A Long Time Ago, In A Galaxy Far, Far Away . . .

Shadows in the Force

Episode II - Dark Insurrection



War has torn the world of Denon in two, a rebellion spreading across the planet. And to make matters worse for the government forces the neighbouring planet of Zonnim has interjected itself into the struggle, aiding the rebels with weapons, and critically leadership.


The charismatic ruler of Zonnim Phirio Piliv has organised the tattered rebels into a cohesive fighting unit, and with every day Denon officials lose more ground and political power to this uprising. Yet his intentions are unknown, much to the concern of the United Galactic Republic senate.

With the conflict threatening to open old wounds in the galaxy the UGR has called upon the Jedi Order to step in and restore peace to the squabbling system. Once again Masimo Hoceto has been dispatched to the war-torn world, but the young Jedi Knight has his own agenda - to find his comrade Trilan Si, lost during the hunt for two UGR survey teams. As Masimo arrives on Denon he finds himself split between his duty, and his heart.

Masimo Hoceto sat with his head slumped against the view port of the Civilian Freighter. His black Nautalon eyes staring into nothingness.


Outside there was much to witness. The skyline of Denon, the vast cities below, but Masimo did not see any of it. Instead he simply gazed to a place no one else could, to a place in his mind that spoke of Trilan, his lost friend, or to Jaxyon who he wished was at his side.

Masimo was startled by a small Human boy jumping into the vacant seat next to him.

The Jedi turned and smiled into the young boys face.
“You’re a Jedi aren’t you!?” The Humans eyes drifted to his belt, the lightsabre secured by its clip.

“Yes. Yes I am.” He pulled his sabre from the belt and hefted it in his hand.
Slowly the boys hand reached out for it, but Masimo tucked it away before his fingertips could near it.

His eyes staring in awe he turned his gaze to Masimo’s face. “Can I play with it?”

The Nautolon chuckled. “Unfortunately no. The weapon of a Jedi is a dangerous thing. If held by an untrained being it could be fatal.”

The young boys eyes dropped in sadness. “My Dad says the same thing about his gun.”

“Your father keeps a gun?”

“Yes,” replied the boy. “He is a soldier for the Rebellion.”

This suddenly brought Masimo’s attention back to the moment. He looked out the window and noticed they were moving into Denons lower atmosphere, the ship spiralling in on an approach vector.

“Do you see much of your father? With this war going on?”
The boy shook his head. “No, he can be away for weeks.”
“I see,” Masimo replied. “And what do you think about the fighting?”
The Human thought this over for a few seconds. “My Daddy says its for the good of the planet. That when I grow older we will thank him and his friends for the peace they have brought to Denon.”

Before Masimo could reply the boys mother came walking over, taking her son by his wrist and yanking him to his feet. “My apologies. He is at a curious age.”
“No need to worry ma’am. The boy was no trouble.”
The female Human bowed and left with her son in tow.
It hadn’t occurred to Masimo before that their were innocents in this war. It was always about how the government was reacting, what atrocities the rebels had caused this time.

But it was the little people in the middle that counted. They were the ones that would have to suffer the scars of this war.

The ship landed with a hefty bump and Masimo moved down the aisle to the exit. A female steward, a Rodian, wished him a good day and Masimo thanked her with a courteous bow.

The light bounced off his eyes and he had to shield them a little as he stepped off the ramp.

Well, things have changed since I was last here, Masimo thought.
The last time he was here, nearly 2 months ago, this place was just like your average spaceport station. The hustle and bustle of various species moving to and fro, luggage being zipped about in speeder carts and droids checking over planetary visa’s.

How things had changed. The walls that surrounded the spaceport no longer seemed welcoming. Instead they were covered in graffiti and blast scores. Razor wire and electrified cables ran the length of the top.

Soldiers of the government were shouting orders for the newly arrived civilians to form lines, to empty their baggage and prepare for scanning procedures.
Masimo thought about the young Human boy he had spoken with on the flight here, how he would react to seeing these men, brandishing guns and screaming at them.

And considering his father was a rebel the boys feelings could only have been made more distrusting of the uniformed men.

Masimo folded his arms into his Jedi robe and strode forward. He joined the line of civilians waiting to be processed and continued to look around.

Over the now battle scarred walls the young Jedi Knight could see some of the taller buildings. Many were crumbling, or defaced with huge blast craters in their sides.

The line kept moving, with Masimo now near the front. The soldiers carrying out the inspections were very thorough in what they did, yet managed to keep the line moving.

Soon it was Masimo’s turn and he walked over to a desk that a female Human had motioned him to.

“State your business.” She said, rather impolitely.

“The war.”

The female woman looked up with a sceptical look. “I beg your pardon?”

Masimo smiled at her. “You asked a question, I have responded.”

Obviously a few of the nearby soldiers had heard his words and moved around him cautiously, weapons half raised.

The woman spoke more forcefully. “Answer me correctly or I will be forced to arrest you.”

“You will arrest me for mentioning the war?”

Another soldier stepped in this time, a male Bothan, arms behind his back and what Masimo knew to be a smirk upon his face. “I find your words to be of concern…” He picked up Masimo’s data card. “…Masimo Hoceto.”

The young Jedi’s smile grew wider. “Really? I find the fact that you think you can threaten a Jedi Knight to be concerning.”

He looked into the Bothans and Humans faces and watched as they slowly turned to disbelief.

Both their eyes followed his hand as slowly the robe revealed his lightsabre hanging at his waist.

After a few short moments the Bothan responded. “Erm… my apologies. You are clear to proceed.”

The Nautolon collected his data card from the female Human and pocketed it away. “Why thank you… lieutenant.”

He stepped out of line and continued forward toward the gate. The Bothan moved in alongside him. After clearing his throat he said “My superiors would be very interested in seeing you.”

Masimo nodded. “Very good. Because I am very interested in seeing them.”
“This way Master Jedi.” The Bothan waved his arm to a speeder off to the right.

* * * *


Rhommamool.

Not since the beginning of the Yuuzhan Vong war had the planet seen such turmoil and confusion, when the infamous Nom Anor stirred up trouble on the planet. Now there was trouble again on the planet, though this time it didnt have to do with its neighboring planet of Osarian.

No this time it was the planet of Denon. And while Denon wasnt as close to Rhommamool as Osarian was, the two planets were relatively close as far a space travel goes. Depending on each other for trade, Denon sent Rhommamool the technology, and Rhommamool sent Denon the more rural grown commodities.

Originally the trade had just simply stopped all together when the rebellion broke out on Denon. The government couldnt afford to spare anything, so Rhommamool was sent nothing. After a couple of months shipments started arriving again, but from both factions.

Desperate for more allies "Freedom for Denon", the Rebel faction on Denon, started sending trade ships to Rhommamool. Once wind of this was learned by the Denon government, they started sending shipments again. Now, more than one fight had broken out at numerous spaceports all over Rhommamool's surface.

And now Jaxyon Baul found himself in the middle of the dispute thanks to his friend, who just so happened to be the Supreme Chancellor of the UGR, Verie Fith.

"Listen I do not wish any trouble here," Jaxyon said carefully. He was standing face-to-face with what seemed to be an ill-tempered Gotal. "I simply wish to speak with your captain."

"No one speaks to the captain," the Gotal spat. "Too many of those damn government agents going around to allow that."

Jaxyon openly sighed his frustration. He was standing outside a docking bay which a Rebellion freighter had just landed, and Jaxyon's orders were to try and stop the influence Denon was having on Rhommamool's economy. He had to get one side or the other to back down, and so far the Rebellion was still considered the "bad guys" of the UGR.

'Even though this stupid rebellion was started by two UGR officials,' Jaxyon thought to himself.

A brief thought to use his dormant Jedi powers on the Gotal crossed his mind, but he just as quickly dismissed it. Jaxyon had opened himself to the Force pretty wildly 2 months ago for the first time in years, and while it had felt incredible, he still felt he must keep his power in check. People, and mostly the Jedi, still held fear in the one actual power that Jaxyon excelled in.

"Very well then," Jaxyon said with a bow. "I shall take my business elsewhere. Perhaps I can find a government shipment arriving that would be interested."
This brought a wave of anger from the Gotal. "You would support those tyrants?" asked the Gotal outraged. "You would strengthen them to fight us even more? They are nothing but greedy, self-serving nerf-herders!" cried the Gotal, which was now drawing stares from onlookers.

"Really?" came a reply somewhere behind Jaxyon. And as he turned to face the new voice in the conversation, he got only a brief warning of danger sense from his dampened Force-sense.

A human male, dressed in local clothing stood behind Jaxyon and quickly became a blur of motion as he rounded Jaxyon quickly had was on the Gotal in no time flat. Jaxyon could only watch, he had not acted quick enough, as the human had somehow already produced a vibro-dagger and planted it in the Gotal's chests, puncturing a lung.

A few yells from the passing crowd came as the area cleared and the Gotal slid to the starport floor dead. The human meanwhile lifted up a comlink from his shirt sleeve and said a few words into it.
"Docking Bay 24."

'An Agent!' Jaxyon's mind instantly screamed at the realization. Agents had come into the small war early in the second month of fighting. They were elites, trained killers either trained or hired by Denon's government to hunt down the hidden leaders of the rebellion, they had earned a reputation of being heartless and lethal. And that much had been displayed here now.

"I would advise you to move along citizen," the agent said turning to Jaxyon. "This is the business of "Denon's Followers" now," the agent said, using the typical slang term that were given to supporters of Denon's government.
"I would think that Denon's Followers is still under the UGR correct," Jaxyon said in a harsh tone, his anger at the blanent murder showing. Jaxyon then produced his badge, given to him by Verie Fith himself. "I am here to stop this war from engulfing Rhommamool."

"Im sorry sir," said the agent, now drawing a blaster pistol and placing it at the ready, "but this situation is too hot for a government official to handle. Its time for you to go."

Now Jaxyon thought seriously on bringing his Jedi powers into play, what was going on here wasnt right, now matter if the Rebels were at fault or not, this was all out slaughter.

As Jaxyon made his mind up though, he heard screaming and blaster fire from inside the docking bay itself. It sounded intense for a few moments, but it was quickly becoming quieter and quieter. Within a few minutes, the scene was basically over, and troop of 10 armed soldiers marched out of the docking bay door behind the Agent.

"Area secure sir," said one soldier. "All hostiles eliminated as ordered. Only suffered 2 losses of our own."

"Lets pack up and move on then," said the Agent with a sly smile to Jaxyon, seeming to dare him to do something.

Jaxyon merely stood passive and allowed the group to go, not allowing himself to simply start striking down all these men as well. Too much killing had already happened.

Jaxyon didnt even bother going into the hanger to check the scene, the same thing had happened at countless other starports...all beings inside that hanger had been killed, all in the name of continued democracy.

The feeling made Jaxyon sick.

* * * *

"Welcome to Ryloth" a dark skinned Zabrak with a green facial tattoe said with a bow as a cloaked figure emerged at the bottom of the landing ramp.

The cloaked figure paused for a second and then lowered his hood to reveal tan skin, a black facial tattoe, and a horned head. The green tattoed male's face showed a look of shock, "I did not realize that you were Zabrak, my master."

"That's because you didn't need to know" the dark clad Zabrak said and began walking toward the entrance at the end of the hangar. "Agent Mailun I need you to debrief me on your activity here as well as that on Denon."

"Of course my master" Mailun said lowering his own horned head. "Master Petarus I believe we are ready for the next phase of your plan."

The dark clad Zabrak spun around staring at Mailun, who was almost completely knocked off his feet by his master's actions, "My master and I will decide whether or not your work has met our expectations."

"Yes master" Mailun said almost with a wimper.

Petarus turned back around and continued along their original path with neither Zabrak saying a word. Mailun's fear could be felt by Petarus and this brought a brief smile to his face.

After a few minutes, the two came to a dimly light room with a small table in the center. Petarus took the seat at the head of the table motioning for Mailun to sit opposite of him. "Status" Petarus said menacingly to further instill fear into his agent.

"Master, while we were on Denon together I did as you had asked" Petarus said sitting up stifly like a board.

"So the Hutt?" Petarus asked. " . . . is dead as you had commanded master" Mailun said with a slight head bow.

"Excellent, and the rebels?" the master had asked. "I made sure that their leaders got their hands on the weapon and ship schematics you provided. I also made sure that the resources we procured from the survey teams made their way into the rebellion's hands" the nervous agent replied.

"And what became of the survey team members?" Petarus asked. "The first team is imprisoned at our facility on Sullust. The second team the UGR had sent are imprisoned on Druckenwell."

"Excellent, two of our key planets. You have done well agent" Petarus said, relieving a bit of the agent's fear. "Now tell me about your dealings here on Ryloth."

Mailun smiled briefly, "I have flown several of the rebellions key agents here to Ryloth and they have been meeting with a group of Twi'leks who have termed their project the 'Restoration of Ryloth'. The group has over one thousand members already."

"Aside from the title being so original, it seems that they are under way. You have secretly been providing them with resources and schematics as well?" Petarus asked.

"Indeed I have my master" the agent replied.

"Excellent. Denon is in turmoil and Rhommamool's insurgence has begun. Once Ryloth is under our control, Corellia will be crippled!" Petarus said with a laugh.

The speeder zipped down mostly empty streets. It seemed the spaceport was one of the heavier contested zones and thus the people stayed away from it.
Up ahead Masimo could make out the main government building, scene of the very first battle of this war, and the spot of Trilan's disappearance.
The Jedi made a mental note to snoop around that area later for any signs of his missing colleague.

A report came scrambling in over the Bothan drivers radio unit.
"Heavy...supression... engage Rebels..."

Masimo looked to the Bothan who was suddenly becoming very frightened.
"Something wrong Lieutenant?"

The Bothan kept his hands on the control yoke, his vision on the road. "It appears our destination is under heavy fire from rebel forces."
"I don't see the problem." Masimo grinned. He knew this soldier was no warrior. He probably got to where he was as a result of some family line.
The Bothan lifted his eyes from the road for a second to glair at the Jedi. "You see no problem? With guns blazing?"
Masimo laughed, but it soon died out when a rogue missile blazed overhead and struck a building behind.
The pair covered themselves as debris rained down upon them.
It was over within seconds, but the Bothan had to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting a government soldier who was flagging the speeder down.
He managed to brake in time to avoid nailing into a shop window.

The soldier came running over. "Sir, this area is under heavy attack. I suggest you leave now."
The Bothan sighed. "Thankyou soldier. Keep me informed."
Masimo decided that the Bothan made a good impression of a soldier, but through the Force he could sense his unease at being here during this time. All he wanted was to carry out his service without violence, and here he was in the middle of the most volatile situation one could ask for.
"Come Master Jedi, we must move quickly."
"No... I'm staying."
The soldier that had warned them away stood forward. "With all due respect Master Jedi I think you should..."
But Masimo cut him short. "I am here to resolve this situation, and what better way to do so than by intervening in a laser fight?"
The soldier shook his head. "Its your funeral sir." He stepped to one side giving Masimo room to pass.
"Thankyou." He unclipped his lightsabre and ran off down the road towards the flashing lights and loud booms that echoed around the government building.

* * * *


Despite all the death that had occured on Denon, one spot of life had managed to be brought back. Though it was not known to many people at all.
Opening his eyes for the first time in what seemed like an eternity, Philorus Gushu's mind screamed that something was different. The last concious thought the man remembered having was of a cloaked figure drawing a blaster and shooting first Salus and then turning it on him. Gushu was certain that the blaster shot had hit him, and that had been a killing blow.
How then was Gushu here now, seemingly alive and thinking again.
"Mayor Gushu you made it!" came a voice he didnt know. "There was a span of a few weeks there I didnt know if you would make it or not."
"What..." came Gushu's voice, somehow different than he remembered himself sounding..."what do you mean? Where am I? What happened?"
"Its a long story sir, but the short version is that we have managed to save you," said the voice stepping into Gushu's eyesight. He was human, and wearing a typical white lab coat, Gushu figuring to be a doctor. "We found you and Senator Salus shot and left for dead in his quarters. We brought both of you back to this seceret lab to try and save the both of you, but..."
"But what?" Gushu asked.
"We lost Salus pretty early on, his wound and stability were much worse than your own sir."
"Why do I feel...different?" Gushu asked.
"Well sir...to save you, we had to do a little creative engineering," said the doctor with a smile. "Basically, we were able to build you a new set of lungs to replace the ones that were damaged by the blaster shot."
"Build?" Gushu asked, not liking where this might be going.
"Yes sir, build. Most places would have cloned you a new set, but we didnt have that kind of equipment here, so we had to improvise. We built a set of mechinical lungs that function almost as good as your old ones."
"Your telling me my lungs are droid-like?" Gushu asked, unbelieving.
"Well...not exactly just your lungs sir," came the doctor's reply, somewhat hesitant. "Let me unstrap your head and you can see for yourself."
Gushu's heart, or what he hoped was his heart, raced suddenly. He had a bad feeling about this.
"We found plans, well hidden plans, but plans nonetheless of a procedure that was done many many years ago on a being that had been damaged quite badly. We searched the Denon computers and found information concerning the Clone Wars of long ago...you remember studying them?"
"Of course," Gushu said impatiently.
"In the Clone Wars there was a certain being by the name of Grevious. He had been injuried in a land-speeder accident that left his body in shambles."
"What has this to do with me!" Gushu shouted.
"Your body rejected the built lungs...so we had to do more to keep you alive."
Finally unstrapped, Gushu threw his legs over the table he had been laying on and looked down on his body.
What he saw though was not his body.
"You have turned me into a droid!" shouted Gushu in anger at seeing his body.
"No sir," said the doctor, cowering somewhat. "We have merely done everything possilbe to keep you alive. Your heart and insides are all still human, as is your brain and eyes...but your body itself was lost im afraid. "
Philorus Gushu was no longer a portly looking human, but by best he could tell a humaniod looking droid. His new body was made of silver plated alloy, from head to toe. He looked somewhat stick-figure like now, but while thin, he could still feel the power held in this new body.
"My face..." me mummbled "what does it look like?"
Giving him a mirror, Gushu braced himself and looked.
What greeted him was a somewhat frightening visage. Almost comparable to the old stories of what the Sith Lord Darth Vader looked like, cept in silver not black. Gushu stared back, his old and familiar brown eyes staring back at him from inside the new metal frame of his head.
"Better to have left me dead," Gushu mummbled.
"No sir the Rebellion needs you now more than ever!" said the doctor. "We have managed to stay alive this long, but we needed a more centralized leader to rally the cause."
"The Rebellion still lives?"
"Yes sir, and it is anxious for your return."
Gushu nodded and walked forward, his legs moving fluidly enough.
"Take me to the central command post then," Gushu ordered.

* * * *



Verie Fith sighed heavily and shook his head in the hologram image in front of Jaxyon.
"Things on Denon are worse than ever now," said the Chanscellor. "And your reports from Rhommamool do not raise my spirits at all. And now to top things off, Zonnim has declaired themselves open allies of Freedom for Denon. Phirio Piliv, Zonnim's President, has turned away from us and lead the revolt himself on his homeworld."
This was news to Jaxyon. For the President of the world's government himself to openly side like this meant that the Rebellion's cause was growing at a rapid pace.
"Rhommamool is to the breaking point," Jaxyon admitted. "The fights occur almost every day now and the government is stressed on what to do. Whatever side they take, the other will retalliate, and Rhommamool couldnt fight off either I dont think."
"Rhommamool will side with the government," Verie said with another sigh. "And while this is good by itself, Im afraid their involvment might be the last bit of pressure that forces the UGR fully into the conflict. While it was just Denon I could hold off with the show of foce, but if starts effecting other systems, the Senate will want something to be done."
Jaxyon sighed too now. Things looked bleak.
"What about your Jedi?" Jaxyon asked. "Have they not been able to help?"
"The Jedi have tried, continue to try actually," Verie admitted. "The sent someone back to Denon this very week to inspect the situation and try and help."
"Do you know which Jedi?"
One of them from when you were there," Verie said. "The one that escaped with you. They still have recieved no word from the other Jedi, the one that disappeared while you were on Denon."
'Masimo,' Jaxyon thought. 'Interesting that the Jedi Council would send him back.'
"Your orders then?" Jaxyon asked.
"Rhommamool is out of your control now my friend," Verie said. "I want you to go to Zonnim instead and try to gain a meeting with President Piliv. See if you cant talk the man down from his action."
Jaxyon nodded.
"Good luck my friend," said Verie as the holo faded out.

* * * *

"Lord Mailun" Petarus said while glairing at his agent. "Yes master" Mailun said with a tremble which brought joy to the dark one's heart. "Things seems to be under way nicely here. Bring the conflict here on Ryloth to the forefront. I want the leading family assasinated. That will most definately bring about the full-blown war we desire on this planet."


"As you wish my master" Mailun said with less trembling. "The UGR will not be able to react effectively to all of the conflicts in the galaxy. Within months the UGR will be completely ripped apart" Petarus replied as he began walking toward his ship.


As he reached the top of the landing ramp, the dark Zabrak turned around to face his agent, "One other thing Lord Mailun" he paused. "Have our cell on Druckenwell schedule a bombing in the world's capital. That shall bring that world into the conflict as well."


"Yes my master" Mailun said with a bow. Petarus smiled, "I am off to take our plan to the next level" and the dark one entered the shuttle which took off moments later.


Petarus walked to the back of the ship and entered a darkened room, where in the middle sat a small examining table. Lying on the table, in four point restraints was a Zabrak male whose clothing was tattered and torn. Stepping closer, Petarus saw that the Zabrak male was struggling against the restraints.


"Its good to see that you've finally regained consciousness, Rianul" Petarus said. "But don't waste your energy, there is no way out of those restraints. They are my own special invention."


"Who is Rianul" the restrained figure said back with a hint of irritation in his tone. "Rianul is your true name, the one given to you before you were taken from us by the ignorant Jedi."


"My name is Trilan Si. I am the son of Olen Si no matter what you say" the Zabrak replied back.


"Good!" Petarus said. "The Jedi haven't driven the anger out of you completely. Now you must concentrate on your anger and use it. For it is only through the use of your anger that you will survive this."


Trilan's face turned bright red as he continued to struggle against his restraints and after a few more minutes he managed to break his right wrist free from the table.


This brought about roar of laughter from Petarus, "You may deny it but with every passing moment you are proving to us that you are indeed the true heir to the throne!"


"Heir to the throne?" Trilan stopped stopped tugging at his remaining restraints to ask what this dark one had meant.


"Don't you see Rianul, you are the one who is meant to be our next ruler. To take the spot that our father once held. To become the leader of our organization!" Petarus answered.


"Your organization?" Trilan said. "What are you talking about?"


"Poor Rianul you spent too many years among the Jedi that you don't even remember your heritage" Petarus said. "Rianul you are the youngest son of Sujule. Sajule like those who came before him and those that have followed have lead our organization throughout the years. Looking back at history, our organization was involved, to a certain extent, in every major event from the times of Mandalore, the Clone Wars, to the Empire and the subsequent Rebellion. We were there when the Yuzzhan Vong invaded the universe and we were there when the Seven Moon War broke out. Our current master has seen enough of the tyranny that is called the UGR and has ordered its destruction." Petarus paused. "Our master is glad that you are back amongst our ranks and is looking forward to teaching you the true nature of the force."


"You must be mad" Trilan replied. "I can't believe I'm listening to you" as he once again tried to free himself of his restraints.


Petarus twitched his right wrist and a glazed look came across Trilan's face and the young Zabrak fell back on to the stretcher unconscious. The dark one walked over and stood next to the young Jedi, "My poor misguided brother. One day you will realize your place in the scheme of things. Your father lead the Seven Moon War, a task that lead to his death and your disappearance. But you are now back with us and will realize your potential."

The main government building within District 5 was completley surrounded by the government forces.

They buzzed around like Yavin Jungle Bee's, zipping in and out of the lobby and propping themselves up against the walls, taking aim with their blasters and letting loose.

It seemed this section, indeed this building, was still the main aim of the rebel forces.

From the opposite side of the street they pumped in laser fire, followed by stun grenades and thermal detonators.

They were numerous this time round, with better fire power.

The last time Masimo had witnessed a battle between these two factions, in fact the very first battle between these two factions, the rebels were seriously outnumbered and outgunned.

Phirio Piliv had changed all that, providing them with weaponry and most critically, tactics.


The Jedi stood towards the end of the road that led directly up to the main building and watched on.

A missile tore through the air, slamming high into what was roughly the 8th floor window sending debris everywhere, and even some body parts.

The rebels had spotted their sniper and had taken him out with cold efficiency.

And Masimo felt his life vanish in the Force.

If he didn't do anything quickly many more lives would be lost.

With lightsabre in hand Masimo charged into battle.


As he neared the rebel troopers who were not actively engaged in battle turned to face him as he approached the wall they were using for cover.

A stray blaster bolt zipped by them, Masimo's lightsabre whipping up and deflecting it into a nearby building.

"What do you want Jedi?" Came a tall Zabrak.

"You have to pull out of here. You have no chance against them and you know it." Masimo was almost pleading with him.

Another soldier piped in. "We don't need you to tell us what to do. Beat it Sith-spawn."

Masimo knew he couldn't reason with them, but he had to do something.

"Fine, maybe they will be willing to cease fire."

The two soldiers laughed, but suddenly stopped as part of the building up to their right blew apart, the durracrete showering over their heads.

They ducked down and held their hands above them.

Masimo simply stood there as the shards bounced off of some invisible umbrella.

"I have had enough of this nonsense. I will sort this mess out myself." Masimo leaped over the barrier and ran towards the lobby.

Behind him the soldiers hollered at him. "Traitor. Traitor to the UGR."


The Nautalon had to spin and dive, duck and roll as missiles, blaster shots, stun bolts and grenades all came his way.

He didn't think they were intentionally aimed at him, but being between the two factions left him feeling like a sitting Bantha.

A thermal detonator rolled at his feet, and with a quick flick of his wrist he sent it tumbling down some side alley.

It exploded and sent various rebel soldiers flying, although he knew he hadn't killed any of them.

Next up he had to deflect a ton of blaster shots, this time that were aimed at him from the government forces.

Masimo got a sense of confusion from them. Was he with the rebels? Was he just passing through? What?

Nevertheless Masimo continued on.


Out of the corner of his eye the Jedi percieved what appeared to be an armoured vehicle of some kind rolling down the street.

As Masimo made his way up the lobby steps, deflecting some final fire from the rebel position, he turned and gazed at it.

It sat on six wheels, with a huge cannon loaded at the top of an armoured shell. Along its flanks ran an assortment of ION Canons and powered lasers.

"What in the Empire are you doing here Jedi?" A Human government soldier strode up, seemingly unafraid of the rebels sharpshooters or blaster activity.

Masimo caught his breath. "I need you to call a cease-fire."

The human stared at him with a crooked eyebrow. "Are you serious Jedi? Do you not see what is happening here?"

Masimo frowned, or what was percieved as a frown among his species. "Listen, you can't continue this. You do realise the safety of your world is at stake!?"

The soldier grunted. "Tell that to them. We had things pretty much covered till they broke loose. Like a pack of Vonskrs they are."

Masimo knew his words were not getting through. He turned to witness this armoured tank pull up outside the lobby, its left side ramp lowering to allow reinforcements to hurry inside under protection of its mass.

"What do you plan on using that for?"

An evil grin came to the Humans face. "Smoke em out."


Masimo stared on as the tank turned to its right, placing its huge canon in sight of the rebels blockade.

The rebels knew they were about to be thumped, and so intensified their output.

Blue and red streaks bounced off of its hull, and bombs simply left scorch marks up its sides.

The remaning troops inside manning the various flank weapons opened fire, strafing building tops and balconies.

And then Masimo heard the humming of the main canon as it began to power up.

He knew the rebels sitting comfortably behind that wall of theirs were about to be decimated.

And then with a lurch it rifled off a single streak of light, accompained by a zinging noise.

This was followed micro-seconds later by a loud explosion and a flash of light that almost blinded the young Jedi.

What was left was a smoking hole in the ground. No one could have escaped that, not even a Jedi.

He turned to the Human with a look of distain on his face. "There was no need for that soldier."

The Human just laughed, his mouth growing wider with each chuckle. But slowly his eyes rolled back down to fix on the smoking wreckage, his mouth slowly losing its voice and gawping in disbelief.

Masimo followed his eyeline, his mouth dropping to compliment the Humans.


A large robotic figure strode forward, silhoutted by the smoking wreckage.

The ground slammed with each step as it began to clear the smoke, and then finally it cleared.

It was a robot, or some kind of droid. It resembled old Holo images of the Dark Lord of the Sith Vader, only metallic and silver, or some kind of ancient battle droid.

It reached down with one clawed hand and picked up the body of the Zabrak soldier Masimo had been speaking to before moving to the lobby.

It then changed its focus from the dead being in his hand, and shot the most sickening glair Masimo had ever seen.

Now this would be interesting.

* * * *


Krizzloughi, Mayor of District 1 of Denon, crawled out of bed and shook his long and large Ithorian head. Lying in the bed next to him was someone he wished he could forget, could just walk out and leave behind him.
But no, he couldnt do this, not unless he himself wanted certain death to visit him.
So Krizzloughi gently leaned over and lightly shook the sleeping form of his companion, the Duchess Philorgen, an Ithorian member of the Royal Family of Denon.
She stirred slightly and looked up at Krizzloughi and smiled through her two opposite mouths. She was beautiful, Krizzloughi could not deny that, and the two of them had flirted off-and-on for years. The only problem had always been that Krizzloughi was already married, his wife of many years who had moved with him to Denon to help with his goal of entering galatic politics.
'Still married,' Krizzloughi's mind screamed. For he had indeed cheated on his wife the night before.
But it wasnt even for the reasons that Krizzloughi had often fantizied about with the Duchess, no the reason she was here right now was simply a game of politics that Krizzloughi had been forced into.
"Awake I see," came her soft voice. "I have to say I could grow use to waking up beside you."
Now Krizzloughi's heart ached more than he could ever thought possible...what had he become to resort to such behavior. Had he been stronger things could very well be different right now, and not just for him but all of Denon as well.
"Yes..." he said forlornly. "I have a meeting early this morning."
"Oh?" she cued softly. "With who? Someone I might know?"
"I really doubt it," said Krizzloughi standing and getting dressed. "Not really the type that would be guests at the royal table."
"My adopted family cares for all," she retorted. "But with this open Rebellion going on right now, they are scared for their very lives to even come out of their homes. It is only through sneakiness that I came to you last night."
How true those words rung right now. Indeed the Royal Family of Denon had shut themselves up when the outbreak began. Refusing to admit anyone but closest friends to their homes.
A silent vibration went off in Krizzloughi's pocket, and he knew that time was winding down.
"I just want you to know Philorgen, that had things been different, had you and I met in another life, I would have taken you away. We would be together," Krizzloughi said with a heavy sigh.
"And why cant it be like that now?" she said, crawling across the bed and stood beside him.
Suddenly the door behind Krizzloughi blasted open, and several armed figures ran into the room, all with blasters at the ready.
Terror filled the eyes of Philorgen as she recognized these beings as Rebels, and even more so when Krizzloughi did nothing to stop them. Terror was then accompanied by betrayal in those beautiful eyes.
"At last, a true member of the Royal Family," came a voice behind Krizzloughi. "We have been trying to gain audience with a Royal member since the war began."
Philorgen quickly recognized the man as Phirio Philiv, President of Zonnim, and acting leader of the Rebellion forces.
"You dont even belong on Denon Philiv!" shouted the Duchess. "Why dont you go back to that pit-hole Zonnim where you belong!"
"Oh believe me I shall, but not without a bit of company," he said with a wicked smile. "His High Honor, Mayor Krizzloughi here has just helped secure the Rebellion's near future with the delivery of you!"
The Duchess’s eyes dropped at that knowledge, knowing she had no where to run now. She had come here last night all alone in the hopes that Krizzloughi, the one she had loved since she first saw him, had finally decided to return that love. But no, betrayal is what she got in return. And all because of her position of being adopted by the Royal Family of Denon.
"Take her away," Phirio said calmly to the troopers surrounding him. They quickly cuffed her and ushered the Dutchess out of the room, leaving Phirio and Krizzloughi.
"You did well my friend," said Phirio with a smile.
Krizzloughi though could not smile in return. His heart, perhaps his very soul ached at the act he had just done.
"With the Duchess in our position, we will bring Denon's government fully to its knees. They will have no choice to to listen to our demands now."
"What about me?" asked Krizzloughi. "What should I do now?"
"Sit tight my friend. No one else knows of what happened here today, and they never will. Your position as Mayor of District 1 is still useful to "Freedom". As long as the government continues to think you a loyal member, you remain here," Phirio said proudly.
Krizzloughi shook his head.
"Now Im off my friend, back to Zonnim with our dear Duchess. According to my people back on Zonnim, I have a meeting with one of Chancellor Fith's officials."
With that Phirio was gone, and Krizzloughi was alone.

* * * *


The moment Gushu's eyes made contact with the Jedi, Gushu remembered the Jedi from many months ago. That had been one of the Jedi that had attempted to bring him and Salus's rebellion down, and for that Gushu and Salus had tried to kill him.
'Only to end up dead myself,' Gushu thought.
Deciding that engaging the Jedi in melee combat foolish right now, Gushu instead reached down and picked up a piece of debris that should not have been possible to lift had he still been human. But the cyborg Gushu lifted it with ease and with a simple spinning toss, he heaved the chunk of durasteel towards the Jedi with deadly accuracy.
Only a Force-aided jump carried the Jedi out of range of the debris, it smashing the ground with a mighty BOOM. Government soldiers scattered at the sight of the new enemy, some taking pot-shots at the "droid", so they called it, only to have the blasters bounce off the silver plating.
Quickly drawing two blasters of his own, Gushu returned fire into the government ranks, tearing down any being dumb enough to stand and challenge him.
"This area is too hot for a proper command post," Gushu said to one of the commanders. "We need to relocate somewhere more hidden. The shadows are our friends."
"But High Lord Philiv said we no longer have to remain in the shadows," said the soldier. "With his aid we are able to fight more openly."
"With his aid we have put a huge target on ourselves," snapped Gushu. "Just because we are better equipped doesnt mean we become foolish. Order the retreat from the District 5 building and have the men scatter. Meet back up at these coordinates."
Gushu gave the coordinates and the soldier nodded, though he didnt know the place.
Gushu did however, and since being back from the dead he had learned that the previous owner of the building had recently met with a tragic end. Good riddance really.
Turning to place one last glair at the Jedi, who was slowly trying to advance on Gushu through hails of blaster fire, Gushu did a quick salute and ran off at inhuman speed the opposite direction.
Towards his new base of operations, a place previously owned by a now dead Hutt.

Masimo watched on as the robotic form vanished through the smoke, along with it the rebel troopers who laid down cross fire to cover their retreat.
Whoever this was, Masimo thought, the rebels had a deadly ally.
The Jedi stopped running and dodged the last few blaster sprays. Turning he was greeted by the Human soldier he had conferred with moments before.
"What in the Sith was that thing?" Other soldiers gathered round. "I mean we hit it with everything we had. It took it all."
Masimo continued to stare on at the smoke. "Whatever it was, it just changed this war."
He felt the spirits of the troops around him wain a little at his words.
The Human soldier piped in again. "I need to report this to the boss."
"And who is the boss these days?" Masimo needed a word himself.
The soldier took his helmet off and scratched at his head. "General Nawara Ayehe is in command now."
Masimo turned to face him. "I mean the one in charge of the planet, not your army."
"He is both. Since Salus was killed the general took full control until order could be maintained and a new government set up."
The Nautalon mused on this. "Take me to him."

With the main capital building being constantly under siege the new administration was taking charge from an underground bunker beneath a nearby hotel.
Trust a general to call this home, Masimo thought as he entered the facility.
There were security checkpoints and soldiers littered everywhere.
The Human soldier entered a large room closed off with some kind of military camouflage and motioned for him to wait there.
This gave Masimo time to make a link to Dantooine, and to the Jedi Council. He opened up his belt pouch and produced a small holo-proj used to present an image of the reciever.
Tapping in some minor codes Masimo was put straight through to the Jedi Council chamber.
He took in the many Masters assembled and bowed slightly into the lense.
"My Masters."
"Greetings Masimo Hoceto. What news do you bring from Denon?" This was Olen Si, Trilans adopted father.
Masimo bowed once again. "Master Olen, the conflict is widespread here, with battles raging all over the city."
Another Master, a Bith, entered the conversation. "Have you had audience with the faction leaders?"
"I am about to speak with a General Nawara Ayehe. He is running the official government at the moment, until the conflict can be resolved."
Masimo watched on as the various council members spoke amongst themselves for a moment.
Finally Master Olen spoke once more. "Do you foresee any progress with this general?"
"No Master. Both factions seem pretty hardline, difficult to influence either way."
Master Olen put a hand to his chin. "I see. Well, do your best. Any other news?"
Masimo knew he spoke of his adopted son Trilan. "No Master, the news has been brief, and I have not had much time to investigate. My connection to the Force is constantly open searching for clues as to both Trilans and the survey teams whereabouts."
The Masters broke into silent conversation again. Finally they broke and the Bith spoke up once more. "Very well Jedi Hoceto. Keep us updated, and may the Force be with you."
Masimo bowed and shut the holo-proj off.
There were still many things to do, but hopefully this General Nawara would help with one argument.
He looked up to see his Human soldier motion him inside.

The inside of the "conference room", as far as it appeared to the Jedi, was as busy if not more so than the rest of the bunker.
He headed towards a large table that was littered with documents, datapads and various holographic schematics of battle zones near and far from the current location.
As he moved closer he noticed a Twi'Lek male look up from the table and smile. This was General Nawara no doubt.
"Welcome Master Jedi." He saluted.
Masimo bowed and shook the generals hand.
"What brings you here my friend?"
Masimo loosened his smile. "Unfortunatley the war."
The general also loosened his own smile. "I see. Well what can I do for you?"
The young Jedi put on his best diplomatic face and proceeded. "I'm here to put an end to this conflict, and to advise on the best way to do so."
The general moved around the table some more. "Well if you can manage to get rid of that rebel scum then I am sure this conflict would be done."
Masimo felt a hint of betrayal in his words. "And what if the war ended today general? Would you be so kind to hand over your authority?"
The Twi'Lek laughed. "I see where your going with this one Master Jedi. You think I am some kind of powerbroker?"
Masimo smiled. "Of course not. But you are a general. With all this power behind you," He gestured at the various troops and equipment scattered about, "who is to stop you?"
The general took on a thoughtful face. "True. But then I just want whats best for the planet."
Masimo didn't trust this one and was about to reply to his comment when an Ithorian stumbled in, short of breath.
"General Ayehe. I must speak with you now."
Nawara quick stepped over to the Ithorian and placed some reassuring hands on his shoulders. "What is it Mayor Krizzloughi?"
The Ithorian gave a rushed explanation. "It's the Dutchess, she has been kidnapped."
All actiosn around the conference room halted at his words.
"Are you sure?" Came the generals reply.
"Yes... I saw Phirio Piliv there myself."
Nawara looked shocked. "Here? On Denon?"
The mayor nodded. "Yes, I have no doubts it was him."
The Twi'Lek let go of the Ithorian and moved about the room with his hands crossed over his chest. Masimo continued to listen in.
"How? How did they get on planet? And how did they get into the royal chambers?"
Masimo sensed something coming from the Mayor, but didn't know quite what. He let it go for now and continued to monitor the general.
"I want more security on the Royal Family. And have local space monitored for any unauthorized traffic. You... Jedi."
The general stalked over. "Your going to Zonnim."
Masimo was unimpressed. "I take orders only from my superiors."
The general waved it off. "We are the official government, working in unison with the UGR, whom you are responsible."
Masimo shook his head. "That makes no difference. I am here purely as a diplomat, to bring an end to these hostilities."
The Ithorian Mayor butted in. "Don't you understand? They are going to use the Dutchess as a bargaining tool. You are the only one capable of bringing her back."
Masimo scanned him over again with the Force. He felt guilty, almost as if he were to blame for this action.
"It is beyond my mandate." Masimo thought hard and deep. But it would gain me and audience with Phirio Piliv.
"Very well. Bring me a capable ship."
The general smiled. "It will be done Master Jedi."
What have I gotten myself into?

Phirio Piliv has just returned from his “trip” to Denon and was quite please with how things had transpired on the war-torn world. Although it was the middle of the night on Zonnim, the charismatic ruler turned rebel leader could not sleep. The thoughts of how his latest act would bring chaos to the already ravaged world of Denon cause him too much excitement to allow him to sleep.

Piliv made his way to his darkened office and as he entered the door he heard, “I trust the dutchess comfortable in her new living arrangements” from the shadows. Taken aback, Phirio Piliv couldn’t seem to respond initially but after a few moments managed to reply, “My lord, I was not expecting you here on Zonnim.” He then made a clumsy bow toward the figure in the shadows that was sitting behind the desk.

“Your latest actions have brought me to this world, Piliv” the figure said as he stood from his seat. Phirio Piliv watched as the moonlight that shone in through the window now covered his visitor’s face revealing a head adorned with horns with a black tattoed face. “Lord Petarus, I thought you would be pleased by our actions. This was surely a critical blow to the government of Denon.”

Petarus chuckled, “Relax Piliv, your actions have put into action something I have been planning for quite some time.” The leader of Zonnim turned his head to the side, “My Lord?” The Zabrak scowled, “It is not necessary for you to know my plan Petarus. Just proceed with your current operation. When your visitor arrives, follow normal protocol.”

“Visitor?” Piliv asked. “Yes, a Jedi is currently on route from Denon to act as a sort of peace keeper” Petarus replied. “What are we to do?” Phirio asked nervously. “You fool, you act accordingly as if any other Jedi would be visiting the planet. Don’t worry about this Jedi. Act normally but know that I have plans for him” Petarus said with a grin.


*****



Trilan Si awoke on top of a large wool bed in a large suite. The last thing he remembered was talking to Petarus aboard the shuttle. “Where am I” he said to himself as he stretched out with the force hoping to get some idea as to his current position. “That’s odd” he said to himself when he discovered that he could not sense anything past the suite he was in. Looking down he saw that his lightsaber was still clipped to his belt. Jumping up, with the aide of the force, he ran to the door of the suite which he discovered was locked. Instinctively he reached for his lightsaber but as he did so, the color and texture of the door and walls caught his eye. He reached up and touched the door and found that his suspicions were correct. “Cortosis” he said to himself. “Someone went to a lot of trouble and expense to build a suite with cortosis clad walls. That and this void in the force past the suite I am still a prisoner” he said to himself out-loud.

Despair began to rise within the young Zabrak as he made his way over to one of the couches where he sat down. He thought of his life as a Jedi and the family and friends who, by now, probably thought he was dead. His thoughts then drifted to his current situation and to Petarus. “I know he is not lying about one thing” he said to himself. “He is indeed my brother biologically. That much I can sense through the force.” Trilan then began to thinking about the words Petarus had said about their supposed father and this organization, “Could I really be the spawn of a dark side user?”

Trilan’s musings were interrupted by the door to the suite opening, “My dear brother, I thought you Jedi learned a long time ago that there is no dark side” Petarus said as he entered the suite. “Or light side for that matter. There is just the force.”

“And how you utilize the force, is what makes it dark” Trilan said as angered flowed through him at the site of his “brother”. Petarus chuckled, “Excellent, I’m glad you have opened yourself up to anger. Isn’t it a wonderful thing? You Jedi, for far too long have been afraid to feel the wide array of emotions that all species are capable of feeling.” The black tattoed Zabrak paused, “Yes, indeed. I sense anger and despair within you. This is excellent. Your Jedi masters would frown on such emotions but that is why the Jedi are weak and why they have fallen so many times over the course of history.”

“What do you want with me?” Trilan said putting his hand on his lightsaber. This caused Petarus to grin even more, “We have been through this already, my brother. I am simply here to rescue you from that horrid life you were leading and help you fulfill your destiny.”

“And what if I don’t want to fulfill what you think is my destiny. What if I want to return to my way of life” Trilan said gritting his teeth. “Brother, you already have turned away from the life you lead before. In the short time we have been together, you have already begun to experience thoughts and feelings you would have never thought of doing in your so-called life. Your path has been laid out and you are following it whether you like it or not” Petarus said.

Peatrus’ words did, in fact, sent Trilan back a bit. He was right, Trilan was calling upon despair and anger—emotions he had always been taught were not becoming of a Jedi. And now he found himself using these emotions freely without hesitation. The young Zabrak’s thoughts were once again interrupted by Petarus, “I am glad that you have finally accepted that I am indeed your brother.

“Now for the other news, brother” Petarus continued. “Your friend, the Nautalon Jedi is coming here.” “Masimo!” Trilan said with excitement at hearing his friend’s name. Petarus glaired, “Yes, my brother, but know this Nautalon is not your friend. He and the other Jedi know what you have become and they don’t want you to fulfill your destiny. To the Jedi, you are now their enemy.”

“That’s not true, my father is leading member of the Jedi Council” Trilan retorted. Petarus looked Trilan in the eyes, “Your father died trying to save you from the Jedi on Rori. He was struck down and killed by that Twi’lek you call a father. He didn’t save you from any wreckage. That was but a lie he and the others have told you all this time. The Jedi had learned of our father and our organization. And they also knew of you and what potential you had. So they sought out you and our father, destroyed most of Rori in the process. They murdered our father and stole you—raised you and taught you their ways of the force. This was all in the hopes that you would use your great gifts to aide them and not your true destiny. For the Jedi know of your abilities and by now they must know that we have recovered you. The Jedi are looking for you so that they may destroy you before you achieve your destiny.”

Petarus paused as he saw the conflict rising within his brother over what he had just revealed to him. “This was a lot to absorb, Rianul and I had hoped that we would have more time for you to hear the nasty truth that the life you have lead so far has been an elaborate hoax, but time isn’t on our side. Jedi Masimo has been dispatched to kill you. When he arrives, you must destroy him.”

* * * *


Jaxyon arrived on Zonnim and was greeted by the customary groups that usually met a inter-planetary diplomat such as himself. Officers and aides of Phirio Piliv gently bowed in Jaxyon's presence and offered to lead him from his landing pad.
"President Piliv wishes he would have known of your visit sooner," said one of the aides. "He is currently busy for the next few days, but will be more than happy to meet with you near the end of this current week."
Jaxyon expected as much.
"That will be fine," he said. "Im in no rush really. The Supreme Chancellor just wishes a simple meeting with Piliv to perhaps discuss the....recent events that has engulfed your world."
The aide nodded but offered no information.
That was fine Jaxyon thought, just all the more snooping he would have to do later. And snooping was one thing he could do well.

* * * *


"This place smells like sweaty Hutt," said one of the Field Commanders from the District 5 building. "What has brought us here?"
Most all of the soldiers from the District 5 building now found themselves in the abandoned complex, its size surprisingly large from its small frame. That, of course, was because most of the complex itself was below ground level.
"That is because it was formally owned by a Hutt," came a mechanical voice, then the silver form that was Gushu entered the room with a sweeping stride; a green cape was now draped around his shoulders that flapped as he walked.
"And just who are you to come in and give out orders?" said the same Commander. "Last I remember I, Commander Reckcar, was in command of the District 5 building." The Commander tapped his chest slightly at the mention of his own name.
"Have I been gone so long that I am not even remembered?" snapped Gushu in his robot-like voice. "The founder of the Freedom for Denon no longer has a place in its ranks?"
The Commander took a moment to study the cyborg, then shook his head.
"The founder of Freedom for Denon was killed almost 3 months ago by government forces after a fight with Senator Bar Salus. Mayor Philorus Gushu was murdered because he had the courage to stand up to the currupt."
"Hahahaha," laughed the cyborg. "You flatter me Commander, and for that I will not destroy you where you stand."
The Commander eyed the cyborg sharply.
"I am Philorus Gushu!" shouted the cyborg, pounding his chest with a sharp metal bang. "I am back to lead this Rebellion the way I intended to in the beginning!"
"Its true," said the doctor that had done the work on Gushu. "I saved Mayor Gushu by placing his innards inside this cyborg shell. This is Gushu himself I promise you that."
"Dr. Lyles, why didnt you inform anyone of this!" said Commander Reckcar.
"I wasnt sure he would survive the procedure," admitted Lyles. "There was a week in there that I almost lost him. I wasnt going to raise hopes until he was fully capable."
"Which is exactly what I am now," said Gushu coming forward. "I am rightly taking my place as General of Freedom for Denon's armies."
"You cant..." said Reckcar, "His High Lord Phirio Piliv is General of Freedom's armies. You cant simply walk in and strip him of his leadership."
"Phirio Piliv is a figurehead," said Gushu. "He is a political idealist in this war for his own advancement. We, the citizens of Denon, are in this for more practical reasons. We are here for the rights and freedom of all beings. I will personally have words with Phirio Piliv!" stated Gushu.
All the soldiers in the room now fully looked to Gushu. He had their undivided attention now.

* * * *


Later on in the evening on Denon, a special broadcast was aired to the entire planet, and across the galaxy via the holonet
"Early this morning it was reported that Duchess Philorgen of the Denon Royal Family was kidnapped by agents of the Rebel band 'Freedom for Denon.' Witnesses say that the kidnapping was purpatrated by none other than Phirio Piliv, the President of Zonnim and an open supporter of the Rebellion itself. Denon officials are working as we speak to learn more on the situation, virturily shutting down all traffic off-planet. If the Duchess is not found, some say this is the first time serious talk has been made of an actual invasion of Zonnim itself. This would be a huge turning point in what has tried to remain a local civil war on one planet. If Zonnim is invaded, this war will move onto a whole new level.
"Nawara Ayehe, Leader and General of Denon's forces had this to say to the kidnappers..."
"This act of cowardice and betrayl has gone beyond the scope of rational thought. I announce to the galaxy, here and now, that Denon will do everything in its power to finding and bringing back Duchess Philorgen. And if Phirio Piliv had anything to do with this, you will stand personally responsable for everything that has happened; you will recieve the full punishment that law can give.
"I give the Rebels of 'Freedom' five standard days to contact Denon and to hand over Duchess Philorgen, back to her rightful home and family. If nothing has been done in five days, mark my words, Denon will come and
take the Duchess back. This is your only warning Piliv. I would do well to consider surrender options now, because if Denon is forced to come to Zonnim and find the Duchess, then there will be no mercy, just as you have shown us none."

The Nautalon Jedi sat and listened into the statement being aired over the local holo-net by General Nawara Ayehe. He was feeling a little cramped inside the small one man fighter he had been provided with to pilot to Zonnim. Masimo Hoceto would have much preferred his EJ2-Wing assault fighter, but it seemed so long ago that he last used it, what with all the commercial flights he had to make acting as a diplomat for the Jedi Order.
He moved and wiggled about to try and find some comfort, all the while listening in to the generals words. They had threatened action if they did not release the duchess, probably trying to cloud the fact that Masimo was on his way to make an attempted rescue.
The Jedi was still a little unsure as to why he had accepted this mission, against his better judgement. But with the generals words calling for violence if she was not returned Masimo felt a little justified if he could rescue her and bring her back to Denon before such conflict.

The planet Zonnim came into view as he cleared the atmospheric clouds of Denon. Technically Zonnim wasn’t a planet, more a moon. But it had declared its independence many millennia ago and had been since then. But the tensions between the old alliance had been waning ever since.
And now it had become almost irreconcilable, what with Phirio Piliv’s interference. He had an alternative motive no doubt, but figuring it out would be far from easy.

Soon enough Masimo’s fighter was within range of Zonnim, close enough to be hailed by the local traffic control.
“Unidentified fighter. This is Zonnim control. This is a restricted area, please deviate from your current course and return back to that wretch hole you came from.”
Masimo triggered the comm button. “This is Masimo Hoceto of the Jedi Order. I am here purely as a diplomat and seek to gain audience with your superiors.” That bit about being a diplomat was only half true. If they knew his real intentions they would have blown him out of the sky by now using one of their heavy fortified battle cruisers or a wing of defence fighters.
“Bear with me one moment,” came the reply from the other side of the comm.
Masimo waited, reaching out with the Force to gain a sense of his surroundings. He didn’t like this one bit. A lone fighter sitting on the edge of a hostile world, with the makings of an armada floating around him. He was but a small Bothan Carp floating in a Rodian Sharks pond.
After what seemed like hours the response finally came. “Jedi Hoceto. Access has been denied. Please deviate from your current course and turn away.”
Well that was not expected. “Zonnim control. Please explain the nature of this refusal.”
The comm rolled out static. No doubt the comm officer was receiving a well rehearsed script. “President Piliv wishes not to speak with you. He is already entertaining one of the UGR’s diplomats and has no need for another.”
Interesting. Who was this diplomat, and why hadn’t I been informed they were in this area? Never mind. “May I speak with this diplomat? I believe we have some data to discuss.”
The comm station cut off suddenly. Masimo was out of time, he had no audience.
Except maybe the 2 cruisers moving in on his position. “Must be a bad day to be a Jedi.”
He snapped to port just as a torrent of green laser fire spat into his previous position. Masimo had no time to think before he rolled to starboard to avoid the second cruisers salvo.
He dived low, knowing that the cruisers were not going to get a good shot on him, and headed straight for the atmosphere.
Lights flashed within the cockpit and glancing at the data screens readouts he was about to be engaged by a squadron of assorted fighters.
The first one came rushing at him spitting its deadly load, clearing the clouds and vectoring in on his position. With a jink to port Masimo managed to by pass him as he continued to dive down.
Using the Force he sensed a second coming straight from the same path the first had, but the cloud cover gave it no chance to latch on a target lock.
Without hesitating any longer Masimo pumped laser fire into the cloud and watched with a hint of satisfaction as its tones changed from grey and white to red and yellow.
He dived into the clouds, the first ship now on his tail. With the cloud cover Masimo zipped to port and sped through the puffy white condensed water. His pursuer would have no chance finding him unless he had some advanced scanning system on board. Chances of that were slim.
Masimo dropped out of the clouds into the atmosphere and got his first glimpse of the planets continents.
It was not too dissimilar to Denon, with city growth covering pretty much every land mass. Except for the lower most continent. That was almost entirely forest and jungle. He had heard of such a place being here, it was considered something of a tourist attraction, a place for the rich and wealthy to spend their vacations.
But no more time could be spent admiring its wonderful colours, his ship was screaming with alarms for target locks.
The pursuing ship had finally found him and had let loose a proton torpedo. It came streaking in on him, faster than his ship could dive.
Looking forward he saw the rest of the squadron cruising up to meet him. Some excellent flying was needed now. As he neared the remaining squad they let loose a volley of venomous fire, some of which drained his shields to 50%. Not good.
But with a small jink as the two met he was able to send the torpedo into one of its own ships, tearing it into two, decimating the pilot inside.
But that was only two out of 12 ships down, the Jedi wouldn’t be able to keep this up much longer.
Masimo put his foot down harder on the accelerator plate, pushing his ship to the limit. Within minutes he was coasting onto one of the continents, zipping in and out of high rise buildings and skyscrapers.
His pursuers were no longer firing randomly at him, more trying to herd him to an open range where they could destroy him without taking out any of the local population.
Before long Masimo had entered a relatively clear area of the city and the hail storm of green lashed out at him once more.
49, now down to 35, followed by 13% as they hammered at his rear. If they kept this up he was Bantha poodoo.
He turned starboard around the next nearest tall building, and his body lurched as he saw two of the fighters coming straight at him. They had him trapped.
Masimo attempted to dive low under the oncoming assault but was clipped on his port wing. It sheared clean off sending the fighter spinning down to the ground.
Masimo had seconds to think, his green tendrils thrown in his face blocking his vision. He barely caught a glimpse of the ground, the grey pavement quickly filling the viewport.
With seconds to spare the Nautalon pulled his lightsabre from his belt and whipped it over head, smashing the plasteel screen, leaving nothing but clear air above.
With the aid of the Force Masimo leaped high into the air, clearing the falling ship. He grabbed hold of a nearby balcony, managing to catch a glimpse as the ship exploded below, taking with it a parked speeder bike.
The enemy fighters were circling about, checking the debris to witness the remains of his charred body. Soon enough they would figure that Masimo was not there, better he get out of here.
He pulled himself up, entered the empty apartment, and went out the door.

It didn’t take Masimo long to get to the presidential palace, but it was heavily guarded, and his recent actions were hardly likely to get him an audience.
Moving to a nearby gate the Jedi used the Force to leap over, landing in a squatted position behind some shrubs. He scanned the region, no activity. Masimo made a dash for the nearby wall, hugging at it so the security camera would not pick him up.
When he knew it had passed he ran quickly to a nearby door. A quick peak inside revealed the room was empty. With a turn of the handle he was inside.
It was a very plush and well furnished building, its insides a mixture of modern and classic decorations. But a lot of it seemed to be adorned with the man himself.
Pictures, paintings, holo images and busts of Phirio Piliv littered the corridors, walls and tables. Already Masimo was building an idea of this mans nature in his mind, his tastes and preferences. He would need a good charm to by-pass this one.
Question was, were they holding the duchess here, or in some other building?
Two security guards marched down the hallway, Masimo ducking behind some curtains in time for them to pass and not notice him.
He watched them move by and took note of the stun blasters they had holstered at their waists. Stun blasts were always harder to deflect compared to normal laser fire.
He crept out from behind the curtains, looked about and headed for the stairs. Moving quietly up he found himself on a landing which held various doorways, but more importantly a security checkpoint.
A female Twi’Lek sat at a desk with two of the in-house guards swooning over her. She paid them no attention, or at least pretended not to.
The Jedi took one final look around before straightening out his robe and heading directly for the desk.
The two guards soon took notice and raised their weapons. “Halt. Who are you?”
Masimo raised his hands in mock surrender. “I am Jedi Knight Masimo Hoceto. I am here to meet with President Piliv.”
The larger of the guards looked over towards the Twi’Lek receptionist. “Is he on the list?”
The Twi’Lek skimmed through some files and data pads. “What is your business Master Jedi?”
Masimo lowered his hands and walked confidently over to her, the guards weapons still trained on him. “I am a representative of the UGR. I have come to speak with the president about the situation on Denon.”
The Twi’Lek thumbed through some more notes, and then looked up at Masimo with a look of concern.
Masimo noticed the look upon her face. “Something wrong?”
The Twi’Lek seemed unsure what to say, instead turning to the guards. “The representative has already arrived. He is in a meeting with the president as we speak.”
The guards moved forward, weapons raised. “Impostor, don’t move.”
The second guard came in closer too. “We are placing you under arrest.”
Masimo rolled his eyes. “I don’t have time for this.” And with a flick of his hands knocked the stun blasters from their fingertips.
With a backwards spinning kick to the face he knocked the larger guard off his feet, sending him spinning through the air and landing on his head.
The second guard came in with a fist to Masimo’s face, but the Nautalon was too quick, instead catching the fist in his hand, twisting his arm around, and then calling on the Force to aid him, sent the guard flying into the wall with a palm to the chest.
He turned to the Twi’Lek receptionist who was caught between a silent scream and the need to press the security alarm trigger.
Masimo waved his hand through the air and she fell unconscious on the table.
“She’ll be alright.” Masimo said to no one but himself.
He would need to move quickly now. No doubt the security here was tight, and the two guards he just laid out would have to check in regularly. When they didn’t a whole host of security would arrive and Masimo would have no chance. Phirio Piliv was the first step in rescuing the duchess.

He stalked down the corridor quietly, opening himself to the Force to sense what was beyond each door. But he didn’t need to use the Force to know where Phirio was. The large double door room at the end of the corridor, complete with gold trimming and two identical statues each side told Masimo exactly where he was.
But nevertheless he opened himself to the Force anyway to get a feel inside. There were just two beings inside, and for some reason the familiar feeling he got off one of them wasn’t Phirio Piliv.
Opening the door and stepping inside Masimo was shocked to see Zonnims president smiling at him from across his desk.
The seat opposite was taken up by someone wearing a similar outfit to himself.
Masimo bowed. "Master Olen Si."

Masimo stared in disbelief as grasped the fact that Jedi Master Olen Si was standing next to the leader of this rebellion, the man who orchestrated the kidnapping of the Dutchess. “Masteer Masimo what is it that you are doing here on Zonnim?” Master Si asked with an obvious look of disapproval.

“Master Si, I didn’t realize that you were here on Zonnim” Masimo responded with a bow to his superior. “Jedi Hoceto, does the Jedi Council need to confer with you before they dispatch a Jedi Master in a time of conflict?” Olen Si said with a hint of sarcasm. “Besides, the assignment you were given was to travel to Denon, not this planet.”

“My apologies, my master but my assignment has lead me to a series of questions that could only be answered here on Zonnim where I had hoped to gain an audience with President Piliv” Masimo began to explain. “And did you bother contacting the Jedi Council with these ‘questions’ that you have discovered?” Olen asked.

The awkward pause that began after Olen’s question was broken by yet another question by the Jedi Master, “And did you think you could gain audience with the president by sneaking into his estate and knocking out his bodyguards?”

Master Si then walked directly up to Masimo, “You have much to learn about the art of negotiation young one. Now go return to Denon before President Piliv decides to throw you in prison for your acts.” The Twi’lek then turned to Phirio Piliv, “My apologies President Piliv. Jedi Hoceto is one of our most promising Jedi Knights, but he can be a bit head strong and doesn’t think through his actions.”

Phirio Piliv smiled broadly and tilted his head giving Masimo a sarcastic look. He then said, “It is quite alright Master Si, no one was harmed too bad in the events and I see no reason to have him incarcerated.”

“Many thanks, Mr. President” Olen said with a bow. Piliv smiled broadly again, “There is just one condition to that statement, Master Jedi.” Olen tilted his head to one side, “What would that be?”

“Master Jedi, one of the things I was hoping to speak with you about was a report that Zonnim Intelligence sent me recently. Its regarding General Nawara’s activity prior to the start of the conflict on Denon” Piliv said as he handed a datapad to Olen. “It seems that a few weeks prior to the start of the conflict that the general was, in fact, on Denon where he was, of all things, supervising a survey team. Since it is unusual that a general or any other military official would supervise a surveying team it raised suspicions of what was actually being surveyed.”

“The surveying team” Masimo blurted out but Olen gave him a quick glance that silenced the Nautalon. “Yes, indeed” Piliv said with a slight glair toward the young Jedi. “When we had learned of this, we had dispatched a team to investigate but what we found was quite disturbing. It seems that the general quickly disposed of the survey team and all evidence of their work. Not a trace could be found of any of the survey team members and the general himself seemed to vanish. It was later that he was sited on Sullust.”

“And what is your request, Mr. President?” Olen Si asked, a bit intrigued by the new information. “You see Master Jedi, myself and the Freedom for Denon are being labeled rebels when, in fact, the government of Denon was and still is corrupt. The government was planning a militaristic action against Zonnim. Although we have been ‘at peace’ for many years, there are many government leaders on Denon that resent the fact that we declared our independence so long ago. The government wants to retake our world because of our vast resources and commercial trades. The people of Denon, however, do not want conflict and have sided with us to remain at peace. So, my friends, I need your help in ending this conflict and revealing the true corruption on Denon. I ask that Jedi Hoceto here travel to Sullust. We believe that is where Nawara is hiding the survey team members who could provide insight into his real plans. Find them and uncover this conspiracy, the people of both Zonnim and Denon are depending on you to restore the peace.”

“Those are interesting allegations, Mr. President and while my initial reaction is to find it hard to believe that there was anything militaristic about a surveying team’s mission, there have been far too many anomalies and unexplained events to this situation to not thoroughly investigate your claims” Master Olen Si said toward the President. Then turning toward Masimo, he said, “Master Masimo make haste to Sullust and investigate the President’s claims. Report back to the Council anything you find.”

“But Master, there is something I would like to speak to you about” Masimo said toward Olen. “In private” he added looking at the President. Before Olen could say anything Piliv began to laugh, “I bet he would like to speak with you about Dutchess Philorgen who I supposedly kidnapped.” The president chuckled some more, “Yes, I have heard Nawara’s threat.”

“And what do you have to say about his charges?” Masimo said staring blankly at the President. Piliv’s face went straight, “Simply this, it was a lie.” After a pause the president continued, “Well part of it is a lie. It is true that the Dutchess is here on Zonnim but she is not my prisoner.” Masimo gave the president a hard stare, “Then why is she here?” The president responded with a chuckle, “To escape her tyrannical family. You see she was caught having an affair with a married male, something most cultures find to be offensive. To make it more interesting, her lover was none other than Mayor Krizzloughi an act that if made known to the public would bring shame on the Royal Family as well as causing political upheaval. Fortunately for the Dutchess, Mayor Krizzloughi learned of a plan that was to have the Dutchess killed to prevent the leaking of her affair. And the blame, of course, would be placed on the Freedom for Denon. Krizzloughi called upon me and asked my help in getting the Dutchess off-world. While, the Dutchess, at first, thought I was kidnapping her, she soon realized that we were helping her escape what was an imminent death. So she is quite safe and comfortable.” The president turned to Olen Si, “Master Jedi, you are more than welcome to come meet with her so that she may confirm my statements.”

“Very well then, I will go speak with the Dutchess while you head to Sullust” Olen said to Masimo. “And may the force be with you Jedi Hoceto.” With that Olen Si and President Philiv exited the room, leaving Masimo alone in the president’s office.

*****



“Where are we going?” Trilan asked Petarus as the older of the two Zabraks escorted the young Jedi Knight out of the apartment and to a shuttle. “We are going to fulfill your destiny, my brother” was Petarus’ answer.

“That’s not exactly the answer I was looking for” Trilan said sarcastically. “I mean where are we going?” Petarus frowned, “Brother, you must learn patience. Didn’t they teach you that in your Jedi Academy?”

Trilan began to object, but conceded that he was indeed trained to be patient and let the force guide him during his days at the academy. The two Zabrak boarded the shuttle. Only the two of them were aboard. Petarus took the pilot’s seat and Trilan sat next to him in the co-pilot’s seat. After performing the pre-flight calculations Petarus looked over at Trilan, “This is the way it was meant to be brother—the two of us together.”

No more was uttered between the two as they left the planet’s atmosphere and then entered hyperspace. Trilan kept playing over the events of the last two months in his mind. The Jedi then broke the silence, “Brother, there is something I’ve been meaning to ask you.” Petraus smiled, “Rianul I’m happy to hear you finally call me brother.” Trilan scowled as he realized that he had, in fact, called Petarus his brother but nonetheless continued, “You have spoke about our father, but what of our mother?”

Petarus frowned and remained silent for a few moments then continued, “Our mother was very beautiful and father loved her very much. I was almost hoping you wouldn’t ask me what happened to her for I don’t know if you are ready to hear it.”

“What is it Petarus?” Trilan asked. “Have you ever visited Narmle?” Petarus asked. The young Jedi knight frowned, “Yes.”

“And do you feel a strange sensation whenever you visit?” Petarus asked. Trilan’s face turned white, “Yes” he muttered. Petarus looked his brother in the eye, “Our mother was murdered in Narmle right before the city was leveled. What you are feeling is an echo in the force at how tragic and senseless her death was.”

“Who killed her?” Trilan asked. Petarus looked straight ahead through the viewer as he brought the ship out of hyperspace, “The man you have called father, Olen Si.”

“What?” Trilan said in disbelief. The older of the brothers looked his brother right in the eye, “While our father was out, that Twi’lek broke into our home and murdered our mother and kidnapped you. Upon hearing of this act, our father went after him and the two had a ferocious lightsaber duel. If it weren’t for the aide of the government, our father would have won but government troops stepped in and shot our father in the back. To add insult to injury your so called adopted father stabbed our father in the heart with his lightsaber and held you in his arms as the life force drained from our father’s body. The government then leveled the city to cover up this atrocity.”

“I don’t believe you” Trilan said with a hint of anger at what his brother had just said. Still looking Trilan in the eyes Petarus said, “You don’t have to believe me Rianul, but if you search your feelings you will know that what I say is true.”

Before Trilan could say anything more, Petarus looked out the viewer, “Welcome to Sullust, the place where you shall fulfill your destiny.”

“What is here?” Trilan asked with a hint of sarcasm. Petarus looked at Trilan, “Your friend Masimo Hoceto will be along in a day or so and he was indeed sent here by that Twi’lek you call a father.” Petarus paused. “You will be given the choice. Either you fight your ‘friend’ or let him fulfill his mission—a mission to destroy you.”

* * * *


"Why have you called me?" asked Mailun, as he stood in front of Commander Reckcar drapped in a heavy cloak. "My time is limited."
"You have thrown an unexpected twist into the scene," Reckcar admitted. "Why didnt you tell us of your plans on Freedom's military leadership?"
Mailun gave a slight pause, one brief enough for Reckcar to explain more without being asked.
"Gushu," said Reckcar, "why didnt you tell us your master's plans for Gushu?"
"What do you mean?" asked Mailun. "Gushu was killed almost 3 months ago."
This time it was Reckcar that stood silent.
"My Lord, Gushu is here demanding he is the rightful leader of Freedom's forces," said Reckcar. "At least here in the literal sense. Physically speaking, it is something different than the original Philorus Gushu that stated the rebellion."
Mailun did his best to hide his surprise, but Reckcar knew body language enough to tell that the shadowy person was somewhat thrown off-guard.
"I must speak with him now too," Mailun said trying to recover from his long pause. "Im glad to know that our project on Gushu has apparently worked," Mailun lied.
Reckcar led the cloaked figure into the main chamber that had once been the home of the late Borgo the Hutt and took him before a tall and bulky looking droid.
"May I present to you General Gushu, leader of Freedom's armies and forces. This General is...."
"I know who he is," said Gushu cutting off Reckcar quickly. "I retain my memories from my previous body, and recall the meeting I had with this one before."
"General Gushu," Mailun said with a slight bow. "I must say what a pleasant surprise it is to see you alive and...well. We had surely thought you dead at the hands of Denon's government."
"Indeed. My memory of that day remains somewhat fuzzy and blank of the events that lead to my supposed 'death,' " Gushu lied. He remembered well exactly what had happened. Remembered the blaster shot to the gut he had received from this very being after Salus had been shot and killed as well. "Luckily our dear Dr. Lyles had the knowledge and resources to save me from certain death."
"Yes indeed," Mailun said, gaining a little more confidence in his ground. "We had him working on you the moment it happened."
"I only wish that your master would soon make contact with me again," Gushu said, planning to bait his trap here. "Since I have no doubt it was you and he that desired my return, I would have figured he would have contacted me by now with more detailed instructions."
"Yes, well, we still have need for Phirio Philiv and have been going through most things with him. Why do you think I am here now, to make sure that you are brought back into the loop of the rebellion you helped start," Mailun lied again.
"It is good to be brought back into the loop," Gushu said with a nod of his cyborg head. "My fight for Denon has only seem to grow in my absence. With Zonnim's involvement now, things seem to have really hit a larger scale. I think it is time that all of us 'leaders' finally get into a single room and discuss strategy. I need to know whats going on."
"Of course General," Mailun said stressing the General. "I will relate your request to my master at once."


"He seemed genuinely surprised to see me," said Gushu into the holo-cam image of the man before him. "I get the growing feeling that they had nothing to do with bringing me back."
The image merely nodded back at him, the image of one Phirio Philiv. Before Gushu had had the meeting with the shadowy figure, he and Philiv had their first of now many talks. While Gushu originally had thought the two would instantly clash that wasnt the case. Somehow the two seemed to work together, both feeling they were in similar positions when dealing with their supposed "allies."
"I have had nothing but Jedi up to my ears here," Philiv responded. "Not to mention that I now have to meet with yet another diplomat from the UGR tomorrow, though I dont think this one a Jedi."
"And what of the Duchess?" Gushu asked.
"She is well enough," Philiv said. "She has stopped resisting. With Ayehe making his demands so blatant as open war between Denon and Zonnim, Im having trouble as to which role I should take in such matters. No being to I find more troublesome right now that that Twi'lek Nawara Ayehe. Even the Jedi are mild considering that one's uncontrollable behavior."
"He hopes the possibility of open warfare to force your hand," Gushu reasoned. "Cause in an all out war, Denon would prevail and everyone knows it. The only question is how long could you prolong the fight."
"Long enough for Ayehe to be driven from office," scuffed Philiv.
"Perhaps we can get rid of him before that," Gushu offered. "You still have your insider here on Denon right?"
"Yes he is still there. I told him to remain cause he was still needed."
"He is high up enough to get close to Ayehe. Let him get his hands dirty one more time," Gushu suggested.
"While Im sure he will be replaced by someone I hate just as much, that might be a hard enough blow to Denon that they would postpone the invasion," Philiv reasoned.
"Exactly," stated Gushu.
Philiv smiled at the cyborg's reasoning. He was growing to like this one more every time they talked.
"I will give him the order."

* * * *

Sullust was a dark volcanic world, home to the SoroSuub corporation, a large company involved in many exploits. And it was also home to the missing survey teams for which Masimo had been sent to investigate.
However the nature in which Masimo had been dispatched was alarming.
First off, the sudden arrival of Master Olen Si. It was true Masimo was not quite handling things with the best of his abilities, but sending a Jedi Master along could only dishearten the Jedi somewhat.
Maybe a Jedi's life is not for me?! Masimo thought. He had always proven himself to be the best of the best, a complete Jedi.
But more and more it seemed as if his heart was not in it as much.

Masimo shrugged that aside and moved onto the next problem. And that was the information provided by Phirio Piliv.
The Jedi Knight didn't trust the man as far as he could throw him, but on Master Olen's request he decided to go. It would do him no good to disobey his master. The faster he completed this assignment the quicker he would be back on Denon looking for his friend, Master Olen's son.
But the feeling that he had been sent away, maybe to keep him out of a larger picture, was still lingering on his mind. As well as the explanation about the Duchess. Now surely the two planets would engage in open conflict, bringing not only Denon but Zonnim as well clearly into the war. And that act would also open up the rest of the Corellian Spine to war.
Yes, getting this out the way would help matters greatly. The sooner he could return the better.

Information Masimo had been provided with had seen him sent to a large abandoned facility on the edge of one of Sullusts larger cities.
From a distance the place looked abandoned, but with his Force capabilities Masimo could sense there was activity in the region. And… something else. Dark and disturbing.
The Jedi moved from his high perch on top of a nearby rocky ledge and proceeded covertly into the facilities inner walls.
The place looked as if it was some kind of durasteel plant in its previous life, with various components and equipment having been discarded about suggesting such.
The walls looked as if they might collapse anytime soon, especially considering the volcanic river that flowed all too closely to the rear. Maybe that was the reason it had been shutdown. Given five or so years the river of lava could easily work its way into the facilities structure bringing chaos and destruction.

Having hopped over the second inner wall the Nautalon moved to what looked like the facilities cargo bay, the huge durasteel doors hanging open allowing just about anyone access.
Peering inside he found himself alone, the bay was empty.
There were various crates and boxes, some of which looked new and fresh. Recent activity here was ripe, all he had to do was look for the source.
Maybe the survey team was hidden somewhere within the bowels of this structure.
He moved inside, into the pitch black. Luckily he had the Force to guide him and set about moving towards a set of stairs that led to an outer office.
A quick look inside gave Masimo all the proof he needed of the facilities continued usage.
A guard, Human in race, brandishing a gun. He also seemed to be wearing the insignia of the Denon military but Masimo got the sense of rebellion from him. If indeed he was a rebel then why would Phirio Piliv send him to deal with some of his own kind?
He was very much an outspoken supporter of the “Freedom for Denon”, even to the point as supplying them with arms. Why should he send Masimo here to what was undoubtedly a rebel outpost?
The answers would not be found by standing around and musing on the matter.
With a quick release of the doors electronic system Masimo was inside.
The guard had turned, blaster square on the Jedi, ready to fire. He was too slow.
Masimo had shoved the Human with a flick of his palm sending him sprawling into a desk, knocking the weapon from his hand.
With lightning speed the Nautalon had pounced on him, covering his mouth forcefully and gripping him by his collar.
“What is this place? Why are you here?” He gave the Human an angry stare to emphasise his seriousness.
Releasing his hand from his mouth the Human spoke. “I don’t know. We were sent here from Denon to guard the place.”
Scanning the being through the Force Masimo found truth in his words. “Who contracted this? Who is in charge?”
The guard shook his head. “I don’t know that either. We never see him, he just sends us orders via an aide.” This statement also rang true in the Force.
Masimo decided he wasn’t going to get much from this man, and waved his hand in front of his face, the guard falling unconscious on the floor.
The Jedi moved on, exiting the room via another door within the office.

It didn’t take him long to come across the main factory workhouse. Inside there were dozens of beings, all of whom seemed to be working on some kind of large metal rod. It was huge, barely able to fit inside the workhouse.
It must have been over 200ft in length, with a large dish on the end, some kind of satellite. The workers seemed to be frail and grubby, malnourished and hungry. They wore the UGR symbol on their coat sleeves, and were heavily monitored by rebel soldiers.
Masimo surmised this was the missing survey team. But what were they doing? Certainly not surveying.
It was clear they were working under order, guns being pointed at their heads every time they attempted to move away from their station.
Masimo would need to get close and maybe even interrogate one of the workers.
Slipping from behind the chain linked fence at the far end of the workhouse the Jedi slowly worked his way forward.
Eventually he was crouched behind a box, with a guard just beyond. If he could take this guard out then access to one of the survey members would be easy.
Using the Force he emitted a small tapping noise just to the right of the box, a trick he had learned back in his academy days to fool his fellow pupils.
The guard snapped his head round in the direction of the disturbance, and with gun raised moved toward it.
Masimo waited for him to clear the box, and then dived forward, tackling him to the ground.
The guard put up a fight, struggling and wriggling about. It was tough for Masimo to keep a hold on him and if he didn’t do something soon the scuffle would be heard by all.
Masimo had one choice. He didn’t like it, it was against his mandate as a Jedi. Gripping his hands around the beings neck he twisted, and with a final tug he snapped the bone inside, instantly killing him.
The Nautalon sighed, lowering the limp body to the floor. A shame he had to do it, but right now it was the only way to find out what was happening here, what that thing was they were building.
He returned to his station behind the box. There was a Bith scientist just in front who seemingly hadn’t noticed the disappearance of the guard.
He made a throaty noise and then when the Bith had noticed him waved him over.
The Bith seemed cautious, looking around first to see if any of the other guards had noticed. They seemed too busy with other workers or were generally chatting among themselves. One was even sleeping in a far corner to his right.
Ducking, he hobbled over and crouched behind the box, joining Masimo. He looked to his right and noticed the dead body of the guard who had been watching over him.
“Who are you?” The Bith asked.
The Jedi replied. “I am Masimo Hoceto of the Jedi Order. I’m here looking for the missing survey team. I presume you are it?”
The Bith seemed both shocked and relieved to see Masimo. “Yes, we are the survey team. Are you here to rescue us?”
Masimo nodded. “I am. But a few questions first.”
The Bith nodded in return.
“What is a survey team doing working on some kind of missile?”
The Bith cleared his throat a little. “We are not really a survey team. We are some of the UGR’s finest scientific minds. We were sent to Denon to build this,” pointing his hand towards the huge rod, “and to protect our identities travelled under alias’s, as a survey team.”
That had cleared up some questions for Masimo. The idea of someone kidnapping survey teams seemed a little too odd. What would they want with a group of people used for scanning objects and mapping geographical properties? But a team of highly revered scientists made a lot more sense.
The Bith scientist continued on. “Somehow the rebels managed to uncover the plot and kidnapped us, ordering us to work on the project under their supervision.”
That made sense. If this was some kind of weapon then the rebels would do greatly to have it. The Denon military was already overmatched for them, even with Zonnims military aid. And if the UGR stepped in they would be heavily outnumbered.
“I’m going to get you all out of here soon. But first…” Masimo looked around to check they were still alone. “What is this? It looks too small to be anything of importance.”
The Bith displayed a proud face. “This,” motioning toward the structure. “Is a modulated resonance projectile.”
Masimo had no clue as to what he had just said. “Could you repeat that in Basic?”
The Bith chuckled. “Sorry, been such a long time since I had company. Have you ever heard of the Sun Crusher?”
Indeed Masimo had. The incident had happened hundreds of years ago, believed to have been a fault of a Jedi Padawan no less. “I have. But not in any great detail”
The Bith nodded. “This is the core system of what was the Sun Crusher. We have recreated it from the basic schematics uncovered years ago.”
So, Masimo thought, they are creating a surperweapon. “What does it do?”
“The satellite dish at the far end is used to create a resonance energy which, when fired via a torpedo, will create a supernova effect and ultimately destroying whole worlds.” The Bith had a smug look on his face.
“Don’t be so proud of this technological terror you have created.” Masimo said to him. What to do now? They had the ability to destroy a sun, and the Jedi held no doubts they would use it. It wasn’t complete yet, maybe he could cripple it.
He spoke again to the Bith. “Ok, you need to leave. If you go out that door and leave via the cargo doors you should have no problems.”
The Bith nodded. “What of you?”
But before he could reply another voice chimed in. “He is going nowhere.”
It had shocked Masimo. A Jedi should sense when another life-force was approaching, a surprise for sure.
But the face he saw when he turned around was even more surprising.
“Trilan?”

"Don't look so suprised Masimo" Trilan said with a stone cold expression. "I know why you have come."

Masimo stood and looked directly at his friend who he hasn't seen in several months. What Masimo saw before him, however, was not the same person that had accompanied on their mission to Denon. While looking the same physically except for the fact that he was dressed in black robes that were covered with a black hooded cloak, Trilan felt differently to Masimo. There was a cold edginess that radiated from the young Zabrak's core that was never there before.

"Trilan, what are you talking about?" Masimo said with a wrinkled brow. Trilan stood motionless, "I know that you have come here to destroy me and my family. The least you could do is admit the truth."

"Trilan, I didn't even know you were going to be here and as far as your family goes, it was your father who had asked me to come here" Masimo answered. "If by my father, you mean Olen Si then it further validates what I've been told about you and the other Jedi" Trilan said as he removed his cloak and unclipped his lightsaber from his belt. Igniting the red blade, the Zabrak brought the lightsaber blade in front of his face issuing a challenge to Masimo.

"Trilan, you can't be serious. I am your friend, not your enemy" Masimo said dumbfounded at what he was observing. Emotionlessly Trilan replied, "My name is no longer Trilan. That boy you knew is gone." After a short pause the dark clad Zabrak continued, "And if you will not draw your weapon to defend yourself . . . then you will be destroyed." Trilan then attempted to bring his red blade down on the Nautalon which caused Masimo to quickly draw on the force to dodge the lightsaber parry.

With the aide of the force, Masimo continued to duck and dodge Trilan's continuous lightsaber attacks. "You do not defend yourself, Masimo Hoceto--is that the Jedi way?" Trilan said dryly. The Nautalon's jaw almost dropped, "Trilan, I will not attack you and listen to what you are saying. Asking me about the ways of the Jedi? You are a Jedi!"

"Not any more" Trilan said coldly as he turned his head to the side looking at the wall. As he did so, chunks of duracrete ripped from the walls and hurled themselves directly toward the Nautalon. After dodging the first several pieces, Masimo was forced to ignite his green bladed lightsaber to deflect the pieces of duracrete.

Upon seeing Masimo ignite his lightsaber, Trilan moved in with his red blade making parries directed toward the Nautalon's neck. Masimo responded by blocking the attacks with his own blade. The lightsaber duel had commenced.

Trilan continued to swing his red blade violently toward his 'friend' causing Masimo to take the defensive. "Trilan, I will not attack you" Masimo said somewhat short of breath as both men were beginning to show signs of fatigue from the grueling swings and blocks with their respective lightsabers. "Tell me why you are doing this, I am not your enemy."

"I'm attacking you before you carry out the orders of the great Jedi Master, Olen Si" Trilan said, also showing signs of fatigue and shortness of breath. "The orders to destroy me and all signs that I was ever born."

"Trilan!" Masimo said sharply. "Your father would never order your death. You can't honestly believe that!" The words only enraged the Zabrak more. Masimo could feel anger and hatred pouring off of Trilan, emotions he had never felt from his friend before and these emotions seemed to drive the Zabrak and added to the intensity of his strikes.

"I can't attack him" Masimo said to himself. "This is Trilan Si, my fellow Jedi Knight--the man who traveled to Denon with me, with whom I fought side by side with."

"Your sentiments are touching" Trilan said. "But your compassion has weakened you." With those words, another piece of duracrete flew from wall and struck Masimo directly in the torso sending him through the air. Mid-flight Masimo lost his grip on his lightsaber.

Landing hard on the floor, Masimo was dazed but not rendered unconscious. As he opened his eyes, he saw Trilan kick the green lightsaber that he had dropped with his black boot. Slowly and methodically, Trilan walked toward Masimo, his red blade still extended.

"Just for the record, my father is dead" Trilan said as he brought the tip of his red blade into Masimo's face. "And I am no Jedi."

After a long pause where the two looked each other in the eyes, Masimo said "Then do it Trilan. If you want to kill me, then do so."

Trilan squinted his eyes and tensed his right arm and suddenly deactivated his red blade. Violently Trilan threw his lightsaber to the ground and walked out the door from which he came.

Making his way out of the compound, Trilan made his way up the landing ramp of the shuttle that brought him to Sullust. Standing at the top of the ramp was Petarus, "Why didn't you kill him" the older brother demanded. Trilan glaired at his brother but said nothing as he continued to walk into the shuttle.

Petarus brought his right hand to his chin as he watched his brother walk toward the small quarters that he had assumed aboard the shuttle. "An interesting turn of events" Petarus said to himself.

* * * *


He came into Denon dressed in the outfit of a holo-journal reporter. He hadnt been on Denon itself since the civil war broke out, spending most of his time on the planet of Rhommamool, which is where he had just departed from.
He was the government most highly paid of all their "Agents," and it was duty calling him to Denon right now.
From his wrist, a comm device rang and let him know he had an awaiting message from his contact. Turning a corner in the and heading to a private 'fresher station here in the Denon Spaceport, he coded into his private channel and read the message waiting for him. After he read it he watched the message dissolve into nothingness, standard procedure was the deletion of such messages and missions.
Now knowing his mission Adder, the First Agent of Denon, headed off.


"I am not one for parties," said Nawara Ayehe to his commanders. "And even though we scored a victory today in the capturing of the District 5 building, I dont think it is such that a party is necessary."
"We tend to disagree general," said one of his top officers. "We think that an open sign of celebration will raise the morale of Denon itself. We seriously urge you to reconsider."
"And where would such a party be held?" Ayehe asked. "Surely we would have to worry about infiltrators, hitmen, and spies."
"We have already contacted the Royal Family and they have agreed to hold it in one of their houses. We would have not only the protection of Denon's forces, but the private security team of the Royal Family itself."
Ayehe stood and thought of this for a moment. They were in the middle of a war, and here his men were talking about having a party. Sure it would boost morale, but the risks of such an event would surely not merit it to happen.
"Of course sir," said another officer, "we have other reasons for wanting to put this party on."
Ayehe's eyebrow raised at this.
His men smiled.


Krizzloughi hung his head in defeat. There would be no getting out of this request, just as there had been with the Duchess. And again this one was leaving a bad taste in the back of the Ithorian's throat.
The image of Phirio Philiv however seemed perfectly at ease with the assignment he had just given Krizzloughi.
"We want the job done out in the open, so that the news can not be hidden," Philiv said smoothly. "With the crippling of Ayehe, we think that perhaps Denon will come shortly after. If nothing else delay this supposed invasion of Zonnim itself."
It almost seemed too ironic that Krizzloughi had received an invitation to a victory celebration tonight, set to take place in one of the Royal Family’s suites downtown.
Did Philiv have a reach that high up in Denon's government to bring this about?
"Of course I will do my part Phirio," Krizzloughi said after a moment. "It just so happens that I received word of a victory celebration being held tonight due to the victory at the District 5 building."
"Really?" Philiv asked, sounding truly surprised. "This would be the perfect opportunity then to strike. Kill him while the entire planet watches."
"But how?" Krizzloughi asked. "I can not simply shoot him while he is up on stage making a toast."
"No no," said Philiv with a chuckle. "I think nothing so blatant. What we need to happen here is something more devious and subtle. A good poison perhaps, to slip in his drink.”
“I do not have a supply of poisons at my disposal,” Krizzloughi admitted.
“Do not worry my friend, I will make sure you receive a particularly nasty package for Ayehe,” Philiv said with a smile. “A messenger will be sent to meet with you in two hours, take his package and be at that party.”
“And what happens when it is discovered that it was me that poisoned the General’s drink?” Krizzloughi asked. “There will be an investigation.”
“You are a being of many surprises my dear Krizzloughi, I have no doubt you can find some help in pulling this off. A good front man that could take the fall for it.”
“The thought has already crossed my mind,” Krizzloughi admitted with a sigh. And though he hated to ruin the life of another being, it was better than his own being destroyed. “I have already put things in motion, with great expense on my side.”
Philiv smiled.
“Excellent.”


Only the highest of the highest were granted invitations to the event, a celebration to the first substantial victory either side had scored since the war had begun.
General Ayehe slid through the crowd that had gathered at the Royal Family suite, taking note of all the people that had shown up tonight. He knew everyone in the room well enough, and knew them all to be loyal supporters of Denon. Hopefully things would go smoothly tonight.
Ayehe’s men had been very persuasive in their reasons for throwing this celebration, and Ayehe was anxious to see the night get under way.
He approached the bar that was located at the back of the suite and leaned his back up against the bar itself. A service droid behind him asked him something, probably if he wanted a drink, but Ayehe ignored it. As he stood and surveyed the crowd, he was soon joined by Mayor Krizzloughi, who came sporting a drink in his hand and waving his hands around in a seemingly grand mood.
“General, I must say a fine idea to throw this celebration,” Krizzloughi said lightly patting the Twi’lek on the shoulder. “This should help morale after…” his voice lowered a bit, “the kidnapping of the Duchess.”
“It is indeed my hope that morale bolster from this and the victory today,” Ayehe admitted. “I even invited a few of the holo-journal reporters to the party, so I can talk to all of Denon and assure them of our progress tonight.”
“Yes indeed I met a few of them,” Krizzloughi said quickly. “What a victory it was today to. Rooting out the rebels from the District 5 building; they have holed themselves up there since the rebellion began.”
Ayehe merely nodded and looked hard into the crowd.
“General, let me buy you a drink for this special occasion,” Krizzloughi said turning to face the droid bartender. “It is the least I can do.”
Ayehe turned and nodded again. “Fine. We will have two Corellian brandies, on the rocks please,” the Twi’lek said to the droid, then turned back around.
When the droid fixed the drinks it sat the glasses on the bar and turned off to wait on other customers. Before Ayehe could turn to the side to pick up his drink, a small shuffle began to push through the crowd towards the bar itself. In a matter of moments an average looking human male stood in front of Ayehe eyeing him intently, with a drink of his own in his hand.
“Orian Alters of Denon Daily,” said the human, obviously a reporter, and obviously drunk by his voice and manners. “And I wanna know something.”
Ayehe did well to keep his cool in light of the situation. He merely nodded for the drunk reporter to continue.
“Why is it that you all can sit here high and mighty, having your little party, when it’s the real backbone of Denon out there doin all the fightin,” said the reporter in a not to soft voice. “You think yourself a god or something’, being general and president at the same time. There is more sense in this glass of brandy than in your head Ayehe.”
And with that phrase, Ayehe didn’t have time to react before he got a face-full of brandy, the reporter throwing it directly into the Twi’lek. A stunned and silent crowd stood waiting for their General’s counter.
Meanwhile Krizzloughi took that moment to do what it was designed for, and he quickly slipped a capsule into the brandy of Ayehe. His planned distraction, though not by the same human he had originally paid to do it, had worked perfectly. And if all went to plan, the poison would be traced back to the brandy thrown in Ayehe’s face.
“My kind sir, you have had too much to drink tonight,” Ayehe said sternly. “I invited the press here tonight to tape me delivering my address to all of Denon, not to make drunken fools of themselves.”
The reporter flung himself in-between Ayehe and Krizzloughi then and leaned heavily on the bar itself. Krizzloughi was about to jerk the man up right then until he vomited with his head hanging on the inside of the bar. Several beings came and grabbed the human finally then, and drug him away, apologizing for the problem their friend had caused.
Thrown off the be weird event, Ayehe reached over and grabbed his brandy and downed the shot in one gulp, then snapped his fingers at the small group of other holo reporters that he was ready to begin his speech.
“Drink up my friend,” Ayehe said to Krizzloughi. “Tonight we deliver another blow to the Rebellion.”
Krizzloughi smiled, nodded to Ayehe, and downed the safe brandy of his own glass. And despite the odd behavior of his hired helpers, the plan had gone off perfectly.
“Tonight I stand before you, the people of Denon with the type of news we didn’t think we would ever hear again, news of hope and victory,” Ayehe said, starting his speech. “Today was just the first step in thwarting this Rebellion, and they can do nothing but watch as we continue to roll over them.
A loud cheer from the audience.
“My men have worked endlessly to come up with battle plans, planning the invasion of Zonnim itself due to the cowardice of Philio Philiv and his kidnapping of the Duchess. We will stop at nothing till she is returned to her family, who miss her greatly.”
Krizzloughi wiped the sweaty brow on his ‘S’ shaped head and realized he was holding his breath. The poison should start to be kicking in at any moment.
“Even now, as I speak progress is being made in the war against the Rebels,” Ayehe continued. “My men learned of something this very evening that will hinder them even more, learned that Philiv have issued a death wish on me personally, and that he is sending agents against me.”
Murmurs started through the crowd. And now Krizzloughi was beginning to worry. Ayehe showed no signs of weakness, and his subject was getting a little too uncomfortable for Krizzloughi. The thought he might be caught entered his head briefly and made his stumble slightly.
“A traitor has been discovered, one that has to be dealt with in such a manner as to show these Rebels we will not tolerate their actions.”
Krizzloughi felt light headed, how could this be happening, he had been so careful. He only chance remained that Ayehe wasn’t talking about him. Perhaps another in the room was sent by Philiv as a backup. Krizzloughi began taking a few back steps, thinking to get a bit closer to the back way out. He quickly bumped into a solid force behind him.
“Going somewhere?” asked a voice so cold it sent shivers up his spine.
Krizzloughi couldn’t reply anyways, he suddenly found himself unable to talk and his throat burnt something fierce.
“A traitor we all trusted with our lives,” Ayehe continued on. “A traitor in this very room!”
This brought the crowd to full attention.
Krizzloughi turned now to face the one blocking his way out and was face-to-face with the drunk reporter from earlier. His heart sank at the sight, and he knew he was doomed.
“Mayor Krizzloughi,” came the voice of Ayehe again, “As General of the Forces of Denon, and President of Denon proper, I here by condemn you the fate of anyone who would betray their people. Your crime of betrayal is met with only one punishment, and as irony will play it, a punishment you meant to bring about on me tonight.”
Krizzloughi’s throat was now aching uncontrollably, it felt like it was closing on him. And then he finally realized what had happened.
“Yes,” came the cold voice of the “reporter”, no more than a whisper in his ear. “I switched the drinks, and you drank your own poison. But know that isn’t what is going to kill you tonight. No, when I do a job it isn’t done till I put the final stamp on it.”
Slipping behind Krizzloughi, the Agent slipped out his hidden vibrodagger and slipped it easily into the back of the dying Ithorian, puncturing his spine. The Agent quickly re-holstered the dagger, without it ever being seen, and the body of Krizzloughi slid to the ground, quite dead.
“Behold,” Ayehe said with a smile to the holo-cams. “The fate of a traitor.”

* * * *

Masimo was a little worn. The battle with Trilan had left him tired and fatigued.
On the surface of things Trilan and himself were pretty much even when felt through the Force. But Trilan had opened himself to his emotions. Some dark power had surged into his body and had torn away the man Masimo knew.
But not completley.
At the end of the battle Trilan had spared Masimo. But why? There was still some good in him. The dark cloud had faded somewhat right at the peak of battle.
And now Masimo sat there on the warehouse floor, taking in the air, although a little sulphorous due to the lava riddled planet.

Looking around the guards had gone. But many of the scientists, the missing survey team, were slowly moving out from their hiding places.
The Bith from before came over. "Are you ok Master Jedi?"
By now the others had gathered around.
"I think so," Masimo replied. They helped him to his feet. "We must leave this place. No doubt whoever is in charge here knows it has been compromised. I wouldnt be surprised to see this place hit by an orbital strike."
The scientists all nodded in agreement.
"Before we go. Is there something we can do to make sure this weapon cannot be used?"
A Human scientists piped in. "We could cripple the override matrix and slice the triggering core aswell."
Masimo nodded. "Do it."
A few of the scientists ran off to take care of the weapon. However the Bith presented a blow. "Another team is doing exactly the same thing at another location."
It hit Masimo. There was a backup weapon. "Do you know the location?"
They all shook their heads. "We were never told, just that if we failed another team would complete the objective."
Masimo had no time to muse on it, he would deliver the report once back on Denon.

Masimo Hoceto had sent the scientists off in another ship, headed directly to Dantooine, to the UGR capital. They would be debriefed there by the UGR Senate and the Jedi Council. Maybe they could make more sense of the situation. Maybe even tag someone else with the task of finding the second super-weapon.
But Masimo's more immediate concern was to get back to Denon and deal with both the Rebels and the Followers. And maybe too, Trilan.
He had left quite hastily, but to where Masimo was not sure. Maybe when he got back his whereabouts would be revealed, and that of his influence.
His ship cruised eagerly into Denon military airspace, and the customary military voice could be heard barking at him over the comm.
After a few moments of interogation he was finally allowed to enter Sector 5 and back to the matter in hand.
Ending this war and bringing this planet back to peace.

With all that had happened recently, what with Trilan, Phirio Piliv and Master Si and the Duchess, Masimo felt it best if he did not return to his apartment but rather rent out another seperate to his government account.
He had basically created a safe house to make sure he would not be traced whilst he mused things over.
He sat on the floor, crossed-legged as all Jedi did when in meditation, and allowed himself to be cleansed.
He felt the Force flow through him, destroying all doubt and negative feelings. He needed a fresh mind if he was ever to figure this all out.
From the top. Someone has begun a rebellion on this planet, and it would point to all sides being played off of each other. Some dark prescence has manipulated even the strongest and forced this war. But what was the goal?
With many more planets each day becoming entangled in this affair surely it was to bring the UGR to a standstill. But for what? Why did they want to cripple a government that has been set up for peace?

There were many contenders. Phirio Piliv for starters. The arrogant president of Zonnim would be most inclined to start a war with its neighbour simply for decade old revenge.
Then there was Gushu. He had been reborn as some kind of droid, a cyborg. But were he and Piliv on the same level?
Nawara Ayehe, the Twi'lek general. He had a lot to gain from this war starting. With the death of his superiors he now stood atop the pile, and with the military as his lightsabre he could crush all who would oppose him.
But the real question came down to Trilan. Who had the power to convert a Jedi into some dark being? Surely none of the candidates from before, Masimo would have sensed them in the Force.
And then suddenly he felt something. What was it? Some being, of well known proportions. Someone who was always there, in the shadows, hiding in the background yet clearly visible.
No, could it be? Not at all, but a line worth investigating.

Trilan sat in the quarters he had been assigned on the shuttle and replayed the events of his encounter with Masimo in his mind. His head was spinning filled with confusion and thoughts of betrayal. His reverie was halted when the door opened and Petarus now stood in front of him, “How are you feeling Rianul?”

After a pause that seemed to last an eternity, Trilan looked up and said, “Why did you bring me here? What was the point of that interaction? You said it was to fulfill my destiny. So, did I fulfill my destiny, dear brother?” The Zabrak stood to stare his brother directly in his eyes.

After a few more minutes of awkward silence, Petarus grinned slightly, “You seem angry Rianul.” Upon hearing these words something inside Trilan snapped. He narrowed his eyes to mere slits and screamed, “Of course I’m angry!” Upon blurting those words, Trilan extended his right arm and sent a powerful force push toward his recently-discovered brother. Petarus was instantly raised through the air and hurled with such force into the door, through which he had just entered a few moments earlier, that the door became unhitched and with Petarus was landed a few feet outside of the quarters.

Petarus sat atop the now dislodged door for a few minutes and shook his head to relieve the dizziness. He then stood and grinned again toward his brother, “Then perhaps this whole exercise wasn’t a failure after all.”

“I am tired of hearing about exercises and my destiny” Trilan screamed with veins bulging in his neck and forehead. The Zabrak’s normally light complexion had turned bright red and upon seeing Petarus grin once again towards him, Trilan completely lost it. Trilan, the Jedi Knight with so much promise and potential—the adopted son of Olen Si, raised both of his hands and spewed bolts of force lightning directly at the man who claimed to be his brother.

The bolts connected and Petarus was sent through the air once again. With a loud crash the dark tattoed Zabrak made contact with the wall directly across from where the door to Trilan’s quarters had been. Petarus could hear his own bones cracking as he made contact with the wall and he was instantly filled with pain and agony. Trilan could sense the pain and torment that was being inflicted by both the crash and the streams of lightning but Trilan did not stop. Anger had completely taken over Trilan Si and he gritted his teeth while continuing to pour force lightning into the man who had tormented him ever since he was captured back on Denon.

“You are not my brother! You have done nothing but lie to me!” Trilan screamed as he continued his onslaught of force lightning toward Petarus. Petarus’ skin began to turn a chalk-like black as the lightning poured through every inch of his body. Just as he was about to lose consciousness Petarus raised his head and looked directly at Trilan, “I am proud of you—you were the best student I have ever had.”

These words further infuriated Trilan and the bolts of force lightning that were being emitted by the tips of his fingers grew thicker. Upon absorbing these bolts, Petarus’ head fell down and Trilan could sense through the force that he was dead.

Upon feeling the death of the man who claimed to be his brother, Trilan stopped his barrage of force lightning and his skin turned pale white. With bulging eyes, he looked down at the charred corpse of Petarus and then looked down at his hands, “What have I done?”

“You have fulfilled your destiny” came a voice from the shadows in the hallway. Startled, Trilan looked up to see a hooded figure approaching him. “Who are you?” Trilan said still somewhat shaken.

“Who I am, is unimportant” the hooded figure said, “What is important is that you have indeed fulfilled your destiny. For many years Petarus has stood at my side as my right hand. He knew, his destiny would be to find someone to take his place and that he has done.”

“I need answers” Trilan said, with anger beginning to creep its way back into his mind. “Answers to what?” the figure said. Trilan began to ask a question but was cut off by the dark figure once again. “Lord Rianul, right now you feel betrayed and lied to. You wonder if Petarus was your brother and if what he had told you over the last few months was fact or fiction.”

Trilan nodded and began to speak but was, once again, cut off. “Lord Rianul, you must learn one thing and one thing alone and that is that everything in our lives is a lie. Whether he was your brother or not is of minor consequence—what is important is that you take your destiny into your own hands and sort through this chaos we call life on your own terms. Everything outside of yourself and what others say and do is of little significance.” The shadowy figured paused, “Once you accept that truth, then you will be ready to face the challenges this life presents you with.”

“But what do I do now?” Trilan said, more confused now than ever. The dark clad figured just laughed, “You must rest now Lord Rianul. We have a big day ahead of ourselves. You have taken Petarus’ place as my hand and on this day we are going to complete our plan.”

“Where are we going?” Trilan asked, “or is that insignificant as well?” Underneath the hood, a grin could be seen from the dark figure, “You are finally catching on Lord Rianul but where we are going is of significance. We are going to Denon where all of the major players of this insurgence have gathered, including your Jedi friends. It is time we bring a balance to this conflict and bring about peace to this struggling galaxy.”

The betrayal of Mayor Krizzloughi rang hard throughout the entire planet of Denon. While never a major player in the war itself, the mere thought of another high ranking Denon official siding with the Rebellion hit the general public hard. This put Krizzloughi with the ranks of Gushu, Salus, and Phirio Philiv as the highest level traitors known. Denon's overall faith in their government was beginning to wane.
Jaxyon cursed at the whole story of Krizzloughi's betrayal and the media's use of propaganda. It wouldnt be long Jaxyon could tell that this Rebellion would become fully supported by the general populas.
Such was the way of things Jaxyon knew, the galaxy had proven these things many times over, the most famous of them being the stories about the Rebel Alliance and their fight against the Galactic Empire so long ago. In many ways this whole scene reminded Jaxyon of that very war.
'I do not envy you right now Verie,' Jaxyon thought to himself. His friend and Supreme Chancellor of the UGR would have one hell of a time down-playing these events.
Then a sudden shock hit Jaxyon, one he wasn't accustomed to feeling. It took him a moment to realize that the shock was coming from the Force; so use to keeping himself closed completely down to the Force's call he honestly didn't understand it at first. After a few moments though he finally sorted out the images and feelings.
Familiar presences here on Denon, the Force told him. Not just one, but several presences he had felt before, and felt on this very planet.
'Masimo perhaps,' Jaxyon's mind thought. 'Or what if it was Trilan? Perhaps it is both of them, cause I know I feel more than one.'
Then part of the shock became more clear. Somewhere out there, a familiar hunger in the Force came alive, a hunger that thrived but also pushed the Force away. It was the closest thing to a Force anomaly that Jaxyon could ever imagine.
'The creature!' his mind screamed. 'It has to be that thing from the last time I was here!'
And just like that Jaxyon's mind put the puzzle together.
The Force had brought them all back here he now understood. Jaxyon was already on Denon as was the new but still living Gushu, and so now was this creature again. Jaxyon was also pretty sure that Masimo was either already here on close to Denon, and that sudden thought of Trilan was probably more than just random thought...Trilan was somewhere close to Denon too. Somehow Jaxyon knew all of this; the Force had brought the whole bunch back to Denon
Jaxyon quietly cursed his Force using ability. How he wished he could do away with it.

* * * *


"It seems that Ayehe somehow knew of Krizzloughi's activities," said the mechanical voice of Gushu to the image of Phirio Philiv. "It is a shame we have lost such a high level spy."
Philiv shrugged.
"Ayehe has proven himself to be most resourceful," Philiv admitted. "It was only a matter of time before Krizzloughi's treachery was discovered, but I had hoped this last plan would go through. I imagine this will only bolster Ayehe's desire to invite Zonnim now."
"Perhaps," said Gushu, "but even though he is still alive, I think Krizzloughi's act might not have been completely in vain. His betrayal has cast heavy doubts on Denon's government. That another high ranking official would betray has been like a vibro-dagger to Denon's people. If we play this right, we could very well persuade them to join our cause."
"I feel the time is drawing close to expand this beyond the borders of Denon," Philiv stated. "My...contact has informed me that very soon events will take place that will force the URG's hand in this event. And no matter which side they take, we will be ready for them."
Gushu nodded his cyborg head in agreement.
"I have also been instructed to tell you that something you know is back on Denon now," Philiv said. "I know not what that means, I was just told to tell you."
Gushu's real eyes inside his metallic head narrowed dangerously. The choice of words there made it almost unmistakable of what was back on Denon.
"Thank you for the information," Gushu practically hissed. "I will make good use of it."
Philiv's eyes showed his confusion and cousirty, but he did not press the issue. He could tell Gushu was in no mood to discuss it.
With a nod, the transmission was cut.

* * * *


Kilometers away in the capital district of Denon, several beings walked about the streets late that night, all with the same destination in sight, all just taking different routes to get there.
Jurros Reckcar slid among the crowded streets with ease, having lived on this world most of his life. A Muun was a common enough species not to raise any notice of him, thus why he was choose to lead this mission.
The mission he had been told.
And while he held no love for Gushu, if fact Reckcar absolutely hated the abomination, he did as he was ordered. Having picked a team of four other elite soldiers, he headed off for the capital district of Denon.
Ahead of him the giant capital building of Denon stood taller than any other building on the planet. It housed the planet's senate and executive branch of government.
And if things went right, it would be the site of the Rebellion's greatest victory.

Masimo stood facing a floating blue holo image within the room he had rented on Denon. Upon his return from the planet Sullust the Nautalon Jedi had decided against going back to his former apartment, fearing his whereabouts had been compromised. In a situation like the one on Denon it was best not to identify your living quarters to any prospective enemies.

The floating holo image was a representation of the Jedi Council chamber on the UGR capital world of Dantooine.
Various masters of the Jedi Order were gathered and eager to hear of Masimo’s report. The only absence that was notable was Master Dxun, away on a operation in the Outer-Rim, and Olen Si, Trilan’s father who was here on planet. Masimo had not made contact with him since his return to Denon and was dreading of telling him about the situation that had arisen concerning his son.
Nevertheless there were enough masters of the Order to warrant this as an extremely important meeting.

Master Herotio, Masimo’s very own teacher in the ways of the Force spoke first. “Greetings Masimo. What news do you bring from Denon?”
Masimo cleared his throat. “Greetings Master. I trust the missing survey team has arrived and briefed you?”
“Indeed they have,” Master Herotio said, nodding along.
“Very well. Then no doubt you have heard about the super-weapon the rebels have been building. I was able to dismantle the machine but the whereabouts of the second survey team and their weapon remains a mystery.”
A second master, a Quarren spoke up. “We have dispatched an investigation team to the nearby sectors, but the situation is a little more critical than that.”
Masimo nodded his head. He knew it to be in the worst fears of the Jedi Order, but the Quarren master seemed to be skipping past something. Masimo let it go for now and decided to continue on, hoping maybe it would be revealed come the end of the conference.
“I also engaged Jedi Knight Trilan Si on Sullust. It would appear our colleague has fallen to the Dark Side.”
This brought much motion and volume to the council chambers as the Jedi broke into conversation over the matter. Many shook their heads, no doubt wondering where they had gone wrong in his training. Others simply voiced their concerns about the matter.
Master Herotio motioned them to settle down and continued on. “What can you tell us of Trilan?”
It was a sore subject for Masimo himself. “He seemed to be under the influence of some dark figure, lurking in the shadows. I felt the presence when we engaged in battle and it seemed to be controlling Trilan. However I believe strongly that whomever is controlling Trilan has not driven the good from him just yet.”
This final statement initiated a second round of debate within the chamber and Masimo waited it out.
A Bith Jedi Master came in with his own questions. “How do you believe this?”
Masimo gave away a hint of a smile and then resumed. “Because when I was beaten the chance had arisen to defeat me. Trilan chose not to, instead leaving me be. I believe I can bring him back from the Dark Side, he is not too far gone yet. He can be saved.”

Masimo answered any remaining questions about his mission and the situation on Denon. The masters were very thorough with their interrogation and he had given them all the information at hand. However there was still something they were not telling him.
Master Herotio brought proceedings to an end. “Very well Masimo Hoceto. Report back with any more information as soon as you get it. And attempt to contact Master Olen Si as soon as possible. If that will be all?” He said scanning the chambers. When it appeared no one else had anything further to add he said his goodbyes. But Masimo was not done.
“Before I go Masters, I cant help but feel there is something you are not telling me.” The Jedi Knight stood very defiant, hoping his image would convey his eagerness to explore the matter.
Master Herotio looked to his fellow masters for aid. They seemed to reluctantly nod or emphasise it was ok to speak of whatever it was they were troubled about.
Master Herotio sighed and gave it to Masimo. “Chancellor Fith has heard about the super-weapon from the survey team briefing. His commanders and generals have advised swift action against the rebellion on Denon.”
“Action?” Masimo asked. “What sort of action?” This was troubling.
The Quarren master from before piped up. “The UGR is mobilising its fleet. They are taking the reports of a super-weapon seriously. They intend to end this rebellion with military action.”
Masimo’s face sunk, and his heart sunk even lower. “How can this be? It cant be! If the UGR move to engage the rebels then the other worlds that have ties to Denon will be provoked. It will be a full scale war.” Masimo could see now in his mind the various planets engaging with each other, the fire falling from the sky, the lives lost.
“We know young one,” Master Herotio said. “Which means you need to end this rebellion as soon as possible. The fleet with be ready within days and I fear if the matter is not resolved by then, and the super-weapon destroyed, then the blood of a million beings will be on the UGR’s hands.”
Masimo dropped his head. “I understand Master. I will be swift with my actions, I shall bring this rebellion to an end.” It was no lie, Masimo intended to finish this once and for all.
“May the Force be with you,” the Masters uttered and the holo image failed.

If ever there was a time for action it was now. He had an idea of whom was running this charade, but getting to them was another problem. He would need help.
And as if by some Force conjured magic he sensed someone. A friend who had been reluctant to open himself to the ways of the Force yet had done so possibly by accident. “Jaxyon!” Masimo shouted. He was here on Denon.
He seemed to be occupied right now, but Masimo had a lock on him. He would find Jaxyon and together they could solve this mystery.
But that wasn’t all. He felt the faint whisper of the Dark Side too. Was Trilan here as well? If so he needed to hurry. If Trilan was here once more then so was his master and that spelt doom for the planet.
Hurrying he quickly suited himself up and went in search of Jaxyon.

After a few days, the shuttle that was accompanying he and the others landed on Denon in the middle of the night. It was then that his new "master" along with hooded sentries escorted him to what appeared on the outside to be an abandoned warehouse that was ravaged by the civil war inside the capital district. As he entered this building, Trilan noted that there was a secret entrance that lead the group into an underground bunker. "We will be quite safe from any explosions down here Rianul" his hooded master commented.

Trilan, or Rianul as he now went by, looked at his dark master trying to get a feel for who or what he or she was. This being was not of very large stature but was covered in such a large hooded robe that he was unable to make out to what species this being belonged to or even what, if any gender, his new master was. And conversations did not help either because while Trilan spoke, his replies from his 'master' were not spoken but transmitted through the force and in a montone pattern that did not divulge a dialect or hint to a gender. All Trilan knew was that being had a powerful command of the living force--a very powerful command.

And yet, while his master and the sentries escorted him down into the bunker there was a sense of familiarity to this being. It was as if they had met once before, under different circumstances, but he was unable to place exactly when. Through the force he heard, "Your insight serves you well, in due time you will know all."

A little shaken at the fact that his thoughts had betrayed him, Trilan attempted to quiet his mind of any thoughts or emotions. Shortly after they had arrived at what appeared to be a command center. His master took a seat and motioned for Trilan to do the same.

After they all were seated, a hologram appeared before them of a round table with three beings seated around a conference table, much like the one they were sitting at. The first to speak was the Zabrak, Mailan who stood and bowed at the sight of Rianul and his master. "Master, it is indeed a pleasure to be in your company."

"Company!" the metallic figure as he dropped a fist on to the table cause it to shake. "I requested a meeting in person and all I get is a hologram?"

Silence filled the room for a moment as tensions were growing on both sides of the hologram. The tension was broken when the metallic man reached up with both hands and took a hold of his head and let out a loud whelp. The shadowy figured then spoke in a soft voice that Trilan did not expect, "Philorus Gushu, you are alive only because I have allowed your medics to acquire the schematics to build that body you now inhabit. Do not make me regret that decision." Gushu then let out a sigh of relief as whatever was ailing him seemed to subside and after a few minutes the soft voice continued, "Are we clear now on who is in charge here." Humbled, Gushu could only nod his head in response.

"Philorus Gushu?" Trilan said to himself, recalling the events of the night during which he was abducted by Petarus. "This plan really is sick and twisted."

"Now gentlemen" his master continued, "As you all are likely aware of by now, the UGR is mobilizing its fleet for a preemptive strike against us now that I have allowed them to learn of our ultimate weapon."

"Indeed my master, but although my men are well armed they will be no match for the UGR fleet and armies. We are surely doomed" came the voice of Phirio Piliv.

"Piliv, you small minded fool what you lack is insight into the bigger picture. You are not meant to defeat the UGR but merely to distract them long enough for our true plans to unfold. By the time the UGR realizes what is happening it will be too late" the master replied. "You will, of course, take many casualties but like death of Krizzloughi, sacrifices are often necessary to advance the cause. While I have no doubt that you will be able to take care of yourself in a fight, Mr. Gushu, President Piliv I suggest you take cover to prevent your own untimely passing."

Phirio Piliv's eyes widened at the thought, "You mean this is going to be that devastating of a strike?"

"Yes" retorted the dark one. "There will likely be anything left of Denon by the end of this conflict."

"That is unacceptable!" Gushu shouted. "My plan was to liberate this planet . . ." he was cut off by the dark one. "And to claim ultimate power for yourself, yes?"

Gushu paused but said nothing in response to the shadowy figure, "Don't worry, Gushu. Although you have a new metallic body you still give off the same bovine stench you did before. I have known all along that you desired to rule Denon and when this is over, what is left of Denon is yours to rebuild in any fashion you see fitting. While this battle is going raging on, the rest of our plan is unfolding. Lord Mailan please report on your progress."

Mailun bowed his head, "Yes my master" he said nervously and then spoke up, "Our group on Ryloth is prepared to storm their capital at the very instant that the UGR fleet arrives in the Denon system. With the fleet and the resources of the UGR being pulled to this system, we have no doubt that Ryloth will fall within a day and before the UGR is able to even react to the crisis. Also, our team on Druckenwell has loaded the completed weapon on to one of our ships and will depart for Centerpoint Station the moment the conflict."

"Centerpoint station?" Piliv's said outload with a sense of shock first showing on his face which soon faded with a sense of understanding. "It all makes sense now" he continued. "Denon, Rhommamool, Druckenwell, and now Ryloth. You are disabling the Corellian Run!"

"Very good, Piliv. You have restored my faith that I did not ally myself with a bantha brained imbicile" the dark one said sarcastically. "It is an excellent plan, but why Corellia" Gushu spoke up.

"Besides the fact that Corellia is a major core world and a key member of the UGR?" the dark one answered and then paused. "Aside from all of that we have learned that Verie Fith has already began making secret provisions to move the seat of the UGR to Corellia. In fact, most of the key offices have already been relocated there with Dantooine being the capital merely in name. Always a powerful planet, the move would make sense for the UGR. Dantooine was meant only to be temporary after Coruscant was ravaged beyond repair after the Seven Moon War. It is too far outside of the Core to be an effective capital and Fith, while being the small minded twit that he is, can even see that. So as the corrupt UGR plans to make its move, which my sources tell me was planned to be in the upcoming weeks, we will be ready to seize the system by controlling the trade route and the powerful centerpoint station. Thus the government will be crippled, and easily over-turned allowing us and our organization to, once again, rule the galaxy."

"Impressive plan" Piliv said in response. "Now there is just one last bit of business for us to attend to before our plans come to fruition and that is to deal with the Jedi who are now on Denon" the dark one replied.

"Who has come to Denon?" Piliv asked. "The Natualon, Masimo Hoceto, has come back to Denon as did Jaxyon the misfit who is Verie Fith's right hand. Although he denies it most of the time, he is force sensitive and can be a force to reckon with."

"We shall take them out then" Gushu said excitedly. "NO!" retorted the dark one. "This is something for me and Lord Rianul to take care of. You are to prepare for the impending war."

The connection was then ended and the dark one turned to Rianul, "The time has come for you to fulfill your destiny. The only ones who can stand in our way now are your former friends." The figure paused but continued, "I am most impressed with them and, in fact, if it weren't for the timing of all of this I would consider turning them and bringing them into our organization. For it seems that young Masimo is already on to me--something we can not allow. Lord Rianul before they come looking for us, we must confront them and take them out!"

Gushu eyed the Zabrak known as Mailan until the transmission was cut and he was alone. Mailan and Philiv had both been on Zonnim for the meeting, as Gushu was was on Denon, he had no idea where "The Shadow" and this Rianul might be. But that didnt matter, Mailan was the only one of the party that Gushu had been concerned with.
The Zabrak that had killed Salus, and had tried to kill him was there, sitting before him like a pompous little minion he was. It had taken all of Gushu's self control not to lash out then and there.
And Philiv's recent message from his contact saying that "something" had come back to Denon just further angered Gushu. He knew now that Mailan was the contact, and that the creature known as Dizum was back. All of the players that had led to Gushu's downfall were either back or on their way to Denon.
Things couldnt be more perfect.


"Of the two of us, I think you would prove the most," Phirio Philiv said to Mailan once the meeting ended. "My face is too well known to be walking around Denon, I took a risk just going there to kidnap the Duchess."
"But my Master said nothing of either of us going to Denon," Mailan said back.
"But it is only Gushu there now," Philiv shot bck. "Surely we can not place all our hopes on someone who is more machine than man. We need someone else there to lead."
"My Master has already unleashed Dizum on the planet again," Mailan said. "It will wreck enough havoc to distract the government."
"Unless Gushu finds the creature first," Philiv said in a sly voice. Mailan's eyes quickly narrowed in question.
"Gushu has told me that he remembers the creature from when he was still human," Philiv said. "I have never seen this creature myself, but Gushu has already told me of his plans to destroy it. He blames it for becoming what he has."
"Impossible, he would not dare go against My Master!" Mailan shouted. Philiv only shrugged in response.
"Perhaps he doesnt have to. Maybe he plans to just warn the Jedi or government enough so that they are prepared for Dizum this time around."
Mailan flushed with anger. "Then yes, I must go to Denon and put a stop to the traitorous Gushu! He can not be allowed to ruin My Master's plans."
With that the Zabrak turned and stormed off, leaving a smiling Philiv alone. He had done both Gushu and "The Shadow's" bidding in telling Mailan of these events. Philiv held no doubt what fate waited the unsuspecting Zabrak, it appeared that the Rebellion held no use for him anymore.
And while Philiv held no love for the Zabrak, he had to shudder at what would happen when he held no more use. He promised himself he would stay one step ahead of them all, always keeping himself safe. But seeing "The Shadow" for the first time had unnerved him, and he now felt slightly vulnerable. It was not a feeling he was use to or that he liked.


Jaxyon spent most of the next day hanging around the capital building of Denon, not really with any kind of plan, just keeping within reach of Ayehe. Since the attempt to kill the Tw’lek leader, Ayehe was growing more bold with his “powers” given to him by the planet’s government. Jaxyon would make sure that the Twi’lek would not take things too far.
The morning sun of Denon shined brightly enough for Jaxyon to squint his eyes as he walked down the busy streets, all full of beings going about their daily routines. Jaxyon pressed his way through the crowds of beings and came to a street he was actually familiar with. He stopped to recall the last time he had been on this street when a being seemed to accidentally bump into his shoulder and quickly shove past, not going down any major street, but cutting down an alley way in fast stride. Jaxyon wouldn’t have thought anything of it, had his repressed Force powers not spoken up again the moment the being had touched him.
‘Stop it!’ Jaxyon silently told his Force connection.
But it wouldn’t stop, and Jaxyon soon found himself walking down that same alley after the being. He used the time to rewind his brain and see if he could recall the face of the being that bumped into him. He realized he caught enough basics to keep his search up; it was a Muun that much he could tell, its oblong face easily gave it away. The Muun had been dressed in heavy black robes, and the alley way it had cut down gave the Muun a pretty straight shot to Denon’s capital building.
He finally got back within viewing distance of the Muun, Jaxyon making sure to keep himself as hard to find as possible. From his movements it looked like the Muun was talking into a comlink now. Jaxyon’s mind now screamed at the dangerousness of this being, and he needed to be stopped. He reached up his tunic and grabbed his small but powerful hold-out blaster pistol and switched the setting over to stun. A presence behind him though stayed Jayxon’s feet.
Jaxyon’s head turned around just in time to see the butt of a blaster carbine smash into his forehead. The hit staggered the man, falling backwards, landing in a sitting position on the cold hard ground.
“You picked the wrong people to follow,” came the voice of his attacker, who Jaxyon could now see was a skinny Bothan. Behind the Bothan was another, this one a Devaronian. “Lucky for you this will be quick.”
Jaxyon was in no position to argue the point, for the blow to the head had sapped all the strength from his body, his vision was spotty at best and he knew unconsciousness was soon to come.
Commotion the came from behind the Bothan as Jaxyon tried to use his failing eyes to see what was going on. Suddenly the Devaronian that had been standing behind the Bothan sailed past the Bothan to land face down on the ground beside Jaxyon, not really moving.
The Bothan turned quickly around at the first sounds of trouble, his blaster carbine already fire a quick shot. A familiar sound came to Jaxyon’s ears but he was too dazed to really think about it too hard.
Meanwhile the Bothan, while not all that an impressive sight to look at, was a better fighter than most gave him credit to be. He could move quickly and deadly when the time came for it, and right now he knew he had to do so.
The Bothan tried to put up a fight, he was just surely outmatched, especially when his attacker pulled out a familiar looking weapon.
Unthinking at the sudden realization of what his attacker truly was, the Bothan charged into his attacker with wild abandon. It would be the last thing he would do though, because a quick thrust to chest saw the Bothan fall to the ground, a neat hole burned through his chest.
Jaxyon stayed upright long enough to realize that he didn’t think he knew identity of his rescuer, though his head was in no frame to be deciding that.
His rescuer extinguished his lightsaber and ran to Jaxyon’s side.
“It will be ok,” came a distant voice in Jaxyon’s head. “I am Jedi Master Olen Si, and I will help you……
“Jaxyon.”

Tracking Jaxyon down was becoming a lot harder than Masimo first thought. On most occasions being a Jedi had its advantages, the ability to feel a persons presence in the Force aiding the user. But Jaxyon just happened to be the stubborn type, putting aside his Jedi training and locking off his Force connection completely unless the situation suited him.
Which did not help Masimo in the slightest.

The Nautalon moved down the side streets in near silence feeling it better off to keep his whereabouts hidden from any would be assailants. Things were getting dangerous around here, even for a Jedi. War was on the horizon and if something wasn’t done now to stop it the galaxy would spiral out of control, again.
The Jedi slipped down a dark alleyway using its darkness to shade him. From Jaxyon’s last Force outburst he seemed to be near the city centre but that area was likely to be crawling with both Rebels and Followers. If even one side spotted him then he held no doubts that whomever was controlling Trilan would know of his location and his life would be at risk. Suddenly Masimo felt less of a Jedi what with Trilan’s fall to the Dark Side.

The alleyway curved left on a long loop that seemed to head into the dirtiest part of the planet, at least it seemed that way. A few beggars were littered up and down the route, many of whom were elderly men or women of mixed species. Masimo tossed a few credits on the floor in front of a haggard old Rodian but decided it was not such a good idea when out of every dark orifice came slimy types all scrambling at her feet. He lit up his lightsabre and scared them away, the old lady nodding in his direction, a show of thanks before grabbing up the remaining credits. With that much Masimo hoped she would be able to buy some food for the next few days at least.
The alleyway took another left and finally started to illuminate. Light broke its way through the various holes that had been broken through in the rafters above and sunshine shone through from the street, battling at the darkness. It was the way of the universe Masimo knew, light versus dark, a never-ending battlefield.
He walked gingerly to the edge of the alley and peered round the corner. To his left the street moved on down past various buildings and complexes, all riddled with laser scores among their walls and faces. To the right the government capital building, the site of so many battles for control of the planet. Right now Masimo had no idea who was in charge, all he knew was that this was as close to trouble as could be in this part of space.

He hooded himself up pulling his cloak tightly about his person. Masimo decided it best if he kept his hand close to his weapon, on this street there was no knowing what could happen.
It didn’t take long for someone to take notice, and within minutes a steady stream of government soldiers, or “Followers” were beginning to mass on every side of the street, their weapons raised and pointed right at him. Masimo could understand why, not even he was sure what side the Jedi were taking in this war. Nevertheless Masimo kept his hand close to his belt and strode on confidently. He didn’t want the soldiers to think he was worried about their presence, a strong show would give him the edge. At least he hoped.

It seemed to take forever to reach the capital building walking down that street of guns. One false movement by the Jedi and he would be deflecting laser shots from all directions.
Eventually he reached the steps that lead up to the lobby. Mind you it wasn’t much of a lobby anymore, more a forward defensive outpost, with durasteel barriers and gun emplacements situated on either side. Masimo had to give a hand to General Ayehe, he sure was on the ball when it came to military tactics.
However the real reason he had come here was not to admire defensive structures, nor indeed to meet with the Twi’Lek general. Jaxyon was nearby that much Masimo knew. Even with his Force connection shut down he could still feel a small trail of his being nearby. And that of someone else, who was much more open to the Force.
But before he could even get a fix onto the location of his friend and his quarry an explosion ripped out of the sky, tearing down a small structure next to the capital building.
Spinning around with lightsabre ignited in hand Masimo saw the government forces scramble for decent positions.
And then Masimo sensed all kinds of people. Rebels by the hundreds tearing into the streets, guns ablaze. As well as familiar characters from both sides of the attrition here on Denon.
But just as he could sight the rebel soldiers storming onto the streets his vision began to fade, the blue sky above swirling into dark clouds. It was as if time had stood still for the Jedi Knight with the government troops apparently stopping in mid-dive to avoid another missile barrage.
Masimo knew this to be the will of the Force, his mind about to absorb a vision of the future. And then blackness engulfed the static scene and was replaced by a burning planet, Denon was on fire. All around UGR warships streaked in on attack runs with rebel emplacement weapons streaking into space to wipe out the aggressors. And in the distance beyond Zonnim was the super-weapon Masimo had come to fear, its mouth gaping open with an electric blue light flickering from within. Masimo flinched as its powerful ray streaked out and struck ship after ship, tearing them in two or obliterating them whole. Finally it took aim on Denon itself and with a thundering boom the planet exploded sending continents and landmass spiralling into space.

The image became blurred, replaced by a shadowy cloaked figure who, even within this vision, gave off a mass Dark Side presence. The shadow being laughed a sickly laugh, hands aflame with power. And next to him Trilan, the darkness streaking from his eyes and splintering the body of Jaxyon who lay slain on the ground at his feet.
The image blurred once again only to be replaced by the reality of the situation. The soldier next to him that seemed to be stopped still in mid-air suddenly landed on the ground with a thud.
Masimo took cover, batting away the stray laser blasts that streaked in at the capital building.
“Jaxyon,” Masimo said to himself. “ Wherever you are, get here quick.”

“Lord Rianul,” came the voice of the mysterious cloaked figured. Trilan looked up from the datapad he was studying. “It is time you learn my true identity” the cloaked one continued. With that a hand came out from under the cloak and removed the hood. A look of shock came over Trilan’s face as the pieces to this puzzle began to come together in his mind.


*****



Jaxyon! Although he had been told that the Chancellor had sent Jaxyon to intervene in this crisis, Olen Si could hardly believe that he was standing face to face with the young man he had known all those years ago.

“Jaxyon” Olen repeated. “Are you alright?”

Jaxyon shook his head in an effort to try and clear his head. He looked up at the man who had just rescued him and as his vision began to clear he saw a blue-skinned Twi’lek male, “Master Olen is that you?”

Olen smiled and helped Jaxyon assume a seated position on some stray crates that were in the ally. “Jaxyon Baul, it has been a long time.”

“Indeed it has been Master Olen” Jaxyon said thinking back to his days at the academy where his peers, and even his teachers, treated him as an oddity because of his mental prowess. However, Master Olen always seemed to encourage him to hone his skills and even tried to talk him out of leaving the order.

Olen spoke, breaking off Jaxyon’s reverie, “I had heard that Chancellor Fith had sent you here and that you had met up with Masimo and my son.” Olen paused, “Speaking of young Masimo, he is nearby and he seems to be looking for you.” Olen closed his eyes momentarily, “Something is happening. Can you make it to your feet?”

“I think so, what’s going on?” Jaxyon said getting to his feet. “I’m not sure, but I’m sensing a lot of people converging on the capital.”

*****



“Admiral!”, came the hurried voice of Agent Adder. “Admiral you need to see this transmission.”

“What is it?” Admiral Nawara Ayehe asked as the agent approached. “Admiral, it’s the Dutchess.”

“What about the Dutchess?” the Admiral asked. “It seems she has escaped Zonnim and sent the following transmission to her family. They forwarded it for you to see.”

Agent Adder pressed a button and a hologram of Dutchess Philorgen appeared before them. “My dearest father, I hope that you are not angry with me for what has happened. I knew that having an affair with Mayor Krizzloughi was wrong, but I never suspected that he was a traitor to our world. Father, I hope that you have it in you to forgive me as I need your help. I managed to escape the clutches of that vile Phirio Philiv. I stowed away aboard a vessel that was headed home to Denon. However, after I arrived I was attacked by this creature. It has me locked up in the theater one block outside of the capital. I managed to find this comm. unit but I know its not long before it returns. Please send someone at once to help.”

The Dutchess then looked away and screamed loudly. After a loud thud, the image of the Dutchess was replaced with that of a dark skinned creature with a long snout and large claws. The transmission then ended.

“Agent Adder, assemble a team at once to converge upon the theater” the Admiral shouted.

*****

Once Ayehe had issued his orders, Adder broke from the room and made his way to his private quarters. He had to prepare himself for the fight that was on the doorstep of the capital building.
Putting on his specially made "Infiltrator" suit, a suit he had paid dearly for but had been well worth it. This suit would bend light around the Agent, allowing him somewhat of invisibility. He then clasped his beld on with had holstered his own personal weapons, two finely crafted vibro-daggers on each side, and a small but powerful blaster pistol.
Fully in his pitch black suit, complete with a hood, Adder left his room and set his course for the battle down below. He would do what he did best, sneek behind the enemy from the rear, take them out, and of course save the Dutchess.
Its what he had done on Rhommamool, to Mayor Krizzloughi, and now here.
Yes, Adder was good at what he did.


Dr. Roth Lyles, the man who had created the cyborg that Gushu had become was at the assult at the capital building as well. While not a strong fighter, he held his own, and plus his medical knowledge helped him play combat medic in the heat of battle. Right now his side, the Rebels, seemed to be fairing well against the "Followers" defenses, having caught them all completely unprepared. Never had the government thought the Rebels so brash as to attack the capital.
The idea had been Gushu's.
And Gusu was reportedly on his way to the battle now, leading the second wave of troops to hit the building.
Roth brought himself back to the battle at hand and brought his personal high-impact sniper rifle to his eyes. He took a few moments to find an easy enough government target, and with a simple click of the trigger, Roth saw the being who had been almost a kilometer away fall dead.
Roth smiled at his work, and looked for another target.


"Quickly Jaxyon, I fear we are already too late to prevent the fighting. We must intervene!"
Jaxyon ran along side Jedi Mater Olen Si and rolled his eyes at the Jedi's statement. Master Olen was still just as Jaxyon remembered him.
The two rounded a rather large building and finally came to view the capital square. Sheer chaos had taken over, beings were staged outside the building, obviously the Rebels, bombarding the capital non-stop with small and heavy arms fire. The first floor of the capital building was smoking and, they could tell even from their distance, and an utter wreck. Government soldiers rushed about forming defenses, but it was clear they were caught off-guard.
"Where to even begin..." Jaxyon voice came. "This is worse than the first time."
"I feel another Jedi, coming from inside the capital itself. I can tell it is not my son, so it must be Masimo. He feels me as well now, and I have let him know you are here with me. We need to find a way to him," Olen stated.
Jaxyon sighed heavily. Olen, always using the Force, always placing his trust in the very thing that caused so many fellow Jedi not to trust Jaxyon. Olen never understood why Jaxyon had left the Order, and how could he ever?
"Masimo is a big boy, he can handle himself for now I think," Jaxyon said. "Im more concerned with who is leading this little attack, and if we cant stop it."
Then, an all too familiar hunger in the Force erupted from out of no where. Jaxyon unthinking wrapped his arms around his stomach, the hunger nearly causing him to be sick...as it had the first time he had felt it.
"The beast..." he whispered so low that Olen almost missed it.
"The beast?" Olen asked.
"Its here," Jaxyon stated.
"That hunger in the Force I feel?" Olen asked, obviously feeling it to.
Jaxyon nodded but said nothing else.
"The feeling I get from it though is too distant to be of any concern now though," Olen offered. "We need to worry about now."
"To Maismo then," Jaxyon said with a sigh. "Let us do what we can here."


The Master had called for Dizum once more!
Now Dizum lunged from rooftop to rooftop, quickly making his way the carnage that he felt going on. After the initial war on Denon had started, Dizum's master had ordered Dizum to go into hiding, to slumber until the Master awoke it once more with a task. Now, months later the Master's call had come, and Dizum answered it with eagerness.
His Master's call didnt take him all the way to the carnage though, it told him to stop a block short and await further orders from inside the building he stood atop of.
Going inside, Dizum sunk down into a deep shadow in the back of the large theater and waited.


"My reports tell me that the Dutchess's rescue vehicle landed on Denon where she was recaptured," said the voice of Phirio Philiv. "My men have since taken her to an abandoned theater close to your position."
Gushu balked at that statement.
"How could you have let her escape?" Gushu asked harshly.
"Things happen in war," Philiv's reply came back, harsh as well. "Its not like I gave her the key and set her free. A band sent by Ayehe found her somehow and rescued her."
"And now you hold her in a building so close to the actual fighting at the capital building?" Gushu asked.
"Its where majority of all our soldiers are," Philiv stated. "The best I could do on such short notice."
"Very well, I will stop by there and assure everything is in order on my way to the capital building," came Gushu's reply.
The transmission ended at that and Phirio let out a held in breath of relief. Again he had to play middle man to this "Shadow's" twisted plans, playing Rebels members off each other like a game of sabacc.
Philiv part was now done though, and he stretched back in his comfortable chair, safe and sound on Zommin, far away from the battle taking place.


"My Lord, I have learned a terrible truth. General Gushu plans to betray you this night!" said Mailun to his master, the Shadow.
"Betray me?" scuffed the Shadow.
"Indeed my Lord. He sets out to thwart your plans even now. He has retained some of his previous memories when he was human, and he seeks the destruction of your pet Dizum. Even now he seeks the creature, foiling your plan here at the capital."
The Shadow sank back a moment to take this in.
"And you are sure of this Lord Mailun? I can have no mistakes this day!"
"It is the truth!" Mailun stated, not a hint of doubt in his voice or mind.
"Very well then. General Gushu must be stopped Lord Mailun, at all costs. I can not have him destroying my pet Dizum, thus putting a hole in my plans. You will find General Gushu and eliminate him," ordered the Shadow.
"I shall begin my hunt at once," said Mailun, an evil smile across his face.
"No need, my scouts have informed me he is but a block from here, taking shelter in an old theater building."
Mailun's smile couldnt grow any larger. The Zabrak was gone in a few seconds, heading straight for his prize.
"I dont understand Master," came the voice of Rianul now, emerging from his hiding spot. "Why go through all of this deceit just to get these three in the same room?"
"Even in the midst of war I like to have fun," said the Shadow, a morbid laugh escaping. "You can not tell me the fight will be anything less than a spectacular!"
"But your throwing away two, possibly even three agents that could prove useful in the future," Rianul reasoned.
"Our time on Denon is near its end young Rianul. My use for all these pawns draws to its close. With this fight, I shall see which one is strong enough to continue being in my service."

Masimo Hoceto, Olen Si, and a slowly recovering Jaxyon had managed to push their way towards an overturned hovercar that had been positioned outside government headquarters as part of the buildings defences, and were batting and diverting laser beams and all manner of shrapnel away from their current position. It was clear in the Force from the strong willed Olen Si that the Jedi’s priorities lie with helping the government forces, or “Followers” as they liked to be known, defend the building from the rebel attacks. As far as the UGR and the Jedi Council were concerned this planet was under their jurisdiction.

The fighting was heavy, many people had fallen. Both rebel and followers alike were strewn across the roadway up front and if it were not for the fact that the injuries were sustained by laser fire Masimo was pretty sure a river of blood would be flowing around the area, not too far off from what he had seen in his vision.
But what had that vision really been about? He had never experienced a Force provided dream before and was at a loss to what it was meant to say to him. The young Jedi had heard of the experience, it was known throughout Jedi lore, but the Nautalon had never felt he had been that connected to the Force to receive such a gift, and had not really bothered to enquire about the subject.
Maybe if he wasn’t in the middle of a full blown civil war he could turn to Master Si and question him, but looking over his shoulder it seemed the Jedi Master was a little busy.

More shrapnel rained down upon the trio, accompanied by a few body parts that hammered into the road. This was getting dangerous, even for a Jedi. It was clear that the Rebels meant business this time and were not going to lie down quickly and without a fight.
Masimo deflected a rogue laser shot into an oncoming rebel soldier who took it in the sternum and collapsed almost ballet like to the ground.
This was followed in quick succession by a few missiles that rocked the world Masimo inhabited for the next 10 standard seconds.
When the din had quietened down and returned to its normal pitch, for a battle that was, Masimo spun on his heels and threw himself down next to Jaxyon.
“What’s the plan?”
Jaxyon grinned. “You mean you don’t want to die?”
Masimo always found Jaxyon to be humorous, but right now he could really do with a real answer to his question.
Olen Si came running over and crouched down next to them, covering his head as more building feel around him. “We need to move down the street. Whatever is happening here on Denon, its all going to come to a head somewhere nearby.”
Masimo reached out with the Force and felt what his Master had. There were many people congregating about a mile away from this battle and it seemed that a lot of the presences he felt were familiar. As well as that dark feeling he had been experiencing since his arrival back on planet.
Masimo stared at Olen with a look of shock, but Olen answered for him. “Yes, the Dark Side. We need to get there and end this now.”

Jumping out from their hidden position they manoeuvred down the street away from the battle, lightsabres in hand, Force connection open to every wisp in the wind. But Masimo sensed another close by, right next to him.
Jaxyon was opening himself up to the Force, and Masimo didn’t like the feeling he was getting from his comrade.

“Dark side” Jaxyon said to himself as he opened himself up to the force, something he had withheld doing for so many years. And now circumstances dictated that he not only opened himself to the force but was also wielding his lightsaber, something he traditionally did only as a last resort. Due to a lack of use, his skills were not as honed as that of his companions, but Jaxyon was immediately flooded with feelings of fear, anger, and deceit. “This is, indeed, the dark side” the human said to himself again as he continued to follow Master Si deeper into the battle.

After deflecting several blasts, Olen Si looked at the two young Jedi who were by his side, “Its coming from there.” The Twi’lek was pointing to a large building that once stood majestically in the center of downtown Denon. “That is . . . or should I say, was, the Grand Theater of Denon,” Jaxyon answered. “Before the war broke out, it was looked upon as one of the cultural hubs of the galaxy. I’ve accompanied Chancellor Fith there on more than one occasion where he served as an honored guest of either the Royal Family or the government.”

“There seems to be a large team of government forces outside it already” Masimo added pointing to where Agent Adder was positioned with what appeared to be a strike force. The three Jedi made their way through the mobs of people deflecting attacks and, when necessary, defending themselves and came upon Agent Adder’s team which was taking shelter behind a make shift barricade that seemed to have been erected just for this mission.

“Agent Adder, can you tell us what is going on here?” Master Si asked as they got within speaking distance. The agent was surprised to see the Jedi in the crowd but did order his team to stand down as his men were ready to attack the trio. “Master Si, I didn’t realize you were still on Denon,” Adder replied. “Where else would a Jedi be” Masimo answered on behalf of the group. Adder nodded, “Well I’m glad the three of you are here despite what many are saying about the Jedi as we have a hostage situation inside the theater.” Jaxyon asked, “A hostage situation?”

Adder nodded once again, “It seems that Dutchess Philgoren escaped the clutches of that vile traitor Phirio Pilliv and managed to make her way back to Denon. We received the following transmission from her.” Adder played the transmission that he and Admiral Ayehe had received earlier which showed the Dutchess pleading for help before a creature came into view. Upon seeing the creature, Masimo turned to Jaxyon as both had at least witnessed this creature previously.

“Master, that creature . . . whatever it is, we’ve experienced it before” Masimo said somewhat grimly. “Explain” Master Si asked upon hearing the emotion in the young Nautalon’s words. “Its hard to explain but that creature feels differently in the force, its as if it draws on the force somehow. And while it seems to randomly kill for the pleasure of killing, there has always seems to have been a reason and a methodology behind its actions” Masimo explained. “Like it is following orders” Olen said shaking his head. He then turned to Agent Adder, “Agent, my companions and I will go in first. What brought us here was a deep disturbance in the force and if Masimo has sensed force powers emanating from this creature it is best that we make the initial strike.”

Agent Adder didn’t like that idea, he didn’t like it one bit and his face showed it, “Master Si, with all due respect, we have the Dutchess to think about.” Olen wrinkled his brow, “And what good are you going to be to the Dutchess if a force sensitive creature and its master kill you and your men?”

“Its master?” Adder asked puzzled. “We have sensed a dark presence in that theater so great that it could be felt from across town. The creature, while dark, never permeated the force that strongly which means someone or something else that calls upon the force is in there too and who or whatever it is—it is powerful” Masimo added. Agent Adder was not knowledgeable about the force or its powers but far too often he had been intrigued by Jedi with whom he has worked on several assignments throughout his career. Their powers and abilities often made him wonder what the galaxy would do if they had ever decided to go rogue or oppose the government. “Alright” the agent said after a few minutes of contemplation. “My men and I will wait here and will hold off any attacks against the theater. I am giving you one standard hour and after that we are coming in.”

“Fair enough” Olen said as he looked at the two Jedi that were standing by his side. The three nodded at one another and at Agent Adder and made their way to the doors of the theater.

*****



“Is there a report from Denon?” Phirio Pilliv said sitting in the soft chair of his office. His assistant walked into the room, “Our agents tell us that there are massive sieges taking place in every district of the planet. The UGR fleet has arrived and the rebels have launched fighters bringing the conflict to space as well.”

Pilliv grinned, “And our skies?” The assistant looked at her datapad, “We’ve had very little activity. It seems that most citizens of Zonnim are staying on planet to avoid getting tangled in the conflict or the barricade that the UGR has set up. In fact, the only activity on the space log is that a small lambda style shuttle took off to replace a malfunctioning satellite. After placing the satellite, the crew made a jump to hyperspace reporting they needed supplies that could only be found on Corellia for another job. They were the only ship to leave the planet.”

“Excellent” Pilliv said. “Have we heard from Gushu?” The assistant checked the datapad once again, “He reported in about 15 minutes ago, he is assembling his team to make a strike against the location of Dutchess Philgoren. Per his report he anticipates having to take on a team from the UGR prior to being able to access the location.”

Pilliv waved his assistant away, “Keep me updated.” He then sat back in his chair, proud of the role he has played in the downfall of Denon and dreaming of the power this shadowy figure had promised once the government falls. “I’m just glad I’m safe here on Zonnim and away from that battle” he said to himself again as he drank another sip of Corellian ale.

*****



Olen, Jaxyon, and Masimo entered the theater with lightsabers in hand. The dark feelings they had sensed were growing stronger with every footstep they took into the building. Despite the war, the theater seemed to be relatively in tact save for a few broken windows and chandeliers that were either shattered or cracked. The stage was still decorated from the production that had played the night the war had broken out. All subsequent shows were cancelled due to the danger the streets presented when going out.

Masimo looked at the others, “Someone is coming!” The three Jedi ignited their respective lightsabers and took defensive postures. Through the shadows of the dimly light theater they could see someone running toward them. As the person came closer they could make out the form of an Ithorian female. Jaxyon extinguished his lightsaber and took a few steps toward the woman, “Dutchess Philgoren? Are you alright?”

“Oh thank the stars you are here” Dutchess Philgoren said in a demure voice. “There was this creature that was standing over me. I thought he was going to kill me when he suddenly stood up and left this wretched place. I don’t know where he was going but I was glad to see him go but then another person arrived, a Zabrak—he had a lightsaber clipped to his belt. He told me that if I moved he would kill me.”

“Are you hurt?” Jaxyon repeated. “No,” the Dutchess answered. “But I managed to get out of the room that Zabrak was keeping me in but he began to run after me. Oh please help me, he’s going to be here any second.”

By now, Masimo had also extinguished his lightsaber, although he had kept the hilt in his hand and was making his way, with Jaxyon, toward the Dutchess. They were, however, stopped by a blue hand of Olen Si who had never extinguished his own saber. “Don’t move any closer to her” the Jedi Master said sternly. Both Jaxyon and Masimo turned and gave Olen a puzzled look.

“Something doesn’t add up here,” Olen said looking at the Dutchess who had stopped a few feet away from the Jedi. “This Zabrak you speak of is my son. I have felt his presence, albeit clouded by the dark side, for the past few blocks. I know he is here.”

With that a tall figure appeared about 50 feet behind the Dutchess. “That’s him, you have to protect me” the Dutchess squelled and began walking closer to the Jedi. “Stop right there!” Olen said to the Dutchess taking an offensive posture. “I don’t understand, I thought the Jedi were the defenders of peace and yet you make like you’re going to stike me down?” the Dutchess wimpered.

Olen could sense the shock in both Masimo and Jaxyon, but he continued and pressed for them to not move closer to her. “My son has always been strong in the force. If he was to guard you, how was it that an Ithorian of your stature was able to escape?” Olen continued. “Besides, I am only sensing two presences in the force right now besides that of me and my colleagues.” Olen looked back toward his son who continued to remain in the shadows, “And while my son is powerful in the force, he is not powerful or dark enough to cast the shadow that we have felt for the last several blocks even if that creature was here with him.”

Masimo and Jaxyon looked at each but then realized where Olen’s reasoning was going and ignited their own sabers. “This has all been a game. A well thought out and calculated game for you hasn’t it?” Olen said looking directly at Dutchess Philgoren. “I’m surprised I didn’t figure it out when I came to visit you on Zonnim.”

The Dutchess grinned and in a deep dark voice replied, “Who says you didn’t?” Olen momentarily thought back to his visit on Zonnim and how he is unable to recall details of certain aspects of his visit. “A mind blast? Why didn’t you just kill me back there then?” Olen asked. “Because I wanted your son to watch you die” Philgoren said as she withdrew and ignited a lightsaber that was hidden below her cloak.

Masimo and Jaxyon quickly brought themselves to either side of the Jedi Master and were ready to make defensive strikes when Olen waved for them to ease off a bit. “So how long have you had this planned? Was it since the time of the Seven Moon War?” the Twi’lek asked as he saw his son, Trilan, make his way up to stand next to Philgoren. “Did you have my son ear-marked since then?”

“Perhaps you aren’t the fool we’ve though you were, Olen” Philgoren responded. “Most people have either forgotten or chose to ignore the specifics of the Battle of Narmle.”

“I never forgot and I pleaded my case to the Jedi Council and to the provisional government but everyone had agreed that the force user that I had encountered that day was a random rogue Jedi who had decided to join the Isolationist Movement” Olen responded still holding his lightsaber held high.

“But deep down you knew there was another organization of force users didn’t you Olen?” Philgoren said with a chuckle. “Too bad no one had listened to you, not that it would change any of the events that have transpired. We’ve been here hiding in the shadows, like we have for so many generations. Just waiting for the right time to appear and help bring the galaxy back into balance.”

“You have a funny way of bringing the galaxy into balance, Philgoren” Olen said. “It does not really matter how we go about doing so, nothing really matters aside from the end result. The Seven Moon War served its purpose—it disposed of that weak government that had been bumbling around trying to bring order to a galaxy that was already on the brink of civil unrest. All we did was reunify the galaxy that was bickering and brought on a new government with the hopes that it would be stronger. The UGR was stronger for a time, but alas its time has come to fall. Out of all of this, a new stronger government will be formed and peace will rule again” Philgoren said with a smirk.

“You have a funny way of bringing about peace” Jaxyon said breaking his silence. Philgoren grinned, “Ah yes, Jaxyon. It took quite a bit of work on my part to make sure that you were here at this moment. My moles inside the UGR really had to work hard to convince that idiot Fith to let you come on this mission. Although he is an idiot, he knows enough to keep his most powerful agent by his side as much as possible. It took quite the convincing to pry you away from his side. But it didn’t take much convincing to get young Masimo here. Our mole on the Jedi Council was able to sway that vote easily as the young Nautalon shows great promise.”

“You are saying you orchestrated this down to this very meeting?” Masimo said with a bit of a sneer in his voice. “I highly doubt you have moles in the UGR let alone the Council.”

“Doubt me if you will, young one, the government is a dark place. Moles are everywhere—you just don’t know it” Philgoren replied and then reached into her pocket and retrieved a small control device. She pressed a button on the device and grinned at the trio. Suddenly the whole planet shook. She then looked in the direction of Olen Si, “And now that I have taken care of one loose end, it is your turn old man. It is time for me to avenge my master’s death. I have already stolen your son—he has accepted the true nature of the force and will never return to you.”

With that Philgoren leapt toward Olen Si making hard strikes with her lightsaber—strikes so strong that Olen almost fell backward. Jaxyon and Masimo began to turn to aide the Jedi Master when they heard the snap hiss of another lightsaber. They turned to see Trilan running directly toward them with his own red blade in hand.

*****



Phirio Pilliv sat in his chair staring at the majestic beauty that was Zonnim. He was daydreaming about what might be taking place on Denon wondering what might happen. Through his discussions with this “shadow” he became privy to several of its plans including what was in store for Mailun, Gushu, even that disgusting Dizzum. “I can’t wait to see how it all plays out” he said to himself with a grin.

He was pulled from his reverie when he noticed a white beam coming from the sky. He buzzed his assistant on the comm., “What is that beam?” Hurridly the female came into his office, “Sir we aren’t quite sure. It started a few minutes ago and all we know is that the core temperature of the planet is rising.”

“Where is it coming from?” Pilliv demanded. “From that satellite that was placed in orbit this morning, sir” the assistant replied. She clicked on the datapad and brought up a visual a satellite that was bulbous on the top with a long rod extending through. Emanating from that rod was the beam in question.”

“Get a team up there and destroy that thing” Pilliv yelled, but he was too late. For at that very moment the core of the planet had reached a temperature so high that the planet Zonnim imploded on itself. The force of the destruction was so strong that shock waves could be felt several systems away.

Philorus Gushu looked around at the carnage before him and a smile came to his face, “Yes the scales of this war are about to shift,” he thought to himself. Gushu could feel victory and with victory came prestige and wealth for his bargain with this dark leader he had aligned himself with would allow him to take a very prominent position in the newly reformed government.

More pressing matters snapped Gushu back to the moment and what required his attention was the creature known as Dizum. Reports had come in of a disturbance outside of the grand theater. Someone or something was tearing members of both sides of the conflict apart. A report came in stating that Agent Adder and his team had all been killed in the struggle. Gushu almost wished he had had the pleasure of killing Adder, but knowing he was dead was enough to make him smile.

Pulling his comm. unit from his cloak he signaled for Dr. Roth Lyles to join him. Although the now automaton hated the man because he was a symbol of what his physical body looked like, Gushu also revered the man for saving his life and having a doctor with combat medic experience may prove useful.

“You called for me,” Lyles said bringing Gushu out of his reverie. “That was quick Doctor,” the automaton said. “Well I was just over there . . .” the doctor began saying when a claw pierced through his abdomen. Gushu’s eyes, one of the few body parts that were left, widened in horror as before him now stood the horrific creature known as Dizum.

Brining a blaster to hand, Gush began leveling blasts at the creature who quickly jumped out of the way and dodged all of the blasts. The creature retaliated by making a jump directly at the automaton slashing him across the face from the forehead to the chin. Gushu screamed in agony as his left eye was clawed out from the metallic socket it had been housed in. Sensing the ‘man’s’ pain Dizum grunted in what seemed to sound like a gleeful reply. This further agitated the former political icon who lashed out with more blaster fire as well as several thermal detonators.

With the limited knowledge he had of the force, Dizum escaped the blasts that were directed toward him but the explosion from one of the thermal detonators took him by surprise long enough for Gushu to land a stray shot on the creature’s right leg. The creature, who was built for survival, came out of its dive landing on its left leg trying to block out the pain that was emanating from its right lower leg. Dizum hissed towards Gushu almost as if taunting the hero of the rebellion to make the next move.

And Gushu did just that! With a grin he reached back with his right hand and withdrew an acid rifle from the pack he wore on his back. Immediately he began rapidly firing blasts of acid towards the creature. Dizum’s scales were meant for protection but they couldn’t absorb the acid completely without taking some damage. The creature winced slightly in pain; this brought a smile to Gushu’s face who, by now, had exchanged his acid rifle for lava canon and began to rapidly shoot towards the creature with this specialty weapon from Mustafar. Again, the creature took hits as it was unable to deflect the mighty blasts from the lava canon.

Dizum leapt in an attempt to make a slash towards Gushu, but between the acid and now lava bursts it had taken—the creature simply fell on its face writhing in pain.

Gushu halted his attacks and grinned and the now pitiful looking creature on the ground. Dizum was dying and this made the former man happy. He returned the lava canon to his pack and retrieved his blaster, which he leveled at the creature’s temple, “I’m going to enjoy this shot the most of all.”

With his finger on the trigger, Gushu began to squeeze with his mechanical finger when his concentration was broken by the snap hiss of a lightsaber behind him. As Gushu looked up to see the source of the disturbance, an orange bladed saber pierced through his mechanical chest into his heart—his human heart. Mailan, the Zabrak, smiled as he plunged the lightsaber into Gushu’s chest. He had only received a minute amount of training by his master and mastery of the lightsaber was never his strong suit, but he managed to kill the monster before him. Deactivating his lightsaber, Mailan turned away from his victim and began walking toward the theater, where he could feel his master’s presence. After taking a few steps away, Mailan heard some rustling from the ground and as he turned back around to see its source, a blast struck him in the chest killing him instantly. Gushu’s mechanical parts managed to keep the now former leader of the rebellion alive long enough for him to deliver the fatal shot to the “shadow’s” underling. Gasping and knowing that he only had a second before being engulfed by the darkness, Gushu lifted his head from the pavement and glaired at the collapsed Zabrak. He then managed to deliver one last shot—one directed at the Dizum’s temple ending the creature’s life as well. Satisfied that he had killed his two assailants, Gushu leaned back into the pavement as what remained of his human body died.

*****



Admiral Nawara Ayehe sat at his desk reviewing the reports that came in. First, Agent Adder reported in that a group of Jedi had entered the theater to mount a rescue attempt. Ayehe didn’t like that at all—the Jedi had no business here in his opinion. After about 10 standard minutes he received a report. It said that the team, who was stationed outside of the theater, was being attacked by some lizard like creature with long claws and that this creature was attacking both government and rebel forces alike. That was the last report he received and they were unable to raise the team on the comm.

“I have to assume the team is all dead, including Adder. Assemble a new team and see what in the name of the Sith is going on down there,” Ayehe shouted. Several soldiers saluted. Ayehe sighed slightly and then turned to an officer who approached, “Sir, the UGR fleet has arrived in orbit.”

“Excellent!” the Twi’lek said. “When do they estimate they can have reinforcements on the ground.” The officer frowned, “They have said nothing of reinforcements sir. The only word that I’ve received is that Chancellor Fith, himself, is aboard the fleet and he has requested your presence.” Ayehe squinted his eyes slightly. This was indeed an odd play by the chancellor but the Admiral would have to do as the Chancellor wished. “Prepare my shuttle for departure!” the Admiral barked. “Sir, I had taken the liberty of doing so already as I knew you would want to leave at once,” the officer said somewhat sheepishly. Ayehe nodded at the officer and began ascending the steps to the roof where his shuttle, a newer version of the old Imperial Lamda class, had been waiting.

Within a matter of minutes the Admiral was strapped in and the shuttle was off the ground headed toward the atmosphere. As the shuttle broke the atmosphere, Ayehe looked over at the moon of Zonnim who had once been under the rule of Denon. But now it was independent with its own government—which ordinarily wouldn’t be a bad thing save for the slime the people of Zonnim elected in the form of Phirio Pilliv. Ayehe so wished he could see the man die.

The admiral was pulled from his reverie when he noticed a bright white light emanating from the small moon. Suddenly with a loud bang the moon imploded with a mighty flash. The burst of was so bright that Ayehe and the pilot had to shield their eyes. As his vision returned, Ayehe gasped as he saw a large piece of debris that was surely a piece of what used to be Zonnim headed directly for them. The pilot attempted to veer away, but to no avail—the large piece of Zonnim crashed directly into the front of the shuttle and with a bright flash the shuttle was destroyed.

*****


Masimo and Jaxyon had melded into the Force, combining their strengths to combat their once former friend, Trilan Si.
Masimo was taken aback by the raw power of Jaxyon's abilities, the former Jedi who had become a diplomat having rarely used his abilities before.

Trilan drove in, his blade a blur as he attempted to slash at both parties, twirling through the air to avoid a lunge by Jaxyon. Masimo came then, aiming a slice at the Zabraks leg, which he dodged by jumping onto the theatres seating.
Soon all three were balancing precariously on the chairs, one hand holding their blades at point, the other jogging up and down for a balanced position.
In the background Masimo could hear the sounds of more lightsabre battle as Master Olen Si and the newly revealed "shadow" went to battle. But there was no time to focus on that.
Right now he could sense Jaxyon charging up for another attack, and Trilan staring evil eyed at the Human sensing the same.

And then Jaxyon unleashed a furious swinging attack that sent him dancing over the rows of seats towards the dark sider, the ferociousness of the attack stunning Trilan a little causing him to parry and block with all his darkside powers.
Masimo engaged, jumping high into a backwards flip that saw him land just beyond the front row of seats and onto the floor in front of the stage.

Jaxyon pushed as Trilan backed towards the Nautalon, and when finally he was in position Masimo struck.
His blade circled through the air and took a swipe at Trilan's arm, causing the Zabrak to scream out in pain.
He dropped to the floor, clutching his upper arm, glairing at Masimo for the small pain he had caused.
"Trilan, its not too late. Come with me and we can end this."
Jaxyon jumped down between the pair. "No, he is too far gone. We must destroy him now, before he destroys us all."
Masimo stared at Jaxyon, the Humans face becoming contorted with rage.
"Jaxyon, whats gotten into you?"
But before he could reply Trilan unleashed a blast of darkside energy that tore through the air, nailing Masimo square in the chest, sending him clattering into the seating some 5 rows back.
Dazzedly he looked up to see Jaxyon and Trilan continue to fight.

*****



"This is Alpha Team, preparing our attack run."
"Roger that Alpha Lead, fire at will."
Tom Zuckuss pushed his EJ-Wing to the limits, his squadron following him in close formation. With the arrival of the UGR fleet above Denon the skies had become littered with dog-fights and it was hard to keep concentration on the mission.
Looking down he could make out blasts on the planets surface as the two warring factions went at each other, and in front floating in space the UGR fleet manouvering into position to take on the Rebel flotilla, which was constantly being updated as more rebellious systems sent their own forces to aid.

But for now Tom had a mission; to take down the superweapon that had just blown the moon world of Zonnim to nothing but dust and ashes.
When the report had come in that his squadron would be undertaking the mission Tom had an idea of what the weapon might look like. A huge bulbous thing that closely resembled a moon or small planet, with a huge dish that would act as the lens for the laser to fire.
Instead the schematics showed what appeared to be a small dish shaped craft, no bigger than a shuttle, with a huge long rod protuding from it. Not what was to be expected.
However what was to be expected was the huge assortment of fighters that incircled the weapon, a barrier of protection.

The squad flew in, evading the small battles that broke out all over, cruising inbetween the larger capital ships as they lanced each other with turbolaser fire.
After a short while, which in Tom's mind seemed to take forever, and the loss of 3 of his squadron, they arrived at the target.
Immediatley they were set upon by a large contingent of old B-Wing class ships assigned to protect the weapon. If they could punch a hole inside then they could get a clear shot at the target. But for now the hard work had just begun.

With another hard strike with her red blade Philgoren, revealed as the true leader of this rebellion, struck at Jedi Master Olen Si. The Twi’lek was known as a master swordsman and even gave lessons to padawan at the Academy but he was definitely on the defensive during this entire duel so far. “You have lost,” the Ithorian said with a grin. “I will give you one thing though, you raised Rianul well. He will indeed make a fitting replacement for me when the time comes.”

Continuing to parry against the Twi’lek, Philgoren looked over with her bulbous eyes toward where Trilan and the other Jedi were fighting. “I can feel the anger growing within him. He has become quite proficient in his use of the dark side,” Philgoren said with a bit of chuckle.

Olen shifted his attention ever so slightly toward where his son had been battling. This was a cardinal mistake and Olen knew it but he couldn’t help but think of the welfare of Trilan. Although he was not his biologically, a father could not love a son any more than Olen loved Trilan. Sensing her opportunity, which she had set up, Philgoren lunged at Olen’s left leg as he looked toward his son.

The Twi’lek yelped slightly in pain as he lost his balance and toppled over. As he did so, Philgoren brought her red blade around in an arc and stabbed at the blue skinned Twi’lek’s right hand causing him to drop his lightsaber incapacitating the Jedi Master.

The Shadow walked around her victim like a giant flit surrounds its prey. She leaned down and looked Olen directly in his eyes, “It would be nothing for me to kill you right now, but that would spoil the fun. You must witness your son give himself over to the dark side by killing his former friends. Once that is done he shall formally take my side after he destroys you!” Philgoren paused, “And all you can do, old man, is sit and watch it happen.”

Philgoren then turned to face the battle between the two Jedi and her apprentice. The three were so deep in concentration they hadn’t even noticed that Olen was down. The Twi’lek looked up from the floor of the theater to see Masimo’s blade connect with his son’s upper arm and the Twi’lek could feel the burn as if it had been his own shoulder. Then as Trilan hurled dark side power at Masimo, Olen cried out, “No!” to himself. Philgoren looked down at the beaten Jedi, “I told you he was lost to you!” She then looked over at Jaxyon, “And he might not be the only one,” she said with a grin.

Back at the front of the theater Trilan and Jaxyon continued to duel with their respective blades clashing into one another. “You’re more powerful than you have let on Jaxyon,” Trilan said in a flat tone. “And you haven’t seen anything yet,” Jaxyon said sternly as he delivered a blow with his left hand to the back of Trilan’s neck sending the Zabrak to the floor. Quickly, Trilan did a kip up to get to his feet and held his red blade out in a defensive position to block Jaxyon’s oncoming attack.

Jaxyon continued to move forward taking on the offensive, the force burning within him. Blocking his parries, Trilan continued, “You’ve missed this haven’t you?” Jaxyon stared at him blankly while continuing to strike against the Zabrak. “Olen told me you had left the academy because you feared your powers,” Trilan said then paused. “That’s not the complete truth is it? You feared not being able to control yourself. You feared that you would let the force rage inside of you and that you would be unstoppable—much like you are right now.” Jaxyon squinted saying nothing but his attacks became even more powerful.

Masimo began stirring and looked up to see that Jaxyon and Trilan’s duel had taken them to the center of the theater’s stage. The Nautalon then turned around and saw Olen on the ground with Philgoren standing next to him. Igniting his blade he made a leap towards this “Shadow.” While he was mid-air Philgoren turned around and shot the young Jedi a grin. She then raised her right hand and as she did so Masimo remained suspended in the air. Philgoren then raised her left arm and sent bolts of purple force lightning into the air.

Masimo cried out, the pain being unbearable. Philgoren continued her onslaught with a grin on her face. Watching in horror, Olen reached out with his left hand summoning his lightsaber. Igniting the blade he hurled it through the air at the Ithorian’s head. Sensing the oncoming attack and ducking to avoid contact, she ceased the force lightning and lost her hold on Masimo. The young Jedi Knight fell from the air landing hard into several seats. Although he was unconscious, Olen could sense that he was still alive.

“That was a very foolish move,” Philgoren said. “And if it wouldn’t be that your death is reserved for Rianul I would kill you right now for such a stupid move.” The Ithorian paused, “But don’t worry, your time is coming.” She then turned to face the ongoing duel between the two young men.

Trilan lunged towards Jaxyon’s head while landing a punch with his left hand to the human’s midsection. He then spun around and made a parry at the young man’s left leg while delivering a sock to his mouth. Jaxyon deflected each swing and took each punch showing no signs of fear or pain. “I will destroy you eventually, Trilan. You can’t be allowed to live after what you’ve done and what you have become,” Jaxyon said through gritted teeth. “I will not fail,” Jaxyon continued as he continued to seethe in anger and took on the offensive once again.

After deflecting a few more blows, Trilan looked Jaxyon in the eyes, “I can see why you left the Jedi Order, for a Jedi is to know no anger and that is all I sense in you right now.” Jaxyon pressed on even harder while Trilan raised his right hand to send the human back a few meters with a force push.

Jaxyon regained his footing and now stood facing the Zabrak, “I will do what I must,” he said once again and began charging. Dryly, Trilan replied, “And I will do what I must in turn.” Instead of trying to dodge Jaxyon’s attack, Trilan reached out with the force and pulled the young man towards him increasing his speed and momentum. Then at the last split second, as Jaxyon was about to bring his lightsaber down, Trilan leapt high into the air. All Jaxyon could do was look up and see the Zabrak summersault over him, for his momentum, which Trilan had aided, was far too powerful for him to stop himself in time. With a loud thud Jaxyon crashed hard into and through one of the concrete walls of the theater.

Trilan landed on his feet and reached out with the force. Jaxyon was still alive, albeit injured. Sensing that the man was no longer a threat to him, he deactivated his lightsaber and clipped it to his belt. The Zabrak then began looking around the theater and saw Masimo lying unconscious in the seats with waves of heat still emanating from his body.

Philgoren started clapping, “Good, Very Good Rianul! That was quite the move but you did not kill your opponent.” Trilan walked down off the stage and over to where Philgoren was standing, “There is always time for that later,” he said dryly. He then looked down and saw Olen lying on the floor. Upon seeing the injured Twi’lek, Trilan’s mouth dropped open slightly and he began walking over toward Olen.

“That’s right Rianul, I didn’t kill him, I left that honor for you!” Philgoren shouted gleefully. Trilan knelt down beside the man who had raised him but did nothing and said nothing for several long minutes. The awkward silence was broken by Philgoren, “I sense the conflict within you Rianul but if in our time together you have learned one thing its that no one or nothing is important. This man lying before you has lied to you your entire life—held you back from your full potential. He has tried to make you into a Jedi when you are capable of so much more!”

Trilan’s reverie and inward conflict was broken by the loud snap-hiss of a lightsaber and he looked up to see Jaxyon, bloody and bruised, charging directly at him from behind Philgoren. Before he could react, Trilan heard another snap hiss as Philgoren spun around on her heals bringing her lightsaber around in an arc as Jaxyon was about to pass by her. Her blade made contact with his torso.

Trilan gasped at the sight and walked over to the spot where had Jaxyon landed and knelt down and felt for a pulse. He looked up at Philgoren, “He's alive, but barely!” The Ithorian looked down at Trilan and glaired, “I taught you better than to leave an opponent alive. Had I not stopped him he would have destroyed you.” The Ithorian paused, “Besides, he is far too dangerous to keep alive which is a pity really, so much power yet he can’t harness it. He has too much anger to be a Jedi and not enough self-control to join our cause. It’s a shame to see power like that wasted.”

She then looked down once again Trilan who was still kneeling by the injured Jaxyon, “Enough of this sentiment, Lord Rianul you are trying my patience. Now do what must be done. Kill Olen Si and then finish off your friends and take your rightful place by my side!”

Trilan slowly stood from where he was squatted and walked over towards Olen and ignited his red blade. Philgoren smiled, “That’s right Lord Rianul, kill him now.” With a tear in his eye, Trilan raised the blade in his right hand and brought it down but as he did so he spun around one hundred and eighty degrees on his heels and sliced Philgoren through her midsection.

Philgoren’s mouth dropped open in shock as her torso disconnected from her lower extremities and she fell over dead. Trilan deactivated his red blade and threw the lightsaber at the “Shadow’s” corpse and ran over and knelt beside his father cradling him in his arms. With tears in his eyes he looked over at Jaxyon and Masimo both of whom had suffered near fatal wounds. And then looking back at his father he said, “What have I done?”

A nearby explosion rocked Tom Zuckuss's EJ-Wing, the final B-Wing having been shattered by one of his squadron.
"Thats it, all fighters move in. Go, go, go!"
What remained of the squad dropped all remaining targets and took aim on the superweapon, which sat just in front now.
Tom could see the rod beginning to glow a little, the tip filling with energy as it took aim at the UGR's main capital ship.

Suddenly it was like the entire defensive cordon had reacted to the squad breaking through the gap, and they zoned in on them, like bee's protecting the Queen.
Alpha Team raced in, avoiding a Head Hunter assault and darted for the weapon.
Tom raced down the main rod, pumping laser fire as he went, strafing the hull but doing little damage. The white light continued to build.
A transmission came in over the squadron frequency. "Alpha 3 to Alpha Lead. Zuckuss? Target the nose of the rod. Maybe we can damage the..."
Static filled the remainder of the transmission as Alpha 3 exploded into a fireball, a casualty of the defence team.

But she had managed to get her idea across just in time, and Tom Zuckuss whipped around for a second attack.
He darted in and out of the dogfight, swooping around to port and breaking to line up with the main nose.
The light building at the nose was almost at its peak Tom could tell, and it was almost blinding to look at.
Nevertheless he set his missiles to fire, flipped the switch, listened to the lock tone, and then swiftly jambed his thumb down on the release button. And...

Nothing. The missiles had jammed, they wouldnt release, which basically gave Tom Zuckuss about 30 seconds before the safety protocols kicked in and they became dud.
Thoughts raced through his head, what to do, how they could complete the mission.
Looking around him he realised that none of the other team had the time before that thing went off to get a missile down its throat.
There was only one option.

Tom put his foot down on throttle, attempting to squeeze as much as he could out of his fighter, pouring his energy into going faster.
The light grew and grew, until all Tom could see was an angelic white that burned through his pupils. He squeezed his eyes tight, but that didnt seem to help either.
And with his hands on the control stick he levelled it straight, aiming straight for the eye of the weapon.

From a distance Alpha 5 watched on, losing the pursuer on his tail and scanning the area.
Alpha Lead was moving at a pace he had never witnessed in a fighter before, heading in a straight line for the superweapons nose. It was a death mission, suicide he knew, but for that he respected the man.
He opened the channel to Alpha Lead, and without waiting for an aknowledgement he said, "Good luck boss. Give em Hell."
And then his ship disappeared into a hail of fire.
The dust cleared, and for a second Alpha 5 tought that maybe the plan hadnt worked, that the sacrifice was for nothing.
But suddenly the white ball of light inverted, and blew down the tunnel from whence it came, blowing holes in the rod as it went before finally exploding out of the disc shaped craft on top, shattering the structure to pieces and taking any ships stupid enough to be close by.
The superweapon was gone, and with that threat the UGR forces could mop up.

*****



One week had passed since the culmination of the civil war on Denon and Jedi Master Olen Si had returned to the Jedi Temple on Dantooine. With the deaths of Philgoren, Gushu, and Phirio Piliv the rebel insurgence was quickly halted and peace once again returned to the planet of Denon although it would take years for the planet to rebuild from the destruction.

Admiral Ayehe and Agent Adder had also been killed in the conflict necessitating the need for a new government. Chancellor Verie Fith, in the final act of his presidency, set up an interim government on the planet under the rule of Governor Galoran Rhinnel, the former senator from Ryloth. Governor Rhinnel was to lead the government for the next six months until a free election could be held. Chancellor Fith also assigned General Rahk Taggart to the planet to ensure that the peace remained. After Fith made those appointments he resigned at the urging of many of the senators for it seems that Philgoren was partially correct in what she said about Fith’s desire to move the government to Corellia. It seems that Fith had been taking bribes from several influential Corellian businessmen who had ulterior motives for wanting the capital to be on Corellia. As things stood right now, the Senate would be holding elections within the day for a new chancellor.

Master Olen Si, holding a cane in his left hand, made his way to the infirmary at the Temple. As he entered a smile came to his face upon seeing the young Nautalon, Masimo Hoceto. “Masimo it is good to see you up and about,” the Twi’lek said while shaking the junior’s. “Thank you Master Si, the doc has just released me.”

“Indeed, its why I’m here,” Olen said with a grin. “Oh?” Masimo said with a slight tilt of his head. “I’m here to give you your next assignment,” Olen said with a grin. Masimo smiled, “Wow another assignment already.”

“The council has been impressed with the way you handled yourself back on Denon and would like you to head up a mission to the Outer Rim,” Si continued as the two walked out of the infirmary. “What’s going on in the Outer Rim?” the Nautalon asked. “Master Truskx returned from a trip to Tattoine and noted an increase in the amount of illegal smuggling going on and their cargo is a substance of unknown nature. We’d like you to investigate,” Si continued.

Masimo bowed in turn to Olen, “Thank you master, I will not disappoint you or the council.” He then paused. “How is Trilan?” Olen made a half smile, “He is here at the temple, the council has stripped him of his Knighthood for the time being and he is undergoing counseling and continued training.” Masimo smiled, “Wish him well for me.” The blue-skinned Twi’lek looked up, “I’ll do that. Good luck with your mission and may the force be with you.”