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The Apprentice

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The Apprentice

The Ghost flew through space. The journey had been a long one and much to the crew's dismay Hera had announced over coms that they still had several hours to go. The bulk of the crew was sat in the main communal area, Rex was dismantling and cleaning a stack of blasters that Sabine had found piled up in a supply chest. The artist herself was working on another painting in the corner. Kanan and Ashoka were sat to the side having a hushed conversation, the Jedi frowned and ran a hand through his hair, glancing over at Ezra with worry every once in a while. Frowning he turned back to Ashoka

"You're sure?" He said stroking his chin

"I'm not sure" Ashoka frowned "I've been feeling tremors in The Force, waves of cold" the Togruta shuddered slightly as another wave of cold ran up her spine, shaking it off she turned back to Kanan "I haven't felt anything like that in the force since..."

"The Clone Wars" Kanan finished her sentence, still frowning "or since Vader attacked the fleet, could it be him?" He looked up at Ashoka with a raised eyebrow.

"No" the Togruta shook her head "Vader's presence in The Force is much more pronounced, it's stronger in the Dark Side, this one isn't as cold, almost as if whoever it is is walking the line between the light and the dark" Kanan sighed and ran a hand through his hair.

"So we have no idea who or what it could be" the Jedi sat back "it can't be an Inquisitor, they've never been strong enough in the Dark Side for one of us to feel them at this distance" Ashoka nodded in confirmation. They both looked over at Ezra. The Padawan was sat cross legged on the floor with his eyes closed, his lightsaber was floating mid air in front of him. As they watched, screws and bolts drifted out of their place and the weapon dismantled itself, revealing a glowing blue crystal in the centre of a mass of wiring and circuity. The weapon was unique and even if it was just a standard design it was still an extremely rare sight in the galaxy these days. Ezra had been mediating more and more in recent days and Kanan was starting to worry, normally the kid was too distracted to clear his mind enough to meditate, but something had changed. Over the past few weeks even Chopper had had difficultly getting Ezra rilled up, and whenever anyone had tried to ask him about what was wrong he'd shake them off and slink away to the Phantom where he'd be found hours later in deep meditation.

"You're worried about him" Ashoka said, she didn't even need to ask, the whole fleet had picked up on the kids odd behaviour.

"Something's bothering the kid and he won't open up" Kanan confided in the Togruta "do you think it might be linked to the presence you felt?"

"I don't know Kanan" Ashoka looked troubled, "whatever it is, it's distraction he can't afford, not with the Empire tightening security on all it's major stations and outposts". Kanan nodded in response, still looking at Ezra, his lightsaber had drifted back together at this point and the last screw was sliding into place when his back went rigid and his face contorted in pain

"Argh!" His cry startled everyone, all eyes in the room darting towards him as his lightsaber clattered to the ground.

"Ezra!" Kanan yelled, darting from his seat across the room to his Apprentice "what happened?" He took the boy by the shoulder and looked at him as his eyes darted from side to side, was it him, or was there yellow in his eyes? Before he could decide Ezra closed his eyes and shook his head fiercely

"I'm fine Kanan!" He snapped grabbing his lightsaber and stumbling to his feet

"Really?" Rex said, setting down a blaster and standing up "cause that didn't look or sound fine" the old clone glanced at Ashoka who frowned back.

"It's ok Rex" Ezra said, a little too quickly, "I just need some space" stumbling slightly he made his way to the ladder connecting the Ghost to the Phantom and scurried up it.

"What was that about Kanan?" Sabine said, setting down her paint gun next to Rex's pile of blasters and folding her arms "he's been acting strange for weeks." The Jedi sighed, "I wish I knew, he won't open up about what's bothering him" Kanan looked up into the Phantom frowning

##

Ezra sat cross legged in the Phantom, his eyes shut

"Focus" he murmured to himself, "focus, just let go" the visions had started to come more and more frequently, it was getting to the point where he didn't trust himself to walk about, he knew he should tell Kanan.

But every time he went to, something stopped him, almost like a block in his brain and the words just wouldn't form. As he sat there he tried to focus on breathing and not thinking, trying to find some peace in his mind. But like countless times before he felt cold run down his spine, almost like someone had poured icy water down his back. A sudden head rush overtook him and his vision went black.

When he opened his eyes again he was standing in a dark corridor, everything was slightly blurred and dark, all the sounds he heard were slightly echoed, it was different this time.

"Ezra!" His head whipped around his eyes wide

"Sabine!" He yelled, fear gripped his heart and the cold started spreading from his spine, he charged down the corridor, he could see a red light and hear the distinct hum of a lightsaber, he rounded the corner and almost collided with Sabine who was hovering in mid air clutching her throat. Behind her stood a figure in billowing black robes, their face covered in a helmet, shrouded in darkness the only part Ezra could make out was the gleam of T shaped visor.

Then the vision melted away, he was on his knees in a hanger, the Ghost was behind him it's engines spluttering and wheezing as if it was damaged, the robed figure was advancing towards him, raising a crimson blade above his head. Ezra couldn't move, he was rooted to the spot, he looked down and screamed in horror as he saw his left hand gripping a charred stump where his right hand used to be. He shut his eyes in terror as the red blade sailed through the air towards him.

It never came. He opened his eyes. He was in the Phantom, leaning back against the wall next to the controls. Sweat dripped off his brow and he was panting.

"Who are you?" He whispered to himself, "an Inquisitor? A Sith?" He didn't expect an answer. He just sat there, enjoying the respite from the cold and the dark. He had to tell Kanan, he had to tell someone. He stumbled to his feet and was just about at the Phantoms hatch when the ship rocked violently

"What the?!" Ezra yelled as he stumbled backwards, Hera's voice crackled over the coms

"Everyone man the guns! We've got a hostile ship and they're coming in for another run!" Ezra scrambled to the Phantoms controls and gripped the turrets gun controls

"I've got the Phantom" he said into his com link

"Good!" Hera answered "hang on!" She yelled suddenly

"I hate it when she says that" Zeb muttered on the line. The Ghost banked suddenly to the starboard side and Ezra caught a glimpse of a dark ship, it looked like a heavily modified Imperial design, but before he could get a better look the ship had adjusted course and was in pursuit, firing heavily.

"Sabine, what kind of ship is that?" Ezra asked as he aimed the Phantoms guns at the ship and fired back

"No idea" Sabines voice said over the coms "it looks like an Imperial design, but I've never seen anything like it before, pirates maybe?" All the Ghosts guns were maned now and they were all firing back but the ship was weaving and dodging between the shots, rolling elegantly in space.

"Whoever they are, they're good" Hera grunted over the coms as she wrestled with the controls trying to avoid their pursers cannon fire. But despite her best efforts the Ghost rocked again as it was struck by another laser. The lights in the cabin flickered and the hum of the engines died a little

"This is bad!" Hera said through the coms "the hyperdrive's down, we're on emergency generators!" Ezra wasn't listening though, he was watching the ship that attacked them, it wasn't pressing it's attack! It was banking away, as it flew away Ezra managed to glimpse a name emblazoned on the hull "The Rogue Shadow".

As he watched it go the edges of his vision began to blur, the cold was spreading up his back again

"Not again" he muttered, he stumbled towards the ladder, but as he did his vision tunnelled and he was hit with waves of dizziness, he fell to his knees. Not even bothering to resist as the darkness took him. He was back in the hanger, the Ghost was still behind him, this time however the hangers large blast doors were closed and he was standing in front of them, Sabine was standing next to him, tears rolling down her cheeks

"I'm never going to see you again am I?" She said, wiping her eyes.

"Probably not, no" Ezra said, his heart aching

"Then I'll never have to live this down" she said and grabbed his collar and pulled him close, their lips met and the vision melted once again. He was on his knees clutching his charred arm, the hanger was empty, the Ghost was gone. The robed figure stood over him chuckling as he removed his helmet and grinned down at him, sharp features, close cut brown hair and piercing yellow eyes

"Very good. My apprentice." The figure laughed and Ezra looked up at him. Rage in his heart. The vision blurred and he was standing on a landing platform, lakes of lava bubbled around him and Sabine stood before him, her armour covered in scorch marks

"Ezra" she half whispered as he raised his right hand. Underneath the frayed remains of a leather glove he saw the gears and circuits of a mechanical prosthetic.

"Ezra!" Sabines voice was all around him now "Ezra? Ezra!" A sharp pain smacked across his face and he sat up gasping.

He was on the floor in the Phantom, Sabine was on her knees next to him

"Ow" he groaned feeling his face "did you just slap me?" He asked half turning towards the Mandalorian.

"It's the best way to wake someone up" Sabine shrugged as Ezra glared at her "hey! It worked didn't it?" Sabine said half smiling. Ezra shook his head and pulled down one of the Phantoms folding chairs and slumping down in it, his head in his hands. Sabine sat next to him, her hand on his shoulder

"What is up with you kid? The artist said frowning with genuine concern "you've been acting strange for weeks and don't say "nothing"! We both know that's a lie." Ezra looked at his friend and sighed

"I've been having visions" he said, looking straight ahead. "At first they were normal, flashes of the future but nothing I could make out properly, but over the passed few days they've been getting clearer and they're showing me more and more and they're coming in waves one after the other." Sabine frowned with concern and tried to get Ezra to look at her

"What do you see in these visions?" She asked gently, Ezra looked at her with hollow eyes.

"I see a force user with a red lightsaber, I keep seeing him attacking us, attacking you!" His hands balled into fists "I'm in a hanger and the Ghost is damaged and something very dangerous is coming" he looked down unsure of how much to give away. Sabine put her arm around him and squeezed his shoulders in a sort of hug

"Kid, I can't help you if you don't tell me everything" she said gently "it's ok, I can handle it" Ezra looked up at the older girl and sighed he looked straight ahead again and continued

"The visions keep cutting out, but one of the last things I see is you crying, and then..." He trailed off and made a snap decision to not tell her about the kiss. He picked up again "then the Ghost is gone and and I'm alone with the guy with lightsaber, my right hand is gone and he says to me "Very good. My apprentice" the visions haven't shown me anything else."

Sabine was quite for a few minutes, she was mulling over what Ezra had told her, she could tell he was holding something back.

"Why haven't you told Kanan?" She asked, "or Ashoka?"

"I've tried to" the kid ran his hands over his face "but every time... I just can't..." He made a face and then looked straight at her "it's almost like someone is in my head" Sabine squeezed Ezra again trying to comfort him

"It'll be ok kid, maybe it's something all Jedi go through" she knew she wasn't being much help, honestly she had no idea what was going on with the kid.

"Yeah maybe" Ezra said glumly. There was a beep on the coms

"Everyone meet in the cockpit" Hera said.

"Better get going then" Ezra said, making an effort to be cheery, smoothing down his jacket as he stood up. Sabine stayed sitting, watching Ezra walk to the hatch.

"Ezra?" Sabine called out, gently he turned to look at her

"Yeah?" He said frowning

"If everything you've seen is as bad as you make out, what could be so bad you can't tell me?" Sabine said looking the Padawan right in the eye. Ezra took a breath, then looked down

"Sabine" he stopped and cleared his throat "whatever we're doing in the future where these visions are from, I don't think I'm coming back" he looked up sadly then turned around and climbed down the ladder. Sabine sat for a while, thoughts racing through her head

"You're coming back kid." She said to herself "I'll make sure of it"

##

In the cockpit Hera was looking over panels, frowning as Chopper beeped out a damage assessment, the doors opened and Kanan, Ashoka and Rex came in

"How's the Ghost?" Asked Kanan as he sat down in the co-pilots seat

"Not good" Hera sighed "the hyperdrive's shot and the generators won't keep life support up long enough for us to fix it, we're gonna need somewhere to land and make repairs"

"Well there's an old Republic outpost near by" Rex said looking at Ashoka who nodded

"We used it for fighter repairs in the Clone Wars" the Togruta said "it should be safe enough while we make repairs"

"The generators should be able to get us there" Rex said looking up from a terminal.

"Then it looks like that's where we're going" Hera said tapping at the controls, as she set in the co-ordinates the door opened and Ezra, Zeb and Sabine walked in

"There's no hull damage" said Zeb

"And the Phantom's fine" Sabine said.

"Who was that?" Ezra said "why'd they break off their attack?" There was silence on the deck, no one knew answer

"Whoever they are." Kanan said "next time we'll be ready" there was a general murmur of approval. The lights flickered

"The generators aren't going to last much longer" Hera said in a warning tone

"Well, we should be there in a few minutes" said Rex looking up from a console

"Not minute too soon" Hera muttered "when we get there split into teams and search through the outpost, we might find something useful if it was a Republic base"

"Yeah, good idea" Kanan said standing up

"Rex, you go with Ashoka. Zeb you're with me" after a pause he looked over at Ezra "Sabine you're with Ezra, eyes open and if there's the slightest hint of trouble radio it in and we'll come running"

"Right" Ezra said, with no enthusiasm. He turned and left the bridge the door hissing shut behind him

"Keep an eye on him" he said to Sabine

"You got it Kanan" the Mandalorian nodded and left the bridge to get her helmet. She stopped by her cabin to pick it up, along with some ammo for her pistols and her paint guns

"Gotta leave a mark" she muttered. She checked Ezra and Zebs cabin, he wasn't in there. She found him in the common area, his helmet was on the on the table and he was adjusting his lightsaber, his eyes shadowed.

"You're gonna be fine kid." She said as she sat down next to him. He looked up and half smiled before going back to tinkering, the weapon clicked, he grunted with satisfaction and clipped it to his belt

"When we get back, I'm gonna tell Kanan" he said looking up at Sabine "we'll figure this out" Sabine smiled and patted his arm

"You're coming back" she said, trying to reassure both of them.

After they'd landed in the outpost station the crew met at the bottom of the ramp and Kanan took charge as usual

"Zeb and I will cover the East section, Rex, Ashoka, you take the North. Ezra, Sabine you take the South, we'll meet back here when Hera and Chopper have fixed the Ghost" the crew all nodded in response and started off in different directions. Before Ezra could leave Kanan caught his shoulder

"Kid" he started

"We'll talk about it when we get back" Ezra said looking up at his master

"Alright" the Jedi nodded "be careful out there"

"Am I ever?" The boy laughed before closing his helmet visor and running after Sabine who had started off down a corridor.

##

On the other side of the station a figure wearing dark robes over a leather tunic and a Mandalorian chest plate sat in front a collection of security monitors, watching the Ghost crew scatter through the station station, his focus mainly on a monitor showing a Mandalorian and the Jedi Padawan Ezra Bridger. The figure grinned behind his helmet and stood up

"All according to plan"

##

So far they'd found nothing. Most of the station had been picked clean in its sixteen years of abandonment.

"Nothing in here" Ezra said, looking up from a trunk he'd been searching through

"There's some power cells in here" Sabine said, her head still buried in a locker "not much, but at least we got something"

"They'll keep Chopper going I suppose" Ezra said shrugging

"Oh, then I guess I'll just leave them here then" Sabine said smiling under her helmet. The two laughed, the tension had lifted slightly, it was just another scavenging trip.

"Come on" Sabine said, stashing the power cells in her belt. They walked down the corridor, Sabine leading the way with the flashlight attached to her helmet. As they walked Ezra's pace started to slow, there was a strange feeling in the Force. The same kind he'd felt when he'd first met Kanan, he looked around, and realised the corridors looked familiar, he didn't even notice that Sabine had rounded the next bend without him.

"This looks like..." He said

"Ezra!" Sabines cry cut through the silence like a knife to the heart.

"No." Ezra whispered. He took off down the corridor "no, no, no, no!" He fumbled for his com link

"Kanan we got trouble, we're gonna need some -" he rounded the corner and almost crashed into Sabine, she was hovering about a foot in the air clutching her throat

"- help" he dropped his com link and stared in horror. Behind Sabine stood a figure, about six feet tall in black robes, their face covered in a helmet shaped to their head with a T shaped visor.

"You." He hissed. Hate sparked in his chest, he trembled with rage

"Me" the figure laughed, his voice was altered by the helmet but he couldn't mistake it.

"Let her go!" Ezra yelled, unclipping his lightsaber and stepping forward taking a defensive stance and activating the blue blade. There was a hiss as the figure activated a crimson lightsaber

"Why don't you come make me, Padawan" the figure mocked stepping forward, one hand still outstretched towards Sabine who was beginning to choke, her legs kicking. Ezra raised his lightsaber. Before he could charge the figure spun round and raised his lightsaber to block Ashoka's white blades Sabine dropped the ground gasping for breath

"Sabine!" Ezra deactivated his blade and ran to her side and pulled her helmet off, she seemed alright.

"So you're the one I've felt in the Force" Ashoka said glaring "who are you?"

"Who I am isn't important part timer, you may simply call me, Starkiller." Starkiller laughed and shoved Ashoka back, she swung her sabers to meet his and the two clashed back and forth, Starkiller mainly taking the offensive, the tight confines of the hallway limiting Ashoka's fighting style, she was pushed back, forced to take the defence.

"Lady Tano, you disappoint me!" Starkiller mocked as he batted away one of Ashoka's blades "my master always praised you with such high esteem"

"Your master?" Ashoka growled as she countered Starkillers attack "Vader" her eyes went wide "how does he know about me?"

"Oh I think you know!" Starkiller laughed as he advanced. "I know you've felt it, Snips"

"No" Ashoka's eyes went wide and she backed away, her blades up. Starkiller laughed

"We both had the same teacher, I know the way you fight. You've already lost!" He advanced

"I've bested better opponents then you" Ashoka spat

"Oh, I don't think you've ever fought anyone quite like me!" Starkiller chuckled and raised his hand, lightning shot from his finger tips. Caught off guard the lightning struck Ashoka in the chest and she flew backwards, howling in agony.

"No!" Ezra leapt at Starkiller who broke off the lightning attack on Ashoka and blocked Ezra's strike

"It's been you!" Ezra grunted as he struggled to keep the blades locked

"You're the one who's been sending the visions, stopping me from telling Kanan!"

"Well you are a bright one" Starkiller said pushing Ezra back

"Ezra!" Kanan, Rex and Zeb had caught up. Kanan lunged for Starkiller whilst Rex and Zeb ran to Sabine

"I'm fine" she insisted waving them off "help Ashoka!" Rex ran to his old friend while Kanan and Ezra did their best to fend off Starkiller

"Who sent you?" Kanan asked

"No one sends me anywhere Jedi" Starkiller said smugly "and you should really keep your guard up!" To emphasise his point he darted under Kanans guard and hit the Jedi in the stomach with the hilt of his lightsaber. The Jedi doubled over gasping, Starkiller grabbed Kanans arm and twisted it until there was a sickening crack and the Jedi howled in pain

"Oh shut up" Starkiller scoffed and smacked Kanan hard on the back of his head with the butt of his lightsaber.

"No!" Ezra roared, anger welled up inside him and he thrust out his arm putting all the will and strength he had into a telekinetic push. To his surprise however Starkillers Force Wall broke almost easily and he sailed backwards and crashed into a wall, groaning as he stood up he was quickly hit by two stun bolts from the blaster section of Ezra's lightsaber. Zeb was already leaning over Kanan

"'Is arms broken" the Lasat said, "and it's a nasty knock, we got get 'im to the Ghost!"

"Right" Rex said, Ashoka was up now, leaning heavily on the clones shoulder, Zeb picked up Kanan as gently as he could and they took off towards the Ghost, Ezra leading the way.

"He won't be stunned for long" Sabine said "we've got to find a way to slow him down"

"The base has automated defences" Rex said as he readjusted Ashoka's weight "if we activate them it might buy us enough time"

"Should be doable" Sabine said tapping commands into her wrist mounted computer

"Right" Ezra nodded "sounds like a plan. Zeb, Rex get Ashoka and Kanan to the med bay! Sabine and I will cover our backs!"

The Ghost was in sight now, Hera was emerging wiping her hands with a cloth

"What happened?" She asked wide eyed as Zeb and Rex rushed past her

"Ran into some trouble" Ezra panted "a Dark Side user, calls himself Starkiller"

"Hera, please tell me the Ghost is ready to go!" Sabine said barely looking up

"Chopper's just finishing up now-" Hera started

"Good!" Ezra cut her off as he pulled off his helmet "get her ready to go, we don't have long!" Hera started to say something else, but changed her mind and ran back into the ship

"There! Got it!" Sabine yelled as she pressed a final button, in the hanger behind them old turrets powered up and large blast doors started to rumble shut, cutting the ship off from the rest of the space. The Mandalorian pulled off her helmet and turned to Ezra

"We've got to man the guns! Ezra?" The Padawan was starring at the blast doors. He'd gone white as a sheet.

"Sabine" he turned to her with hollow eyes "this is the hanger from my vision." Dread flooded Sabines heart

"I understand now" Ezra said, he turned and walked towards the blast doors unclipping his lightsaber

"Ezra! What are you doing?" Sabine ran after him "I activated the defences!"

"We both know Ashoka would be able to get through them without breaking a sweat, and he made her look like a punk. He'll get through them, he'll get in and he'll kill us all" he blinked away tears "I can slow him down"

Sabine felt as if a rug had been pulled out from under her, everything was spinning.

"There must be another way" she half whispered.

"We both know there isn't." Ezra shook his head. Behind the blast doors came the muffled sound of blasters opening fire, then a muffled boom "Sabine, before I met you guys all I thought about was myself" the Jedi looked away, his head bowed, tears welling up in his eyes. When he looked at her again his eyes were determined and his voice steadier "if this is it, let me go out protecting the only people that matter." Sabine let his words wash over her before she nodded

"I'm never going to see you again am I?" She was crying now, she didn't make an effort to stop the tears sliding down her cheeks. Ezra closed his eyes and took a breath

"Probably not no." She felt something in her snap, guilt, regret, grief, she felt them all wash over her. She wiped her eyes

"Then I'll never have to live this down" she took a step forward, grabbed his collar and kissed him. He didn't seem surprised and kissed her back. The moment seemed to be an eternity. The blast doors started to open and Ezra broke away.

"Goodbye Sabine" he looked her in the eyes one last time. The doors opened enough to reveal Starkiller forcing the doors open with his will, Ezra thrust his arm out and sent the Dark Sider flying backwards. Ezra activated his lightsaber and marched out to meet him. He didn't look back.

Sabine watched him go, watched as he swiped his fist through the air and the doors slammed shut. Her hand went to her lips.

"So that's what he wasn't telling me" she said to herself.

##

Starkiller looked up to see Ezra Bridger striding towards him, he'd removed his helmet and his face was visible. Starkiller grinned and stood up.

"How brave of you boy" they started to circle each other, keeping an equal distance, both sizing the other up.

"So who are you?" Ezra raised his eyebrow

"Stalling won't save you" Starkiller growled, activating his lightsaber

"Oh I don't plan on escaping" the kid shrugged "we both know how this ends"

"Yes we do" Starkiller mocked as he raised his blade "why don't you just surrender?"

"I plan to go down fighting, I won't run from fate, or from you. But there's no way I'm making this easy!" and he charged.

They met in the middle blades clashing. Ezra took the offensive aiming blows at Starkiller's head and arms, Starkiller countered the blows, but never returned strikes, dancing around Ezra's blade and sometimes dodging him altogether making Ezra stumble. Growling with frustration the Padawan swung his blade at Starkillers head who ducked under it and kicked Ezra in the chest sending him flying into a wall. His head smacked into the wall, stars danced in front of his eyes and a high pitched ringing started in his ears. He stumbled to his feet, disorientated and off balance. Starkiller came at him and Ezra swung wildly, each strike batted away and deflected.

"Frustrating isn't it?" Starkiller chuckled "everything you do isn't quite enough"

"Shut up!" Ezra snapped and slashed at Starkiller who blocked it and locked their blades

"That's right, let your frustration turn to anger! Let it fuel you!" Starkiller laughed. Ezra growled and shoved against Starkillers blade with his own in rage. Starkiller stumbled backwards, surprised by the boys strength. He could feel the rage in the boys heart, see it in his increasingly unbalanced strikes. The Darkness was sucking him in. He just had to push him over the edge.

Dodging under the boys next strike he kicked his back and sent him skidding forward on his stomach, as he got up Starkiller raised his hand and closed his fist slightly. Ezra felt a hand close around his neck and he rose into the air slightly, he dropped his lightsaber and grasped at his throat, glaring at Starkiller

"Who... Are... You?" He managed to splutter glaring

"I am the heir to the Sith" Starkiller laughed, he raised his hand and Ezra's lightsaber flew to him, the Sith examined it

"An interesting design" he clipped it to his belt, next to three other trophy blades. He walked over to the boy, his helmet right in his face. Behind Bridger the blast doors protecting the Rebel ship started to open as Starkiller willed them. The boys face twisted into a look of horror as he heard the doors open. Starkiller thrust his arm out and Ezra flew through the air, through the open doors and landed with a grunt on the Phantoms cockpit. Sabines face gazed up at him through the glass in terror.

"Please tell me you've got this thing working". Ezra grunted through the glass

"We're working on it" Sabine called back through

"That's ok!" Ezra grunted sarcastically "I've got him on the ropes" suddenly he felt a hand close around his ankle and he was yanked away from the Ghost like a rag doll. He crashed to the floor at Starkillers feet. The Sith put his boot on Ezra's chest and lowered his blade to his throat

"I'm going to destroy you now Bridger" he mocked

"No!" Ezra grunted thrashing against Starkillers superior weight

"Oh don't worry, I won't kill you first"

Starkiller chuckled "No, first I'll kill your friends, while you watch."

"No!" Ezra whispered, he could feel the cold gnawing at him, edging up his spine

"I'll save the girl for last" Starkiller grinned "and I'll make it slow!"

"NO!" Ezra screamed. He closed his eyes and opened himself to The Force. There was a rushing sound in his ears, the cold spread over him, filling him. Rage burned in his heart. The power! He let the rage out in animalistic scream and a pulse of Force energy escaped from him. Sending Starkiller flying off him, the Sith's lightsaber landed next to Ezra. He picked it up as he stood and glared at Starkiller. Feeling the Dark Side coursing within him.

##

On board the Ghost in the med bay Ashoka Tano was sat in a chair, quietly mediating, the pain of the lightning slowly fading.

She looked up. Kanan, who was lying in the med bay bunk groaned and shifted. Ashoka could feel a shift in the force. Cold. A new presence in the Dark Side, at the same time there was one fewer in the Light.

"Ezra." Ashoka whispered "what have you done?"

##

Starkiller laughed in triumph. The boy had embraced the Darkness.

All he had to do now was give in to it. The Sith stood and unclipped the lightsaber of Rahm Kota from his belt. The green blade hummed as he activated it

"You won't go near them!" The boy snarled as he leapt at Starkiller, red blade raised above his head. Red and green clashed. Sparks flew from the Sabers. Starkiller still defending as Ezra's rage fuelled his vicious attacks. Behind them the Ghosts engines roared into life. Starkiller looked up in alarm. Then a perfect plan formed in his mind. The Ghost was behind him, his next move was neat and clean. Ezra was bringing his blade downwards, Starkiller blocked the strike with his lightsaber in his left hand, with his right he punched Ezra hard in the stomach, the boy doubled over and when he did Starkiller dropped the green blade into his right hand and cleanly sliced of the boys hand.

"Argh!" Ezra cried out dropping to his knees. Starkiller raised his hand and clenched his fist. The Ghost froze mid take off, it's engines straining.

Ezra stared down at the stump of his arm. He'd been an idiot. The visions and come true. He looked up. Starkiller was standing with his arm raised, the Ghost was frozen behind him, held captive by the Force

"You are strong Bridger, but only your hatred will give you the power to save your friends!" Starkiller looked down at the beaten Padawan "give in the Dark Side!" He urged. Ezra looked up, he saw Sabines face in the Phantoms windows. Saw the terror in her eyes

"I'm sorry" he whispered. He closed his eyes and let the Darkness take him. He felt the power built within him, felt a piercing pain in his eyes, he raised his remaining arm and yelled in agony. Lightning shot from his fingertips. Starkiller released the Ghost and deflected the lightning back at him with his lightsaber. The Ghost flew out of the open hanger and sped away into space.

The lightning shocked Ezra to the core. The agony was unbearable and he thrashed and howled until it subsided, he fell onto his remaining arm, panting.

"Very good" Starkiller laughed, he reached up and removed his helmet. His brown hair was cut brutally short, his face was sharp and cruel with yellow eyes. He strode over to the boy

"My, apprentice." Ezra looked up. Glaring with sickly yellow eyes.