Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

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Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-12 12:25pm

Well everyone, time for something new. With a big project I was doing on SB finally done, I figured it was time to unveil a fic project that I've gone through a couple of times (though under an alternate title) and want to actually complete now. Since it's at least 60% done, sans some editing work and an additional scene here and there, I figured I'd go ahead and post it.

And I even gave it a snazzy, completely appropriate opening too!

(Made with the Google Store app Star Words by Tokata. Mostly free, you only have to pay $1.99 if you want to put in your own custom logo in place of "Star Words", or where "Star Wars" zooms out in the normal scrawl.)


In the silence of the brightly colored, moon-lit forest of Balturrel, they marched forth. A battalion of well-trained, battle-honed Clonetroopers of the newly-christened Empire, veterans of many battles in the Rim against the crumbling Confederacy. A6 Juggernaut vehicles rumbled ahead, clearing away the trees and brush and paving a clear road to the target of the troops.

In the middle of this forest, built into a hillside, was an inactive base of the Seperatists, run entirely by droids. The Juggernauts cleared the path and the troops began to filter in. Their leader, Commander Solom, watched from a Juggernaut control deck. Before him a holonet came alive and presented him with a blue-tinted figure, that of the Emperor's personal lieutenant; the helmeted Darth Vader. "Commander Solom, do you have anything further to report?"

"We've found the droid base, Lord Vader. If the locals' stories are correct, the Jedi have taken refuge within..."

"Find and eliminate them, Commander. And if you find no sign of them, you are to punish those who have wasted our time."

"Yes, my Lord." Solom waited for Vader to end the call before leaving to personally lead his troops into the facility.

The Clonetroopers spread around inside, platoon by platoon then squad by squad, searching every corner. The inner chambers were illuminated, the first confirmation that the base was still occupied.

A squad from Platoon B was the first to notice the robed figure standing at the opening to what appeared to be the control center. He called out to his comrades, so they turned and raised their rifles in unison at the man with graying black hair and beard. A split second before they could fire they heard the familiar sound of a lightsaber flashing to life. The blade shined green in the man's hand, and he deftly sent back every blaster shot, killing one clone and then another before an outstretched hand sent them all flying backward, their guns flying out of their grasp and the impact knocking them unconscious.

Jedi Master Kee-Xi Laden took in a breath, turning off his lightsaber for the moment, and felt the currents of the Force move and shift about him. He could see the Clonetroopers' methodical advance through the base and knew that soon they would be coming down on him. "Any luck, Silas?"

A head poked out from under one of the control stations in the nearby control center, a young man with dark hair to his neck and blue eyes. "Some, Master," Silas Torson replied. "I need more time."

"I am afraid time is running quite low for us, my apprentice," the older man replied. A sensation brought him to ignite his lightsaber again. More Clonetroopers appeared around the corner of the central hall, and with concentration Kee-Xi threw them backward. "We're going to have an entire battalion coming down on our heads."

"I'm working as fast as I can, Master," Silas replied, intent on his labor once again.

Kee-Xi reached out with the Force toward one of the fallen Clonetroopers, yanking a thermal detonator off of his belt and activating it before throwing it at and around the corner. An explosion made the entire facility rumble, a gamble that ensured they'd be swamped within minutes, but at least giving them a minute or so of calm. "Silas?"

"I think I have it!" Silas connected a circuit and light filled the console previously dark. He sat up from the floor and pressed a couple keys on the board.

The display lit up, and showed a likeness of various models of battle-droids lighting up. The base lit up entirely on the inside. A monitor, showing the outside, depicted a hanger opening and tank droids pouring out, firing on the unprepared Clone forces.

"I never thought I would be thankful to be surrounded by battle droids," Kee-Xi remarked in a moment of humor. Around the base the droids were emerging from secured compartments and drawing the Clonetroopers into skirmishes. "Come!"

Silas ignited his blue lightsaber and followed his master toward the back of the facility, and to the hanger there.

Their path became a literal gauntlet. Silas followed Kee-Xi's lead in moving around the combatants when possible, and neither paid much attention to actually defeating attackers, an impressive feat given that both Clonetroopers and battle droids were trying to kill them. The movements of his lightsaber were fluid, Silas allowing his feelings to guide his arms as blaster bolts were deflected one by one along the way, his beating heart slowly growing more louder than the heaving of his chest or the buzz of his weapon.

It was on the opposite end of the hillside that the hanger was located. Kee-Xi shouted for Silas to get their craft ready.while he held off a small squad of Clonetroopers that had followed them. Silas didn't look back to watch as his master moved swiftly, lightsaber twirling and slashing, cutting through their pursuers in the near blink of an eye with nothing but a few singes from near misses to show for their efforts against him.

Silas had focused his attention on the ARC-170 heavy starfighter in the hanger bay where they'd left it. Since they were out of proton torpedoes they wouldn't be able to get far in it if they were met by heavy resistance. But the fighter was refueled thanks to the reserves of the droid base. Every bit they traveled brought them closer to the rendezvous Kee-Xi had arranged.

Already waiting in the assigned socket was a bleeping, warbling astromech droid, known to Silas as R2-Z5 or "Zeefive". "Launch checks done already, I see," Silas remarked while settling himself into the cockpit. The fighter was designed for a crew of three normally, not counting an astrodroid, so Z5 was left with the additional duty of using the rear guns if it was ever necessary. "Master, we're ready!"

Kee-Xi sprinted over and leapt into the pilot seat, with Silas as co-pilot. They strapped in as the cockpit closed over them. A press of a button activated the hanger door and as it slid open the engines of the ARC-170 fired. Under the careful guidance of Kee-Xi the fighter moved into the night air and toward orbit.

"Master, picking up interceptors," Silas remarked. "They've coming around the planet and will be in firing range within a minute."

"Zeefive, prepare the rear deflectors and boost engine power. Begin calculating hyperspace course for Gantoon."

"Gantoon?" Silas asked. "I thought we were heading for Lumin Prime?"

"We are," Kee-Xi replied. "But I have something to pick up on Gantoon. New transportation. Now eyes front, Silas."

Silas directed his attention to the Eta-2 interceptors moving in on them. "They're still gaining Master. Twenty seconds to firing range...." Silas watched the distance tick down and counted it as well. Even a few seconds before they were in effective range laser fire erupted from the attacking fighters.

Kee-Xi performed a quick roll and accelerated "upward". Laser fire followed them, and a couple shots grazed them. "Deflectors are still working," Silas reported, a bit of sweat coming to his forehead. A warning indicator came up on his screen. "Master, ion cannon fire!" If their deflectors failed and they were hit by one, they would be completely doomed....

"Well done, Zeefive," Kee-Xi said aloud. He steadied the craft and his hand went to the hyperdrive control.

Behind them, two interceptors fired their ion cannons dead on target, but it was too late; the ARC-170 disappeared in an instant.

Silas watched hyperspace shooting by him and let out a sigh. "Master, let's not get ourselves in that much trouble again," he said.

Kee-Xi allowed himself a slight chuckle. "I will not make that promise, Silas," he answered.

"I thought you might say that."

Kee-Xi nodded. If the Empire knew anything about his plans, their pursuit of the Jedi would become even more intense.

It has come down to this, Kee-Xi mused to himself. This last desperate hope for a new beginning for the Jedi. Our only remaining hope in the galaxy... and it is all my responsibility. May the Force be with us, indeed...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-12 02:13pm

Chapter 1

The planet Gantoon was one colony of many in the Rim Sectors, inhabited by a variety of species and led by a corrupt Governor ruling from the spaceport city of Gal Durap. Occupied briefly by the Seperatists during the War, the only loyalties the planet held was to the wealth of its leaders. They had not yet declared for the new Empire (though they certainly wouldn't refuse to much longer) and that made the planet as safe as it could be.

Relatively speaking anyway.

The definite signs of this came after Kee-Xi and Silas had put down in the spaceport, with R2-Z5 following. As they walked through the spaceport's bazaar, surrounded by the sounds of merchants and customers haggling over prices, they spied fliers put up offering rewards for informing the Empire about Jedi. "We will have to make our stay here brief," Kee-Xi whispered to Silas.

"Of course, Master." Silas kept a hand on Z5's dome to make sure he didn't wander off. "What are we going to be doing?"

"I have arranged to be given a ship, but first I will sell our fighter to the local cartel." Kee-Xi started up the marble steps of the grandiose building before them,the headquarters of the Outer Rim Merchant Consortium Compared to the rest of the lane it stood out magnificantly, perhaps too much so given how it had been built with funds gleaned from bribery and government largesse. "Wait outside," he commanded, leaving Silas and Z5 at the door.

Inside he made his way to the security desk and asked to see one of the bureaucrats in the Consortium's shipping department. The droid directed him to the third floor. Inside he found a Togruta male dressed in fair but not rich clothing. He grinned, showing off his sharp teeth, and remarked, "Ah, I am Mortu Ka, what can I do for you? Come to ask for escort, yes?"

"No, I came with a business offer." Kee-Xi pulled a small holographic emitter out of his pocket and pressed a key, displaying his ship. "It is almost brand new and has no battle damage to speak of. I believe it would be quite useful to your company."

"Yes.... ARC-170 heavy fighter... very good." Mortu looked over the display. "I can give you.... eighty thousand credits?"

"This fighter is worth well over a hundred thousand," Kee-Xi replied.

"New, yes. And I do not have the authorization to pay out that much." Mortu returned to his desk. "I can give you eighty-five thousand."

"A hundred thousand." Kee-Xi put the emitter up.

"I cannot," Mortu insisted.

"Then I'm sure the Hutts will."

A displeased look came across Mortu's face. He seemed to be in thought, but got out of his seat when Kee-Xi went toward the door. "Ah! Please, let us be reasonable. I can give you ninety thousand, but that is literally the highest I can go."

After a moment's delay, as if to consider, Kee-Xi finally gave an assenting nod. "Very well. Bring the credits with you to Bay 38 and I will show you the fighter."

"I will see you at sunset," the bureaucrat replied, a wide grin on his face.

Silas was standing and waiting when he noticed commotion and felt fear and anger resonate through the Force. They came from different sources, and he could see a Human man accosting a young blue-skinned Twi'lek girl nearby. He was pulling on her arm, dragging the ragged-clothed girl out of the marketplace. Feeling ill intent from the man, and sympathetic to the girl's terror, Silas moved toward them. Behind him Z5 made a warbling sound of dissent, prompting Silas to look back and say, "Don't worry, I'll handle this." When he got up he noticed that the man he was going to stare down was quite a bit taller than he imagined, almost Wookiee-sized it seemed....

Nevertheless, Silas put a hand on the man's arm. He turned and looked down at Silas, a look of bewilderment on his face. "What do you want?" he barked.

"The young lady doesn't seem to want to come with you," Silas said calmly.

"Well, that's too bad. She owes money to me, and I've found a way to get it back," he replied, a sinister tone in his voice.

The girl quivered, and in her fear Silas could see the man's intention of selling her to the Hutts. His right hand slipped down toward his belt, and to the lightsaber hidden there....

But Master Kee-Xi had made it clear that they were not to reveal themselves, and the posters around them had confirmed the wisdom of that. Silas brought his left hand up and reached through the Force into the giant's mind. "You do not want to sell this girl," he said softly, but firmly.

The man's grip on her seemed to weaken. "I don't want to sell the girl," he repeated.

"She doesn't owe you that much, really," Silas continued, overpowering the will of his target. "You're going to write it off and move on to other things."

He repeated that in a low mutter that was mostly incomprehensible and finally let go of her. She looked at Silas with her purple eyes widened in surprise. "You're not going to sell girls into slavery to cover debts anymore. It's really bad form, and the Hutts cheat you on the amount anyway."

The man lumbered off, and the young girl focused her look at Silas. He smiled at her. "You should watch whom you do business with. There are many bad men out here."

"I'll keep that in mind," she answered. "You are?"


"Diya Suun," the girl said back. "I'll see you around!" Waving, she ran off.

Silas watched her go and was distracted for a crucial moment, causing him to be slightly startled when Kee-Xi's hand came down on his shoulder. He looked up at his teacher and had his turn to quiver a little at Kee-Xi's stern "I am disappointed" gaze. "Yes, Master?"

"I told you we were to keep a low profile," he said lowly. "And I taught you better in the use of influencing minds."

"He was going to sell that poor girl, Master, I couldn't stand by and do nothing. It's not the Jedi way."

With a sigh and a nod, Kee-Xi acquiesced on the point, replying, "Yes, that is true, Silas. But these are dark and dangerous times. The future of the Jedi Order rests on us, we must remain focused on that. Remember that even the kindest act of charity can have deadly consequences." Pointing toward the spaceport, he added, "Now come, we have much work to do."

Mortu left his office early, heading by the bank to pick up the new Imperial credits, when he heard a commotion in the bazaar. He went over to see what it was, and found security and forensic droids begin to gather around a large figure prone on the ground. Nearby a merchant looked at the body and made a laughing sound. "When you promise pretty Twi'lek girls to Hutt agents and fail to deliver, that happens," he said. "Good riddance."

"What, he let a girl get away from him?" Mortu asked. "A being of that size?"

"Someone stopped him. A young man, not very old," the merchant replied.

Another bazaar vendor, a Bothan, spoke up. "It was a Jedi, using a mind-trick on the poor guy."

"What, you crazy? There's no Jedi within twenty parsecs of here!"

The two began to argue, while Mortu got to thinking. A new starfighter, being offered to him by an older man in traveling robes wandering about Gal Durap without a blaster hanging from his hip? "Tell me, how old was this so-called 'Jedi'? Was he Human?" Mortu asked the Bothan.

"Like I said, young. A Human. After he let the girl go an older guy came up and took him and their astro droid away."

"Graying dark hair, red traveling cloak?"


Mortu grinned widely. He headed on to the bank to get the money, for appearances of course, but while he was there he would have to make a few.... calls. Local bounty hunters were plentiful, and the Empire's promised financial rewards large.

The few ships loitering around the Balturrel system moved away and tried to avoid attention when they saw the mighty Exactor come out of hyperspace. The new Star Destroyer, Imperator-class, cruised toward orbit over the planet.

On the bridge, the blue-tinted figure of Commander Cade was visible to various assembled officers while the new commander briefed Darth Vader on the escape of the Jedi through the droid stratagem. Vader would have killed Commander Solom immediately if he had survived the fiasco, but for the moment there was no suitable target for his rage.

"Lord Vader." The signals officer spoke up. Vader could feel the man's fear and apprehension at the act. It increased when Vader turned to face him. The officer was quick to explain why he spoke. "We're getting a message relayed to us from Sector Command. They say it's from Gantoon. It's about Jedi, sir."

"Show me."

The recorded image of a Togruta appeared. "I am Mortu Ka. I would like to report to the Empire the presence of at least two Jedi at Gal Durap Spaceport here on Gantoon. I will try to detain them until you can arrive."

"Captain Doss, take us away from Balturrel," Vader ordered immediately, shutting off the message. This was not the only tips he'd heard before, of course, but the Force told him it was not a lie and he had to act swiftly. "I wish to be at Gantoon immediately."

"Yes, Lord Vader," was the reply.

Turning away from the planet before them, Vader watched silently as his ship went to lightspeed. This part of the hunt would soon be at an end....

Kee-Xi and Silas returned to the spaceport and headed to Bay 40 first. When they got there Silas looked on in interest at the YT-series freighter present. A figure walked up, a heavyset male Mirialan dressed in traveling clothes, who extended his arms and smiled at the two. "Kee-Xi, my old friend!"

"Gumi." Smiling as well, Kee-Xi embraced his friend. "You have come a long way from the Temple, my friend."

"As have you, Master Kee-Xi," Gumi Safiss remarked. He looked to Silas. His voice was full of warmth and friendship. Silas had to smile in return; to do otherwise owuld just feel... off. "And you must be the Padawan. Awfully big for one. I guess you were about to get Knighted before...." Gumi broke off, not quite wanting to explore the end of that sentence. "Anyway, Kee-Xi, just as you asked... A YT-1300, with a new hyperdrive and increased storage. She's got a Class 1 hyperdrive. Couldn't find a .5 for her."

"If you wait a bit, Gumi, I can provide you compensation," Kee-Xi said. "I will be going across the terminal to Bay 38 soon to sell the fighter we came here in."

"Kee-Xi, you needn't offer me anything. I may have not been taken as a Padawan and allowed to stay with the Order, but in my heart I'm still a Jedi. And after you sent me those messages..." Gumi nodded slightly. "I couldn't turn away. I could feel it, the Force telling me you were right. That the Order was threatened. The Lightrunner is your's, Kee-Xi, no questions asked, no credits required."

"Thank you, old friend," Kee-Xi replied. "I will leave my droid and apprentice here to help you finish the pre-flight checkups. Would you like to accompany us to Lumin?"

"No, that'll be fine. I've got business here on Gantoon."

Kee-Xi nodded and left. Silas watched him head out of the bay and turned to Gumi. "You knew Master Kee-Xi?"

"We were younglings of the same age," Gumi replied. "Together until he was taken away by Master Dooku as an apprentice when he was ten."

"But you were not taken?" Silas asked.

"No, Padawan. As a Mirialan I must be trained by a Mirialan Master, and there were none to take me." Smiling sadly. "So I got sent off to join the Exploration Corps. Been out here on the Rim since. Now..." He looked back and the sadness was replaced by warm mirth. "How good are you with tools?"

It was heartening for Kee-Xi to see his childhood friend again. It reminded him of an older, kinder era, a happier time when the Jedi Order seemed strong and the Republic secure. Before the nightmares began.

They had plagued him for years. The other Masters had declined to see them as more than apprehension brought on by Kee-Xi's friendship with his former master, the late Count Dooku, and Dooku's complaints at that time about corruption and incompetence. Dooku himself had simply warned Kee-Xi to be ready should things take a turn for the worst.... and later ironically would help bring about that very turn.

Even then it had been fairly clear to Kee-Xi that the nightmares of the Temple burning, of Jedi being slaughtered by armored troops they were leading, had been warnings from the Force. The clarity of that belief grew with the nightmares, intensified by the shroud of the Dark Side that clouded the vision of all Jedi, even - Kee-Xi had sensed - Grand Master Yoda himself.

Now his nightmares had come true. The Republic had become the Empire, and across the galaxy surviving Jedi were being hunted down and murdered without mercy or remorse. Silas had been nearly killed when they escaped their own clonetroopers on Katomedi, their survival hard-fought and ensured there, and since then it had been a game of cat-and-mouse out toward the Rim, skipping world to world in the fighter that now sat in Bay 38.

There was movement at the entrance. Kee-Xi turned and faced Mortu, who entered flanked by two tall hulking Skrillings. He had a case with him, presumably containing the credits, but Kee-Xi sensed betrayal from him. He remained calm, not moving. "Mortu, I take it those are my credits?"

"No, they're not." Mortu walked forward. "You see, these are the credits I'm giving the bounty hunters to take you down so I can turn you over to the Empire, Jedi."

Mortu looked a bit to the right, but Kee-Xi already sensed the springing of the trap. A couple of Gran, three more Skrillings, a male Twi'lek.... a local band of bounty hunters and mercenaries. "You should have kept to our bargain, Mortu," Kee-Xi remarked calmly.

"Try and stun him if you can, but if you have to kill...." Mortu grunted hard when Kee-Xi knocked him into the adjacent wall with the Force. His lightsaber ignited and deflected blaster bolts from the two Skrillings. He turned quickly enough to stop the Twi'lek's shots before diving for cover and rolling under the starfighter.

His feelings became strong and insisted he move, and so he did.... and mere seconds an explosion blew up debris where he'd been laying. The other Skrilling were at the upper deck of the bay, carrying rocket launchers. He reached out with the Force and jammed the mechanism of one, forcing the bounty hunter to toss the weapon away. It landed on the other end of the bay near the Twi'lek and a Gran, exploding before they could dive for cover.

Kee-Xi twisted around, deflecting more blaster fire and taking one of the Skrillings down.... and almost a moment too late he jumped again to avoid another rocket. The concussive force smacked him into a wall and he barely recovered in time to jump again. In mid-air swung his saber, deflecting more shots, and quickly regained his bearing. Given a moment's opening he was able to deflect a blaster bolt into the remaining Gran, knocking him down.

While he was deflecting more shots Kee-Xi was forced to jump to avoid a rocket. Landing on top of the ARC-170 he began to reach out with the Force and attack the rocket-bearing hunters. But before he could finish the moment's concentration needed, a lucky shot got through his defensive technique and grazed his left shoulder. His concentration disrupted by the hot pain of seared skin, Kee-Xi instinctively leapt again. A rocket was fired at him as he flew in mid-air. A split second before it would have hit him, he lashed out with the Force and sent it flying upward into the sky where it blew apart.

Gumi got up with a start when he saw Silas turn away from what he was working on. "Master Kee-Xi is in trouble!" the young man shouted. He shed his traveling cloak and ignited his blue lightsaber, heading for the exit ramp.

Looking back at his work, Gumi redoubled his efforts to get the ship ready, sensing himself that a change of personal plans was in order.

As Silas sprinted across the terminal, he ran contrary to the crowds that were fleeing from the sounds of explosion, lightsaber active. He was so intent on rescuing his mentor that he didn't notice the one pair of eyes that did fix on him.

Diya Suun's day since being rescued from a trip to a Hutt cargo ship had been spent at the spaceport, watching ships coming and going and dreaming of what it'd be like to leave Gantoon in her own spaceship, her hands on the controls. She was already familiar with as many models as an actual spacer. Or so she had been told by the Bay technicians who let her hang around. Diya valued that so greatly that she had never let herself even consider the temptation of pilfering from the spacers who came through the port; her dreams were too important to risk for a day's lunch.

She'd been walking around admiring ships around Bay 30 when she heard the first sounds of blaster fire. Curiosity overcame any fear in her. She ran toward the source and noticed the only other person running toward Bay 38. When she recognized Silas and saw the lightsaber in his hand, her smile crossed her face.

Her rescuer was a Jedi. A hero, no matter what those pompous Imperials claimed.

She followed Silas toward the entrance of Bay 38. She'd seen the ARC-170 in there already and marveled at the machine, wishing she could see it in action with S-foils out. But when she looked in she was treated to a new sight. Nearby was a Gran and a Twi'lek, clearly dead, and in the middle of the bay another Jedi was swinging a green lightsaber around at blaster bolts, then jumping to avoid a rocket. Silas noticed the rocket launcher too, but was soon occupied repelling blaster fire as well.

Seized by a sudden impulse to help her rescuer, Diya pulled a blaster pistol out of the dead Gran's belt. She turned and fired at a trio of Skrillings. She managed one hit, out of pure luck it seemed, because every shot afterward missed badly. And she saw them level their guns at her...

Which, of course, was a mistake. An understandable one, as the bounty hunters were responding to a new opponent, but that meant taking their eyes off of the Jedi. Silas' hand extended and the two still standing slammed into each other.

Freed from blaster fire, Kee-Xi had turned his attention to the remaining rocket launchers. He reached out with the Force and grabbed the devices, pulling them and their owners to ground level. He jumped at them, lightsaber up, and sliced an arm off each to ensure they couldn't use the devices. Breathing heavily and favoring his left shoulder, he nodded at Silas, who picked up the case of credits. It was at this time he noticed Diya. "And you are?"

"Diya?" Silas recognized her immediately. "What are you doing here?"

"I heard the explosion and came to check it out." Diya put the blaster between her waist and the shorts she was wearing. "Thank you again, Silas."

"It's we who should be thanking you, you did a very brave thing."

"Come along, Silas," Kee-Xi said, heading out the exit. "We have to be going now, the local garrison will be reacting shortly." He looked over to Diya. "Thank you for your help, young lady. You should go and hide now. You don't want to be here when the Empire arrives."

"Take care," Silas called back to her while he followed Kee-Xi out of the bay.

Diya took a few moments to consider things. All of this time, all of her life, she had wished and hoped for an opportunity to leave this horrible world. She wanted to get out into space. And now she had what looked to be her best, perhaps only, chance.

There was only one thing to do.

She took off after them. She looked down the pathway outside of the bay just in time to see them enter Bay 40 and ran to the doorway there as quickly as her legs could carry her. They were about to board a ship when she got to the door. "Wait!" she cried out. After taking in a quick breath Diya called out, "Please take me with you!"

Silas stopped and looked back. Kee-Xi followed suit a moment later. "Where we are going," he said, "is no place for a young girl. I won't jeopardize your life."

"Gal Durap is jeopardy enough," Diya shot back. "I'll... I'll make myself useful! That's a YT-1300, right? I've seen every corner of one of those, I'm sure I can help you keep her in order!"

"Odds are that if you were to come with us, you would die," Kee-Xi warned, still unwilling to see her come.

"And if I stay, I'll end up dead in the street somewhere, or shipped off to dance for the pleasure of a fat Hutt," she retorted. "I want to come with you."

Kee-Xi went to speak but stopped when he saw Silas' look. "I believe we should bring her, Master. It is the will of the Force," Silas said.

"You are quite young still, my apprentice, to decipher the will of the Force," was the stern reply. But Kee-Xi's tone softened. "Very well, you may come with us..."

"Diya Suun, Master Jedi," the girl replied cheerfully. "Pleased to meet you."

"I am Kee-Xi Laden. My apprentice is Silas Torson." Feeling a ripple in the Force, a warning of impending danger, Kee-Xi motioned toward the Lightrunner. "I believe it is time we departed."

With an enthusiastic grin, Diya ran to the ramp to get into the ship. As she did, Silas suddenly asked, "How old are you anyway?"

"Twenty!", she called back. But after she saw the disbelieving looks on the Jedi duo's faces, she sighed. "Okay, sixteen. And a half."

Kee-Xi sighed deeply.

The garrison's squadron had just deployed their ARC-170s and Eta-2s when the Lightrunner lifted off. From the cockpit of the ship, Gumi piloted her straight to orbit in utter defiance of the enemy fighters. Kee-Xi beside him as co-pilot, and Silas ran the navcomp. At the rear of the cockpit Diya looked on, a wide grin on her face. Both Jedi, as well as Gumi, could sense her joy at the sight of stars. "Interceptors, Gumi," Kee-Xi remarked. "Can you outfly them?"

"In this thing I could outfly Master Yoda," Gumi cackled, making evasives to throw off the ARC-170s especially, and their proton torpedoes.

"Doesn't this thing have blaster cannons?" Diya asked. "We can fight them!"

Silas looked at the girl while Gumi cackled. "Um, the cannons were one of the things we were still fixing up when we had to run. Besides..."

"Besides... I sense a dangerous presence in the Force, drawing closer," Kee-Xi added. "We must flee now. Silas?"

"Course set for Lumin Prime, Master, as soon as Gumi's ready."

Kee-Xi looked to his old friend, and the Mirialan steadied the ship and reached for the hyperdrive control. "Here we go!"

Diya stared, wide-eyed, as the stars seemed to elongate.... and the ship shot off into hyperspace.

The Gal Durep Spaceport was closed down and swarming with Imperial troops when the shuttle from the Exactor descended, its wings swinging upward to fit into Bay 50. When the door opened the local garrison commander saluted the tall dark-clad figure that came out. Before the commander and his local troops was Mortu Ka. The Togruta began to actually tremble in the presence of the Dark Lord Vader. "Lord... Lord Vader... I've...."

"Quiet," Vader commanded.

Mortu Ka obeyed.

That same inhuman voice now asked, "Where are the Jedi?"

"Gone, My Lord," the local commander said. "The merchant hired local bounty hunters to attack them." The officer emphasized "local bounty hunters" as if the very term disgusted him. "The Jedi defeated them and fled."

Vader looked to Mortu Ka, who whimpered at the cold lifeless gaze of Vader's mask. He was so focused on that gaze that he didn't see Vader's arm come up and his hand become a fist. "Lord Vader, I...." His eyes widened and in a panic he reached for his throat. He could no longer breathe from the invisible force crushing his windpipe.

Rage filled the Dark Lord as he held Mortu Ka in mid-air with the Force. Rage at this greedy fool who had cost him more time and effort. "I do not tolerate such stupidity. I require an apology."

"So... sorry.... Lord... please... spa...."

Mortu's eyes rolled into the back of his head as he died in Vader's invisible grasp. Vader released the body and allowed it to collapse lifelessly. Mortu let out a death rattle a moment before Vader dismissively waved his hand. "Get rid of it. Kill the surviving bounty hunters as well. And get me the port records. I want to confirm the ship that was taken and the planned course."

"Immediately, Lord Vader."

As Vader returned to his shuttle to be flown back to the Exactor, he sensed a Jedi plot afoot. Perhaps the failure on Gantoon would prove to net him a bigger prize after all.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-13 10:03am

Chapter 2

Lumin Prime was a brighter, nicer looking planet than Gantoon. The air was clearer, the skies cluttered with speeders, and the buildings pristine, as if someone had taken a slice off of Coruscant and put it on Lumin.

From the cockpit of the Lightrunner Diya stared in wild-eyed fascination at the city they were flying over. Noticing her look Gumi looked back for a moment and said, "Never seen anything like this, huh? Unlike Gantoon, Lumin isn't just a run-down dump too close to Hutt space. It's one of the most important ports in this sector."

"I've never been off Gantoon in my life before," Diya answered him.

"Well, you'll not be going back now. Though I'll tell you, Lumin is much safer. So safe that half the population goes around without blasters." Gumi laughed aloud. He kept his hand on the flight controls, bringing the Lightrunner over a smaller spaceport outside of Lumin City.

In the cabin compartment of the ship Silas was seated before Kee-Xi, on the receiving end of a lecture from his teacher. "What is the purpose of using the Force to influence minds, Silas?"

"To resolve situations peacefully," he answered.

"When should it be used?"

"As a last resort, of course."

"And how far?" Kee-Xi's look was stern.

"Only as far as necessary to resolve the problem," Silas answered softly, knowing he had broken that last rule.

"But you went further. Why?"

"Because, Master, what that man was doing was wrong," Silas said defensively.

"So you decided to force him to stop?"

"To try, Master. I figured that over time my influence on him would wane." Silas felt something from his Master and wondered what he missed. And he could see Kee-Xi knew he was unaware of whatever the ultimate end was of this exchange.

"And by going too far, Silas, you caused that man's death." Seeing his apprentice's stunned reaction, Kee-Xi nodded. "Yes. I felt his death through the Force. I felt his fear and bewilderment as he could not give an answer to his contact on why he was not finding girls to sell. I felt his terror as the blaster was pointed at him, and then the darkness of death. I take it you did not?"

Silas thought carefully. He could not recall feeling any disturbances in the Force at that time, and so he had to shake his head. "No, Master."

A stern smile crossed his Master's face. "An interesting admission, my Padawan, when you have asserted that it was the will of the Force itself to bring young Diya with us to possible doom."

"I do not exaggerate on that account, Master. I truly felt as if the Force were urging me to bring her," Silas answered.

"Did you? Or perhaps you wished to believe it was the Force. Tell me, Silas, why you believe this girl should come? She is not a Jedi and she does not have the talent in the Force to ever become one. Why should she share our peril?"

"Her life was already filled with peril, Master. And though she has no power over the Force, her heart is light and pure. Surely someone worthy of being saved from her eventual fate in the streets of Gal Durep."

Kee-Xi pondered his apprentice's reply. Before he could answer he felt the ship land. He stood and looked to Silas to do the same. Diya emerged from the cockpit first. "Where are we going?" she asked amiably. "I wouldn't mind seeing the city."

"You shall be staying here, young lady," Kee-Xi said, and upon seeing her expression and sensing her intended defiance, he added, "I have relented to bringing you aboard, but I will not bend on this matter. You will remain and aid Gumi in finishing preparations for the Lightrunner, as well as loading the supplies we will be returning with."

"Awww....." Diya's whine ended when she saw the look on the Jedi Master's face. But she smiled a bit at Silas, who gave her a sympathetic look. "Okay."

Now Gumi emerged from the cockpit. "We're set down, Kee-Xi, right where you wanted. So, what next?"

"Silas and I will be going into the city to arrange the supplies I desire with our newfound supply of credits," Kee-Xi answered. "And then I hope to make a rendezvous with other survivors."

"Good luck with that, Kee-Xi." Gumi extended a hand. He was pessimistic that there were any left but he didn't want to think that way. It was better to hope in these dark times. "I'll be here if you need me."

"Thank you, old friend." Kee-Xi looked to Silas. "Come, Silas, we must be going. I sense that we have not gained the time we hoped for."

Nodding, Silas followed his Master off of the ship.

With the two Jedi gone, Diya looked to the taller Mirialan and asked, "Can you teach me to fly the Lightrunner, Gumi?"

A broad grin crossed Gumi's face. "Sure, in time, kid. But first, I teach you how to keep her flying." He motioned to a toolbox. "A good pilot knows how to keep his or her ship in top shape, after all. And with Z5 to help us, we should be done with this in no time."

On the bridge of the Exactor, the officers went about their daily tasks hoping to avoid the notice of the sinister Vader as he stared silently into space.

But one of those officers was now required to report to him. The man was clearly apprehensive as he approached the Dark Lord. "Lord Vader, we have finished examining the records from Gal Durep and our interceptor force. We believe that the Jedi have traveled to Lumin Prime."

"Are you certain?" Vader asked.

The officer tried to put on a brave face, aware that failure would easily lead to death. "Yes, Lord Vader, I am as certain as I can be."

Sensing the man's fear, Vader remarked, "Then you had better hope that your certainty does not become failure, Lieutenant. Have Captain Doss set course to Lumin Prime immediately."

"Yes, my Lord."

Vader turned away immediately and began looking out into the stars, watching as the Exactor made the jump to lightspeed.

Gumi was surprised, pleasantly so, to see that Diya didn't require much instruction in keeping up the YT-1300. He watched her finish tightening the bolts on the engine housing with satisfaction. "You know a lot for a Gantoonian street urchin," he said.

"I've been hanging around spaceports since I was a child." Diya slipped out of the compartment. It wasn't quite so snug a fit for her as it would have been on Gumi. Which was, admittedly, part of his motivation for having her do the work. "A lot of spacers would let me watch if I gave them a hand or helped them with errands."

"Really?" Gumi laughed at that. "I'm surprised they trusted you."

"Not at first," Diya admitted. "But I never stole from them. I made sure to get a reputation for never stealing a thing."

"Ah." Gumi went over to a seat. "Well, that's it for the engine. We've topped off the fuel reserves completely and all systems are good."

"Can I ask something?" Diya sat on the floor near him. Zeefive came to a stop beside her. "About... well..."

It wasn't hard for Gumi to guess. "You want to know my connection to the Jedi."

"Yes. You're not one yourself, are you?"

Gumi chuckled and shook his head. "No, young lady. No, I'm not. I was trained as a youngling, but I was never taken as an apprentice."

"Why?", Diya asked.

"I'm Mirialan," Gumi said. "It's... part of our way.. We must be trained by another of our people. And there were none available until it was too late."

"What happened?", Diya asked.

"I got too old," he answered. "When you don't get taken as an apprentice by a certain age, the Jedi send you into another duty. I was made Exploration Corps. I've spent my teenage and adult years traveling the frontier as an explorer and trader." Gumi took in a breath and smiled sadly at his ship. "It's been a good life. Easier than it would have been if I were a Jedi."

Diya nodded at that. "Are you going to travel with Master Laden now?"

Ah, that question. He'd been expecting it. And Gumi honestly couldn't answer it. "Maybe," he admitted. "Just maybe. But maybe not."

"Well, if you don't... maybe I can serve on your ship?", Diya asked. "So you're not alone, I mean. I... I'm not sure what else I can do for the Jedi, I mean."

Gumi smiled and nodded. "Maybe you can, yes. We'll have to see what the Force wills about all of this."

There was a beep from Gumi's robes. He pulled out a holocommunicator. A small blue-tinted likeness of Kee-Xi appeared. "Sorry, old friend, but Silas and I are running late. The supplies should be arriving by automated droid transport at any minute."

"We'll get to them," Gumi replied. He turned off the line. "Well, young lady." He looked to Diya. "Time to show you how to arrange cargo for the duration."

It had taken some time to make all the visits to the right businesses and to arrange their transport back to the Lightrunner, but soon Silas and Kee-Xi were in a rented speeder moving through Lumin City. They arrived at a building in the outskirts of Lumin City and Kee-Xi led Silas to the loft. They found it empty and unfurnished. Kee-Xi nonchalantly sat in the middle as Silas walked around the room. "Do you think any of the others got your message, Master?" he finally asked.

"I do not know. But we should be patient and wait."

Uncomforted by his Master's words, Silas continued moving about the room. "I have a bad feeling about this," he muttered silently.

Ignoring the discomfort of his pupil, Kee-Xi breathed in carefully and cleared his mind, relaxing his mind for meditation, to allow clear vision through the Force.

As he cleared his mind, a thought came through his mind of the last time he had been in the loft....

Twelve Years Ago

The pirates had been no match for a Jedi Knight, though few of them were familiar enough with Jedi to do the wise thing and run. With determination and finesse Kee-Xi Laden, Jedi Knight on permanent assignment to the Rim, sliced through his adversaries, killing only when necessary and using the Force to disable and incapacitate his foes.

At the end of the fight, as one turned to shoot him, the blaster flew out of the pirate's hand. He looked at his open hand quizzically until he was thrown to the floor, unconscious, by a powerful push through the Force. Kee-Xi stood toward the fallen form of the pirate, lightsaber at the ready, but he lowered it as a familiar presence came to him. He bowed politely at the dark-clad figure that entered. "Master Dooku, it has been a long time."

Count Dooku gave a nod to his former Padawan. "Kee-Xi, I am happy to see you are well, old apprentice."

"I have heard about what happened to Qui-Gon Jinn," Kee-Xi remarked sadly. "I am sorry, Master. I know he was the better apprentice and that his loss was a great blow to you."

"Do not put yourself down so harshly," Dooku said in reprimand. "Like Qui-Gon, you have cut your own path as a practitioner of the Force. That you have been exiled out here on the Rim for all these years, I regret. It was a necessity at the time to prevent the Council from expelling you from the Order..."

"I understand that, Master Dooku..."

"Please, you may call me Count now. I am no longer in the Order, as you well know," Dooku remarked. "Tell me, Kee-Xi, what were you told of Qui-Gon's death?"

"That he perished in thwarting the Trade Federation occupation of Naboo," Kee-Xi replied. As he spoke to Dooku he felt something unsettling within his former teacher, as well as a sense of dread through the Force. "Why do you ask?"

Dooku frowned. "That they have not seen fit to warn you, Kee-Xi, is a bad sign as to how little faith the Order has in you even after your acts of penance. Qui-Gon was not claimed by the blaster of a battle-droid. He died in battle with a Sith Lord."

The news hit Kee-Xi like a thunderbolt. His head lowered and his mind thought back to those many dreadful dreams, when the Force showed him the growing strength of the Dark Side. With those dreams came visions that seemed to foretell the impending doom of the Jedi and the Republic. "Can it be? Have the Sith returned?"

"They have, Kee-Xi. And the Jedi Order is too busy playing politics to deal with that threat." Dooku walked around Kee-Xi, as if he were still the stern master to a youthful apprentice. "I remember your dreams, Kee-Xi. Your subconscious link to the future provided by the Force. Surely the danger has begun to clarify itself..."

"The Sith...."

"The Jedi Order is too close-minded to deal with this threat, Kee-Xi, and they are also too hidebound to overlook your innocent indiscretion. You will never be made a Master," Dooku said. "Come with me, Kee-Xi. Join me and together we can find a way to defeat the Sith and save the Republic."

Dooku's words moved through Kee-Xi's very heart. He had long been familiar with how badly he was viewed by the Council. Save for when they wished to see him he had been forbidden from returning to Coruscant, just as they had decreed then that he would not be permitted the rank of Master nor permitted to take an apprentice. They had not forgiven him yet.

And there were times, many times, that Kee-Xi feared they never would.

But there was something in Dooku that made Kee-Xi wary. He could feel a darkness within his former mentor, one born of bitterness and contempt toward his former colleagues. Something Kee-Xi could not reconcile himself too.

And additionally, some things had changed.

"I have been sent a message, lately, by Master Yoda," he said to Dooku. "The Jedi Council is going to permit me to take an apprentice from the older younglings. A very promising child I'm told."

"Ah, I see," Dooku said. Kee-Xi could sense some consternation from his old mentor. "Well, perhaps I misjudged them. It is good news, Kee-Xi. You have earned this chance." A thin smile came to Dooku's face. But he didn't seem any happier. "Have they informed you of the child's name?"

"My Padawan is to be a Human child, Silas Torson."

At that, Dooku seemed to take an interest. "Silas... Torson, you say?" Dooku remarked. There seemed to be a bit of mirth there, and Kee-Xi could sense emotions of interest and amusement from his former Master. "I remember the boy from before I left the Council. Very energetic, a passionate child, skillful with droids and mechanical things. I'm sure you will serve each other well as Master and Padawan, Kee-Xi."

"Thank you, Count."

"And now, old friend, I will be going..." With that, Dooku slipped into the shadows, leaving Kee-Xi to call the authorities to collect the pirates.

The Present

Kee-Xi's meditation came to an end as he felt a presence in the Force grow close. Very close indeed, as the Jedi responsible was trying to hide from being sensed.

He stood as the door to the loft opened. Silas turned with him to face the entering pair of arrivals.

There was a grin on the Jedi Master's face when he saw Tyva Nos Sirt enter with her apprentice, Zeala Del. Tyva was a Human woman about his age, slightly shorter with reddish brown hair and aqua-colored eyes, while the Human Zeala had been a youngling in the same creche as Silas, a blonde-haired girl with bright blue eyes and flowing hair pulled into a pony-tail. Both were wearing Jedi traveling robes and looked a bit fatigued, if alive. "Tyva, I am glad to see you and Zeala are alive," he remarked. Kee-Xi already knew much of Zeala through Silas, finding it perhaps fitting that a passionate and vigorous Jedi Knight like Tyva was entrusted to training a soft-spoken but skilled girl like Zeala.

"I feel the same for you," Tyva replied, while their apprentices exchanged warm hugs. "I'm afraid we're the only ones left, Kee-Xi. We lost Master Rios and Pelgo Dal on Dantooine. Master Rios' apprentice was claimed by a Clonetrooper ambush on Kelmar."

Kee-Xi bowed his head in sadness. "I have been unable to locate Master Yoda, though I have heard he is still alive, as is Obi-Wan Kenobi. But I have no idea where to search for them..."

"We may not have the time," Tyva answered. "The freighter captain who brought us here said that there was a new Star Destroyer in the sector. And there are no remaining Separatist strongholds here, there is no reason for one to be here except...."

"To hunt us," Kee-Xi finished for her. "I have felt a dark presence in the Force drawing closer, but I cannot determine how close it is. At that strength, it can only be a Dark Lord of the Sith, and whoever it is, he or she has such power that I do not wish to be forced to fight our way out. I suggest we return to my new ship and prepare to depart."

Tyva nodded in agreement. The two older Jedi got the attention of their students, who were catching up with each other in the background, and together the foursome headed to Kee-Xi's speeder. Once they were moving, Tyva looked to him and said, "It is good to see you again, Kee-Xi. I.... never imagined we'd see each other again after I finished the Trials and...."

"You needn't speak on it, Tyva. I have missed you too."

"It broke my heart to hear they singled you out for punishment, it was as much my fault as yours," Tyva continued. "To make you spend ten years on the Outer Rim, far from Coruscant and with almost no support..."

"I found it an acceptable burden and a chance to refine my knowledge of the Force." Kee-Xi kept his eyes on the air lane they were traveling in, heading back for the spaceport.

In the rear seat, Silas and Zeala were looking at each other. "I see you have a new lightsaber," Silas said to Zeala, seeing it upon her belt. "Where did you get it?"

"It was a gift from Master Tyva," Zeala answered with a smile. "It has a rare crystal in it that gives it a purple color like Master Windu's."

"You deserve it," he said to her. At the moment he didn't bother to hide his happiness at being reunited with Zeala. The two had been as close as younglings were permitted to get and for Silas that attachment had not waned in their years of separation, no matter how much he tried. He found Zeala's soft smiles infectious, her soft regal voice inspiring and supportive, and her eyes seemed to sparkle with benevolence and friendliness whenever he looked to him.

He could sense that she felt something like that, but at the moment could not know the full extent to which Zeala looked up to him and found him charming, funny, and confident.

In front of the two young apprentices, their masters looked at each other. Tyva softly remarked, "Does it remind you, Kee-Xi?"

"It does, Tyva," he answered with equal softness in his voice. "It does."

And then he felt the darkness and began to increase the speeder's throttle.

Gumi had finished securing the last bit of supplies with Diya's help when he felt it, very close and very malevolent. Raw anger and hatred, the Dark Side of the Force...

There was no time. Gumi grabbed Diya by the arm and pulled her out of the cargo bay. "Hey!" she cried out. "What are you doing?"

"Zeefive, come here!", Gumi said, and the astromech droid followed. He pulled Diya to a corridor in the ship and reached down. With some muscle work he revealed that the floor was false, and underneath was a cargo space. "Get in."

"What? There's no..."

"No time to fight, Diya! You must trust me!" Gumi pushed her in. "You too, Zeefive." He gave the astromech droid a shove with the Force to ensure he got in. "No matter what you do, Diya, do not get out of this compartment. Wait for me or the Jedi to come for you."

He didn't wait for her to nod before putting the cover back on the smuggling compartment. With that done, Gumi went to the ramp of the ship just in time to hear a knock on it. He opened it up immediately and was confronted with a Clonetrooper. "Get off of the ship," the Clone soldier commanded.

With no reason to resist, Gumi stepped off, and immediately his ship was stormed by several Clonetroopers. "Please, I'm just traveling to the Outer Rim, I have no idea...."

"I sense the Force within you, Mirialan," a deep voice remarked. Gumi turned under the craft and froze at the sight of the tall figure in black, a life support helmet covering his entire head with a dark cloak partially over him. "I am looking for the Jedi who accompanied you."

"I carry no Jedi," Gumi insisted. "I was once a youngling, many decades ago. But I was not taken to be tra...." Suddenly he had no air with which to speak. Gumi felt toward his throat, barely able to breathe, and feeling the grip of the Dark Side around his air ways.

"You are lying. This ship was the one that fled Gantoon with two Jedi aboard," Darth Vader said, his grip just loose enough so that his target would not die quickly. "I want to know where they are. Speak or die."

"Release him, Sith."

Vader slowly turned his way from the slowly dying Gumi and looked toward his shuttle. The two Clonetroopers he'd left beside it finished impacting on the ground. Kee-Xi and Tyva stood over them.

This did not bother Vader. "If you surrender I will spare the Mirialan and whomever he is hiding on the ship."

"Your offer is rejected," Tyva said, drawing her lightsaber and igniting the blue blade. Kee-Xi followed suit with his green weapon, and in the fashion of the Makashi lightsaber technique, raised his weapon up to his face and made a little flourish with it.

"Then you will all die," Vader replied, after which his own lightsaber flashed to life.

And without Vader even looking back, the first thing he did with it was drive the crimson energy blade into Gumi's chest. As the former Jedi youngling fell, Vader brought his blade up and advanced against his foes...
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-14 09:35am

Chapter 3

Power and fury.... Kee-Xi sensed it rippling through the Force at every blow of Vader's lightsaber. The dark-clad Sith had none of the elegance or refinement that Dooku had possessed, that Kee-Xi himself sometimes showed in his dueling. It was raw overwhelming power, the Dark Side unleashed.

Vader was deceptively quick for his size, riposting Tyva's strikes while focusing upon Kee-Xi. An expert at Makashi and Niman, Kee-Xi nevertheless knew enough Soresu to endure the pounding, focusing upon his foe and keeping his lightsaber's movements short and swift, blocking every furious blow.

Tyva slipped between them, unleashing the Djem So form that her passion preferred, aggressive and strong. But that meant pitting her power against the Sith's and Kee-Xi already knew that Vader was stronger in the Force than Tyva and perhaps even himself. He returned to Vader's attention with a few offensive Makashi attacks and began to again endure the onslaught of the powerful Sith.

Tyva might have come to his aid, but her attention was drawn by the troops who now came out of the Lightrunner. Switching to the anti-blaster Shien copy of her dueling form, she deflected the bolts back at her attackers expertly. She was aided moments later by Silas and Zeala, obeying their instructions to avoid Vader and slip into the ship from the other end of the landing bay. Their blue and purple lightsabers twisted and sliced through the clones, leaving them no opposition.

Silas noticed Gumi and knelt beside him, intent on taking the Mirialan into the ship. "No," Gumi said weakly, resisting and almost dead.

"We can heal you," Silas insisted. "Come on." Try as he might, he couldn't pick Gumi up. Not without Gumi's help, and he was in no position to give it.

"I am gone, Silas," Gumi insisted. His breath was growing short. "Get into the ship and flee. You are.... the last hope... of the Jedi..." There was a death rattle next and the stout man became still.

Tears coming to his eyes, Silas obeyed the slain man's request and followed Zeala into the Lightrunner.

With the Clonetroopers defeated Tyva returned her focus to Vader. The Sith Lord had battered Kee-Xi back toward the edge of the landing platform. If either fell a fatal drop to the ground below awaited, and if that was going to happen Tyva was going to see it was Vader who fell.

"I sense you have great power in the Force," Kee-Xi remarked. "And even for a Sith your heart has grown cold with darkness and rage." He stopped a blow and reached out with the Force to throw Vader back and give him some room. Vader resisted this, however, and their lightsabers became locked as their free hands stretched up, unseen power conflicting between them. "Who were you before the Dark Side so fully claimed you?"

Kee-Xi didn't get a chance at an answer, as Vader's power overcame his experience. Kee-Xi was thrown back and was still recovering when Vader's attempt to attack him was offset by Tyva, who charged in and unleashed a flurry of strikes against Vader. Determination hardened her features and exertion showed in the sweat on her still-lovely face. He felt her desperation to protect him and the others from Vader, her willingness to take Vader over the edge with her if it came to it. He knew she was ready to die for him.

And that was something he could not allow.

She seemed to be driving Vader back for a moment from the pure fury of her attack, but that was deceptive. Without warning the body of one of the fallen Clonetroopers smacked into her, throwing her off-balance. Vader reached through the Force and grabbed another of his fallen soldiers to toss at the Jedi Knight, throwing her closer to the edge.

Another clone body smacked into Vader a moment later and Kee-Xi was back on the attack afterward, using offensive maneuvers for several moments before returning to the defensive. This time he was more careful, not underestimating the strength of the Sith's fury, and yielded ground as he desired, pulling back toward the Lightrunner. He fed Vader's rage with feints and evasions, forcing the Sith to continue advancing on him, frustrating every attack. His intention was to then move away from it and give Tyva a clear path to the ship so that she might escape with their apprentices.

About that moment he knew Tyva had sensed his intentions to sacrifice himself to save her and the others. She knew now that Kee-Xi considered victory impossible; the Sith they were facing was too powerful for the both of them. That all he could do was keep Vader's attention long enough to buy them time to escape.

She charged, lightsaber flashing in the air, and slammed herself into Vader. Vader hadn't been ready for such a bold, vigorous attack and was knocked over. Tyva motioned with her hand and at one of the docking bay lights, pulling with the Force until it began falling toward Vader. He reached up and took it with the Force as well. Tyva fought him for control of the object.

"Go, Kee-Xi," Tyva said as the light fell toward Vader and began to stop. "You must go!"

"You cannot fight him!"

"Neither can you, but one of us can still escape!", she shouted, desperate exertion on her face. "You are the Master, I am just a Knight! If the Order is to be reborn, it needs you!"

"I will not...."

A grunt of rage sounded in the air. Vader's arm stretched out and the light fixture flew toward them. Tyva reached out toward him with the hand still holding her lightsaber. It flew from her hand and struck Kee-Xi the same moment that the wave of her Force power struck, throwing him and the lightsaber up the ramp into the Lightrunner.

Under Vader's control the light fixture struck her. It threw her backward and landed on top of her waist. The power and mass of the fixture crushed her hips and pelvis. The agony was intense and drew a scream from Tyva. She was down.

But her determination and will could not be dissuaded. She reached out with her hand and her mind to grip the ramp control and pull it up. The ship's ramp entrance lifted and closed before Kee-Xi could leave it.

Her mind reached out to her apprentice. Zeala was already sitting in the cockpit. Good. Just as Tyva had instructed her to do. It is time, Zeala. I am lost and it is time for you to go.

Zeala had slipped into the pilot's seat first while Silas did a final quick check of the hyperdrive and everything else. As she sat there she felt Tyva's agony and her insistence. She felt her teacher's affection for her. Her desire to see Zeala grow into a skilled Jedi Knight. And she felt Tyva's knowledge of impending death. That nothing could be done to save her.

As Zeala's hand went to the ship controls to turn the engines on, tears began to stream down her eyes. Why was the word in her mind.

And at that she only sensed something peculiar from Tyva; calm and serenity. She was content, even perhaps a bit relieved. Go, sweet Zeala were the words that went through Zeala's mind, as if sent to her from Tyva, as she pulled the Lightrunner out of the atmosphere.

Suddenly air was stuck in Tyva's throat. A crushing force covered her neck and the Dark Side thundered around her. She sensed Vader's anger and looked up to see him looming over her. His hatred was suffocating, his rage terrifying...

As Tyva felt life painfully seep from her, her mind wandered back through her life. Her time as a youngling, as a Padawan, the death of her former Master Omis Kudu and the completion of her Padawan training under Kee-Xi just after he'd completed the Trials... Their time together in the Mid-Rim worlds....

The memories got more personal. Memories of long cold nights on barely hospitable worlds, only the warmth of each other to fight the chill. The forbidden intimacy they had fallen into, an intimacy that neither had ever renounced no matter what it had cost them.

She thought of the crying newborn that had been handed to her.... and then there was nothing. The bones in her neck shattered in the grip of Vader's rage and she died almost instantly.

Vader's lightsaber turned off but his rage was not as easily extinguished, now directed at the quickly-disappearing dot in the sky.

By the time Silas and Kee-Xi got to the cockpit, Zeala was sobbing. "Zeala, please," Kee-Xi said, his face having grown pale. He knew that she had also sensed the sudden violence of Tyva's death. His stomach was still turning painfully at the thought of that loss, so personal among the many of his Jedi comrades to have died in these past bloody months.

Zeala stood and Silas took her into his arms, letting her cry onto his shoulder. He held her tightly as she did, wanting her to feel his support.

But this moment ended when Kee-Xi said, "A Star Destroyer is coming around the planet. Silas, begin calculations for our jump to lightspeed."

Zeala moved away, still crying, allowing Silas to reach for the navcomp. He began crunching data. "Where are we going, Master?"

"Anywhere, Silas, just get us out of here," Kee-Xi remarked. A moment later the ship shook. "They're firing light batteries at us and launching fighters. If our deflectors go down they can lock us into a tractor beam."

Silas nodded and looked back to the navcomputer. His mind raced as he tried to decide the best place to hide but he simply could not think of one. They all seemed too dangerous too consider.

At that moment of indecision, a voice came to Silas' head, one from memory or elsewhere (at least if it was elsewhere it would not surprise him). An old voice speaking to him as a youngling, reminding him "Indecision and doubt, dangerous they are to a Jedi. Trust your feelings you must. Through them the Force speaks to you."

Master Yoda's voice was the inspiration Silas needed at that moment. He let his feelings come to the forefront, he let them guide his fingers over the device as a course was punched in, a course... to nowhere he knew. A course dictated only by the Force itself through his hands. When the light showed it was completed, he said, "Course ready!"

Kee-Xi grabbed the hyperdrive control and pushed it forward. The stars elongated in the cockpit window and the jump to lightspeed was complete.

For a moment, the Jedi Master did not move. "Silas, please go make sure Diya is all right," he finally remarked.

Silas walked out with Zeala on his arm. Kee-Xi looked off into the vastness of hyperspace and, for the first time in a long time, allowed tears to flow from his eyes freely.

Silas led Zeala to a couch she could lay back upon. Losing Tyva had been a drain on her heart, he sensed, and what she needed now was rest. He sat beside her, holding her hand while she fell asleep.

For a time he just stood there, watching. A noise distracted him from this and he looked to see the floor of the hall pop up. The hand that emerged was clearly Diya's. With effort she pushed it enough to get through, after which she sat on the edge and looked toward him. "I felt the ship move, so I..." She saw the look on Silas' face and asked, "Where is everyone?"

"Master Kee-Xi is in the cockpit," Silas replied, "and this is Zeala."

"Where's Gumi?"

Silas bowed his head. "I'm afraid he was killed, Diya."

Diya's face fell. She slumped against the wall of the walkway and buried her face in her hands, beginning to weep.

From the other direction, Kee-Xi emerged from the hall leading to the cockpit. "Silas, what course did you enter?"

"I'm not sure, Master" Silas answered. "I let the Force guide me."

"Silas, I cannot disengage the hyperdrive to get our bearings," Kee-Xi revealed, returning to the pilot's seat to let his Padawan get to the computers. "The navigational computer's safety locks have activated."

"I... I don't understand." Silas sat down and began going through the navigational computer. "Something.... something is not right, Master. According to the computer, our hyperdrive speed has reached.... I never thought such a speed possible. We are going at a rating equivalent of point zero zero five past lightspeed."

"Could it be a computer error?"

"It could, Master, but if it isn't and we manually override the locks and try to disengage the hyperdrive, the stress of disengaging at this speed...."

"The stress would tear us apart," Kee-Xi finished for Silas. He sat in his chair, pondering. Through the Force he sensed that there was more to this than a computer glitch.... but what?" "If that speed is right, we will be in intergalactic space within the hour..."

Silas looked back to the computer. "I'm projecting our course now, Master, using long-distance star charts..." After several seconds, he said, "If the speed is accurate, Master, and we continue on this course at this speed and with our current rate of fuel consumption, we will arrive at Galaxy LG-19 in seven weeks."

Kee-Xi turned away from his apprentice. He calmed his mind and tried to let his feelings come to the forefront, to reach out to the Force, to confirm the suspicions he held. His feelings told him to continue and accept what had happened, and by that confirming that his student's feelings were correct; that the hand of the Force had guided them to this... anomaly in hyperspace. "Go and rest, Silas," he said aloud. "We have a long flight ahead of us."

Ordinarily, the escape of the Lightrunner would have been accepted as an unavoidable failure on the part of Captain Doss and the Exactor. It was not their fault that the ship had made an abnormally and perhaps fatally swift jump to lightspeed, or that the smaller ship had maneuvered the planet in front of the Exactor.

But Vader was not in an ordinary mood. He was in a towering rage. And as a result, Captain Doss had gone to his death when coming to greet Vader. His remains - including a neck completely crushed by Vader's power - were now being prepared for disposal. His replacement had avoided Vader so far, a wise decision on his part.

In his cabin, Vader was resting and letting his anger simmer when the call came through that the Emperor was calling for him. Soon Palpatine appeared on Vader's large holonet projector, clad in his dark robes. "Lord Vader, Moff Kulihof has reported Jedi survivors in his Sector. I wish for you to go deal with them."

"There are still Jedi in this sector, my Emperor. I wish to continue pursuing them."

"Do not concern yourself with them, Lord Vader. They will be dealt with soon enough."

To hear that furthered Vader's anger. He had failed and now his master was forbidding him the chance to make good on that failure. But he had no other alternative at the moment. "Yes, my Master. I will proceed immediately."

"Excellent, Lord Vader. I look forward to seeing you return to Coruscant to continue your training." At that, Palpatine's image faded out.

As Vader gave the order for the new destination there was a brief moment when he considered the mental images that had come to Tyva Nos Sirt before her death. What she had revealed about her past, and Kee-Xi Laden's, had struck a chord in that part of Vader which remembered being Anakin Skywalker. Especially the part about having a child, when the wound of Padme's death and the death of their unborn baby remained.

But in the end all it did was remind him of what he had lost, and furthered the sensations of bitterness, rage, and loss in a soul that was growing increasingly dark and enthralled to the designs of Emperor Palpatine, the Dark Lord Sideous.

Only the Emperor's guards remained when the human male entered the Imperial presence. Wearing a dark cloak over his shoulders, with a hood for his head and the suit of one of the new Imperial Inquisitors, he knelt on a knee to Palpatine. "My Emperor, my teacher, what do you wish?"

"You have done well, student, in learning the ways of the Dark Side. And I sense," there was a grin on that withered old face, "that you desire the chance to prove yourself worthy of being my apprentice, and assuming the title of Sith Lord."

"Lord Vader was once mighty indeed, Majesty, but his injuries on Mustafar have left him weak. I will gladly do anything you wish to prove myself your proper apprentice."

"I know that well." Palpatine motioned for the student to stand. "Inquisitor Deig Mantas, you have earned the chance to prove yourself worthy of challenging Lord Vader for the right to be my apprentice. I have a mission for you."

"I shall do whatever you request, Majesty."

"A ship of Jedi left Lumin Prime on an unknown course. Lord Vader has other more pressing matters to concern him, so I shall leave the task of locating these Jedi to you. If you can defeat them, do so, but I wish to know where they are and what they are doing. That is your primary purpose, Mantas. Do you understand?"

"Yes, Majesty. I shall do as you ask."

"A infiltrator is being provided to you. Do not report back to me until the Jedi Master Kee-Xi Laden and any others with him have been found. And if you were to bring me proof of his death at your hand, it will go far into ensuring your place as my next apprentice."

Deig stood, his eyes glistening with pride. "I will not fail you, my Master. The Jedi will be found and eliminated."

"Then go," Palpatine ordered. Watching his student leave, he grinned wickedly. Either Mantas would succeed and give him a second prospect now that Vader was so badly scarred, or he would die, thinning out another unworthy soul from the ranks of would-be Sith Lords.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-14 03:56pm

Chapter 4

Everyone had gathered around the table in the Lightrunner's passenger area. Diya was sitting on the floor in the corner beside R2-Z5 while Silas and Zeala sat together on the couch. Kee-Xi stood apart, in traditional Jedi robes sans the traveling cloak with hood, pacing about the room. "By the time we get to LG-19's major arm, our fuel cells will be severely depleted, and our stocks low," he said. "We will have to carefully portion our meals and water use during the trip." He looked to Diya. "You offered when you came aboard to help with maintenance, Diya Suun. Well, that is now your sole concern. You and Zeefive will inspect this ship daily, particularly our fuel and power reserves."

Diya nodded tenatively. "Yes, Master Kee-Xi."

Turning his attention to the two Padawans seated together, Kee-Xi remarked, "As for you two.... I will resume your training, and when the time is right I will decide whether you have advanced to the level of skill to be Knights."

"Of course, Master."

Sighing deeply, Kee-Xi looked away for a moment. Everything that had happened, it was like being caught in a whirlwind that was still raging about, tossing him and his charges where it pleased. Who knew where it would end?

"We will also spend time monitoring the ship from the cockpit, alternating so that one of you may be trained while the other watches, then I will watch while you sleep."

"What of your rest?"

"I need none. Meditation during my cockpit watch will suffice," he answered, not entirely truthfully, but certain that he would not need further rest above that he was setting aside for himself. Standing at one end of the room from where he could look at them all "We have a long journey ahead of us, and this ship is quite small so space is limited. We must live together and work together to survive physically and mentally. If you have any problems, any fears, come to me and I shall do my best to help you with them. Now... I shall take my first turn in the pilot seat, and I suggest that you all get some rest."

The Infiltrator was silent as death as it left Lumin Prime. Unnoticed by the sensor grid of the system's traffic control, or by the Imperial cruiser moving by on patrol, it remained for a time in orbit.

From his cockpit Dieg Mantas checked to make sure his stores of supplies and fuel were full for what he expected to be a search lasting months. When this was confirmed he prepared to make his jump to lightspeed. But where?

As he was trained to do, Dieg felt out through the Force, letting it speak to him. His hand moved almost on its own as it entered astrogation data into the nav computers before reaching over and engaging the hyperdrive.

For a time everything seemed normal. But Dieg soon noticed something amiss. The speed readings he was getting from the astrogation computer were incorrect, showing a speed far greater than any hyperdrive was known to be capable of. At first he reached for the control to disengage the hyperdrive. But as his hand gripped it he felt a small tremor within him, a resistance to his decision. Intuitively he knew that something bad would happen if he pulled the control and he released it.

Looking at the astrogation data he noticed that in a couple of months he would arrive in Galaxy LG-19. Two months, with just enough fuel and supplies to make it there.

Two long, lonely months into the unknown, from which he could possibly never return....

As Deig sat and mulled over this, he sensed opportunity. Not just if the Jedi he was hunting were on this route as well, as he sensed they were.... but a virgin galaxy where there might be no Sith. Instead of being, at best, the apprentice of a master he could never hope to defeat, he could be the Master himself. With an entire cadre of followers competing for the right to be his apprentice.

Darth Vindis had a nice ring to it....

Two weeks later

Zeala and Kee-Xi were alone in the open recreational area while Silas manned the cockpit and Diya was slumbering in one of the bunks. He stood before her with his lightsaber set to training intensity. Her's was the same. "Begin!"

Zeala brought her lightsaber up in a defensive motion. Kee-Xi noted it was Shii-Cho Form. A basic form, the kind everyone learns first. He advanced with several Makashi strikes that Zeala deflected. "Make your movements sharp and small," he instructed. "The key to Soresu is to economize all movement. You save your energy and wait for the appropriate moment to strike."

For several moments they continued. Zeala kept those basic movements up. Kee-Xi noted with appreciation that she had a knack for this. Tyva had undoubtedly shown her what Soresu she knew, but Tyva had been an aggressive duelist. Ataru, Djem-So, and Shien were her preferred styles, much like how he prefered Makashi for dueling and Djem-So for fighting foes with ranged weapons.

Eventually, though, Zeala moved a bit too far and he landed a counterattack that, in a real battle, would have killed her instantly. She paused in place to acknowledge this. "My apologies, Master Kee-Xi," she said meekly. She moved a lock of disheveled blond hair from her eyesight. "I am not the lightsaber wielder I need to be."

"You have survived this far, so do not put yourself down," he replied. He pulled his lightsaber back and turned it off. "You have great promise in defensive lightsaber techniques. In time, you will master them." Kee-Xi gestured to a seat where they had drinks ready for sustenance. Zeefive was kind enough to bring them a tray with energy snacks that would remove the fatigued feeling. "And I sense your strengths are not in lightsaber combat."

Zeala nodded. "Yes. Master Tyva preferred that I help in other ways when our troopers went into combat."

"Battle meditation?", Kee-Xi asked.

"Yes." Zeala took a sip. "Master Tyva thought I did better using the Force to connect to others. She said it was my nature as a person, that I naturally made connections."

Kee-Xi nodded. "Yes. I agree. I hope that wherever we end up, you may focus upon that skill and not require our martial talents."

"May the Force make that true." Zeala looked over to a counter opposite their seats. Tyva's lightsaber was laying on it. Unused ever since Kee-Xi had set it there at the start of their voyage. Seeing it made a lump form in her throat. Her grief came roaring back.

Kee-Xi's hand came up and took her hand. "I understand," he said.

"It is not our way to be attached," Zeala said. "We are supposed to let go."

"Yes," Kee-Xi-agreed. "That is why the Jedi have found it easier to never let attachments form. But that doesn't always work." He looked to the lightsaber and felt a surge of pain in his heart. All of the loss, all of that wasted life... and now their future was cast on the winds. The Force knew what would happen next. And it was unlikely they could help save their home galaxy from the Sith wherever they ended up. "The important part is to accept the loss," he said to her. "A Jedi destroyed by loss is a terrible thing to behold."

"I understand," Zeala said. She swallowed. All of the younglings she had grown up with were gone. Tyva, the Jedi who had spent a decade training her to be a Jedi Knight, was gone. Kee-Xi and Silas were all she had left.

Especially Silas. She had known him since she could remember. They had come up as younglings together. And he was always so confident, so assured, that Zeala felt the same whenever he was around.

"We will recommence lightsaber training tomorrow," Kee-Xi said. "You should get some sleep. Our journey is but a quarter over now, we have much time ahead of us before we arrive at the other galaxy."

Zeala nodded and tried to hide her pleasure at the idea of her bunk. She looked forward to getting to sleep.

Six weeks later

The two months passed quicker than Diya had expected. Their eating might have been a little thin, especially near the end, but nearly every day she was occupied inspecting every nut and bolt of the Lightrunner, getting to know every system, doing on the fly maintainance with Zeefive to make sure that above all else the hyperdrive stayed on. Silas helped her at times, Zeala joining them once and a great while, as the two of them continued Jed training under Kee-Xi's watchful gaze.

If anything, the past months had helped Diya come to understand even more on how the YT-1300 worked. She'd examined every system, knew how every nut and bolt went together, every circuit and power feed. While examining her one day Kee-Xi had even stated he felt she had a natural affinity for that kind of work. While that was true, deep down Diya wished to be the pilot, not the mechanic.

Her main compatriot during the long journey was R2-Z5. She'd come to understand the astromech droid almost as well as Silas, who now often remarked that the droid seemed to have taken a liking to her.

Put together, it had been perhaps the best two months of her young life. There was no struggle for food and shelter. No worry about being sold to the Hutts. No worry of being killed in the streets by an irate food merchant she'd been forced to steal from or by some crook she looked at the wrong way. She was in the care of three noble Jedi, had a quirky astromech droid as a companion, and was getting to work with one of the most reliable spaceship designs to ever be built.

On about the sixty-third day of the voyage Diya went to the cockpit as she sometimes did, Kee-Xi seated quietly in his chair in meditative rest, and took the pilot's seat. She rested her hands on the sublight flight control s and imagined getting to fly the vessel around.

Behind her came a warbling sound, followed by a disapproving set bleeps and clicks. Looking back at the green-chromed droid, Diya replied, "Oh, Zeefive, don't worry, I won't touch anything important. I'm just daydreaming." After another warbling remark from the droid she added, "I won't wake Master Kee-Xi either."

"Yes, that would be pretty impossible at the moment," the meditating Jedi added.

Diya looked to him with a surprised expression which soon turned apprehensive. "Master Jedi? I.... I'm sorry, I didn't mean to..."

"You did not disturb me, Diya," Kee-Xi answered. He gave her a reassuring smile. "How are the others?"

"Sleeping comfortably." Diya pulled her legs up onto the seat, putting her arms around them to rest her chin on her knees. "Silas and Zeala seem really close."

Kee-Xi gave a nod at that. "They were younglings together. Just as Tyva, Gumi, and I were."

Diya looked to him. "I miss Gumi," she said sadly. "He was so nice, and he was going to make me his co-pilot."

"Yes, I can imagine." Looking at the young lady Kee-Xi saw the wisdom of his apprentice's desire to save her from the slaver and to bring her. For all that she had been through, the only feelings he had ever sensed from her were sadness and more benevolent feelings. Any anger from old memories was brief and joined by her regrets toward the people she'd known on the street. Fellow children, almost all less fortunate than she was now. "I see now that Silas was right to insist on bringing you aboard, Diya. It's not often a Master is proven wrong by his apprentice, but it is a good thing I believe."

"He looks up to you so greatly," Diya said. "You're everything to him. A teacher, a mentor, even a bit of a father."

Kee-Xi nodded softly at that. "Such are the sentiments that exist between the Padawan and the Knight or Master. I felt much the same way to my Master, Dooku, for many years."

"Dooku? Count Dooku?" Diya said with surprise. "He was your Master?"

"Yes, he took me as his new Padawan after completing the training of Qui-Gon Jinn." Kee-Xi looked off into hyperspace. "That he ended up falling to the Dark Side, and leading the Separatists, was, is, a great sadness to me."

Diya took a moment to imagine how it would have felt. While some of the starship captains back on Gantoon had been paternal toward her, she'd never had a feeling of having a mentor. The idea of having one go bad, to turn against everything she thought was right, made her think that maybe this wasn't such a bad thing after all.

"How did you end up with Silas as your student?", she asked Kee-Xi, looking to shift the subject. "I mean, do you get to pick?"

"Normally, yes," he answered. "Jedi Knights and Masters select their apprentices. But I was a special case..."

Twelve Years Ago

Kee-Xi Laden stood silent in the midst of the leaders of the Jedi Order as Master Yoda spoke for them. "Long has your exile been, Kee-Xi Laden," the diminutive Grand Master continued. "Sense I your advancement in knowledge of the Force, wisdom to overcome the past mistakes."

"You have served the Jedi and the Republic well on the Outer Rim." Now Mace Windu began to speak. "The Jedi Council has come to the conclusion that you have earned the chance to teach an apprentice. One of our selection. If you train him well, with no further breaches of the Code by yourself or by him, we will remove our restriction and grant you the title of Master."

Bowing his head in respect and acceptance, Kee-Xi said, "I accept this charge from the Council, Master Windu, Master Yoda, with humility. I resolve to prove my worthiness of your trust."

"As we would expect of you," Ki-Adi-Mundi stated.

"We look forward to seeing you fulfill the potential Master Dooku saw in you, Kee-Xi Laden. This meeting is now adjourned." And with Master Windu's proclamation, the Council dispersed.

"Introduce you to your apprentice I will," Yoda said to Kee-Xi as they emerged from the Council room. Kee-Xi followed the Grand Master through the bowels of the Jedi Temple. "Great anxiety I sense in you, Kee-Xi. Speak to me you will?"

Kee-Xi drew in a sigh. He hadn't wanted to speak on this. But Yoda had sensed it and it was better to be open on the subject. "While I was on Lumin Master Dooku came to see me, Master Yoda," he said to the old sage. "He told me that Qui-Gon Jinn was slain by a Sith Lord."

"He was," Yoda responded sadly.

Kee-Xi nodded. A part of him, ha, how silly... a part of him had been hoping Dooku was wrong. "And if I may, what happened to this Sith?"

"Slain he was, in turn, by Master Qui-Gon's apprentice, Obi-Wan Kenobi."

"Do we know if he was the Master or the Apprentice of the Sith?"

"No." Yoda looked back to Kee-Xi as they moved along. "More to say, you do? More on your old teacher?"

Drawing in a sigh, Kee-Xi continued. "He attempted to persuade me that the Order would not forgive me, Master Yoda. He asked me to leave the Jedi and join him in seeking out and destroying the Sith."

Clearly sensing Kee-Xi's feelings, Yoda said, "And?"

"There was.... I don't know, Master Yoda, a bitterness about him. A sense of darkness and anger I found unsettling."

"Yes, sensed the same I did the day that Master Dooku left the Council." Yoda shook his head. "Suspicious and impatient Dooku has become. A tragedy for him and for the Order."

"What of my dreams, Master Yoda?" Kee-Xi followed Yoda onto stairs to bring them down toward the younglings' quarter of the Temple. "With every passing year they have grown worse. Perhaps the most vivid I have ever had them. The Jedi Temple in flames, an army marching in the streets of Coruscant, an entire planet destroyed by a weapon..."

"Dooku's pessimism I sense in your dreams. Be mindful of the truth in the Force you should." Yoda seemed to look away for a moment. "The Dark Side you both feel. Uncertainty, doubt, fear, these are not of the Jedi."

"And what about arrogance?" Kee-Xi asked. "If my feelings are correct, if these dreams are warnings from the Force, is it not arrogance to presume otherwise? Not without the slightest consideration?"

That drew a sigh. "Perhaps. Meditate on this I must. But now, your apprentice you must meet."

They entered one of the rooms in which the younglings were having a period of rest. Some worked on building their first lightsaber, others on studying the books and texts kept by the Jedi Order, while many also conversed. Yoda led Kee-Xi to one couple in the room, a brown-haired young Human boy who was helping a blond-haired girl, also Human, study lightsaber schematics. "Silas, arrived your new teacher has," Yoda said to the boy.

Both children looked up. The boy stood and bowed. "I am Silas Torson, Master Kee-Xi," he said. "I am honored to be your Padawan."

"I have heard much about you, young Silas," Kee-Xi remarked. "Master Yoda says great things about you. I foresee you becoming a great Jedi Knight one day."

"Thank you, Master." Silas turned to the girl. "Bye, Zeala!"

"Good luck, Silas!" the girl replied cheerfully. "May the Force be with you!"

Kee-Xi led his new apprentice away as Yoda and Zeala watched.

The Present

There was a melancholy silence for a time, then Diya spoke once more. "There was a time, as a child, that I wish I had been taken to become a Jedi. To get out of my parents' home and get to see Coruscant."

"It is a common dream among many, Diya. But the life of a Jedi is a harsh one." Kee-Xi sighed. "One that I have long believed to have been made too harsh by the rules of the Order. Use of the Force demands discipline, and they began to favor discipline before anything else. I wonder sometimes if the Order would have survived if it had been more tolerant and not become so secluded, so cloistered, from the rest of the Republic."

Before he could continue speaking, Kee-Xi was distracted when his eyes passed over the readouts from astrogation. "Diya, prepare to take us out of hyperspace," he said.


"We're back to normal speed," he said. "I want to drop out of hyperspace and take a star reading."

"So... we're almost to a planet then?" Diya pulled back on the control as she was asked, replacing the view of hyperspace in their cockpit with a field of black interstellar space.

"Perhaps. We are in a dense arm of the galaxy...." Kee-Xi turned his attention to the sensors looking for stars. "Now we must eliminate those systems that cannot bear life while looking for any signs of life. If we can find interstellar societies, so much the better...... there." He began pressing keys on the astrogation computer. "This system appears to have a habitable planet." He re-orientated the ship and briefly re-engaged the hyperdrive. When a few seconds passed he pulled it back again. Ahead of them a green-covered blue planet beckoned, a field of asteroids forming a beautiful ring about its equator.

Diya stared at the sight in wonderment. Lumin Prime had been a very bland world compared to this one. "It's beautiful," she said. "And people live there?"

"I sense life on the world, but..." Kee-Xi concentrated for a moment. A frown formed on his face as his hand moved like lightning to grab the ship controls. He twisted the Lightrunner to its left.

Just as a bolt of energy sizzled by them, close enough to scorch the hull.

Kee-Xi hit the ship's throttle and turned back to Diya. "Go get Zeala and man one of the guns. I will need Silas up here as well. We are under attack."

Diya was terrified yet ecstatic as she bounded through the Lightrunner's bay toward one of the side guns. After the weeks of routine this fight was something new and exciting. It was an experience unlike anything she'd known before.

Then she started to realize it might lead to her death. And it wasn't quite so interesting anymore.

Zeala and Silas didn't require any words to be spoken; Silas ran to the cockpit while Zeala immediately headed toward one gun, going down the ladder. Diya climbed to the other. She jumped into the gunner seat and took control of the quad mount anti-fighter blaster that served to protect the Lightrunner on that axis.

Diya was swinging the gun around when she noticed for the first time their attackers. They were ugly bulbous vessels, blue light streaking out of their ends toward the Lightrunner. A bright red light zipped past them in space, missing wide due to the Jedi piloting of Kee-Xi and Silas, and exploded in brilliant light that might have blinded Diya without the safety systems in the gunner station.

With just a bit of sweat on her forehead Diya pulled the trigger for her gun. Bolts of red light lashed out at their attackers. She was very new to this and even with the computer-assisted targeting her shots missed wide. She frowned and tried to bring her gun further over to send out another flurry of bolts, but at that moment the ship twisted and she lost sight of her target.

The Lightrunner rocked around her as it took more his on its deflectors. Soon another attacker veered into sight. This time Diya was satisfied to see her shots play along the vessel's grey hull, absorbed by flickers of blue light. "I got a hit!", she called out, ecstatic.

They banked hard again and the ship rocked even more violently, straining Diya against the harness of her seat. This caused her to miss what would have otherwise had been a perfect shot on one of the targets. She cried out in frustration and swept her gun along, holding the trigger and just spewing blaster bolt fire. When said blaster fire intercepted one of the red sparkling projectiles, it exploded harmlessly away from the Lightrunner. Diya looked with wide eyes, realizing that if it'd hit and went through the deflectors, she'd have probably been killed instantly.

This terrifying realization of just how close death was made Diya freeze up. This wasn't like the streets of Gantoon, where death seemed further away and things like hunger or abduction were more immediate concerns. Tears formed in her eyes. Her hands refused to clench the triggers on the guns.

She felt a sensation come over her, a deep and relaxing one. She felt her terror recede in waves of serene thought. A kind voice, one she knew as Zeala's, reached out to her. Do not fear, Diya. Be at peace.

Diya's fingers clenched on the trigger again, almost guided by Zeala it seemed. One of the smaller ships crossing her field of fire literally ran into her shots. Red bolts broke through the blue deflectors on the other ship and created gouts of flame and wreckage from it, creating a path of destruction along the length of the ship. Its return fire ceased.

"I got one!", Diya cried out in triumph. With renewed zeal she sent blaster fire at any enemy who showed up on her screens, inflicting damage and blowing up a couple of what looked to be snubfighters. Getting a good lock on another ship, she pulled the trigger yet again.

But nothing happened.

The ship's lights began to dim around her. Diya's heart froze. She didn't need to look at her status screens to realize what was going on.

The Lightrunner was out of fuel.

Even before the cockpit lights began to dim, Silas knew they were in big trouble.

Ordinarily, the tiny bit of fuel they had left for the Lightrunner's power plant would have been plenty to let them investigate the nearby planet and maybe even part of the local sector. But the necessities of powering their deflectors, their quad-mount blaster cannons, and the rapid maneuvers that Kee-Xi was performing from the pilot's seat had been too much. Emergency lights flashed everywhere as more and more systems had to start drawing from their emergency batteries. Soon their deflectors would fail, and they would be doomed.

Kee-Xi broke away from their attackers, spending almost every bit of their fuel left to dash for the asteroid rings around the planet. "If we can lose them long enough, we might make it to the planet."

His teacher's voice was neutral and calm, but Silas knew him well enough to know this was not a sure thing. They would in all likelihood be harried down by their foes and destroyed.

The enemy pursued of course. The Lightrunner's engines were more than powerful enough to outrun them, but their dying fuel reserves forced Kee-Xi to switch to the batteries as soon as they got to the first asteroid. Their speed slowed dramatically, and energy fire was already coming by them as they slipped close to the second.

The enemy ships stopped for the moment. Parasite craft, too small to be proper fighters, began to pour out of launch bays along their sides. "They're going to hound us out of here with their light craft," Silas remarked. "I don't think we can stay here, Master."

"Have faith, my apprentice," Kee-Xi murmured softly. "The Force is guiding us even here."

Silas was about to ask what his master meant when their scanners picked up a new contact.

The vessel came from "above" the asteroids and the pirate ships. Red bolts of light lashed out at the Lightrunner's attackers even as the enemy tried to scatter. Red sparks, missiles of some sort, crashed into one of the ships and caused great plumes of flame to erupt from the pirate's hull. The pirates returned fire, but their weapons had no apparent effect as the newcomer's attacks decimated their forces. Driven desperate, a number of the ships turned and fled, elongating briefly before they disappeared entirely. It was not like any jump to hyperspace Silas had ever witnessed.

The remaining enemies, unable to flee the system, turned toward the planet. Some of the parasite craft seemed to escape notice, but the big ship that remained - its glowing nacelle spewing plasma and debris - took several more hits before all of its lights died.

And just like that. It was over. They'd gone from near certain death to... what, exactly? Silas wondered just who this other ship was. As he did so, he noticed that the Lightrunner was receiving a broadcast audio message on several basic frequencies. Not a holomessage, obviously... "Master, the new ship is opening communication."

Kee-Xi nodded. "Put them on, Silas."

Silas nodded and pressed a key to put the hail over the speakers.

A woman's voice began to speak them clearly. "To unidentified vessel, this is the Federation Starship Enterprise. We are standing by to provide you assistance, over. Please respond. I repeat, this is the Federation Starship Enterprise...."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by DaZergRock54444 » 2016-01-14 10:58pm

I must confess, this holds an interesting premise. I shall continue to observe the thread with great interest.
Instead of foodservice equipment, let's play with large format projectors.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-16 08:45am

Chapter 5

Silas saw the inscrutable look on his teacher's face. He found himself saying, "They speak Basic. How is that possible?"

"Perhaps we are not the first to find that hyperspace current," Kee-Xi mused. He reached over to the broadcast control and flipped it on. "I am Kee-Xi Laden of the independent vessel Lightrunner. We are out of reactive material for our engine and are operating on battery power. We thank you for any assistance you can provide."


"The Force will reveal its will in good time, my apprentice."

The Enterprise's bridge was in the middle of standing down from red alert. From the center chair, Captain James T. Kirk pondered the small vessel on his viewscreen with its wide rear engine and the side-mounted cockpit. He'd been in Starfleet for forty years, seen all sorts of different ships (and other things), but not one like this. Still, one mystery at a time... "Status of the pirates, Mister Spock?"

It was peculiar to have not one but two Captain-rank officers on a starship, but besides acting as a diplomatic agent in his own right Spock often stood bridge watches and manned his old station. He didn't turn from his readout screens. "Pirate vessel is crippled, Captain. Their life support systems are failing and I am detecting instability in their warp core suggesting imminent containment collapse."

Kirk promptly hit a switch on his chair. "Bridge to Transporter Rooms. Prepare to beam survivors aboard. Security report to all Transporter Rooms to take pirates into custody."

With that done, Kirk returned his attention to the Lightrunner. "What do you make of her, Spock?"

"The vessel does not match any in Starfleet files," Spock answered. "I am not detecting the presence of a warp core or fusion plants as we use them."

"Still, it vas flying rings around the pirates before ve arrived," Chekov pointed out from his station in front of Kirk. "It vas far quicker than any wessel of that size class I have seen."

"And they've asked for assistance." Kirk leaned to the side of his chair slightly. He had a bit of a knot in his back, the unfortunate result of growing old. "I don't suppose a ship that size will fit in the shuttle bay?"

"I believe it will just about do so, Captain," Spock answered. "With a few meters margin of error."

"Then give them landing clearance." Kirk waited for Uhura to relay the message before he asked, "Their language has to be in the Translator database, I imagine? For the Universal Translator to have worked so fast?"

"Actually, sir, it wasn't used at all," Uhura answered. "Their reply was in Standard English."

"Curiouser and curioser," Kirk mumbled to himself. "I take it you need more data before you wish to speculate, Mister Spock?"

"Indeed, Captain." Spock noted something on his screens. "Pirate vessel is losing containment. Explosion imminent. I recommend extending shields to protect the Lightrunner as a precaution."

"Mister Chekov, extend shields."

The woman's voice came over the Lightrunner's speakers again. "You are cleared to land in our shuttle bay, Lightrunner."

"I suppose we really don't have a choice, do we?", Silas said, noticing that Zeala and Diya had come up from the back.

"No, my apprentice, we do not," Kee-Xi answered. He gripped the controls carefully and began to fly the Lightrunner toward the rear end of the Enterprise. As they turned to face the vessel a bright light appeared beyond it. "Hold on", Kee-Xi warned them, realizing their stricken attackers' ship had suddenly exploded. The Lightrunner tremored but did not rock as violently as he had feared, protected by the deflectors of their rescuers.

With most of its power gone the Lightrunner flew slowly - compared to its usual speeds - as it came to the opening shuttle bay doors at the back of the Enterprise's lower hull. "Master..." Diya looked apprehensive, knowing it'd be a close fit.

"Shhh," Silas urged her. This will be close. Very close. If we're even a little off...

They slid in barely. Kee-Xi ensured the landing struts were extended and settled the ship down. "Remember, trust in the Force," he reminded his students, and Diya too really. "I do not sense deception or aggressive intent here, but until we are certain be cautious."

"But courteous," Zeala added. She blushed and looked to Kee-Xi in embarrassment for speaking out of turn. "I do not mean to infringe upon you, Master, but it is an important point."

He shook his head with a small smile, giving Zeala relief at the faux pas. "It is a point well-taken, Zeala. Courtesy to our rescuers is a must. Come now, let us meet these Federation people. There is a mystery here that I would very much like to see solved." Kee-Xi stood from the chair and looked at Diya. "We'll all be going."

Diya let out a squeal of excitement matched by excited warbling from Zeefive.

They gathered together and headed toward the exit ramp. Zeefive rolled up alongside Diya and joined her in the rear, Kee-Xi taking the lead. He reached out with his senses in the Force. He felt apprehension in some parts, and even knew his hosts had some armed men present for security, but for the most part he felt raw curiosity. It was an interesting sense to feel.

He hit the ramp's lever and watched it lower to the light gray flooring of the Enterprise. He stepped out in measured, deliberate steps, aware of the tremendous need for diplomatic protocol and behavior. The figures ahead of him were mostly Human. Older men like him, if not even older, with graying hair. Among their number was a clear non-Human, with lined features like a man in middle age, a dark-haired man who looked human save for the pointed tips of his ears.

The lead man had, to Kee-Xi, a strong aura, and he certainly had an unmatched air of confidence. He stepped forward toward them and offered his hand. "Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise, representing the United Federation of Planets."

Federation of Planets? Kee-Xi found such an organization to sound agreeable, though he reserved judgement until he learned more about them. "Captain Kirk." He bowed respectfully before accepting the hand. "I am Kee-Xi Laden, Master of the Jedi Order. These are my apprentices, Silas Torson and Zeala Del. Our friend Diya Suun... and our astromech droid R2-Z5."

From behind them, Zeefive let out a cheerful series of beeps and warbles as greeting. Diya added to it. "Great to meet you Captain, and Zeefive thinks so too. We'd love to get a tour of your ship.." She slunk back a bit when she got a stern Look from Kee-Xi.

Captain Kirk looked back to the other officers with him. The enthusiasm of the young lady was palpable and he felt no offense toward her speaking out of turn "Well, a pleasure to meet you all as well," he said. He smiled to show there was no difficulties concerning Diya's remarks. "This is my first officer, Captain Spock. Doctor McCoy, ship's surgeon..." He went on to introduce Chekov and Uhura.

"Mister Laden, as ship medical officer, I hope you don't mind if I give you an examination?", McCoy spoke up. "Especially this fine young lady. We've never met one of her species before."

"I sense all of you have a great curiosity about us," Kee-Xi said in reply. "We would be happy to cooperate, and ask only that you explain the nature of your Federation and aid us in finding a home for ourselves."

"It's a Starfleet tradition to seek out the wonders of space and make contact with new civilizations," Kirk answered. "We'd be pleased to exchange information with you. If you'd like a dinner tonight in the officer's mess, after Doctor McCoy satisfies his curiosity?"

Kee-Xi looked to the others briefly. And he considered their thin rations aboard the Lightrunner. A good meal would indeed be welcome. "Indeed, we would all appreciate that. Doctor McCoy, we will follow you..."

Diya allowed her wonder and nervousness to work their way out of her system by fidgeting constantly on the bed that Doctor McCoy had assigned her. His nurses and another doctor were looking over the Jedi but she was getting McCoy's full attention. "Well, you seem to be pretty healthy, young lady, by humanoid norm," he said definitively after examining some flat panel readout of her body. "I'm not sure what the Almighty had in mind when he gave you and your species extra skull weights though."

"You mean my lekku?" Diya smirked at him. "What I don't know is why the Maker saddled you and so many other species with hair. Eww."

Zeefive warbled in agreement.

"And just what is that tin bucket saying?", McCoy inquired, looking with some slight irritation at Zeefive.

"He's saying he agrees that hair is yuck," Diya translated. "And that he's glad droids don't need hair."

"Hmph." McCoy moved on to testing her reflexes by hitting her knees with a small hammer.

"Don't you have a scanner here in your medbay for this stuff?", Diya asked, not particularly enjoying having a plastic object smacking her kneecaps.

"Too many doctors rely on scanners and readouts. I'm an old country doctor, and this is how we do things."

"Even the cheapest docs back on Gantoon had scanners," Diya continued.

"Really? Just swimming in technology, huh? And what good would that do if the technology breaks?" McCoy shook his head. "Spry kid like you probably had your parents taking you to a doctor every week..."

Diya shook her head. It was surprising that such a dull pain could sharpen so quickly. At least she didn't start crying "My parents died when I was a little kid. I lived in an orphanage at first, but.... we found out the Hutts were running it. And they were going to ship us all off to Hutta to be slaves when we aged enough. So me and a few other kids escaped one day."

McCoy's face darkened when Diya mentioned slavery. "Sounds like a pretty rough planet to have grown up on. Most space-faring species have given up on that kind of thing."

"We were near Hutt space. The Hutts have had slavery for thousands of years, and have always been good at playing the Republic against itself to avoid getting punished for it," Diya answered. "It's just a fact of life for us."

"Ah. Well, far be it for a Southern gentleman like me to cast the first stone over that, but we don't hold with that nastiness in this part of the galaxy my dear." McCoy brought up a light and a strip of... wood? "Now, I need you to open your mouth and say 'Ahhhhh'...."

The ship's mess had prepared a proper full meal for the command crew of the Enterprise "plus guests" by the time McCoy was done with his examinations. He led Spock and Kirk to the side while Chekov showed their guests to their seats and chatted them up over the pirate attack. "Well, Diya's species is definitely something new to us. Just got a subspace update back from Starfleet Medical, and there's no record of her race at all."

"Anything more? Are Master Laden and his students Human or just Human-like?"

"Almost 95% sure they're Human," McCoy answered. "There are a few genetic variances not normal for Human DNA, but even those are within standard for genetic drift. And that's the real mystery."

"Indeed, Doctor?", Spock asked.

"The kind of genetic variation we're seeing, if they are Human, indicate that there's over 30,000 years of genetic drift from modern Humans."

"Time travel, then, Mister Spock?"

"I still do not have sufficient data to make that presumption, Captain," Spock answered. "Suffice to say it does seem to be a possible explanation, though I would also propose the possibility of transplantation from Earth of early Humans being responsible. We have already seen indications of such..."

"The Preservers," Kirk said quietly.

"Indeed. Though there is another matter..." Spock looked to McCoy. "Is there any chance that there is Betazoid DNA present?"

"Not at all," McCoy answered.

"Curious. I have felt a... sensation from Master Laden and his students. I may need to meditate upon this further."

"In the meantime, Spock, Bones..." Kirk gestured toward the table. "Let's go be courteous to our guests."

When everyone was seated and Kee-Xi had quietly ensured they had been given non-alcoholic drinks, Kirk brought his glass up in what turned out to be a truly universal gesture of preparing a toast. "To our honored guests and the education that comes from mutual discovery. Peoples who understand each other find it easier to know peace together."

"To peace and knowledge," Kee-Xi agreed. Everyone took a drink.

"You seem to know some of our customs, Master Kee-Xi," Uhura said from her seat across from Diya. "And your English is impeccable. How is this possible?"

"There is a great mystery here indeed, for we could ask the same of you," Kee-Xi answered. "We did not expect to find Humans and other races who knew Basic."

"I am curious, Master, as to why you refer to Standard English as 'Basic'," Spock asked.

"It is the common language of the worlds of the Galactic Republic," Kee-Xi replied. "Only Huttese is as widely spread... at least in our civilization." He stopped to allow everyone to finish their first bites of food. "And now I believe it is time to settle our common curiosity about each other. Allow me to explain..."

As the dinner went on, Kee-Xi laid out the basic facts of the galaxy they had once called home. He spoke of the Galactic Republic, an edifice that had stood in one form or another for nearly 25,000 years, and of the Jedi Order that had become the Republic's most devout protector. In broad strokes he laid out the misfortune they had fled from, culminating in the annihilation of the Jedi Order and Palpatine transforming the Republic into the Empire.

When he finished, there was silence for several seconds. Finally Spock came to speak. "You have my condolences, Master Kee-Xi. A most distressing history."

"Vat I am vorried about is if this new 'Empire' you speak of can come to our galaxy as vell. Ve have enough troubles vith the Klingons.."

"The circumstances in which we jumped into this inter-galactic current were very unique." Kee-Xi placed his hands before himself. "I suspect it is only by the will of the Force itself that we found it."

"The what, you say?", McCoy asked.

"The Force, Doctor. It is as ancient as the stars themselves and exists in all things. Some of us are blessed with a sensitivity to it. In our galaxy, many of those who are Force-sensitive become Jedi. Our Order has spent millennia studying the power and mysteries of the Force."

"In our own voyages we have encountered a number of.. entities and beings who had strange powers." Kirk looked to Spock, who seemed to be mulling things over. "But for the most part we have never seen any indication of this 'Force' of yours."

"Are you sure, Captain?" Kee-Xi's eyes seemed to sparkle. "You have never had a time when you felt, deep down, that only a particular course of action would save the situation? Your people have never known stories of those in danger pushing themselves beyond the point of realistic physical power? Or those who have seemed to know what the immediate future held? These are all things that even an untrained user of the Force can easily accomplish. With training... far more is practical. Training in the Force gives us far greater abilities to sense." At that, Kee-Xi held out his hand. His plate and utensils lifted gently into the air for several seconds before he put them down.

There was silence in the room for a moment. Spock was the first one to break it. "I believe that Master Kee-Xi has made his point. If his native galaxy has a wider assortment of such Force-sensitives, the science of understanding such capabilities would certainly be more refined than it would be here."

"Well well, are my ears deceiving me?", McCoy asked rhetorically. An amused grin came to his face. "Or did I just hear Spock talk about believing in magic?"

Spock raised an eyebrow and barely looked at McCoy, a look full of time-honed patience for his friend. "The logic is sound. Widespread use of the Force would lead quite logically to examination of its properties, its strengths and limitations, and the best ways to wield it. Therefore it is quite easy to reason that its examination would become a science. Perhaps not the hardest of sciences, but one in which the scientific method could still be applied."

"Well spoken, Captain Spock," Kee-Xi said. That earned him a nod in reply. "I would be most willing to share more information with you, but I would also like to know more about the Federation you represent and the institution of Starfleet."

"The Federation is an organization much like your Galactic Republic," Kirk answered. "We started as an alliance of four races; we Humans of Earth, the Vulcans," he gestured toward Spock, who nodded, "the Tellarites, and the Andorians. Starfleet, originally an Earth organization, became the Federation's exploration and defense arm. Our main mission is to seek out new life and new civilizations."

"A very daring mission," Zeala spoke up from her seat. "And with so much of your galaxy unexplored to you, it is one that will take up your people's power for a long time."

"Starfleet exists to keep the peace, not to accumulate power," Chekov said.

"We Jedi have always felt the same way." Now Silas joined the conversation. "The purpose of the Jedi has always... was always... to keep the peace in our galaxy and protect the Republic. And we have always been ready to assist those in need and provide counsel in matters of diplomacy."

"It would seem that we have a great deal in common." Kirk nodded at Kee-Xi. "And hopefully a great deal to learn from each other."

"Indeed," Kee-Xi agreed, returning Kirk's nod.

Jakuras was a Xepolite who had decided that taking from others was actually easier than earning it himself. And that philosophy had led to him gaining quite the pirate crew and following. When he heard that a Federation ship had dealt a blow to one of his rivals, he opted to warp in discreetly and find out what happened.

Now his ship was busy salvaging the remains of his enemy. The Federation ship was thankfully gone and none were around to interrupt his grabbing of the spoils.

Or so he thought.

His first inkling that something was wrong was when his operations officer called out a warning, that the nearby starboard airlock was in use. Growling, Jakuras picked up his phase pistol and led a few men to check it out. He went down the lit corridor and was almost there when all the lights went out. He uttered an angry curse and prepared to scream an order into the ship's comm to see about repairs.

Then there was a sudden screaming of metal from the airlock door. His men brought their weapons up as the door was forced open from the other side, something that Jarkuras was certain was not physically possible. He brought his pistol up and prompted the others to do the same.

A figure came out, the darkness obscuring his features save for the strange yellow eyes that almost seemed to glow. From his hand a solid beam of red light erupted, remaining in place like a form of energy blade.

"Get off my ship!", Jarkuras demanded, after which he opened fire. His men did likewise.

The red blade became a blur. Every shot their weapons made was deflected away. One of Jarkuras' men cried out as a bolt hit him in the stomach. Another dropped his pistol when he got hit on the shoulder. They all turned to run. "Get back here cowards!", Jarkuras screamed.

The figure reached his hand forward and an invisible force suddenly seized Jarkuras by the throat. He gagged and struggled as he was lifted into the air, but there was nothing he could do. Slowly, certainly, he choked to death in that invisible grip.

Deig Mantas tossed aside the foolish pirate and walked to the bridge. There he found the pirate's remaining crew standing around, armed but not threatening. Vermin, Mantas thought, but of course they were useful vermin for the moment. He brought up a holo and turned it on to show the YT-1300 the Jedi had fled Lumin in. "Have you seen this ship?", he asked pointedly.

"It was in the visual records of a ship we're salvaging," a terrified Human asked from sensors. "They tried to attack it, but a Federation starship destroyed them before they could run the vessel down."

"'Federation'?" Deig went over to the pirate's vacant chair and sat down in it. "Tell me more about this 'Federation', then. And maybe... our interests will coincide."
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-17 03:12am

Chapter 6

The exiles had spent the night in a pair of staterooms that were kept vacant on the Enterprise. Even Kee-Xi slept a full night in peace, the first time he'd done such in years. Waking up brought with it the thoughts going through his head, about the purpose he'd embarked upon and how the Force had left it so wonderfully intact.

No longer was he having to consider rebuilding the Jedi Order out on the fringes of the Rim or the unmapped reaches of the Unknown Regions, on the cusp of Imperial authority. Now he was far beyond it, in a new galaxy where the Empire would never reach them. All of his late reading on the Federation and its charter increased his contentment. There would be skeptics, sure... but they could be won over.

As Kee-Xi finished waking up, he shook loose these thoughts for now. Spock had invited him to a private breakfast to discuss Jedi philosophy, and Kee-Xi was equally interested to learn that of the Vulcans. He cleaned himself in the quarters' refresher and put on a fresh set of robes. His belt, with lightsaber, went on under it. He no longer feared attack, but the habit of a lifetime was impossible to break even here.

Silas had stirred by now as well. He was finished in the refresher by the time Kee-Xi was ready to leave. "I hope to try out this ship's recreation areas today, Master," he said. "And to continue refining my Soresu technique."

"If you find find an appropriate venue for lightsaber exercises, do so. But remember we are among those unfamiliar with our ways. Above all else you must do nothing that can be construed as threatening."

"Understood, Master," Silas answered.

"And take Zeala with you. She benefits greatly from your example in saber wielding." Kee-Xi noticed the brief appearance of a blush on his Padawan's face. "You are thinking of her, are you not?"

"What?" Betrayed by his thoughts, Silas sternly shook his head. "I'm just pleased to be able to help her, Master."

A thin smile came to Kee-Xi's face. "Silas, my dear apprentice, you may have noticed our circumstances have changed. You needn't fear the opprobrium of the Council here."

Silas nodded. "Still, Master, I know not to seek attachment and to resist it..."

"She cares for you, Silas. And you for her. I sensed it back on Lumin Prime." Kee-Xi sighed softly. "Silas, the Jedi Code is a wonderful thing. But keep in mind that attachment is a part of life. We form them by nature. It is not the attachment itself we must fear, it is reliance upon it in our lives. We must be willing to accept its end; to do otherwise will bring fear."

"And from fear comes anger, and anger to hate," Silas finished for him.

"And hate to suffering," Kee-Xi added. "The only reservation you should have over attachment, my apprentice, is in not being willing to accept its termination. If you feel you cannot, then avoiding it is best. But even that leads to a terrible path, the path of isolation from the world, and with it the Living Force that binds us."

"I... understand, Master," Silas said. He gazed at his teacher with a look of bewilderment and wonder. He had never expressed such thoughts before; to hear them now made Silas wonder if he had ever truly known his Master's thoughts instead of those that Kee-Xi wanted him, and undoubtedly the other Jedi, to know.
Before their discussion could continue, the door chime sounded. Kee-Xi went to it and commanded it to open. Spock was there, clad in black Vulcan robes. "I have taken the liberty of preparing our breakfast in my quarters, Master Kee-Xi," he stated. "There are artifacts of interest there for your introduction to the ways of Surak."

"I see. I shall enjoy seeing them, Captain." Kee-Xi turned back to Silas and gave him a nod before walking out of the door.

Zeala had woken up early when she felt the sensation of someone in need. After taking the time to use the refresher she moved through the ship to follow her senses. Soon enough the Force had led her to a familiar place; sickbay.

Inside there were few people, but the nurses were gathered around a young man in a standard crewman's uniform. When she saw the odd way the man's arm and leg were set, she knew he'd broken both limbs, and badly. "Excuse me?" She stepped up carefully and bowed toward the lead nurse. "Maybe I can assist?"

"Do you have medical training, young lady?", the nurse asked.

"I am trained as a healer, yes," Zeala replied, though she got the feeling it wasn't quite the same thing they were looking for.

"Complex fractures of the tibia..." The nurse laid off the broken bones, terms that Zeala didn't know. Nor did she need to; she knew what was wrong with the young man, and how to help him.

"Please stand back," she said, almost softly enough to be a whisper. Zeala laid her hands on both broken joints. Through the Force she blocked the pain from the suffering crewman, who watched in fascination and relief as his bones painlessly slid back into alignment. Zeala drew in a breath and concentrated further, feeling the breaks with the Force and coaxing them into coming back together as well as she could. "The breaks are set," she said to the others, who were staring in wonderment. "They will be easy to mend together now."

"It... it didn't hurt," the crewman stammered. "Not one bit."

"I would not permit you to suffer." Zeala turned away from the bed and the gawking nurses and found Doctor McCoy standing at the opening to what looked to be his office. "Doctor, good morning."

"Good morning, young lady." McCoy gestured to her to come over, which she did. "So, this would be that Force stuff your boss kept talking about last night?"

"It is, Doctor McCoy," Zeala replied. "It is not an easy skill, and it requires great sensitivity to the Force..."

"All I know is that you set that man's bones without a drop of anesthetic and he didn't make a peep," McCoy said. "Magic mumbo-jumbo or not, I can't argue with it. So, are you looking for a bit to eat?"

"I am, perhaps, a little hungry..."

"Well, young lady, it just so happens that I had a proper breakfast prepared this morning, and they still have some left..."

What McCoy terrmed a "proper" breakfast was a white grainy soup that he called "Good, proper grits", fluffy yellow food that even Zeala knew to be scrambled egg yolk - though what creature's eggs she didn't know - and flat pieces of meat called "bacon". She ate it quietly as McCoy finished his own. As she was finishing he looked up to her. "Now that you've got a good breakfast to digest, how about we talk a little bit?"

Zeala finished swallowing some grits. "What is it you wish to know, Doctor McCoy?"

"Well, for starters, how you're feeling."

Zeala looked at him carefully. "You wish to show sympathy for all that I've lost," she remarked.

"I already have the sympathy, young lady, but I'm more concerned with how you're feeling. You've been through a lot given what your master told us."

"Yes," Zeala agreed. She could feel the sadness and grief well up inside even now, given the fresh reminder of what she'd lost. Her Master, all the younglings she'd grown up with... all were gone except for Silas. "But I shouldn't feel sad. I am a Jedi. 'There is no emotion, there is peace. There is no death, there is the Force.'"

"Ah, some mantra they teach you at the Jedi school?", McCoy asked. "Sounds like something a Vulcan might come up with..."

"They are the first and last lines of the Jedi Code, Doctor," Zeala informed him. "Jedi must not give in to emotions. We have to avoid strong attachments. Otherwise we will know fear. Fear becomes anger. Anger leads to hate. And hate leads to suffering."

"Even my green-blooded friend has attachments. They're a part of living, young lady. You can't avoid them." A soft grin crossed McCoy's face. "And given the way you look at that fine young man your master also teaches, I'd say you already have them."

Zeala's cheeks turned bright red. She drew in a breath and thought again how much she enjoyed being around Silas again. His infectious confidence filled her with hope even given their circumstances. "I.... he was a fellow youngling..."

"And you're both about the same age. And given this whole bunk about attachments, I'm guessing neither of you has ever given a thought about where it's leading."

"Jedi0 cannot be... involved," Zeala insisted.

Sure. I bet your Master was plenty uninvolved.... At that McCoy stopped his thought. Blast it, he forgot these people were able to sense those kinds of emotions!

And indeed, Zeala's mouth opened from shock as she sensed the thought in him. Sensed the truth that McCoy had discovered. "But... how?", she wondered aloud.

"I think, young lady, we should find something else to talk about," McCoy said quietly. "And I need to speak to Master Laden."

Before Zeala could say anything, the door to sickbay opened behind them. Silas stepped in and turned toward them. "Zeala, there you are," he said. "I was coming to see if you wanted to work on your Soresu technique with me."

"Oh, of course," Zeala answered quickly. Too quickly. She dared not think of what she had just sensed from McCoy. "Doctor, I will see you later," she said politely to him, taking her empty plate with her to return as she left with Silas.

"When do they ever learn?", McCoy pondered aloud before returning to work.

Kee-Xi and Spock were seated across from each other at the small table in Spock's quarters. A book of Surak's teachings remained open between them, Spock translating for Kee-Xi as needed.

"Surak would have undoubtedly been a great Jedi philosopher," Kee-Xi finally said as they finished one writing.

"Your teachings and Surak's share great similarities." Spock placed his hands together before him. "The Jedi Code will be a matter of great discussion when it becomes known on Vulcan."

"I will enjoy answering any questions your people have about the Force and the Code." Kee-Xi closed the book before him. "Although I admit it reminds me of all that we have lost." He thought of the last few years of his life and how everything he'd cherished had been taken away.

Almost everything, anyway.

"Surak wrote deeply on the subject in his time," Spock said, flipping the book. "The relevant writings are some of the more prosaic of his works..."

Diya had returned immediately to the Lightrunner upon finishing breakfast. Zeefive had spent the night aboard the ship and was waiting at the ramp. He warbled in concern to her. "No, they're not taking our ship apart," she assured him. "I think they're just curious at looking what's inside."

With Zeefive following Diya went up into the ship. A team of the Enterprise's engineers were certainly going through the vessel, removing panels and examining wiring. But nothing had been actually disassembled.

Diya headed to the engine room and found a few engineers looking over the machinery and displays. She recognized their leader, Mister Scott, hunched over one of them. Seeing him dabble with buttons, she called out. "Can I help you with something?"

The older, rotund human looked back toward her. "Ah, lass, ye widnae happen t' know how t' read these diagnostics, wid ye?"

The strange accent made Diya giggle as she bounded up to the display. "Oh, the hyperdrive readiness tests? Those are simple on a YT-1300." She keyed the appropriate sequence and watched the holodisplay begin the appropriate tests. Naturally red characters flashed to indicate the lack of fuel. "Given we had it running for almost 2 months, the hyperdrive still looks good," she remarked, pointing to some of the indicators. "Corellians know their starships."

"I can imagine." Scott looked at her intently. "And how did a wee lass like ye learn t' understand starships?"

"I grew up near a regional spaceport," Diya answered. "And a lot of the independent ship captains taught me through showing in exchange for me playing errand girl or giving them information."

"Ah." Scott nodded. "Nothing like hands on experience."

Diya shrugged. "Silas said I did pretty well at keeping the Lightrunner going while we were crossing galaxies, but I've always wanted to fly her..."

"Aye, everyone wants t' be a ship pilot when they're wee kids." Scott smiled at her. "But the real challenge is t' become a ship engineer. T' know how she works and how t' fix her."

"Why can't I be both?"

"Never said ye had t' choose, lass, not at all." Scott looked at the readout thoughtfully. Diya thought she could see gears turning in his mind. "Say, lass, wid ye mind stayin' t' help out? I'd really like t' give a close examination t' this fine ship."

Diya gave him a grin. "Sure."

"I'll make it up t' ye."

The rec room had one corner set up with a 4D Chess machine, just like Herb Tanner had designed so many years ago on the original Enterprise. Kirk often enjoyed going up against Spock in the game, even if he won precious few victories. He'd come to continue the game they'd left the prior day when they'd been due back on the bridge, but found that Spock for once was not here first.

Usually at least some of the off-duty Enterprise crew were scattered about, enjoying various activities. But a crowd had now gathered over by the gym mat, where various officers and enlisted personnel practiced their martial arts skills. Kirk went over by the wall to slip by and see what was going on.

The two Jedi apprentices, Silas and Zeala, were engaged in a mock combat. And it was not unarmed combat; Kirk recognized the devices that were always hanging from the belts of Kee-Xi and his students, and they were now in hand, lit up with what looked to be energy blades of pure light. Silas' blue weapon clashed repeatedly against the bright purple of Zeala's, clearly putting her on the defensive. Or so it seemed, but it occurred to Kirk that Zeala was intentionally staying on the defensive, focusing on thwarting every attack. He briefly wondered how Sulu would be considering this developing fight.

Zeala suddenly shifted into an offensive attack. But it wasn't quite bold enough and Silas parried it easily, He swung around and thrust his weapon partially into her stomach, causing her to fall over. The entire crowd held its breath and a few cries of surprise came up, but when Silas pulled his weapon back and turned it off, there was nothing to show he'd just struck her. "You're getting better, Zeala," he told her, holding a hand out to her. "Soresu is a good form for you."

"Your Ataru is almost impossible to guard against." Zeala accepted his hand and was pulled to her feet. A bit of redness appeared in her cheeks and she shied away from looking too closely into Silas' eyes.

"Unless I'm sparring with Master Kee-Xi," Silas added humbly. He looked around at the assembled crew. "Um... we apologize for taking so much time up."

"Uh, no problem," the ship's rec room planner spoke up. He was a new member of the crew, and it took Kirk almost five seconds to remember his name was Bithlow; a depressing thing since he used to be able to recall every one of the 400 crew under his command when he was younger.

"Very impressive indeed."

The crowd parted almost as a sole entity to permit Kee-Xi to pass through, Spock behind him. "I sensed the battle as we came. Silas, your efforts to train your fellow apprentice are well-appreciated. Zeala, your skill with a lightsaber shows further improvement. But in order to not monopolize the crew's time it is probably best that you have further training back on our ship."

They both bowed. "Of course, Master. Thank you." Silas stepped forward first, Zeala following, to open up the mat for general use.

"A most impressive weapon," Spock remarked. "The containment field for the energy works as deflection for energy weapons, I presume?"


Kirk showed some surprise as he stepped up to them. "A presumption, Spock?"

"A logical conclusion, Jim," Spock answered. "Given the goals of the Jedi Order and the likelihood of facing opponents possessing firearms, it is obvious that if they employ melee weapons they must have a means of defense against ranged firepower. The lightsaber is therefore logically capable of using the same containment field that holds its energy in place to reflect energy directed at it externally."

"Still, enough firearms and even that won't save you."

"You are correct, Captain," Kee-Xi said. "That is why we are careful in picking our fights."

"Aren't we all?" Kirk flashed a slight grin to them. "Master Kee-Xi, if you would like to observe, Mister Spock and I have a game of 4D Chess to continue."

"More likely conclude, Captain," Spock answered. "I suspect I will have you in checkmate within eight moves."

"We'll see, Mister Spock. We'll see."

It was seven moves later when Kee-Xi sensed Doctor McCoy approaching. He had been engrossed in the game between Kirk and Spock, marveling at their matter-transmission technology and how they used it to employ such a game, where players could remove pieces from the board and return them within their movement range at will. It was a strategist's game, requiring understanding of your opponent's preferences in strategy to do well.

Now he turned to face McCoy, who motioned him over to a corner. He sensed that the doctor had something of import to share with him, though he saw no need to seek that out. "Doctor McCoy, what may I do for you?"

"it might be more of what I can do for you," McCoy said. "I got results from yesterday's genetic scans. If not for your young lady I wouldn't have realized you didn't know what I found out."

"And that would be, Doctor?" But as he said those words, Kee-Xi sensed the truth. And his breathing became very still.

"Silas may be your student, Master Laden, but he's also your son."

Hearing McCoy speak those words prompted Kee-Xi to close his eyes and force a breath inward. "I see. I suppose I should not be surprised."

McCoy nodded. "So you didn't know."

"In retrospect, I should have," he answered. "The Council undoubtedly assigned him to me as a test. They expected me to find out eventually. If not for the war, I might have..."

"A test? Why those cold-blooded..." McCoy shook his head. It seemed completely and utterly wrong to him that the Jedi leaders would do something like not telling the man he had a son. "What were they testing for?"

"Attachment, I suspect," Kee-Xi answered. "Attachments are forbidden to a Jedi. Not that we don't develop them anyway, but they must be kept in check, and if they get too strong it can lead to reassignment within the Order, or even expulsion. That is a fate I had already suffered."

The answer was obvious to McCoy. "Silas' mother?"

"Yes." Kee-Xi nodded. "Tyva Nos Sirt. She was my age though I passed my Trials first. As a young Jedi Knight trained by a member of the Jedi Council, I was trusted with finishing her training. An emergency situation led to us being assigned to a cold world in the Mid-Rim. The planet was barely inhabited and was becoming a base for pirates. We had keep watch for such ships. This required us to remain in the wild for long periods of time."

"I can see where this is going," McCoy remarked sagely. "I believe the kids call that 'Shared body warmth'."

A very slight smile came to Kee-Xi's face. "I suppose so. Tyva and I remained together and she passed her Trials upon our return to Coruscant. A month later, I was called before the Council. Tyva was with child, and the medical droids had confirmed when she conceived. It was clear I was the father." Painful memories came up within the Jedi. "Master Windu moved for my immediate expulsion from the Jedi Order and a number of the other Masters backed him. Master Yoda and my master, Master Dooku, conceived the compromise. I was banished from Coruscant and ordered to live on the Outer Rim, where support for my life would be sparse beyond whatever missions the Order bade me to carry out. I was told I would never be eligible for the title of Master, nor would I be permitted a Padawan to train until I had proven myself a disciplined Jedi. It was ten years before they permitted me to take Silas as my Padawan."

McCoy shook his head. "Well, what in blazes did these people expect? You put two young people together in a tense situation, this kind of thing happens! And then handing your son to you so they could mess with you? Someone should've talked sense into those idiotic, narrow-minded..."

Kee-Xi allowed McCoy to continue his rant at the Jedi Council. For the moment he felt a number of sentiments well up in him. He had always felt a strong affection for young Silas, and he supposed Silas looked something like his mother if you looked at his face...

He is my son.

More than that, he knew his son was in love. He knew that Silas and Zeala were forming an attachment. Years of Jedi training were telling him to forbid it, but his heart was telling him otherwise. His instincts were telling him to let them make that decision for themselves.

After all.. hadn't the Jedi Order fallen in part due to its own refusal to interact with the world? It's attempt to isolate itself from worldly concerns? It had detached itself, and from that detachment grew ignorance, a complete lack of understanding that had made the Order unable to cope with the challenges facing the Republic. Would he really want to repeat those mistakes here?

But that way lies danger. Attachments could become unbreakable. And people would do anything for an attachment they could not let go of. The Dark Side tempted such people. He couldn't bear the thought of losing Silas to the Dark Side...

McCoy had stopped his tirade and was looking intently at Kee-Xi. The Jedi Master returned the look and bowed his head. "Thank you, Doctor."

"So, what are you going to do about your kid and that fine young lady?", McCoy asked.

"I think I shall leave that up to them, and to the Living Force," Kee-Xi answered.

The Jedi had all departed, and Spock had long won his game against Kirk, when the three old friends sat together in a corner of the rec room to enjoy a meal before returning to their duty stations. McCoy was still visibly bristling over earlier. "I think if this 'Jedi Council' had come around, I'd have given them a piece of my mind," he grumbled.

"You are referring to discovering Master Kee-Xi's relationship to Silas," Spock inferred.

"Bad enough they didn't tell the man he had a kid, but they then use the kid as some perverse test against him?" McCoy shook his head. "I'd have had words with these men."

"The approach was perhaps inappropriate, but it is logical that the Council would be concerned on the issue of violations of the Jedi Code and Jedi traditions." Spock kept his hands pressed together on the table in a gesture of thought. "Master Kee-Xi's youthful indiscretion gives reason to test his devotion to their laws."

"You mean all that hogwash about not having attachments?"

"I would not consider such to be 'hogwash', Doctor," Spock countered, "though I can see why you would be opposed. Indeed, I would argue a correlation between Surak's teachings and the Jedi Code."

Kirk looked up from his meal at that comment. "Really, Spock?"

"Indeed, Captain. 'There is no emotion, there is peace', is the first line of their Code, an underlying basis of their philosophy, just as Surak wrote that emotion clouded the mind and distorted judgement."

McCoy rolled his eyes.

Ignoring him, Spock continued. "'There is no ignorance, there is knowledge.' The Jedi, like Surak, encourage the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. 'There is no passion, there is serenity'. By restraining all emotion, and the violent passions they give birth to, a Jedi achieves a serene state of mind, just as Surak encouraged all Vulcans to do. 'There is no chaos, here is harmony'. Surak wrote many times on the need for harmony of thoughts to prevent chaos in the mind. And the final line... 'There is no death, there is the Force.'" Spock's expression turned almost... bemused. "I believe we are all familiar with the concept of katra."

"How could I forget?", McCoy grumbled.

"Now, on the issue that Doctor McCoy is so concerned with. Is it not logical that the Jedi would forbid attachment to themselves, romantic and familial? Think of our own Starfleet and its regulations on forbidding officers from commanding their spouses or their children in their direct chain of command. Or of the practice of legal magistrates refusing to rule in any issue involving those they are attached to? Doctor McCoy, you would not permit a surgeon under your command to operate on their spouse or child."

"No, but.." McCoy drew in a sigh. He knew Spock had him.

"Such a surgeon could not be objective in an operation. Their medical judgement would be impaired. Just as a Starfleet captain would have his or her judgement influenced by the presence of a loved one. We must remember that the Jedi were not simply a monastic order of philosophers. They were an institution of peacekeepers, tasked with defending the peace and dispensing impartial justice. Much, I would add, like Starfleet considers itself to do aside from upholding the needs and interests of the Federation."

"Or even possibly in contradiction to," Kirk noted. There had been times when the practical needs of Starfleet and Federation interests had countered the interests of justice, and a number of Starfleet captains had become famous, or infamous, for ruling one way or another.

"Indeed, Captain. As such an organization, and given the powers they wield through this 'Force', it is logical that the Jedi would seek to avoid attachments that might undermine their impartiality and judgement, just like Starfleet avoids assigning family members to the same post whenever possible."

"But we're still permitted to have relationships with other people," McCoy retorted. "We form attachments, Spock, it's simply a part of being alive. Trying to forbid it is like asking someone to not be Human."

"Specieism in your choice of words aside, Doctor, I would point out that even the Jedi recognized this difficulty, and arranged their Order accordingly. Though given Master Kee-Xi's statements I ponder if he will direct any successors down a different path."

"I would hope so. I've been thinking of the history he laid out for us." Kirk looked from McCoy to Spock. "Forgoing attachment to keep yourself from being biased is all well and good in theory... but people don't work that way. Not even Vulcans. When you refuse all attachment to the world, you don't just lose bias and prejudice. You lose your connection to everything around you. Basic, every day life becomes something alien. How can you maintain justice in a world, not to mention an entire galaxy, if you don't understand it?"

Spock nodded. "An interesting conundrum, Captain."

"It's not just a conundrum, Spock. It goes to the heart of why they failed in their galaxy, and why they might fail here too. You can't protect what you don't understand."

"I am uncertain as to the logic of that statement, Captain."

"We can discuss it further over dinner," Kirk said. "For now, I believe we will be wanted on the bridge."

The crew of the Karlikar could only watch in helplessness as their ship's engineer's mate collapsed lifelessly, strangled to death by Mantas, "Darth Vindis". For such rough men strangulation was not a unique way to die. Being strangled by nothingness, however, certainly was.

"I will not tolerate excuses!", Vindis thundered. "I must catch this 'Starship Enterprise' and ensure that none aboard survive!"

"It's a bleedin' Constitution-class starship!" One of the pirates, the Human navigation officer Al Sunderland, got the attention of Darth Vindis. "It'll blow us to atoms!"

"Idiots. What kind of pirates are you?!" Vindis reached out, and now Sunderland found himself choking for air as an invisible force began to crush his airpipe. "If brute force will not work... we shall employ trickery. And if you succeed in this, why, perhaps you can claim the vessel for yourself." Vindis looked out at the assembled men. "Imagine how many worlds you could raid with such a ship?"

Almost as an afterthought, he let Sunderland go.

As Sunderland crashed to the ground, sucking in air desperately, Vindis looked intently at each man in the pirate crew. "Come with me," he said, "and I shall make you wealthy beyond imagination, and ensure you gain power you could never have hoped to attain by yourselves. You will no longer be competing for scraps!"

Through the Force Vindis had felt the general discontent on board with the late captain, the lust for wealth and strength amongst those alive, and now he dangled it in front of them. He fanned the embers in their hearts until they were full flames. Now he needn't even threaten to kill them if they refused; he had made them want to do as he said. It was a sweet triumph.

"Let us make our plans!", Vindis announced. "And soon, the Enterprise will be ours!"

The crew roared their approval.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-21 10:51am

Chapter 7

Diya woke up the next morning and joined Mister Scott and his engineers in continuing their examination of the Lightrunner. Zeefive, as always, followed along; today were partially disassembling the hyperdrive to check the components.

"Ah, wid ye look at that," Scott said upon seeing the interior parts. "I dinnae think any warp drive wid look half as nice as this one after two months of continuous voyage."

Diya reached her hand in and pulled out one of the circuits that looked the worse off. "At least some of it. I think this is the hyperdrive's fuel control circuit... or is it the regulator circuitry?" She sighed. "I'll need to ask Silas."

"It's fine, lass." Scott patted her on the shoulder. "So, have ye given any thought t' what ye're goin' t' do now that ye're not so wee a lass anymore?"

Diya shook her head. "Honestly, I've never really thought about the future. Where I came from I was usually too busy worrying about what I was going to eat."

"Ah. I understand that lass, but things, they're goin' t' be different for ye now. And its always best t' consider where ye want th' future t' take ye."

Zeefive warbled in agreement. Diya smiled and reached up to pat his dome. "He is really smart, isn't he?", Diya said to Zeefive before looking back to Scott. "So, what did you want to see next?"

"Th' drive housing looks interestin'," he answered.

"Okay." Diya's smile curled into a bit of mischief. "But can you agree to something first? I know what I'd like as a return favor."

"Oh?" Given the look on her face, Scott knew this would probably be some trouble.

Especially when she told him.

For a moment he sat in silence. Seeing her expression he took a breath and nodded. "Aye. I can do that for ye. I know just who t' ask, tae."

Kee-Xi had not slept well.

This was not the nightmares of old. Not visions of future calamity from the Force. This was his past, returned to haunt him.

He had never dared to let himself think of the child he had with Tyva. He couldn't. That would have been a sure sign to the Jedi that he was too attached. They would never have left him remain a Jedi. For all of these years he had assumed the infant had either been adopted out of the Order or become a youngling. But it had never occurred to him...

His own son. The Jedi Council... had used his own son as a test.

For a brief moment, a real sense of frustration and anger came to him. He hadn't been forgiven at all. The Jedi Council had never truly restored him to favor. They had been prodding him. Testing him.

They hid my son from me, expecting me to find out on my own, Kee-Xi thought.

The worst thing was... he didn't know what to do. Jedi were supposed to be decisive. The Force gave them the means to understand, innately, what they needed to do. But... he didn't know what he needed to do. A part of him wanted to go right to Silas and tell him...

...tell him what? That they were father and son? That his mother had died ensuring they would escape? That the Jedi Council had given him away as a Padawan not as an honor, but as a further test against Kee-Xi? How would he take it? How much of Silas' trust in the Jedi way might be undermined by these revelations? Kee-Xi had wanted him to consider that attachment alone was not something to be scared of. But this was far, far more than just an issue of attachment. It was... was a betrayal. Of trust. The Jedi Council had effectively betrayed Silas by using him as a test subject, not a young Jedi in training.

As these thoughts roiled inside of Kee-Xi's mind, he almost didn't recognize the door chime going off. It had gone off at least three times before he realized it. Just as the chime went off yet again, he called out, "You may enter."

With the Force Kee-Xi knew his impression that Spock had come was wrong just before he would have spoken. He turned and faced his guest.

"Master Kee-Xi." Captain Kirk stood just inside the door. "How are you this morning?"

"I am well," Kee-Xi replied.

Kirk nodded. "Right. Well. Physically, obviously." He looked around the guest stateroom for a moment. "I thought you'd like someone to talk to."

"Ah, Captain? On what matter?"

"Finding out you're a father, for starters,' Kirk said.

Kee-Xi nodded quietly. "Yes. I felt your loss."

Kirk nodded.

"Did you know your son for long, Captain?', Kee-Xi asked.

"No," Kirk replied. "I didn't even know of him until we met under... less than ideal circumstances." Kirk stepped further into the quarters. He kept his eyes on Kee-Xi. "We didn't get a chance to really get to know one another before he died."

"I see." Kee-Xi nodded. "My condolences."

Kirk nodded. Old, painful memories came to his mind.

"Admiral, David is dead."

Saavik's voice was a ghost coming up from his past. And it reminded Kirk of what he came to do. "Master Kee-Xi, whatever the ways of your people are, whatever bonds you and Silas already have with your mentor-and-student relationship, it doesn't change one thing. He's your son. And he deserves to know that, and you deserve the chance to be a father to him." Kirk paused for a moment as thoughts of David filled his mind. "There is no telling what the future might bring. You can convince yourself that tomorrow will be a better day to talk, and the day after, and then... just like that, it's over. You're out of time."

"How do I tell him?", Kee-Xi asked. "How do I tell him how the Council used him as a tool? How do I tell him how far I went in breaking the very rules I taught him needed to be obeyed?"

There was silence as Kirk pondered his reply. "The only way you can," Kirk finally said. "Be honest with him. Show you trust his judgement."

Again the stateroom filled with silence. Kee-Xi closed his eyes and felt the gentle flows of the Force about him. He wasn't sure what guidance he would find in it. But that wasn't what he was looking for. He knew this was a decision he had to make; the Force was simply there to steady him. To help him judge clearly.

"You're right, Captain," Kee-Xi said. "I thank you for your advice."

"You're welcome," Kirk replied. He turned toward the door to leave before he stopped. "Have you given any thought about where you would like to go, Master Laden?"

"Some," Kee-Xi answered. "I will inform you of a reasonable destination within the day."

"We'll be on patrol for a short while longer," Kirk said. "If you wish passage to Vulcan or Earth, I'm happy to bring you all along."

"Thank you for your kind offer. But I don't wish to impose."

"Of course." With nothing left to say, Kirk departed.

Kee-Xi took some time to think on what to say. And then he departed as well.

Deig Manta - the self-proclaimed Darth Vindis - had things to do while his crew eagerly prepared to ambush the Enterprise. Their enthusiasm was magnified by how easily their minds fell to his will and the power of the Force, but even that might fail if he could not ensure their survival in such an uneven contest. And that was just ship-to-ship: the Jedi would need to be dealt with as well.

Vindis decided the key to his success was the one piece of unique technology in this backward galaxy.

The alien beside him reminded him of a Nikto with the scales on his face, even fif the pattern and skin coloring was entirely different. A Nikto and a Rattataki crossed together, perhaps. "This transporter device," Vindis mumbled. "It can transmit matter through walls?"

"Yes," the man answered. "So long as the shields are down and there is no interference."

"Hrm. So their shields must be down as well?", Vindis asked.

"Yes," the alien replied. "Normally."

Vindis looked to him with interest. "As in, there are exceptions."

"Well, yes. You can try to beam between their shield cycles," the man answered. "But that's risky. The window is only so long. You'd need to be an expert or see the future just to make it plausible."

"Hrm." Vindis considered that.

And he grinned.

"I have the Force," he answered. "Show me how to use this transporter..."

The alien glanced warily at him. But Vindis knew he would obey. The crew wanted the glory of taking the Enterprise and defeating its captain. A hero captain, from what Vindis was told.

Ha. He longed for the chance to show this 'Captain Kirk' just how pathetic he was compared to the power of the Dark Side. And, looking back at the transporter, he would get that chance, Vindis decided.

Oh yes. He would indeed get that chance.

Silas had returned to the Lightrunner for purposes of meditation. Commander Scott's work crews had departed in order to commence other duties. This left him in peace and quiet. Always useful, he found, for resting his mind and commiserating with the Force.

He always enjoyed that part. The feeling of serenity, the quiet calm of the Force compared to the hustle and bustle of ordinary life. It was a chance to contemplate what had occurred. To consider what had changed in his life. Just as it had helped him come to terms with the change of becoming Kee-Xi's apprentice or the sad necessities of the Clone War.

This new galaxy held such promise. Different species, different cultures, so much diversity of life that could expand the knowledge of the Jedi. And the mysteries, the possible connections between the people of his home galaxy and those of this "Milky Way" galaxy…

Silas felt something that distracted him from his contemplation. Something elusive. At the edge of his sense. Something…

Before he could focus upon it, another feeling came to him. Uncertainty and apprehension. Lingering disbelief.

The truly surprising thing was that Silas felt it coming from Kee-Xi.

He stood up and was waiting when Kee-Xi stepped into the rec area of the Lightrunner. He looked to Silas with an expression that belied personal discomfort and concern. "Master?" Silas took a step toward Kee-Xi. "What is the matter?"

"I have discovered certain… truths, my apprentice," Kee-Xi said solemnly. "They have been brought to my attention and they are something I must share with you, as painful as these truths may be. To do otherwise would be to avoid the truth, to avoid reality."

"And that is not the Jedi way," Silas finished for him, recognizing the old maxim Kee-Xi had often used in teaching him. "The Force is Truth."

"Yes." Kee-Xi put his hands at the small of his back. "You know of how I was once in danger of being cast out of the Jedi, yes?"

Silas nodded. "Yes, Master."

"I have never told you why," Kee-Xi continued. "And now, it is best if I do."

Silas couldn't hide his shock. He had learned early on that his Master, as a young Jed Knight, had committed some form of indiscretion. But he had never pried; whatever it was, it was not something relevant to their relationship, and Kee-Xi had clearly become a respected Jedi since then.

Kee-Xi walked over to one of the seats and sat in it. After Silas sat across from him he asked, "Are you sure, Master? You needn't explain yourself to me. It's not my place to judge."

"In that, Silas, you are wrong."

And so Kee-Xi told him. He told him about Tyva Nos Sirt and what they had shared at the end of her apprenticeship. He told him about the result.

Silas stared in shock. "You… and Zeala's teacher?"

"Yes," Kee-Xi nodded.

"I… I never…" Silas felt… he wasn't sure how he felt. All of the sudden their earlier conversation, about attachment and how it related to a Jedi, it all made more sense. Kee-Xi had been in a relationship. Someone he loved, and dearly so.

But love was not the way of the Jedi, at least, it wasn't the way Silas had been taught. It made all sorts of incidents from the past that much clearer. All of the prodding from other, older, more judgmental Jedi.

And it made Silas incredibly self-conscious about his own feelings. His affection for Zeala had only intensified since being re-united with her. Years of training had told him this was wrong, that it was something to be avoided as a Jedi. But now he had Kee-Xi before him as proof that attachment was indeed not as dangerous as he had been told.

But another detail nagged at him. It demanded an answer. "You and Master Tyva… you had a child," Silas asked.

"Yes," Kee-Xi replied.

"Did the Order… tell you what happened to her, or him?"


Silas thought on it. And so he asked, "Did you ever find out?"

Kee-Xi knew the moment was coming. He would let Silas work his way to it. "Yes." Sensing Silas' next question, he answered it. "I have only just found out myself."

Silas swallowed. His mind raced. Just how recent was "only just found out"? Before the coming of the Empire? Afterward?

"Doctor McCoy was kind enough to tell me," Kee-Xi answered, noting the unasked question.

For a moment Silas sat in stunned silence. He examined his teacher closely. No. Not Zeala. It couldn't be her. But that meant…

"Yes." Kee-Xi nodded. "The child was you. And so I am your father."

Silas could only stare out of shock.

Kee-Xi remained silent. It was a lot to take in.

"You didn't know when you took me as an apprentice." Silas thought about it. "But you didn't pick me at all, did you? The Council did. The Council… made me your apprentice as a test."

Kee-Xi nodded. "I find that most likely."

For the moment Silas was speechless. "They… used me then. They used me to test you." Silas put a hand to his head. He felt adrift. If not for the Force, he would never have believed it.

But he felt the truth in what Kee-Xi was saying. It was true.

Which meant the Jedi Council had been willing to sacrifice him in the test of his father's control.

Revulsion came to him. This felt… wrong.

"Master… I…" Silas forced himself to calm. He focused on the Force. On the gentle serenity that lay within, unclouded by passions and emotion. Ballast for the growing emotions within him. "Why do you serve their memory so willingly? Knowing they could do something like that?"

"It is not simply the memory of the Council we knew that I serve," Kee-Xi answered. "But all Jedi throughout the ages. The Jedi of our time believed themselves more enlightened for what came after Ruusan. But for millennia before that the Jedi stood as the guardians of galactic civilization, of peace and justice, even without the rules of the Reformation. It is the memory of those Jedi, Nomi Sunrider, Zayne Carrick, Revan and Bastila Shan, the Hero of Tython and the Barsen'thor, Kerra Holt and the Jedi who faced the Sith before Ruusan, all of their memories must be preserved as well."

There was silence again. Kee-Xi stood up. "I see that you need time to think. I'll leave you to your meditations."

Silas could only nod at his teacher, his father, as Kee-Xi departed.

Captain Kirk had left a standing invitation for the Jedi to take their meals in the officers' mess. Zeala, out of curiosity, had decided to do just that.

Unlike the night Kirk and his officers had dined with them, the lounge was now filled with circular tables where the various junior officers could sit and take their meals. Zeala had taken one such table that was empty with a meal that was a stew of some sort with a grain noodle and sauce on her plate. She ate quietly and contemplated on everything that had happened. That was happening.

Zeala found that she couldn't get away from the thought she had detected in Doctor McCoy the prior day. That Silas and Kee-Xi were… could it be? Could they be…?

Thinking of that also brought up her own feelings regarding Silas. For all that they had been friends as younglings, she hadn't expected to see those sentiments linger as they did. That scale of attachment was against something core to Jedi teachings. Master Tyva hadn't dwelt upon them, that Zeala remembered. But Master Tyva hadn't been your average Jedi.

Zeala thought on that. How close her teacher had seemed to Kee-Xi. Their ages. She felt something there. A sense of truth that could only come from the Force.

It brought forth realization.

Perhaps it was something on her expression, or the way Zeala had suddenly stopped eating, but it directed attention toward her. "May I?", came the polite request. Zeala looked up and faced Captain Kirk's communications officer, Commander Uhura. She had her hand on a seat and the reason for the request was evident. Zeala nodded assent and Uhura sat opposite of her with a plate of food and a bowl of the same stew. One of the lounge attendees brought her a drink and she thanked the blue-skinned young man with the ridge lining his face. "Are you doing well?", Uhura asked.

"I…" Zeala considered the question. "I suppose I am. In comparison to what we have endured getting here."

Uhura nodded at that. She silently ate for a moment while Zeala returned to her thoughts. "You look distracted, young lady."

Again Zeala had to re-direct her attention. It was evident that Uhura was intent on helping her. In appreciation of that, Zeala smiled at her. "I am, yes. So much has happened. And I feel like even more will come about."

"I imagine it will." Uhura moved the plate to the side and put her hands on the table. "Let me tell you something. I decided a long time ago to dedicate my time to Starfleet. I also remember that when I was your age, I had other possibilities open to me. Maybe, if the right person had come along, I would have even taken one of them."

Zeala felt a sense of what Uhura had in mind. "And you believe I have such a choice?"

"I'm not sure how it works for your people. Or how it will work. Your Master Kee-Xi will be doing things his way now." Uhura's eyes met Zeala's. "But I don't want you missing your chance at happiness. When you get to be my age, you recognize love when you see it."

Zeala felt warmth in her cheeks at that. That caused the older woman to smile. "A Jedi cannot have attachments," she insisted. "We're not supposed to."

Uhura let out a short laugh. "Young lady, my crew has made a career out of doing things we're not supposed to do. Now, the way I see it is, do you want to go through life knowing you had a chance for something special and didn't take it because you were afraid? Or do you want to be able to say 'I tried'? Because take it from me, young lady, there are days I do wonder how things might have gone if I had tried."

The voice of experience was not doing anything for the calm in Zeala's head, or her heart. She felt an attachment to Silas. She… yes, it might even be love. It was certainly interest, and interest of kind Master Tyva had occasionally teased her about as she had matured into adulthood.

Master Tyva. The thought of her old teacher made Zeala ponder how the advice of Commander Uhura aligned with Tyva's. Tyva had told her that regret could be just as sharp as an attachment lost. That it too could provide a path to the Dark Side, if it bred resentment.

Or am I just making up excuses for myself? Zeala pondered that as she ate her last spoonfuls of stew to finish her meal. Now that she was nourished…

Her thoughts stopped. Zeala felt something ripple in the Force. Not darkness. At least not immediately. But it was an uncertainty that made her nearly widen her eyes in surprise when she realized who it was from. "I need to go," she said. She stood up and bowed her head respectfully toward Uhura. "Thank you for your advice, ma'am."

Uhura watched the young lady depart the lounge in haste. Movement to her side drew her attention to a newcomer to the seat. "Well?' Doctor McCoy sat in the next chair. "How did it go?"

"I think you're right," Uhura answered. "She is in love."

"She looked like she was in a hurry," McCoy noted. "I hope you didn't scare her off."

"No." Uhura gave a small smile to McCoy. "I think she realized she had someone she needed to talk to."

"Let's hope so."

"Since when did you turn into Cupid?", Uhura asked him.

"Oh, come on." McCoy chuckled. "I'm no Cupid. I just don't like seeing young people ignoring the plain truth right in their faces."

"Some might say we're meddling with the internal affairs of the Jedi," Uhura pointed out with bemusement. "Do you think we're violating the Prime Directive by doing this?"

Another chuckle came from Doctor McCoy as he took a drink of the mint julep he had procured for his meal. "I think, Uhura, that it'll be our little secret."

She matched his smile.

Zeala followed the sense within her, the guidance of the Force toward the sensation she had felt. It led her across the length of the ship, down into its 'drive' section, and toward the large shuttle bay at the rear end. She walked up into the Lightrunner and turned into the short hall leading to the ship's recreation area. It had been their sleeping area for the voyage and was still set up for use in that task.

Silas was sitting alone at the nearby table. He looked deep in thought. But he still sensed her and spoke as she entered. "Zeala." He looked over to her. Zeala could see how lost he felt in his expression. He seemed devoid of the usual calm confidence she had always found so inspiring. "How are you? Did you come for a sparring match? If so, I must say I'm not currently in the mood."

"You seem unwell," Zeala said.

"I am." Silas turned his head slightly away and toward the object in his hands. Zeal looked closer and recognized her master's lightsaber. "Have you learned what Doctor McCoy discovered?"

"I sensed something from him on a discovery about us," Zeala answered. "About you and Master Keei-Xi, I mean."

Silas nodded. He took in a breath and his feelings… Zeala could sense them. And she knew all that she thought about was true. Nevertheless SIlas spoke on it. "I am Master Kee-Xi's son with Tyva," Silas said.

Zeala had nothing to say at the point. She had already considered all of these possibilities and knew their truth. "That's… amazing," she finally managed.

"Absolutely unbelievable", Silas muttered

'Not unbelievable. Simply unexpected."

"I wasn't assigned to Master Kee-Xi because he picked me," Silas continued. "I was a test. The Council expected him to discover I was his son and they wanted to test his response." He couldn't quite keep the bitterness out of his voice. "And while I try and try to understand it, I can't hold back the bitter feeling it has left in my heart. The Jedi used me as a tool. They were willing to ruin my future in the Order to test Master Kee-Xi. And Master Kee-Xi… I can't help but wonder, now, how much he has misled me as to his teachings."

"What do you mean by that?", Zeala asked.

"He was supposed to share with me his knowledge of the Force. His wisdom." Silas frowned. "but how much of what he taught me was actually his belief, and how much was for the benefit of the Council's beliefs? He as much as admitted to me that he does not accept the Order's rules on attachment."

"I would imagine not," Zeala noted. "For him to have been with Tyva, and to not regret it…"

"But if this is true… then he hasn't shown trust in me either," Silas pointed out. "Or he would have taught me what he believed."

"That is one way of looking at it," Zeala said. "But consider another point of view."

"That would be?"

"That Master Kee-Xi wanted you to develop your own connection to the Force." Zeala held her hands together in front of her. "Much as Master Tyva did to me. He wanted you to reach your own conclusions. And to decide for yourself if you would agree or disagree with the Council's teachings."

Silas took in what she said. He considered it, as much as anything else he considered. "You have a point," Silas admitted. Zeala could sense the uncertainty in him. "I need to consider this more. I need to decide."

"You wonder if you are still capable of being a Jedi," Zeala noted. It wasn't a question. "Why?"

"They used me, Zeala. They used me to set up my fa..." He quickly corrected himself. " set up Master Kee-Xi." Now that he said it, Silas marveled at how much it stung him. How low the Jedi Council had gone in doing that. All to further prod Kee-Xi over a mistake.

"That's not what the Jedi are about, though," Zeala pointed out. "The rules on attachment, on how to govern our lives, those are all additional directives created by Jedi of the following centuries." Zeala knelt beside him. "You were the one who encouraged Diya to join us, right?"



"Because I felt the will of the Force on the matter," Silas answered. Seeing the bemused look on Zeala's face, he added, "And because I felt she deserved a better chance at her life. Better than dodging slavers on the streets of Gantoon."

Zeala nodded in approval. "Yes. You cared for her well-being. You saved her from a slaver. And you believe in doing these things?"

Silas' response was immediate. "Yes. Yes I do. I believe that the Force is best used to protect."

"That is the Jedi way. The heart and root of it," Zeala pointed out. "So no matter what you feel about attachment, you are a Jedi. As am I."

Silas finally smiled. Zeala was right. Of course she was right. From the time they were children, they had known that the purpose of a Jedi was to protect the innocent and uphold peace and justice. It was the calling he felt within him. The Force wanted him to follow that path. And he agreed with it.

Silas extended a hand and Zeala took it. Together they stood to their feet and looked at each other. Each felt the other with the Force. Just as they had learned to do as younglings, being taught to understand each other, to trust each other, to trust their feelings.

Kee-Xi had counseled Silas on the true dangers of attachment; not being able to let go. Zeala thought of what Uhura had told her. The thought of regret.

They shared those thoughts and experiences through the Force.

"Attachment is not the danger," Zeala said. "We must simply accept its eventual loss. Refusal to accept the loss is the true danger a Jedi must overcome."

"And regret breeds resentment. Resentment can become anger," Silas added. "To refuse is another path to the Dark Side."

They smiled at each other. "Master Yoda always told us that a Jedi must not be indecisive."

"'Do or do not, there is no try'." Zeala brought her other hand up and touched Silas' cheek. She felt his hand run along the side of her face.

"We have to trust our feelings," Silas agreed. "Whether or not we know if they come from the Force."

Nothing more needed to be said. They had made their decision. They felt that within one another. The Force pooled around them, as if in approval.

Silas and Zeala kissed.

Al Sunderland decided he hated his new boss.

Being choked psychokinetically or whatever it was called hadn't been it. His last captain had once kicked his ass so hard he spent a day in the surgeon's bay. But at least Jarkuras hadn't been a bloody idiot. He'd kept his overeager crew in line and survived where other pirates got wiped out by being careful.

Now this crazy "Darth Vindis" was laying out his plot to seize the Enterprise. The bloody ENTERPRISE. Under the command of Kirk himself, the man who made Klingons shite themselves in fear!

What really honked Sunderland off was that the plan, if it worked, would probably win.

"The charges are ready, sir," one of the aliens, a Xepolite from engineering, confirmed. "We have them on the cargo transporters per your instructions."

"Excellent." Vindis' yellow eyes glinted with approval. "Then all is in readiness. Help, find us a quiet star system near the Enterprise's last known location. We shall lay our trap there."

"Yes sir," Sunderland answered. He tried to keep the anger out of his voice.

Vindis smirked at him. "If you do your job well, pirate, I may let you live, regardless of your disloyalty," he muttered at Sunderland. And indeed, he cared little for the loyalty of these pests beyond their immediate use. They were his tool to eliminate the Jedi.

And once there were no Jedi, this galaxy would make a fine home for a new Sith Empire….
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-01-28 09:45am

Chapter 8

Kee-Xi had opted to take his breakfast with Spock again. It was a chance to compare Jedi and Vulcan teachings further and to learn more about the cultures and history of this new galaxy.

Their discussions had inevitably led them to the adversarial forces facing the Federation. The Klingons merited consideration; expansionist, militaristic, with a warrior ethos and pride in their culture that seemed to shift between embracing and clashing with modern ideas. Kee-Xi pondered the complications the Klingons might cause his mission of establishing a new Jedi Order in this galaxy.

But of particular interest to him, even more so than the Klingons, were the Romulans.

"I cannot help but see a mirror of our situations," Kee-Xi remarked.

"You speak of the Sith," Spock observed.

"Yes. Whenever they have re-emerged, it has been from schism within the Jedi. The rejection of Jed discipline and emotional control."

"A disturbing if accurate assessment," Spock noted. "S'task and those who followed him into exile believed that Surak's teaching of the suppression of emotion would undermine the ways of our people."

"The difference, it appears, is that the Romulans do not emphasize the embracing of the worst emotions like the Sith often do." Kee-Xi pondered that.

Spock remained quiet for the moment. "You appear to be concerned, Master Kee-Xi."

"I am… simply facing the inevitable, Mister Spock. The Jedi way must be preserved. I am dedicated to that. But I must be prudent about it. I cannot allow myself to ignore the lessons we have painfully learned these past few years. I cannot help but feel as if the Force preserved myself and my students for the purpose of putting the Jedi on a new path. Or, perhaps, to restore an older one. It is said that the original lines of the Jedi Code did not actually disavow emotion, but instead embraced the idea of feeling emotions while still experiencing inner peace."

"A distinct possibility. Early in the Order's development, it is logical to presume that they would be more flexible as they expanded their knowledge."

"I must then decide what should be changed and what should not be,. A daunting task. the fate of the Jedi, the hopes of so many, ride upon my decision." Kee-Xi drew in a breath. "my apologies. I have allowed our breakfast to cool."

"no apologies are necessary. The expansion of knowledge is its own sustenance."

Kee-Xi grinned with amusement at that. "True. But it will not palliate a grumbling belly."

Spock nodded in agreement. "Indeed not."

Kee-Xi nodded. Another thought came to him. "If your duties do not detain you further, Captain Spock, I would be most interested in trying out the game you and Captain Kirk were playing the other day..."

The day was just beginning for Pavel Chekov, one like many other of the thousands of days he had begun in his time in Starfleet.

This one wasn't quite the usual routine of late, though, as he received a request to meet near the ship rec area before heading to the bridge. When he arrived just outside the rec room he found Mister Scott waiting for him. "Meester Scott?"

The chief engineer nodded. "Aye. I called ye to ask for a wee favor."

Chekov decided he didn't like the sound of that.

"A favor, Meester Scott?" Chekov smiled. "Of course. Vat can I get for you?"

"Well, as it turns out, I owe a wee favor t' this young lady…"

Diya stepped out from the nearby room. Zeefive rolled up beside her and beeped enthusiastically. And the same could be said for the wide grin on the Twi'lek girl's face.

A sigh came from Chekov. "I am going to regret this, aren't I?", he asked.

He felt even more worried when he learned what the favor was.

Silas and Zeala took to some of their remaining rations on the Lightrunner for breakfast. Neither spoke a word. The pink on Zeala's cheeks and the furtive look in Silas' eyes would have been all that was necessary for an outsider to understand what was being dwelt upon.

There was a final sigh from Silas. "I should tell Master Kee-Xi."

"If you feel that you must," Zeala noted.

"I…" Silas rested his head against his hand. "By the stars, Zeala, what have I, what have we done?"

Zeala didn't immediately answer.

"What we've done… it's against everything we were raised to do," Silas continued. In a peculiar way his concern was being driven by how much he had enjoyed the experience. "But I don't feel like I've done anything wrong. Not truly wrong."

"Nor do I," Zeala admitted. She finished the last bite of her breakfast. "Perhaps… there is one way to reassure ourselves that what we are doing isn't a mistake?"

"That would be?"

"We promise, we swear, that we will not allow one another to fall," Zeala replied. "We accept here and now that we must let go when the time comes."

Silas heard her say those things. He knew they were true. But his heart hurt at the thought of it. That it might one day occur was something he didn't want to consider.

Nevertheless, it was something they had to face. Attachment brought with it danger for a Jedi.

"Yes," he agreed, drawing in a breath. "It used to be so simple, didn't it?"

"What?", she asked.

"Our lives. We were Jedi Padawans, joining our teachers in protecting the Republic and dealing with the Separatists. We were both on the verge of our trials to become Jedi Knights." Silas considered their surroundings for a moment. "And we had never even considered challenging the teachings we had been raised to follow. And now we are here."

"Yes." Zeala nodded and gave a small smile. "I do feel as if it is the Force that brought us back together."

Silas smiled at that. "It would make for quite the defense if we ever had to face one of the Masters for what we've done."

"Like the time you insisted it was the Force that caused you to pull Umata's lekku in our fifth year?", Zeala asked. A giggle came as a result of that memory. "'Hrm. To pull a Twi'lek's lekku the Force told you, hrm? Most strange.'"

Zeala's attempt to match Master Yoda's vocal tic and voice made Silas laugh. "I never did that again."

"The day Diya tells it, the Force inspired you to encourage her to come with you back on Gantoon," Zeala noted. "And you relied on the Force when plotting the hyperspace course at Lumin that brought us to this galaxy." Her soft giggles had given way to a warm smile. "Maybe… this was the Force all along."

Silas thought on that. All Jedi knew that the ability of the Force to influence the wider universe was up for debate. Obviously free will existed, so the Force was not absolute. But the Force had yet shown itself in varying ways, influencing people and beings, through the Jedi and Force-sensitives in general, even beyond that.

Ultimately, it made his head hurt a little. "Philosophizing about the Force was always the one subject where I have confounded Master Kee-Xi," he confessed. "I have an easier time with the physical world."

"You always have." Zeala reached over and picked up her lightsaber. "You helped me build this."

Silas showed some surprise. "Really? That's the one you made as a youngling?"

Zeala nodded. "The crystal is new, of course." She held up the weapon for Silas to view closely. It did indeed match the technical specifications he had picked out for her. "And some pieces are new. But the core of the weapon is the one you helped me put together."

Silas felt strange at the sense of pride that gave him. It felt good to know Zeala had gotten so much use out of his work.

"Well, since your lightsaber is already out, perhaps some practice?"

Zeala nodded. "We'll see if my Soresu has improved any. Or…" Her smile turned into a bit of mischief. As much as Zeala would ever show anyway. " well we can read each other given what has happened."

Silas had to admit that would make a duel an interesting experience.

All was nearly in readiness. Vindis was finishing his final preparations in his infiltrator now that it was in the large hold and shuttle bay of the Karlikar. He took a moment to focus upon the Force, upon the Dark Side, to feel his bitterness and hatred of the Jedi seethe within him.

He turned at feeling the presence walking into the rear of his ship. "Yes?" He recognized the white-skinned scaled alien from before. "What is it you wish?"

"They have found the Enterprise," the young man answered. "Once we reach the required distance we'll begin sending out a distress call to get their attention." Vindis smiled at that. "Good. Is there anything else?" He already knew the answer to that.

"What are these 'Jedi' to you?", he asked. "Why do you hate them so?"

Vindis smiled at that. "It is a hate I have cultivated for years. If you must know… they took me as a child They showed me the power of the Force, and I reveled in it. But instead of accepting my gift, they despised me. They showed no appreciation for my power and skill. They tried to limit my potential." Vindis looked toward the front of the ship. "So I left them. I went out on my own and found a universe where pain was my guide, hunger my teacher. Until the Dark Lord found me. He taught me the ways of the Sith. How to harness my hatred and rage to wield the Dark Side. The great truth that the Dark Side is superior."

As he spoke, the old injuries burned anew. Years of his childhood wasted listening to the prattling of Jedi instructors, their sanctimonious and smug sense of superiority even as they had done everything they could to stifle his spirit. He had gloried in the Emperor's triumph, had wanted to partake in it and sit at the Emperor's side… but it had not been destined. Indeed, the Force had granted him an even greater destiny, one he would eagerly take up.

"Resentment is a powerful weapon," the pirate agreed. "The people on my homeworld pile their resentments every day, but they have yet to wield it. I am eager for the day they embrace it." Vindis could feel the man thinking. "Could you show me this skill, Darth? Could I wield the power of the Sith as well?"

Vindis turned and considered the man. Ordinarily he wouldn't care much for the idea; why show these pirates anything of such power? But he could feel the resonation of the youth's heart with the Dark Side. He was ready to embrace power.

"Let us see the outcome of this coming battle," Vindis said to him. "When it is over, if you survive, if you prove worthy, then I will show you the power of the Dark Side."

The alien nodded at that. "I shall check your final preparations, Darth. We will take Enterprise."

Vindis nodded to send the man away. A dark thrill jolted through him. Soon. Soon it would be time to face the Jedi. Decades of regrets, of a need to face down the Order that had stolen his life, all hinged on what was about to come.

It was time to get ready.

Kirk had spent most of the day catching up on reports from Starfleet and from his own department heads. With the afternoon looming and lunch finished, however, it was time to resume the part of the job he had always loved.

It was on the turbolift ride to the bridge that he realized something was wrong. The Enterprise shuddered slightly. Someone had made a tight maneuver with the ship that had overtaken the inertial dampeners. Kirk was ready for the Red Alert klaxon to come and was surprised when none did.

Just what is going on?

That thought was in his head when he stepped out onto the bridge. Chekov was in the command chair looking… nervous, with Mister Scott behind him at the rail and leaning slightly over it. Uhura had a small smile on her face, although her attention was diverted entirely to the screens at her station. Kirk's eyes went to where Ensign Dumfries was at the helm.

But Ensign Dumfries was sitting over at the other station. In his proper place was… the alien Twi'lek girl Diya, her hands on the ship's maneuver controls and still working her maneuvering systems to turn the ship to port. Beside her, the little robot-thing - "droid", Kirk corrected himself - let out a series of beeps of varying pitch and length.

Kirk kept the smile he felt forming off of his face. With growing bemusement he loudly cleared his throat. All heads turned toward him. Chekov's face fell and he had a look that made Kirk think of a misbehaving teen being caught after taking a dare from friends. "Oh… Keptin Kirk, I did not expect…"

"I came up a little early today, Mister Chekov." Kirk nodded to Diya. "Can you explain to me why this young lady is at the helm?"

Chekov took a moment. "Ah, um, well Keptin, it's quite… It was a favor for Meester Scott, sir."

"Ah?" Kirk turned his head slightly to face his engineer. "Mister Scott, what is a teenage girl doing at the helm of my ship?"

"It was just a wee favor for th' lass, Cap'n," Scott replied. "She's been a fine help t' me in examinin' their ship."

"You're aware, Mister Scott, that there are several regulations you and Mister Chekov just broke?"

Scott laughed at that. "They wudnae be th' first, sir."

Kirk chuckled at that before stepping around the rail and toward his command chair. "Indeed not, Mister Scott." His approached prompted Chekov to take his usual post, now beside Diya. Kirk settled into the command chair. "Miss Suun, I hope you have been treating her well?"

"Yes, Captain," Diya answered, and her voice betrayed the wild enthusiasm that could come from someone that age fulfilling such a dream.

Kirk allowed himself an indulgent smile, and a thought to go with it. "Tell me, then, Miss Suun. Did Mister Chekov and Mister Scott explain all of the maneuvering controls?"

"Yes," she answered.

"Then I have to wonder why we had such a rough patch a moment ago."

"I brought the ship around too hard, sir. I'm sorry, I was just testing her."

"Of course." Kirk allowed the smile to remain. "Well, since you're already in the chair, perhaps you'd like to return us to our original bearing and bring us back to warp? Mister Chekov will provide you the necessary bearing."

"Aye, Keptin," Chekov agreed. "Heading one-six-six mark zero-five-three."

Diya's hands moved over the controls. The Enterprise came back around to the right heading under her control. Her heart still soared as it did so. Even if the experience was about to end, just the fact that she had been allowed to fly the ship was enough to make her feel ecstatic.

"We're back on course, Captain."

"Well done, Miss Suun." Kirk leaned forward slightly. "Warp 5, Miss Suun."

Diya's eyes widened. She looked down at the controls. The warp systems were clearly marked. She could do this. But it was so far beyond what she had planned to do!

Diya swallowed and set the warp speed factor to five. Her hand went to the activation for the warp drive.

There was a beep at the rear of the bridge. A series of tones that brought everyone's attention. Uhura turned in her seat to face Kirk. "Captain, I'm picking up a distress signal from the nearby star system."

"On speakers."

Uhura obliged him.

"...say again… This is the independent vessel Roknoth out of Xepol… plasma leak in drive systems… lost all power…. assist?"

Kirk nodded to Uhura. She turned back to her controls. "Attention Roknoth, this is the Federation Starship Enterprise. We are coming to your assistance. Please transmit your coordinates."

"I'll head down t' Engineerin' an' get some of my people ready," Scott said. He went to the starboard turbolift.

"Miss Suun, Ensign Dumfries will need his chair back," Kirk informed DIya.

Diya nodded in understanding. She stood up and let the young officer take his post again. With Zeefive she moved toward the turbolift.

"There." Kirk pointed to a chair near her, at a vacant station. "That's an auxiliary station, you can sit there and observe if you agree to stay quiet and not touch anything."

Diya nodded enthusiastically and went over to the seat.

Kirk allowed himself a moment of amusement at that. He supposed that whatever regulations said,, it didn't do any harm to let her stay and watch. He had a good feeling it would be a positive experience for young Diya and might lead to bigger and better things.

Dumfries had retaken the helm and with Uhura and Chekov's input changed their course again. A short jog at warp brought them into range of the Roknoth. It was pf evident Xepolite design. Plasma trailed from the port warp nacelle and the ship's power was fluctuating.

Still. Kirk felt… uneasy about this. His instincts told him something was up. Still, he had obligations as a Starfleet Captain, and until he had a good reason otherwise he would treat this as just another ship-in-distress rescue mission. "Bring us alongside, Mister Dumfries," Kirk ordered. He pressed the intercom key on his chair. "Bridge to Sickbay. Bones, stand by to receive injured."

"Standing by.," McCoy replied.

"Mister Chekov… if anything suspicious happens, raise shields immediately."

"Aye, Keptin."

Dumfries' hands moved over the impulse controls. "Bringing us alongside, sir."

Kirk hit the intercom again. "Transporter Rooms, prepare to receive wounded. Security teams report to transporter rooms."

Vindis was at the transporter controls. The bombs were ready. And the report from the bridge was constant about the distance. He breathed in and let the Force flow through him. His hands began to move on the controls, The Fore guiding his hand for the targets he had to remove for this strike to work.

"Almost there," he murmured. "Yes. Closer. I must guarantee…"

The ship loomed larger on the screen. Diya thought it looked a little ugly, truth be told. Sort of blocky. A dirty dark brown with blackened spots. Her eyes focused on the hull. Something about it seemed familiar to her. Not exactly, she'd never seen this design before, but there was something about it… "Those plates look fake," she blurted out. Upon which she caught herself and put a hand on her mouth. She blushed fiercely when looking to Kirk, expecting him to expel her from the bridge for failing to remain silent.

He simply remained fixed to the viewscreen. "Mister Chekov," Kirk said. "What do you think about raising shields until we're ready to beam? And then dropping them just long enough for the transport?"

"Ve vould still be wulnerable, Keptin," Chekov answered. "It would take a few seconds for the shields to cycle."

Kirk considered that. He had figured the same thing. Beaming through shields was virtually impossible, and even Mister Scott couldn't handle doing it at the scale they'd need to evacuate a ship of that size.

"Be ready on my order, Mister Chekov," he said, feeling the hairs on his neck standing up on end.

Diya watched the entire thing with held breath. She had heard of pirates pulling tricks like this before, and she'd seen smugglers with weapon ports and the like hidden under fake hull plating. To think they might be walking into a trap even now...

But as scary as that was, she looked at Kirk and realized that it might not be so dangerous as she feared. Not with someone like Kirk on her side.

"Enterprise is almost alongside, Darth Vindis."

Vindis' grin turned feral. The power of the Dark Side swelled within him.from the anticipation of victory.

Silas and Zeala stopped mid-duel. They looked at each other with certainty… and immediately ran toward the ship's ramp.

Kee-Xi's fingers were on his game piece, the "bishop" as Spock had called it, and he was about to pick it up when he felt something wrong. Something in the Force was screaming in warning at him.

It was evident in his expression and body language, apparently, as Spock gave him a concerned look. "Master Kee-Xi?"

"Something is wrong," Kee-Xi said. "Something is about to happen… you must warn Captain Kirk immediately!"

Spock nodded and stood up from his chair. He took the steps over to the wall and reached for the intercom.


Vindis had to hold back a laugh as he pressed his hands to the controls of the transporter. He took command of the Force, he directed it to show him what coordinates to put in. His hand went to the lever that activated the transporter.

The intercom on the bridge chirped. Kirk pressed a receive key on his chair's arm. "Bridge."

"Captain, Master Kee-Xi believes we are in peril. I suggest we raise shields."

Kirk felt a surge of excitement. Whether or not his instincts were part of this 'Force' the Jedi talked about, he knew to trust them, had been right. "Shields, Chekov! Now!"

Chekov's hand was already on the shield control when Kirk gave the order.

And as Chekov brought the shields up, the entire ship rocked with explosions.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-03 10:28am

Chapter 9

Vindis felt great satisfaction in the moments after his transports. The chaos he had wrought on the Enterprise was easily felt through the Dark Side. "Are the boarding teams ready?", he asked his alien charge.

"Upon your signal, my lord."

"Transport them over then. Secure their engine controls and the key points in the ship." Vindis grinned with satisfaction and looked over the motley group of pirates with him. "The rest of you… you will join me on the other ship's bridge. Our conquest begins."

They cheered in reply.

Before the rocking was even complete Kirk was already calling for a report.

"Explosions on several decks, sir," Uhura answered. "Damage Control Teams responding."

"We've lost engine power, Captain," Dumfries added. "I've only got maneuvering thrusters."

"Shields not responding, Keptin. But I still have vepons."

"Lock on and…."

Before Kirk could finish the sentence brown energy appeared on the bridge. Each column coalesced into a single figure, almost all of them holding up a phaser or disruptor at the ready.

All but one.

Diya swallowed and tried to curl herself against the seat she was in, as if that would help her evade notice. She watched Kirk stand from his seat and confront the dark-clad Human who materialized in front of his viewscreen. Eyes of malevolent gold looked about the bridge. "You are the one they call 'Captain Kirk', yes?"

"Who wants to know," Kirk demanded.

"I am Darth Vindis," he answered, proud again to assert his self-proclaimed status. Vindis took a step forward and scanned the room. Diya couldn't avoid being spotted. She swallowed at seeing Vindis grin at her. "The Twi'lek girl."

"Why have you attacked my ship?", Kirk demanded. "Transmitting a false distress call is a violation of every standing…"

"I care not for the petty legalities of your backward galaxy," Vindis declared, interrupting Kirk. "I have come for the Jedi. Cooperate and your crew will be spared."z

"You've already proven your talent for deception, Mister VIndis, so I'm not inclined to trust you on any matter. Much less the lives of my crew."

Vindis smirked at him. "I see a demonstration is in order." He looked over the bridge crew one by one. He finally settled on Dumfries. "Ah. I'll start with you."

"What? What do you…" Before Dumfries could finish that sentence Vindis' hand came up, now a fist. The young officer's eyes widened and his hands went to his throat. He choked briefly in surprise before the grip of the Dark Side closed off his windpipe. Vindis used his power to lift the officer into the air over his chair.

"Behold the power of the Dark Side." Vindis gladly tapped into his rage and anger as he held the pitiful Starfleet officer in a vice, He raised his other hand and let his hatred flow from him. Lightning erupted from the fingertips of that hand and enveloped Dumfries. Dumfries tried to scream but couldn't, not through VIndis' grip on his neck. Vindis felt his power drain away the man's life with immense satisfaction.

With a final small effort, VIndis threw Dumfries back with the Force. He fell over the railing and landed beside Uhura. She left her chair and knelt down at Dumfries' side. Her fingers went toward his neck. She looked up at Kirk and shook her head. "He's dead, Captain."

Kirk looked back from her to Vindis. "You've got my attention," he said.

Vindis smiled. He could feel Kirk's anger. And he reveled in it. It was sweet to him. "Your ship has the means to dispense sedative gas into its atmosphere, yes? Release it into the rest of the ship."

Kirk remained still.

Vindis looked over to Diya, who was watching with rapt attention aided by sheer terror. He raised his hand toward her.

Suddenly Diya found herself gasping for air. An invisible force had clamped down on her throat, squeezing her airpipe shut. She looked to Kirk and Vindis with wide terrified eyes.

"Release the gas, Captain Kirk," Vindis ordered. "Release it or the girl dies."

Scott returned to Engineering just before the explosions. Cries of surprise were joined by urgent reports by engineering mates and other personnel as they checked the warp core for any signs of trouble. Scott looked over to the system status screens and scowled. The explosions had knocked out the shield generators entirely and taken out the primary power conduit feeding the impulse engines. Another pair of explosions had caused internal damage to spaces adjacent to the primary phaser core and the torpedo launcher, but the blasts had failed to cause any actual damage to those systems. Still, without impulse Captain Kirk had no means to effectively resist whomever had attacked them.

Scott ordered damage control teams to those vital systems. As the orders were finished he heard a sound that could only be… yes, transporters.

"Everyone take cover!", he shouted, getting under a panel to his own cover.

Within seconds the pirates' transports had completed. They came in with weapons up and scattered about. When one of Scott's junior engineer mates, a clever lad named Wolcott, was caught in the open trying to re-enter main engineering, they hit him with two beams that vaporized him completely.

One pirate, a Rigelian, moved toward Scott. He held his breath, not daring to make a sound.

Instead the sound came toward the bow-side entrance of Engineering, punctuated by a buzzing noise that changed in volume and pitch and the cries of fighting.

Silas and Zeala split up after leaving the shuttle bay. Zeala was on her way into the ship's primary hull area, the "saucer" portion, while he went to engineering to see if he could help. He had foreseen the arrival of the armed men in Engineering and had his lightsaber out and ready when he came upon the first of the pirates. A simple push with the Force had sufficed to knock that one out.

Two more appeared at the corner leading to the main engine room. Silas' lightsaber came up to intercept the beams they fired toward him. This was trickier, in its own way,. than facing enemies with blasters. Blasters were at least intermittent, even if fast-firing, but a beam remained in place for seconds. He couldn't rely on just knocking the blaster bolts around with rapid movements, he had to move to avoid someone exploiting his need to keep his lightsaber on the the beam. It was a fresh challenge, but not an insurmountable one. He shifted to his right, went low, and evaded the beams coming toward him long enough to extend his hand and cause his opponents to slam together. The next one to come up fired form an angle he anticipated well enough to deflect the beam back into the one shooting it. He tried not to think about the result; the attacker disappearing in a haze of red light. Killing wasn't something Jedi sought to do, after all, much less causing complete disintegrations. But like other times, it was something he could not help.

The next pirate fired. Silas deflected the shot away and into a nearby wall, which it scorched black. He deflected the next one while moving in and with a single swipe removed the attacker's lower arms. The pirate screamed and collapsed.

"Look out, lad!"

The warning voice came just as he felt the ripple of warning in the Force. He turned in time to deflect another beam into another alien, who was likewise disintegrated. "Mister Scott?", Silas asked.

"Aye." Scott crawled out from under one of the panels. "Good timin' lad. They almost had me."

"Do you know who they are?"

"Pirates, tryin' t' damage my wee bairns." Scott sighed and looked about as his engineering crews started to get out from cover. "And they made a fine mess too."

"How may I assist?", Silas asked.

"By followin' me, that's how." Scott started issuing orders to his engineers. "All right, there'll be nae more of this runnin' about like frightened sheep, ye're Starfleet engineers! Cowling, Liu, I want ye both t' start…"

Spock and Kee-Xi had been approaching the nearest turbolift when they ran into the squad of pirates that were trying to lock down that section of the ship. Kee-Xi's lightsaber flashed to life and deflected a beam fired their way, sending it into the phaser in the hand of a second pirate. The weapon sparked and vaporized, taking the pirate's hand with it. As that pirate screamed from the sudden and unexpected pain, Kee-Xi reached his hand out. Through the Force he grabbed all four men and sent them flying into the wall. "Captain Spock, if you would be so kind…?", he asked.

Spock went up to them and, one by one, rendered each unconscious with nerve pinches. "Curious," Spock said, looking them over. Kee-Xi noted that each had a half-mask over their faces. Presumably to reduce the possibility of identification. "It is not common practice for pirates to directly challenge a Federation starship."

"Not by themselves," Kee-Xi observed. "Although it may have been instigated."

"By whom?"

Kee-Xi contemplated that. He could see Spock was starting to realize what he already felt. "My apologies Captain Spock," Kee-Xi remarked. "But it appears that we were followed here. And your ship is now in grave jeopardy."

Spock considered that. "Then we must assume the worst and that the bridge was either bombed or seized by an enemy party. Please, follow me."

Kee-Xi finished disarming the pirates and followed Spock through the Enterprise[.

Kirk kept his anger under control. It wouldn't do him any good here. Diya's life hung in the balance of the next few moments. Each little noise she made, a desperate attempt to intake breath, reminded him of that. Her life was in his hands. The desire to save it warred with his inherent refusal to back down and surrender toward someone like Vindis.

In the end, though, there was no question of it. Kirk would pick compassion over pride.

"Mister Chekov, activate the ship's internal security system," Kirk ordered. "Flood all deks with anesthizine gas."

"Aye Keptin," Chekov answered sullenly. He immediately triggered that system. The Enterprise's life support system would now fill the ship with the gas which would knock out the crew.

For several moments nothing happened. Then Vindis released his grip on Diya's throat and let her slump back into her seat. "Yes," he said. "You have done well." He reached into his suit and put on a respirator unit over his mouth and nose. His voice took on a tinny, mechanical timbre to it. "Watch over them. At the slightest sign of resistance, kill them all."

"Yes, Darth Vindis," one of the pirates answered.

Kirk watched Vindis walk into the port turbolift. He looked back to the armed pirates around them. He considered their positions, the condition of his crew, and knew that the time to strike was not here yet.

But it would be soon.

Zeala had managed to get back to the saucer section of the ship when she sensed the gas. Within seconds she felt the pull on her eyelids, the desire to go to sleep. But with the Force she knew that would be fatal; a dark presence had come to the Enterprise, and it was intent on the hunt.

She took one last gasp of air and focused on the Force to keep her conscious. This complicated her journey through the ship, certainly. And given the explosions, she knew there was once place she would likely be needed.

As such, she almost made it to the sickbay before finding pirates near its entrance. She frowned; with the gas imposing the need to focus on her, Zeala couldn't risk a fight with them. From her place of hiding at the nearby corridor junction, Zeala brought her hand up and focused her mind with the Force. With that power she lightly prodded the minds of the pirates, causing them to look the other way toward a sound they believed to have heard. She used this opening to approach them without getting shot at. By the time they turned back to face her Zeala was already close enough to bring her hand up and begin to more directly influence their minds. "You do not need to remain here," she said to them. "You are hungry and will stand watch at the galley instead."

One of the pirates nodded. "We don't need to stay here guys," he said. "Let's go get some chow at the galley."

Mumbling in agreement, the pirates walked off.

All but one.

His species was not one Zeala had seen yet. He was wearing protective coverings of some sort over his eyes that hid them behind an opaque visor. His skin was white with variant shades on various points; there were pointed ears like Spock's. Zeala could feel his mind; this one was telepathic and had not succumbed to her mind trick. She had to think fast.

As the alien brought up his disruptor rifle Zeala extended her hand. She gave the pirate a push with the Force that sent him flying backward. In his surprise he let go of his weapon, allowing Zeala to grab it and to, with one quick activation and swipe of her lightsaber, slice it in half.

This had repercussions though, as it weakened her efforts to deal with the gas. She felt the strength begin to leave her at that moment as her body reacted to the gas. This caused her to fall to her knees.

Before Zeala could fall unconscious, she felt a pinch at her neck. "There you are." Zeala looked back and saw Doctor McCoy standing over her. "That will counter-act the effects of the anesthizine," he informed her. "Glad to see you."

"I assumed we had wounded," she said. "I came to help, but…"

"We have a few who got here before those gorillas showed up," McCoy said. "It's a good thing sickbay has its own backup life support system. I figured Jim would have to trigger the gas once I realized they'd beamed straight to the bridge."

"I hope he is alright," Zeala said.

"Don't you worry about Jim and the others," McCoy said. "They'll take care of themselves. You and I have some work to do." He indicated the casualties who were laying on the various biobeds.

"Yes, of course," Zeala agreed.

Kee-Xi sensed the gas starting to fill the air just as Spock removed the breather masks from an equipment locker in the storage room. "Anesthezine gas," Spock remarked while pulling one mask onto his face. His voice took on a mechanical modularity. "You must wear this to avoid the effects." He handed the mask to Kee-Xi.

Kee-Xi had been calling upon the Force to help him resist the gas. Once the mask was in place, though, he no longer needed to and so relaxed. "I fear Captain Kirk is in great danger."

"Undoubtedly so," Spock agreed. "However, I suspect he is already planning on turning the tables on whomever has seized the bridge. We must turn our attentions elsewhere."

"The vessel alongside," Kee-Xi suggested.

"Indeed." Spock led him out into the corridor. "There will be risk, but I believe I can transport you successfully through the cycles within their shields. Once on our attacker's vessel you can do whatever is deemed required to disable the ship and ensure our success in this engagement."

"Agreed." Kee-Xi nodded. "That leaves the issues on this ship…"

"I would suggest your students will prove most valuable in repelling these boarding parties." Spock led him into a transporter room. The security team that had been sent there to receive people from the Xepolite ship were all sprawled out, the victims of close-range weapon discharges. A single Starfleet woman, one of their non-commissioned personnel, was sprawled out unconscious beside the transporter controls. Spock stepped up to said controls and began working them. "I will have coordinates momentarily." He reached under the panel and handed an item to Kee-Xi. "Keep this communicator. We can track you for your evacuation."

Kee-Xi accepted the device and placed it into a compartment on his robes. He went to the transporter pad and stepped onto it. When Kee-Xi turned back he watched Spock operate the transport controls. He wondered how difficult a task it was, although he had no doubts at all in Captain Spock's ability to manage that task. It would be strange, though, to experience this matter transport system for the first time. "May the Force be with you, Captain Spock," said Kee-Xi. "And may you be kept from harm.

Spock nodded to show his acceptance of that sentiment. "Stand-by… stand-by… energizing."

The transporter beam gripped Kee-Xi. Energy tingled around him and the transporter room faded from sight, replaced by a darker interior with dark brown and green coloration. Kee-Xi breathed in for a moment, directing his attention through the Force, before he pulled his lightsaber from his belt and went off into the enemy vessel.

Silas only detected gas for a moment before it seemed to go away. "Breathe easy, lad," Scott said to him, standing over a console beside the piece of machinery they had come to fix. "I just overrode the local security alert, our atmosphere willnae be affected."

"That is re-assuring." Silas held his lightsaber down and examined the conduit. He quieted his mind and focused his thoughts on the device. "There was a power surge."

"Aye. From th' explosion near th' engine assembly." Scott took out his tools and a casing. "It's why we cannae run the engines. Not until she's got the flow restored. I'll be down here puttin' in th' new fuses and conduit links."

"I will ensure none harm you," Silas insisted. And just as he said that, he knew his words would be tried momentarily.

The door opened and a single object came flying in. Silas gripped it with the Force and threw it back. He looked away just as it exploded in powerful white light. Cries of surprise told him the pirates hadn't been expecting his action.

In the precious moments that bought him, Silas moved forward with his lightsaber flashing to life. It buzzed in the air as he repeatedly found the weapons in their hands. In just three clean cuts their energy weapons were falling apart. When the one beside him brought out a sidearm Silas twisted and slashed. The pirate screamed as his arm came off at the elbow. He and his friend quickly sought to retreat. Silas put an end to that with a Force push to knock them unconscious.

As he hound them, he felt the ripple again. Powerful darkness was moving through the ship. Moving toward…

It was moving toward Zeala.

On the bridge of the Enterprise, Diya felt like she shouldn't even breathe. The three pirates left on the bridge were all looking fierce and angry, as if at the slightest excuse they would start killing people. The remaining Enterprise crew kept still. More than that, they kept their attention on one thing only.

Captain Kirk.

Diya ended up doing the same. Kirk had a restless look to him, full of angry tension, his hands clenching and unclenching as if in nervous spasms. Like at any moment he would lash out regardless of the consequences to them. Anything to save his ship and his crew.

As Diya focused on Kirk, she realized he was returning the attention. She swallowed. It made her self-conscious to come under such scrutiny. But there wasn't the hostility she was used to in such scrutiny. There was something more calculating in it. And clearly trusting.

It was about then that Diya noticed Kirk's hands weren't moving in random, nervous patterns. He would, in a pattern, extend his fingers fully to form a five finger gesture. Diya wondered what that could mean. What was he trying to signal to her? Was it something Zeefive could understand…


Diya tapped on the droid's dome several times. It was quite a good thing that, with Silas' help, she had a passing familiarity with how droid language worked. The taps, quick taps forming numbers in a sequence with long taps referring to a gap in characters, formed a mathematical line that translated into droid. She hoped he could realize what she was saying.

Zeefive warbled sadly with three quick beeps.

The guard nearest them point his gun. "Tone it down!", the man demanded. "Or I'll erase both of…"

The other pirates tensed. But it was too late. Zeefive's stunner popped out and struck the pirate. He cried out as the voltage coursed through him and caused his body to seize up.

The other pirates turned to face Diya and Zeefive… and Kirk jumped from his seat. For all his age, he moved with surprising quickness to grapple with the pirate nearest to him. Chekov jumped up as well and knocked the legs of the nearest pirate out from under himself. Uhura and a junior officer in that portion of the bridge went up against the last pirate. His rifle slammed into the junior officer's forehead and sent him flying, but he couldn't move it back over to cover Uhura before her elbow caught him in the windpipe. With his windpipe nearly crushed he was too stunned to keep Uhura from pulling the rifle from his hands.

Diya did the same to the pirate that Zeefive had stunned.

That left the one that Kirk and Chekov had teamed up on. Chekov took the rifle butt to his shoulder and fell backward. The pirate slammed Kirk in the stomach with it but instead of a dazed and helpless foe he found Kirk's fist slamming into his jaw repeatedly. Kirk shifted to avoid another blow and grabbed at his assailant again, gaining the necessary leverage to rip the rifle free from the man and send him flying into the nearest station. Chekov pulled that weapon from the floor and held it on the pirate. Said pirate charged nevertheless, and for that he took a crimson beam to the chest that vaporized him.

Kirk was clearly winded. But Diya was still stunned; he looked old, but he was still strong enough to do all of that! And the way he had signaled her, as if he knew Zeefive could defend himself even if the pirates hadn't realized that. She watched him intently as Kirk settled back into his chair and hit a button. "Kirk to Engineering. Mister Scott, I need impulse power."

Diya stared. But the gas…!

"Mister Scott's off re-attaching the main conduits feeding the impulse drive, sir," a voice replied. "Power should be operational momentarily."

"Good. Keep me informed, Kirk out." Kirk next checked the station closest to him. "Uhura, how many of the crew were knocked out by the gas?"

Uhura was already trying to get updates from the various sections. "At least three quarters, sir. I'm still waiting for any response from Section D on Decks 2 through 5"

"Right." Kirk nodded. He needed someone at the helm, and with so much of the crew disabled... he looked to Diya. "Miss Suun?"

"Yes sir?', she asked, suddenly feeling very exposed here on the ship's bridge. This was so far beyond her usual experience that it was hard for her to fathom it.

"I'm invoking emergency Starfleet protocol," he said. "Consider yourself recruited with an emergency commission, Acting Ensign Suun. Report to the helm now."

That stunned Diya more than anything. She didn't move at first, not until Zeefive warbled a reproach at her and she forced herself to think. "Oh! Yes, Captain!" Ziya jumped back into the helm seat.

"The moment we have impulse power, I want us on a course to those asteroids," Kirk said. "They will give us the cover we need."

Diya took in a breath to try and shake her nervousness. This wouldn't be for fun.

But she would still do it. After all, this was her dream. Flying a great spaceship. And now she was here. If only they weren't in danger…

That was when the ship rocked again. This time, though, it wasn't from a bomb.

"Enemy wessel opening fire, sir," Chekov said.

"Return fire, Mister Chekov. We need to buy Mister Scott time."


On the Karlikar, Sunderland had taken control of the bridge after Vindis and the others left. He and his bridge crew were those of like mind; take what you can get and don't go in for big splashy stuff. Like, say, trying to seize control of the Federation flagship.

"Sunderland!" The Xepolite at ship communications was shouting. "We have lost contact with the team on the Enterprise bridge!"

Sunderland snarled. Idiots. All of them. And Vindis was worse than an idiot. To be rid of him… "Forget taking it. Jumin, open fire. Blow that Federation bastard out of the stars."

"Locking on and firing!"

As the first bolts of phaser fire stitched across the Enterprise's unguarded hull, Sunderland allowed himself a smirk. He might not get the ship, but credit for killing Kirk? He'd be a legend. Sure, the Federation would pursue him, but they were already wanted there, and there was plenty of space where Federation ships were sparse that he could still make a killing in.

And best of all, doing this meant he would be rid of that bastard Darth Vindis.

Vindis felt the impacts rattle through the ship and scowled. Sunderland. He had misjudged the little worm after all. Sunderland would have to die when this was all over, and Vindis savored the thought.

But for now he had greater prey.

With the Force at his disposal he pulled open the locked door in front of him. Inside he found a large chamber - large for this ship anyway - with medical beds, all occupied by casualties. Someone had been working on them. That, he did not care about. He stormed in and looked down to the target he had felt with the Force.

"Jedi," he rasped.

Zeala looked up from where she was helping McCoy treat a man with a broken leg. McCoy glared at him. "And you are?"

"He is a Sith," Zeala replied. "An agent of darkness." She looked to McCoy and nodded. "I will need to protect you now, Doctor." With quiet resolve Zeala stepped away from the biobed and pulled her lightsaber from her belt. It snapped into being with a hiss, creating a cylindrical blade of purple light.

Vindis cackled and pulled his own blade from his belt. He activated the weapon and held the resulting red blade up. "I have long awaited this day," he said. "A lifetime lost to you and your kind, and now I will have my revenge. The Jedi end here!"

Zeala said nothing. She shifted her lightsaber into the ready position for Soresu and awaited her foe's attack.

Vindis let out a cry of eager hate and advanced. His lightsaber blade met her's.

The duel was on.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-09 02:55pm

Chapter 10

Zeala kept her stance steady and her blade moving, meeting the furious attacks of the Sith and his lightsaber. In the confined spaces of sickbay she didn't have room to withdraw or give ground. Not without putting McCoy and his staff and patients in danger. She would have to hold the Sith here.

A daunting prospect, indeed, given her own talents were generally not in lightsaber dueling. But there was no choice in the matter and she would not back down. The merest doubt could prove fatal; she had to fight as if it were the most natural thing to her.

"I sense your weakness, Jedi!", Vindis shouted as their lightsabers clashed. "You are not skilled in this art. You lack the strength to fight me. Your death is inevitable."

"There is no death," Zeala answered. "There is the Force."

"Hah!" Vindis let his fury at the empty Jedi platitudes further fuel his attack.

Both combatants struggled to keep their footing; the ship was beginning to shake. Vindis felt his anger surge yet again; not at the Jedi, but at that foolish pirate crew. He looked forward to killing them after he was done with the Jedi.

Despite the rocking of the ship, though, he had an immediate task to deal with. A Jedi in need of killing.

The Enterprise rocked again. "Damage on Decks 14 and 15, Captain," Uhura reported, listening in the ship's internal damage control network.

Red phaser bolts retorted and lashed at the pirate vessel, illuminating brown-tinted energy shields. "No damage to enemy ship, Keptin," Chekov reported.

Kirk hit the intercom key on his chair. "Mister Scott, where are my impulse engines? We're sitting ducks here."

"I cannae go any faster, Cap'n. I'll get ye impulse in a minute.]""

Kirk bit back the observation that they might not have a minute.

Which was perfectly fine because Scott already knew that. He could tell it from the way the ship shook. Without shields, even a pirate vessel could destroy them with a lucky hit or a few minutes of firing. They were lucky they hadn't lost a warp nacelle yet.

The sounds of fighting were a further undesired distraction. Phasers firing, the buzz of Silas' lightsaber flashing about, all of it was something he could do without given how his work had to be just right.

Silas spun his lightsaber about in mid-jump and brought it down on the arm of his last attacker. Said pirate screamed at losing his limb and didn't even take the chance to shoot at Silas point-blank before Silas sent him flying with the Force. Confident that this last group no longer posed a threat, Silas returned to the area Scott was working at. "We're clear," he said, just before another jolt nearly knocked him off his feat. "Is there anything I can do, sir?"

"Aye, lad. As soon as I have this bleedin' thing secured, turn th' main conduit back on."

Silas nodded. A rather unnecessary nod, as Scott couldn't see him, but one nevertheless. "Right." He looked over the control board. The flat surface with buttons integrated into what looked to be a panel screen was something more akin to the fanciest technology on Coruscant. It was a peculiar reminder of the different design interests between this galaxy and his home galaxy. "I am ready."

Scott didn't immediately answer. He finished the installation, the safety check, the test…

The ship shook again, as if in reminder that the Enterprise was still a sitting duck.

"There! Full power, now!"

Silas hit the appropriate key. There was a new thrum in the air.

Scott keyed the communicator at his waist. "Bridge, ye have impulse!"

That was music to Kirk's ears. "Full impulse, now!"

Diya's hand pushed the indicator for the impulse drive all the way up to full. The Enterprise leapt forward like a cage door had opened. A burst of phaser fire from her tormentor struck nothing but the vacuum behind her.

"Enemy wessel is pursuing," Chekov reported. "Aft torpedo launcher not responding. No aft phasers responding either."

Kirk did the mental calculations on that. It meant they could not strike back if they didn't turn back toward their foe. Their shielded foe, while their shields were still down. Even now the ship rocked again; a glancing blow from the pursuing pirate ship. He hit the intercom again. "Mister Scott, when will we have our shields back?"

"The explosions knocked out th' generators completely, Captain. I cannae get them fixed any time soon."

Kirk had suspected as much. But confirmation of how much trouble they were still in allowed him to plan for it. "Do what you can, Mister Scott. Kirk out."

"Ve are approaching the asteroids, Keptin."

"Take us in, Miss Suun."

Diya swallowed. Her eyes went to the board in front of her, everything she had been told about how it worked going through her head. She could see the openings in the field, but they were so small... if she didn't get this right…

Kirk sensed her trepidation even as her hands moved to respond. "You don't just fight fear. You accept it. Recognize it. And you set it aside. Focus on the job at hand, Miss Suun."

Diya's hand was still tremoring as she manipulated the controls for the ship's attitude adjustment. That turned Enterprise slightly so she could fit into one gap between a number of asteroids. The ship shook again; the pirate had landed another hit. She spied his position and turned the Enterprise to the right - starboard - to put the biggest asteroid between them and the pirate ship, whatever it's name was.

"Good thinking," Kirk complimented her.

Diya tried to respond but couldn't. Her throat was too dry from fear. Terror, in fact. Should she even be here? All of those stories from the freighter captains and smugglers, she never realized just how close it had been for them, if she was just slightly off…

"Hard to port!"

Kirk's command jolted Diya from her fears. She obeyed his order.

And just in time to avoid plowing the Enterprise into the next asteroid. The ship shuddered as they smacked against it, but the velocity was thankfully insufficient to do more than mar the hull plating where the pirate ship's phasers hadn't yet done the job.

Diya's breath picked up at the realization of what had almost happened because of her focusing on her fear. She swallowed and bit into her lip. "Sorry, Captain Kirk," she managed. "It won't happen again."

Kirk didn't answer her. He was already deep in thought while watching the pirate ship maneuver on the outside of the asteroid, a hunter having chased his quarry into a bramble bush. "Reduce engines to one tenth impulse power," Kirk ordered. "Keep us on the other side of the asteroids if at all possible."

"Yes sir," Diya answered.

After several tense seconds Kirk sat back in his seat. "They're not going to come in after us... and we can't get out without giving them a shot."

"Perhaps they vill flee if ve get our shields back online?", Chekov suggested.

"Maybe." But Kirk was certain they wouldn't. They would have to rely on other means. Now that he had a moment, he hit the intercom key. "Bridge to Transporter Rooms. Is anyone there?"

For several moments there was no answer. But a surge of relief went through Kirk when an unexpected voice answered, "Captain, I am present in Transporter Room 2."

"Spock!" Kirk didn't hide the relief in his voice. "What is your status?"

"I am secure for the moment, Captain. I am awaiting a recall signal from Master Kee-Xi. I managed to transport him over to the pirate vessel."

Diya heard that and felt a surge of hope. Master Kee-Xi was over in the pirate ship? If so, the pirates didn't have a chance.

Kirk didn't seem quite as ecstatic. "I could use you on the bridge, Spock."

"Unfortunately, it would appear that no other Transporter Room is responding, and our crew has been extensively disabled."

"What if Zeefive took the transporter controls?", Diya asked.

That prompted a pleased warble and beep from Zeefive.

"Vould he be capable of understanding them?", Chekov asked.

Zeefive warbled in protest.

"Zeefive is designed to figure out how to work equipment," Diya answered.

Kirk nodded at that. "Mister Spock, we are sending your relief down."

"I will depart for the bridge as soon as relieved, Captain."

Zeefive rolled into the port turbolift. His manipulator arm extended and pulled open the panel beside the door, with the data access extension popping in to directly take control of the turbolift and move it down to the appropriate deck.

The ship shuddered slightly. "The enemy is moving around one of the asteroids," Chekov warned.

Diya reacted immediately. "I'm moving us the other way." Although she didn't see it, that won her a nod of approval from Kirk.

"Hey Al!" One of Sunderland's supporters looked up from his screen. Sunderland didn't look his way. He was stewing in his frustration that the damn Enterprise had gotten itself into such a defensible position. "Al, we have a problem!"


"Internal sensors are telling me we've got an intruder!"

How in the…?! "That's crap, we had shields up! I don't buy they could get something through."

"And if you're wrong?", the other one challenged. "The blip's almost to our weapons control, if we do have an intruder…"

Sunderland growled, "Yes, I get it. Send Brivan and his squad down. If it's some clever Starfleeter, let's see how he feels about ol' Brivan."

In the Enterprise sickbay, Doctor McCoy focused on his work. Or at least he tried; with the critical cases stabilized he had little that needed doing urgently, leaving him with not much to do but witness the duel between Zeala and the stranger who had busted in on his sickbay. Their energy swords, Zeala's purple and the stranger's red, met repeatedly with flashes of light. Throw in the incessant buzzing and the sound of their weapons clashing, it was all very distracting.

Every effort of the attacker was met by a defensive move by Zeala. She was intent upon the issue, focused in a way that reminded McCoy of Spock or Kirk, arguably even himself. Every movement was with a purpose of some sort, and every such movement seemed to halt an attack on Zeala.

It was quite impressive, if also unacceptably distracting. And their danger if Zeala lost was patently obvious.

Hrm… if he, a spectator, found the fight so distracting… maybe it was distracting for them too.

With a motion McCoy prompted one of his nurses to hand him an injector. He loaded it with a sedative and, with a first careful step, moved toward the ongoing fight.

Kee-Xi followed the pull of the Force in finding his target. He knew he had arrived when he found the chamber of machinery. Displays showed the energy being stored up inside the structure. The enemy's weapons, ready to continue savaging the Enterprise.

He pulled his lightsaber and brought it to life. It would just take one slash on each portion and…

His senses told him the attack was coming. He jumped to the side and brought his lightsaber up in time to reflect the beam. It struck another attacker, who's cry silenced as the energy consumed his body until he had been completely vaporized. Kee-Xi's hand extended and a wave of Force power tossed his attacker back.

He turned and his lightsaber reflected two more beams, this time into opposite bulkheads. The shooters hid behind cover again. This did them no good, however, as Kee-Xi could still sense them. He reached out with the Force and pulled them together. The resulting slamming of stunned pirates together knockd the weapons out of their hands and sent them flying.

By this time there was a repeating shudder in the deck-plates. A shudder speaking of something big. Kee-Xi looked to an opposite door to enter the machinery room. The thumping in the floor was already accelerating as he turned and every sense he had with the Force was warning him of the danger. He turned his turn into a jump and spin that moved him away from where he had been.

Which is why he didn't take a massive stony fist to his head.

Kee-Xi swung out with the lightsaber, aiming at the being's thigh. There was a searing sound and a roar of pain. His slash attack had left him in poor position to avoid the coming hit; all he could do was shield himself against it enough that it didn't break ribs when it sent him flying into an opposite bulkhead. He forced the cobwebs from his mind and took in the sight of his adversary. The alien was large and broad-shouldered. The skin of his face and on his arms was not the flesh of a humanoid; it looked like solid stone. Two small eyes glared irritation at him. "That hurt," the man grumbled. "So, I'm betting you've never met one of my kind before. I'm Brivan. I'm a Brikar. And I'm going to break you into two."

Kee-Xi wordlessly brought his lightsaber back into a ready position

Sunderland felt growing frustration as the Enterprise ducked behind another asteroid before his phasers could track them. "Bastards!", he shouted. "Rat bastards!" A surge of fear added to that. If he didn't successfully kill Vindis, Vindis would most assuredly kill him, and probably in a slow and painful manner. Enterprise had to be destroyed.

But how? How could he get to them through those big bloody asteroids, each of which was large enough that even a relatively low velocity impact could severely damage a ship?

....of course. Sunderland laughed to himself at the idea.

"Ha. Ha ha ha!" Sunderland chuckled in triumph. "Let's see Kirk and his bozos deal with that! Modify the tractor beam, boys! We're going to play bowling for Starfleeters!"

That caused pleased laughter from the assembled.

Spock had just taken his place on the bridge, with nothing but a cocked eyebrow upon seeing Diya at the helm. "Suggestions, Spock?", Kirk asked him.

"It would appear that we are at a short-term stalemate, but with Enterprise possessing the long-term advantage" Spock answered. "As you have undoubtedly already calculated. The asteroids provide us sufficient cover for Mister Scott to dazzle us again with a feat of engineering brilliance. So long as we remain behind this cover until shields are restored, we are safe from attack. If the pirate vessel attempts to maneuver its way into the field, we shall have ample opportunity to exchange fire with an advantage."

"Exactly my thoughts. But they know that too." Kirk frowned. "They'll do something about it too."

"Perhaps, nevertheless...." Spock stopped. "I am detecting a graviton emission. The pirate vessel has engaged tractor beams."

Kirk's brow furrowed. "Tractor beams? Why..." Realization was immediate. "Evasive maneuvers, now! Twenty five degrees to starboard, one quarter impulse!"

Diya answered his order. This moved Enterprise out of the way moments before an asteroid the size of the saucer section would have plowed into the drive hull.

Unfortunately, this maneuver also exposed them again to the pirate vessel. The Enterprise shook yet again as phaser fire came upon her unprotected hull.

For every moment the duel continued at the current stalemate, Zeala's confidence grew. The movements of her lightsaber were quick and efficient, deflecting every strike, parrying every blow. Her opponent's power seemed to be in flux; he was tiring, but the frustration was feeding his anger, his rage, and that seemed to rejuvenate his power. His lightsaber swung toward her head and she caught it. He moved the lightsaber over to go at her knee and she parried that blow as well. With the Force she saw the next strike, a cut at her shoulders, and she ducked it. Her lightsaber came up in a counter-attack that nearly got her foe. Her lightsaber played along the edge of his shoulder. A look of pain and fury came to his face. He had yet to cause her any such wound.

But her triumph receded. "Doctor, no!", she shouted.

But McCoy was already in motion. The sedative injector shot went right for Vindis' neck.

Vindis turned and twisted away. McCoy's lunge suddenly left him off-balance and the injector pointed toward empty air. A look of shock crossed the old man's face; he couldn't believe that Vindis had seen him coming.

With a snarl on his face, Vindis finished his maneuver and brought his lightsaber down at McCoy.

The only reason that McCoy didn't die right then and there was because of Zeala. Her lightsaber shot forward and intercepted the blow. The momentum of her interception forced the lightsaber over and down, pinning the tip against the wall. With her position she was able, for the moment, to hold Vindis in place. "Now, Doctor McCoy!", she shouted.

McCoy recovered quickly enough and began to go around her to get at Vindis' neck.

A warning again rang out through the Force. A warning echoed by the chuckle that escaped from Vindis' throat.

All Zeala could do was shout, "No! Get away, Doc...."

Vindis' finger shifted on the hilt of his weapon. The false pommel on the hilt shot outward and bounced off Zeala's hip.

A second lightsaber blade, of the same red color, issued from what had been the pommel of Vindis' blade.

And it went right through Zeala's sternum.

Her eyes widened in shock and pain. Vindis chuckled again, malevolent and gleeful at his trickery. He freed a hand and used the Force to throw Zeala backward. Her lightsaber, still active, went tumbling off to cut through the leg of a biobed before coming to a stop, having missed McCoy by only an inch or so. Zeala herself slammed into a bulkhead between two biobeds and slumped to the floor. A burnt hole had been drilled through her body.

Vindis turned and toward her. He deactivated the second blade of his polesaber and brought the active one up. "You should have let me kill the old man, Jedi," Vindis remarked. "This is why you Jedi fail. You are too weak to do what is necessary."

Zeala tried to reply. But she couldn't manage the breath to do so. Not with Vindis' hand up and his power squeezing her throat.

"You monster!", McCoy shouted at Vindis.

"Quiet, old man." Vindis waved his other hand at McCoy, who flew backward from an impact in the Force and collapsed against a biobed. He turned his attention to Zeala. "I have wanted to do this for forever." He stopped choking her with the Force and held both hands out. Lightning erupted from his hands and enveloped Zeala, leading to a pained, gargled scream.


Vindis turned. Silas was standing in the doorway, his lightsaber out and ready. His eyes were wide with shock and pain, fixed on Zeala's place on the floor until they moved back to Vindis. "Don't you touch her!", Silas screamed. Inwardly he was reeling. I took too long! I should have come sooner! I could have, I would have saved her!

"Yes," Vindis cooed. He chuckled. "Oh yes. I can feel your fear for her, Jedi. Your anger." Vindis raised his weapon and re-activated the second blade. "You, I think, will be a more interesting foe."

"Monster," Silas breathed. His eyes looked to Zeala again. That wound... oh, that wound. He'd never heard of someone surviving...

No. No, he couldn't think about that. He couldn't...

"You've grown attached to her." Vindis chuckled. "How... inappropriate. Perhaps if things had been different..." Vindis turned slightly and held a hand back. Lightning erupted form his fingers and crackled over Zeala again. She screamed.

"Leave her alone," Silas hissed. "Do you hear me, Sith? Leave her alone!"

"Make me, Jedi," Vindis retorted. He sent another burst of lightning into Zeala.

Silas' face went pale with suppressed rage. Coldness nipped at the periphery of his being.

Vindis answered that with a laugh.

Silas reached out with his left hand. Zeala's blade flew from the floor and into his hand. He crossed her lightsaber over his own and, with a shout, charged forward.

Kee-Xi ducked another blow from the massive Brikar named Brivan and retorted with a swing of his lightsaber. More stone flesh sizzled and an enraged shout came from the Brikar. He swung at Kee-Xi and barely missed; Kee-Xi fell back toward the machinery again.

And then a feeling came to him. He could feel his student, his son. He could feel Silas' fear and anger. Something was wrong. Something had happened...

No!, Kee-Xi urged. No, you have to accept it, Silas! Do not give in!

A roar came from behind Kee-Xi and yanked him out of his concern for Silas. The Brikar swung at him again and Kee-Xi again ducked...

....and promptly took a kick in the ribs from Brivan.

Pain exploded in his chest and torso as Kee-Xi went flying back into the machinery. He lost his breath at the impact and was struggling to reclaim it as he landed. Foolishness. I let myself become distracted..., he thought.

Kee-Xi looked up just as Brivan's massive fist came down at his head.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-12 11:31am

Chapter 11

Silas had never attacked so aggressively before in his life. Ataru was an acrobatic form, requiring constant movement and precision, but he found himself fighting more like a Juyo practitioner as he assailed the Sith assassin with a lightsaber in each hand. The Sith's polesaber, with its twin red blades, provided a complication to Silas' dueling, but had its own challenges and leaned heavily on the defensive. The Sith was actually giving ground before him, moving back through the sickbay toward the far door.

As he moved on, Silas caught sight of Zeala. The hole burned right through her chest filled him with horror and no small amount of despair. That kind of wound… the sheer amount of healing it would require was beyond bacta or any Jedi healing ability.

The fury built up inside him again. He'd been taught long ago to suppress such thoughts. To avoid them. They were a road to the Dark Side.

But Zeala… after everything, to lose her too? Silas had already lost so many people dear to him in the past few months. Jedi he had known as younglings and fellow apprentices, Jedi Knights he had admired, Jedi Masters he had respected, gunned down by the Separatists or betrayed by their own troops due to the machinations of the Sith. He thought of Gumi, pitilessly slain by Darth Vader. And now he had to lose Zeala too? So soon after realizing what they meant to each other?

The pain was too much. It made him furious at this monster, this creature of the Dark Side who reveled in causing pain and death. He had to end this Sith.

A harsh laugh came from the Sith. Vindis was enjoying the fight. The Jedi's fury did not make him feel fear, it made him revel. To know he caused an accursed Jedi such pain as to make him begin to waver in those sanctimonious, hated Jedi precepts… that made his victory all the sweeter.

The ship rocked violently under them. Vindis used the opportunity to slip around Silas, although an attempt to swipe at Silas' leg was blocked by the purple lightsaber in Silas' left hand. His maneuver complete, Vindis could give ground to the Jedi's onslaught right out of the confines of sickbay. He would seek a more open arena for their fight.

As soon as the way was clear, McCoy gestured toward Zeala. "Get her to a surgical bed!", he shouted. Two of his nurses, a Bolian and a Human, responded immediately and picked Zeala up, taking care not to jostle her too greatly. They carried her into the surgical unit and began prepping her while a third nurse, a Human woman, helped McCoy prep himself. "This is going to be damned tricky," McCoy grumbled. His hands were already burning, a sign of the arthritis that was starting to afflict him at this age. "Get that newfangled tissue regenerator ready," he ordered his nurse after she helped him get into sterile gloves. "And while you're at it, make sure to get the cell samples we'll need to grow grafts."

"Yes, Doctor," the nurse replied. She went to prepare the bulky piece of equipment. McCoy hadn't gotten much use out of it, and he wasn't sure at all it would be able to effectively rebuild all of various tissues that had been lost. That would leave the grafts.

But no matter how difficult, McCoy was damned well not going to let the young lady go without a fight.

On the Enterprise bridge Diya was busy matching Kirk's orders, maneuvering the ship back into the shadow of an asteroid. No sooner had they managed this, though, that said asteroid immediately began moving toward them, forcing them back out of its protection. Chekov fired the forward phasers whenever he could get the lock, but they were being fired against raised shields while every pirate shot blackened and damaged Enterprise's hull. If those pirates had cruiser-grade phaser banks, we'd already be dead, Kirk thought darkly. He felt the adrenaline high kick back in, letting his mind race as he tried to figure out a new strategy for dealing with their attackers. "Mister Spock, do you think we could return the favor?", he asked.

"Theoretically, yes," Spock replied. "On the other hand, our internal damage may prevent us from using the tractor beams to full efficiency."

"Tractor beams standing by, Keptin," Chekov pledged.

Kirk considered Spock's warning as he debated the next order to give. "Miss Suun, bring us about to starboard, impulse to half," he ordered. There was a particularly big asteroid in that direction. It meant being exposed repeatedly in the process, so they were going to take more hits.

They approached the asteroid. "Ready tractor beam, Mister Chekov," Kirk said. "Miss Suun, reduce to one quarter impulse power, prepare to change heading to 50 by 45 and be ready to go to full impulse. Both of you on my mark."

Diya's heart pounded as she did as Kirk instructed. What was he doing…?

Just as Kirk expected, the pirates powered up their tractor beam and sent the big asteroid hurtling toward them. "Mark!", he shouted.

Diya did as he had instructed. She turned the Enterprise up and to the right and put the engines back to full.

At the same time Chekov activated Enterprise's tractor beam. A blue ribbon of light came from the side of the ship and grabbed the incoming asteroid. The entire ship shuddered from the extra mass being wrenched into a new velocity.

"Tractor beam coherency is down by ten percent," Spock noted.

"Just another moment… cut tractor beam! One quarter impulse again, Miss Suun."

Freed from the Enterprise tractor beam, the asteroid was accelerated enough to smack another. It flew in the opposite direction and slammed into a third, which now flew onward....

….right at the pirate ship.

Sunderland watched the asteroid suddenly loom over their screens. "Hard to starboard and hit the engines!", he screamed.

The helmsman did so. But the Karlikar wasn't built to the same specs as a Federation starship. Her engines couldn't react as quickly, nor her control systems.

The pirate vessel's shields were the only thing that kept the resulting side blow from immediately destroying her. But even they failed to prevent the asteroid from tearing off one of the warp nacelles.

Sunderland screamed an expletive. "Destroy them damn you!", he shouted, even as Enterprise's phasers streamed over his ship's weakened shields. "Bastards!"

The ship rocked so violently that Brivan's attempt to smash Kee-Xi's skull in missed. Kee-Xi took the moment to slip behind the Brikar. Instead of a slashing attack, which only seemed to scorch the giant's flesh, Kee-Xi lunged and drove his lightsaber into the knee of the Brikar. Brivan screamed in agony as red hot material gushed from the wound. He toppled over and clutched at his knee. Kee-Xi used the opening to get some space again. He looked up at the machinery spaces over their heads and saw his chance.

Brivan yelled in incoherent rage and tried to charge Kee-Xi again. But his knee gave out immediately and he sprawled forward on the floor. "I'm going to rip you to pieces!", Brivan screamed.

Kee-Xi ignored the threat and raised his arms. He reached out with the Force. Metal above shrieked and screamed. Conduits began to bend and twist.

And then it all came crashing down on top of the Brikar in a shower of sparks.

The devastation started a chain reaction through the adjoining systems. Displays sparked and went dead. Conduits burst with energy. Kee-Xi ran to the exit and pulled out the communicator Spock had given him. "I have succeeded!", he called into it. "Please return me!"

Instead of Spock's voice replying, a familiar-sounding series of beeps and tones came through. Kee-Xi felt the transporter pull him away. And not too soon, as his last view of the pirate ship was a wall of broken metal and flame coming toward him.

When he materialized back on the Enterprise, Kee-Xi saw that Zeefive was now beside the transporter controls. He had hooked into them directly. "Well done, my friend," he said, allowing the droid a small grin.

Zeefive warbled his congratulations and thanks for the compliment.

But Kee-Xi's work was not done. He could feel the waves of darkness moving through the ship. The Sith was still here… and so was Silas. A sick feeling came to the pit of his stomach; some of that darkness was Silas', full of fury and pain.

His student, his son, was in danger of falling to the Dark Side.

Kee-Xi ran down the corridor to his aid.

Sunderland knew something had gone horribly wrong when the ship rocked violently despite the lack of phaser fire from the Enterprise. The lights overhead flickered and died, to be replaced by emergency lighting. "What in all hell…?!"

"We've lost main power!", his tactical lieutenant answered. "Weapons and shields are out!"

No! NO NO NO! With fury Sunderland slammed his hands into the arms of his chair. "Stupid bastards. Everyone. Bastards."

On the bridge of the Enterprise, the explosion on the enemy vessel had not gone unnoticed. "It would appear that Master Kee-Xi was successful," Spock noted. "I am detecting power failures and secondary explosions from burst conduits all along the ship. I surmise that damage to their phaser capacitors precipitated a chain reaction."

"Remind me to think the good Jedi Master later," Kirk noted. "Uhura, hail them. Tell them that if they surrender, I will ensure medical treatment and that they will be turned over to Federation authorities."

"Yes sir." Uhura turned to her console and pressed the appropriate keys. "Attention pirate vessel, this is the Starship Enterprise. We call for your surrender. Repeat, Starship Enterprise insists on your surrender. You will be well-treated…"

"....and your wounded cared for upon surrender. I repeat…"

Sunderland angrily motioned for the communication to be cut off. He didn't need that Starfleet harpy gloating over his defeat. "Bugger it all," he grumbled. That crazy "Sith" had launched an attack he knew was doomed, his idiot comrades had let their greed and ambition get the better of them, and now here he was. Helpless. Destined to some boring as hell penal colony for the prime of his life. He had no illusions that once the Federation had run him through the system they wouldn't throw the book at him. He wouldn't be getting out of the system until he was old and gray.

To hell with that.

Sunderland stood up and walked over to the helm. "Do we have impulse?", he asked.

"It's about the only system we can keep working," the pirate said.

"Fine. We'll ram the bugger. Take him with us."

That won him a look of sheer disbelief. "What? Are you mad? It's over, let's just…."

Sunderland shot the man in the head. When that prompted a howl of protest from the man at tactical, he shot him too. The other pirates remaining decided to run. Probably to the escape pods. Let 'im. They wouldn't get to them before he was done.

Sunderland kicked the dead man over further so he could take his seat. He looked at the instruments to determine the range to Enterprise. If he hit full impulse, he would collide with them as planned. So long as they didn't react in time.

With a snarl on his face, Sunderland hit the impulse drives to full and growled, "Damn you all, I'll see you in Hell."

Diya listened to Uhura make the repeated surrender demands. With no response coming, she felt more and more worried.

Growing up on the streets as she had, given a planet like Gantoon, had been an education in the galactic underworld. Most of her experiences had been with smugglers and independent freighter captains, and they had all agreed; pirates were crazy. They could be vicious, cruel, and even suicidal, and any good spacer knew to keep away from pirates. Because pirates could do anything and behave completely insane. After all, any sane person… well, any sane person would have not dared to attack a ship like the Enterprise, right? Even with a crazy Dark Jedi or whatever Vindis was leading them.

Diya thus continued to watch the pirate ship intently, waiting for them to try something.

Her hand was already on the controls for the impulse drives when the pirate ship suddenly shot forward. She pushed the impulse drives to half and used the ship's thrusters to change the Enterprise's orientation, twisting it away from the rocketing pirate. Diya watched anxiously as the ship came near, looked like it would hit anyway…

...and slid past without touching a single deckplate.

"Miss Suun, hard to port!" Kirk's order had been said within a second of Diya executing the order in question. "Mister Chekov, fire phasers! I want their engines disabled."

"Firing, Keptin."

Diya swung the ship further into the turn she had already started. Enterprise lashed out with her phasers again. Ruby bursts of phaser energy lashed into the pirate ship as it entered the asteroid field Enterprise had just departed. Atmosphere and debris exploded from the new wounds in the enemy ship. Its forward acceleration ceased. From the front of the ship several pods shot out.

That… that was it. They were safe. They'd survived. Diya found herself breathing normally again. A weakness came to her, reminding Diya of times she had finished fleeing slavers or police or anything else chasing her and felt completely spent.

A hand touched her shoulder. She looked back. Kirk was standing behind her. "Well done, young lady," he said warmly. "That was quick thinking."

"Yes. Well, I… I just figured that pirates might do something crazy."

Kirk nodded in agreement.

"I do find it curious that Miss Suun knows how to function as the helmswoman," Spock remarked. He had turned in his chair to face them. "Considering her inexperience and youth, however, I find that her performance in this crisis has been quite satisfactory."

Kirk grinned at him. "Quite satisfactory, Spock? Really?"

Spock nodded at Kirk with due patience. "Indeed, Captain."

Kirk looked back to Diya with the same grin. "It seems you've impressed him, young lady. Just as you have impressed me."

"Thank you, Captain Kirk, Captain Spock," Diya answered. Her mind wasn't quite with the moment though. Not just from the crash that came after her adrenaline rush, but from memory. She thought back to Gantoon. Where Master Kee-Xi had not wanted to bring her and had only relented when Silas insisted. He said the Force wanted me to come, Diya thought. Is this why?

Kirk returned to his chair and pressed the intercom key. "This is the Bridge. The pirate vessel has been crippled and the ship is no longer in danger. I want all available hands to report status to Commander Uhura immediately. She will give you new assignments that will be kept until further notice. Kirk out."

"Keptin, shall I go round up security teams?", Chekov asked.

"Shortly, Commander, let's see if our friend out there tries anything else first," Kirk replied. "Once we're secure, we'll start bringing in survivors."

Several decks below them, Silas pursued Vindis into the gymnasium. Vindis was on the defensive now, shifting his polesaber back and forth to intercept Silas' quick strikes. Silas seethed with anger as he continued his attacks. This Sith, his master, they had taken so much from Silas. So much. He thought of all the Jedi he had grown up with in the youngling creche, the Jedi Knights he had admired and wise Masters he had respected, all brought down by the Sith treachery coded into the very Clonetroopers they had been made to lead into battle.

And now this. Now, after getting to the safety of another galaxy, again the dark hand of the Sith had reached for them and taken someone close to him.

Silas caught a counterattack coming on his right with his blue lightsaber and swung with Zeala's purple one. The blade singed across Vindis' arm before he could shift his weapon to cover. A hiss of pain came from the Sith. He lashed out with the Force, looking to throw Silas backward. Silas sensed the blow coming and only fell back a few feet.

Kirk's voice came over the intercom. Vindis' pawns had been defeated. The Enterprise was safe. "You've failed Sith," Silas declared. "This ship has not fallen. We have not fallen."

"Silly Jedi." vindis chuckled. "I have already won."

Silas returned the chuckle with a glare. He swung in with both lightsabers, forcing Vindis to raise his parallel to the ground to catch the blades before they sliced him apart. "You have not destroyed us here," Silas pointed out. "The Jedi will survive here!"

"Will they?", Vindis asked. Look at you. So close. So close to realizing where true power lies. But you seem hesitant to embrace it."

"I am a Jedi," Silas insisted. "I will not give in to my anger."

"And that is why you will fail." Vindis felt his hate for the Jedi surge anew. The aches and weariness in his body faded before the dark power that the hate was calling forth. With his new energy he reached out with the Force. A table flew free from the floor and went at Silas. He cleaved it in two with a lightsaber. Chairs followed, another table, and then a big solid bag from nearby. Silas evaded or cut down all of them.

As he carved through the bag, Vindis dashed forward. His polesaber's top blade came down toward Silas' head, but the Jedi caught it. His other saber swept high, toward the neck, and was blocked too.

This brought Silas' lightsabers high on the defensive. Vindis had his opening. He seized it before Silas could react to it, lashing out with his left leg in a kick at Silas' right knee. With the Force aiding his blow, it struck with great power. A crack fileld the air and Silas cried out at the fracturing of his knee. He lost his balance as his right leg crumbled. Vindis, with triumph, brought his polesaber around and slashed at Silas, an intended killing blow.

But even with his knee out, Silas was able to roll away from the strike. Instead of cleaving him from forehead to belly, the strike lashed across his left side. His robes blackened and his skin scorched. When the roll finished carrying him out of immediate slash range Silas tried to get back on his feet. The pain sapped at his constitution and the damage to his knee impeded his ability to put weight upon it.

Vindis saw his prey was weakened. It was time to savor the kill. He raised his hands and let his hate and anger flow forth. Lightning coursed from his finger-tips and into Silas. The Jedi cried out from the pain. "Don't you feel it, Jedi? The inevitable truth, now before you, that the Jedi way is weak, that it is limited. That the way of the SIth is superior and always will be. The power of the Dark Side is infinite."

"No….", Silas hissed. "No, I… uuunnh!"

Vindis increased the flow of lightning. "You are strong with the Force, yes. But you hold no hope of defeating us. You refuse to accept the gift of your anger. The power of your hate. Where is your hate, Jedi? Your hatred for me should be palpable. I feel your love for her. The Jed I have struck down. Clearly you have already seen how much richer life is without your precious teachings holding yourselves back. Why persist? Why ignore the hate festering in your heart?"

"I will not… aaaagh." Silas tried to stand up but couldn't. Agony was surging throughout his body.

"Like all Jedi, you are weak." Vindis sneered. He felt through the Force, for the familiar presence of the girl he'd fought. "Don't you feel how weak she is? Growing weaker. And weaker. Ah, but there is no death, only the Force, right?", he asked with a mocking voice.

Silas, through the pain, managed to glare at him. But he felt it too. Zeala's presence was growing weaker.

And then it was gone.

"Of all the Goddamned times…!"

McCoy couldn't remove his hands from the controls of the tissue regenerator; it was vital that he keep sewing up the gaping, traumatic hole in Zeala's body. But even that would be futile if she wasn't alive for the process to finish, and the tone coming from the equipment said it all.

"Get the cardial stimulant, dammit," McCoy growled. One of the junior physicians on his staff, Dr. Salvor, obeyed that order. The nurses continued their support roles, including the young man at his left who would dab the sweat from McCoy's forehead every so often. "And prep the cortical stimulators."

Dr. Salvor took out the large injector and pressed the contents into the surgical unit. Avoiding the trauma of piercing Zeala's body and heart directly was viral; the small transporter unit inside the surgical bed would beam the stimulant directly into the heart. The mixture of artificial adrenaline and other chemical compounds would, if they worked, jumpstart the heart back into function.

Unfortunately, even if they did, Zeala's blood pressure was so weak her brain was already starting to starve of the vital oxygen it needed. And, just as McCoy had feared, a second tone sounded off just after the heart monitor stopped wailing its warning. "Brain pattern readings failing!", a nurse confirmed.

"I noticed!" McCoy had no choice. "Get the cortical stimulators going!"

A frame was moved up and placed onto Zeala's head. Leads pressed firmly against her temples while a nurse finished running a razor over the front of her head to clear away her hair for vital leads to make the necessary skin contact further above the temple. "We're ready! Voltage capacity and chemical parameters set," another nurse answered.

"Go!" McCoy returned to work with the tissue regenerator.

There was a slight zap-like noise. "No response."


Another zap. "Still no response."

"Again Goddammit!" McCoy kept up at his work. You come back, young lady. You're too young to go. Too much life ahead of you to let you.

The pain in Silas' body seemed to weaken. This was only in comparison to the growing agony in his chest. His heart felt like it would stop.

He couldn't feel Zeala anymore. He couldn't feel her with the Force.

He'd… he'd lost Zeala.

He thought of her smile. Warm and kind. The giggles at his playfulness as a youngling. The way her eyes seemed to convey the compassion of her spirit. The ease with which she could ease the pain of others. That composed, kind way she spoke.

Something cold filled Silas. Rage that made his cheeks pale and his chest burn as if covered in ice. Zeala… this wasn't supposed to end like this, was it? They were supposed to build a new life in this galaxy, working with Silas' mentor, his father, in rebuilding the Jedi Order.

Now this Sith monster had taken her life. Just as his masters had taken the lives of all of the other Jedi Silas had known in his life, had destroyed everything he loved and believed in.

Because that was all they could ever do. Destroy. Corrupt. Murder.


Not again, not here!

Silas felt his connection with the Force grow colder. Different. But at that moment, he did not care to think on it. All that mattered was this Sith murderer, tormenting him while gloating about Zeala's death.

With a surge of will Silas ordered his arms to move through the pain. They did, crossing his lightsabers before him to absorb the lightning that the Sith was throwing at him. The lightning surged and snapped like a beast suddenly caged. The pressure against him was intense. But he would not break before it.

Next was getting back to his feet. His left side still burned from the brush with Vindis' blade. And his right knee protested with pain as weight went on it again. Silas blocked it out. He could be hobbled later.

He took a step toward Vindis. And an other step. And another. Vindis watched with surprise. And then he laughed. "Yes. Yes, you see! The Dark Side is the superior way!"

"Shut up!", Silas growled.

Vindis kept the lighting up, trying to force Silas back down. But he wouldn't stop. "See how powerful you are. Cast off the Jedi. They don't deserve people like us. The Force is ours to command, we can be more! You must make the same choice I did, you must embrace it!"


"There will be other women. We do not deny ourselves that pleasure, not like weak Jedi," Vindis urged. "Join with me. Cast off the Jedi bonds holding you down!"

The words meant nothing. At that moment, Silas didn't care about Jedi bonds or codes or rules or anything. He couldn't keep Zeala's face out of his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about how she had been taken. About the way Vindis had hurt her. Hurt that gentle, compassionate spirit… and now he dared to dismiss her like that?

A part of him was alarmed by this feeling inside of him. This was growing beyond anger now. This was becoming hate. He hated Vindis. He hated the Sith. At this moment, he wanted to command the Force to wipe Vindis and his kind from the face of the universe.

"Even now you would deny the strength of the Dark Side?", Vindis asked. He focused his lightning even more intently, as intently as he ever had. It crackled and snapped at Silas. His lightsabers' glow was nearly overwhelmed by the crackling of his power around them. "Perhaps you did not love her so much after all."

The insult was petty. It was hollow. Silas knew how much he cared for Zeala. He could feel that love. Remember how it felt for them. The new sensations it had brought them. Vindis' words were as empty as his dark soul.

But he still wanted to kill him.

With a shout of rage Silas called on the force and pushed back. A wave of power smashed into Vindis and various remaining tables and chairs behind him, sending everything flying. Vindis flew back into the wall. The lightning ceased. Vindis grimaced and brought his polesaber up in a ready position.

Silas was relentless in his attacks. His lightsabers cut against Vindis' defense again and again, each attack flowing into the next in one relentless combination of strikes and feints and blows. Vindis barely avoided a strike to his gut that still touched the blade against the tip of his flesh regardless, sending pain surging into him.

Fear, not hate, began to grip the Sith. He moved frantically, dodging around the room, giving ground, trying everything to stymie Silas in his attacks. But nothing worked. He tried to make for the door, just for Silas to drive him back from it with a whirlwind of strikes. Blue and purple light danced in Vindis' vision, each one coming perilously close. He had to duck to avoid a swipe, but his attempt at a kick was prevented by Silas spinning away and bringing his lightsabers down toward Vindis' head. Vindis lifted his polesaber to hold back both of Silas' blades. For several seconds they contested each other like this.

Then Silas pushed him back again with the Force. Not as powerfully as before, but enough to end their deadlock and force Vindis' hands upward.

Both of Silas' weapons struck forward. The blue saber in his right hand, aimed at Vindis' head, forced him to turn his arms and hands outward to block that fatal blow.

But this meant Vindis couldn't stop the other weapon.

Zeala's purple lightsaber slashed through Vindis' hands at the wrist.

Vindis screamed as his severed hands fell away from him, bearing with them his only defense.

Silas' lightsabers appeared at his shoulders, crossed in an X again. He continued to breathe rapidly. His heart was pounding. Silas swallowed just to get wetness in his throat while the conflicting impulses warred within him.

With one outward cut of his arms he could take Vindis' head from his shoulders.

And a part of him urged his arms to do just that. To kill this Sith monster. To strike him down like the animal he was.

"Do it Jedi," Vindis roared. "Take me. Strike me down with your hate! Feel what you have rejected for so long! What good have the Jedi ever done to you?! The same good they did to me, I would say!"

"Quiet," Silas hissed. He tried to focus, to think.

But all he could think of was that hole in Zeala. Her cries of pain from Vindis tormenting her for his own pleasure.

This is not the Jedi way!

No. It wasn't. And what good had the Jedi done him? They had taught him that the love he felt was something to be denied. To be avoided. They had lectured on the nature of the Force without ever realizing how much the Force resonated when feelings like love and compassion and warmth were present. They had tried to turn him into another good little Jedi, denying what he felt toward Zeala, just as they had punished his parents for experiencing the same.

And then they had made a mockery of the devotion he'd given them. Given to his own father, with their relation hidden, as a test. A way to trap Kee-Xi and expel him from the Jedi he had devoted his life to.

Was it a test? Or were they reuniting a father and son to see if the Force would guide you to the truth of that bond? Was it a form of compensation instead?

"Why do you hesitate, Jedi?", Vindis snapped. He growled and snarled. Defeated, soon to die, oh he hated that. He hated his defeat. But defeat might yet bring a bit of victory, oh yes, if he could bring this Jedi to the Dark Side. Let him strike Vindis down, let him drink of that well of hatred, and see how much stronger it made him. This Jedi plot to rebuild their order would be undone. Through him, the Sith would colonize this galaxy as well.

It would be so easy. Silas never realized how tempting it was. To give in to those feelings roiling within him now. To avenge Zeala, all of the people he had known and cared for. All he had to do was sweeping his arms outward. It would be over. A murderer would never murder again.

His muscles felt stiff. His body ached from tension. His side still burned and his knee cried out for relief.

"You killed her," Silas said. "You killed a good person."

"I would kill more," Vindis swore.

"Yes." Silas swallowed.

Do it. Just do it. Strike him down. Take his head!

Zeala returned to his thoughts. This morning. Breakfast.

You promised, he thought. You promised to let her go.

"I don't want to let go," Silas protested.

Vindis said nothing, could say nothing. Could do nothing as the slightest act would mean not just death, but a death that may not be dealt in hate. That might ruin his last chance at revenge, through the conversion of a powerful Jedi to the Dark Side.

Pain filled Silas' heart. The cold rage screamed at him to kill when he knew he could not. Not without losing himself.

This wasn't him. This rage. This hate. This was not what he wanted to be. This couldn't be what he became.

For a brief moment Silas thought he could see Vindis' past. A boy foundling, making friends with other foundlings, hearing Master Yoda's wisdom. But an emptiness had gnawed where Silas had never thought of it. Older memories of a smiling woman who sang him to sleep. A smiling man who kissed that singing woman and rubbed a little boy's head.

Why did you leave me? a pained voice asked.

Vindis' expression turned cold. "Don't look there," he insisted. "Not there."

Silas swallowed if just to clear his mouth of the dryness. "Is that what turned you into this? Is that what made you a monster?"

"Stay out of my head, Jedi!", Vindis screamed. "Just kill me! End it! End it damn you! Listen to the hate within you! It will guide you as it guided me!"

"No," Silas answered. "No, it will not. Hate doesn't guide. It can't. It's blind to naught but pain and can only destroy."

Silas had made his mind up. He pulled the lightsabers away from Vindis' shoulders. "I'm giving you over to Captain Kirk," Silas said. "Let him and his Federation judge your crimes. It's not my place."

"I took your woman!", Vindis screamed. "I took from you! You scream for revenge!"

"A part of me might. But that's the part of me that is wrong." Silas felt hot tears in his eyes. "I am a Jedi. Jedi do not take revenge. We do not let fear or anger or hate determine our actions. You killed the woman I love, yes. Now she is gone, to become one with the Force. I accept that. I will join her one day when I too have returned to the Force."

Silas stepped away from him, keeping an eye on Vindis as he did. There was movement at the door. He glanced that way to see Enterprise crew, in now-ruffled crimson jackets and black pants, enter with sidearms drawn. "Are we secure?", the lead officer, a sandy-haired woman with deep dark eyes and a mental aura of telepathy, asked.

"We are," Silas said. "You should take him to your holding cells. Assign only those strong of mind lest they be mind-tricked. My master and I will assist you in his confinement."

"Understood." The woman nodded to another woman, this one in body-armor, who pulled out a set of wrist cuffs.

"No!", Vindis screamed. He extended the stumps of his arms to his detached hands. With the Force he brought his hands back to his side before glaring at his wrist. "Return me now!", he yelled.

Silas was already going for his lightsabers again. But it was no good. Red light surrounded Vindis and he vanished within the light.

"Captain." Spock looked up. "I have detected a transporter signature. One being beamed back to the pirate ship."

Kirk thought on that. A moment later the intercom beeped. "Kirk," he answered.

"Captain, this is Lieutenant Menali of Security," a female voice replied. "The enemy leader just transported out of the gymnasium."

"Understood. Kirk out." Kirk flipped the intercom off. "We can't let that man get away, he's too powerful."

"I am detecting a power surge inside of the pirate ship. I would suggest a warp-capable shuttle is being prepared for launch."

"She's a derelict as she is anyway," Kirk observed. "Mister Chekov, blow her out of the sky."

"Aye Keptin!"

Chekov again triggered the phasers, and this time he added a pair of photon torpedoes. Diya watched the ruby energy of the phasers blow away more debris from the pirate ship in the seconds before the twin red lights, the torpedoes, made impact. The pirate vessel was blown apart in a fiery explosion.

"Scanning," Spock said. He looked back to Kirk. "Negative life signs. No power signatures."

Kirk nodded. "Good. Mister Chekov, you are relieved, I want you to oversee the arrest of the pirate survivors."

"Vith pleasure, Keptin," Chekov answered. He stood and left the bridge.

Diya turned back to face Kirk. "Captain, um.... what do you want me to do?"

Kirk grinned back at her. "Maintain your post, Miss Suun, until relieved. We're not going anywhere just yet anyway." Kirk pressed his intercom again. "Kirk to Mister Scott."

"Mister Scott here, sir."

"Can you give me a time estimate on warp capability?"

"We need tae rebuild half of th' plasma lines tae th' port nacelle, sir. I wud say three hours, minimum."

"Good. We'll be underway in two hours then," Kirk answered.

There was a sigh on the other end. "Sir, I cannae change th' laws of...." Reconsideration was obviously given. "Aye, Cap'n. Two hours it is."

"Just what I wanted to hear. Kirk out." Kirk looked back to Spock. "Mister Spock, I believe a victory dinner with our guests may be in order? Your transporting Master Kee-Xi to the enemy ship won this battle for us."

"I will convey your recommendation to Master Kee-Xi in due time," Spock pledged.

"Right." Kirk turned his chair back to face the viewscreen. Except he looked at Diya again. "As for you, Miss Suun..."

"Yes, Captain?"

Kirk grinned at her. "Tell me, young lady... just what plans do you have for the future?"

"The future?"

"What you're going to do with your life. What do you want to be when you finish growing up?"

"Well..." Diya thought on it. She'd never bothered with such thinking back in Gal Durap. "I'm not really used to thinking about my future like that."

"I thought so. I know you were used to living day by day back on your home planet. But now that you're here, with us, you've got some options." Kirk leaned forward in his seat. "So, I have a suggestion..."

Lt. Menali's squad helped Silas on his way back to sickbay. One of McCoy's trained corpsmen, distinct from a nurse from what Silas observed, had patched up his knee and made sure the lightsaber burn along his body wasn't going to cause any issue before confirming it was okay to travel on.

On the way, Silas found himself thinking of the future. Zeala... she deserved so much more than to die here and now, just as their purpose was ready to be fulfilled. For all he had promised to let her go, it still ached in every fiber of his heart to think that he had to.

But he hadn't given in. That was the one thing making him feel good. Kee-Xi had trusted Silas in a way Jedi had not trusted younger Jedi in millennia. And Silas, despite everything, had not wavered. He had not let that Sith turn him from his path. He had accepted, and he would go on accepting, the loss of that attachment. Just as he would one day have to accept Kee-Xi returning to the Force. And it wouldn't be easy, with a virgin galaxy full of untrained Force sensitives brimming with potential as Jedi. He would have to pick wise and well.

And, he knew, they would have to make changes, lest another disturbed soul like Vindis be created by unthinking devotion. Children must not be separated from their parents like that. Never again.

As they neared sickbay Silas could feel his father's presence in the Force, strong and clear. He was still here. Silas found solace in that. Kee-Xi could guide Silas in further understanding of the Force. Together they would re-found the Jedi Order in this galaxy and...

Silas stopped.


No, it couldn't be... could it?

A warm tear came to his eye. Yes. Yes, it was. He could feel the presence in the Force, as warm and compassionate and kind as always...

Despite the pain in his knee Silas picked up his pace, causing Menali and her people to look on in confusion and then start keeping up. Silas made it to the sickbay door, raced in, and...

....watched as Master Kee-Xi removed his hand from Zeala's forehead.

The wound was gone.

She was breathing.

Tears flowed freely from Silas' reddening eyes as he limped up. Kee-Xi turned toward him. Concern briefly came to his face, followed by a smile. "Silas," he said. "It is good to see you. I am proud of what you have done."

"She's.." Silas struggled to find his voice. "You... you saved her, Master."

Kee-Xi shook his head. "I cannot claim that credit. I am using Force healing techniques to hasten her recovery and give her strength, but Zeala's life was not kept at my hand." Kee-Xi looked to the side of the room.

Silas followed his gaze.

Doctor McCoy was just finishing with an injured Starfleet crewman. He turned his head to Silas as Silas' eyes focused on him. "Ah. Well, let's see here." McCoy motioned to a biobed. "We're still doing some triage, but I've got the time to fix up a busted knee and deal with some burns."

"You... saved her?", Silas asked.

McCoy nodded. "Well, we all did. Surgery's a team effort, young man. And you can thank the inventor of the tissue regenerator for it being possible."

"She's going to be..."

"Oh, a little tired and exhausted for a while," McCoy said. "I'd recommend taking it easy for a few days." His face became a knowing grin. "Nothing too... exciting, as much as you young people love to do exciting things. But I expect a full recovery in a week or two." He waved a finger. "Remember, I expect front row seats at the wedding."

Silas forced a breath in as he staggered to a biobed. Although McCoy occasionally commanded attention for his work of healing Silas' wounds, Silas couldn't keep his eyes off of Zeala.

She was still alive. They... they were going to have that future after all.

Kee-Xi came into his sight. He put a hand on Silas' shoulder. "You have done well, Silas."

"Yes," Silas answered automatically. "I... I suppose."

"I'm happy for you," Kee-Xi added. He looked over to Zeala. "For you both," he added. "Together, we will work to rebuild the Jedi, and forge a better future for this galaxy. And, perhaps, one day we will help restore the Jedi traditions to our own."

"The future," Silas agreed.

"Yes. Our future."

Neither had anything more to say. Words were no longer necessary.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-13 11:18am

Chapter 12

When Zeala woke up, it was to the sight of Silas and Diya sitting beside her in quiet vigil. Silas raised his head and smiled at her as her eyes focused. "You're awake," he said.

Her body felt spent and exhausted. It took a bit of effort just to sit up. Once Zeala was in the sitting position, she reached to her chest and felt solid flesh where she had expected a hole. "How…?"

"The people of this galaxy have what they call a tissue regenerator," Silas explained. "Doctor McCoy saved you with it."

"It's so good to see you're okay!" Diya put her hands together and didn't hide the tears that formed in her eyes. "I was worried sick about all of you when that nasty guy in robes went off to hunt you!"

"The Sith," Zeala said. "What happened?"

"He fled to his ship," Silas answered. "And Kirk destroyed it."

"Then… the threat is over?"

"Yes." Silas reached forward from the chair he was in and took her hand. He felt tears already forming in his eyes. "I thought I lost you."

Zeala sensed the old pain still fading away in Silas. "I know," she answered. She reached a hand to his face and wiped a tear away. "But you didn't." She looked around. "Where is Master Kee-Xi?"

"He is speaking with Spock and Captain Kirk presently," Silas said. He took the hand Zeala had extended to him and held it for a moment. "Doctor McCoy wants you to rest. He says you need more time to fully recover. He says that will make it easier for you to come to dinner with the crew again in a couple of days."

Zeala nodded at that. She could feel the weakness in her body from the strain of dealing with what the Sith had done to her. "I would agree." She laid back down.

But her hand remained gripped with Silas'. And it was with their hands holding that she drifted back into peaceful, restful sleep.

An hour and a half after Kirk had inquired about the warp engines, the Enterprise had departed the site of the ambush at warp speed. The rest of the day and evening had been spent in helping the Enterprise crew get things back to normal. With more pirate prisoners than brigs, private quarters had been turned into temporary cells. The Enterprise crew that had fallen to the anesthezine gas was roused with care and given time to get over the effects of their sedation before they could return to work.

Master Kee-Xi had aided where he could. Now he was sitting in the ship's conference room with Kirk and Spock. Their superiors in Starfleet Command had just ended their call to be briefed on what had occurred, including Kee-Xi recounting his tale to them. This had piqued their interest and Kee-Xi, in the interest of keeping good relations and recognizing the heroism of the Starfleet crew of Enterprise in stopping the Sith, agreed to give them the Lightrunner now that she had no fuel to fly.

That was hardly the only topic, though. An Admiral Cartwright had proven particularly interested in aligning the Jedi to the Federation, with the general support of his peers. As Kee-Xi saw it the idea did have merit; the Federation's principles and ideals were close approximations of the Galactic Republic's.

Something in the Force made Kee-Xi feel wary of tying himself too greatly to that, though. A feeling that, perhaps, there was a different path that was meant to be taken, and that the Federation and the Jedi would best share a different relationship from the one the Jedi had maintained with the Republic.

Seeing Kee-Xi's thoughtful expression, Spock inquired on his thoughts. "I am contemplating, Mister Spock, on our future," Kee-Xi said.

"The Enterprise is due to return to Federation space anyway," Kirk said. "We would be happy to bring you to Earth or any other Federation world along the way."

"That is an appreciable sentiment, Captain. I am merely contemplating the nature of our rebuilding, and how that decision will influence the future."

"You are concerned, then, about tying any new Jedi Order too strongly to the Federation?"

Kee-Xi inclined his head. "I wish the Federation as friends. But the relationship the Jedi had with the Republic may not be the relationship that is best for either of us."

Kirk nodded at that. "I understand that feeling. From what you have told me, the Jedi are meant to be keepers of peace and justice. It may be best if you were to be officially neutral in the political affairs of the known galaxy. A neutral arbitrator to mediate disputes."

"Starfleet has frequently sought to be the same for independent worlds," Spock said. "But as a Federation organization, our claim to neutrality can be undermined by the presence of any Federation interest."

"That does not mean we cannot choose a Federation world to begin our work of rebuilding, however," Kee-Xi stated. "It is something I must reflect on."

"Of course." Kirk stood from his chair. "My officers and I would enjoy your company again for dinner, perhaps tomorrow night?"

"My students and I would enjoy that, yes. Hopefully Zeala will be well enough to attend."

"We'll hold off until she is," Kirk promised.

Kirk left first. Kee-Xi and Spock met at the door but did not leave immediately. "You seem troubled, Master Kee-Xi," Spock observed. "Beyond the question of your future involvement with the Federation."

"It is a great weight, the future," Kee-Xi said. "All of my decisions will determine the fates of every Jedi to be trained in this new galaxy. And the Dark Side forever beckons to those amenable to its corruption."

Spock considered that statement for a moment. "Given your apprehension, I take it you suspect that your adversary did not meet his demise on the pirate vessel?"

Kee-Xi thought on it. He felt out with the Force, trying to sense something on the future, something on that attacker. But nothing came. Just the general feeling that though vanquished, darkness could never be eliminated. "I cannot say either way with confidence, Captain," Kee-Xi admitted. "But it matters little for the moment. A Jedi must never let his vision of the future come at the expense of the moment at hand." He allowed himself a grin. "I may be content, at least, that the Force has guided us to your galaxy, and shown fertile ground for the Jedi Order to grow."

"Indeed." Spock gestured toward the door. "If you are interested, I do have some time to resume our game from earlier today?"

"Yes. I do believe I owe you the completion of that match. Lead the way, Captain Spock."

The wreckage of the Karlikar continued to drift in myriad directions within the asteroid field where the pirate vessel had been destroyed. To anyone observing, there were no signs of life.

That is, unless one could sweep away the rest of the debris.

Within Karlikar's own large cargo bay, a single ship remained intact. Aboard her, Vindis continued to seethe with rage and frustration. His hands were gone. He had been defeated, humiliated, by the Jedi. Again they had taken from him.

But as much as he wanted to hurl himself at them and rip their throats out with his teeth, this defeat had taught him a necessary lesson. He could not rush. He had, indeed, been far too eager to attack now, before he was ready, before he had finished his training. The result had been an embarrassing stalemate with a Jedi apprentice who had little flair with a lightsaber and a complete defeat at the hands of another apprentice. He would have been no match for their master had they fought.

That thought made him angry. It made his hate burn hotter. But he couldn't let that cause him to rush into another fight. His hands, now contained in containers of jury-rigged bacta for preservation, made that clear enough. Before he fought the Jedi again, he would need to be more. He would need even greater mastery of the Dark Side.

Darth Sideous, his Emperor, had only taught him so much, and the lessons he had brought with him to consider on his voyage had only been fit for a prolonged period away from his lord, not for a lifetime of learning. He would have to take it slow. He would have to explore the Dark Side of the Force, to master its secrets, and to do so on his own.

Well… not quite on his own.

"The Enterprise should be out of range soon," his alien friend assured him. "Once we can be sure their long range sensors won't pick us up we can use the backup drive on your ship."

"Yes." Vindis eyed his young friend. He sensed a hunger in the light brown eyes of the alien. Ambition, a yearning for power, it was all under that alien skin, ready to be indulged. A fitting sentiment, yes. "You have strength in the Force," Vindis said to him.

"Then, you will train me?", the alien asked.

"Yes." Vindis nodded. "I will show you the ways of the Dark Side. And together, we will build an army of Sith with which to conquer in our names and to destroy the Jedi."

The alien considered that. "Yes. I had hoped you would see the wisdom in that. Using pirates was never the answer to your problems, or mine."

A curious reference, that. "Then, while we wait, we should begin your instruction, my student." Vindis nodded to him. "Whatever your name was before, as my first student you will now take another. You, the first of the legion of Sith who will conquer this galaxy, deserve an appropriate title. Kneel before me, student."

The alien bristled at having to kneel. Good. Let him drink of that emotion, of degradation and fear and anger and hate and wrath, let him come to know what it was to embrace the Dark Side of the Force. Vindis nodded approvingly as he finished kneeling and looked up.

"I now proclaim you to be Darth Imperius, my first apprentice."

"I am yours to command, Lord Vindis," the newly-minted Sith said. "When shall my training begin?"

Vindis noted that his student's voice did not hide his dislike of being the inferior. But whatever Vindis' immediate weakness from his lost hands, he knew that Imperius could not risk harming him now. He would be without guidance in the Dark Side and would lose his chance for power. Perhaps, some day in the future, that would change. And if it did, well, such was the way of the Sith.

"Now." Vindis smiled cruelly and looked into the corner of the cramped living area of his infiltrator. "Such a fortunate thing I found a suitable subject on which you can focus your hate."

In said corner, Al Sunderland protested against the gag in his mouth. His eyes widened as the alien… what was his name again? Sunderland searched his memory, an alternative to considering what was about to be done to him.

It was something… something… sounded like...Decket?

No, not Decket.

...Duke-ott? Something Duke-ott, Sunderland thought.

Vindis spoke, talking his mumbo-jumbo at hate and anger and the Dark Side. Duke-ott - Darth Imperius - extended his hands. A vise started to close around Sunderland's throat.

The good news for Sunderland was that he didn't have long to live.

The bad news is that it still took him quite a while to die.

For the second time since arriving on the Enterprise, Kee-Xi and his entourage arrived in the officer's mess for a dinner with Kirk's command staff.

This time Kirk would give a different toast. "To our honored guests, who have fought at our side to protect this ship from harm."

"And to you, Captain Kirk, and your noble crew, who have shown the heroism and skill of the peoples of this galaxy," Kee-Xi replied.

Once the toast was complete, discussion was underway. And it quickly turned to what the Jedi would do next. "I am still undetermined," Kee-Xi said. "But I intend to join my students in determining the matter. Perhaps we could review star charts…"

"I'll have our astro-cartography section bring some in when we're done," Kirk answered.

"We will have much work ahead of us, regardless of where we go," Zeala noted. She was still visibly weaker than usual. Doctor McCoy was right across the table from her and keeping a steady eye on her condition. "We will need to search for those with sensitivity to the Force and offer them training in the Jedi ways." Zeala turned her head and put a hand on Diya's shoulder. "And we'll need to make arrangements for Diya and Zeefive."

Zeefive warbled a reply from the far end of the table. A series of tones and beeps declared his readiness to help the Jedi in whatever way he could.

Diya looked at Zeala with a thoughtful expression. Her eyes went down to meet Silas' and then Kee-Xi's. All three Jedi returned the look; they sensed she was resolving herself on a decision. "Actually…" Diya took in a breath to steady her nerves. The entire table was watching her. "...I… I've enjoyed traveling with you, really. I'll always be grateful that you let me join you when you left Gantoon."

"But you intend to go your own way, now," Silas observed.

"Yes," Diya nodded. She looked on from them to Kirk. "I'm going with Captain Kirk to Earth. I've decided that I want to join Starfleet."

Kee-Xi smiled softly at that. "Indeed?"

Diya nodded.

Kirk gave his own smile. "Diya has promise. My officers and I are going to endorse her application to Starfleet Academy."

"That sounds wonderful," Zeala said. She nodded at Diya. "I foresee that you will go far in their organization, Diya."

"I hope so," Diya said. "I've always wanted to fly starships." She looked to Scott. "And Mister Scott's made me realize that it's just as interesting to learn how they work."

"Ye'll do well, lass," Scott said. "I think ye'll make a fine engineer one day."

"Maybe more than that," Kirk noted. "The future has a lot of paths to it. Some aren't easy. And paths in Starfleet can be the hardest. But they're well worth it."

"As are the paths taken by Jedi," Kee-Xi noted. He looked to Diya. "But I now see what Silas meant when he said the Force wanted you to come with us. You have done well, young lady, and I foresee that your path, hard though it may be, is the one that is meant for you."

"Thank you, Master Jedi," Diya said. "And you, Captain Kirk. I'll do my best to live up to your confidence."

"Well, now that we've settled that…" McCoy looked to Silas and Zeala. "What will you two be doing? Wedding bells, perhaps?"

A blush came to their cheeks. Uhura grinned as well. "Well, we…" Silas looked to Zeala. "...I suppose… it's something we need to discuss…"

"It is," Zeala agreed.

"There is an old Jedi custom," Kee-Xi began, "going back to the time before the Ruusan Reformations, when Jedi lived differently. The idea of two Jedi pledging their faithfulness to each other. It has similarities to the custom of marriage others use. But it is still not quite the same."

"Marriage you say?" Kirk grinned. "Well, I would be honored to host such a ceremony aboard the Enterprise. It is a custom of our people that the captain of a ship lead the ceremony."

"Well…" Silas swallowed. He… hadn't really given thought about that. Even if it seemed proper. "I just thought that this could… come down the road. For us to give thought to how we would do things."

"I think, Silas, that we both know how you feel." Zeala reached over and took his hand. "And I feel the same."

Silas tried to find words but couldn't, not right away. "Yes. Yes, you are right," he agreed. "I just thought these things required more consideration." Even as he said that, he knew he was just being silly. They had been in contact for weeks, weeks that showed him that he still shared that same strong bond with Zeala they had as younglings. It was one that he cherished, and would always cherish, and what harm was there in affirming it?

"Remember, my apprentice, do not let your concern for the future obscure the truth of the moment," Kee-Xi reminded him.

"I think it's a great idea," Diya insisted. "You're both so wonderful together!"

"Yes." Silas nodded. "Yes, you are all right. And if Zeala has no objections to doing it on the Enterprise, nor do I."

"I have none," Zeala said, smiling at him. She looked to Uhura, who smiled back and nodded.

"Well. We'll have to make some arrangements, I suppose." Kirk put his fork into the food on his plate. "But first, I think we owe it to the galley to not waste their hard work. And then we have some star maps to look over."

The Jedi joined Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in the conference room. Junior officers were just leaving, having deposited a number of printed star maps on the tables. "That's an awful lot of space," McCoy observed. "And we're still exploring this entire area of the Alpha Quadrant."

"And then there is the explored regions of the Beta Quadrant to consider," Kirk added, pointing to another starmap. This one listed borders for the Klingons and Romulans as well. "Hundreds of inhabitable worlds."

Kee-Xi nodded. He remained on the starmap showing local space and the systems surveyed so far. He felt the Force flow through him, guiding his hand over the map. There was a pull here. Somewhere the Force meant for him to go.

"You feel it too, Master?", Zeala asked. She stepped up to his right.


"As do I." Silas stood at his left. He put his hand over the map. "I'm just… maybe I'm just not feeling it enough."

"Close your eyes," Kee-Xi instructed. He did so himself, and his students obeyed. "Clear your mind of all thoughts of the map. Focus on the Force. Feel its current through you."

The three Jedi acted in tandem. Each felt the same pull through the Force and their hands glided together. The three Enterprise officers watched as their hands began to come together over the map. "It's like watching someone operate a Ouija board if you ask me," McCoy mumbled.

"I can see the similarity," Spock remarked. "But unlike that old Earth superstition, we have empirical evidence of the existence of the Force which the Jedi speak of and of their ability to use it for extra-sensory perception."

"Leave it to you to take all of the fun out of it, Spock," McCoy mumbled.

Kirk smiled quietly at the usual light-hearted bickering among his friends.

The Jedi had stopped moving their hands. They were now stacked on top of the other over the same place. Spock stepped up to the map. "Fascinating," he said upon examining their apparently-blind choice.

The three Jedi opened their eyes and looked. Kirk and McCoy stepped up too. "Spock, that world is inhabited, isn't it?"

"It is indeed, Captain," Spock answered. "It is the homeworld of an intelligent species. First contact was on Stardate 8022.1 by USS Shepard. They possess spaceflight and warp drive capability, but have settled only a few worlds in their immediate area."

"If they have warp drive, is there a reason they haven't joined the Federation yet?", McCoy asked.

"That's a good question, Bones." Kirk certainly didn't want to see the Jedi facing a hostile society.

"While a peaceful society, they have a societal system not compatible with the Federation Charter," Spock explained.

"Perhaps, then, that is why the Force draws us to them," mused Kee-Xi. "Regardless, my students and I are in concurrence. This is the world that we seek."

"Well, it certainly wouldn't hurt for us to drop by and say hello," Kirk remarked. He walked over to the intercom and pressed the key. "Kirk to Bridge."

"Yes, Keptin?"

"Mister Chekov, we have a new destination." Kirk looked back to the starmap. Without glasses on he couldn't quite read the text for the world that was selected, but the name was simple enough to remember. "Set a course for the Bajor system, best speed."

The Enterprise was a day out from Bajor when the ceremony was held. Given the number of crew interested in attendance, the gymnasium was picked for the ceremony.

Off in one corner of the room, Zeala finished checking the belt on her Jedi robes. She had not worn this form of robes in years, not since Tyva had last been with her on Coruscant. As opposed to the lighter field robes, these robes had weight to them. White with brown trim, although the white was at the insistence of the ship's tailoring department. A custom, Zeala imagined, when it came to these sorts of things.

"You look great," Diya announced. She was in a fine sleeved blouse of Starfleet red and a matching set of dark pants. It rather resembled the uniform she would end up wearing if she kept to her current choice.

"Thank you, Diya," Zeala said. She breathed in. Her body was mostly recovered from the trauma of her fight with that Sith calling himself Vindis. Now she only had a nervousness born of the commitment.

It was silly. She and Silas had a bond. Even now she felt him in the Force. Fidgety, surprising for someone usually so confident. She sensed a bit of mortification. She thought maybe it was Doctor McCoy speaking with him, or perhaps Mister Chekov. Some embarrassment, they were discussing… ah. The "wedding night". Zeala felt her cheeks go a little pink at that thought.

"You look radiant, young lady."

Zeala moved her head to face Uhura, wearing a crisp Starfleet uniform with decorations and ribbons now adorning the jacket. "I thank you," Zeala said. "I do not know if your crew understands that the Jedi concept of joining is not necessarily the same as marriage. Jedi acknowledge that a pairing might not last."

"Marriages don't always last either, but it's always best to be positive about them," Uhura answered. "It is a little fast, I suppose. You're still so young."

"I know. But it is… different, I imagine, than for others. Silas and I have a bond through the Force. We felt it as children, and it has returned and strengthened since we met again." Zeala looked toward the prepared platform that had replaced the training map. There was a tinge of darkness in the room, the after-effects of Vindis' wrath and Silas' brush with the Dark Side. But Light was here as well. Silas' choice had brought the Light to shine through the Darkness.

And now they would finish that.

"I'm happy for you both," Uhura said. "And proud."

"Your advice was welcome." Zeala grinned a little. "I never imagined I would be doing something like this. And I'm surprised this arrangement exists. Master Kee-Xi must have studied through mountains of old Jedi records to discover it."

"I'm glad he did." Uhura looked around. "Well, it looks like you're all ready. Let's get you into position."

Kirk was in his full Starfleet regalia and had the dress jacket to go with it. Kee-Xi stood beside him in fine robes of brown and light beige with white, the garb a Jedi Master and member of the Council would wear. Fitting as he was a one-man Jedi Council now. "So, how does this ceremony work?", Kirk asked. "How do Jedi marry?"

"We don't," Kee-Xi answered.

"But you used to, just as you said," Kirk pointed out.

Kee-Xi smiled thinly. "Well, yes. Jedi have married before." There was a twinkle of mischief in his blue eyes. "But usually Jedi marriages simply used the ceremony of whatever cultural heritage existed for the Jedi in question."

Kirk remained silent for a moment. An amused grin came to his face. "In other words, there is no 'ancient Jedi joining ceremony'. This is just a normal marriage and you're making it up as you go along?"

Kee-Xi shrugged. "All traditions must start somewhere, Captain Kirk."

"It sounds like you have plans for this one," Kirk noted.

"Yes. It is clear to me that the Force guided us here for a purpose beyond preserving the Jedi and bringing us to a new galaxy. In maintaining Jedi ways, we must yet be willing to accept new ones. Instead of becoming dogmatic and inflexible, we must remember that life is diversity. Times change. Things change, they strive. And the Jedi must, at times, change as well, whatever dangers may lurk beyond those changes."

"Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations, Master Kee-Xi." Spock stepped up, wearing the same uniform as Kirk. "It is a Vulcan view of the universe."

"I am pleased to hear so. For it is a true one," Kee-Xi answered. "The Jedi must never let ourselves become detached from the galaxy around us. That way lies stagnation and an end to our connection to the Living Force."

Kirk nodded. "I'm glad to hear it, Master Jedi." He looked to the onlookers. "It looks like everything is about ready. Gentlemen, I think it's time to begin."

The ceremony had been designed by Kirk with Kee-Xi's input. It inevitably had a number of Western Earth customs, given Kirk's involvement, and Kee-Xi noted with curiosity how close they were to Coruscanti-descended marriage customs. Kirk took a position on the low raised platform placed over the training mat's position. Silas stood to his right in Jedi robes of white and brown. Kee-Xi stood with him, taking up a position akin to the best man, although not in that function.

The ship's musician played the bridal march and Zeala walked down the aisle between the chairs set up for the crew, the hood of her Jedi robe drawn down around her neck. At her arm was Doctor McCoy, looking quite pleased with being picked to "give the bride away" as the honorary father of the bride. Kee-Xi noted quietly that underneath the surface of pleasure and that wide smile was a measure of pain. A sense of loss of opportunity that this day was, if not healing, at least making up for in some small way.

Once Zeala was standing across from Silas they clasped hands and smiled at each other. Kirk waited for the musician to stop before speaking. "We are gathered here today to observe these two joining together in personal harmony," he began, reading from a script agreed upon with Kee-Xi. Kirk had little problem with the concept of changing the usual forms of the marriage script. The Force substituted for God or whatever other name might be invoked. "The Force is life," he continued. "And it is in unions such as these that the Force brings new life into being. The union formed here today is shared on the deepest of bonds within the Force, bonds that will endure until these two before me have returned to the Living Force. Let them give evidence to that bond."

Ordinarily Kirk would read the vows, but Kee-Xi had asked him to leave them to state their own. "Let the Force guide their words," he had said to Kirk.

"I, Zeala Del, join with you," Zeala said.

"And I, Silas Torson, join with you," Silas answered.

They spoke the next lines together. "We are joined by our love and the bond we share in the Force. We shall be true and faithful to our bond beyond the day that we return to the Force, no matter what the future may bring."

"Simple and to the point", McCoy murmured from his front row seat. "I like it."

Kirk didn't quite hear what McCoy said. He would have agreed though. "Let any who feel that this joining should not be made speak now or forever hold their peace." When there was no response to this customary call, Kirk brought the ceremony to a finish. "Then by the power invested in me by Starfleet, in the presence of these witnesses, I pronounce you husband and wife. May the Force be with you both. You may now kiss."

Silas and Zeala embraced and let their lips meet in a deep kiss.

As the bride and groom kissed, the attending crew of the Enterprise stood and applauded. Diya, standing as maid of honor, laughed as her hands clapped. At her side Zeefive let out a cheery series of beeps and clicks, with a long warble at the end.

Kirk began applauding as well and looked to Kee-Xi with a grin. Kee-Xi sighed with bemusement. He had told Kirk he didn't think that last line was necessary. But it does make the occasion, I suppose...

He happily joined the applause and waited for his students to finish their kiss. As the applause died down he stepped up beside Kirk. "I would have your attention, please" he stated.

All went quiet.

"My thanks." Kee-Xi turned to his students. "Silas, Zeala. I am happy for you. And I am proud in how you two have developed as Jedi. You each have strengths that complement the other, strengthening the bond you share. You have been excellent students. I know Tyva Nos Sirt would say the same if she were here."

Saying that name brought contemplation to the three of them.

Kee-Xi had been made to give up on how much he cared for Tyva. How much he, indeed, had loved her, whatever the indiscretion he had committed in being with her. He consoled himself with the knowledge that she was with them, a part of the Force.

Silas thought on Tyva, his mother, and acknowledged the pain of losing her before they could speak on their connection.

Zeala thought of her teacher, who had let her develop on her own path as a Jedi despite their disparate personalities. She remembered the last message Tyva had sent to her, through their own bond in the Force, and let a tear form in her eye.

After that moment of contemplation, Kee-Xi continued. "The Jedi we knew are gone. Now it is the three of us, here to rebuild the Jedi Order in this galaxy. It will be a long and difficult work. But we will prevail. The Jedi will be reborn."

He put each hand on one of their shoulders. "You have faced darkness and triumphed. You have shown your knowledge in the Force. Your wisdom and understanding of what it means to be Jedi. As your teacher, I must say that there is nothing more I can teach you. You must learn for yourself from now on. For a Jedi never stops learning. Even a Master."

Silas and Zeala blinked and looked at each other. Kee-Xi was bemused by their surprise.

"You are Padawans no longer," he said. "Silas Torson, Zeala Del, you have proven yourselves worthy. I proclaim you both to be Jedi Knights."

Applause broke out again from the crew. Zeala and Silas slowly smiled and bowed their heads in respect. Kee-Xi took out a small blade, a ceremonial one he had brought with him on the Lightrunner for this purpose. As the applause continued, he handed the blade first too Zeala. She cut loose the Padawan braid at the back of her head and handed the glinting silver razor to Silas. He did the same before returning the blade to Kee-Xi.

With Kirk in the lead, the applause continued.
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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-15 09:09am

Chapter 13

The following day, the Jedi and Diya joined Kirk and his crew on the bridge as they made their approach to their destination. The planet Bajor shined like a jewel in the light of her sun. Cities could be seen on the surface. "According to the Shepard's reports, the Bajorans have had spaceflight for several centuries," Spock stated. "And there are signs of advanced planetary civilization going back for millennia."

Kirk watched the Jedi as they stared at the screen intently. "Master Laden?", he queried.

Kee-Xi breathed in. He could feel it here. The Force resonated around this world. "Yes," he said. "This is the world. This is where the Force has drawn us."

"The Bajorans are an insular and private people," Spock noted. "We cannot guarantee they will accept your residence on their world."

"I understand, Captain Spock. But I wish to make the attempt."

"Captain." Uhura turned in her chair. "I'm receiving a transmission from the planet. They..." Uhura seemed surprised. "They say they've been expecting us."

Kirk gave Spock a surprised look. Spock, in turn, raised his eyebrow. "Fascinating."

"Well. Since we're expected, I suppose we shouldn't keep them waiting any longer. Mister Chekov, you have the conn. Spock, Bones, let's accompany our guests down to the planet."

"I'll relay coordinates to Transporter Room 2, sir," Uhura said.

Their arrival point was a grand courtyard. Spock set their shuttle down with expert precision at a place readied for its arrival. The three Starfleet officers and Diya followed the Jedi out of the back hatch.

Waiting for them were a crowd of people. Many were in robes of light oranges and yellows, a few reds and violets. Among them stood a single figure, an older man who was clearly the one in authority. A woman in a light-colored suit that was more like a jacket and long dress than robes stood nearby with similarly-garbed figures.

Kirk stepped up beside Kee-Xi. Together they walked up to the Bajoran leader and his assembled people. Kee-Xi noted the mirthful sense in the green eyes of the leader as they looked over his group. When they got close he bowed in respect.

"I am Kai Pereno," the man announced. The Universal Translators provided to the Jedi and Diya enabled them to understand along with the Starfleet personnel. "We have been expecting you."

"You have?", Kirk asked.

Pereno smiled serenely at him. "Captain Kirk, is it? I am honored to have you on our world. And I see you have brought those from Beyond with you."

"You expected our arrival," Kee-Xi said.

"It was foretold long ago by those who spoke with the Prophets," Pereno answered. "That three from Beyond would come to us and give a blessing to our people."

"We come from another galaxy," Kee-Xi stated. "I am Kee-Xi Laden, Master of the Jedi Order. These are Silas Torson and Zeala Del, Jedi Knights who have accompanied me. We ask your permission, Kai Pereno, to found a new Jedi Temple on your world, and to rebuild the Jedi Order on Bajor."

Pereno said nothing at first. The assembled murmured among themselves. Kee-Xi sensed curiosity, bewilderment, amazement, and some irritation among various attendees.

After the silence, Pereno lifted his right hand to the side of Kee-Xi's head. His fingers pinched Kee-Xi's earlobe, enough for it to become an annoying sort of pain. "I feel your pagh, Master Laden," Pereno said. "I have never felt such a pagh before. Such light. Such radiance." He followed up with doing the same to Zeala and Silas. "All of you. I read the Prophecies, but I never imagined..." After a moment of thought Pereno nodded. "Master Laden, I am but a servant of the Prophets. It is clear that your coming is indeed their will. A blessing being given to our world and our people. I welcome you and your Jedi to Bajor."

"We are honored, Kai," Kee-Xi answered.

"Before we go further, there is something I must show you, Master Laden." He gestured toward the main building behind him. "You may all await us in the gallery."

While the others stayed behind, Kee-Xi followed Pereno and other Bajoran clergy into a hall leading away from the indoor gallery. Stairs went downward into a subterranean level, leading into torch-lit halls that looked millennia old.

He was brought into a chamber attended by two robed Bajorans who bowed wordlessly to Pereno. On the far side of the room was a simple container, an ark of some sort. Pereno led Kee-Xi to it. "This," he began, "is the Orb of Prophecy and Change."

Kee-Xi stepped toward the ark. He could feel the power within; the Force pulsed and resonated with strange energy he had never experienced before.

Sensing Kee-Xi's curiosity, Pereno continued. "They are the Tears of the Prophets, sent to guide the Bajoran people. It was with this Orb that your coming was predicted long ago. 'The Light-bearers of the Beyond'."

Kee-Xi put a hand on the ark. "These Prophets you speak of?"

"They are our protectors. They watch over us, they guide us, from the Celestial Temple."

Normally such words would have seemed to Kee-Xi as local religious beliefs, spiritual convictions at most. But he could feel the power within the Orb. The Force reacted to it and he grew curious.

Pereno reached from Kee-Xi's side and swung the ark doors open. Green light erupted from the hourglass-shaped object inside and enveloped Kee-Xi.

He was back in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant. He stood in the Jedi Council chambers. The Council were arrayed around him. So was Tyva, and Silas, and Zeala. The light, though, was wrong. An amberish hue seemed to permeate everything. "Where am I?", he asked.

"Beginning," said Master Windu.

"Master Windu?"

"We have taken forms familiar to you." Tyva spoke uncharacteristically. Without the usual warmth or fierceness she would use. "You have come from across the path."

"The path." Kee-Xi looked to her. "The hyperspace current."

Her reply was, "All is as must be."

"Light and darkness. Existence shifts but remains. That which occurred will always occur," added the Zeala figure.

"I'm afraid I do not understand," Kee-Xi said. In this strange world the Force did not answer his thoughts as it normally would. But he could still feel something of this place.

"See what is. See what was. See what will be," the being with Silas' voice insisted.

Kee-Xi took in a breath and gathered his thoughts. He focused on the Force. On that sense of the future that Jedi could attain, the sort of clairvoyance that had been the source of the nightmares that had plagued him from the time he was an apprentice to their fulfillment with the Clone Wars.

And he saw.

No dream could match the strength of the visions. An intense barrage of scenes and images rippled through Kee-Xi's being, so quickly that his mind reeled at the attempt to decipher what they meant. He saw the Jedi, the Sith, starships moving across the void of space, great planetary vistas, scenes of peaceful harmony and utter destruction.

And though the details eluded him, Kee-Xi could sense what they meant. This journey had truly been the will of the Force. They had been guided here for a purpose, a greater purpose that he could not yet understand. But one vital to their future. To the destinies of both galaxies.

Kee-Xi reeled as the green light died. He was back in the Orb Chamber with Kai Pereno. The Kai looked at him expectantly. "I have never had such visions," Kee-Xi confessed. "But it is clear to me that we are meant to be here."

"The Prophets provide us with the knowledge we need," Perebno answered. "But rarely what we come seeking."

"That much is expected."

The two contemplated that similarity. Pereno broke the silence. "The old Kenar Monastery in Kendra Province should suffice for your new home. It is rewarded to you by my order and with my blessing."

Kee-Xi felt his heart swell as he thought of that. A new Jedi Temple. The Jedi Order, reborn. Here, on this world. After all of the danger, the long spaceflight that never seemed to end, he had found a place where the Jedi could be rebuilt. "I am honored, Kai Penero, by your generosity. The Jedi will treat your monastery with respect, and we welcome the people of Bajor to call upon us for aid. All who seek knowledge of the Force will be welcomed." He bowed again to Pereno.

"And all who come to learn your ways will come with the protection of the Temple and of the Prophets," Pereno promised. "Let us return to the others then and tell them of this good tiding."

Kirk and Spock found themselves standing away from the others. "So, what do you think of all of this?", Kirk asked.

"It is interesting, Captain," Spock said. "That they should have been aware of this timing. Perhaps there is more to the Bajoran religion than appears?"

Kirk spotted Pereno leading Kee-Xi back into the gallery. "A study for another time then, Spock," Kirk said, watching as Pereno spoke of further bequests to the Jedi Order.

The Kai walked over to one of the young Bajoran clergy seeing to Silas and Zeala. "Ranjen Meressa," Pereno said with a friendly, yet firm, tone.

"Yes sir?"

"I am appointing you to be my official representative to the Jedi," Pereno said. "They will be taking up residence in the Kenar Monastery. It will be their new Temple."

Meressa nodded. "I will be honored to be of service in this manner." She turned to Kee-Xi. "Master Laden, please, direct any needs to my attention."

"I am grateful for any and all efforts on our behalf," the Jedi Master answered.

"I, for one, would like to see this old monastery they're getting," McCoy remarked.

"I would too," Diya added. "Hopefully it has a good view."

Pereno nodded. "Ranjen Meressa can accompany you there whenever she is ready."

"Allow me to gather what few things I require. I shall join you shortly."

Both Bajoran clergy walked away. Silas, who had been observing it all dispassionately, remarked, "It seems rather too good to be true, don't you think?"

"In normal circumstances I would agree," Kee-Xi noted. "But I have experienced their visions first hand. These beings called 'Prophets' have great power."

"So you have experienced one of their Orbs?", Spock asked.

"Yes." Kee-Xi was still processing all of the images and scenes it had shown him. "It was rather interesting. I have never felt something of its like before."

"It would appear to have impressed our hosts," Kirk said. "The idea of the Bajorans accepting the Jedi on their homeworld, of opening up to other species, is not something we expected."

"The Bajorans do not seem to be xenophobes, Captain," Zeala pointed out. "There is a difference between fear of outsiders and simply staying to one's self, even if they are often found together."

"Your point is accepted, Mrs. Del," Kirk answered.

After Meressa returned to join them, the group took the Enterprise shuttle to the Kenar Monastery. On this part of the planet the sun was starting to creep over the horizon, providing a fitting new dawn for the occasion.

The monastery was a work of architectural wonder. Bajoran columns of fine marble supported the high circular roofing of the assorted structures. Smaller versions of these columns supported the protective stone coverings that provided shelter to any walking the various causeways between the structures of the monastery. Aside from the white marble were walls of fall coloration giving color to the entire complex. A great courtyard was opened in the center. Planets were growing in most of it.

"It looks remarkably well-preserved for an abandoned monastery," Silas observed.

"Some peoples in the valley below traditionally maintain the grounds in exchange for using the local land," Meressa explained.

"A wise policy," Kee-Xi noted.

Spock did not land the shuttle in the courtyard. He found an open area around the back of the temple, an old outside pavilion partly built into the mountainside. Everyone stepped out onto said pavilion and looked around at the plant life starting to reclaim the compound. They all stepped out of the shuttle and walked across the pavilion and into the temple.

The inside was built with archways that reminded Kirk of old Earth cathedrals, but Spock suggested they were closer, in Human architecture, to East Asian structures. "A little on the big side for three people," McCoy pointed out.

"It will not be for just three. Not for long," Kee-Xi noted. He turned to face Kirk and his officers. "Captain Kirk, we thank you. Without your help, this day would never have come for us. We owe the future of the Jedi Order to you."

"I look forward to seeing what you do here, Master Kee-Xi," Kirk answered. "I will have the Enterprise beam down extra supplies before we leave orbit."

"We are further grateful for your offered help." Kee-Xi looked to Spock. "Captain Spock, I would look forward to any visits you find the time to make. Any of your people interested in discussing Jedi philosophy are more than welcome to come and stay with us."

"I too have enjoyed our discussions, Master Laden," Spock said. "I will pass that offer on."

"Not every young couple gets such a big place to start with," McCoy remarked, smiling at Silas and Zeala. "Make sure you make the best of it."

A faint blush appeared on the cheeks of the two Jedi.

Spock looked to McCoy. "Doctor, I find it highly unlikely that the young couple needs or even desires such encouragement."

McCoy gave Spock an exasperated look.

Diya stepped up to the Jedi. "I'm going to miss you," she said, hugging Silas first. "It's been great traveling with you."

"You too will be missed," Zeala assured her upon their hug.

"I'm very happy for you, Diya," Silas said. He smiled at the future he saw for this young woman, thinking of how different things had turned out for them given their circumstances when they met.

Kee-Xi accepted a hug as well. "You will do well in their Starfleet, Diya," Kee-Xi said. "That I am certain of."

Diya nodded. "I'll give it everything. Will you let me know how things are going for the Jedi?"

"We'll make sure word gets to you," Silas promised.

"Right." Diya hugged Zeefive last. "Goodbye, Zeefive. I'll miss you."

A series of bleeps and tones answered, followed by a sad warble.

"I know. But your place is here with the Jedi. And I'm sure we'll see each other again." She gave him a pat on his silver-domed top and looked into his violet optic sensor. There was a tear in her eye.

That prompted happier sounds from the astromech droid.

With this goodbye done, Diya returned to a place with the Starfleet officers while the Jedi remained with Ranjen Meressa. She gave them a final goodbye wave.

Spock brought his right hand up. His fingers spread in the middle; index and middle finger together on one side, ring and pinky finger on the other. "Master Laden, Mr. Torson, Mrs. Del, may you live long and prosper."

They returned the gesture. "Live long and prosper, Captain Spock, Captain Kirk, Doctor McCoy." Kee-Xi nodded to Kirk and McCoy. "May the Force always be with you in your travels."

Kirk nodded. "And may the Force be with you, Master Laden, as you work to restore your Jedi Order."

With farewells given, the Enterprise crew departed. The Jedi watched their shuttle fly over the empty old monastery and ascend into the heavens as the Bajoran sun cast its light upon them all in a beautiful dawn.

There was much work to be done. But for the moment, the three Jedi - and their droid ally - could enjoy the Bajoran dawn and what it meant.

After everything, they had succeeded. The Jedi would live on.

Bajor was continuing its peaceful rotation on the viewscreen of the Starship Enterprise when KIrk and the others returned to the bridge. Scott was at a spot along the rear of the bridge, Chekov was at his spot with a Betazoid ensign at the helm, and Uhura was again at Communications. "The Jedi have received the transported supplies and equipment, Captain," Uhura confirmed.

Spock took up his station while McCoy joined Scott at the rail behind Kirk. Diya stood between them, heart pounding with excitement as she absorbed everything she was deciding to do. Casting off from the Jedi, going alone to live on the Federation capital world and attend Starfleet Academy… it was all so terrifying and exciting at the same time.

Kirk slipped into his command chair. "Excellent news, Commander." He put his hands together. "Well. We're long due to return to Spacedock."

"Course for Earth set, Keptin," Chekov said. "Ready to leave orbit on your order."

"Thank you, Mister Chekov. Status on the warp engines, Mister Scott?"

"My wee bairns are back t' full health, sir," Scott promised. "Ye've got all th' warp speed ye need."

"Excellent." Kirk turned in his chair and looked to Diya. "Don't worry about your friends, Miss Suun. I trust they're going to be fine. And so will you."

Diya nodded in agreement. "I'm just… I guess it's a little scary, that's all. I've been alone in my life before, but nothing like this."

"Don't you worry your little headweights, little lady," McCoy said. "You'll be in fine company soon enough."

Diya nodded back at him for that.

"I do wonder what this world will be like in two decades' time," Spock mused. "And what effect the Jedi Order might have upon our own galaxy."

"That's a question for the future, Mister Spock," Kirk observed.

McCoy "hah"ed as a sort of laugh. "I think they'll do well enough, so long as they don't go for that nonsense about attachments being bad for you."

"Doctor, I believe you are allowing your Human tendency toward emotion to overlook the place of calm contemplation in the Jedi way."

McCoy directed a look at Spock. "Contemplation, Spock? There's a difference between contemplation and turning yourself into a damn robot."

"And now you add standard Human arrogance to compound your error…"

"Gentlemen," Kirk chided gently. "I think we should leave those questions up to the Jedi, don't you?"

"Obviously, Jim," Spock said.

McCoy replied with crossed arms and a look of mild irritation.

Kirk smiled thinly. Together they were a dynamic team, but all teams had their frictions, and Spock and Bones usually . So did all groups of people, Jedi included.

That made him think. Where would the Jedi be in a year's time? A decade? A quarter-century, much less a century. What did their presence mean for Kirk's galaxy?

"It's a new beginning, all right," he said softly to himself. "A new beginning for them, for Bajor…" He reached forward and gestured for the helm to break orbit. "...and for us. Helm, break orbit and put us on the course for Earth, Warp 5."

Starship Enterprise moved away from the planet Bajor with Bajor's sun illuminating the ship's fine hull as she did so. Once again the proud ship and her crew had been in the center of events that would forever change the course of history in the galaxy. And Kirk and his crew would be left to wonder just what changes were to come for the Federation, for Starfleet, and for themselves.

After several moments the Enterprise went to warp, departing the start of one future for the continuation of her own.
”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Steve » 2016-02-15 09:11am


Two Years Later

There had been much change in the two years since Spock had last seen the old Bajoran monastery at Kenar. While it had been well-maintained before, now that well-kept appearance was joined by all the sights and sounds of life. When he materialized in the main courtyard with his traveling companions, it was to the sight of Bajoran monks and clergy milling about on their duties. "It would appear that your ties with the Bajoran clergy remain as strong as ever," Spock commented. "I presume you have continued to work outside of the d'jarra caste distinctions?"

"Yes, with Kai Pereno's blessing." Kee-Xi led Spock and the third member of their group toward the main doors to the Temple. "I understand the caste system is what keeps Bajor from being considered a viable candidate for Federation membership. I admit I am not a believer in caste systems myself but it is not my place to dictate their own customs to the Bajorans. The most we can do is make it clear that the Jedi will recruit all Bajorans regardless of caste. We have already identified and recruited many Bajorans from lower castes for various tasks in the Temple as well as training with the Force."

"A sensible policy. On other matters, I thank you again for agreeing to join my father at Camp Khitomer," Spock said. "He wished me to pass on that your intervention at critical moments has yielded 'satisfactory results'."

"I thank him for his kind words. I am ever at the disposal of those desiring diplomatic mediation." Kee-Xi took in a breath. "Although I know that is not the only thing you are considering."

"If you are referring to Captain Kirk's death on the Enterprise-B, it is a matter on which there is nothing to discuss," Spock answered. "All that can be done has been done."

"His loss is as felt among the Jedi as it is in Starfleet," Kee-Xi answered. "Diya did not take it well, I would imagine."

"I am told Jim's death aggrieved her deeply. But her grades have since improved. Doctor McCoy and Commander Uhura are keeping in touch with her should she need emotional support."

That prompted Kee-Xi to nod. "I may have to do the same with Silas and Zeala. Diya has great potential that should not be allowed to go to waste."

By this time they had neared the living area. Silas came up to meet him. Kee-Xi and Spock both noted the growth of a goatee on his chin and the mustache to match it. "Master Kee-Xi," Silas said, nodding in respect. He did the same to Spock. "Captain Spock, a pleasure." He looked to the third figure in robes who had, to this time, remained silent. "I am Silas Torson, sir. A pleasure to meet you."

The figure lowered the hood of his Vulcan traveling robes. This act revealed the dark-skinned man underneath, with the same pointed Vulcan ears as Spock's. Anyone looking on might have been surprised by the presence of a Padawan braid in the hair at the back of his head. "Greetings, Jedi Torson," he said in a reserved Vulcan clip. His hand came up in the traditional Vulcan greeting, which Silas quickly returned. "I am Tuvok of Vulcan."

"Tuvok was a young member of Captain Sulu's crew that I met on the way to Khitomer," Kee-Xi explained. "He has great potential. At my request Starfleet allowed Tuvok to resign his commission so that he could join us as a Jedi. I have taken him as my new Padawan to oversee his instruction."

Silas nodded to them both. He could sense the same potential in Tuvok that his father spoke of. "I'm glad to hear it. I look forward to seeing you complete your training, Padawan Tuvok."

"Thank you, Jedi Torson," Tuvok answered with that same Vulcan reserve.

Before either could continue, a young Bajoran child in youngling robes. "Master Torson, Acolyte Ryka sent me to find you. She says it's happening."

Silas blinked. "Wait? Now? But I thought…"

"We can speak on other matters later, Silas," Kee-Xi said. "Go be with Zeala. I will join you shortly."

Kee-Xi had seen to lodging for Spock and Tuvok. The latter had chosen to set up his new quartering to his liking while Spock opted to join Kee-Xi on a trip to another room. As they approached it, a loud cry came from within.

They found Silas sitting beside a bed. Zeala sat within, sweat still dripping on her face and her breath settling. An elderly Bajoran woman at the foot of the bed was leaning toward her. "May the Prophets smile on you and your little girl today," she said.

Zeala sighed and grinned weakly while accepting the swaddled little bundle into her arms. Crying was still coming from within the blanket as Kee-Xi stepped up. He could feel the little life in the Force, newly exposed to the outside world. There were tears in Silas' eyes as he reached out and touched the face of his daughter. "She's beautiful," he said. "Look, she has your eyes."

"Your nose," Zeala added.

Kee-Xi looked down at his newborn granddaughter with happiness and a touch of pride. Bright blue eyes occasionally opened between bouts of crying. It filled him with a touch of bittersweet nostalgia that he had been across the galaxy when Silas was born.

"My congratulations on the birth of your child, Mister Torson, Mrs. Del," Spock said. "May she live long and prosper."

"Thank you, Captain Spock," Zeala answered.

"It is customary to provide a name," said the Bajoran woman, Acolyte Ryka.

Zeala and Silas clearly already knew their choice, and it was left for Zeala to say, "Tyva. Her name is Tyva Laden Del."

Kee-Xi nodded in approval. His heart felt a tinge of pain for Tyva Nos Sirt to go with his happiness for the birth of their granddaughter.

Silas held little Tyva next. Her cries were already receding. By the time Silas handed Tyva to Kee-Xi, she was sleeping. He brought her close and looked down at the newborn's sleeping face. Her life was a small ember in the Force. "I sense potential in her," Kee-Xi admitted to the parents. "She will be a great Jedi."

"If she chooses, yes," Zeala said.

Kee-Xi nodded at that. He looked back to the baby. Though the future always shifted, he could sense the potentials of her futures in the Force. And he hoped only the best for the little girl.

Hope didn't always work out. Kee-Xi knew that from hard experience. But neither was hope something to give up on. After all, look where it had brought them. Because he had dared to hope for the future of the Jedi, whatever came, they were still here, in this place.

And in his heart, Kee-Xi Laden believed that his hope for the future of Tyva Del would turn out the same way.

"Welcome to the world, little one," he said to little Tyva. "May the Force be with you, always."

Silas and Zeala nodded in agreement.

”A Radical is a man with both feet planted firmly in the air.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

"No folly is more costly than the folly of intolerant idealism." - Sir Winston L. S. Churchill, Princips Britannia

American Conservatism is about the exercise of personal responsibility without state interference in the lives of the citizenry..... unless, of course, it involves using the bludgeon of state power to suppress things Conservatives do not like.

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Re: Star Wars Episode I - "A New Beginning" (Crossover)

Post by Borgholio » 2016-02-15 11:54am

This was a great story, I enjoyed reading it. Looking forward to Episode 2. :)
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