” Raymon, the bald man, states as we approach, “Not bad. I don’t know what happened out there—it’s none of my business-but the inner circle approves of your initiation.” Ash smirks, “How often do initiates fail?” Raymon chuckles, “Honestly? If you can survive the pilgrimage, you’re probably a worthy initiate. But a lot of initiates don’t survive at all. You did good in this trial. Now, you’ll have to find someone else to show you the next stage of the journey.” I can't help my smirk, “Excellent. Our initiation will be over soon.” He nods, “Good luck. Every step brings you closer to the Master.” We return to the first man, the one who stopped us when we first arrived, “Well. You really made it, didn’t you? I’ve been hearing about your progress—hearing about your trials. Your initiation hasn’t been an easy one. But you met the challenges and showed you can walk Revan’s path. Now you may undergo the final rite. The master will complete your lessons, and you’ll be welcomed as a full member of the Order of Revan. This is a great privilege. The Master reveals himself to no one outside the order. You may go to the Master in his chamber. He will be waiting for you. Listen to him. Obey him. Through the Master, you will know the path of Revan.”

            We're led to a dark empty tent that only has a holo terminal. Once all of us are inside the tent door closes on it's own, and a holo of a masked being appears. “You who have died and been reborn—stand before me now. You who have reclaimed the ancient past—stand before me now. You who have demonstrated power and wisdom to my followers—look upon the Master of the Order of Revan. This is the end of your initiation and the beginning of your true journey. You will walk the path of Revan forevermore. The enemies of the order will force you to move in shadows. But we shall keep your secrets safe—as you shall keep ours,” then suddenly the image disappears, and a feminine voices says, “The time for subterfuge is over. Know me for who I am,” as a woman approaches us, “I apologize for the deception, and for not meeting you sooner—but you must know how badly the Dark Council wants me dead. The Order of Revan threatens everything the Dark Council prizes.”

            “Why did you found the order in the first place?” I ask, intrigued since I learned about Revan from my time as a Jedi Padawan. “I stumbled upon the mysteries of Revan on Korriban, when I became a Sith. That started me down a terrible path. Revan came to Dromund Kaas after being reborn. Some believe Revan died at the hands of out Emperor. I believe otherwise. I believe Revan overthrew the Emperor and has sat secretly on the throne for three centuries. Aside from our order, only the Dark Council Knows the truth.” Jai scoffs, “You really think Revan replaced the Emperor?” The Master nods, “I do. It’s the only way the puzzle pieces fit. I have heard whispers in the Citadel. For decades, the Emperor has been in seclusion: The Dark Council no longer speaks with him. The only explanation is this: The Dark Council betrayed their leader and locked Emperor Revan away, seizing power for themselves. They seek to silence us because we know. My agents tell me that you met with a Sith name Sandor—a man who seeks to destroy the Revanites. End his threat. Go to Sandor and tell him that you met the Revanite leader. Tell him that the leader is his own master, Darth Charnus. I ‘obtained’ the Sith amulet from Charnus,” she says as she hands it to me “Give it to Sandor. He’ll believe you stole it from his master while among the Revanites. They will turn against each other. When this is done, though…when you’ve spoken to Sandor… you cannot return here. Sandor must never suspect your true allegiance. You must walk the path of Revan on your own. The path to power—the path neither Jedi nor Sith. May the Force be with you. May it make you strong.”

            On the way to the wall once again we've all reached a mutual decision on what to do. “Ah, you’ve returned from having your ears filled with lies by the Revanites. I do not envy you the experience,” Sandor says as we get off the speeder, “Tell me now: Did you find what we need? Did you see the face of the leader?” I nod, “It was a man. I couldn’t learn his name, but he wore this amulet,” as I hand it to him. “Oh? Perhaps that will be enough. A symbol of rank, or affiliation, or…” he stops as he looks at it and his eyes widen, “This. I know this amulet! How did you obtain it?” I widen my eyes now concerned, “It was in the Master’s tent. Sandor, what is wrong?” He shakes his head, “My apologies, Lady Thea. It’s just that this is my master’s amulet. Speak to no one of this. I will deal with my master myself.” I gasp covering my mouth but nod, “Of course I won’t. But this heresy cannot continue.” He nods “I agree, but that is all I can say for now.” We all give him a curt nod before returning to the speeder then returning, at last, to Dromund Kaas and the Citadel minus Jaida, Mako and their apparent bounty, a carbonite person.

            When we enter Baras' chambers, we hear an enraged scream that carries and echos off the walls. I can feel Baras' anger like electricity in the air and poor Vette is visibly shaking. We find him pacing in front of the Republic agent, Girk Sonosan. “I cannot break him!” he exclaims. I have to hold back my amusement, “Is there a problem here?” Vette and I silently chuckle as he face-palms, “Who would ask such a question?!” He then Force throws an object into the wall next to us, shattering it into millions of pieces then almost growls, “Clearly there's a problem here.” Vette looks over at me and whispers, “Okay, I'm officially scared.” I barely nod in agreement as Baras turns to us, “This is impossible. An unknown power must be shielding this man, which only confirms my suspicions. This Republic agent is the key to unlocking the threat we face. I must harness my rage and frustration. They will lead me to an answer.” I cross my arms impatiently, “Is there anything else you require of me?” He chuckles darkly, “I will. The word has spread that Lord Grathan is incensed at the slaying of his secret son. I take it that was your handiwork.” I nod, “It was. However I do hope you won't need Ba'al again as he is otherwise disposed.”

            He tilts his head and I can feel his amusement, “Good, his uses was growing limited. My confidence in you is growing. Remember every Sith must attempt to orchestrate his own promotion. Now leave, I'll call you when I have your next task, Apprentice,” I nod motioning to Vette. “So what are we going to do?” Vette asks once we're out of Baras' chambers. I shrug, “Maybe eat then come back here?” My holo chimes, sighing I answer it and Gram appears, “There you are, my dear. Come to the Nexus Room cantina, there's a lovely party here and some people who wish to see you.” I close my eyes tightly before looking over at Vette, who looks vaguely excited. I sigh, “We'll be there.” Gram beams, “Excellent. I'll tell security to let you both in,” then the call ends. Vette is practically bouncing as we leave the Citadel, I have to bite my lip to keep from laughing at her. “You do realize that this is a Sith party right?” Vette's eyes widen a bit but she nods and continues bouncing, I shake my head.

            The party is rather easily found as it's in a private room of the cantina, the guards straighten when we approach. Their eyes narrow a bit when they see Vette but at my glare they look straight ahead moving away from the door, slightly bowing as I enter the room. Gram is the first to spot me and motions me over to her very familiar group . I look over at Vette, who swallows before looking at me, “You weren't kidding, huh?!” I chuckle “Relax, Vette. These Sith you don't have to worry about,” then I begin to walk over to them with Vette following cautiously. “Good to see you, Thea. Mia told me about your apprenticeship, congratulations,” Darth Vala says with a smile. I return her smile, “How are Audra and the others doing?” Audra is her oldest. She slightly smirks, “Doing rather well actually although not many of their fellow acolytes appreciate being beaten by mixed blood.” I slightly chuckle, “That's what they deserve for having those prejudices.” Vette looks at me surprised making me realize she doesn't have a clue as to who I'm talking to. “Apologies it seems I've forgotten my manners. Everyone is this Vette. Vette meet,” I motion to Vala, “Mia's older sister, Darth Vala or also known as Caitlin Nuruodo.” I motion to Gram, “My grandmother, Darth Zora.” Before I can continue the others cut in. “Darth Escala Morint,” says the oldest Sith pureblood in the group, my godfather's lover.

            “I'm Lord Bria Morit,” a young woman, who has the markings of the Sith pureblood “Oh, and Thea's cousin,” with a wink. I roll my eyes. Bria is Gram's grandniece, the only daughter of her only biological nephew, Darth Von Morit. Bria smirks before turning to her real cousin, another who has the markings of a Sith pureblood, who shyly begins, “I'm Apprentice Trisa Skye,” she pauses at Bria's pointed look, “and also Thea's cousin.” Bria grins and shares a look with the only male Sith 'pureblood,' who smirks before walking up to Vette and grabs her hand, “Lord Paxon Foyt,” then kisses it causing the Twi'lek to blush. His golden red eyes flick to me, “And you, my dear, look as beautiful as always.” I suppress a groan “Pax, it isn't going to happen.” He smirks, his eyes following my form, “One never knows.” Gram chuckles, “As entertaining this is, we have a few more people to introduce. This is Addy Tremel, Eskella's grandmother.” The older woman bows her head slightly before pulling me into a fierce hug and whispers, “Thank you,” in my ear. All I do is nod after she pulls away and begins speaking like that never happened. “Talking about Eskella. She's now an apprentice to Baras as well. Amazing how it seems life keeps tying the two of you together.” I nod somewhat bitterly, her face softens, “I'm sure she'll forgive you eventually, my dear.”

            Just as I'm about to respond a familiar man joins the group. “The utmost apologies, my lords,” Klemral says with a slight bow before turning to me, “May I have this dance, Thea?” I can feel my cheeks heat up slightly. I look around the group, all of them are smirking expect Paxton and Vette is giving me a knowing look. I swallow slightly, “Of course.” He smiles and takes my hand, and I can practically feel my family's amusement well minus Pax's. “You know we really should stop meeting like this,” Klemral states once we've reached the dance floor, “I'm beginning to think you're following me.” I rise an eyebrow, “Oh really?” He smirks putting my left hand on his shoulder and placing his right on my back bringing us slightly closer, “Yes really. Though I know it's just wishful thinking.” He stops his eyes flicking to the group he stole me from, “Who is that?” I look up at him, “My family and people I consider my family.” He raises an eyebrow, “I was meaning the pureblood staring daggers at me.” I slightly chuckle, “Lord Paxon.” He scoffs, “I've heard about him, very popular with the women.” I look up at him seeing his disgusted expression. He realizes what he said and looks down at me, I give him a reassuring smile, “He's tried more times then I wish to admit, but I also have the added argument of he's my cousin.” His eyes widen, “Seriously?” I nod, “His grandfather is my grandmother's brother so we're not closely related.” He nods, “But enough.” I nod “Anyway, I see you're an apprentice now,” motioning to the two lightsabers attached to his belt. Klemral smirks, “I am. That training session really opened my eyes.” I raise an eyebrow, “Which one?” He chuckles, “Both. So no one can say much about this,” as he leans down and captures my lips with his.

            Vette starts whistling before Paxton walks up, his red eyes flashing dangerously and punches Klemral so hard it sends him to the ground. “Get your unworthy hands and lips away from her,” I hear Pax almost growl. I groan and step in between them both and place my hands on Pax's shoulders, sending him a calming aura. I hear Klemral get up behind me, I glance at him quickly and see blood coming from his mouth. I grimace then look back at Pax, who's eyes have become slits as he growls. I close my eyes knowing the only thing that will work, then open them standing on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek. It startles him, as his eyes widen before he looks down at me with a smirk. I fight against rolling my eyes just as my holo beeps, I glance at Vette who rushes to my side and with a deep breath I answer it. Sunder Ghettz, Baras' slave from yesterday appears, “Lady Thea, Lord Baras has requested your presents.” I nod silently sighing and end the call, then look at Vette, “Ready to get our next task?” She chuckles, “Not really but it's not like we have a choice.” I nod in agreement, “My apologies, Lord Paxton, Apprentice Klemral, but it seems my master has need of me.” Pax nods, “I'll escort you, my lady,” offering me his arm which I grudgingly take.

            “I'm not sorry I punched him,” he says once we've left ear shot of the others. I sigh, “Why did you hit him anyway?” He gives me a 'are you serious' look before saying, “He isn't worthy of you.” I roll my eyes, “Oh really... you do realize you interrupted my first kiss.” He stops suddenly, “You've never kissed anyone before?” I look at him crossing my arms giving him a 'really' look, “Nope, and now probably never will...” He rolls his eyes, “Sorry, forgot about your upbringing,” talking about my time as a padawan, “and with your looks I doubt that was the last time someone will kiss you,” he grumbles as we begin walking again. As we enter the Citadel, we hear whispers of a recently transpired murder of a Darth. Pax and I share a look before walking to Baras' chambers. I thank him with a kiss on the cheek and whisper, “You really need to control your jealousy, Pax.” I pull away in time to see him frown before he grabs Vette's hand and kisses it again causing Vette to blush. He gives me a pointed look before sharply turning around and walking away. Beside me, Vette sighs “He's really something, isn't he?!” I roll my eyes “Believe me, Vette, he isn't worth it.” She looks at me questioningly and I shake my head causing her to roll her eyes and nod.

            When we enter, Baras is pacing in the front room. He stops when he sees us enter, “Excellent you are here. I've found one last possibility to break him. I thought it impossible, but perhaps there's a small chance you could pull it off.” He begins walking into his office. Vette and I follow as he continues, “Over a millennium past, the Emperor claimed Dromund Kaas and made the Dark Temple the epicenter of dark Force energy.” He stops behind his desk and pushes a button, bringing up a map of the Dark Temple's interior, “In the bowels of the temple, he conducted horrifying experiments that drained the knowledge and life essence from all the greatest Sith Lords of the time.” I internally grimace but let him continue, “They existed to serve their master—and that they did. He siphoned them to make himself immortal and all knowing. The Emperor created a device called 'the Ravager' that ate his victims' minds and delivered to him their greatest secrets. No one could withstand the Ravager's intrusion—even the strongest Sith Lords of the Empire confessed whatever the Emperor craved. The Emperor keeps the Ravager hidden in the Dark Temple, which has, in his absence, become a death trap. There's a good chance the horrors that await you will be too severe. But it's worth your life to me.” I internally groan, That's reassuring. He continues, “The legends describe a secret chamber in the depths of the Dark Temple where the Ravanger was encased. You'll know the device by its inscription. Be swift, apprentice.”

Chapter Text

=-=-=-=-=-=

            “Hey, where you are going next?” I ask, when I see Allura and Khem exit the chambers across the hallway from Baras'. Jaida and Mako joins us before our baby sister can answer. “My next bounty is in the Dark Temple. Please tell me that I'm not going in alone,” Jaida says pleadingly. I chuckle lightly, somewhat relived that be going in that forsaken place alone, “If it's any consultation I have to go in as well.” Both Jaida and I look at the youngest who smiles, “Same.” Jaida sighs in relief, “Come on, we better find Ash and Kaliyo.” We find them both once we leave the flashy lights of the Sanctum behind, as they're leaving Imperial Intelligence. Jaida and I share a look as we can both feel their unease and worry before running to join them. Neither agent says a word until we're all in the family speeder with T1 driving us to the outpost. Ash is the one who breaks their silence, “Kaliyo and I have to go to the Dark Temple immediately.” My sisters and I share a look before Jaida says, “So are we.” Ash closes his eyes and breathes in deeply before looking at the three of us in turn, “Please tell me you aren't going for me.” Jaida rolls her eyes, unamused, “We aren't.” Ash grimaces before nodding and we fall silent until we reach Outpost Warden.

            The outpost is exactly like I remember, full of weary solders and curious scientists and filled with nervous uneasy energy. I can feel their fear as we pass them, some of them smug that the Sith will have their hands full. Some even pleased that two Sith are entering the Temple, that Allura and I may get some of our own medicine and cruelty. I internally scoff, if only I'd get off that easily. The path that leads to the entrance of the Temple is lined with dozens of soldiers and adventures who have lost control of themselves to the powers that lay in the Temple. The Temple itself looms in the distance, a place that causes nightmares. It was scary enough when it was unopened, now even non-force-sensitives can feel the power and unadulterated hatred and rage that emits from the massive shadow casting Temple. As we begin to walk up the steps that take you into the front courtyard, I hear Khem say, “Dark Energies here. A good place for a feast.” Mako chuckles darkly as another body falls lifeless “If I become like that, kill me.” Vette nods in agreement beside me, “Being a slave is bad but not being able to control anything you do, I'd say is worse.” I grimace my eyes flick between the two former slaves, as we cross in front of the statues that guard the entrance to the Temple.

            As we enter, I have to suppress a shudder as I can feel the Darkness that seems to penetrate everything inside. Vette runs to my side, her head a blur as she looks at everything. Her lekku flying as I hear her mumble, “I feel eyes on me everywhere but there's nothing there.” I glance over at her to see she's hugging herself tightly, sighing I put an arm around her. She looks up at me slightly relieved as Khem chuckles, causing my sisters and I to share a nervous look before we walk up the stairs to the main chamber. Everyone separates as soon as we enter, each going their own way to speed up our stay. The chamber which holds the Ravager is just off the main chamber, however the hallway leading to it is empty which causes me to go on full alert. Sure, enough as we reach the chamber, I kneel down beside the chest that contains the Ravager to see that scavengers have dismantled key pieces from the device. I let out a frustrated growl, before standing a motioning for Vette to follow me back to the main chamber.  We leave the soldiers alone, only targeting the explorers, but I see that someone from my group has been killing them. It takes a while to kill and loot all the pieces of the device but once we do, we again return to Ravager's chamber with two others, who look like soldiers. “It was foolish of you to return here,” a rather large Sith, who's blocking our path. “Ut-oh, looks like we got another fight on our hands,” Vette mumbles behind me. I slightly nod in agreement as the Sith continues, “Those pieces you took from my minions belong to me! They will enable me to exact my revenge on Lord Pharshol.” I am Lord Vacuus. The conqueror of Begeren. The Killer of Garatak the Singed. Return what you have stolen or burn!” I internally groan, now figuring out just who I am dealing with, another controlled puppet but this one home to ancient, and dead, Sith Lord. “Sorry can't do that,” I state, rather smugly.

            Lord 'Vacuus' growls and launches into his attack which I block with my quickly activated lightsaber. I then spin, igniting my second saber, using both to strike a powerful blow that he barely manages to block as Vette deals with the 'Sith Lord's minions.' I internally smirk as I can feel Vacuus' defense begin to crumble, despite all his talk, he's obviously out of practice. After toying with him, I swing my off-hand saber which he blocks while simultaneously running him through with my main saber. As his body falls, we hear a growl. Then the already cold temperature drops as the real Lord Vacuus appears in his natural form, a Force Ghost. The shadowy figure glares at me then rushes towards me, attempting to possess me. He goes straight through my chest, and I can feel my heart constrict as I feel him enter my mind. I growl, and gather all of my strength to fortify the walls of my mind. Thankfully I succeed, causing the Sith Lord to howl in agony and escape my mind and the hallway chamber. I turn, and Vette is staring at me nervously, “Thea?” I have my eyes narrow “No, I am Lord Vacuus!” Her faces pales until my face breaks into a smile “Of course it's me, Vette.” Her lavender eyes narrow, “That wasn't funny!” as she punches me. I laugh, wrapping an arm around her, “Come on let's get that troublesome device for our Lord and Master.” Vette laughs at that, as we continue on. I once again kneel down to repair the device by hand, but frustratingly it doesn't work. Silently cursing, I stand back up causing the blue Twi'lek to look at me curiously, “Something wrong?” I nod, irritated, “Can't get it back together.” Vette chuckles, “Let me.” I sigh and step away to give her space, though after a few minutes she growls in frustration. “Well, what are we going to do now?” Vette asks, glaring at the device, “We can't go to Darth Creepy without his precious torture device.

            “There is another way,” I state, slightly amused by the Twi'lek. Vette turns to looks at me, “Why haven't you done it already?” I chuckle, “Because I was hoping it wouldn't be necessary.” She frowns slightly as I again kneel down by the infernal device with a sigh. Closing my eyes, I reach out with the Force toward the Ravager, almost choking on the darkness of the object. I fight against the urge to tear it apart and retreat, instead focusing on making it whole. Its darkness gets the better of me as I work, and I can feel it trying to darken my heart. I hear Vette gasp and I open my eyes, seeing a completed Ravager then I glance over at the former slave, who starts backing away from me. Confused I ask, “What's wrong, Vette?” But my voice doesn't sound like me, it sounds sinister and lifeless. She swallows, “Don't hurt me...” I rise from my position and walk towards her, “Vette, I'm not going to.” She shrieks, sounding even worse than then she was being shocked by Knash.” I glance around trying to make sense of her adulterated fear, and I spot the reason. Fixing the Ravager has caused my eyes to become blood red, my fave pale like a corpse. I scream at my appearance and what that device has done to me, that seems to awaken Vette as she timidly asks, “Thea?” in a broken voice. I nod grimly then break down into tears as I try to bring back my light.

            Vette helps, now realizing it wasn't my intention. As I still collecting myself, we leave the chamber to go look for the others. Surprisingly there are still some puppets left to deal with, and I get more irritated by the nanosecond, much to Vette amusement. I let out an aggravated growl, as the last bodies fall and finally, and thankfully, I see my sisters and Ash. “Your adventure didn't go so well?” Jaida states calmly, trying to ignore my emotions. Still trying to recover, I unintentionally glare at her “No, it did not.” Vette rolls her eyes, “Nothing bad happened,” pausing as she glances at me, “Treea here is just upset Darth Creepy thought so lowly of her.” And there's that, my eyes narrow as I cross my arms, angry at myself and my master, “He thought this might be the death of me.” Jai's eyes widen, “Seriously?” I nod my head as I give myself and internal lecture. Jai sighs as she puts a hand on my shoulder, unknowingly calming me down as she says, “Shall we leave this place?” Mako and Vette nod enthusiastically as Kaliyo says, “Now would be good.” Ash chuckles as he nods, “After you ladies.”

            The way back to the outpost, much to my delight, is uneventful as we removed all resistance as we were heading to the temple. We spot T1 waiting by our speeder with a every amused Lord Paxon Foyt. I groan, not looking forward to having to explain myself or deal with the flirtatious cousin. “It's a pleasure to see you so soon,” Pax states with a slight smirk as he grabs Vette's hand and kisses it. Unamused, I cross my arms, glaring at him, “Why are you here?” He smirks, “I heard that someone fitting you description was heading to the Dark Temple, so Darth Zora thought it prudent that I see who it is.” I grimace, knowing I'm in for a lecture now, as Jaida speaks up, “Have we done anything wrong?” Our cousin's eyes flick immediately to her and he grins, “My my, Lady Jaida, had I known you'd be here as well I would of dressed better. And I must say, you are stunning, the thrill of the hunt suits you.” Jaida chuckles, “Thank you, Pax.” She pauses as her eyes land on our baby sister and Pax's eyes follow. The Sith tilts his head as he questioningly asks, “Luna?” Her eyes widen as she gasps and looks to Jai and I for guidance.

            “My apologies,” Pax says as he bows, “I didn't mean to alarm you, my dear. I'm Lord Paxton Foyt.” Allura gasps again, clearly figuring things out before asking, “How is Maeve doing?” Maeve is the youngest Foyt, and is the same age as Allura. Our cousin grins, “It is you! She's still an acolyte training on Korriban.” Allura grins, “That's great to hear. Hopefully her overseer is nicer than mine.” Before she can say more, her holo interrupts and she sighs looking down at it, before answering it and Zash appears. “Oh, Apprentice! I forgot to tell you where to meet. I'm in Skotia's” she pauses as she smiles then continues “I mean, my chambers. Oh and I have a surprise for you!” Once the call ends both Pax and I cross our arms and Jaida looks at me questioningly. Allura's shoulders drop slightly, “I'll tell you on the way.” I frown but nod understandingly as T1 ushers us to the speeder... “Skotia stood in Zash's path,” Luna begins as soon as our speeder leaves the outpost, “So to accomplish what we wished, Skotia had to be removed. He met his demise this afternoon by the hand of a former slave and her Dashade.” Pax whistles, “Impressive.” Just as Jai says, “So Zash didn't kill him per say, just had him killed.” My baby sister nods, “Correct. She was given Skotia's title and chambers.”

            “Looks like we've all had our fun today,” I state, sadly, thinking that both of us kill Darths today, as we pass through the Kaas City Expansion district. Both sisters look over at me curiously but I shake my head, 'It's best if you don't know.' They both nod, knowing in the Empire it's best to be clueless. We fall silent as T1 takes us through Kaas and back to the Citadel. Both the hunters and agents head off in the direction of Imperial Intelligence, as Allura and I, along with our companions, enter the Sith Sanctum. Baras is standing next to the poor SIS Agent, Girk Sonosan, as we enter.  “When I sent you into the Dark Temple for the Ravager, I thought it might be the last time I saw you, Apprentice,” Baras begins once he senses me enter, clearly surprised and pleased he doesn't need to find a replacement for me. “The prisoner grows weaker by the minute. There's no time to spare. Stand back and bear witness,” he continues as I hand him the device. The Agent glances at me before speaking, “You're wasting... your time. I... will... not...,” as Baras advances on him as places the Ravager on his forehead. He screams in agony, and my hands tighten into fists as I fight the urge to leave or more dangerous, help the Agent. “Yes. The Ravager has seized his mind. Excellent! In his contition, we don't have long before the ordeal liquefies all brain matter.” I grimace, glancing at Vette who pales, when I tentatively reach out with the Force to at least have his last moments be as painless as possible as my Master begins, “Republic worm, you have the information I desire. Tell me everything.”

            “I am... Republic... Information Service... on special assignment to verify... possible Imperial spy... on Nar Shaddaa.” Grik begins almost immediately, his normal blue eyes completely red, as the Ravager destroys his mind, “Commissioned by... Jedi Council... acting on suspicions provided by... Master Nomen Karr.....” Baras growls, “Nomen Karr. That's a name I grow tried of hearing. He is tenacious.” I grimace, knowing quite well the Jedi and their history. Nomen is a Jedi Master, one of the only known ones to have successfully infiltrated the Sith, well until he was found out by Baras. The Jedi nearly destroyed Baras then fled back to the Republic, and that created a very unhealthy rivalry between the Sith and Jedi. Each one dedicated to destroying everything the other touches. Karr to prove that the Sith have spies embedded within the Republic and Jedi ranks. Baras out of steer hatred of the man. My master as thwarted him at every turn, but as Baras said he is tenacious. “How did Nomen Karr come to suspect my spy on Nar Shaddaa?” then he yells, “Tell me Republic Wrench—what alerted him?” I swallow as Grik answers, “Master Nomen Karr has... a new... Padawan. She seems to... know any being's... true nature. She senses... hidden darkness. And untapped purity......” Baras turns to me, “Astonishing, I've never heard of the Force granting such a gift.” I nod, remarkable really, and he turns back to the Agent, “Tell me, how does her power work?”

            “All I... all I know is... when Master Nomen Karr brought her to Nar Shaddaa... this Padawan sensed... darkness in your spy... simply by... seeing him,” Sonosan answers. Baras growls, clearly not pleased with the Agent's lack of information, “If this young Padawan can see through deception and disguise with such little effort, she threatens everything I have worked for. Continue, Republic dog.” I groan, knowing he'll want to destroy her. “Karr... believes his Padawan's... ability... is foolproof... but the Jedi Council is... skeptical. I was... to provide the proof... but... I wasn't... able... to report my findings.....” I glance at my master, who's now deciding the best way to find and remove the threat, “Who is this Padawan, you Republic pest? Tell me everything you know about her.” I sigh as the Agent does just that, “She was found... on Alderaan...! Her power... first emerged... training on... Tatooine. And... Jedi sent another... agent... to investigate someone she suspected on Balmorra....” I silently curse, as Baras continues his questioning, “He's fading. Is she human or one of the Jedi's cursed aliens? Where can I find her? What is her name?” I grimace, fearing he knows more. “I... have... nothing... no... thing... mo... mo—argh!” He struggles then he falls silent as he becomes one with the Force.

            “The Revager has emptied his mind,” Baras begins, turning to face me, “That is all we have to go on; a few random places within the greater galaxy where Nomen Karr and his Padawan have been.” I can feel his anger and frustration, so I try to calm him slightly, “It's a start, master. That device did the trick,” avoiding eye contact with the SIS agent. “You are correct. We now have leads to follow,” Baras states, clearly appeased as he turns and walks to his desk in the next room continuing as we follow him, “Nomen Karr is a relentless crusader, and this Padawan and her unprecedented power threaten everything I have achieved,” he pauses as he turns to face me, “Your duties are likely to take you to the far reaches of the galaxy. I will need to deploy you at will. You shall have a starship of your own. You've earned it. It'll be ready for you tomorrow. You'll need to go to my personal hanger in the spaceport and claim it.” I nod, “I'll do so, Master. Is there anything else?” Baras chuckles “No, I must ponder our next move. Waste no time.” I bow, “As you say, Master,” behind me I hear Vette softly chuckle. I slightly shake my head at the Twi'lek, before we exit Baras' chambers at the same time as Klemral enters. He’s going into a low bow rising with a wink directed toward me, before smirking as we walk pass him. Since we're still affected by the questioning and watching Girk Sonoson's death, besides the aftermath of the Dark Temple, both of us are some what out of sorts even Allura and Khem approach us. She quickly runs over when she spots us, “What's wrong?” I shake my head, not wanting my baby sister to know what we just witnessed, as Vette softly says, “You don't even want to know.” Clearly surprised, Luna's eyes flick back and forth from our probably blank faces, then grimaces.

            As we walk out of the Sanctum, both Vette and I are thankfull for the fresh air, even if it is Droumund Kaas' mugging and wet air. We run into Jaida and Mako on their way to the Mandalorian Enclave. “Hunt all done?” I ask, thankful I don't have to go search for them. Jaida nods, “Yep, now to turn this writ into my handler then on to the Melee.” Mako grins, “Just a couple of steps left before we're in!” I attempt to smile “Come on, we'll walk you there.” Jai smiles, “I was hoping you would. I haven't seen Ash, so I guess this will be a family thing.” then with that the three of us link arms as we walk the Hunters to the Enclave. We are stopped immediately as we enter, by an armored Mandalorian, “I'm sorry but the Enclave is closed to all non-contestants.” Jaida unlinks our arms, “I'm a contestant.” The armored Mando chuckles crossing his arms, “Funny. Except we were told all contestants not here were dead.” Mako looks up at him, clearly confused and somewhat angry, “But we're contestants! Who told you that!?” The Mando nearly growls in frustration, “A fellow Mando.” Jai groans rubbing her face, “Great, just great!” She removes her hand just as two more rather familiar Mandalorians walk up. “Is there a problem here?” a rather recognizable feminine voice asks thru her helmet. The first Mando uncrosses his arms, “Commander,” he pauses as he points to the Hunters, “These two say they are part of the Great Hunt.” The woman takes off her helmet revealing Ceta Farr, “Is that so...” she turns and looks at all of us, “then we should take them at their word. Have you asked who their handler is?” The first Mando shakes his head as Ceta's companion asks, “Who is your handler, aruetiise1?” I nearly flinch at the use of outsider, but Ceta glares at him, hopefully covering my reaction, as Jaida answers, “Crysta Markon.” Ceta smirks with that answer turning to the first Mando, “Let them in.” Her companion shakes his head, “Not just yet.” Ceta turns to him again, crossing her arms, “What are you doing, Aeron?”

            The man raises a hand silencing her, “Tion gar gai2?” I curse internally, hoping Jaida won't fall for it. But she does, crosseing her arms, “You first.” My eyes widen, as I grimace hoping whoever is Mandalorian is won't take offense. Thankfully the man chuckles, “You understand Mando'a. That's very unusual for a aruetii3.” Since it's out in the open, I stop hiding the fact I understand it too, as I can''t help but say, “Our grandparents and uncle ar- were Mandolorians,” having to stop myself from saying are, as none of them are with us anymore. His eyes widen slightly, thru the helmet he hasn't removed, “Is that so?” He pauses, probably feeling Ceta glare. He sighs, “I'm Aeron Draé, only son of...” I can't help but to interrupt him, and finish the sentence he was going to say, knowing who he is exactly, “Soren Draé, oldest and only son of Ciar Draé.” Aeron immediately looks at me, “How do you know that?!” My face and tone soften as I say, “Braden Draé.” I can feel his shock as he turns to the Mando who stopped us, “Ceta will escort them where they need to be.” He only waits for him to nod before walking away. Ceta smiles, “Come on. Crysta must be dying to see you.” Jai smiles walking next to her as all of us finally enter the Enclave.

            “My apologies for that,” Ceta says as she walks us through the green, red, and gold hallways, “Daian meets well. Now I didn't realize you are in the Great Hunt. If I had, I might of been able to save you from all of that.” Jaida shrugs, “It's been that kind of day.” Mako nods in agreement, “That's an understatement.” Jai wraps an arm around her shoulders, “But we've made it.” Mako nods again as we enter a rather large room. A woman with a red mohawk squeals when she sees Jai and Mako, who must be their handler, “You're alive! Some Mandolorian big shot named Tarro Blood said you were dead. They're about to start the melee without you!” Jai and Mako share a look as she continues, “All the other hunters who survived are already inside! Get in there!” Jai smirks, “Back in a flash.” The woman smiles, “That's the spirit!” Jaida turns to us as the red head walks away, looking at Ceta, “Is it okay if my sisters walk with me?” Ceta shrugs, “As long as they don't interfere.” Jai smiles turning to us, “Come on then...” I grin, grateful to see her in action, as Jai and Mako lead us down the left hallway, where we continue until it opens into a massive circular room with a raised platform in the middle, almost like an arena. You can barely hear anything besides the yells and calls of the Mandolarians that look down on the sandy platform. In the center of which is a man pacing back and forth as it seems he explains the melee to the contestants.

            Jaida looks back at us with a nod, “Stay here and don't interfere. Mako and I got this.” Then at our nod, they both walk up to the pacing man. The three of them talk until we hear the man yell, “Huntmaster, will you do us the honor?” As soon as the last word is heard, silence falls until it's eerily quiet. Allura and I share a look as we lean against opposite sides of the doorway, making sure we hadn't gone deaf. That is until we hear a Wookie, “Today, many hunters earn glory in death and defeat. One hunter earns eternal glory in victory. Good hunting to all!” I smirk, looking over the contestants. They might be go where they came from, but they're nothing compared to Jaida, even without her Force training. Apparently hearing the Huntmaster's word, worries Allura because I hear Jaida say, 'Everything will be fine, Luna. Have trust in me.' As Jai speaks to a green Mirialan woman, the yells from the audience return.

            “Enough!” the man in the center yells quietening the audience again, “You hunters are the best that the galaxy's goons and thug lords could send us,” he pauses, “Now show us which one of you will join the Great Hunt! Fight!” continuing after he's walked off to the side. Everyone grabs their blasters immediately except Jai, who let's the shooting begin, before grabbing a large knife holstered to her back that she throws at the smallest competitor, a small male Rodian, who instantly crumples as the other human falls filled with blaster shots from the Mirialan next to Jai. That causes the largest one a massive Gamorrean to charge her, which she sidesteps easily, toying with him. The Gamorrean turns and charges her again, as she messes with something on her right wrist as the pig-lizard gains both momentum and ground. When he's a couple of feet in front of her, she stands up straight pointing her wrist towards him as flames engulf him, and the arena brings to smell like pork. The Kel Dor hunter then sees her as a threat, turning his fire power on her instead of the Mirialan woman he was aiming at earlier.

            Jaida turns quickly causing his first shots to miss her by inches as she aims her left wrist towards him, peppering him with dozens of tiny darts that cause him to fall instantly. The Mirialan laughs, “Looks like it's just me and you left.” Jai smirks as she faces the green woman, “Looks like.” The woman raises her blaster confidently as Jai's blasters are safely holstered on her hips, pulling the trigger twice. The crowd roars, everyone believing in the Mirialan's kill, but none of them know my sister. Time slows down as the blaster shots seem to freeze half way, and Jaida finally removes a single blaster. Time speeds back up, just as Jai sidesteps both shots and releases two of her own. Both of which hit their mark, two to the heart. The audience bursts to life as the Mirialans body falls. I see Jai closes her eyes before motioning for a whistling Mako to join her as the man, the huntmaster's assistant, walks back to the center of the arena.

            “The melee is over! One hunter remains!” He yells lifting Jaida's right arm into the air with his own as the crowd cheers. Jaida turns to us with a huge smile, winking, 'See told you to trust me!'  I smirk as she goes to retrieve her knife from her first kill's body. Then the assistant motions for Jaida to follow him which she does motioning for us to follow slightly behind as the arena empties. The assistant takes them both to an office on the other side of the room where we met her handler. He closes the door directly behind them, and the same woman motions us over. “Now who are the four of you?” she asks, then she notices our apparel and our lightsabers, “You know Sith aren't allowed to compete, right? Against the rules besides unfair.” I chuckle, “We were here supporting our sister.” The woman's eyes widen, “Is that so?” I nod and the red head smiles, “She sure showed them.” Just as an angry blonde Human male barges past us, almost sending Allura to the ground. “Hey! You aren't allowed in there! The Huntmaster is speaking to...” the woman yells as he gets closer to the Huntmaster's office. The man turns abruptly, “I don't care,” he basically growls. The woman's eyes widen as he continues stalking towards her, “I'm not going to let those two little rats ruin my win.”

            “You're Tarro Blood, aren't you?” I calmly states bringing the man's attention to me. He hasn't changed much since the last Great Hunt he was in. He grits his teeth, “I am. You are?” I cross my arms, smirking, “Those little rats' sister and cousin.” His blue eyes flash dangerously as he walks towards me, reminiscent of a predator stalking his prey, “Then I'll add you to my list,” he grounds out as he turns and barges into the Huntmaster's office. The woman whistles behind me, “You dolls, might wanna watch out. Tarro's been making life difficult for your sister.” My eyes are still glued to the door, fighting the urge to enter a kill him, “Jaida can handle him.” She chuckles, “Oh, by the way, I'm Crysta Markon. I'll be your sister's handler doing the Hunt.” I turn, grateful to think of anything else that that infuriating man, “I'm Thea Marr and this is Vette while...” Allura cuts in, wanting to introduce herself, “I'm Allura Marr and this is my Dashade, Khem,” looking back at the ever-silent monster. A growl silences us as Tarro angrily walks past and I can't help but yell, “Didn't get what you wanted?” We get a responding growl as he stalks off. I chuckle darkly, “He's going to pay for killing our uncle.” Crysta's eyes widen, “He did what now?” Just as Aeron Draé walks up without his helmet revealing his short brown hair and light blue eyes, freezing me in place.

            I even close and reopen my eyes, making sure I'm not seeing a ghost, because he looks exactly like Braden. When nothing changes, even after I secretly pinch myself, I gasp and cover my mouth with both hands. Braden—um, Aeron rises a single eyebrow before curiously looking over at Allura who hasn't reacted. “I apologize for earlier. It was a surprise meeting all of you,” he states and I fight the urge to cry, he sounds like him too. I can only nod, even though I know I'm starting to scare them both, as Allura asks, “Thea is everything alright?” I nod again, unable to tear my eyes away from the young Mandalorian, as Jaida and Mako leave the office, and Jai exclaims, “Oh my stars!” Mako breaks the silence and brings the two clarity, “You look just like Braden.” Both Aeron and Allura look at each other, 'Oh,' as someone vaguely familiar walks up with a soft chuckle, “I sent my son here to gather you all so I may speak with you, and learn what happened to my beloved cousin.” I swallow, my eyes finally tearing away from Aeron to look at one of the last remaining family members Mom has, “Of course, Uncle Soren.” He smiles sadly, “I'm afraid, my dear, I don't know you.” Both Jaida and I chuckle sadly as she answers, “Then we will enlighten you when we speak privately.” Soren nods understandingly before turning to his son, “Bring them to my tent once they are finished, then collect your sisters. I think we all need to hear what these young women have to say.” The young man nods and our 'uncle,' cousin really, departs.

            “Well, now that that's finished. I believe my hunter needs some information,” Crysta happily exclaims as Jaida joins us at her side. “Did you see the fight!” Jaida says smugly. Crysta chuckles, “Are you kidding?! Of course! Plus, I got to brag to the other handlers, who are bug-eyed jealous. Sadly, I couldn't bet on you, you know how it is. But man, what a thrashing!” Jai smiles, “Glad you enjoyed it!” Crysta smirks before pulling Mako and Jai off to the side. “Guess we're not meant to hear,” I whisper. Vette chuckles in agreement as my holo beeps. She answers it immediately and a worn-out Ash appears, “Are you finished?” Thankful it's him, I nod “Basically, why?” He grimaces, “I just wanted to let you know, Kaliyo and I won't be joining you back to your estate.” I rise an eyebrow, “Oh?” Kaliyo appears to his side, “Yeah. Agent here has some 'personal' business to attend to.” Causing said Agent to grimace again, “I didn't ask for your input.” Kaliyo sticks her tongue out as he continues, “Will you let Jaida know...” I nod slightly laughing, “Of course, have fun!” Ash sighs, “Probably won't.” As the woman next to him exclaims, “I will!” Then the call ends as Jai and Mako rejoin us, “Who was that?”

            “Ash and Kaliyo...” Vette says once she's recovered from laughing and Aeron joins the group, “You ladies will follow me.” We nod before we all head outside, where T1 is apparently waiting. “Um, hello...” Aeron says slowly. “My master as insisted that I drive my mistresses wherever they need to go,” T1 states authoritatively. Aeron looks over at me, clearing wondering who we are exactly, “Okay...” I chuckle, amused by the old droid, “T1 will you take us to...” looking at the Mando. “The Draé Camp, Chieftain Soren's tent.” The chrome droid nods, “Of course young mistress,” then helps us on, minus Khem and Aeron. All Mandalorian camps are near the Kaas City spaceport fro easy traveling but are on the other side of the mountains, as to give them their own space. I glance over at Vette, who's looking around wide eyed and chuckle lightly causing her to look over at me, “I'm guessing what I'm about to learn is top secret and should never be spoken of?” I nod, glad she's caught on, as she continues, “Will Ash ever learn?” I shrug, glance back at Jaida who's busy talking to Mako, “I'm sure he'll learn eventfully.” We fall silent after that, and I take the time to reach out to Mom.'Thea, is everything okay?' she asks immediately. I slightly chuckle 'Yes, actually. Perfect. We found Soren.'  I pause letting her, work that out, 'And?' I swallow glancing at Mako and Jaida behind me, 'He wants to learn about what has happen to Braden. Besides that, I might have let something slip.' She sighs, 'Very well. I wish to speak with him.' Thankful I didn't get yelled at, 'Of course, I'll let you know.' finishing just as we stop in front of the largest tent in The Draé Camp, and we all get off with help from Aeron and T1.

            “Ah good! You're here! Now come in sit, sit,” Soren states as Aeron opens the tent flap. We enter cautiously, vaguely aware of the others in the tent, Soren's two daughters and his wife. Their mother has graying black hair and soft green eyes. The older sister has her father gray eyes and brown hair, where as her younger sister has white blond hair and practically silver eyes. “Don't be nervous,” Soren states seeing our unease, “this is my wife Amara and our daughters Senna and Amaia. And you've already met my youngest and only son, Aeron.” I nod, having heard stories from Braden, before clearing my throat, “You understand our need for secrecy?” The Elders frown slightly, “We do not, but we will except it is needed.” I close my eyes, touching Mom's mind, letting her know it's time, “You will if you care for family. We are granddaughters of your Uncle Nickolas and Aunt Araina. Braden Draé is our uncle.” Soren's eyes widen as he coughs, “Truly?!” At Tmy nod, Soren rises quickly and hugs me tightly, “I've always dreamt of correcting Father's mistake of disowning my uncle and his wife. But I never dreamed I'd have another cousin or any second cousins. This is wonderful. Now tell me more.” I chuckle, thankful and relieved, “Your cousin can,” as I tosses my holo into the center of the room, just as Mom calls.

            “Hello, my dear cousin,” Mom's voice says before she comes into view, “I am Jedi Master Alena Draé.” Soren's eyes widen, “A Jedi?! Then how did your daughters join the Empire?” Mom smiles tightly, “My husband.” Soren's eyes widen even more, “A Jedi breaking their code and marrying an enemy?!” Mom chuckles, “Something like that but if I tell you more, I'll need your secrecy.” Soren glances at his wife and children, who all nod, “You have it. Aliit sol'yc4!” Mom smiles, “Vor entye5. I have five daughters, three of which are in front of you. My second oldest Thea, my middle child Jaida, and my youngest Allura. My other two which you have yet to meet is Thea's twin sister Jedi Knight Talia and my second youngest Captain Cheyanne. Their father and my husband is Darth Alarick Marr of the Dark Council,” The five Draés gasp simultaneously. “Now you understand our need for secrecy,” I state, needlessly. They all nod as Soren stands, “And you have it. I will not be my father and destroy my family for gain.” Mom nods, “Thank you. As Braden probably told you, we lost my parents during the Sacking. What you do not know is we lost Braden a couple of days ago, as well.” This time Jaida stands, “Tarro Blood was trying to eliminate his competition before they joined the Great Hunt. So, he set out to remove the hunters by killing their team. Braden was acting as my mentor and Tarro had his friend kill him, leaving only his adopted daughter Mako alive as she wasn't there.” Soren's hand tightens into a fist before he pounds it into the table, “Are you sure?” Jaida nods, “We have Holos of the murder.” Soren grimaces and starts speaking Mando'a curse words that causes his wife and daughters to glare at him.

            “He had asked favors of us when he announced he was joining the Hunt,” Soren growls out, gripping the table. Senna looks up, “I'm engaged to marry him. He'd asked me where Uncle Braden was, saying he was going to ask him for permission as well since he was so close to our family. I'm the one who killed him, buir6. I told him where he was. I didn't know...” her voice starts breaking up as she begins crying and her sister and mother comfort her. “It is no one's fault... only Tarro's,” Mom states looking sympathetically at her second cousin. Soren looks up at her, “We cannot break the engagement without a just cause or we'll start another schism.” Mom nods, “I understand; besides it is best if Blood is ignorant of our family connection.” Soren nods, “Agreed. We'll stay it contact.” Mom smiles, “You better!” before ending the call. Soren looks up at us, “Well, my cousins, we better get you home.” Everyone chuckles as both Soren and Aeron stand. “I'll escort them back home, buir.” Soren nods “Good,” then he walks towards us giving us each a hug before we turn and leave the tent.

            Aeron follows us on a speeder making sure we arrive safely. He hoovers, making sure we get inside safely before disappearing. Vette whistles, “Blood sure has them worried to be escorting us.” Jaida slightly chuckles, “Mandalorians can do lots of damage, Vette. Better to be wary then ignorant.” I chuckle, remembering when Grammy or Grampy would say the same thing, as Vette looks at Jaida slightly confused, “That made no sense.” A man's laugh silences the Twi'lek instantly as a maskless Dad walks up, “Welcome to the Marr estate Vette.... Mako...” I give him a huge smile as I hug him, “Hi Daddy.” Something makes Jaida chuckle, probably our companions, as she goes to hug him as well. “Go change and shower. Dinner should be ready soon,” Dad states after giving me a hug. Vette and Mako squeal before running to their rooms causing Dad to roll his eyes before he shoos us away and we grudgingly walk up the stairs.

            I walk into my room with a sigh, closing the door snugly behind me. Closing my eyes, I try to relax before putting my lightsabers on the table near the door then walk into my refresher for a relaxing bath. Soaking in the warm water helps soothe my emotions away. Once my mind is calm, I begin cleansing the rest of me. When the water get cool, I get out of the tub and put on my soft bathrobe then walk back into my room to change into some comfy clothes. Once I'm dressed, I gather the lightsaber I'm constructing and place it on my bed, wondering if I'll be able to finish it before leaving tomorrow on my new starship. The thought makes me squeal like a little girl again, anxious to fly into the stars even if it's to Balmorra. After glancing around my room, deciding I've wasted enough time, I head down to the dining room. Vette, Mako and my sisters are already down, along with Papa, Gram and Dad, missing only myself and Matthew. I kiss both of my grandparents on the cheek before greeting Dad the same way, then sit down next to Vette, who's staring curiously at the two strangers. The last missing person walks in shortly after me, “Ah, I wondered when the three of you'd get here. Didn't think you'd make us postpone dinner though.”

            Gram and I glare at him, which Matt responds with a smug smirk as he sits down next to Allura, causing those on the opposite to smile knowingly. Dad shakes his head, “Saira and Edison appreciated having more time, and were rather thankful T1 wasn't around to prolong preparations.” Saira and Edison are former slaves, Dad himself freed. They helped raise all of us, and adore our entire family. I chuckle, thinking of how annoying T1 can be sometimes, “I bet. We were thankful to have him though, made missions go smoothly.” Dad smiles, “Good! Glad to know he was useful.” Gram glares at him, “I'll have you know T1 works remarkably well for his age, Alarick.” Making Mako and Vette burst into laughter. Dad looks at them slightly amused before turning to Gram, “Mother, I wasn't saying he wasn't...” The Twi'lek and the slicer gasp as Gram folds her arms, narrowing her green eyes at him as she frowns. Dad nervously swallows, “He's a very remarkable droid, Mother. As been extremely helpful over his service.” Gram smirks triumphantly, “Good! Glad you understand my irreplaceable gift's value.” The table burst into laughter as Edison and Saira enter, Edison in his favorite suit, Saiar in a old gift from Allura. “Dinner is ready, my lord” the male states bowing to Dad before motioning his wife forward.

            “Excellent Edison,” Dad states beginning to stand. Edison stops him, “No, my lord, let us.” Dad looks up at him and frowns, crossing his arms slightly pouting, as he strangely enough hates to be served, as both Twi'leks place plates of one of Saira's favorite meals to cook, Allura's favorite. Allura recognizes the meal instantly, rising and turning to hug her, “Thank you.” I can see the alarm in Saira's face, as she hasn't recognized her yet, but she slowly returns the hug as Edison walks towards them, “Soong okey-okey, Saira. Soong just Allura, doe chik youngee jee-jee lost7.” Saira tenses, her blue eyes moving to the girl in her eyes as tears slowly start to fall. Though her face turns into one of udder sadness when Allura says, “Mee'm do pateesa8.” I freeze, staring at my sister then flicking towards Dad who seems frozen, his mind trying to process how his little girl knows Huttese. Saira pulls away so she can stare at her as Edison asks, “Chuba understand doe shags language9?” My heart beats nervously when she replies, “Jee was wompa10,” watching all color drain from Dad's, Gram's and Papa's faces. The Twi'leks share a look before both hug her, trying to hide their tears, “Noah wompa deserves da life11.” My baby sister unaware that all of us know exactly what she said, nods and sits back down.

            The only one who doesn't know the language, Matthew, breaks the silence, “So you know Huttese...” Allura looks up glancing at everyone before swallowing, “I do.” Jaida and I share a worried and nervous look, before I ask the question that might very well break Dad, “Was one of your masters a Hutt?” I grimace, seeing Dad's hand tighten into a fist as we await her answer. Allura thankfully shakes her head, “No,” and I breath a silent sigh of relief until she continues, “They aren't interested in Human children, like they adore Twi'leks of any age. They have no use for them. However, some in my group had belonged to Hutts and knew our overseers and Master didn't speak Huttese,” Dad's face getting red with silent fury as Matt's face lose all color. Allura however doesn't notice, and continues, “So they taught the young ones, so everyone could communicate with each other without our owners understanding.” As soon as she's finished, the rage gets the better of Dad and he causes the lights above the table to start flickering then one by one pop, plunging us and the table into darkness. The only light coming from the purple lightning that dances across the clouds outside. Then we hear his chair scraping the floor, as he hurriedly stands up and exits the dining room, not wanting to endanger his family with his all-consuming rage and guilt. I sigh guiltily, “I knew I shouldn't of asked.” I can feel Gram frowning at me before she speaks, “It's better he finds out now then later,” probably nervously looking at the door, “however I wouldn't want to be who ever he's going to take his anger out on.” Or whatever, I mentally add as Allura says, “I'm sorry...”

            “You never need to be sorry, Luna,” Gram states as she stands and I can see her white Force lightning surrounding her left hand, which she uses to light dozens of candles that she most likely called. Once our dinner is once more visible, Gram sits back down, “Come on, eat it while it's warm.” Most everyone chuckles, expect Matt who is still staring at Allure and continues to even when we all begin eating. Dad never rejoins us, and I can feel how guilty Allura feels. “It's not your fault Luna,” Jaida says, trying break the guilty aura that surrounds our baby sister. “Yeah, it was my fault. I asked,” I add. Gram frowns at me as Papa says, “It's no one’s fault, girls.” After everyone has finished dinner, we start wondering off deciding to enjoy ourselves while we're home. Vette follows me to my room, where I go sit on my bed. “So, what kind of ship do you think we're going to get?” she asks after jumping a landing on my bed. I chuckle, “Probably an Interceptor.” Glancing at her confused expression, I clarify, “It's a ship that's especially made for Sith. It's a Fury-class Imperial Interceptor.” Vette smirks, “A Fury, huh?” before rolling over on her tummy, “Do you name your ships?” I slightly chuckle as I nod, “It's tradition actually.” The Twi'lek grins, “When I think our ship's name should be 'Mercy'.” My eyes widen, “'Mercy,' really?”

            “It's fitting. It's you, because you surprisingly have mercy, and it's almost the complete opposite of what qualities normal Sith have,” Vette states confidently. I roll my eyes at the Twi'lek, slightly chuckling, “Okay, our ship, which is mine really, is named 'Mercy.'” Vette squeals, until she processes what I said, “Hey! I'll have you know I've helped you quite a bit.” I snort, shaking my head and lightly hitting her on the shoulder, “Whatever you think. Now hush, I want to finish this lightsaber before we have to leave tomorrow.” She looks at me curiously, “You already have two, why are you making another.” I frown, looking up from the lightsaber pieces, “The second saber I have is... was Darth Talon's,” she tilts her head so I clarify, “One of Dad's Apprentices.” I sigh as she still isn't getting it, “I had started my training as a Jedi before Allura was taken. The final trail that a Padawan must pass to become a Jedi Knight, is constructing their own lightsaber. Since I 'joined' the Sith, they take a saber from a greater Sith Lord before them, like mine was Naga Sadow's and Dad's was Tulak Hord's. Mia, Darth Talon, knew I wanted to create my own so she collected pieces for me.” Vette's eyes widen, “Really? Can I watch?” I chuckle, nodding, “It may not be that exciting, Vette. It'll probably be like when I fix the Ravager.” She pales, “Are you going to go...” she motions to her eyes and face. When I shake my head, she breathes in deeply, and I place a hand on her shoulder, “I'm sorry about that, Vette.” She nods, “I could tell when you started crying.” I smile sadly before I hear an engine start, puzzled I get up in time to see two scout ship lift up containing Allura and Matt. I tilt my head, watching as the Dashade walks to our grandparents' shuttle. Vette joins me at the window, “Where are they going?” I shrug, “Probably going to the Vaiken Citadel.” Her eyes widen, as she turns her head quickly, causing her Lekku to fly, staring at me, “Is that like the Spacedock?”

            “Sort of... It's where our grandparents' live. But it's named after the same person, sort of. The Spacedock is named after Grand Moff Odile Vaiken, who was basically the father of the Imperial Navy. My grandfather's side are all loyal Imperials, every generation in the military loyal. My great grandfather was named after him, Moff Vaiken Marr. Papa named his estate after his father.” Puzzled she tilts her head, “Why is it a Cidadel then?” I chuckle, “Because Papa, my grandfather, is in Imperial Intelligence.” Her lavender eyes widen again comically, “That means Ash might now him.” I nod, “I'm sure he does, but not by his name.” Vette frowns, “Why?” I chuckle, slightly shaking my head, “So many questions. No one in Intelligence goes by their name any more, only by code names. Papa has been 'Cipher One', a name that has been since retired, then 'Watcher One,' and now is known only as 'Keeper.'” She swallows, “So I just met 'Keeper'?” I nod, “Exactly. But to us he is Papa.” Vette nods in understanding, “Then who was the woman.” I chuckle, “Gram, my grandmother, or known to the rest of the Galaxy as Darth Zora. She's the only known Sith Lord to retire from the Dark Council without dying. Probably because everyone was afraid to earn the wrath of the Emperor.” The Twi'lek's eyes widen again, “Why, because she was a Council member?” I shake my head, “She was over the Sphere of Ancient Knowledge, but no. It's because he was very, how can I say this, 'taken' with her.”

            “Oh,” is all Vette says, after her eyes widen and she gasps. I chuckle, “Yeah... Anyway, come on let's go bug Jaida and Mako.” She frowns, then points to the still unfinished lightsaber, “Aren't you wanting to finish it?” I sigh, “I'll finished another time. Not in the right mindset now.” Especially since now I'm thinking about the whole Ravager fiasco. She nods, almost seeming to agree with my unvoiced comment, and together we end out of my room and down the hall to Jaida's room. I use my knock on the door and try to wait patiently but which seems impossible, but eventually the door opens reveling both Jaida and Mako laying on the bed talking to someone on the holo. “Finally,” I exclaim, impatiently, jumping onto my sister's bed, landing next to her before realizing who they're speaking to, the Imperial Agent himself. He's has dozens of intricate black tattoo-like designs on his face, making him look like a fierce ancient warrior, and I try to remember what they mean in Rattataki. However, nothing comes up so I say “Nice tattoos, Ash. What's the special occasion?” He grimaces, shaking his head, “Nothing important.” I frown, knowing there is a reason but I let it drop, turning to Jai, “Allura, Khem and Matt apparently left with Gram and Papa. What do you want to bet something is going to happen between the two of them?” ending with a slight shoulder bump. Jaida chuckles, “I'd say highly likely.” Ash frowns, “Between who?” Mako rolls her eyes, “Allura and Matt, Ash, duh?” finishing just as Vette lands on top of both Jaida and I, causing us to groan. “Oh sorry,” Ash says slightly blushing, but smiling as he watches the scent in front of him, “And I wouldn't worry about it. Matt never dated anyone during our years in the academy so I doubt he'll start now. Especially serving under Darth Marr.” Mako and Vette freeze, worried we'll get upset at him for speaking ill of our father. We however have heard much worse so we just chuckle, “Marr isn't that bad. Just because he's the most feared being in the galaxy besides our 'beloved' Emperor.” Ash scoffs, “Truthfully, I was scared when we were called to his office yesterday. He's scarier then Darth Jadus,” though he stops immediately after that, his face becoming pale. Jaida chuckles again, “Jadus is rather scary, but only if you get on his,” she doesn't finish because we hear a very aggravated yell, that's so loud the walls shake. Jai and I share an alarmed look before hearing another sound, this one much more worrying, a large crash and glass scattering. Quickly both of us get to our feet, somehow managing to leave the Twi'lek still on the bed. “The two of you stay here, okay?” I state, more like command, before we're out the door.

            We immediately run to where we can feel Dad's aura, his Force energy saturated in rage, anger and betrayal. Stopping instantly outside Dad's office, seeing him seething, glaring down at thousands of broken pieces of both glass and crystal, his fists held so tightly they're white and you can see blood dripping onto the floor. Jaida and I share a worried and nervous look before walking delicately thru the scattered pieces like it's a mine field. Both of us lightly place soothing hands on his left arm and shoulder, though we jump as he looks at us. Dad's eyes have lost their normal piecing blue color, now blood red with golden edges much like mine earlier today. But this is because of him, his emotions. His normal calm face is replaced with one of pure anger and hate but it softens when his eyes land on us. We watch, somewhat fearfully, as he breathes in deeply, closing his eyes, calming himself. “I'm sorry to have scared you,” Dad finally says, his voice broken like something scattered inside of him, then his eyes open and they're his normal blue, our normal blue. “What happened?” I ask, fearful of what could of broken Dad like this, our strong, powerful Dad. He breathes in again before turning around and entering his office leaving his anger behind, and I'm happy that nothing inside is damaged as we follow. We sit nervously on the chairs in front of his desk as he goes to sit behind it, locking his hands together in front of him. “I just got word that,” he pauses as his hands unravel then tighten into fists, “That Darth Angral has, without 'proper consent' of the Dark Council, proceeded with an attack on Coruscant.” Jaida and I gasp, knowing that the rest of our family is there at this second. “The attack failed, of course,” thankfully, “as a young Jedi Knight and her Padawan destroyed the weapon and killed Angral's son. However, Angral was watching and as began a one Sith war on the young Jedi.” Jai and I share another look, and I fearfully wonder why he hasn't named the Jedi. Surely, Angral knows who he's directing his anger at. Dad continues, “More to the point he has learned her identity,” see I knew it, “well as far as he knows, as Orgus Din's Padawan.” Talia! my mind screams, knowing that Orgus hasn't taken a Padawan since the Sac—since Allura was taken. I notice Jaida look over at me and I realize I'm crying. I know it's her, but I'm thankful Jaida still asks, “Tali?” My heart drops as Dad nods and both of us start crying as Dad continues, “We've 'formally' stated he has gone rogue. But I fear this 'Cold War' might not last much longer.” We both tilt our heads asking a silent question, so Dad clarifies, “Darth Vengean is thrilled with the idea of testing the Republic's strength, even though we are not ready for a renewed war,” I growl. Darth Vengean is a power hungry, war-loving, overgrown pig, which shouldn't be too unbelievable as his Apprentice, my Master, is exactly the same. Both prefer to work in the shadows, sending their men, or in my case, apprentices to do their dirty work. Vengean is on the Dark Council along with Dad over the Sphere of Military Offense, basically the lead commander of the entire Military. “And I hear I thought you 'liked' his power structure,” Dad states after chuckling. I narrow my eyes unconsciously, “I will when I tear it down.”

            “Oh, what was Baras done to you,” Dad states rather amused, “and I'm sure you'll have that honor. Now a little birdie told me that all of you when to the Dark Temple.” I groan, “Pax told you, didn't he?” Dad chuckles but shakes his head “No, it was Mother. She's slightly worried and envious of you. She's been harping to me, constantly trying to get me to allow her inside.” Jaida snorts, “It isn't all that grand.” I chuckle, nodding in agreement, “Even when you ignore the crazed voices.” Dad frowns, “You really went in there, didn't you?” Jai and I glance at each other before nodding, Dad groans, “Why did you have inherited Mother's curiosity!?” We both laugh before I remember Allura's look on her face, “It's not us you should be worried about.” Dad closes his eyes, “Great. Allura inherited it, didn't she?” I nod amused, “Most definitely. I think she's worse than Gram.” Dad groans again letting his head fall into the back of his chair, “Thank you, girls. I'll have someone clean up the mess, you two go back to relaxing.” We both nod then get up to leave until Dad says, “Actually, Thea, can I speak to you for a moment.” I sigh silently before nodding, rather curious has to what this will be about. Jaida smiles softly before giving Dad a hug and a kiss on the cheek then doing the same to me which we both return.

            Once she out of sight, I sit back down again as Dad says, “I'll admit I'm slightly worried for you, Thea.” I frown, “Why?” He groans then motions to my face. Oh, I didn't even think about that, I think to myself which apparently, he catches. Sometimes it's easy to forget that I look exactly like my twin sister, while except that her hair is curly while mine isn't, “You’re worried people might get us mixed up, aren't you?” Dad nods, “Exactly. So, there are a couple of things you can do, wear a mask...” I grimace, I hate masks especially the full head ones like Dad wears, but I can see the benefit of it too. It'll change my voice, that is very similar to my sister’s. I sigh, “Anything else?” He chuckles, “Elaborate make-up...” I groan again, that would take forever to put on every day. “Or you could do both,” Dad finishes. “What do you recommend, Dad?” I ask grudgingly. He smirks, “A full face mask would be good. Be able to instill fear in your enemies. But...” he pauses as he rises from his desk then walks over to a box before placing it in front of me. I nervously look up at him causing him to chuckle, “But I know that's not your favorite.” I glance at the small box before glancing back up at him, “Don't worry, just open it.” I internally grimace before gingerly placing the box on my lap to open it. Inside is a beautiful black metal mask, that looks a lot like the one Allura's been wearing and is designed much like Dad's, to inspire fear. “Like it?” Dad asks rather nervously. I grin up at him, “Love it.” He breathes in deeply and I can tell I had him worried. I get up to give him a hug and kiss on the cheek before going back to admire my mask. Like Allura's, you can see my eyes underneath and my mouth will be completely visible, because the cut it seems to end just below my cheek bone but surprisingly still will change my voice just like Luna's. “So where are you going next?” Dad asks, watching me stare at his gift. “Balmorra apparently,” I state grimly. He grimaces, “Fun place. I believe if I overheard correctly, Allura is going as well and if Mako thoughts are to be believed so are they.”

            “Dad!” I exclaim aghast, “Why are you reading her thoughts?” Dad chuckles, rising his hands in surrender, “I'm not meaning too, but both her and Vette have very loud thoughts that they seem to unknowingly project. It gives me a headache.” I chuckle, “I'll make sure to teach them both not too. Though I wonder why only you've been having his problem.” He frowns, “Because you haven’t been taught to really read mind yet... But if any of you wish to learn, I'll teach you. It'll come in handy quite often and your masks help keep unwanted thoughts of others from distracting you, along with blocking anyone from reading yours.” Huh, good to know, “I'll keep an open mind,” ending with a wink. Dad rolls his eyes, shaking his head slightly before making a shooing motion with his hands “Go, enjoy being home.” I chuckle, “Yes Daddy,” then walk out of his office. As I meander back to my room I run, literally, into Mako and Vette. “Oh, Thea, we were wondering where you were,” Mako says chirpily. I internally groan, “What can I do for you?” The girls grin, “We were wondering if you could teach us some close quarter fighting since it seems like some baddies like getting up close and personal with us distance fighters.” I chuckle, “Sure come on,” before turning and walking them to the training room. “So, where you off to next, Mako?” I ask off handily as we walk. “Oh Balmorra,” Mako states happily, “We're in the Great Hunt now!” ending with a squeal. I grimace, glad my face is pointed away from the excited girls, if they're this loud and bubbly outside, I can't image how loud their thoughts must be. Poor Dad... I fall silent the rest of the way to the room with the girls chattering nonstop behind me.

            “We'll start off with working on your defense,” I state as I summon a training saber, “Both of you however will be 'fighting' with blasters. This way you can avoid getting harmed.” The girls nod and get into their firing stances. I smirk “Okay, now try to avoid my strikes while 'shooting' at the wall.” They start off slow, barely missing my rather soft strikes but they get slightly better by the time Jaida runs into the room, going to hide behind me. I can't help my laugh, “What did you do?” Vette and Mako share a look before facing us as Dad runs in causing them to jump. “I know you're in here, Junebug,” Dad states, not even panting as he blocks the only exit. “What did she do?” I ask again, this time directed at Dad. “She called me soft,” Dad states, knowingly staring behind me. I nod, pointing at her. “Thea!” She whines as she stands. I chuckle turning around, “You know better than to call Dad soft!” Jai laughs as I lunge at her, “Getting slow there, Tree?” My eyes narrow, “Take that back.” My sister smirks, “No,” as both Dad and I advance on me, now both armed. She ducks missing my first strike then rolls to avoid Dad's. I notice she's now armed as well as she blocks Dad's next attack, and I take the opportunity to strike, but she knocks it away with a kick. “She knew that was coming,” Dad states. I roll my eyes at him before turning and striking Dad, who meets my blade with his own instantly. “Predictable,” he states smugly. My eyes narrow before looking at over at Jai, “Together?” She smiles, “Always,” then we attack together. Dad easily blocks both attacks with a grin, “You'll have to do better then that to beat me.” We share a knowing look before dropping our sabers. Dad groans dropping his to stop our first 'attack,' grabbing our feet with both hands. “Predictable,” he says again and Jai and I share a smile before twisting our bodies to escape his grasp. He lets go, clearly confused, before we go in a combined tackle that forces him to the ground.

            “See you're getting soft,” Jaida says with a small smile. Dad chuckles, “Maybe I am,” then his kisses both of our foreheads, “but only with you.” We smile up at him then hug him, “We know.” He shakes his head and gets up with us still holding on to him, “Thanks for that, girls. I'll see you in the morning. We'll have breakfast together, okay?” We grin, nodding causing him to chuckle, “Good night, girls.” He turns, “Mako, Vette.” Then he walks out with a small, 'I love you,' thru the family bond. Jai and I grin at each other before turning to our very silent companions, whose mouths are hanging open. “You two okay?” I ask, silently wondering if our family spar broke them. They both nod before pointing to Jai, “You're Force sensitive.” I grimace as Jai nods, “I am. I'd appreciate if you not tell anyone though.” They nod mutely before Mako asks, “How does the Sith not know? Your father does obviously.” My sister chuckles, rising her right hand and pointing to the silver ring, Gram's invention. “The ring blocks anyone from sensing her abilities,” I say plainly, taking pity of the confused girls. “I normally don't use the Force but it's harder not to at home or in private,” I have her add. The girls nod in understanding as I clap, “Well, tomorrow will be an eventful day so we better rest up while we can.” Jaida rolls her eyes, “Really Thea?!” I turn to face her, “Yes! now bed,” then turn slightly now facing the girls, “all of you go!” My sister chuckles, lightly shaking her head, “Of course 'Mom'.” I glare at her before shooing the unmoving girls out then put an arm around Jai, “Come on. I'm in dire need of rest.” She laughs, “Sorry to keep you up, sis.” I shrug, isn't her fault, “It's fine.”

            I walk Jaida all the way to her room, making sure she actually goes to bed. Stopping at her door, fighting sleep, “Goodnight, sis. See you in the morning.” Jai chuckles but nods, kissing my cheek before hugging me, “Night Night, sis. Sweet dreams.” I return both before groggily walking to my room at the end of the hallway. After the door closes I pick up the still unfinished lightsaber, putting it into my bag before changing into pj's and basically falling into bed exhausted. I groan as I remember I haven't really gotten ready for bed so I grudgingly get up and walk into the refresher to brush my teeth and hair before putting my hair in a high bun to keep it out of my face. Once I'm finished, I finally can get under my silken covers and I fall asleep gratefully.

Chapter Text

=-=-=-=-=-=

            I wake up earlier than I planned, fighting off nightmares seeing myself as a true ‘Sith.’ Deciding its better being awake, I head down to the training room to work on my ‘predictable’ problem. When the force of the purple lightning strikes starts making the lights flicker, I power down my lightsabers glancing at the chrono. I grin and grimace at the time, knowing I’ve only gotten a few hours of sleep, heading to my room to get ready for the day before going down to the kitchen. Saira tsks me when I enter and I raise my hands in mock surrender. Edison chuckles, simply handing me what I came for, a cup of Mom’s caff as while as a cup of Mom’s cocoa. I smile at him giving him a kiss on his cheek before doing the same to Saira then exiting. I return to the second floor, passing my door going straight to Jaida’s, noticing the distinct lack of Allura’s aura in her room. I pause widening my search finding, or not finding, either hers, Matt’s or Khem’s. I frown shaking it off before entering Jaida’s room, which wakes her up. She sits up groaning, and I grin “Good morning, little sis!” Jai rolls her eyes, causing me to chuckle, amused at her attempts not to growl at me as she tries to close her eyes so I place the cup of Mom’s caff in her hands as I sit on her bed. She opens one eye to see me smirking as she begins to greedily drink it, as I drink my cocoa. “And here I thought you’d grow out of your morning grumpiness,” I state with a smile as her door opens to reveal a dressed Mako. “Good morning!” the apparently wide-awake slicer exclaims. Jai groans again, most likely tempted to fall back into bed as Mako jumps onto her bed. I grin, “Good morning, Mako! Ready to leave the restrictive air of Dromund Kaas behind?” Mako nods furiously as we get a newcomer, “I know I am! The gloominess is starting to get to me!” Vette says as she flops onto Jai’s bed next to the slicer. Jai chuckles as I roll my eyes and get off the bed, “So Allura and Matt haven’t returned yet, so it’ll just be the four of us and Dad. We’ll leave you to get dressed then,” finishing as I begin shooing the girls out. Jaida slightly smiles, “I won’t take too long. See you at breakfast!” I chuckle as I close the door “You better not, sis. We’re getting ships today!”

            I head back to my room to collect my bag, then help Vette down to the dining room, where Dad is already waiting, quietly reading his datapad with a frown. Once I sit down my datapad beeps and I sigh, using the Force to bring the datapad to me from my discarded bag. noticing a slightly older message, forward from my Master.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

From: Darth Baras

Subject: FW: Slave Captains

Your dedication to brutality is commendable, my apprentice, as well as your forethought of the future. Study Commander Pritch's report and remember the value of aggression.

To: Darth Baras

From: Commander Pritch

Subject: Slave Captains

The slave captains are dead, my lord. Your apprentice exterminated every voice foolish enough to attempt blackmail against you, plus got vital information I can use to prevent this from happening again.

The surviving slaves wage the revolt you designed with renewed strength. They now know the price of disappointing the great Darth Baras.

I will continue to monitor the insurgence. Thanks to your apprentice, the slaves' continued obedience is assured.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

Then another message from yesterday, I smile slightly as I read:

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

From: Klemral

Subject: Goodbyes

I will probably not see you for a while, our Master has sent me to do his bidding around the galaxy as he has no doubt done to you. However, I know you are far more important to our Master than I to his power base. I will not apologize for my actions yesterday for I do not regret it. I do, however, wish next time we won’t be so rudely interrupted.

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

I hear a sigh behind me, and I quickly gather after glancing around that Vette read the message over my shoulder as she goes to sit on the other side with a smirk. I grimace, quickly glancing over at Dad who’s still frowning at his datapad as Vette fans herself then acts like she’s kissing someone. I try my best to ignore her and eventually she falls silent just as Jaida and Mako enter. The slicer immediately goes to sit with the Twi’lek, and start whispering almost instantly causing me to chuckle as Jai sits next to me. I give Jaida a look when the two girls break into giggles, whispering “What do you think they’re talking about?” She shrugs, “I have a few guesses, you?” I frown, getting slightly more worried, nodding, “I have a couple too.” My sister laughs, most likely because of my expression, as Edison and Saira enter with a variety of breakfast foods and everyone falls silent as they eat.

            “I’m sorry I can’t see you girls off,” Dad says, more like sighs, “I have business on Korriban today.” Jaida and I immediately pause, glancing at Dad as we know the only business in Korriban for Dad is Dark Council work. Just as we open our mouths to ask, Dad gives us a pointed look silently saying not now before he gets up, kissing both of our cheeks before leaving. “If you are ready, young Mistresses,” T1-K1 states as he enters “I will get you to the spaceport. I have already alerted T9-Z4 and the Agents that you’ll be meeting them there.” We both nod as we stand, motioning to the girls as the chrome droid continues, “I have already taken the liberty of packing and purchasing necessities the three of you will need and informed the ship’s droids of its whereabouts. However, with your situation, Lady Jaida, your things are being stored in the cargo hold.” I frown as Jai nods, silently chuckling, “Thank you, T1.” T1 bows, “I live to serve,” before turning to leave and picking up our discarded bags from the floor as the four of us follow him to the covered speeder. Mako breaks the silence on our way to the spaceport, “I nearly forgot. T1 gave Vette and I a datapad for Allura which he delivered to her earlier. We’ve also been busy making an advanced ‘anonymous’ messaging app for the seven of us to use when we’re apart. Kaliyo came up with Allura’s username but that’s the only one we’ve got besides mine.” Jai and I glance at each other before rolling our eyes earning glares from the girls as the speeder comes to a stop in front of an antsy Ash and a smug Kaliyo.

            Ash is the one to open our door, earning himself a glare from the chrome protocol droid. He, however, doesn’t seem fazed as he helps each of us out of the speeder, though he slightly frowns when he doesn’t see Allura. Jaida chuckles, “Allura, Khem, and Matt stayed with our grandparents last night.” His frown persists as he nods and my sister wanders over to his side. His arm immediately wraps around her as we fall silent, except for Mako and Vette who continue their whispering from earlier. It doesn’t take long for a familiar speeder with the Morit and Marr symbol to approach. T9, Gram’s unique golden protocol droid, gets out of the speeder to open the door for my baby sister as her Dashade gets out of the other side. All of us are further surprised when Matt exits the speeder after Allura. “Matt, why are you here?” a vaguely confused Ash asks as Jai and I share a knowing look. “I’m going with you,” Matt states with a smirk. Ash frowns, but shrugs turning to Luna, “Are you leaving too?” She grins, nodding “Yes, sir, Balmorra, and my ship await.” Ash shakes his head chuckling “Well, come on then we better get a move on.” We all fall silent after that as we enter the Spaceport, though once inside we split up, the hunters and agents going on one side of the port while us Sith and our companions go the opposite way. Eventually, we split up as well, though our personal hangers and their respective elevators are beside each other. On the elevator ride, neither Vette and I can contain our excitement as we literally bounce in anticipation. We chuckle at the other before we both stick our tongues out causing us to burst into laughter. Our laughter continues through the eternity long elevator ride. Finally, the doors open and we’re met with a sight of the grey metal lobby complete with Empire banners and a statue of our Emperor. There’s no one insight however but the door that leads to the hangar itself is closed, forcing us to walk up the ramp to the control room. When we see the window overlooking the hanger, we both immediately run to it, leaning over the terminals to see my, our, starship: its sleek black duraplast armor plating on what would be its wings while the rest is a silver durasteel armor plating. Vette whistles, “Wow, take a look at that. We’re going in style now…” before I can say anything I feel a presence coming towards us. I turn as the newcomer speaks, “Nice ship. Are you leaving Dromund Kaas, Asha‘Ari?” My eyes narrow, as I can’t quite tell his intentions, “Your name—now!” Vette frowns glancing over at me as the Sith answers, “Relax, I’m a friend… bearing gifts. Cellvanta Grathan sent me to deliver these tokens of her appreciation,” pausing as he hands me a remarkably well-preserved Massassi1 spaga2 in its original cortosis sheath and several high-quality parts. I carefully take the spaga2 from him, allowing Vette to take the parts as he continues, “For all you’ve done for her. It will greatly enhance this new ship of yours.” I nod, noticing he has not given me his name, “Please express my gratitude to her when you return, if that is all.”

            “It is not all,” the Sith states smugly, his red eyes narrowing, “You see Cellvanta’s husband, Lord Grathan, has a different present he wants me to deliver. Apparently, he says you know too much.” I frown glancing at Vette, “Seems like Cellvanta needs to get her house in order.” She nods in agreement as the Sith scoffs, “Are you mad? Lady Grathan doesn’t control the household. I answer only to Lord Grathan.” I shake my head and turn to leave as the Sith, Ralesk, continues “I’ve murdered just about every form of sentient being in the galaxy. And I’m here for you.” I roll my eyes continuing to walk out of the control room with Vette behind me, causing the Sith to growl and leap in front of me igniting his blood-red lightsaber as he lands. I sigh, irritated that this fight is unavoidable, as both Vette and I grab our weapons. Vette begins shooting at Ralesk as I ignite my lightsabers and engage the Sith. Ralesk falls easily, not even as challenging as fighting Teeno, Phyne, and Klemral back at the Sith Academy on Korriban. I can tell Vette feels the same as she glances at me before she breaks into a run down the stairs, only stopping at the foot of the ramp that leads into Mercy. She stops only long enough for me to join her so we both scale up the ramp together.

            “Oh! Ah, I mean… greetings! I am 2V-R2, factotum droid for this vessel,” a chrome protocol droid says that’s standing off to the side of the airlock as you enter the main room that contains the holo terminal. I tilt my head and walk over to him as it continues, “You must be my new master. Gentle, kind new master…” trailing off at the end. I grin “That I am, I’m Apprentice Asha‘Ari and this Vette,” Vette smiles at the droid as I continue, “What are your functions?” It-he glances around, “I am relieved—er, pleased—that you find me agreeable. I will never disappoint you, mistress. I am programmed for a wide array of tasks, including but not limited to meal preparation, ship maintenance, janitorial duty and etiquette.” I grimace, knowing he got that from T1-K1, as Vette asks, “How about a tour, Arrtoo?” 2V-R2 looks over at her nodding once more, “Welcome aboard this Fury-class Imperial Interceptor, a versatile craft combining a starfighter’s maneuverability with armament to rival larger military vessels. It has all the standard amenities. A holoterminal for Interstellar communications,” motioning to the large terminal before pausing as he walks to the left side of the room next to a door with a security panel on its side, “This is the commanding officer’s ensuite with its own refresher, so they are yours’ mistress,” I nod setting the spaga2 inside my room as he points a crossed to another door on the same wall as the airlock, “that’s the med bay.”

            “The conference room,” turning and pointing to the right side of the room on the same wall before walking down the left hallway. We follow as he continues, “The cargo hold, and the portside engine room,” pausing as he takes us down the opposite hallway, “Behind me is one of the crew quarters, there’s another one below us with a large community refresher, galley, and lounge.” He points to the door behind us, “That’s the starboard engine room,” then he turns and walks back to the main room, pointing out the stairs and elevator to the other floor before heading to the bridge. “That’s the captain’s quarters, office, and refresher. Your office, mistress, is on the floor below as well. The astrogation console contains a constantly updated map of the known galaxy. Any questions, mistress?” I shake my head “No, Arrtoo, thank you,” finishing as Vette runs down the stairs and the holo terminal beeps. I sigh, “Can you take us out, Arrtoo?” The droid nods before bowing and heading to the bridge as I go to the holo terminal to answer it. “Asha‘Ari, I trust you find your starship satisfactory,” Baras states as he appears. I chuckle, “She seems well enough, but I’ll have to take her for a spin to give you a more in-depth answer, Master.” Surprising he chuckles, “You are about to get that chance. There is much to be done. My interests must be protected and my enemies destroyed. Nomen Karr’s efforts to expose my spies and prove his Padawan’s power to the Jedi Council must meet with systemic failure. You will exhaust yourself in this charge.” I nod, “Where do you suggest I begin?” I can feel his smirk, “The information we siphoned from the Republic agent will be our map. We know my spy on Nar Shaddaa was being surveilled. We know where this Padawan was discovered, where she trained, and that the Jedi have sent someone to investigate my spy on Balmorra. The Padawan will have to be hunted down and destroyed, but first, you must secure my network by silencing my spies on Balmorra and Nar Shaddaa.” I frown, “Wouldn’t it be worth awhile to preserve them by recalling them?”  Baras shakes his head, “Their disappearances would look suspicious and serve to confirm the Padawan’s accusations. My spies must die. My contracts on Balmorra and Nar Shaddaa will detail what must be done. Your tasks are paramount, Apprentice. Bring cruelty. Bring Rage. Bring Death,” and with that, my master vanishes. I groan, already not looking forward to it, as I begin to holo Jaida. When she answers I grin, “I see you got to your ship safely.” She chuckles as I glance at the droid next to her, exacting like mine but duller. “Problems?” she asks. I shake her head, “Your droid looks like mine except for the color.” Jaida frowns slightly, “Oh, have you spoken to Ash?” I shake my head as holo comes thru, the man himself. Since now we’re just missing Allura, I call her once more grinning when she answers, “I see you got your ship and a new droid too.” Luna tilts her head, “Too?” Jaida chuckles “Apparently, all of our ships came with one. Is yours a Toovee model?” Luna nods “Yes, 2V-R8 to be exact. Yours?” I answer, “2V-R2.” Ash answers next, “2V-R6.” Jaida chuckles, “2V-R4, funny enough.” Luna frowns, “This could get confusing quickly!”  I chuckle, nodding in agreement, as I hear the ship's engines roar to life “It will, but I guess we can all our droids arr-something since they’re all Toovees.”

            “Yeah, sounds simple enough,” Allura states just as another call comes in. “Have another call coming in,” everyone says before laughing as we figure out it’s the same person calling. Another man appears in an Imperial uniform, complete with a hat. He glances around at everyone before clearing his throat, obviously nervous “Ah, good I was able to reach you, I’m Flight Commander Pirul. The Empire needs you. The Republic grows bolder. Their attack squadrons ambush Imperial targets and disappear into open space. We’re struggling to complete. Open warfare is just around the corner and we need all the ships we can get. We’ve already sent out all our squadrons, but they aren’t enough. That’s why we are forming the Empire’s Fury.” He pauses turning to face me, “Asha‘Ari, will be leading the squadron under call sign ‘Tempest.’ Her second-in-command will be you Cipher Nine,” he turns to Ash, “Under call sign ‘Nightshrike’.” He then turns to the youngest, “My lord, your call sign is ‘Rage.’ Huntress yours is ‘Scree’.” Pirul pauses, “Apparently, the Grand Moff wishes to speak with you” then he’s replaced with a large man standing in parade rest, “Ah, he was able to reach you. Good. My name is Rycus Kilran. I’m commander of the Fifth Fleet, second to the Minister of War, and my personal favorite—the so-called Butcher of Coruscant,” he thankfully pauses as anger rises in my sisters and I, thankfully it goes unnoticed. “What’s the mission?” Ash asks simply.

            “Straight to the point, I like that. Four hours ago, the Republic engaged in an illegal border skirmish on the edges of Imperial territory. One enemy warship escaped. That warship—the Brentaal Star—is carrying a passenger of vital strategic importance. I’ve ordered the nearest ship, the Black Talon to intercept. Your mission is to land on the Black Talon and capture the passenger at all costs. My droid and I will give you more information once you arrive,” and with that he’s gone. All of us groan knowing that we have no choice in the matter, until Ash says, “I won’t be able to go with you, I have other business to attend to. But I’ll try to join you.” We sigh again, nodding our heads then everyone disappears. I sigh, pinching the bridge of my nose as I head to the bridge, “Have you set our destination yet?” 2V-R2 shakes his head, “I have not, mistress.” I sigh again sitting in one of the seats, “We got a new assignment from the Imperial Grand Moff,” finishing just as the console beeps. “That’s our new heading,” I state simply as I turn to search for Vette to inform her of our assignment. Once I’ve informed her, she joins me on the bridge. All of us get to the massive ship simultaneously, and Vette whistles “This will be fun.” I chuckle, slapping her lightly on her back, as I’m truly not looking forward to this as the Black Talon gives us landing clearance. Mercy is the first to land, so as we wait I put on my mask so when the others land, we can disembark. We leave the droids on the ships as the others are joining us. We are then met by a female Human Lieutenant, “Good to have your aboard. I’m Lieutenant Alia Sylas, second-in-command of the Black Talon, your droid informed us of your arrival. If you follow me, I’ll escort you there.” I nod, surprisingly grateful for the mask, “How did my droid come to be on your ship?”

            “We picked it up with the upgrades from Geonosis: however, it did just mention your name, my lord,” Sylas says as she leads us deeper into the ship and up to the command deck. Finally, we stop “Here you are, the conference room. Please feel free to make yourself comfortable. It’s an honor to have you aboard our transport,” I nod once more and the lieutenant leaves quickly. We watch her retreating body before entering the room. The droid in question is a lackluster silver protocol droid, who begins speaking as soon as we enter, “Identities confirmed! Good day—I am advanced protocol unit NR-O2. My functions are diplomacy, translation, manslaughter, and calumniation. My master wishes to reiterate your mission. Please stand by for delivery. This is unit NR-O2 to Grand Moff Kilran. You are now in contact with the Black Talon,” finishing just as the man himself appears on the holo. “Well—so I am. You have arrived quickly. Good, I do like promptness. Where is Cipher Nine?” I’m the one who answers, “He had to delay his arrival.”

            “Ah, so it seems. As I said earlier, your mission is the Brentaal Star. The warship’s passenger is code-named ‘the general.’ We don’t know his identity, but the Republic believes he possesses military secrets: our military secrets. I trust the reports: the general must be captured or killed. Captain Revinal Orzik—the man commanding this transport—doesn’t share my enthusiasm. He’s disobeyed my orders to attack. Feel free to show him what the Empire does to cowards. Then commandeer his ship, find the Brentaal Star and deal with the general.” Jaida frowns, crossing her arms, “Sounds interesting, but you realize that commandeering a starship will costs valuable time and energy. And I’m sure you’re aware who we are; that our time doesn’t come cheap.” Kilran chuckles, “That I do. I—provide—for those who—shall we say—do the ‘dirty’ work. So, all of you will be well compensated,” and with that he disappears again. “I will lead the way to the bridge. Once Captain Orzik is deposed and our hijacking is complete, we may proceed to the Brentaal Star.” Everything is fine until we reach the hallway to the bridge.

            “Halt! This is a restricted area—Captain Orzik’s command. You’ll have to leave immediately,” an armored Lieutenant states in front of a ray shield blocking us from continuing. I calmly walk towards to him, “And I outrank everyone on this ship. So, I’ll say simply, Move aside.” The Lieutenant stands firm, which is impressive but we unfortunately don’t have time for brave soldiers, “Captain Orzik has disobeyed a direct order, you’d be wise to step aside and avoid his fate.” Behind Jaida clarifies, “What she means to say is we’d prefer to spill as little Imperial blood as we can.” When he still doesn’t move, I growl and touch Allura’s mind, ‘Can you stun them?’ I glance over at Luna as the young Sith nods, already surrounded in an aura of her lavender Force lightning. She directs it at the three soldiers who instantly fall unconscious. My sisters and I share a nod as Matt powers down the ray shield then we continue. “If you are concerned about the loss of life,” NR-O2 states as we run to the bridge removing all resistance, “I assure you the deaths of all injured crew members will be strategically insignificant.” I grimace, wondering if we can somehow destroy the droid and make it look like an accident.

            “All marines have been neutralized. Scanning for additional threats,” NR-O2 states matter-of-factly as we finally reach the bridge and stop in front of Captain Orzik and his crew. “What’s going on? Sir…”  an Ensign Hetter says, glancing at the seven of us nervously. “Stay calm, Ensign. Everyone stay calm,” Orzik rather calmly states facing us. “No threats found. The bridge is now secure,” NR-O2 states as his scan is over. Orzik looks over at it probably thinking as we are, the bridge was secure before, then he looks back at us, “I’m Captain Revinal Orzik: I’m pretty sure I know what this is about. For the record, I take complete responsibility for my actions.” I nod as both Jaida and I walk slightly in front of Allura as I state, “I understand, Captain.” Jaida continues, “If nothing else, that should make it easier on the crew.” Orzik’s eyes widen slightly, “I’m glad it’s worth something. You’re here because of the Moff, aren’t you? He must want the Brentaal Star’s passenger pretty badly. Or maybe he just hates me. The Black Talon would be destroyed chasing a battleship. I fought in the war before, and I’ll fight again—but I don’t do suicide missions.” I chuckle as Jaida says, “Neither do we, Captain. We’re not looking to make a martyr of anyone. We can complete this mission and survive.”

            “I expect you to believe that. I see it differently,” pausing as he begins pacing, “Listen to me—you managed to hijack one ship, and that’s certainly impressive. But taking on the Brentaal Star is something else altogether. I might be able to get us close, but then what? My marines are all dead and you’d have to board it.” Allura shakes her head, “Your marines are unconscious and should be waking up soon. While my lightning was nonlethal, they’ll be hurting. Best get them medical support before we meet the Brentaal Star, Captain.” His brown eyes widen, surprised that a Sith didn’t kill his men, “Of course. Well… you’d still have to fight an army of Republic soldiers and somehow find the general. It’s still unlikely we’ll survive.” Jaida sighs, “We don’t have a choice—those were Moff Kilran’s instructions. So, if we’re going to survive, we need to work together.” That surprises him has his eyes flick to each of us, “I see.” Glancing at the droid who’s walking through and inspecting his crew, “You’re as much victims here as I am, aren’t you?” At our small nods, he continues, “Damn Kilran and his fleet. All right. I’m not ready to be branded a traitor just yet. We’ll get the general. I’m not sure how, but we’ll get him.” Both Jaida and I smirk as I say, “Leave that to us.” Orzik nods, “I’ll do my best to remember that.” Finishing just as NR-O2 rejoins us saying, “Downloading new orders to all bridge consoles. Priority one: Intercept the Brentaal Star.” The Captain looks over at it, before touching his ear and nodding then addresses his crew, “You heard the droid, everyone. Prepare to jump to lightspeed…” and just like that we see the stars start to blur, then after a few minutes seeing very different stars. “Emerging from hyperspace now. One Thranta-class warship on the scanners. Powering up…” a panicked Ensign, Brukarra from her nameplate, exclaims, “Enemy is firing! Turbolasers, missiles—and what look like transport pods. I’m not sure.” Orzik breathes in deeply, “Evasive maneuvers. Keep the pods at a distance—they look harmless, but they’ll latch onto the hull and cut at us with sabotage droids,” staying calm. Brukarra nods, “Evasive maneuvers—aye, sir.” Seconds after she finishes “Sir, three shuttles on an intercept course!” Hetter exclaims. “An assault party,” Orzik says, then looks at us, “We don’t have sufficient defenses to keep them from landing.” We look at each other, as I state, “Then let them, we’ll handle any boarders”

            “This course of action is deemed advisable,” NR-O2 states unnecessarily. “Security will meet you at the entrance to the shuttle bay,” Orzik says as someone hands us commlinks, “Defend the ship at all costs and we’ll get you to the Brentaal Star.” We nod then the seven of us run out of the bridge, putting on the commlinks as we head to the elevator that’ll take us down to the cargo bay. “Warning: Secondary Power systems damaged,” says an automated voice as we head down the elevator, “Nonessential systems may be inoperable.” Thankfully, that doesn’t include the elevator as we reach the bay just as the first shuttle lands letting out its Republic soldiers. One of them yells, “You should have never attacked us!” as they run in to attack and the remaining shuttles land. Jaida and I groan, not really wanting to fight, as Khem roars and runs amidst the soldiers. Nevertheless, Jaida opens fire as I leap into the fray, igniting my lightsabers mid leap. Matt joins us not long after with Vette and Mako shooting the soldiers exiting the other shuttles. As the fight continues I hear Matt yell at Allura, saying “It’s us or them.” Soon after her Lightning joins the chaos however the soldiers are still alive, I know Jaida told her something as her lavender lightning turns lethal. “We need you on the bridge,” Orzik says as the last soldier falls. The four of us share a look before running back to the elevator, heading back and forcing Vette, Mako and Khem to follow. We step inside in time to hear the report from Ensign Hetter, “Damage reports from all decks. We’re holding together, sir—but I don’t know for how long.”

            “Make it last, Ensign. Don’t let us down,” Orzik says pacing once more as NR-O2 says, “Please stand alert, Grand Moff Kilran’s representatives have returned.” I shake my head at that as Orzik turns to address us, “I see you took care of the Republic assault. Welcome back to the bridge. We’ve survived the first wave of attacks form the Brentaal Star. Things will be calm until we enter fighter range—another minute maybe two.” Just as he finishes, Brukarra speaks up, “Transmission coming in! Long range…it’s a message, but it’s not from the Brentaal Star.” Vette frowns, “How can that be?” I grimace as Brukarra answers, “The Brentaal Star must have sent a distress signal. Someone’s responding.” Just as that someone appears in front of us, “This is Jedi Grand Master Satele Shan hailing unidentified Imperial vessel. I’m enroute to your location with sixteen Republic vessels. I’m asking you to retreat before more lives are lost.” I try to soothe my grimace as I walk closer to the holo “Hello, Master Shan, it’s a pleasure as always. We however were attacked and then boarded. We have yet to do anything besides defend the people aboard this transport.” I can see Master Satele’s surprise at seeing me, which she hides well as she tilts her head, her eyes glancing at me then my sisters behind me, “I see. I’m glad to hear a voice of reason. Let us end this conflict together. The Brentaal Star is under my protection. Our convoy was ambushed and I sent the Star ahead. We will reunite. I just crippled three Imperial dreadnaughts. I don’t wish to destroy you—the peace between Republic and Empire is fragile enough already.” I nod once, understanding her warning as I give her my own, “Tell the Brentaal Star to hand over the general. No one needs to be hurt.”

            “The general has a role to play with the Republic,” Satele says after nodding, indicting she understands, “Incidents like this are happening across the galaxy, but only because we let them. Leave the Brentaal Star to me. If you don’t, then may the Force be with you—because the men and women aboard that ship can hold you off until we arrive. And you will be defeated. I suggest you prepare to face a Jedi—and you may want to consider what that means.” I close my eyes as I feel her touch my mind, ‘May the Force be with you.’ I nod again as Jaida motions for Brukarra to cut the call, before stating “Entering fighter range. The Brentaal Star is launching its first squadron.” Orzik nods, “It’s time for us to do the same. I assume you’ll lead the boarding party to go after the general, my lord?” I nod, determined to get this over with, “We will.” Orzik continues, “There’s one more thing. I promised you my help, so-I brought you some supplies from the cargo bay. Someone on Dromund Kaas may be disappointed when they don’t receive the delivery, but I thought our situation took precedence.” Jaida nods, “Keep up the good work, Captain.” Orzik nods, “Thank you. We’re all doing our best here.” NR-O2 speaks directly after him, “I advise that you proceed to the shuttle bay. The flight to the Brentaal Star may be hazardous—but Grand Moff Kilran has complete faith in your abilities.” I think we all roll our eyes as we turn, heading to the starboard hanger. Despite the Brentaal Star fighters, our ride to the Star goes smoothly and we quickly land inside. There’s only a few soldiers inside of the hanger, which we knock down instead of killing, making our way to the elevator that’ll take us to the transport dock where we run into the first holoterminal to connect the Black Talon.

            “This is protocol unit NR-O2, I hope you’re receiving this message clearly, and that your flight was free of incident. Please hold for security coordinator Ensign Brukarra,” the chrome droid says as soon as he appears before being replace with Brukarra. “The Marines are on their way. They’ll follow you in and hold each junction you secure. Try not to take too long—we’re not a military ship. What you have is all you’re getting.” Jaida nods, “Understood. We’ll be quick.” She is then replaced with NR-O2, “I’ve been scanning the Brentaal Star’s communications, and security forces appear to be moving to protect the escape pods. It is extremely likely that the crew is attempting to evacuate the general. You must retrieve or eliminate him before he escapes.” I roll my eyes, “Thank you for the heads up, NR-O2.” The droid nods, “I’ll be in contact if the situation changes. Proceed to assault all defense points between you and the target.” When it disappears, the seven of us proceed deeper inside the ship, disabling all the droids and forcing the soldiers into unconsciousness. There are three veteran Special Forces troopers blocking the Brentaal Star’s main computer terminal, so a brief up quick fight ensues until we knock them unconscious as well, adding a few well-placed but fake fatal wounds.

            As Jaida and Mako mess with the Brentaal Star’s computer, the rest of us loot the ‘dead’ bodies then tie them up. After a while the two high five each other before we continue to the elevator taking us to the deck where the escape pods are, which is apparently the Engine Deck. As we go, we also start disabling munition consoles, which causes a massive war droid to attack us, that Khem and I enthusiastically take care of. Finally, we reach the door that leads to the pods, and we immediately freeze, there’s a Jedi on the other side of it. My sisters and I glance at each other before swallowing, as we are focusing on being able to hear what’s going on, on the other side of the blast door and opening it at the same time. I can feel the Jedi use the Force to keep the door from opening but their power is insufficient compared to our combined strength. The Jedi quickly realizes this as she runs to who I assume is the general. “The escape pods aren’t far, now. You can make it on your own, General,” a young girl around Allura’s age says. “And what about you?” an older man asks, just as we manage to break thru. “I will face my destiny. Go now, my friend,” the Jedi, a young Padawan by the looks of her, says as we walk in seeing ‘the general’ limp towards the remaining soldiers who are guarding the escape pods. I grimace in sympathy as I see him go, the Twi’lek Padawan turning towards us, “Halt where you are. I am Yadira Ban, Padawan of the Jedi Order. I was sent to protect the general and you will not pass,” she states matter-of-factly igniting her lightsaber. “Surrender. Give us what we want, and your ship can survive,” Jaida states, knowing what that’ll sound like coming from the two ‘evil’ Sith.

            “I cannot accept that. A Jedi does not surrender the innocent into the hands of evil,” Yadira says. So, apparently, it sounds odd even coming from a Bounty Hunter. She continues, “But I intend to drive you back—meter by meter, if need be. Just as the Republic pushed the Sith Empire into the dark of the galaxy.” Jaida sighs, “Then there’s no way we can settle this peacefully?” The Padawan shakes her head, “No. Not anymore, I fear,” then she leaps towards us, seeing Jai as the weakest out of us three sisters as her blasters are still holstered on her hips. I immediately leap to protect her as Jai does nothing to stop the hot plasma blade, that seems to surprise the Padawan, knowing normal Sith would never protect anyone. My eyes are pleading for the Jedi to rethink this as they peer out of my mask. The Jedi gasps dropping her lightsaber, which Jaida then picks up handing the weapon to the young Jedi. Her eyes widen, “You don’t mean us any harm, do you?” Jaida nods, “Reach out with the Force to those that were in our path.” Yadira’s eyes widen even more as she does that, “How? Why?” Jaida chuckles, “We don’t like the Empire any more than you do. However due to,” swallowing, “circumstances we belong to it. But we’ve been ordered to do this, so we need to make it look convincing even to the Republic. So, we’re sorry about this,” ending just as Allura wills the Padawan to sleep before we continue to the escape pods, doing the same to the remaining soldiers guarding the general, who’s clutching his side, pain written all a crossed his aged face.

            “You can put aside your weapons. I won’t try to run. Besides, I doubt I’d make it to an escape pod without my intestines spilling out,” the General says as we approach. “How did you get injured?” Mako asks. “Unlucky—caught in your ship’s attack,” he says simply, “I’m told the wounds aren’t fatal, but the doesn’t help the pain. I was a general in the Imperial military service. Did they tell you that when they sent you here? Did they even know?” I grimace, knowing Kilran’s stand on the matter, as Jaida says, “Why would you betray the Empire?” He swallows, “If you knew what I knew, you’d understand. If you’d heard what both sides are plotting, you wouldn’t be eager to restart this war. They’re building doomsday weapons. Shields that envelop planets; missiles that darken suns. Republic and Empire are planning to raze worlds—annihilate civilizations. It will be unlike anything the galaxy’s seen since the Great Hyperspace War. And it’s too late to stop it—the so-called peace is already lost.” Vette is slightly shaking as she asks, “If that’s true, why defect to the Republic?” I glance over at her before placing a calmly hand on her back as the general answers, “There’s no place for me in the Empire anymore. I thought my last act might be to even the odds—create a stalemate. It doesn’t seem to matter anymore.” I sense three marines walk up behind us as he continues, “You have me, then. Me, my stomach full of blood and my implant full of cybernetic secrets and stolen plans. What will you do?” My sisters and I glance at each other before Jaida raises a single blaster, “I’ll take save us all the trouble.” He swallows, “So be it. We’re all as good as dead, anyway.” I sense the soldiers walking away as Jaida ‘fatally’ wounds’ him and Allura puts him in a healing trance as he crumples to the ground. Once that is finished, we turn and run down the hallway next to us, following the Marines that are heading for the elevator that’ll return us to port hanger we arrived in then running to the nearest holoterminal to connect with the Black Talon, and Captain Orzik appears. “Captain Orzik here, I understand you’re on your way back—I assume congratulations are in order. Our marines have been recalled back to the Black Talon. As soon as you’re aboard, we’ll jump to lightspeed—Republic reinforcements could arrive any minute.”

            “Noted, Captain. We are on our way,” I state with a slight smirk, happy the mission is done. “I’ll see you on the bridge. Congratulations again—Orzik out,” then he disappears and we breathe out in relief before returning to the hanger where our Imperial shuttle is waiting. The same three marines run in front of us as we go, and a Republic ship crashes into the bay just as we are leaving. There isn’t anyone to greet us when we land so we quickly return to the bridge, where everyone is waiting. Once they see us enter, the ship enters lightspeed. “Well,” Orzik states with a small smile, “the heroes of the day return.” We slightly smile in return as Hetter says, “Welcome back, my lords.” Our smiles turn into smirks when Orzik continues, “Congratulations once again. I never expected the mission to go off this cleanly.” Jaida glances at Allura and I, “Glad to see you so happy, Captain.” We chuckle silently as Orzik replies, “What’s not to be pleased about? You spared my life, and we eliminated an enemy of the Empire.” NR-O2 clearly is distressed no one is paying him any attention as he cuts in, “Grand Moff Kilran is eagerly waiting your report. Shall I put him through?” I glance at Orzik, “It’s your command again, Captain. Make the call.” His eyes widen but he nods, “Put the Grand Moff through.” NR-O2 nods, “Opening channel now.” We all straighten slightly as he appears “Well—How fortunate I could reach my friends aboard the Black Talon. The droid’s been keeping me apprised of your work, but I very much wanted to hear from you. How did the attack go?”

            “The Brentaal Star has been disabled and the general dealt with. I’m sorry to say with the wounds he received in the attack, where very fatal and made him virtually useless so we ended his life,” I state simply, knowing that’s not quite the case. “A pity that you couldn’t bring him back alive—but really it makes little difference. You should be proud,” Kilran states, “This is one of many operations we’re conducting across the galaxy: it’s a new beginning to the war. The general was one of the greatest weapons the Republic had—a defector! —and you’ve snatched him from the enemy hands. I’ll remember this, and I’ll make sure you’re rewarded.” Allura steps forward, doing what she knows is her part, “It was a pleasant distraction.” Kilran chuckles, “Ah, yes. When military strategy and Sith entertainments combine, it’s surely a good day. But my words hardly matter as you’ve just left the home world. Seeing for yourselves what you’ve been fighting for. It is inspiring. Balmorra will be lucky to have you; Kilran out,” and with that the Moff disappears. Jaida glances over at Orzik as he nervously scuffles, “What is it, Captain?” He glances up, looking at each of us before swallowing, “I’m sure you are aware, but we are heading to Dromund Kaas, not Balmorra.” I chuckle as Jaida answers the nervous man, “It’s not a problem, Captain. We have our own ships to take us there. It was nice working with you, Orzik” before we all turn and head to our ships. We each sigh, thankful our ships were on the opposite side of the fighting so they aren’t damaged, before we enter them. “Welcome back, Mistress,” 2V-R2 states as he sees us enter, “I can take us to our next destination so the two of you can relax.” Vette squeals nearly hugging the droid before she runs down the stairs to the second floor where the crew quarters are. I chuckle as I glance at the quiet holo terminal, “That’ll be excellent Arrtoo. When the Black Talon stops at Dromund Kaas, we’ll disembark and head Balmorra. Let me know when we arrive at Kaas.” I pause after turning toward the Captain’s quarters “And thank you, Arrtoo.” Then I leave the stunned droid for the comfort of my private quarters. True to T1’s word, my quarters have been filled with clothes and ‘necessities’ and now all that’s needed is customizing my new home. After a long refreshing shower, I sit on my bed, bringing the spaga2 with me. Once I’m settled, I slowly pull the ancient weapon from the sheath that holds it, seeing the Qotsisajak3 engraved on its blade, its serrated edges still deadly sharp. I smile, my finger lightly tracing the script, more importantly, the engraved word Asha, Sith for 'victory' before I start my meditation.

Chapter Text

=-=-=-=-=-=

            I frown once more sitting on a meditation stool, trying to pinpoint the source of my unease like I’ve been trying to do since we departed Dromund Kaas. I’ve searched my memories, my belongings T1 brought from home, the spaga from Lady Grathan even wrote her a message warning her of her son’s treachery and thanking her for the gifts. Finally settling that it is not anything I have done, I begin to search the ship itself. I can feel the stars that blur by, hear the roar of the engines, taste the planets that we pass until I pinpoint something that does not belong. My frown grows as I sense multiple alien dots spread through the entire ship, one to each room, that turns into a low rumbling growl when I sense just who placed them. My eyes open quickly, as I recognize the sound of the ship dropping out of Hyperspace minutes before 2V-R2’s metallic voice comes over the holo-comm. I gingerly stand, taking note of where my belongings are before I head to the central room to holo my Master. Darth Baras appears instantly almost like he knew the exact moment I’d call, and I store that thought away, knowing the chance he may pick up on it, “Ah, you’ve arrived on Balmorra. Excellent. Your contact there is Lieutenant Malavai Quinn. I trust you’ll find him most helpful.” I nod, “I have no doubt, Master. Where can I find him?” I can feel his amusement, “This is an important mission, and I only entrust the finest. Quinn will meet you in his offices at Sobrik headquarters. We will speak again as soon as he has briefed you,” I nod just as he disappears. Sighing I head to my quarters gathering my things: lightsabers, robe, and mask, before going to gather Vette from wherever she’s disappeared to. After finding her, we quickly exit Mercy, leaving Arrtoo on board.

             “So, have you been feeling odd on the ship?” Vette asks as the airlock closes behind us. I frown, glancing around briefly, before nodding, “I have.” She sighs in relief, “Thank heavens, I thought I was the only one. You don’t think someone is spying on us, do you?” I freeze, glancing at her seeing she’s trying to reassure herself by joking. I swallow nervously, “I can’t be positive on that, Vette. But I think we just might be…” Vette’s lavender eyes widen, “You’re serious. You think someone’s spying on us?!” I nod, “Yes, I do,” pausing as I raise a hand to stop her from speaking, “And no I don’t know how.” But I have a good idea… She looks around nervously, “How are we going to proceed with this…?” I shrug, “I’m going to message Papa, see if he has any idea or what not.” Vette sighs, “I didn’t think of that.” I chuckle, “No, I imagine not.” Slightly patting her on the back earning myself a glare, just as we step out of the elevator meeting Allura, Khem, and Matt. “Hey, everything okay?” my baby sister asks once we begin walking to the main room of the Spaceport. “Yeah, everything is peachy,” I state causing the Twi’lek to laugh. “Peachy?” Vette exclaims, “Really?” I chuckle, nodding ever so slightly. “Be careful here, Vette, it is still Imperial territory,” I practically whisper, just as a group of Imperials walks by, leering at Vette. Allura frowns, her eyes darkening as they follow the men. I sigh, placing a hand on her back, then slightly pushing her forward to walk, “It’s not worth it, Luna.” She sighs, which sounds more like a growl before tearing her eyes away and spotting Jaida and, “Ash!” she squeals running towards them. He chuckles picking her up in a hug, and spinning her slightly, “I heard I missed quite the adventure on the Black Talon.” I chuckle, “You did!” pausing to glance at Kaliyo, “Lots of good loot.” Causing the Rattataki to frown. “That’s too bad,” Kaliyo says, rather grumpily, before smirking, “Ash, here, though made himself a new friend.” Both Jaida’s and mine’s eyebrows knit together, as we ask, “Who?” Ash frowns, glancing at Kaliyo who’s smirking smugly, “Darth Jadus’ successor on the Dark Council, his daughter Darth Zhorrid.” I frown, “Jadus’ successor?” Ash sighs, “Jadus’ ship, the Dominator, blew up while we were in the Dark Temple last week, taking a thousand or more with it, including as we believe, Jadus himself.” Jaida glances at me, “That must be why Dad had to leave before we did to meet with Zhorrid.” I nod, “Seems likely. Bet Zoë is glad Jadus is gone.” Jaida chuckles, “Yeah, I’d be too. Anyway, let’s get this over with.” Mako, who’s being oddly silent, nods in agreement and together we begin walking towards the front of the Spaceport until we’re stopped by an enthusiastic Imperial.

            “My Lords, welcome to Balmorra. I hope you like bombed to pieces mudholes. Captain Rigel, Imperial Conquest Consolidation Corps. When the Empire invades, we’re the ones to seal the deal. Don’t suppose you’re aware of the situation here on Balmorra?” Ash sighs, crossing his arms, “I’ve been briefed, but we could use more details.” Rigel nods, “It’s war, bloody and limitless. The Empire invaded Balmorra in the last war, but we’ve been spinning our wheels in the mud ever since. Resistance fighters think they can drive the Empire off Balmorra. We’re here to prove them wrong.” Ash frowns, “How hard can it be to put down a few resistances?” Rigel glances at him, “It’s just not a few. They’re well organized and well-armed, but they can be broken. The Balmorran government-in-exile, backed by Minster of Defense Vol Argen, is giving us fits, backing a strong faction of the resistance. The Minster is safely off-world, but if we break his allies here, we break him. We break him, we break the resistance.” Ash frowns once more, looking deep in thought, “Why hasn’t Imperial Intelligence been brought in?” Rigel frowns, sparing him another glance, “This is our assignment. Intelligence has their hands full with whatever they do. All they’d do is cut off ‘resistance’s’ head, without removing his power base, which means some other idealist is bound to take over. We need to dismantle his power base then remove the so-called head,” he then returns his attention to Allura and myself, “Do we have the privilege of your support?” I glance at Jaida, Ash, and Allura and seeing them nod, I state “Seems like a worthy task. If anything, it should be intriguing.” Rigel smirks, bowing his head slightly, “You have our heartfelt appreciation, my Lord. My second in command, Lieutenant Davrill, is masterminding phase one of what we like to call ‘Operation Breaking Point.’ You’ll find him in Sobrik’s military offices. He’s got plans to blow the Balmorran resistance sky-high, I think you’ll like them.” Thea simply nods as he salutes, and we begin walking away.

             “If there’s anyone you need to speak with, we should do it before speaking to Davrill,” I state once we’re in the ‘fresh air’ of Sobrik. “Ugh, it smells!” Vette exclaims, “Does every Imperial world reek?” Mako chuckles, shaking her head as I glare at the Twi’lek. The slicer sniffs the air, “Actually it smells better than Hutta, so that’s a plus.” Jaida chuckles, “Everything smells better than Hutta, Mako.” Mako laughs, “True enough.” Ash laughs at the two, “So Kaliyo and I have to go check in, but we’ll meet you at the military offices.” My sisters and I nod before we head to where we each need to go, which is, funnily enough, the military offices. We laugh at that as we head there together. Vette and I find Lieutenant Quinn’s office fairly quickly, as it’s one of the first offices on the right. “Do you think this Lieutenant will be cute?” Vette asks once the others are out of earshot. I chuckle, “Why, Vette? I thought you didn’t like Imperials?” She snorts, “I don’t. I was thinking of you. You may need some cheering up after Klemral. Besides, I bet he’s another spineless weasel.” I chuckle, “A bet, Vette? You’ll on,” oh please maker let him not be. When we enter, I can feel the passion, anger, and fear of the two occupants and I instantly silence Vette as she opens her mouth, with a shake of my head. Both occupants are Imperial officers, one a young shaking blonde Human man, the other… I swallow, the other an older handsome Human man with pale skin and raven black hair. I even hear Vette’s sharp intake of air, as we go to lean against one of the walls. I can feel the young man shake his head, “No, sir. I apologize, sir. It’s the best we could do.” The barely contained anger of the older man, overcomes him then and I have to swallow once more at the intensity of his emotions, “If that’s your best, you’re all useless to me,” as he grabs the younger man by the collar of his uniform, “I can shoot you all dead with a clear conscience. Is that what you what?” Something calms his anger, guilt washing over him as the boy says, “N—no, sir!” Then just like that the emotions raging from the man vanish as he says, “Than focus, Jillins. Dismissed.” As the young man, Jillins, scampers away I turn my back to the man I now know is Baras’ Lieutenant, letting him recover as I can tell he’s one who values professionalism over anything else. Vette points her head in his direction when he’s calmed, so I turn walking toward him, slightly pleased at his reaction, a swallow and eyes widening.

             “I apologize for the delay, my Lord,” he states, once he recovers from his shock, immediately bowing, “Lieutenant Malavai Quinn, I’m to be your liaison here on Balmorra.” I chuckle at his formality, “Apprentice Asha’Ari,” pausing as I hear Vette shuffle, so I glance back at her and shaking my head. Vette slumps slightly before noticing the Lieutenant’s eyes have drifted to her and she stands taller. I chuckle, knowing since I brought attention to her an introduction is needed, “and Vette. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance,” bowing my head slightly. I smirk, when I feel Quinn’s surprise, recognizing an introduction of the Kaasian Court. He acts in kind, bowing at the waist, however, without grabbing and kissing my hand, “And to you, my Lord. Lord Baras will brief you personally, but I’m to acquaint you with the climate here on Balmorra first.” I smile slightly, noticing how nervous he has become, nodding “Then please proceed.” He swallows and his earlier emotions, passion and anger, return but dulled, “Even though the Empire wrestled control of Balmorra from the Republic during the war, we were never able to completely eradicate them. There is a rather sizable resistance movement. No one wants to admit it, but it’s clear the Republic is backing it.” I frown, “Maybe I’ll have time to do something about that.” I can sense his pleasure, dulled like everything else, “Something tells me your presence here will leave an indelible impression on the state of things. And I look forward to it,” pausing as he turns to the Holo controls, “I have a secure line to Lord Baras. I’ll patch him through immediately.” I sigh, not wanting to speak with my Master and have this Lieutenant disappear, especially with the view he gives.

             “Ah,” Baras states as he appears, “I see you’ve convened with my apprentice. Very good, Lieutenant. Leave us.” I suppress a groan as Quinn bows to both my Master and myself before walking into his quarters, my eyes unconsciously following him which Baras notices. “Quinn owes his career to me, but we should keep the details of your mission between the two of us.” I nod, lowering my hood, as he continues, “We must act swiftly, Nomen Karr’s Padawan has directed the Jedi’s suspicions to my undercover spy there on Balmorra. Do you recall this?” I roll my eyes internally, “Of course, Master. I remember everything.” The end of Girk Sonosan is a nightmare that continues to haunt me. “Good. I’ll get to the point then,” I smirk internally as I begin to pace, “My spy is Commander Rylon of the Republic resistance. He is the central contact for all my operatives in this sector. Unfortunately, Quinn is tracking an investigator that the Jedi have sent. That means we have to cover our tracks before you kill Rylon. Your first mandate is to destroy evidence that links Rylon to the sabotaging of Balmorra’s defense systems during the war. To do so, you must break into the satellite control tower. Quinn reports that the tower is a death trap of mechanical security.” I halt my pacing to look at my Master, “I’ll handle anything that dares get in my way.” I frown slightly, at his lack of reaction as he continues, “This task is priority one. The Jedi’s investigator could be zeroing in on the evidence as we speak. Quinn has everything you’ll need. I’ll summon him back. Remember, he is not to know the reason for your mission. I’ll be in touch.” With that Baras disappears and Quinn walks out of his quarters, beginning as soon as he stops in front of me, “My Lord, I’ve prepared what you need for your assault on the Satellite control tower. In order to destroy the mainframe, you’ll mount this charge to the base and activate it. Then contact me and I’ll be able to detonate.” I chuckle internally, jutting out a hip, “After I am at a safe distance away, correct?” I nearly chuckle as he stiffens, “Yes, of course, my Lord! That goes without saying. One hundred meters should suffice. I apologize for not specifying.” This time I do chuckle, “Don’t worry yourself, Lieutenant. I know that you weren’t trying to get me killed.” Movement tears his piercing blue eyes from me, no doubt Vette trying not to laugh, “Of course not, my Lord. Best of luck to you out there.”

             I smirk just as I hear his office door open, causing Vette to walk to my side, and whisper, “Klemral is here.” My eyes widen as I turn away from Quinn, and I feel a pang of disappointment from him. Klemral smirks crookedly, his eyes running over me in a silent hunger, reminding me of his name Shâsot’Ari, Lord of Passion. I feel anger from the Lieutenant as Klemral bows, “Pleasure to see you once more, my Lady.” I laugh slightly as he grabs my hand placing a kiss on it, his grey eyes never moving from mine. His smirk grows larger as I say, “It’s a surprise every time, Klemral. I didn’t think we’d see you again after Kaas.” He shrugs before pulling me closer, my heartbeat increasing, “I’m just glad I have another opportunity to do this,” then leaning down and kissing me passionately. I reciprocate, losing myself in his raging passion, forgetting that we aren’t alone. Anger and… jealousy rolls from the Lieutenant, but I am too deep in Klemral’s emotions, to recognize it. A throat clearing, helps me return to reality and pull away from Klemral, placing a hand on his chest when he tries to continue the kiss with a shake of my head. “I’m sorry, Klem, but I have time sensitive business to deal with,” I state simply, glancing at Vette, who’s frowning her eyes switching from myself to the Lieutenant. I silently curse myself for my lack of awareness, as I follow her gaze to Quinn who’s rigid. Knowing an apology is required, I face him, “I apologize, Lieutenant, for interrupting you,” ending with a soft smile. His nod is minuscule, and I abruptly turn to walk to his office door, unable to look him in the eyes after that, but I still feel the need to continue, “And best of luck to yourself,” then walking out of the office completely, Vette closely behind. “What was that, Thea?” Vette states, more like scolds. “I lost myself… the emotions rolling off Klemral were intoxicating,” much like Quinn’s if he didn’t hide them. Vette scoffs, “Sure… I was afraid the Lieutenant was going to punch him like Paxton did last week.” I frown glancing at her, with a shake of my head, “I’m sure he wouldn’t fall to such ‘crude’ behavior.” Vette snort, “Yeah… well you didn’t see his reaction. Looked like a vein was going to pop or that he’d break both of his hands.” I roll my eyes, not believing Vette, as Jaida and Mako turn the corner no doubt coming from an office deeper inside the Military Offices district. Jai lifts an eyebrow as they approach, silently asking, ‘Is everything okay?’ I nod as Vette runs to talk to Mako, my sister simply shakes her head, disbelieving, as she stops at my side. “What do you think they’re talking about?” I ask changing the subject. Jaida blushes, “Probably about a flirtatious Officer.” My eyes immediately flick to Klemral as he exits, Jaida’s following as she asks, “Who’s that?” seeing him wink at me as he gets on a speeder bike.

             “Klemral, another one of Baras’ apprentices,” I state simply, my eyes returning to the door of Lieutenant Quinn’s office. “There’s a story there, I can tell,” motioning to my face as she tries not to chuckle. I scoff, “Just like there’s a story between you and Ash.” Her eyes widen, “Oh, really. I have to hear this one.” I nearly groan, thankful when I see Ash and Kaliyo approach both looking like Balmorrans. Ash walks to Jaida’s side kissing her, before looking at me, “Where’s Allura?” I shrug, “I don’t know. What’s all this for?” motioning at his clothes. He grimaces, “Going undercover,” he grumbles. Jaida and I laugh, “Perfect.” His eyes narrow, “Not funny,” finishing just as Allura, Khem and Matt exit the office we’re leaning against. “Ready to meet to meet with Davrill?” Ash asks, not moving from Jaida’s side. Luna raises an eyebrow at him, which makes him chuckle, and Jaida touches our baby sister’s mind, ‘He’s going undercover.’ Luna glances at her before nodding and I clap, “Let’s see what ‘Operation Breaking Point’ is all about.” Mako and Vette chuckle as we head toward Lieutenant Davrill’s office. As we walk in, we see the only occupant with his back towards us, a man with jet black hair in Imperial uniform sans the hat. Davrill seems to enjoy staring off into the distance more than any incoming dangers, or visitors. The Dashade grunts and Allura chuckles, causing the rest of us to glance at them both and the Lieutenant to jump.

             “My Lords, Cipher, Huntress,” Davrill begins recovering quickly and ignoring our companions. “Word of your talent precedes you. I’m honored,” he continues bowing to Allura and myself, saluting Ash, and bowing his head to Jaida, “You are well aware of the situation I’m sure. The government in exile, the resistance, cowards,” he sneers, “If, the four of you are willing, we’re going to bury them in their little hidey holes.” Khem growl grunts again, however, this time Allura translates, “What’s war without bloodshed?!” Davrill grins, his brown eyes lighting up in mirth, “I like how you both think! The old government’s sending generators to the resistance, powering their artillery. The resistance has given pardons to Balmorra’s worst killers in exchange for a little guard duty. Phase one of ‘Operation Breaking Point’ is to destroy those generators and put those killers to sleep. You in?” Kaliyo smirks, as Ash glances at her, nearly groaning, before looking at each of us and our nods, “We are in, Lieutenant.” Davrill grins, “Excellent! The generators are in the Neebray Warehouse. If you can blow them to pieces, you’ll show the Balmorran resistance it takes more than cold-blooded killers to stop the Empire,” and with that, he walks away, towards two entering soldiers. We share a glance before leaving, taking that as our dismissal. Heading back towards the Spaceport we see one of the Toovee’s, mine, standing by four luxury speeders. “Oh! Aah! Greetings mistress,” he says bowing to me, “You left before I could inform you of your speeder. And my fellow droids noticed that your companions forgot as well so we saw fit to deliver them to you.” I chuckle, “Thank you, Arrtoo.” Allura smiles as well, “And thank the others for us.” Arrtoo glances at her before nodding, “Of course, it is our pleasure to serve.” Before quickly retreating, my eyes following it slightly amused. “Is all our Toovees’ afraid?” Mako asks, her eyes following the scurrying droid as well. I laugh, “I believe so, Mako. Masters aren’t known to be kind to those below them.” Vette grimaces and I send her a warning glance, shaking my head, Not now Vette. We each get into our speeders, that ironically correspond with the color of our Toovees, heading to the Gorinth Canyon.

             “So, I need to leave you now,” Ash begins once we stop near Troida, a military workshop, “Need to go speak with a friend.” Jaida frowns as he glances at her, “Come with me, Jai?” My sister nods, “Can ya’ll take care of Operation Breaking Point?” I nod, chuckling at her worry, “Three blasters, two Sith and a Dashade should be enough to defeat murders.” Jaida chuckles, “Then see you in a bit. We’ll meet back here, yes?” Allura and I both nod then the four returns to their speeders, heading to wherever Cipher Nine needs to go. My sister and I share a glance before restarting our speeders and heading to Neebray Warehouse, which is fairly easy to spot as the freed prisoners are fighting amongst themselves. I shed my robe then smirk, before Force leaping in a group of them, “Problems, gentlemen?” Chuckling when they attack, letting a couple get a few swings in that I dodge, only frowning when I need to block incoming blaster fire. I ignite a single lightsaber, blocking the shots with ease, while the prisoners around me scatter. That gives Matt and Vette an opening as Khem roars in delight running in a mass of them swinging his vibrosword, cutting down those in his path. A few moments later, Allura’s lavender lightning joins the fray. It doesn’t take long to clear out the entrance to the warehouse and we enter removing any resistance we come across. The ‘guards’ inside are as clueless as the ones outside, fighting amongst themselves until they slowly realize the true threat. Price grins when he sees the generators before he shoots both causing them to blow. Vette glares at him, “You could’ve warned me you know!” Matt just shakes his head, chuckling, “Isn’t as much fun.” Vette glares at him continuously even once we’re back on the speeders, causing both my sister and I to roll our eyes. Luna stops Matt from continuing when we near an abandoned Republic Lab, I stop shortly after them. “What’s up?” I ask simply when Luna gets out of the speeder.

             “It’s just a shortstop,” Allura states with a small smile, “I need information inside.” I frown, glancing at the lab embedded in the mountain, “There’s Colicoids in there, sis. Bugs you don’t want to mess with.” She smirks, “Exactly why I need inside.” I groan, shaking my head, “Then we go together. There’s no way I’m letting you inside a Colicoid nest by yourself,” pausing as Matt opens his mouth, “And neither you or Khem count. You’ll need all the help you can get.” Luna sighs but nods, before running enthusiastically inside the lab, I roll my eyes collecting a couple of scraps of cloth I took from the fallen ‘guards,’ knowing the smell we’ll be met with inside. I enter seeing my baby sister gagging as I stop beside her, “Best to not breath through your mouth and nose without a filter of some sort,” my mechanical voice muffled by the cloth over my nose and mouth. She grimaces, nodding and grabbing an extra piece of cloth and tying in around her face as Matt and Vette enter. Vette makes a face before doing what we have as Matt crinkles his nose before doing the same, Khem, however, does something to cause Luna to glare at him. Once we’ve saved our noses and lungs, we enter the elevator taking us into the lab itself where we’re met with the cause of the smell, the Colicoids. The bugs are much larger mostly all full adults, nearly 1.3 to 2 meters tall with four spindly but muscular legs holding up their rounded bodies and their flat rounded heads. I notice Allura staring as the nearest one curls into a ball, its massive body folding into itself as it tucks its legs to its body. It rolls closer to its relatives before quickly rolling towards us, unfurling just before it reaches us. Allura lets out a petrified scream as she watches it leap towards her. I silently curse, igniting a lightsaber that I run through the Colicoid’s chest. Matt is at her side seconds later, pulling her to his chest trying his best to calm her as shakes rake her body. “Keep her safe, Price,” I state, finishing just as more Colicoids attack. “Always,” is Matt’s response as I turn to face the Colicoids. I hear Allura say, “I’m fine, Matt,” as the last nearby Colicoid falls. I look back just in time to see my baby sister kiss him which he returns seconds later, as if its second nature, and I wonder when all this started… Allura is also the one to break the kiss, whispering, “I need that data, Matt, okay? I’m fine.” Matt frowns once more but nods, my throat clearly forcing him to distance himself. Embarrassed, Luna turns glancing at me. She swallows nervously, glancing back at Matt who’s trying to avoid looking in my general direction, similarly to how Ash did.

             “If the two of you are done, can we continue?” I state, unable to remove the slight growl in my voice, as my eyes narrow at Matt who’s still avoiding me. Allura simply nods, distancing herself from the pilot. Vette is fighting a laugh, probably seeing the similarities between my sisters and I, as Luna passes her, and the Twi’lek wraps an arm around her shoulder as they walk together. We deal with the remaining Colicoids without much hassle, and no breakdowns, though I still continue glaring at Price. Once the lab is cleared, Allura goes to the nearest terminal to access the lab’s data, touching something as a holo of an older man in his late thirties appears, “Progress on the experiments is not going without a hitch, but we seem to have overcome the initial obstacles we faced when we began. Recently, Team Five reported that the subjects responded positively to the waste from the hazard vault. Our only remaining concern is that the casualty rate seems to have gone up in this round of testing. So far, we’ve lost two of our best scientists and three research assistants. At this rate, we almost can’t afford to be successful. At any rate, I have recorded the formula for the chemical compound that has thus far produced the best results. I have also diagrammed its structure and how I believe it interacts with the subjects’ cell structure and the toxic waste. Hopefully, we will be able to figure out the cause of the rise in the subjects’ ferocity and eliminated casualties from here forward.” The holographic man disappears as the chemical formula’s and his other findings appear on the screen of the terminal. I frown, wondering what the subjects were and why my sister needs that data. I can tell I’m not alone in that as Matt joins me in staring at her with our arms crossed. “What was that about, Luna?” I ask, a slight bite in my voice. My sister just grins, “My data I came for.” My eyes narrow, “No, really!? I figured that, Allura, why do you need it?” She sighs, not liking all the questioning, “It is for a new associate of mine. Now shall we meet up with the others?” I give her one final glance, more of a glare, before spinning on my heel and swiftly heading to the elevator, my baby sister following closely after.

             Cipher, Kaliyo, Jaida, and Mako are waiting right where we left them just outside Troida. “Hey, there you are,” Ash begins when he and the other spot us, “We were starting to get a little worried.” I chuckle slightly as I answer, “Sorry. Luna here had a side mission with Colicoids.” Jaida’s eyes widen as Mako and Ash frown before the slicer gasps, no doubt using her implant to search the Holonet. Ash glances at Mako, his frown turning into a grimace seeing the slicer’s expression of horror, “Why do I get the impression that they aren’t nice?” Jaida chuckles, rather darkly, “Because you’re smart, Ash,” ending with a kiss on his cheek. His face darkens slightly like he’s remembering something unpleasant which causes Jaida to sigh before she gets in her speeder. The ride back to Sobrik is a silent one, even when we stop at the Military offices no one speaks so it eerily quiet as we walk to Davrill’s office. “Must’ve been imagining things, but I could’ve sworn I heard those generators go ‘pop’ from here,” Davrill begins immediately. Matt smirks as Davrill turns, “Thank you, my Lords, Cipher, Huntress, but it looks like the resistance isn’t done yet.” Kaliyo crosses her arms, “I should think that blowing up their guns leaves little room for misunderstanding.” Davrill only glances at her before return his attention to the rest of us as he answers, “They’re a stubborn bunch. Used to be we kept the resistance is check in the wilds, but now they’ve started to get bolder. They’re attacking Imperial holdings in the old Balmorran industrial area. We need to punish their boldness. Lieutenant Thorpe at Markaran Outpost has some ideas about how to put the resistance back in their place,” and with that he walks away once more. Ash grimaces as we exit, “This should be fun.” Kaliyo chuckles, “That it should, Agent. I knew partnering up with you’d be fun.” Ash glances at her, slightly rolling his eyes as we walk towards the Major’s office. “Khem and I will be with you shortly,” Allura states before walking briskly inside the office with the Imperial pilot trailing behind. “So, what’s up with the two of them?” Jaida asks, “I could practically feel your anger, sis.” I frown, knowing she can but it’s for Ash’s benefit, “They kissed.” Jaida’s eyes widen as Ash sputters, “W—what?” I chuckle at that, “I don’t know how long this has been going on, but I know what I saw. Allura kissed him and he eagerly reciprocated.”

             Jaida frowns, “Well that’s a development. Father doesn’t know, couldn’t have known or he wouldn’t have let him…” she trials of knowing if she says more Ash might figure out who our Father is. Ash, however, surprises us with a nod, “I wouldn’t have let him be anywhere near her either, but I’ve never known him to act like this.” Jaida and I share a glance, well that’s out of the bag then. We fall silent after both my sister and I nod until the three rejoin us. “To the wilds?” Jaida asks when they exit, her eyes flicking from Matt to Luna. Our baby sister nods and we silently get into our speeder heading to Markaran outpost. The outpost itself is small but full of weary soldiers, Lieutenant Thorpe is just outside the outpost’s wall in a metal Adirondack, another person with his back to any newcomers. “I hear your exploits with Lieutenant Davrill went well,” Thorpe begins without turning around, “I hope you didn’t find him crass, my Lords. Unlike my esteemed colleague, I do not base my mission success on the decibel level of the explosions. Breaking the spirits of a resistance movement is like cooking a fine meal.” Khem growls, Allura chuckles only translating when she gets questioning glances, “I don’t do dinner service.” I glance at the Dashade, and I’m not alone in that. “Ah, funny,” Thorpe says after a nervous glance at Khem, “The resistance has the people’s backing. We must crush the spirits of the people to crush the resistance. No doubt Lieutenant Davrill told you that they’ve brought in cyborg mercenaries from off-world, using an experimental new drop technology to land them on the planet. These cyborgs are killing our soldiers left and right.”

             “I’d be more than happy to short out their circuits,” Ash states a slight growl in his voice. “Delightful,” Thorpe responds with a slight smirk, “I believe we can catch them by surprise at this location,” pausing as he hands a data chip to me, “But here’s the key, I want to send the Balmorran people a clear message. We collect the technology the cyborgs used to drop onto Balmorra, and use it against them. Kill the cyborgs, collect the technology. What do you think?” Ash answers, “You have a devious mind.” Thorpe smirks in response, “Bring me the cyborg technology, and I think the Balmorran people will get our message loud and clear,” finishing with a salute and a bow. “So, what does everyone have to do?” Jaida asks as we step away from the lieutenant, looking out at the wilds; the Markaran Plains. “Destroying a satellite control tower,” I state simply, motioning to our right to a building embedded in the mountain next to us. Allura shakes her head, slightly laughing, “Extract someone from,” pausing to look at her map, “Camp Kono Nolan.” Ash frowns glancing at her, “Do we want to know why?” She shakes her head, “Nope!” Ash’s frown deepens, “Going to the Okara Droid Factory.” Jaida glances at him, “Same.” I clap, “So let’s deal with those cyborgs then we split up.” Everyone nods, and we head to the location Thorpe pointed out, right in the center of the plains. Some cyborgs are already on the ground, calling for back up once they spot us. Fortunately, dispatching them doesn’t take much effort so it’s a wonder why our soldiers failed against them. All in all, we gather five rocket pack each, which we load onto one of our speeders then we split up; the Hunters and Agents heading to Okara Droid Factory tucked inside the same mountain that’s behind Allura’s camp, and Vette and myself heading to the tower. I groan when I spot what’s blocking us from the tower, nearly two dozen war droids. I hear Vette grumble just before I Force leap into a large jump of them. I feel her exasperation as she most likely rolls her eyes before backing me up. We carve an effective path to the entrance of the tower, pleased that all droids are down for when we retreat and thankful that there are fewer droids inside. We carve another path to the elevator that takes us deeper into the tower, farther underground, then carve yet another destructive path to the console we must destroy. I place the charge in the correct position before heading back out. My holo rings just as Vette and I step one hundred meters from the tower.

             “My Lord, I mark your process,” he begins once his image solidifies, “and see that the charge is armed. I will detonate once you are a safe distance. But first, I have Lord Baras on Holo for you. I will retreat and leave the line secure for the two of you.” I stop a groan as my Master appears, “Asha’Ari, we have one more potentially compromising thing to take care of before you can confront my spy Commander Rylon. It involves invading a Republic keep, to find a lowly ensign named Durmat. He is Rylon’s son, and the commander confided his true identity to him. Ensign Durmat must be silenced, permanently.” I grimace internally, “Maybe the son can be trusted?” tired of playing this endless game of cat and mouse. “I don’t leave loose ends. And all indications are that Rylon’s son is a very loose end. I’ll signal Quinn to give you the details. Be swift.” Quinn appears just as Baras finishes, “My Lord, Ensign Durmat is being detained in the brig of the Republic crater outpost, awaiting questioning later tomorrow by the mysterious agent Baras has me tracking. I will alert you if the investigator appears to be heading there. I assume you wish to get to Durmat before she does.” I frown slightly, knowing how dangerous it is if he learns of my mission as Baras doesn’t like ‘loose’ ends, “Be careful with your assumptions, Lieutenant, but you are correct.” I can feel him grimace, “My apologies, my Lord. My inquiring mind often gets the best of me. May I suggest that you descend upon the Ensign tomorrow.” I chuckle, glancing at Vette leaning heavily on a nearby boulder, “Sounds wise, Quinn. We’ll speak with you tomorrow.” He nods, “Good luck on your mission, my Lord. I’ll be here if you need anything,” then ends the call. The sound of a large explosive goes off behind us, the ground rumbling underneath as we head to the Imperial outpost.

             “Word has it the former Balmorran Minister of Defense, Vol Argen, got wind of your work destroying the generators at Neebray Warehouse. He’s furious,” Thorpe begins once we approach, his eyes lighting up as his soldiers unload the speeder seeing all the rocket packs, “I can’t wait to hear his reaction when we attack him with his own cyborgs’ gear. Perfect.” Ash chuckles, “Maybe he’ll decide to come here and fight, so we can kill him.” Thorpe chuckles, “We’ll do our utmost to provoke him. To reach the resistance’s main base, we need to push through the Gorinth Wilds. But the resistance has repelled all Imperial offensives with guerrilla attacks from this untamed, and largely uncharted, area,” his disgust clear in his voice, “A Balmorran defector, Cavill Arin, has agreed to help us clear out the wilds and carve a path to the resistance’s base. He’s at the Gorinth Imperial Outpost,” with that he salutes sharply, before bowing to Allura and myself, before walking towards his men. We quickly enter the outpost, finding a secluded spot to talk amongst ourselves. “So Mako and I need to return to Sobrik,” Jaida states. Ash frowns, “we still need to…” Jaida sighs, “I’ll go with you. Do we want to speak with this Cavill Arin tomorrow?” I nod, “I think that’s best. I believe Colicoids get more vicious at night, and Sobrik has a much better selection of rooms.” Vette chuckles, “Ha, funny. Better than going back to Mercy.” Everyone eyebrows rise so I clarify, “Mercy is our ship that Vette named.” Jaida chuckles, “Nice choice. No one would expect it to be a Sith’s ship…” I narrow my eyes at her, “Hush! Now come on, the faster we get to Sobrik the faster we won’t be on Balmorra.” Ash chuckles, “Jaida will join you in Sobrik. Kaliyo and I are probably on surveillance.” Jaida frowns as I shake my head before we all enter our speeders.

             We stop at Sunken Sarlacc cantina, that’s the farthest one from the Spaceport and one of the nicest in Sobrik. Both Allura and I get a suite for the night, one that has two bedrooms, before we tiredly head up to them. Once we reach the rooms, Vette and I enter, the Twi’lek nearly collapsing in a heap on the sofa until I tsk her. She grudgingly gets up walking to her room, the smaller of the two. I chuckle, amused at the tired Twi’lek before entering my own for a shower to rid myself of the smell of the Colicoids. After a long, not as nice shower, I dress and sit on my bed to holo Papa. He appears quickly, still in his Imperial Keeper uniform, “Ah, Thea, my dear, why do I have the pleasure of a call.” I grimace, “I believe my ship is bugged, Papa.” He frowns, “By who, my dear?” I snort, “By who else, Papa?! My master, of course!” He growls, “He wouldn’t dare.” My face softens, “He would though, probably wouldn’t even think twice. I may be his apprentice now but I’m still his rival’s daughter.” He nods thoughtfully, “Do you know how?” I grimace, “Holocams most likely. Both Vette and I feel as though we are being watched while on board. Probably even with sound.” He frowns, before smiling slightly, “Than you have the perfect opportunity to use my latest invention.” I chuckle, “I thought you gave up your idea’s when you became Keeper, Papa.” He shakes his head, “And waste a perfect chance to rub in that a grandfather can outsmart newer ‘advanced’ agents?! I think not!” I laugh, “Oh, Papa, you priceless.” He smirks, “Thank you, my dear. It just so happens there’s someone on planet that has a box. I’ll have him send you it along with upgrades I’m sure you and your sisters will adore.” I chuckle, “Thank you, Papa.” He grins, “You are most welcome, my dear. Now go enjoy Balmorra.”

Chapter Text

|Chapter 11|

Ending a Legend

=-=-=-=-=-=

            Morning came with a body landing itself on top of me before they break into giggles. I groan, opening one eye to see the blue Twi’lek smirking at me, her lavender eyes bright and crinkled, her Lekku rolling off her shoulders barely touching the covers of the bed, “Off Vette.” She chuckles not moving, “Good Morning!” in a sing-song voice. I frown, “Get off, Vette.” She frowns, “Nope!” I groan, throwing my head back into the pillow, “Why?!” I look up to see her smirk, “Because first, you must agree that you find Quinn attractive. I’ve seen how you look at him. And second, you didn’t say the magic word!” I shut my eyes, “Vette!” I hear her chuckle, “Say it!” I frown, wishing I could put my pillow over my face, “Vette, please get off me.” More giggles, “Almost there, just have to admit you like Quinn!” Now I’m beginning to want to hit her with my pillow instead, but I give in, “Fine. The Lieutenant is very attractive.” Vette giggles before getting off me and I exclaim, “Thank you, Vette,” ending with a slight glare in her direction. She smirks proudly, “You’re welcome! Now get dressed, I’m famished!” I roll my eyes at her as I get off the bed and shoo her away. The Twi’lek sticks her tongue out at me before doing just that. I stretch, frowning slightly feeling irritation and unease rolling from Allura. I try my best to shake it off as I dress in a strapless corset, black leather pants with cutouts along the sides with black leather boots and double-wrapped belt where my dual lightsabers rest. I take some time to do my make-up in the Kaasian style, lavender on the eyes and soft glossy pink lipstick. As I walk out, however, I do grab my mask sliding it into my bag, that I shrug over my shoulder as Vette and I head downstairs to eat breakfast. We get there first, though Jaida and Mako come shortly later before we’ve ordered. Allura, Matt, and Khem come a bit later, those emotions still rolling off my baby sister as she eats silently. Once she’s finished we head to our speeders, where we both put on our masks.

            Allura’s silence continues when we’re there, even as she goes to hug Ash. We find Cavill Arin, the Balmorran defector Lieutenant Thorpe told us to go to next. His Balmorran heritage is clear when we approach, his skin tanned from working in the sun, his appearance ragged and dirty. Nearly every Imperial avoids him, and they give us nasty looks, or they do until they see the lightsabers on our hips, as we near the Balmorran. Cavill’s eyes widen when he sees us, and I note that he doesn’t have his back to us. Khem makes a rather alarming sound that has us all, minus his mistress, glancing at him nervously. “My lords,” the Balmorran begins, his eyes flicking nervously to Ash and Jaida, unsure of how to greet them, as he bows his head in greeting, “My respect. How do you like Balmorra so far? Doesn’t seem like much, does it?” Kaliyo frowns crossing her arms, “I thought this was an Imperial operation.” Cavill stiffens fearfully, “I thought the lieutenant would’ve told you. I’m Balmorran. But I’m also a businessman. Patriotism is bad for business. So is death but only to a point.” Kaliyo smirks, “I’m going to like you.” Ash glances at her, as he motions for Cavill to continue, “Resistance stealth troops have been infiltrating Imperial outposts, making quick strikes and leaving no trace. The Empire says they can’t be beaten. I say they can.”

            “What did you have in mind?” Jaida asks, crossing her arms. “You don’t see them until they kill you. That’s what they say. but I built the tech they use to keep hidden. Their camp’s in the Gorinth Wilds, but they’ve surrounded it with mines to keep strangers out. Watch your step, and you can use this device to detect the stealthed fighters. They’re fast though. If I may offer advice strike quick and hard.” We nod, walking away to look at a holomap of the area, each of us pointing out where we have to go, different Republic holdings within the same area, Outpost Victory. Our new task from Cavill is between us and there. Once we have a plan: Allura searching with the Force for the mines while Ash uses the device to reveal the fighters, then everyone attacking them. Our plan works perfectly as I leap from revealed fighter to revealed fighter. When we can find no more, we continue to Outpost Victory, fighting through the Republic forces easily. Allura is the first to separate from the group entering the first facility we run across. Vette and I are next to separate but once we’re off of the curved catwalk and on solid ground. The others continue through a crevice in the rock, towards two caves and away from Outpost Victory itself. The brig itself is small with only a few guards inside that I silently remove. It’s so silent I can hear conversations from deeper inside. “Pipe down, Durmat,” says a deep masculine voice that must belong to the jailer, “There’s something going on outside. I’m trying to listen.” My guess is confirmed when a rather child-like voice says, “Come on, Zixx, throw me a bone. Who’s this agent that’s comin’ to interrogate me? At least answer me that, will ya?” I nearly giggle when I hear the jailer groan and hit something. Durmat continues “Fine, fine, stay clamped. I don’t care who it is. I ain’t talking. Nobody’s gonna get nothin’ outta of me. Nothin’……” The giggle turns into a groan a few, blissfully quiet, seconds later when the ensign continues, “All right, all right. I ain’t proud. I give! My dad’s an Imperial agent!” My fists tighten as we turn the corner seeing both the weak ensign and his jailer who says, “What did you say? You dad is a what?”

            “Yes, please repeat that junior,” I state simply walking right behind the jailer who has his back to me. Durmat’s eyes widen as he raised his hands to protect himself, “Oh… oh… oh… no.” Vette stifles a giggle as the jailer turns addressing us, “This is a restricted area. What are you doing here? Who are you?” Durmat turns out to be the smarter of the two in this case, “It’s—it’s not who, it’s what… S… S… Sith….” I smirk, “Bravo. That’s right, I’m Sith.” Vette does giggle when the jailer huffs, “Heh, like I couldn’t tell you were bad news the moment I saw you? Take a look behind yourself, Sith. That’s what two squads of the Republic’s finest looks like.” I barely even have to turn, sensing twelve soldiers behind me, “Order them to yield, or you’re all dead.” I nearly frown as the jailer laughs, “Surrender? You’re surrounded. Come on, men, let’s send this Sith home in a body bag.” Everyone opens fire with that, and I ignite my lightsaber just in time to reflect several shots back to their creator, causing half to fall. Vette takes that to her advantage, shooting the now wary soldiers and jailer. It doesn’t take long for all thirteen bodies to litter the ground. The jailer didn’t make it too far, as his body is in a heap beside Durmat’s cage, who’s calling desperately, “Zixx… Zixx, come on, talk to me Zixx… get up, man…” I frown shaking my head as I walk up to him, “Zixx can’t hear you, and getting up is a bit beyond his skill set right now.” That causes the ensign to look up at me fearfully as he swallows, “And I’m next? Right? Please… please, I—I know why you’re here. The—the Republic… the Republic’s investigating my dad… and an agent’s comin’ to put the screws to me… But… I won’t break, I promise. Let me live, my dad’s secret is safe with me. I-I’m a rock.” I nearly roll my eyes but settle for a scoff, “You’d crack the minute someone looked at you funny. I just heard you confess to Zixx.” Durmat swallows, momentarily glancing at the dead jailer, “Yeah, but he’s dead now, so he—he can’t tell anyone. My father’s done so much for the Empire. Maybe—maybe the apple fell off the tree, kinda of far from the tree, but—it’s still… the apple’s still…” Vette and I share a glance, wonder just what is wrong with this man as he continues, “Uh… not exactly sure where I was goin’ with that. Please don’t kill me!” At Vette’s sympathetic look, I sigh, “I’m willing to consider alternatives. Is there another solution?”

            “Hold on,” Durmat exclaims, his eyes lighting up, “Yeah! I just had a thought pop into my head. Quick, before it pops out! My assignment here was in the medical lab, movin’ supplies, and makin’ deliveries. The—the docs there were working on something really cool. It was a drug that was supposed to create temporary amnesia but wiped the mind totally clean. The test subjects didn’t even know their own names.” I tilt my head in thought, “So you want me to wipe your mind.” Vette chuckles as Durmat nods enthusiastically, “Wow… y—you Force users can really read thoughts. Yeah. You—you could break into the lab and bring back the drug. I’ll overdose and not know nothin’ no more. That way my dad’s secret identity is safe.” It could work, “You’ll be getting a second chance at life.” Durmat tilts his head, “I’ve never had a second chance before. The medlab is in the back of the building. The head doc kept a small supply of the drug in his footlocker. I’ll wait right here. Like I have a choice.” We enter the lab quickly, find the Amnesia drug even quicker as it's labeled then go back to Durmat. “Let’s see… and then there was the time I almost shot myself in the foot, that was a close one. What else…?” Durmat is apparently talking to himself until he sees us, “Oh, y-you’re back. I was just recallin’ my life. Tryin’ to remember the highlights, since I’m about to have my memory wiped clean. Think I’m done. Not much to reflect on… so, did you get the drug? I’m actually lookin’ forward to startin’ over.” I smile sadly as I hand it to him, “Try not to screw up your new life.” Durmat chuckles dejectedly, “At least if I do, hopefully, it will be in new and more exciting ways. Here goes nothin’, I guess,” I grimace as he injects himself. I nearly open the cage when he groans and collapses to the floor. Though just as I near, Durmat gets up like nothing happened, “Wuh…? Who are you?” Vette’s eyes widen as I state, “I’m your inquisitor. Tell me about Commander Rylon.” Durmat frowns, “I wish I could help you, but I don’t… I don’t know what that is.” I chuckle silently, “My work here is done. Goodbye.” Durmat gets in the last word, “Oh, this is where you work. Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow then. Bye-bye.” Vette giggles as we leave, “Wow, too bad there isn’t more of that drug—I got a few memories I could let go of.” I glance at her sympathetically, “Don’t we all.” Vette stiffs, then wrinkles her nose, “I’ll tell you, I’d like to forget the smell in here. Let’s move on, shall we?” I laugh slapping her on the back as we walk out, surprised to find Klemral running toward us. He’s panting heavily and nearly collapses on me as he hugs me tightly. Vette and I share an alarmed look before glancing at the recovering Klem. “Is everything alright?” I ask, rather fearfully. He swallows before answering, “I… I was worried you wouldn’t survive. Glad I was over—overreacting.” Vette giggles behind her hand as I sigh, wondering why he thought I’d fail. “So, you ran all this way to protect me,” I ask, raising an eyebrow. He blushes as he nods, and I smile at him, sweetly, “Well. Thank you for trying to be my hero, Klem.” I continue as we head to our speeder, “You know you could’ve rented one yourself instead of running.”

            Jaida and Ash join us as we get in then we start heading back to Gorinth Imperial Outpost. Allura joins us on the way so we’re all together to talk to Arin. “No more surprise attacks,” Cavill states as we approach, “Good. Captain Rigel is on holo. He wants a word with you.” At our nod, he activates the standing holo, then walks away just as Rigel’s image solidifies. “My Lords,” Rigel begins with a bow, “Cipher, Huntress. Allow me to express my deepest pleasure at working with you, Operation Breaking Point has been far more successful than I ever could’ve imagined. Word is the former Balmorran Minster of Defense, Vol Argen, might come down to Balmorra. He’s playing right into our hands.” I smirk as Jaida says, “I’m glad to see you’re so happy.” Rigel chuckles, “Now that the Wilds are secured, we’re ready for the final push. Colonel Vrain, head of Imperial Conquest Consolidation Corps, has come to oversee the action. He’s at the Sundari Outpost, in striking distance of the resistance’s main base. It’s now or never,” with that he disappears, and we walk away. “So, what’s next for everybody?” I ask. “Going back to Sobrik,” Jaida answers. Luna smirks, “Same. Have to return someone’s son.” Jaida and I frown at that as I say, “Sobrik, as well. Ash, you need to go check in right?” The Cipher nods, “Yes.” Jai glances at him, “Without me right.” Ash frowns, “Yeah. That’s probably for the best. Chem might get suspicious that we know each other.” My younger sister nods, “Good. Say hi to Sanju for me though,” she finishes with a smile. The agent frowns, looking at her with a pout, “Really, Jai?” She smirks, “Yep.” His eyes narrow, “I’m not kissing him for you though.” My eyes widen, glancing at my sister who blushes before kissing Ash’s cheek, “Sorry. Had to play the part, right?” Cipher growls, pulling her slightly closer and kissing her. Kaliyo rolls her eyes, “Any time, Agent.” Ash pulls away to glare at her then both walk away. Both Luna and I stare at her questionally and she blushes deeper, “I was someone’s girlfriend.” Allura chuckles, “Ash didn’t approve?” Mako giggles, “Not with Jai all over Sanju. But I think Ash likes him.” I raise an eyebrow, “So who were you, Mako?” Jai grins, “His cousin, they look like family. Worked well.” Mako nods as we reach our speeders, heading back to Sobrik.

            When Vette and I enter Quinn’s office, we see him anxiously pacing. He stops immediately, almost like he can sense our entrance, straightening to his full height. I smile slightly when I see him take in my appearance, glad I took off my mask this time around. He clears his throat, “I must be honest—your success at the Satellite control station and Republic crater outpost has surprised me, my Lord. I computed the likelihood of success as nearly negligible.” So, he’s the one who worried Klemral, I slightly chuckle as the Lieutenant continues, “In my assessment, however, I only considered the capabilities of a typical Sith. Clearly,” his piercing blue eyes lower slightly, “you are not a typical Sith. I will adjust future calibrations to account for your unprecedented abilities.” I blush at that, “Quinn, you know just what to say.” His pale complexion darkens ever so slightly as he glances at the floor, “I’m not too proud to acknowledge when I’m mistaken. Lord Baras is pleased. He says it’s time to zero in on your prime directive, and he awaits your contact. My quarters are yours. All you must do is activate the holo in the room to speak with Lord Baras. The line is secure.” I smile, finding him impeccably charming, “You’ve been most helpful, Quinn.” He swallows, bowing his head slightly, “I’ll be right here if needed, my Lord.” I smile at him once more before walking with Vette into his quarters. Vette glances around as I walk to the holo. Baras immediately appears, “I hope you can see the smile on my face, Asha’Ari. You are turning me into a true believer.” I bite my lip to stop my laugh and keep from staying, you are wearing a mask, master. Instead, I say, “Wait a minute, let me pinch myself.” Behind me, Vette snorts as Baras continues, “I’m sure you’re impatient to complete your time on that little rock. With the satellite tower computer destroyed and Commander Rylon’s son neutralized, my spy’s tracks are covered. Now, the only threat to Rylon ever being exposed is the man himself. It’s time to end that threat. Permanently.” I frown slightly, fighting the urge to cross my arms, “Do I have a choice in the matter?” To my surprise, Baras chuckles, “I like that idleness makes you disagreeable. Just be sure to give Commander Rylon an honorable death. It’s the least we can do. I’ve had him embedded with the enemy ranks for decades. The extent of his contribution to the Empire’s interests is unrivaled.” Baras' words of recognition and respect surprise me, even as I say, “The man is a hero. Pity he has to die.” Baras nods minutely, “He has always known the risk, Asha’Ari. The Jedi investigator must have no hard evidence that Rylon was killed to silence him. It must look like anything but a target execution—annihilate everyone there.” I sigh, “An apprentice’s work is never done.” Baras chuckles humorlessly, “Be glad of that. When I stop giving you work, you should be worried. I’ve summoned Lieutenant Quinn. He’ll prepare you for your final task,” I nod, and my Master disappears. Vette gives me a worried look as I lean against a nearby desk, though she only says, “Great more Lieutenant Stuffy Pants.”

            Quinn walks in with military stiffness any drill sergeant would be proud of, as I shake my head trying to keep from giggling. He stops, seeing where I am, and I fight the urge to rise quickly, like a child with their hand caught in the cookie jar. When he continues, it’s with confidence and precision, that I can’t help but admire as he stops directing in front of me, heading me a datapad. My eyebrows raise seeing the numbers I may well face, and I begin to dread this task even more so. Quinn clears his throat unnecessarily before he begins, “Your final target is the Balmorran Arms Factory. The resistance forces recently captured it and made it their headquarters. An incursion into the Arms Factory will be a monumental feat. I’m excited by the prospect of your laying waste to that place.” I freeze in my scrolling of his report as Vette giggles, causing me to realize he did indeed say what I thought he did. I smirk slightly as I glance at her, getting an idea, she’d be proud of, before looking at Quinn. I stare into his breath-taking eyes as I hand back the datapad, “So, I excite you, do I?” I watch entranced as he swallows, a slight but nonetheless there, blush dusting his cheeks as he flounders for words, “W-well, what I meant was…” He swallows once more, standing a little taller, his confidence returning, “What I meant was when I imagine all the ways you will shape the galaxy, I get very excited, yes.” I lift an eyebrow, “Is that all, Quinn? You could just admit that you like me.” I can sense his desire as he swallows, his eyes widening as I step closer, “My Lord, I hardly doubt that this is an appropriate time for such admittance.” I nearly curse myself forgetting, “I apologize, Quinn, you are quite right. Perhaps there’ll be another time, however, I think your quarters are quite suitable,” ending with a wink before glancing at Vette, who’s smirking widely, then stepping farther then I had been. Giving the Imperial officer distance and trying to rein my emotions back in, as well as silently lecturing myself on my actions. “I’ll grant you that, my Lord, and that—that is your prerogative,” Quinn states after swallowing, “May I continue to brief you on the Balmorran Arms Factory?” I simply nod, to in my own head to speak, and he continues, walking towards the large wall display showing a blueprint, I follow, stopping a few steps behind him, “All right. The Republic command center is deep inside the Arms Factory, the most heavily protected installation on the planet. In order to reach Commander Rylon, you will have to make your way past all of the factory’s defenses—which are considerable.”

            “Give me a rundown on those defenses,” I state rather formally. I can’t see his expression, but I can imagine his grimace, as I can sense his irritation at his next words, “Unknown, my Lord. But the resistance will certainly have state-of-the-art security and attack droids. Those inside the station alone are an estimated one thousand of the Republic’s best-trained soldiers. Specifically, Rylon’s elite squadron is responsible for some of the most precise, improbable resistance victories on Balmorra. They’re legendary.” I grimace, pity I have to kill them along with the traitor, “High praise indeed. Their honorable foes, too bad they are with the Republic.” He nods, facing me now, “The Empire’s cause here on Balmorra will be greatly advanced once they’re gone. One final thing: The investigator that the Jedi sent has been concentrating her activity around the Arms Factory,” a cough interrupts him. My eyes widen as I turn, sensing Klemral enter the lieutenant’s quarters as he says, “That’s why I’m going with you.” I chuckle, “Worried about me, are you?” He smirks, shaking his head “No, the Jedi investigator is my target.” Ah, I nod, “Very well, I’ll try to not interfere,” pausing as I reface the very irritated Imperial, “You were saying, Quinn?” I watch rather impressed as he nearly glares at the Sith behind me, “I have her under minute-by-minute surveillance. If she becomes a problem,” his unwavering gaze fall on me, “I’ll contact you.” I nod, smiling, fighting my emotions as well as his, “Glad I have you to watch out for me, Quinn.” He nearly smiles, “I’m on top of it. I’ll be here to salute you when the Balmorran Arms Factory is a smoking husk, my Lord.” I chuckle, giving up and winking at him, “Perhaps we can even celebrate, Lieutenant, if you’re up to it.” He swallows, “Perhaps, my Lord.” I grin as Quinn bows and we make our leave. “Great another impossible task,” Vette exclaims as the door shuts behind us. I chuckle, glancing at the Vette with a smile, “We’ll complete it just like the others, Vette, don’t worry.” Vette nods, “At least we have the others too besides Klem here.” Klemral glances at her, smiling slightly, “Thanks, Vette.” She grins before running past me outside. Allura, Khem, Matt, and an unknown man exit the office across from us the same time Klem and I do.

            “Jai might be a while, but we’ll eat before going,” I begin as we get closer, though my eyes follow Matt and the man. My baby sister nods, “Good. I’m itching to get off Balmorra.” I chuckle, “Shouldn’t be long now. By tomorrow we’ll be off.” Vette claps, “Good riddance.” I roll my eyes at the Twi’lek before Klem clears his throat, I blush immediately, “How rude of me. Klemral this is my adopted sister, Darth Zash’s apprentice, Saarai.” Allura frowns at ‘adopted,’ but wisely stays quiet as I introduce him, “Sis, this is Klemral…” Luna glances at me, no doubt remembering Vette’s story from the shuttle a week ago as I continue, correcting myself. “Shâsot’Ari, another one of my master’s apprentices.” Klemral bows at the waist, “Pleasure to meet you, Saarai.” My sister smiles slightly, “Same. So, I am guessing you met my sister on Korriban while we were acolytes?” He nods, “I did, indeed. I wouldn’t be here without her,” ending with a wink and I blush. After that, we walk around the Imperial market, selling things we’ve picked up and refreshing supplies that has dwindled as we wait. Klem stays at my side the entire time doing little sweet gestures, like picking up a strand of fallen hair and tucking it behind my ear. Vette and my sister seem to notice too, though they seem quiet even as Jaida and Mako join us. Allura nearly immediately calls Mako over to discuss something quietly as I introduce Klem to Jai, simply pointing to Mako as I introduce her. Then we eat a simple lunch, ration bars. We all get very curious when we hear exclaim, “He’s what?! You are allowing this?” Allura hushes her and I turn to watch as the two young girls hug. I smile slightly seeing Luna wrap an arm around the young slicer as they walk towards us, and I try to tear my gaze away before they notice my staring. After our disgusting meal, I don’t know how we win wars on the stuff seriously it basically cardboard. We mount our speeders to go to Sundari Outpost, where we met up with Ash and Kaliyo. Once we’re gathered together, all of us telling the others where we’re heading to next, we head to the only true infrastructure, the Imperial vehicle hanger, where we’re meeting with Colonel Vrain. We’re stopped, however, as we near the lifts by a nervous Imperial officer, “Due respect, my Lords, Cipher, Huntress. Got orders from the planetary governor to find you. You’re needed at his war conference, priority alpha one.” I frown walking closer to the soldier, who shuffles nervously, “Why does Governor Melchiro need us?” The helmeted soldier swallows, “The Dark Council sent an emissary—big time Sith Lord—to personally review the status of the Balmorran occupation. This conference will determine the next stage of the ground campaign. Whole war’s about to be decided, and the governor wants your expertise.” My sisters share a glance before I ask, “This emissary of the Dark Council—what do we know about him?” The Imperial shuffles more, “Sith politics aren’t my business, my lord. But from what I hear… it’s one of Darth Marr’s apprentices. I don’t know anything else. Assigning black-level clearance—no one will cause you trouble. Be quick, though… they’re bound to start at any minute.” We nod as we all carefully step on to the lift.

            “So, should we speak to Vrain first or this governor?” Ash asks on our way down. I glance at him, “Vrain. If I’m right the emissary won’t mind our tardiness.” Mia and Donovan are still on Kaas, so it can only be one person. A person I really would rather not see now, or ever for that matter. Cipher frowns at that but silence falls until we reach the hanger and the Colonel. “My lords, Cipher, Huntress,” he begins as we near him, bowing in respect and greeting, “Let me be the first to tell you how appreciated your work has been. Today the Balmorran resistance, back by the government-in-exile, takes its last pitiful gasp. We have you all to thank. It won’t be long before the corpse of former Defense Minister Vol Argen is cold in the ground.” I frown slightly, “Has the former defense minister come to Balmorra?” Vrain shrugs, “That’s the rumor, but either way if Operation Breaking Point succeeds, his death is only a matter of time. The resistance, aided by the Republic, has made its headquarters in the Balmorran Arms Factory. It is a heavily fortified facility, but it’s not invulnerable. Not with such powerful patriots as yourselves on our side.” Jaida smirks, crossing her arms, “We await your orders,” causing me to glare at her. Colonel Vrain smirks slightly, though it disappears when I glare at him and he swallows nervously, “If we may impose on you for one final task in service of the glorious Empire. We need you to break into the factory, shut off its power and use the period of panic to shut down security. Once this is done, the main attack force can sweep in and wipe out the resistance. And if you see Vol Argen, kill him.” Ash glances at us with a smirk, “It’s an honor to serve.” Jai chuckles as Vrain continues, “Word is the resistance at the factory have Republic’s backing. They’ll be well equipped and well trained. For anyone else, this would be a suicide mission. I wouldn’t consider it. But I have a good feeling about all of you.” I hit both Jaida and Ash on the back of their heads with a huff as we walk away, mockingly repeating what they said. Though once we enter the elevator we all fall silent and I can feel the power and presence of my least favorite person. Jai and I share a glance. “No, matter what happens do not interrupt whatever the emissary plans,” Jaida whispers then myself, “And furthermore be respectful…” ending as the doors open. The power of the dark side pulses, nearly making me sick but the effect on Allura though is worse, nearly forcing her to fall. Together, Jai and I strengthen her, and we enter.

            “Do you know the worst part, Governor?” a familiar Human woman in red Sith attire states, her skin pale with corruption, her veins nearly as black as her raven hair, her eyes blood red. She pauses as she reaches out a hand, a tendril of the Force reaching toward him and wrapping around his throat, lifting him inches from the floor. “I didn’t—I didn’t…” the poor Governor Melchiro tries to say, holding his neck and gasping for air. Father’s apprentice chuckles darkly, the already cold air getting colder, her voice calm but sharp like ice, “Exactly—you didn’t even own up to your mistakes. That’s why the Dark Council gave this planet to me.” I force myself not to react, trying to help my sisters, mainly Allura to do the same. “Please…” the Governor tries again, his pleas causing my heart to clench as I want to save him from this fate. It’s then that the apprentice’s red eyes turn to us, “Watch, and enjoy.” I stay perfectly still as the tendril tightens, and the emotionless woman snaps his neck, letting go immediately after causing his limp body to hit the floor. “It is a pleasure to see you both again,” Father’s oldest apprentice says, turning to face us, like she didn’t just murder a man, “Congratulations, Thea, on your apprenticeship. Jaida, on your entry to the Great Hunt.” Both of us smile stiffly as she continues, “Your Father told me I might run into you both. However,” I freeze as she turns to Luna, “he failed to say that his youngest would be joining us as well. You have grown up well, young one.” Lachris laughs, “You don’t remember me, do you?” My baby sister shakes head and the Sith Lord sighs, “You were too young, I guess. But now,” she glances at the youngest one’s hands, and I see blood on the floor, “I think I’ve made an impression.” Lachris winks before she addresses the others, “I’m Darth Lachris, apprentice to Darth Marr. I’ve been tasked with cleansing Balmorra. I’m glad you came,” her eyes straying a little too long on Klemral, “more Sith can only bring much-needed dignity.” Klemral smirks, “Gorgeous, murderous and eye for talent. We should talk.” I frown, disgusted at the lust he feels toward a woman twice his age, glancing at him as Lachris smirks, “We should. Do you—” she stops seeing my irritated expression, “Ah, but business first. You are all here because I asked the governor to bring me his best. Balmorra has a problem,” she stops as she brings out a holo. Clicking it a large highly armored Human male appears, “My friends in the resistance, I won’t take much time. The Empire says it owns Balmorra. The Republic says, ‘It’s yours—we’re gone!’ But you and I know Balmorra’s won with sweat and tears—and my boys will stand by your side until everyone knows it,” with that the image disappears and Lachris continues, “Grand Marshal Cheketta, formerly of the Republic Army. Officially, he and his troops went rogue after the Republic withdrew from this sector. Ever since, they’ve been holed up under siege, aiding the resistance and fortifying their position. You may’ve met their scouting parties already.” Ash frowns glancing at my sisters and I, “If these men are ex-Republic, aren’t they violating the peace treaty?” Lachris shakes her head, “Not as long as the Republic government denies any official involvement. Chekatta and the resistance are based in the Balmorran Arms Factory—home of the brightest engineers in the galaxy. I’m told the factory’s generators are inexhaustible, its defenses cutting-edge—its barricades block our scans, giving the resistance peace and privacy!”

            “Sounds intolerable,” Klemral states with a smirk, “After we’re done here, maybe I can help you work out your frustrations.” Lachris’ eyes flick to him, “Deliver me Balmorra, and we’ll work out anything you like. Chekatta may’ve officially gone rogue, but the Republic still supports him. They fund his revolution from the shadows, make supply drops in secret. Those Republic hypocrites want the Arms factory as a beachhead—and as Balmorra’s new governor, I say we take it before they mount a full invasion.” I nod, “It just so happens that we are heading to the Arms Factory anyway.” The Sith Lord raises an eyebrow, “Is that so?” at our nods she smirks, “Well, it looks like he’s done something right. Obliterate the factory defenses. Lower the barricades that block our scans, and I’ll have an army at your back. And if you can… bring me proof of Republic involvement on Balmorra. We’ll expose their lies on a galactic stage,” with that, we quickly leave. Allura nearly gasps for pure air once we step out of the hanger, Jai and I sharing an uneasily glance before walking to her side, both grabbing one of her hands and turning them palm up. We both gasp seeing the marks her fingernails made as they dug into her skin. “Oh, Luna,” Jaida begins as she puts Kolto on them. “We should have warned you better,” I continue for her. Allura shrugs, “I don’t think it would have made a difference, even if you did.” Jaida frowns as she wraps our sister’s hands, “I didn’t think she’d remember you or at least wouldn’t figure it out so quickly.” I nod, “It is troubling but nothing we can do now. Come now, the Balmorran Arms Factory awaits.” We chuckle then make our way out of the outpost, where we see the continuation of their war, nothing but devastation and destruction. Khem growls something that Allura deems not to translate as we begin our journey to the Arms Factory. But even I can feel the excitement and bloodlust the sight is giving the Dashade. Fighting ensues the closer we get. A few groups in, lavender lightning shoots down from the sky. I glance back at the others to see what they make of this, only to see Allura in the air. Her lavender Lightning surrounding her like an aura, but also anchoring her to the ground. When every member of the group falls, the aura disappears, and she lands safely and softly on the ground. Klemral whistles as she does, “Most impressive,” I swallow nervously, “Where did you learn that?” My sister smirks, “It was an idea from watching the storms on Kaas.” Ash smirks, walking to her side rather stiffly, “No one stands a chance against us now,” ending with a wink. Jai chuckles, “Sure don’t.” Luna grins, pleased with the praise.

            “That’s a specialty of Sith Sorcerers,” I state as Jaida and I walk with our baby sister. “Called a Force storm,” Jai continues, “Haven’t seen any that powerful though.” I nod, “Except for the natural ones on Kaas.” I can sense and see Allura’s confusion as I chuckle, “Don’t ask me, isn’t my cup of tea. Gram, however, is another story.” Allura nods, “I’ll ask her then.” Jai chuckles, placing an arm around the youngest’s shoulder, “Gram is the most powerful Sith sorcerer, of course excluding our Emperor. She’ll teach you a few tricks,” ending with a wink before another fight begins. As we progress closer to the factory, Allura tests different ideas on how to improve her storm: trying it with us in the group and having the lightning only target our enemies. Or just using it to stun them, which neither Khem or I like, it takes away tour ‘fun’ but the others like it makes their jobs easier. She does a pretty good job of perfecting it by the time we reach the factory. Khem growls again as we enter, hearing a masculine voice over the comm, “This is Grand Marshal Cheketta to all personnel. Last night was a hell of a fight. Outnumbered ten to one, and we still beat back the Imps. Victory’s coming, boys. Keep this up, and we can all go home.” Ash, my sisters, and I all share an impressed look, though we’re all probably thinking, you couldn’t beat us back. After disabling a droid guarding the entrance, we go over what we need to do for Operation Breaking Point and Lachris’ mission. For ‘OBP,’ we need to shut down the main generator, destroy the Alpha and Beta Security Hubs, then see if the Vol Argen rumor is true. For Lachris, it’s disabling the internal sensors, destroying powered down droids then lowering the barricade controls. All and all sounds simple enough. The factory is littered with weapons of all sorts; a variety of guns, missiles, and any other war technology. “They could’ve made this war last decades, a century at least,” Ash states in awe. Kaliyo smirks, “Almost makes me want to steal it all.” Ash abruptly turns to her with that, and she raises her hand, “Relax, I said almost.” His eyes narrow, “Let’s just get this done.” We virtually cleared out the entire front portion of the factory, leaving the disabling of the generators and sensors to Vette and Mako. The destruction to Khem and I, only to make up for Allura figuring out how to use the storm indoors. Fun killer. Occasionally, we’ll hear Cheketta speaking to the resistance like, “This is Grand Marshal Cheketta. I’ve been hearing grumbling lately—people saying the Republic abandoned Balmorra. Well, I may not be Republic Army anymore, but I’m still a patriot—so don’t say it to my face. The treaty may not’ve left us much choice, but… the people of the Republic are still behind you,” when Mako and Vette disabled the last of the sensors.

            “Grand Marshal Cheketta here, I want to talk about sacrifice. My troops and I gave up our homes in the Republic. But the rest of you… you weren’t given a choice. Your planet was taken from you. You’re giving up everything to get it back. That’s the real deal,” hearing that made me regret having to kill them. I could tell my sisters agreed though we all growled angrily when we shut down the two security hubs, six men leaping down from the upper floor to attack. It’s after we destroy the beta hub that Mako learns that Vol Argen is indeed an idiot and is on the very floor we are on. We nearly race to the location Mako picked up. The former Defense Minister is guarded by four men, all of which fall easily before even the man himself, who surprisingly fights. We leave once we’re sure the Operation Breaking point has succeeded, looting IDs and other valuables, before going upstairs to where the barricade controls are. We sigh in relief, finding the room empty, then use the holo as Mako and Vette work to shut it down. It’s Shâsot’Ari who addresses the Sith Lady, “Darth Lachris, can you read us? We’re lowering the barricades to the Balmorran Arms Factory.” She smirks when she appears, “I hear you perfectly—we’ll start scanning the interior now. Hold on…” she frowns as her image starts flickering, “someone cut through this interference!” then her image disappears, replaced by, “Pardon my interruption, I’m Grand Marshal Cheketta, formerly of the Republic Army.” I nearly sigh as Vette mumbles, “Likes to hear himself talk, doesn’t he?” I’m the one who addresses the man, “The man who stayed behind when the Republic abandoned this world. I recognize your kind.” Cheketta smirks, crossing his arms, “And I recognize yours, Sith. I’m not a complete fool—once I realized you planned to lower our defenses, I sent a few friends.” Just as I sense a light side presence and six others walk towards us. “Jedi Knight Ralon Nys, reporting,” says a masculine voice behind us. “Tempest Squad, reporting,” says another. I turn seeing a male Togruta, the Jedi Knight and indeed six troopers. “Fresh ‘volunteers,’ who’ve taken a leave of absence to join the Balmorran resistance. Taste of what’s coming.” My eyes narrow, “You expect us to believe these people are acting without Republic orders?!” Ash cuts in, “They’re violating the peace treaty by supporting the resistance.” Cheketta chuckles, “Ralon, are you here on Republic orders?” Ralon shakes his head, “No, sir.” Cheketta crosses his arms, “There you go,” then he disappears. “Go! Go!” Ralon yells as he ignites his lightsaber, charging, and the troopers grab their blasters. I meet the Knight’s charge with my own, leaving Tempest Squad for the others, which irritatingly enough Klemral and Khem take care of. “Can you hear me? This channel is still open…” Lachris exclaims as the bodies fall, “Did Cheketta send a Jedi?”

            “How does it make you feel, watching me kill someone like that?” is Klemral’s flirtatious answer, my eyes narrowing. “I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the show,” Lachris states after chuckling, “but your timing could be better. My people are performing a full scan of the factory now that the defenses are down. I’ll patch you into the report.” Lachris’ form is then replaced by an Imperial Officer, “My lord, we’re detecting unusual signals from inside the factory. What appears to be a… hyperspace beacon. It shouldn’t be possible… it must’ve taken them decades.” Lachris form appears next to the officer, “Don’t underestimate their engineers or their resources. What can it do?” The officer swallows, “In theory, starships could follow the beacon and jump in-system almost directly overhead.” Father’s first apprentice’s eyes widen, “The Republic is flying reinforcements straight to the Balmorran Arms Factory and bypassing our defenses.” My jaw tightens, this is going badly… “We know now. Scan for enemy transports approaching the factory.” He nods, “Picking up… there are dozens of ships out there. Silhouette is Republic Special Forces, Triumph-class.” Fear seems to enter Lachris’ eyes, though her voice betrays nothing, “This is how they did it during the war—multiple strike teams, strategic objectives, one Jedi per military squad. They took entire planets. They know we see them. They’re rushing to land now!” I sigh, definitely bad, as the officer disappears, “If they’re heading to the factory, we can stop them from the ground.” Lachris nods, “Agreed. Take out the landing platforms and guidance systems. I’ll have attack squadrons blow those ships out of the sky. Fail me now, and we perish with Balmorra.” With that, the holo shuts down, and we begin the run to the elevator that’ll take us to the third level of the factory which takes you to the power center, where the landing platforms and guidance systems as well as Allura’s vault. We split up, Vette and I to destroy the west platform while Ash and Allura take the south and northeast platforms with Jaida, Mako, and Klemral taking out the guidance systems. Father’s Apprentice gives us updates as the first explosion rings through the air, ours, “This is Darth Lachris. Our ships are closing on the Republic transports—keep destroying those landing pads, and there will be no escape for the enemy.” Knowing we need to get to Rylon now, we immediately take off into the Administrative complex as the second explosion goes off and Lachris continues, “Attack squadrons engaged! We’ve downed six Republic transports; I’m calling in additional ground-to-air weaponry.”

            Vette and I have cleared out the first room of the Administrative complex, with help from Ash and Kaliyo, by the time we hear Lachris voice for the third time, “Only a few targets remain, airborne-and they’ve got nowhere to go. But one transport slipped past us. I’m sending in ground troops—you intercept that ship at the factory’s upper landing pad. No one survives this attack!” I nearly put off continuing with our task, but I know my sisters can handle it, so I push on. As we walk down the hallway leading to where Rylon and his men are we overhear, “…the factory is under attack. Headquarters have been breached and casualties are severe,” a man voice says in a Republic accent. There’s a second voice immediately after the first, Commander Rylon’s, “Keep your wits, Captain Eligyn. What do we know of the enemy?” The first voice, the Captain’s, states “Target is carving a bloody path in this direction. Unconfirmed reports suggest it’s a Sith.” I chuckle, “Consider them confirmed as you’re about to become part of the bloody path,” just before killing the two soldiers guarding the door. Vette seems to be she’s fighting a laugh. Especially when the captain says, “Commander, contact confirmed. The enemy is Sith, repeat, the enemy is—” I roll my eyes as Rylon says, “I can see that Captain, shut up.” I chuckle, crossing my arms stopping meters away from the Republic soldiers as Rylon appears on a life-size holo, “Sith, I know why you’re here. Be aware that these are the finest troops I’ve commanded in all my decades of duty.” I scoff, “Is that supposed to scare me? Should I turn tail and run?” Vette chuckles as does Rylon, “My men and I would be disappointed if you did,” then he turns around facing his captain, “Captain Eligyn, engage at will and hold the line. I’m coming with reinforcements. Rylon out.” I sigh as Eligyn says, “You’re about to find out what we’re made of.” I yawn, “I may die of boredom.” Vette snickers as Eligyn says, “We’re not going to let boredom steal our kill.”

            “You’re not very funny,” I state simply. “I’ll have time to laugh later. Men, attack!” I huff silently as I ignite both lightsabers when the seven soldiers open fire, blocking each shot with ease. Then glancing at the Twi’lek mouthing, “All me.” before leaping amongst the soldiers. I know Vette rolls her eyes as removes her blasters and fires on the men outside of my reach. The fight is ended quickly, Eligyn the last one breathing as he falls to his knees, coughing, “The commander… he should have been here by now…” I shake my head, “It wouldn’t have made a difference.” Eligyn’s s breathing becoming labored, “This means he’s safe… that’s all that matters…” I tsk, as I sense a lone man entering the room behind me, “Hello, Commander Rylon.” Rylon doesn’t seem surprised I knew he was there, “Please enough of this.” Eligyn’s eyes widen as he exclaims, “Commander, no! Save yourself!” Rylon sighs stopping at my side, “Just put him out of his misery, Sith.” I shake my head, looking from the loyal soldier to the traitor, “I think it’s fitting for you to do it, Rylon.” Eligyn’s confusion is written all over his face, “Commander…? What… what does this mean?” Rylon sighs, “Goodbye, Captain.” Eligyn is in a state of shock, “No… I… can’t believe…” a single blaster shot silencing him, from his commander’s weapon. His commander doesn’t even spare him a glance before facing me, “It’s unfortunate they were on the wrong side. They were excellent soldiers and exceptional men.” I frown, glancing at the men I’ve killed to get to this man, “It’s a shame you couldn’t have recruited them, they gave me a tough fight.” Rylon nods in agreement, “This is a bittersweet day. I served for the glory of the Empire. But the life of a spy is a slippery one. In essence, I had to become a Republic soldier, and I’ve done things against the Empire that have sickened me.” The only reason I respect you. I’m disgusted with myself for saying, “But for the greater good, Commander.” Rylon nods again, sighing, “I have lived believing—hoping—that was the case, friend. Today was inevitable. I knew Lord Baras would eventually have to eliminate me, but I’m proud to have been of service all this time.”

            I watch in slight awe seeing the man before me, look older by the second but grateful his burden is lifted, “If it helps, you have my respect, Rylon. Do you have any last requests before I relieve you?” I ask softly. “If I may, there is one thing,” Rylon begins hesitantly, “My son. He was the only thing in the world that was truly mine. And in love or weakness, I told him my secrets. I… I know you had to cover my track, but please tell me, did he face his fate well?” I grimace internally, glancing at Vette, “His chin was held high, Commander,” my voice betraying my respect. “Then I can die with a smile,” Rylon says, a soft smile on his lips, “When they find my corpse, there must be evidence of a valiant fight. We must make this look convincing, Sith. So, I will not hold back. I will fight you as though you are my mortal enemy.” I nod, watching the old man return to the soldier I know him to be, “I expect no less, Commander. You’ll die with honor, but it gives me no pleasure to cut you down.” Rylon smiles sympathetically, “Our duty is often difficult, friend. Tell Lord Baras it has been my great honor to serve him.” I let him get a few shots off before igniting a single saber. I bow at the waist as I do one last show of respect the commander will ever receive before charging. The commander’s last fight was a valiant one but futile nonetheless. Vette sighs as Rylon’s body crumples to the floor, “Too bad we couldn’t tell him his son is still alive.” I shrug, “Wouldn’t of matter anyway, Vette.” The Twi’lek nods and I sigh as my holo rings. I’m pleasantly surprised at who is my caller.

            “My Lord, I believe we’ve got trouble. I heard your entire conversation with Commander Rylon,” Quinn begins as soon as he solidifies. My eyes widen as I fearfully look around, “The room is bugged, isn’t it? The investigator knows everything!” my heart clenches as he nods, “Indeed, my Lord.” I will not die for this! And as much as I want Baras’ power to burn. I’m not strong enough yet to face him. “Where is she now?” Quinn swallows, glancing at something on his side, “She was heading to her ship, but I had my men move in and cut her off from the Republic landing bay. Shâsot’Ari and I are systematically blocking her avenues of escape and transmission, herding that Republic scum to her only hope—the spaceport at Sobrik.” I nod, grateful for my mask hiding my fear I know is visible, “I’ll be there soon, Quinn. I must meet with Darth Lachris, the new Balmorran governor.” Quinn nods stiffly, “I’m afraid there’s more, my Lord,” glancing once more at something else, “My men who engaged her report that she’s wielding a lightsaber. It seems like our investigator is a Jedi Knight. I advise caution when facing her.” I frown, though I find his concern touching, “You needn’t worry about me, Quinn, I’ve faced Jedi before and her fate will be no different.” His eyes widen, his voice laced with surprise, “Then my concern is unfounded. My apologies.” I chuckle, halfheartedly, “No worries, Quinn.” There’s a tint of a smile on his handsome face, “I will gather my remaining men and meet you at the spaceport. We will crush this Jedi!” I chuckle once more as he disappears. Ash and I seemed to have finished at roughly the same time as we exit the Administrative complex together, we met up with Jaida outside near where we exited the first building. We continue through the factory, when we see don’t trace of Allura and Khem, thinking that they’ve already gone back to the outpost. Though to our surprise, she’s nowhere to be found. Jai and I are starting to get anxious by the time Matt joins us, and I abruptly turn on him, “Where have you been?! Where’s Allura?!” Matt eyes widen rather fearfully as Jaida puts a hand on my shoulder, “Breath, sis, breathe.” I huff as Jai turn to the pilot, “We haven’t seen Allura yet. Do you know where she is?” I nearly growl when he shakes his head, “No.”

            “I do know her vault is filled with toxic waste and…” is all Matt is able to say before I have him pinned to a wall. Jai groans as the others laugh and my sister has to pry me off him, “Serious, Treea. Calm down! Luna will be fine!” I scoff, pointing at Matt who curls in on himself, “He just said her vault is filled with toxic waste, Jai. How could she be fine with that!?” Jai sighs, grabbing my arm and taking me further from the pilot before pushing me on the ground, “Mediate, Treea. You are starting to scare me.” I sigh and do as she says, feeling calmer until I feel my baby sister approach. All three of us run to her side, “Are you okay?” Jaida asks first than me, “We were starting to worry.” Then Ash, “Matt said something about you entering a deadly vault…” It’s then that Matt walks up, his eyes scrutinizing the youngest Sith. “I’m fine,” Allura reiterates, “Can we finish things up now? I’d like a nap…” We chuckle in agreement, Matt frowning as we walk to Colonel Vrain. “I’ve heard most satisfactory reports of your success in the Balmorran Arms Factory,” Vrain states cheerfully, “And that fool Vol Argen played right into our hands. There can be no doubt: the resistance is crushed.” Jaida smirks, “They put up a good fight, but I think they’ll be more agreeable now.” I glance at her, “The Balmorrans now know better than to challenge the Empire.” Vrain smirks, chuckling, “Undoubtedly, the Sith are our true secret weapon as are all of you. Captain Rigel is in charge of writing up the report on this one. If I could ask you for one final favor—that you report your success to him.” We nod then head up to Lachris with Klemral in tow. She’s staring out the window overlooking the Arms Factory. “Darth Lachris,” Jai begins, “Grand Marshal Cheketta is defeated, and the Balmorran Arms Factory is broken.” Lachris smirks, “You smell like smoke and blood. Let me show you something,” she pauses as she grabs her holo. A small Cheketta appears, “My forces received supplies and intelligence from the Republic. We knowingly and illegally attacked Imperial targets by order of the Senate. We broke the peace treaty that keeps our worlds whole, and for that, I apologize to all citizens of the galaxy,” with that the recording disappears and Lachris puts the holo away. “There are protests on the streets of Coruscant. Republic ships are withdrawing from three sectors. You humiliated them.” I look down ashamed I had a hand in this. Ash frowns, “The Republic may have lost face, but they’re not going to stop attacking.” Lachris chuckles, “No, but who really wants that? I’m gathering troops for a clean sweep of the Balmorran Arms Factory—I’m making it my base of planetary operations. My governorship would be very different without you. You have my gratitude for your assistance.” Jai glances at Ash before saying, “The Balmorrans have suffered for a long time. If you want to end the resistance, show them the Empire is not their enemy.” Lachris tilts her head, “I have my own plans for the people here… but I’ll remember your advice. It’s time I return to ruling—there are new reports of resistance activity. Should you choose to remain on Balmorra, perhaps I’ll call on you again.” We nod and just as we’re about to leave, she clears her throat, “Oh, Saarai, Shâsot’Ari, I wish to speak with you both if I may.”

            Allura swallows, glancing at Jai and I before turning around and nodding, “Of course, Governess.” She chuckles before glaring at Matt as he walks to the young Sith’s side, “Alone, Price. You can wait down there,” she then glances at the unmoving Khem, “you may stay.” Khem crosses his arms as we enter the elevator. “What do you think she wants?” Matt asks, his eyes resting on where Allura should be as we descend. “To devour Klem…” I state rather dejectedly. Vette as the nerve to laugh and Jai places a reassuring hand on my back as we leave the elevator, “Don’t worry, sis. Klemral will come back to his senses.” I scoff, “He is Sith, and named Lord of Passion. So, seems unlikely. Anyway,” I turn to the pilot. Fear enters his eyes and I sigh, “I’m sorry, Matt, for earlier. I was out of line. I’m just…” Matt nods sympathetically, surprising me by hugging me tightly, “I know. Don’t worry about it. I forgive you. I just forgot you could be so scary.” I poke his side when he lets me go, “This time don’t forget it.” Matt laughs, “Sure won’t.” I laugh, my eyes seeing movement in the office with Lachris is in which I focus on. There’s a window that overlooks the hanger but at this moment is giving me a perfect view… Shâsot’Ari is pressing Lachris against the window, their lips in a passionate dance and I swallow a sob. It’s that moment that Allura comes down the elevator, her eyes zeroing in on me then following my gaze. My little sister growls, an aura of lightning surrounding her in her anger until I place a hand on her shoulder, “Come on, sis, Sobrik awaits.” She glances at me sympathetically as we walk to our speeders. Once we reach Sobrik, we all head to the spaceport and inside to where Captain Rigel is waiting. “My lords, Cipher, Huntress. This is the happiest of days!” Rigel exclaims as we approach, “the resistance is in shambles. The peoples’ spirits are broken. Balmorra is as good as ours.” Khem growls and Allura frowns at him before translating, “I delight in breaking peoples’ spirits

            “Your joy is infectious,” Rigel states with a smirk, “We cannot possibly thank you enough for your service. A decade we’ve been trying to win this war, and you’ve done it in a thousandth of the time. Thank you.” I nearly roll my eyes as we walk away, everyone parting ways with a nod. Vette and I continue inside to where Quinn has led the Jedi, mentally preparing myself in case I know them. As luck would have it, I do, one on the people I had the joy of growing up with, Evie Mashallon. It seems her interesting wardrobe choices haven’t improved with age, as she’s an eyesore in dark mustard yellow robes. I wrinkle my nose in disgust as I grimace. At least her force abilities have strengthened, as she senses me enter, turning and looking at me then turning back to Imperials. She disperses them with a simple mind trick before refacing me, “You’re too late, Sith. I already transmitted the conversation between you and Commander Rylon to the Jedi Council. Nomen Karr has his proof. Now Master Karr and his Padawan will track down and expose every Sith in the Galaxy.” So, she doesn’t even remember me, I think disappointedly as I shake my head, “I’ll let you enjoy your delusions.” Evie shakes hers, “Enjoyment is not part of the equation. My intentions and motivations are clear. As is my mind. I have purity of purpose. I seek neither thrill nor satisfaction. Unlike you, I am calm.” Still repeating the Masters, I see… I chuckle, raising my arms, “So am I. May it bring you peace in your death.” Mashallon glances around, looking for a way out, “It will when it comes. The Dark side shall fail you. Save yourself. Surrender, and the Jedi Council will give you every opportunity to discover redemption.” I huff, proud of her for going thru the motions, “I offer you the chance to surrender and live, Jedi.” Evie shakes her head, “Surrender is not possible. I am in the right. I won’t kill you, Sith. But I am leaving. So, I’m going to have incapacitate you.” I scoff, ‘You’ve never been much of a fighter, Evie. Stand down…’ my mind screams at her as she ignites her lightsaber and charges. ‘I thought it was you, Treea. It will bring me peace to cut you down, traitor!’ I sigh as I sidestep then twirl, igniting a single saber, shaking my head at Vette. Touching her mind, ‘This is my fight.’ Evie charges me again, which I avoid, ’I’m not a traitor, Evie. I haven’t fallen to the dark, I still serve the light.’ She scoffs mentally as she forces me to meet her saber with mine, ‘Lies! You follow your passions!’ I nearly groan as I meet every one of her strikes, ‘Doesn’t mean I’m evil. Please stop, I want the Empire… Baras stopped as much as anyone.’ She snorts, lunging in an attack that leaves her side open, which I don’t press. ‘Please, Evie, don’t make me hurt you. We’re on the same side…’ my pleas meet deaf ears as she continuously attacks. The next opening, I see I take, a kick to the chest, not injuring just enough to knock the breath out and sent her to her knees. She falls, clutching her chest, watching me with surprised eyes and I know she realizes I haven’t hurt her at all. “Your victory means nothing,” Evie states out loud as footsteps walk towards us, Quinn and three men, “The damage has been done. The proof has been transmitted. So, deal the death blow, Sith. I am at peace knowing that the greater good has been served.”

            “I hate to burst your bubble, Jedi,” Quinn begins, stopping feet from us, my lightsaber pointed at Evie’s throat. “No, that’s a lie,” he continues, raising a hand for emphasis, as his men surround Mashallon, “I’m reveling in it. I intercepted your transmission. The Jedi know nothing.” I glance at him, “Quinn, I could kiss you.” Vette giggles behind me as Quinn glances at me, faintly blushing, “I’m only doing my job, my Lord. I had her monitored and screened the entire time. There was never any risk at all.” Evie interrupts, “Gloat all you like, it means nothing. I remain at peace. And Nomen Karr and his Padawan will still defeat you.” I frown, “Tell me the name of Nomen’s Karr’s Padawan!” ‘She needs protection!’ Evie glances at me shaking her head as Klemral walks in, “I will never betray her identity. I am resigned. Strike me down, I offer no further resistance.” Klem chuckles, “Then so be it.” walking to my side. Evie kneels, “There is no Death, there is the Force,” before Klem deals the killing blow. I stare in horror as her body falls, saying a silent prayer for her as well as asking her forgiveness in her death. Quinn walking closer to me, bringing me back to reality, “How bizarre. She just closed her eyes and accepted death.” I nod minutely, finally able to tear my eyes away from Evie’s body as Quinn’s men pull her away, “Bizarre indeed.” Quinn frowns slightly and I can feel his concern as Klem joins us. An ancient anger stirs up in my heart, oh dare he be closer to me after killing her! I try to shake it off as Quinn says, “No matter. The threat is ended,” pausing to glance at the murderer on my other side, “Lord Baras will be anxious to learn what became of this. When you’re ready, I’ll contact him from my office.” I nod, “Good,” pausing as I glance at Vette who’s looking at me curiously, “I’m anxious to get off this planet.” Vette lifts an eyebrow inquisitively as Klem chuckles, “As am I.” I glance over at him and I shaking my head hoping to rid myself of the anger I feel towards him before returning my attention to Quinn as he continues, “Excellent. I’ll go prepare,” pausing his exit to bow, “I’ll be waiting in my quarters.” I watch him leave, admiring his long strides and the precision and confidence he walks with. When he’s out of sight, I pointedly turn from Klem to walk away, wanting to be far from him at the moment. Klemral doesn’t seem to understand that as he runs to catch up, stopping me with a hand on my arm. “Thea, stop,” he starts as soon as I’m stopped, “I’m sorry with Lachris. Something just came over me, and I’m sorry.” I shrug out of his hold, “Doesn’t mean you are sorry though. You’ll forget me the moment a new attractive,” I use that word loosely, “powerful woman comes along. I get it, you are Sith. Thinking I’m anything more to you is clearly fantasy.” With that, I walk away leaving Klemral standing there like, “Kicked puppy,” Vette mumbles. I glance at her as she shrugs, “What?! It’s what he looks like. Are you sure you’re okay, Treea?” I nod, “As fine as I can be on this hateful planet.” Vette frowns but falls silent as we head to Quinn’s office. As we enter, we overhear Quinn speaking to my Master in his quarters, “It’s not my place, Lord Baras. I leave that for your Apprentices to convey.” That’s when Vette and I enter which Baras notices, “Then step aside, Lieutenant. My apprentice has arrived.” Quinn flinches, probably at his dismissive tone, before turning to face us. I give him a small reassuring smile as Baras addresses me, “Nice of you to join us. Quinn refuses to update me, insisting the privilege be yours. I assume the Jedi investigator has been stopped?” I nod stiffly, “Yes, master. Shâsot’Ari killed the Jedi Knight and Quinn stopped her transmission, overall her mission failed.” Give credit where credit is due. Baras tilts his head, “That is a relief. I had hoped to avoid confronting the Jedi, but our hand was forced. What matters most is that Rylon can no longer be exposed. And how would you assess Lieutenant Quinn’s contribution?”

            The lieutenant stiffens, glancing at both myself and Baras as Klemral enters. I glance at him, “Lieutenant Quinn is an exceptional officer, we wouldn’t have been successful without him.” The officer’s eyes widen, I notice which he tries to hide by bowing to me in thanks, as Baras looks at him. “High praise indeed. Quinn, I believe you have sufficiently repaid the debt owed to me. I’m putting you up for a captaincy and transmitting an executive order allowing you to station wherever you choose. You are dismissed.” With that, his eyes widen again but makes no moves to cover it, “Thank you, Lord Baras. If my actions benefit the Empire, they benefit me. I would have done the same regardless of our past,” he pauses turning to me, “My Lord, before I depart, it’s been my extreme honor to serve you. You are the epitome of everything the Empire stands for.” I fight a blush at his word choice, chuckling instead, “I’m going to miss your rugged good looks, Quinn.” A slight smile graces his face, “Maybe our paths will cross once more, my Lord.” Then he stands at attention for Lord Baras, bowing to me, and ignoring Klem completely. Once the door shuts behind me, Baras continues, “He will have his hands full. There are powerful Imperials dedicated to keeping him down. But if Quinn can overcome them and rise to the station he deserves, there is great hopes for our Imperial allies.” My eyes land on the door, where he was seconds earlier, “If, given the opportunity, he will excel.” Baras’ attention turns from me to his other apprentice as he scoffs, “You think differently, Shâsot’Ari?” it’s then that Klemral walks to my side, “I don’t know why h—,” he pauses, glancing at me in the corner of his eyes, “I don’t know why it’s worth worrying about, Master.” Baras chuckles, “You are right. Quinn’s affairs are a speck compared to what we face. Your presence on Balmorra is no longer needed. Return to your ships when you’re ready to leave. I’ll contact you there.” As my Master disappears, Vette turns to me, “So… we’re leaving, right? On to our next exercise in domination and destruction?” I frown at her, “I only dominate and destroy as a last resort, Vette, you know that.” Vette chuckles, her head pointing in the direction of Klem, “Yeah, right. You must have a short list of resorts, then. Well, hope the next place we end up on has a beach.” I shake my head at her as we exit, seeing Quinn already packing. Trying to shake off a pang of sadness, I smile at him as Vette runs out of his office, which I roll my eyes at as Klem stops at my side then escorts me out. Vette and I return to Mercy without Klemral shadowing, probably returning to Lachris. We return our speeder to the vehicle bay onboard, where 2V-R2 greets us. “Mistress, Miss Vette, welcome back. I saw some crates near our cargo hold and moved them inside. I haven’t touched them other than that though…” I rise a hand to stop the frighten droid, “It is fine, Arrtoo. I’d prefer to unpack them.”

            Vette glances at me curiously and 2V-R2 scampers off, “Is that…” I nod, “It is. Do you wish to join me in seeing if we’re right?” Vette nods hesitantly and together we head to the cargo hold. There’s an encrypted message on a slick new black datapad:

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

My dear Treea,

It both excites and saddens me that you have to test out my creation. These tiny devices may not look like much but if they detect a recording device, they will attach them themselves to it. Allowing you to see what the bugger sees and be able to determine just what they do see. This datapad is attached to the tiny devices, so keep it close.

Papa

P.S. Hope, you enjoy the upgrades…

-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-~-

I chuckle as I finish reading it through the cipher Papa caught us all, never can be too careful. I leave Vette to dig through the upgrades as I go to check my personal quarters. Indeed, Papa’s device flies from my hand and I sigh, seems like now I’m the prey. I head back to the cargo hold and nod my head when the Twi’lek glances at me questioningly. Her face falls, but she follows me as we walk about the ship. We share nervous and worried glances as the tiny bug like devices raises from my hand in every room even the refreshers, mine included. Vette and I separate with a grimace, as I go shower and change. I dress in more comfy attire, a garnet red off-the-shoulder top, a black pants with fishnet as the outer seams, black leather heeled-ankle boots, and the black leather double-wrap belt from earlier. Even my hair and make-up are the same as earlier. I find Vette in the starboard engine room, hanging upside down, her Lekku nearly touching the ground underneath. “Whatcha doin?” I ask, trying to contain my amusement. I laugh as she jumps, “Stars! Seriously! I could have fallen!” as she narrows her lavender eyes at me, “I’m installing some of the upgrades I found in the crates. Especially the ones we have to be stationary for. Why?” I shrug, “Thought you might want to explore Sobrik with me. Maybe pick something up as we’re here?!” Her eyes widen, before nodding and leaping of the pipe she had her legs wrapped around, “I’m game for that!” I chuckle, before smelling something, “Did you not have a shower?” Vette shakes her head, I wrinkle my nose, “Go shower and change first. I’m not walking around with someone who smells like a garbage chute.” Vette rolls her eyes before skipping out of the room. I roll my own before heading to the central lounge, grabbing the black datapad Papa sent to see how exactly we’re being watched. My frown grows more pronounced with every swipe, audio and visual in every room, several rooms because of their size or layout containing several devices. Thankfully, the ones in the refreshers are pointed to still give the ‘prey’ privacy, though not the ones in the quarters, mainly mine, captain’s, and both crew ones. Vette enters shortly later, frowning as she sees my expression as I lift the datapad as an explanation. She grimaces but wisely doesn’t ask aloud and we go on our merry way. We enter several stores buying little knick-knacks and other random items to liven up our ship. Vette and I even come up with the idea of getting one item from every world we go to as a memento. Finally, with many shopping bags, we head back to the ship, returning our speeder. As it’s early evening I sent messages to the others that we should go the Sunken Sarlacc to celebrate getting off Balmorra.

            After getting responses that they’ll be there, I go to change in more appropriate evening attire; a knee-length strapless corset lavender dress with tall silver stiletto heels. Just as I’m finishing up there’s a knock on my door. Sighing, I open it with the Force, revealing 2V-R2, “Mistress, there is an Imperial Captain lurking outside our ship. I do not know how long he has been there shall I shoo him away, mistress?” Did Vette and I forget anything?  I shake my head, wondering who it could be, “No, I’ll see to it.” My wondering continues as I reach the airlock. I tilt my head in surprise seeing nonother than Malavai Quinn. He looks striking in black, I decide walking down. I notice his hair is shorter but still styled, and he’s no longer sporting his five o’clock shadow. He’s dressed impeccably, like always it seems, in an Imperial dress uniform. His new rank gleaming on his straight neck collar and his shoes reflecting the lights of the hanger. His Adam’s apple quivers slightly as he swallows, his captivating deep clear blue eyes admiring me as I approach. He smirks when he notices mine doing the same. “Captain Malavai Quinn,” I begin, “I’d thought you’d be rushing to get your transfer papers in, not here.” I sense a trill of happiness, as well as slight fear, run through him, “Though I must say, I’m enjoying the view.” Quinn’s cheeks darken barely as he blushes, “That is why I’m here. I hope you don’t find my appearance here obtrusive, my Lord,” pausing as he bows slightly, “But I beg for an audience.” Oh, that is unexpected. In my surprise I lift an eyebrow, “I will always welcome you, Quinn.” Again, there’s a mixture of emotions, happiness and… concern? Hearing that though he hides his emotions remarkably well, “It pleases me to know that, my Lord.” I watch as he clears his throat then begins to pace before me as I sense Vette walk down the ramp, “As you know, Lord Baras enabled my reassignment anywhere I choose. It is an evolution I’ve longed for and assumed would never come.” Pleasure and joy runs through him again as well as another emotion that’s gone before I can name it. Pride enters his voice as he continues, “Aiding your mission here on Balmorra has reawakened the ambition I began my career with,” I tilt my head at that, “to make the most profound impact possible for the Empire.” I nearly chuckle, but settle for a smile, “We share the same desire, Captain.” We do just very differently. I can practically feel his grin though his lips never move, “I sense that as well, my Lord. I cannot think of a more glorious and honorable way to make a difference in the galaxy than to serve you.” Everything stops, what? Did I just hear that correctly? He wants to serve-work with me. As in joining my crew! I can hardly believe it, in fact, I don’t. I must have misheard him. Despite my internal rant, I lift an eyebrow. I nearly gasp as he kneels on one knee, like in those old Coruscanti holos where a man proposes. Though I do inhale sharply as I scold myself for such thoughts.

            “I’m here to pledge myself to you,” Quinn continues “I’m ready and willing to serve in whatever capacity you see fit.” He’s serious about this, isn’t he? Just as I’m about to overthink his wording, Vette cuts in, “In whatever capacity you see fit, Asha. Sounds exciting,” elbowing me in the side. Thanks, Vette needed that… as we both fight a rising blush. Tempted though I am to glare at the Twi’lek, I simply say, “Hush, Vette.” Then return my focus to the still kneeling man in front of me. Well, I better do this right. “What are your qualifications, Captain?” I have to at least make him think I’m a professional even with the company I keep. Quinn seems pleased with that, “My Lord, if given the chance, I know I will prove myself to you. I’m a top-notch pilot, a military strategist, and a deadly shot.” Vette looks at me mildly impressed, I can only imagine her saying, ‘Can we keep him?’ I focus back to the Captain as he continues, “I can fly this ship,” pausing to point to it, “plan your battles, assess your enemies and kill them,” passion enters his voice, “You won’t find a more tireless and loyal subject. I offer my military prowess and dedicate every ounce of my strength to your cause.” I chance at Vette in the corner of my eye, before leaning down to raise his bowed head with a single finger, “I’d be pleased to have you, Quinn.” Quinn swallows before standing at my insistence, “The pleasure will be mine. Thank you, my Lord. I will submit my reassignment papers as we depart.” I chuckle, “We are not leaving until the morning, Quinn. We are going to the cantina.” His mouth opens, no doubt to object and I find myself rising a finger and he shuts his mouth instantly. He stares at me as I wiggle it, reminiscent of a mother scolding a child, which I quickly lower, “No objections, Captain. If you’re now a member of my crew, there are people you need to meet. I can make it an order if you rather…” I’m pleased that he shakes his head, glad that I don’t, “Good. Ordering it is less fun. Come on, Quinn, or we’ll be late.” Vette scoffs as we begin leaving the hanger, with Quinn slowly following, muttering, “We already were after we were stopped by—” she hesitates, “Captain Imperial over there.” I frown at her, rather amused at her failed nickname, “Be respectful, Vette.” Vette sighs, “Fine. Only because you asked, and I want to go party.” I snort and Vette breaks into laughter as we exit the hanger’s lobby.

            It’s silent as we exit the Spaceport, where I get a speeder that takes us to the cantina. I’m the first to enter, though I have to glare at the security guard who attempts to stop Vette, before leading everyone to a private VIP room I had requested earlier. There’s an undignified shriek coming from a certain slicer who launches herself into Vette. I roll my eyes before remembering Quinn, who I look at apologetically as I step closer, “I’m thinking I should have warned you about her. They tend to be rather loud when they’re together,” motioning over to girls. There’s a chuckle behind me, “That’s an understatement. Mako was loud before you ever got here.” Jai than glances at Quinn with an eyebrow raised, “Apologies. Jaida, sister to…” she pauses turning to me, “What’s your new name again?” I chuckle, shaking my head, “This is my sister, Jaida, and our cousin Mako,” pointing to the two giggling girls, “We’re missing a couple more people,” ending just as a bored Kaliyo says, “Who’s the stiff?” I sigh, “Hi, Kaliyo. He’s my new crew member.” Kaliyo glances at the Imperial before simply going to sit down. Jai chuckles, “Don’t mind her. Kaliyo is indifferent to everyone she can’t kill.” Ash laughs as he enters startling the Captain, but I notice he’s back in his uniform. The Cipher moves around him before wrapping an arm around my sister and kissing her cheek. Jaida chuckles, “Still not over your jealousy?” I laugh as Ash frowns, his face darkening before looking at Quinn, extending his hand, “Cipher Nine. You are?” Quinn swallows, shaking his hand, “Captain Malavai Quinn.” I chuckle, “He’s my new pilot.” Ash glances at me before nodding, “Then you can call me, Ash, like the girls here, do. Better than agent all the time when I’m undercover.” Jai smirks, “Or Blade.” Nine rolls his eyes, ignoring that, “Where’s Matt and…” Matt appears in the doorway behind Quinn, “We’re right here, Ash,” interrupting him, “A…” he stops seeing Quinn. “Saarai was busy wasting…” My baby sister appears at the pilot’s side, glaring at him, “Silence, Price.” Khem has somehow managed to get behind Quinn and is now growling. He turns, tall enough to reach the Dashade’s chest. Luna tsks, “Khem, you’re frightening the man, give him some personal place.” Quinn breaths in deeply as Khem does so, growling once more. Allura sighs, “I was just getting to that, Khem, give me a moment.” Khem grunts crossing his arms saying something that my sister glares at him for. Matt turns Quinn, so he faces Luna before she begins, “I’m sorry about him. He’s been locked in a cage for the past,” pointedly glancing at the Dashade, before focusing on Quinn once more, “thousand years or so. I’m Apprentice Saarai-taral-kaar,” frowning once more, her eyes flicking to Khem, “Behind you is Khem Val, an ancient Dashade assassin. And this is my pilot Matthew Price,” ending as Matt extends his hand, which Quinn shakes. I clap, “I think that’s everyone as you’ve already met Klemral, I mean, Shâsot’Ari, who should be here by now!?” turning to walk further into the booth to see if he has. The door to our booth opens as I settle by the window overlooking the dance floor. I glance to it to see not only Klemral but Lachris too. Balmorra’s governor looks years younger and thrilled like she just tasted her new favorite dessert… “So young Shâsot’Ari, here was right… You’re still here,” Lachris says joyfully. I shiver slightly, don’t think about it, don’t think about it… My sisters glance at each other, “What brings us the pleasure of seeing you again so soon, Governor Lachris?” Dad’s Apprentice chuckles, “Oh my dear, we’ve known each long enough to forgo titles.” I laugh, yeah, my whole life, “I’d imagine so.” Lachris grins until her eyes land on the Imperial captain beside me, “Who’s your new companion?”

            “Captain Malavai Quinn,” I state simply, glancing back at the Captain. Lachris’ eyes flick to me, ‘Baras’ pet Imperial?’ I grimace nod minutely, and she shakes her head as she sighs, ‘what would your father say…’ My eyes narrow as she speaks aloud, “I came to once more congratulate and thank you for removing the thorn in my side. Balmorra is now completely under Imperial control due to your actions.” Lachris glances at me once last time, ‘I hope you know what you are doing…’ I sigh, glancing at him as she leaves, so do I… my gaze lands on Allura who’s nearly white. Matt is at her side almost instantly, catching her as she nearly falls, picking her up and placing her on one of the nearby couches, “I told you the artifact wasn’t worth it…” Luna scoffs, “And I’m telling you, I’m fine. Probably just the after effects to the Colicoid serum.” Khem grunts and growls, causing my baby sister to roll her eyes, “The doctor said that overall I’m fine. Of course, that was also after he said he’s surprised I’m still alive but that doesn’t matter.” My concern rises by the word, “A Colicoid serum?!” Allura grimaces, “It provided me with immunity to toxic waste that filled Vault 305 where my artifact was. Now thinking about it, I don’t think that it’ll ever disappear. So,” she grins, “I’m immune to toxic waste!” I glance at Quinn who’s risen and now digging through his bag, for what appears to be a medical scanner. He then briskly walks to Luna’s side. Jaida and I share an impressed and grateful look as he kneels at her side, starting the medical scan. I sense his surprise as both men frown after reading the results. “See, I’m fine just like the doctor said,” my baby sister nearly whines. Curious, I stand, placing a hand on Quinn’s shoulder as I read the results. Quinn stiffens under my touch but relaxes when he sees it is me. I sigh, “I’m going to have to agree with whoever this doctor is.” Luna grins, “Thank you! Now can we please eat something!” I nod, the girls squealing behind me, “Finally!” we make short work of ordering, and after, Vette and Mako run out and down onto the dance floor and silence falls. I chuckle, watching the two girls dance like maniacs, before shaking my head and joining my sisters on the couch. The food is delivered quickly, and Ash leaves to inform the girls. Both are rather quiet during dinner, mainly talking amongst with themselves. “So, where’s everyone’s next assignment?” Ash asks, crossing his arms after taking a drink.

            “Nar Shaddaa,” is my answer. Allura smiles, looking so much better, “That’s where my next artifact is, too!” Jaida chuckles, “Our next target is there as well.” The questioner grins, “Excellent, so we’re staying together for a bit longer.” Everyone chuckles, falling into silence as we eat. However, once everyone’s done Vette and Mako nearly pulls everyone down to the dance floor only stopping when I clear my throat, “I imagine we’ll have plenty of time to ‘party’ on Nar Shaddaa.” Vette crosses her arms, “I thought you said we were celebrating!” Jai chuckles, “I think we can celebrate on Nar Shaddaa,” after glancing at our baby sister, who notices. ‘Don’t be doing this for me.’ Luna says, frowning. Jaida shakes her head minutely, ‘We aren’t. So, relax.’ I nod in agreement, ‘We’ve had a long two days, and besides my new pilot needs a tour.’ Both Vette and Mako groan, flopping onto the couches, which I tsk them for. I’m glaring at them as Shâsot’Ari raises, “I, however, my dear, will not be with you there, so I do believe I’m owed a dance.” I grimace, remembering our dance on Kaas as Vette grins, which I glare at before giving Klemral my hand. He pulls me up from the couch to himself then leads us to the dance floor. He grins at me before drawing me closer, “Have I told you how grateful I am to have met you?” I shake my head as we slowly turn. He pulls me even closer, “I am. I’d be dead now if not for you. Or a sniveling coward to afraid to reach for anything. Because of you, I’m a Sith, and,” he moves closer, whispering in my ear, “I get to call the most stunning Sith I’ve ever seen my ally.” I roll my eyes, even as goosebumps cover my body, “You are just saying that.” He pulls away, so I can see the sincerity in his eyes, “I mean it. I’m an idiot for looking and flirting with Lachris like I did. Honestly, there’s nothing I regret more….” I scoff, though I can feel the truth to his words. He simply kisses my forehead as we fall silent. When the song ends I try to move away, but one glance into his eyes has me stopping. Once more, I lose myself in his rampant emotions through the song and the passionate kiss after, then I sense the emotions of my sisters and remember earlier and Quinn… and I pull away. He frowns slightly as I place my head on his chest, “We go slowly, Klem. Baras…” He nods, “I understand. We’ll take it slow.” I smile up at him before standing on my tiptoes to kiss him chastely. He grins in response, “Until next time,” pausing to bow, lifting my hand to his lips kissing it. “My ally,” he finishes with a wink before I walk away, heading back up to the room. my hand traces my lips, and an image of a certain rugged Imperial appears in my mind, which I shake away as I walk up the stairs. I enter with a slight smile, “Are we ready?” Vette grimaces, grumpily standing and bumping into me as she exits, mumbling, “Party pooper.” I roll my eyes and laugh, motioning for the others. As I request, there’s a large speeder enough to carry all ten of us is waiting outside.

            The ride is silent as despite all their arguing, Mako and Vette, are beginning to fall asleep. I chuckle as we come to a stop, the girls not budging from the speeder because they’re ‘too tired.’ Ash and Matt sigh after sharing a glance, gently picking them up. Inside, Ash with Mako, Jaida, and a moody Kaliyo separate from us, going in the opposite direction. Matt walks with us to Mercy carrying the exhausted Vette. In the hanger, 2V-R2 takes Vette from the pilot’s arms and takes her into the ship. Matt turns to me saluting then bowing, which I raise an eyebrow at. He chuckles, glancing at something. I turn, and I see Quinn unmoving and nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet. I chuckle, “Come on, Captain, I’ll give you a tour.” Quinn nods as Price walks out, looking rather nervous so I smile, ushering him up the ramp into the ship. I hear him swallow as the ramp lifts, the airlock closing behind us. I smile once more, reassuringly, before turning and walking deeper into the ship. He’s tense as he follows, stopping where I do in the central lounge where the holo terminal resides. “This is the central room, my quarters are here to the side,” I begin, pointing them. Great way to start a tour, my brain adds sarcastically. I silently huff, “across the hall from it is the med bay. Across from us, is the hallway to the bridge and where you’ll find your new office and personal quarters. You’ll find them a bit smaller than the ones you had here on Balmorra, but they are private. I hope they should suffice. Vette has chosen to sleep in the second level crew quarters, so she shouldn’t bother you too much…” I trail off as 2V-R2 emerges from the stairs, exclaiming, “The Captain who was lurking in our hanger! Is he joining us, mistress?” I chuckle, amused by the droid, as well as thankful he ended my horrid tour, “Yes, Arrtoo. Add him into your databanks.” Arrtoo nods, “Done, Mistress. I’ve already taken the liberty of moving the things in the hanger into the cargo bay.” More things? Where did those come from… I don’t remember making any big orders… Quinn must notice my distress, “My apologies, my Lord, I believe he’s talking about my things.” Oh… how dumb of me… Of course, he’d be bringing his things… Idiot… I let out a sigh before turning Toovee, “Place the Captain’s belongings into his quarters, Arrtoo.” Quinn grimaces slightly, watching the droid carry one of his boxes into his new quarters. I internally curse, forgot to introduce the droid, Treea… “That’s 2V-R2. I don’t call him Toovee as the others have the Toovee model as well, makes it less confusing,” you’re rambling, “Anyway, I’ll let you relax. We’re heading to Nar Shaddaa tomorrow as you heard and Baras wishes to address us before we depart.” Quinn nods sharply, “I’ll be quick, my Lord.” I nearly chuckle, so formal, I settle for shaking my head as go to my chambers, “Relax, Quinn, we’ve had an eventful couple of days.”

            When the door closes behind me, I nearly slouch against it. Breathe Treea, breathe. I grab Papa’s datapad then walk to my bed, turning it on I flick through the cams finding Quinn in his quarters putting his things away. What are you up too, Baras? Not meaning I doubt Quinn’s word, but… I glance at the camera I know is there, I know my Master. He’d want someone he trusts to inform on me while we’re off-ship, where Baras can’t watch my every move. He could see this as a double-edged sword as I wasn’t shy with my attraction to the Imperial officer, exploiting a potential weakness. I can’t very well change how I address the Captain but… not to mention I don’t want to. I use the Force to bring me my other real datapad, writing an encrypted message to Papa. But I can learn about this mysterious Captain and what potential hold Baras has on him. I glance at Quinn still putting away his things… Don’t worry, Father, I’m not naive. With that, I rise, turning off the bedroom lights and walking into my refresher to change and get ready for bed. Since I found a new way to add some curl to my hair, I spray my hair with water after washing my face. I exit, running a hand through my hair as I head to my bed, trying to add some curl, humming one of my favorite songs. When I’m under the covers, I wave my hand turning off the refresher light and plunging the room in the red darkness.