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 Post subject: Rapora Wars: The Cycle of the Force (Subplot RPG)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 10, 2005 9:10 pm 
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Jacen Solo sat in the scortched ruins of one of the great valleys of Zonoma Sekot. Through the force he could feel the emotions of all those around him, their thoughts and feelings. Behind him he felt her coming, "So they released you?"

"Yes," Danni answered as she shivered in the cold. A slight smile flickered across her lips as she saw Jacen turn to look back at her, "Any word from the front?"

"We lost Ord Mantell, and Thrawn is dead. Not much more then that. Kenth Hammer is heading to fleet headquarters." Jacen shrugged, "Ulan Shai and my parents should get here shortly."

"Good," Danni answered quietly as she dropped down next to him on scorched earth. The smile quickly disappeared as she saw the desolation around her. Still she tried to carry on the conversation, "How about Jaina?"

"Last I heard she's back with the fleet," Jacen shrugged, "She'll be alright, she always has been tough."

"That she has."

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 02, 2005 5:30 pm 
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Han Solo grimaced when the brilliant orb that was Zonama Sekot occupied all space in front of his viewport. Huge patches of brown had replaced the vast green forests and fields. Clouds of black ash moved in the atmosphere overwhelming the pristine white clouds.

"It's worse than it looks?" Han asked and turned to his wife. The princess with widened eyes could not help but stare at the desolation left behind by the Rapora. And that had been done over a month ago. Forests were still on fire, towns and enclaves isolated and doomed to death, as piles of dead rotted in once green fields, that Yuuzhan Vong and Ferroan alike were burning them to prevent pests and disease.

"It feels worse," Leia uttered under her breath as she instinctively reached out into the Force. She felt from a distance a the presence of Jacen, Danni and Tahiri, then she tried to reach deeper to touch Sekot with her mind. Ulan's gasp came a heartbeat before hers.

"What?" Han sat up, looking from Ulan to Leia. "What is it?" he repeated.

"Sekot, it is..." her voice trailed off. And Ulan filled in. "Gone."

***

An unusual commitive stood by the landing platform where the Falcon was due to land. Unlike other past visits there were no Yuuzhan Vong representatives to receive their most lauded son. No emissaries from Sekot nor from the Magister. Not even Tahiri or Danni Quee had been there. Only a human figure stood by, looking up at the sky waiting to greet his parents.

The Milennium Falcon slowly touched the metal platform of Zonama's unofficial space port. It was the place where Luke and Mara had touched down years earlier in their attempt to recruit Zonama into the war, and where the few Sekotian fighters of Jacen and Tahiri were parked.

As the landing ramp opened and the grey-haired figure of Han Solo started to come out of his ship, he just looked around and then walked in front of his son.

"No welcome party, huh?" Han tried a lop-sided grin.

Jacen shrugged and smiled as an answer.

"It's good enough," Han smiled and hugged his son. As soon Jacen freed himself from his fathers embrace, another hug was due as his mother tightly held him. "Jacen," she said as she let him go. "I felt it, Jacen. How did it happen?"

Before he answer Jacen sent a nod in Ulan Shai's who came last out of the Milennium Falcon. The Yuuzhan Vong came and shook Jacen's hand before he took a wide look around. "Where," he asked turning to Jacen, "can I find Harrar or Nas Choka?"

"Nas Choka and Saba are in the Southern Hemisphere helping the Survivors, Harrar and Tahiri have been trying to get in contact with Sekot -to no avail-" he grimaced.

"And Danni?" Leia asked.

"She's trying to figure out how extensive the damage to Zonama was," then he moved closer to his parents and Ulan and allowed his voice to drop quieter. "She has not yet revealed this to anyone but me, but Zonama got hit much worse than it seems. The whole ecosystem is upside down, whole Bora forests were burned down with Plasma. About a third of the population died."

Leia winced and her gaze shifted to the ground. "That is not all," she said as realizations and partial thoughts came to her. "The onslaught was pretty bad, but much damage has come from Sekot's withdrawal."

Surprised and taken aback by his mother's perception Jacen only managed a nod. "The planet has not 'reacted' to the damage, it's then that we noticed that Sekot was gone. He did not die or pass out," Jacen said before the questions were asked. "It was more like he withdrew."

"Withdrew?" Han asked looking from his son to his wife. "A big allpowerful planetary entity just withdrew? What for?"

"To meditate," Ulan said queitly. It was after all a reaction much like his own would be in such a case.

"That was Jabitha's guess," Jacen said. "Sekot has taken a leave in the past, this time has been longer, and we believe that he has withdrawn to meditate, to remember, whatever."

Han's pressed his lips together before putting his arm around his wife and lead her to a speeder close by. His mouth opened, but his words came only a moment later. "Let's go and find Harrar and that Jabitha gal, I guess that's where you are needed, Leia."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2005 10:40 pm 
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Captain Krask Clawdar neat before the throne of the Timeless One as two sith acolytes slid into the chamber. Each held before him a glowing red orb, the symbol of their particular order. Clawdar didn't give them a second glance, he knew they were of little importance, just as many of the sith that came here were.

Slowly the Timeless One rose, "Ah, I see that you are here. You know of what status our enemy is..."

"Yes my lord," The two acolytes responded quietly.

"Good, the Chosen One has returned. Spread out your contacts, infiltrate the enemy's camps. Find him, and capture him if you can." The Timeless One's eyes hardened, "And his descendents."

"Yes my lord." The two sith bowed and withdrew from the chamber.

"Commander Clawdar, I have a mission for you..."

"Whatever you will my lord," Krask answered with a smile.

"Take a commando team to Zonoma Sekot. Analyze the state of the planet, and report on all the Jedi present on the world."

Krask nodded as another smile spread across his lips, "And if the Skywalkers or Solos are there?"

"Then do as you see fit."

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 9:44 pm 
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The small commitive decided to walk, the day was dark and gray and pillars of dark smoke could be seen in the distance. A cold afternoon threatened by inminent rainfall. Windy too. A climate unappropriate for the small speeder Jacen had brought. Halfways to their destinations fat drops began to drop, followed by the strong incessant fall of rain.

With the towering protection of the Bora trees gone, gusts of wind hit the walking party hard. Han felt Leia shiver, although he knew well that she could use the Force to lessen her susceptibility. His son walked up front guiding them, partly trying to serve as a windbreaker for his parents Han suspected. Or at least trying to create a field with the Force to shield them from the cold and the rain.

A man that had endured torture at the hands of Darth Vader, the cold was not even halfways to excite his nerve ends as strongly as Vader's machine had. But that had been too long ago, and Han had grown old. Now Han felt the cold in his bones, still from a lifetime of experiences he knew well enough to mask the cold he was feeling.

Only Ulan Shai who walked in the back of their group kept silent. He complained not about the cold nor the wind. Han did not need Jedi powers to tell that there was something greater overwhelming him. Something far stronger that affected him deeper than the cold. What that was, Han could not tell, but his suspicions grew the closer they were to the small recint where Jabitha awaited them.

Deep silence reigned as Han, Leia, Jacen and Ulan entered the what? Han could not define the place they were in. Warehouse? Cottage? Temple? A combination of sorts he decided. It was not as small as it had seemed on the outside, but there were stairs leading to undergroung levels. They were in some kind of antechamber, but even here in a small hall no bigger than their old Maranai Apartment suits had been at least two dozen Ferroans lay on the ground, keeping warm. Some were singing softly, and some other were weeping.

Han could not blame them. They on the other hand could blame them. About ten years ago, Luke and Mara had robbed this people of their peace and seclusion. Brought them back to win a war and then leave them in peace, but this time with the burden of the Yuuzhan Vong upon them. Some Ferroans did not dissimulate their disdain for Leia and Han, and especially Jacen and Ulan, as their hard stares penetrated them.

Partly Han hoped that Jabitha wouldn't run them through lots of corridors with people hating them, it was a cheap psychological trick to apply and one unnecessary at that.

Leia tightened her grip on his hand, explain through that simple gesture that it was not the case. There was sepulted scorn in the minds of the Ferroans, but not in the mind of the majority nor in the mind of the Magister. Their bond without the need of Jedi magics was a strong and clear as their children's. Han smiled to himself.

Jabitha led them as quickly to the lower level, avoiding whenever possible to pass through the refugees. The last level was the fourth, it was smaller than the other, a privilege reserved to the Magister. And to some few select others in the favor of the Magister.

Already Tahiri and Harrar were there, both in meditative positions removed from the physical world. One lost in his faith and religion, his lips murmered prayers to Yun-Yuuzhan, to Yuuzhan'tar, summoning Sekot back, the other trying to reach out through the Force, like tendrils that penetrated the planet's crust seeking to it's Core. Finding where Sekot was.

Jabitha grazed them with a soft look and with a smoothh movement guided the group into a corridor that diverged from the main widearched hallway. It led to several few rooms which Leia guessed where the Jedi's quarters, Jabitha led them to the end of the corridor. There a roughly wookie-sized door opened and Jabitha explained that were the quarters assigned to them.

"They are not roomy, but they will keep you warm. These are refuge for ourselves when travelling the void. Not meant for luxury nor to be used for long. As a Magister I feel ashamed to offer you so little."

"It is perfect, Jabitha. We thank you." Leia said and she and Han vanished inside.

"Ulan Shai, you are a guess to us. We can offer you quarters like the ones other Jedi use. Your old master has just vacated one, but we have some few meant to house Yuuzhan Vong, a spatious one meant for Nas Choka is now vacant as well." Jabitha smiled a fragile smile. "Which will it be?"

Jacen looked intensely at them, expecting the answer to give him some insight. Ulan was for many an unknown variable. Something had happened to him during his capture at the hands of the Rapora. Something had touched him, tainted him. Whatever it was it had given him power. Power as vicious as an ion storm had embraced him, if it broke loose it would be unrestrainable. Somehow that power was barely tangible, as if something was holding it at bay. Jacen suspected that the young Yuuzhan Vong had not noted it, the Yuuzhan Vong's spirit had escaped that fate. There was a hint of sadness and worry, natural considering the circumstance. But there had been more worry in her mother's heart, and she had not hidden it from Jacen. She had kept Ulan close to her and Han, she had felt the power, and she had shuned it away. As if something about it made her suddenly afraid.

"I would be honored to occupy Master Rar's former chambers," Ulan Shai answered. More Jedi than Yuuzhan Vong. Why? Jacen wondered.

Was he shielding himself from the pain and loss that affected him as a Yuuzhan Vong. Did he mean to channel his sorrow into compassion. The Jedi's way? Or was he fleeing his own nature? Warrior-born, warrior-bred Ulan Shai. Your blood expects you to charge into battle. But you fear it, don't you? Perhaps you do know of that taint, that power.

Will I be able to solve the puzzle you are, Ulan Shai. Will I solve it in time. Days, weeks, months. You are faced with a choice and you answer in riddles. An oase of certainty had to exist in the desert of turmoil, and he would be the one to find it.

Or so Jacen hoped.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 10:17 pm 
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Krask knelt in the meditation room of the transport. He sat with his body centered over the pinwheel star which dominated the room. Its red marble polish giving it a gleam in the candle light around him. He felt the force in the room, the whisper of the darkness, the call of the light. Each tugged at him, and each tried to guide him. Krask ignored them both. He centered his being in the room and listened as the calls fell silent. He threw his spirit upon the floor and into the trillions of nanites that pulsed through his ship, like blood in the body.

Slowly he cracked open one golden eye as beads of sweat appeared at the top of his head. The red feathers which began there flashed a brilliant black as blood streamed out of them for a moment then rushed back. His muscles grew numb and his spirit fainter, tired and less resilient. Then slowly he stood up and brushed off his mane of red feathers and straightened his robes.

The door to the room hissed open and a Kar Vanel'kar droid stepped into the room, its two red eyes focusing on the Captain, "We will arrive within the next few moments Captain."

"Thank you," Clawdar answered as he closed his eyes and whiped his hand across his pale face, "Is the cloaking device ready?"

"Yes sir."

"Good," Captain Clawdar glanced back at the droid and smiled. They wouldn't be detected, each of the warriors had gone through the purification rituals before him. Each had torn down their force footprint, and to Clawdar each had torn apart their souls. He dispised the technique, and always felt scarred and used upon its completion, but he knew that if the mission was to succeed stealth even stealth from the force needed to be observed.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 26, 2005 2:00 pm 
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She was barefoot and alone. The tiles on the floor were cold, and her small feet quickly jumped over them, as if jumping from tile to tile was a dangerous game. She giggled when she noted that she had missed the corridor she wanted to take. She would need to walk some steps back and then take a right.

She knew the right path through the near empty corridors very well. It was the route she most commonly used to visit Papa in his office. The huge great office of the Viceroy of Aldaraan.

The little girl blinked, as if waking up from a dream. She was home, though her senses where those of a child, the mind of the mature Leia was seeing thorugh them. A dream, yes. She was dreaming of her childhood, of Alderaan and her father.

Luke said that Jedi rarely dream, an experience she had lived fully in her childhood, and had often wondered about it. She remembered the night she had confronted her father about a nightmare she had had. It had been a warm night of summer, it had been the Day of the Grand Alderaanian Gathering officers of all places of the Empire would come there and march, as they had done for years, even back in the Old Republic.

Her father had told her that some people never dreamed because they never were fully asleep, that some part of them was always in touch with everything. A beautiful metapher of the Force. Leia smiled. Only years after that night she understood why she had had a nightmare. Darth Vader had been there, and she had felt his darkness, his silent hatred for Alderaan. For Bail Organa, a man who had been close to his dear Padme.

Leia blinked again, as she realized that she was reliving that night again through this dream. She quickly walked back and ran to her fathers office, not with the careless steps of her young childlike body, but with the urgent need of the older Leia, wondering what she might find.

Her small child-hands opened the door, and took a peek inside. She could perceive two people inside. Just as she had years earlier, when she had inadvertedly spied on a conversation between her father -Bail Organa- and another man, a Jedi. Instead of entering and joining her father she simply stayed outside.

Now the Jedi, Trej Ocas his name had just ascertained itself in her tongue, was there looking as he had looked then - and opposed to him was Ulan Shai. Contrasting directly with the Royal Alderaanian ambience.

Leia's heart sank slightly, part of her had desperately wanted to see her father once more, instead she focused on the conversation.



***

"Hello there," the ethereal voice of Trej Ocas manifested itself.

Ulan blinked into existence, or rather non-existence. His essence had been materialized into a place of beauty. It was wide and white, with armonic curves and shapes, that seemed to capture the essence of life. Ulan could not help but be enticed by it, unlike the cold Coruscant and the humanly atmosphere that was Corellia, a stronghold of peace and balance, the gentler side of humanity. One that even welcomed a Yuuzhan Vong.

The room was circular with a wide door on the south and a crystal window that strectched from the northern side to the east. Already in the horizon, past a small lake surrounded by short trees the whitish aura appearing amidst the black night suggested that the sun would rise soon.

"What is this?"

"What was this, rather." Trej Ocas's voice came wistful. "This was my home. Now it is a memory, a dream captured in a few minds."

He stood moved around the circular office, from the wooden door he went to the window, and Ulan's attention followed him. On the opposite side, a pair gentle child hands opened the door to peek inside. Little fingers caressing the warm wood, a little brown eye taking look inside.

"Why I am here?" Ulan Shai asked carefully, there was much he did not understand. Less of all his role in this galactic plot.

"A question I should ask you," Trej Ocas answered. Ambiguous and enigmatic responses was all this appearances could offer. The human spectre prosigued. "Partly I have been summoned here by your own uncertainty. The shadow of doubt is deeply engraved in your heart."

His eyes widened and were deadlocked on Ulan Shai's. "A shadow yourself placed."

Ulan looked at the floor. The spectre's words were not new, long hours had he spent in a careful introspective of what was in his heart. He had felt changed during his capture. But he could recall some scarces episodes, and none of them seemed the full truth.

He recalled torture, and struggling, he recalled his capture in which he had killed about two dozen warriors. He knew that he had been touched by darkness, the Timeless One was to be blamed for that.

"Is he really?" Trej asked.

Ulan frowned. It was not new that Trej could pick up his thoughts, it was the question that made him frown. "Are you saying that I am shamed with Darkness. Is the ruin of Zonama Sekot to be burden for me to carry?"

"That is for you to determine." He touched the glass with his hand. "The Timeless One is old and cunning, his mere presence is seductive, enticing. The Dark Side is terribly strong in him, how could any of us resist the lure?"

Trej's eyes grazed Leia's curious stare, he was aware she was there. HE had probably even summoned her there.

Ulan tried to answered. "He... I..." He swallowed. "I cannot remember."

Trej put both hands on Ulan's shoulders. "You must, Ulan Shai. Your body has healed the scars of torture, when will your mind and heart heal them too? Are you not a Jedi? Can you not pierce into your own soul?"

Ulan took a step back from the ghostly presence and remained silent. The Yuuzhan Vong had no doubt of his physical strength. His frame though small in comparison to other Yuuzhan Vong was still powerful. More than once duels had been decided by physical prowess. With the Force as an ally he had defeated two dozen Rapora, before he had been captured.

He had resisted torture, hunger and solitude. And he had escaped. Or had he? He remembered the hurried escape during the battle of Bakura. But could a person capable of moving a moon with the power of his mind not stop him?

Lay your questions aside, Ulan.

He breathed again and in his mind formed an image that was a complete certainty. "I know I would resist torture. I would not give in."

There was a smile on Trej Ocas. "A solid first step, Ulan Shai, you have questions that will be answered, but they must be answered by yourself. One at the time."

Ulan then vanished. Probably to wake up from the dream.

***


"You too have questions, have you not, your Highness?" Trej Ocas clearly spoked and knelt.

The child Leia opened the door wide open. "Some questions have waited decades for an answer."

"And after all that time the answer is nothing but an apology." Trej raised his head and outstretched his hand to kiss the Princess's hand. Perfect Alderaanian protocol. "I failed both of your fathers."

Behind him, like still holographs two other specters appeared. One of them the old Anakin Skywalker, the man who had died twice. Once killed by his darker self, and then when he gave up his life for his children. Next to him, Bail Organa, seated as he had been the last time she had seen him. The he had been worried and a frown had occupied his face, instead his face was passive and calm.

"I saw you once, I was introduced to you, but never knew who you were." Leia said sadly.

"My life would have been a forbidden topic. I was once Jedi Master from Alderaan, powerful enough to face Darth Vader and survive."

Leia's eyes widened in surprise, could a Jedi like that had been simply ignored and dismissed by history.

"It was the night the temple was attacked. I was near the hangar, on the exterior wall. In the most desperate moment I tried to confront Vader, our blades clashed and I jumped back. I misstep and fell off the catwalk. I fell into the endless pit that is Coruscant. Somehow I survived, but I dismissed my past, and hid as a beggar. Coruscant is, and ever will be a sea of shadows.

"One day, I saw the light and remembered what I was like, so I began to take a hard road to return to ALderaan, there is little to be told of that. I could not return there -here- and assuming the role of a guardian for you, I could not join the Rebellion. Something else called me, if you, and your brother represent the future of the galaxy, I had to take part in removing part of a dangerous past. I did not know it then and probably not until the end did I comprehend what it implied. It seems I too have failed."

"What do you mean?" Leia asked.

"Had I suceeded, I would not be here. I would have communed with the Force. And I have become part of it to some extent. There is something about the Rapora that has brought me back to life." He looked at her and gave her an enigmatic smile. "The Rise and Fall of Anakin Skywalker has had more deep implications in the nature of the Force than you could ever imagine."

Leia said nothing. Those were things that would be better handled by her brother.

"You are both meant to deal with them, your Highness," Trej whispered. "Perhaps, you just like young Ulan must learn who you really are."

He waved the comment away, realizing that Leia needed not his guidance, she was not as fragile as the Yuuzhan Vong. She had weathered worse, and had taken her own place in the Jedi Order, but still the specter's voice stinged her heart. There was some truth in there.

"Lastly, your Highness. I want to give you a gift, the Force is remarkably strong in this planet, and there are many residual memories here," he said pointing to his heart and then his head. "And here," pointing to Leia's heart. "Jedi rarely dream, because they can rarely be cut off from the Force, they are always in a vigil. I give you this dream to be reunited, if only momentarily, with those you love.

"May the Force be with you." He said and disappeared.

As he disappeared other figures materialized into existence. The apparently still spectres of Bail Organa and Anakin Skywalker began to move and talk, and there was also the specter of Anakin Solo, her lost child. In the room, where also Padme Amidala, Luke's Master Yoda, Chewbacca, Mon Mothma and Obi-Wan Kenobi greeted her.

"I forgive you, Trej Ocas." She said, but her voice was broken. With glassy eyes she rapidly ran into Bail Organa's arms. She could feel his warmth, although she knew well that Bail Organa was a memory, a spectre.

"I've missed you!"



***

Han Solo woke up to the sound of a silent sobbing, and he knew it was Leia. She had rolled the blanket over her body and lay on their bed in fetal position. Han put a gentle yet strong hand on her back, as she used to do to him when nightmares of lost friends plagued him.

"Leia." He spoke softly, and a shiver ran across Leia's back. She had been crying in her sleep. He noticed tears had been shed, and dried in her cheeks. How long had she cried?, he wondered.

Leia awakened, and blinked twice as she looked at her husband. "Han", she said under her breath and buried her face in his chest.

"Bad dream, huh?"

She lifted her head, and smiled at him. Though it seemed a sad smile, it was filled with energy and juvenile radiance. "No Han, it was the best dream I have ever had."

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 04, 2005 9:57 pm 
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With a blast of pseudomotion the Savla Claw of Revelation dropped out of hyperspace and instantly disappeared. It hurtled down to the planet, completely unseen, but not unsensed.

To those jedi on the surface a cold sense descended, a quite dread, but they sensed nothing more.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 17, 2006 5:24 pm 
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On Ossus the Jedi collected themselves and tried to sort out the calamity which had befallen them.

Three Jedi had died at Ord Mantell, one of them a member of the Council. To those that survived it was a stunning revelation of just how dangerous their foes were. Kyp Durron had been thought to be the strongest jedi of the order and he'd been killed by Raporan warriors, common footsoldiers of their enemy.

In the halls of the Temple the Jedi quietly talked about what they could do, how they could fight this new foe. Without Luke's presence the Jedi felt lost and confused, even so it was clear to even the most restrained Jedi that the Rapora would only answer to force.

Kyle Katarn stepped past a number of the apprentices, many of whom had been his students followed by his wife Jan. Her face was lined with worry just as his had become lined by age and conflict, "Kyle, this isn't our sort of war. We're not fleet commanders or ground pounders..."

"I know, but we can't just sit around and do nothing," Kyle shook his head, "We might not do much good fighting along Ioor or Evahe, but they're not the only fronts in this struggle."

"Where then? The Mandalorians, I'm not sure they'd appreciate having you along."

Kyle smiled, Jan was wrong on that count. His defeat of Fett years earlier had made him an object of respect to the Mandalorians. He stopped and turned to her, "No, I wouldn't be doing much more good there compared to fighting alongside Ioor or Evahe."

Jan folded her arms over her chest, "Well Kyle what about helping instruct the students here at the academy?"

"I've taught them as much as I can already, I never was the greatest teacjer anyway." Kyle shook his head, "The Council is paralyzed without Luke and with Kyp dead..." He shook his head, "I never was enough of a team player to listen to the council anyway."

"So what then?" Jan arched her eyebrow, "Where are we going?"

"Admiral Hirotek's command in the unknown regions." Kyle shrugged, "The Council even sent a message telling him we're coming."

"Great, we get to go as far from civilization as possible... What about our son?"

Kyle actually winced, "I'm not taking him into a combat zone, I don't much like how Luke and Mara drag Ben everywhere and I'd rather not do the same thing to my own son."

"Alright, we'll drop him off with Jaden." Jan sighed as she headed for the hanger, "Why do I feel I'm going to regret this?"

* * *

Commander Clawdar knelt in the brush beside the ship and sniffed the air, his helmet off and tucked under one arm. The air smelled sweet and extruded a thousand different odors, each one distinct and new. Still it was an enemy world, one that would undoubtably turn upon him if it knew of his presence.

With one final breath of the fresh air Clawdar lifted his helmet and fastened it over his head, with a hiss of air the helmet sealed himself inside his own world. He turned behind him to the other three warriors, "Ready?"

"Yes sir," The three of them answered as they slung pulse carbines over their shoulders.

"Good," Krask turned to the command droid for the ship, "Guard the ship well, the code for emergency retreval is Bloody Claw."

"Roger sir," The Droid answered, its form and vocal patterns a copy of the Rapora which built it, "May the force guide you Commander."

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