On the Edge of the Empire

The Miraluka Aolen and his comrades skulk about the Imperial Star Destroyer Revenant, trying to disrupt it as much as possible from its imminent assault upon the Rebel base located in a nearby star system. A distress signal had been sent to the base warning them to evacuate, and the hyperdrive of the Revenant had been tampered with to send the battle cruiser off course when activated. Now to retrieve the stolen ship with the holocron. Approaching the hangar which docked the stolen ship, Kyler senses something not right about the small one-man star ship as he focuses his senses upon it.

The group had just overtaken the control room for the hanger launch bay. Looking down into the hanger, the ship seemed to be there but something wasn’t right about it. Inside, I could sense an evil presence … a feeling I’ve not felt since …. I escaped my former Sith Master.

Surely he would try to kill me if he ever found me. There is no forgiveness among the Sith, one of the reasons why I left. I must admit, I could feel the lure of embracing the Dark Side, and I struggle each day trying to hold back the temptation to let it completely envelope me, to thrive on the power it provides. This would only lead ultimately to my death, though, and yet would be better than to be a slave to the evil that overtakes one’s soul when they completely fall to the temptation.

Yet now there is another who wants the same fate for me. To give in and return to the life of servitude or die. I can feel him there in the ship, or the image of a ship anyway, holding the holocron, using its power to cast some mirage to trick us. I can sense his hate, his deception, his anger, yet he can not fool me.

Aolen leaves the command room after the docking clamps are unhitched from the nearby shuttle resting in the hanger, their best option for a quick escape off of this enemy battle cruiser. The bodies lay lifeless behind him on the floor and slumped over the computer consoles that they manned just moments before.

Looking down from the elevated platform above the hangar, Aolen draws upon the calm feeling of the Force; he reaches out and lets it flow through him, giving him enhanced agility to leap effortlessly 10 meters down to the hanger floor and over the gap that lowers further below deck. He completes the action with purpose, with urgency, and with determination that he will succeed this upcoming battle with this master of the dark.

The others make their way down the ladders leading off of the scaffolding to the floor below, yet others keep to the elevated position to snipe. The HK droid targets the officer on deck and rains blaster bolts from above. Jaxo quickly reaches the bottom and takes off sprinting to the shuttle, intending to prep it for departure and knowing all hell is about to break loose.

Aolen is uncertain what transpires behind him, but in his periphery he can sense some of the loader droids and remaining Imperials falling rapidly, victims of the combined incoming assault from his compatriots. He makes his own way diligently towards the figure holding the holocron, nervous but remembering his teachings. Aolen mentally recites bits from the Sith mantra and what he has begun to learn of the Jedi Bendu, all while focusing to make sense of his surroundings.

Through passion, I gain strength.
Through strength, I gain power.
Through power, I gain victory.

and …

There is no chaos, there is harmony.
There is no death, there is the Force.

Bossco, with the Force as his ally, wrests the holocron from our adversary and into the safety of his own hands. The mirage disappears from around the dark clad figure. As it fades away he turns to face me and the others. The figure turns his stare in Bossco’s direction, now seeing the hovering alien holding what seconds ago was his to control.

I can sense his anger as the object he desired was taken from his grasp so easily. Hopefully, his anger will be his downfall making him slip up and make a mistake. He approaches me! I hold each unlit saber in my hands, poised to activate them in an instant. I studied for years, practicing each day hours on end just the art of turning them on without even consciously thinking about it. It was embedded in me to the point where it is no different then taking a breath. They will ignite just as I will it to be.

We assess each other down as we walk in a slow, determined circle feeling for each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I know I am nervous and try my best to hide it from the Servant of the Dark, but he can sense even that weakness. He tells me and my comrade, Kyler, whom he calls Dragoon; we are to return to our previous masters and stop fleeing from our destiny. How dare he command me! I can feel my anger building! I try to maintain composure. He knows NOTHING about strength! It takes strength to have the courage to leave that life behind! To find my own way! Maybe he should be so strong as I have shown! No, this fiend will fall this day. I will it to be!

My mind ssuddenly snaps back to the present as Bossco calls out. I focus once more as I hear the exiled Jedi giving a very profound and uplifting bolster to our morale. I realize this Dark Master has done something to distract me, to put rage and fear into my mind! I must overcome this!

I look back to the others. Bossco gives me an uplifting nod, to gather my emotions and focus on the battle at hand. I return the nod in thanks to my friend, appreciating his talents as hopefully he can appreciate mine. My talents which I choose not yet to unleash, for we each have our own gifts that we have trained our entire lives, and this, what I am about to do, will be thus far the highlight of my life. To not practice a lightsaber dance with a Sith Master, as I had done countless times during my previous training, but to now do so knowing that only one of us would remain, when it was done and one would be with the Force.

MOVE! Get out of the way! Incoming fire!”, Jaxo shouts across our comms. I turned my focus to perceive the shuttle lift on its ascending thrusters, turn, and hover skillfully between two other TIE Bombers that had been dry docked for repairs, set on either side of the shuttle. The laser turrets boom, sending forth beams of pure energy in the direction of Aolen and his adversary. The impact caused crates, tools, droids and even metal sections of the floor to score and heave, sending debris and sparks in all directions.

I could not quite understand how Jaxo was able to turn the craft to face us the way he did without colliding with the other nearby ships, not to mention the stacks of cargo and fuel containers about nearby the hangar. Surely he is a master of his craft, as each of us are in ours. I leap out of the way and sense Kyler doing the same, both of us jumping back into defensive positions, avoiding the weapons fire meant for ship-to-ship combat, not small arms fire.

Things had been moving in what seemed like slow motion as I explore all this rage, fear, excitement and determination. Now reality pulls its firm hand of fate upon me once more. Instinctively I reach deep down and pull at the Force with everything I have, flipping up, twirling around, and arcing back towards a stack of cargo crates I sensed were there, with the Force as my ally and provider of my vision. As I twirl and spin, flipping backwards, I remember this maneuver from my Sith instructor. That maneuver took me over 3 months before I could get it right, but I finally did, and today we would see if I remembered my teachings well.

Tumbling back over the head of the dark figure, my thumbs slide down to activate the light swords, one in each hand. A yellow blade erupts from one of the cylinders in my grasp. The distinctive hum of the light saber is as comfortable to me as my own heart beating and helps me to focus my power. From the other cylinder, a green blade extends, the hum now a beautiful reminder of what my purpose in life has been. Trained to be a killing machine.

Remembering the maneuver, I twisted over my target as I flipped backwards and above him, positioning the blades into an X formation. The figure in black robes, blocked my yellow blade, instinctively knowing what was coming at him from above. To my benefit however, he was not expecting a shift to move the other blade to his other side. The green blade extended and went deeply into the right thorax. The hum muffled a bit as the blade disappeared into his lung, collapsing it.

As I finished my attack from overhead my opponent, I instinctively motioned to collapse the blades before completing my tumble, landing on top of the crate stack in such a way so as to not wound myself. I had noticed though that one of the blades had already dropped, not by my doing. The Sith must have turned it off somehow when my blade struck true. Re-evaluating the situation after landing on top of the 10 foot stack of containers, I sensed chaos presenting its ugly face.

The HK droid continues to fire blaster bolts down, the loader droids scurrying about and seem to start charging at our adversary, the one whom I have wounded. Bossco, hovering nearby watching continuing to try and uplift our spirits for the fight. Kyler seems to be under some duress, however, from what I can tell. Bossco’s uplifting motivation must not have been as effective on him as they were on me. He’s been acting in a manner which makes no sense to me; he surely must still be under the influence of the Dark Master’s spell, affecting our minds when we approached.

My memory flashed back, the boredom of space travel during our excursion here in the first place, I recalled a sparring session Kyler and I had; we were practicing in the hold of the ship and showing each other some moves. Like me, Kyler had also spent many years in training under the SIth Knights to practice the ways of lightsaber combat. I was more focused in my studies. Kyler had studied a variety of forms, using the best of each to his advantage, and he had become very adept at defensive techniques. I tried one of my most effecting strikes on him to see if I could catch him by surprise, only to have him parry it deftly away. It left me shocked, actually, since the night before I left my master, I had tricked him with that move.

Like me, Kyler was taught to live, eat and breath with your saber by your side. After all these years, it had become an art form. It is now just the natural way of things, to have this weapon actually feel like an extension of our very limbs, it truly does become part of you towards the end of your studies. We were taught from very early in our training with the ancient weapon, that it far exceeds any other in the hands of a master. It is not as clumsy or random as a blaster. It is precision. It is superior in all ways to any blaster. It can block incoming blaster fire and send it back at a foe, killing him with his own shot.

Surely, my friend and fellow lightsaberist Kyler must be under strong influence of the dark one, because what I saw him do next he never would have done of his own accord. He lifted his blaster in his grasp, and I expected him to throw it away, as if he were tossing aside his opponent’s heart after removing it skillfully from his chest. Instead he took aim and fired the weapon at our opponent’s back; he used a far inferior weapon, one that we both had spent our lives being taught was insignificant next to the expertise of a blade master, next to the power of the Force.

The rage now pent up inside of me as the dark one controlled the mind of my ally. I saw the forward laser cannons pull back, preparing to hurl another volley my way. I took to the air, timing my leap perfectly, and dove over the explosions as the blasts impacted the area under my former location and around my foe. He was sent spinning from the blast of the cannons, only to see me diving down overhead of him once more. Instinctively, my blades ignited from their grips, once more both finding their mark. Afterwards landing some distance away, I turned to see the figure collapse in a heap on the ground, now just a smoldering heap from the amount of damage he had sustained.

We all hurried quickly to the shuttle and were prepared to see a horde or more Stormtroopers break through the blast doors and come down upon us. Jaxo turned the ship towards the hangar exit and the protective force field shimmer to allow our escape. With Aggril’s help on navigation, Jaxo maneuvered our ride beyond the hull of the Star Destroyer and then opened up the throttle to send us souring out once more into the great expanse of space.

The Apparition sidles up beside the Lambda shuttle, the Q7 droid makes a final adjustment to jury rig power to the hyperdrive. Both ships deliver defensive fire to fend off a squad of pursuing TIE fighters. The Rebel ships sync their astrogation charts to a location provided by General Setenna Hase.

I turned back in the direction of the battle cruiser … I sense something … but that can’t be possible!

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