The Force Within
Copyright © 2016
By Jandar Tyr
By Jandar Tyr
'Forward:' A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, the Zygerrian Empire was in chaos as the Emperor descends into madness. Having lived so long with the dark side of the force, Emperor Achem Aldmos declared himself a god. Using the resources of the Empire and the power of the dark side, Emperor Achem ravaged many planets and took their resources for his own, with no care for the starving populations of the planets.
With the Sith Lord, Darth Sularr, as his high priest, Emperor Achem ordered his forces to go out and establish his new religion. Everyone is ordered to worship and give praise to Emperor Achem. His rule is absolute and his word is the new commandment. Let all those who refuse his law beware the hand of the dark god Achem Aldmos.
As the first moon crept through the smoky skies of Kashyyyk, Nae'shail of Narrroll, opened his eyes and moaned in pain. For a second he was confused, not sure where he was or what had happened to him. He tried to sit up and fell back feeling a searing pain run through his neck and back. He lifted his hand and felt a wet spot in the back of his red fur covered neck. Looking at his hand, he realized it was covered with blood. Moving slowly, Nae'shail sat up and gazed up at the burning wroshyr trees around him. That was when he remembered where he was and what had happened. The burning tree was Narrroll, the tree city his family lived in. Nae'shail had come home and found the city in flames and Zygerrian fighters overhead blasting down into the trees.
He had come home from a day of hunting in the trees to the east to find everything on fire. He dropped the Aviree's he had caught and jumped into the closest branch heading for the city armory. From branch to branch he leaped dodging pulse fire and smoldering branch's. As he landed on one branch, two troopers charged out firing at him. Nae'shail ripped loose a branch from the tree and hurled it at the troopers. The branch soared in and hit one trooper knocking him out of the tree as Nae'shail launched himself at the other trooper. He barrowed into him and smashed down with his fist, crushing his helmet and breaking the troopers neck, then he dived to the next branch.
As he looked up to the network of walkways and bridges, Nae'shail saw a line of his fellow Wookiees being led up and into a Zygerrian slave ship. Male, female, young and old all cuffed while troopers stood guard. Slowly he inched his way higher toward the walkway. That was when he saw his sister and his uncle among the captives.
As a sudden pain ripped through his head, Nae'shail roared and reached out for the closest troopers. Nae'shail didn't understand what was happening, but as he reached for the troopers, they lifted up into the air and started to float off of the walkway. Nae'shail was so surprised he almost fell off the branch he had been perched on. When he looked back up, the troopers were falling down through the tree screaming. As Nae'shail took his next step, a series of pulse beams shot out from the walkway. Two hit him and he fell plunging down and into a thicket of lower dense foliage where he passed out. When he woke up, the Empire ships were gone and so was everyone in Narrroll.
As he walked through the smoking ruins of Narrroll, Nae'shail kept a careful watch for any survivors. His family and everyone he knew was gone. If he had any hope to find them, he would need some clue as to where the troopers had taken them. He picked his way through the burned out limbs and branches where the homes and shops of his neighbors had been dug out. He needed weapons, something he could use to fight with. He found many knives and hammers, picks and a few broken bowcasters but so far nothing useful. With a loud moan he kicked out at a chair and launched it across the deck. As it banged into a pile of debris, he heard a weak moan. Grabbing one of the long knives, Nae'shail hurried over and started pulling pieces of broken furniture off the pile and tossing it aside until he uncovered a Human arm sticking out from under what was left of the roofing from a small shop. Nae'shail reached down and grabbed the piece of roof frame and with a great heave, he threw it over the side of the walkway.
Lying passed out on the deck, he found a young Human pilot his uncle had met off world. His name was Rein Daviron. Rein was of medium height for a Human. He had light hair and dark eyes and he was dressed in blue pants, white shirt and a dark vest. Uncle Chorrr had said he had met the Human years ago when they were both slaves in the spice mines of Kessel. Rein had help him free several Wookiees and they spent three years running and hiding from Slavers and bounty hunters. Eventually he returned them to Kashyyyk then headed off to his home planet of Clyria to look for his family.
Reaching in, Nae'shail very carefully lifted Rein out of the debris pile and tucked him under his arm and headed into Narrroll and finished his search. With Rein over his shoulder, Nae'shail swung down two levels to Uncle Chorrr's workshop. There he laid Rein down and pushed his way through the door. Uncle Chorrr was a master weaponsmith. He had been making Bowcasters and Crossbows for the clan for years. As Nae'shail looked around, he saw racks of crossbows and Bowcasters lining the wall along with all his tools. On his workbench, there was something different, a new weapon. Uncle called it a Crarun blaster. Nae'shail and Chorrr had always hated Bowcasters. They were so bulky and uncomfortable to carry that uncle had said he was working on something new and different. Something to do with the Crarun's high pitched squeal. The Crarun is a huge leathery winged forest beast that cornered its prey and sent out a scream that battered its victim's ears with sound waves that made the brain hemorrhage. Chorrr thought that if he could focus that sound, he could create a new weapon for the clan's use.
Nae'shail picked it up weighing it in his hands. It was light, less than half a meter in length, about a foot and half long. It was sleek with a small solar generator and battery with a tiny sound emitter in front. Nae'shail lifted it to his shoulder and pointed it a wroshyr nut hanging from a cluster outside the window. With a light touch on the trigger, a pulse of sound shot out of the rifle through the window and blasted the cluster and a great portion of the tree limb to pieces.
'Minga!' Nae'shail thought as he looked wide eyed at the broken tree limb. The tree had about a 3-foot branch blown right off. He would have to set the levels lower to conserve power and keep from blasting people to bits.
With the rifle over his shoulder, Nae'shail collected anything else he could find in the workshop he thought he might need. Tools, food, and a picture of his mother, sister and uncle, then he collected the sleeping Rein and headed out into the trees to plan the impossible rescue.
A shrill scream in the night roused Rein from his sleep. He reached up and felt the lump in his head, then opened his eyes and found a small furry animal licking at the side of his face. Rein jumped up to push it away and almost fell from the bed of leaves he was lying on. Carefully sitting up, he looked out into the foliage of the wroshyr tree he was trapped in.
"What the hell is going on?"
Last thing he remembered was having lunch with Chorrr. They were sitting at his table enjoying the roasted Kalet, Chorrr had made for Rein's visit. Chorrr had just started craving into the wild bird when everything went black. What had happened? Where was he, he wondered, and where was Chorrr and the rest of the Wookiee village?
Grabbing hold to a branch, Rein carefully pulled himself up on his feet. Looking up into the upper branches, he saw it was getting dark. He could barely see any light coming through the treetops. Night time was a very dangerous time in the forest of Kashyyyk. There were things here in these trees that could kill him very easily. Rein reached to his side for his blaster pistol. He was relieved to find it was still there in its holster where it belonged. Satisfied that he could protect himself, he took a looked over the edge of his little nest. It was a long way down if he fell.
His next question was how he had gotten there and how was he to get himself back to Narrroll or the spaceport. He couldn't climb down. The surface of Kashyyyk was a place even the Wookiees wouldn't go to. So what was he to do? He wasn't equipped for swinging and climbing like a Wookiee and he had no idea which way to go if he could. The spaceport could be just through the trees, or hundreds of miles away.
As Rein stood on the edge of the nest, he saw he was standing on a branch that was at least ten feet wide and reached out far into the dark foliage of the tree. Rein walked out slowly watching the night for any sudden movement. To the left, something jumped off a branch and darted out away from him. All around him he could hear the sound of things moving above and beneath him. He could hear the howl of the Crarun off in the distance. The growling of the Worawa and squeaking of the Tongi as they burrowed and hunted in the upper branches. The night was alive with predators all out hunting for the night's prey.
Suddenly from overhead, Rein heard a great howl. He looked up just as a great mass of fur came flying down out the foliage. Rein dived to the side just in time to avoiding a swipe from a massive claw. He rolled to the edge of the branch then jumped up and reached for his blaster. As he pulled his blaster he looked up into the eyes of a snarling black furred Wookiee as it lunged at him. Thinking quickly, Rein ducked then dived between its legs and crawled as fast as he could as he tried to turn and bring his blaster up to fire. As the Wookiee turned, it slammed its fist down rattling the tree and knocking Rein's blaster from his hand. As the blaster tumbled back, Rein lunged back trying to retrieve it before the Wookiee could attack. Just as Rein's fingers touched the blaster, the Wookiee attacked.
As the Wookiee sprang at Rein, a great mass of red fur dropped from above and grabbed the Wookiee. Like two Hoth Snow bears, the two Wookiees wrestled howling at each other. They fell with the darker one on top then rolled howling right off the edge of the branch. Rein jumped up and watched as they went off the side. He heard branches breaking then a soft thud and series of barks, then the sound of something making its way back up into the tree. Diving back, Rein grabbed his blaster to be ready for the next attack. As he clicked the safety off his blaster, the red furred Wookiee came over the side of the nest. It hopped over, then sat and looked at him.
Rein and Nae'shail sat there and stared at each other. From his side, the Wookiee took out a water skin and held it out for Rein. Figuring the Wookiee meant no harm, since it hadn't attacked, he took it and drank deeply then passed it back. It was filled with graling juice. Very tasty. Next Nae'shail pulled out a napkin. As he unwrapped it, Rein saw it was filled with Wasaka berries. He passed it over to Rein who took it and ate a few then tried to pass it back. Nae'shail motioned for him to eat, so Rein finished them.
"You know I do understand Shyriiwook if you talk slowly."
"You Understand?" Nae'shail crooned tilting his head.
"Yes." Rein said. "You understand Standard?"
"Little, Uncle teach. You teach more. Get better."
"Uncle?" Rein frowned. "You're Chorrr's nephew?"
"Yes." He nodded his red furry head. "Me Nae'shail."
"Where is Chorrr?"
"Captured." He moaned. "All captured. We save. Help please."
"Who took them?" Rein asked worried about his friend.
"Zygerria attack Narrroll." Nae'shail growled. "Many dead, many captured. Mmilllorro attack you. Think you attack Narrroll."
"Of course I'll help." Rein stood up and dropped the berries. "But where did they take them? What could the Empire want with a village of Wookiees?"
"Not know." Nae'shail shrugged. "Wookiee strong, smart, good fighter."
"And that might be why the Empire wants them." Rein said. "Wookiee muscle power is greater than any other race in the galaxy. If the Empire can get them on their side the galaxy is in deep trouble"
"NO!!" Nae'shail barked and pounded his fist. "Wookiee not traitor. Never work for Empire. Fight Empire!"
"I believe you my friend." Rein smiled. "Now how about we get out of this tree and down to the spaceport. We have a long journey ahead of us."
With Rein on his back, Nae'shail climbed higher in the tree to the tree crown where he had hidden a small two-man Tree skimmer. He popped the hatch and lifted Rein up into the copilot's seat then hopped in. The Tree skimmer was a small hovercraft type vehicle, popular on Kashyyyk, carved by the Wookiees for travelling long distances through the treetops of the Kashyyyk forest. Nae'shail had found it crashed in the ruins of Narrroll and repaired it knowing they would need transportation to get them to the spaceport. Once in, he made sure Rein was buckled in, then locked the hatch and climbed into the pilot's seat and switched on the maglifts. With a thumbs up from Rein, he launched the skimmer on its way.
"Spaceport east." Nae'shail barked. "We stay low. No one see."
"Good idea." Rein said. "My ship is on the north end of the spaceport, if it's still there."
"Must warn others." Nae'shail grabbed a headset and put it on then started barking into the microphone. Seconds later, a series of howls and barks answered back. As Rein listened, Nae'shail seemed to be getting excited by what he heard. Whatever had been said really disturbed Nae'shail. He barked something then threw his headset across the cabin.
"Zygerria attack many trees." He said as he pushed forward on the throttle of the skimmer. "Take many captives. Wookiee fighting at spaceport. We hurry."
As they approached the spaceport, Rein saw Wookiees charging into the ranks of Zygerrian troopers with Bowcasters and crossbows blazing. troopers dropped one by one as Wookiees shrugged off blaster fire howling in rage. As the Wookiees charged in they grabbed troopers and ripped into them tearing through their armor. Arms and legs flew as the furry giants tore their way through the spaceport. As the battle for the spaceport raged, surprised troopers hurried to man their fighters and get them into the air as Wookiees blasted the airfield from the trees. Tree skimmers streaked in to attack two lines of tank fighters that were parked on the edge of the airfield. troopers ran for carrier ships shooting blaster fire behind them as they ran.
"My ship is there!" Rein pointed.
Nae'shail quickly turned to head to Rein's CR90 Nova parked just off the northeast runway. Rein reached up and hit two buttons on the control device on his sleeve which triggered the ship's engines to start and the hatch to open. Just as Nae'shail brought the skimmer in to land, a missile streaked down from a fighter and hit Rein's Nova. As they watched, the ship exploded sending burning debris flying everywhere.
Quickly Nae'shail turned the skimmer. There was a small Zygerrian slave ship parked just across from the hanger opposite where Rein's ship had been. There were four troopers hurrying to finish secure the last of their cargo. Nae'shail brought the skimmer down behind the hanger and grabbed his C blaster and leaped out. With Rein at his side, they slowly crept around the building with their blasters ready to fight. Nae'shail peeked around the corner, and was about to charge out when Rein grabbed his arm to stop him. Nae'shail turned back to see Rein stripping the armor off of a dead trooper.
"I have an idea that might get us closer." Rein said as he pulled off the trooper's leg armor. "Call the others and have them distract that ship. But tell them not to damage it."
From his bag, Nae'shail pulled a small communicator. He keyed a quick series of numbers, then barked something into the microphone. Just as Nae'shail finished, Rein heard shots coming from around side of the hanger. Quickly donning the helmet, He sent out a message to the carrier ship.
"Captain Trigon to carrier 13854, come in"
"13854 here." Came the answer.
"What is your status?"
"We're taking fire and about to take off."
"Negative." Rein said. "I'm trapped with a captive behind the hanger to your left. Lay down suppression fire so I can join you! Do it now!"
"Quick, put these on." Rein handed him a pair of handcuffs. Nae'shail's eyes went wide. "You don't have to close them, just make it look like you're my captive."
He grunted then snapped them around his wrist keeping them open. Rein took his C blaster and they were ready.
As a group of Wookiees hailed pulse fire all around them, Nae'shail ran towards the carrier ship with Rein right on his heels with a blaster to his back. From the slave ships ramp, the troopers returned fire giving Rein the chance to get to the ship. As he approached the ship, the troopers waved him on.
"Hurry Captain." A trooper yelled. "The cargo is all loaded and we're the last ship to leave. The Commander ordered fighters to escort us out of the system then to return and level this spaceport."
"Why?" Rein asked.
"He thinks the Wookiees may have called for help." The trooper looked up at Nae'shail. "Commander Maedan wants all ships away from Kashyyyk before anyone can arrive so we aren't traced back to our base."
"Is everything ready to go?" Rein asked.
"Yes." He looked again at Nae'shail. "He's the last one. I'll put him in the cells with the rest of the slaves."
"That won't be necessary."
Rein pulled up his blaster and opened fire on the four troopers blasting them off their feet. Nae'shail howled and threw down the handcuffs and grabbed his C blaster and ran up the carrier ramp. Seconds later sonic pulses echoed through the ship's passageways as he finished of the carrier's crew.
With the slave ships crew eliminated, Nae'shail and Rein freed all the Wookiees from the cells and told them of the Zygerrians plan to return and destroy the spaceport. As the freed Wookiees disembarked from the carrier, Mmilllorro stepped onto the ramp to speak with Nae'shail.
"Help is on the way here." Mmilllorro said. "Find out where they took our people and do what you can to free them. We will wait for your signal, then come with ships. Make us proud young Nae'shail."
"What of the Human?" Mmilllorro asked. "Are you sure you can trust him?"
"Uncle trust him." Nae'shail said. "So yes, I trust him."
"Then safe journey to both of you." Mmilllorro raised his head and howled. "Your ancestors will be with you."
With a nodded to Rein, Mmilllorro walked down the ramp and away from the ship. Closing the ramp, Nae'shail and Rein headed to the bridge and started the lift off procedures and launched into the night skies of Kashyyyk.
It was late as Lord Darth Sularr stepped down from his class 1 Z fighter. He was in a foul mood. He had been hunting Jedi when he received an order from Emperor Achem to go to Nimos III and deal with the opening of his new church there. As Achem's obedient apprentice, he didn't like the order, but he had no choice but to do as his master ordered.
From his Z fighter, Sularr made his way through the Zygerrians private spaceport with his dark head held high. All the troopers snapped to attention as he passed. The Emperor had advised Sularr there was trouble on Nimos. The usually passive natives of the planet, didn't seem to like his new church and were causing trouble and resistance. Sularr was to go and pay them a visit and make a few examples. He was to showing them what the price of defying the Zygerrian Empire would be.
From the spaceport, Sularr ordered transportation to take him first to the church in Tadyn, then he would move on to the larger city of Wiran and the other church sites.
The inhabitants of Nimos III were of Human stock. They had come to the planet five or six generations ago and made the rich and fertile planet their home. They plowed the fields and planted crops that grew in abundance. They dug the mines that produced the minerals that made the Empire notice their planet. That was when the first ship of troopers arrived. For one hundred years the Zygerrian Empire had been raping and stripping the planet of its resources. The Nimossians would mine or grow it, and before they could sell it and ship it off planet, the Empire would come and take it away leaving them with barely enough to sustain the planet. Since they had no troops or army for protection, there wasn't much they could do about it. Except for one thing. Of all the inhabitants of Nimos III, there was one person who might possibly make a difference. A Jedi.
The sun had just risen over the eastern Polath mountains as Kylan Braden ran and ducked into the shadows to hide from the score of troopers chasing him. He had broken a major Zygerrian law. He had been caught out after curfew and that crime was punishable by death on sight. Zygerrian Empire laws meant little to him, he had bigger problems tonight.
Kylan had once been a warrior in the Jedi order. He was tall and handsome with his blond hair tied back in a knot. He had a very fit and muscular body for all his years of training. He fought many battles including the Jedi-Zygerrian conflict to end the slave trade in the Republic. Afterwards he came home to rest and to try and leave all the thoughts of war and battles behind. Kylan was tired of fighting. For him right and wrong both meant the same thing. War. War for freedom or for domination, either way it all meant more death. Well he was sick and tired of death. He wanted to surround himself with love and nature for a change. He wanted to be near his family and the people he loved. He just wanted to be at home where it was peaceful and quiet and away from the Empire and the Jedi's and their wars. But it seems that just wasn't meant to be, at least not here on Nimos III.
While meditating in his small cabin in the forest outside of Tadyn, he had felt a sudden disturbance in the force. Not just any disturbance. What he was feeling from the force was a deep sense of fear and it was coming from his younger brother's daughter Ameria. As he concentrated, he realized it was not just fear, it was absolute panic. Something was wrong with Ameria.
Kylan jumped up and ran into his cabin and grabbed his cloak and lightsaber and ran to his shed where he had hidden his old jumpspeeder. He dragged it out and quickly checked the fuel cells to make sure they had a full charge. With the fuel cells checked and extras stored in the storage compartment, Kylan hopped on, adjusted his goggles and hit the ignition to start the speeder. As the magnetic engines flared to life, Kylan gunned the repulsors and spun the jumpspeeder around and headed for his brother's farm.
It had been a beautiful day as Ameria Braden finished her shopping. Mother had sent her into town with a list of things they were out of. The list included flour, eggs, bacon, sugar, oil and feed for the livestock. They needed paint, nails, a new recycler and shielding panels for the roof power grid that she could sneak in from town. It was going to be a busy day and she had to get this all done without being spotted by the Empire. With the family Hopper loaded and hidden in the forest, Ameria decided it was time she had a look around Tadyn, it had been months since any of her family had been to town. She closed her cloak and pulled the hood down to hide her face, then she headed down to see what had become of Tadyn.
What was once a quiet little friendly town was now more like a prisoner of war camp. The people walked around with their heads down afraid to look the troopers in the eyes and there were no children. Many of the shops that use to be open were closed. The bakery was gone, the flower shop was gone, there was only one food dispenser and tavern left in town. It seemed like all the joy had been taken away from Tadyn.
As she made her way through town, a strange klaxon siren started to blare startling her. Everyone on the street stopped what they were doing and turned to head west in the direction that the siren had come from. Ameria wanted to ask someone what the siren was about, but for some reason, she didn't think that was a good idea. Instead she decided to follow and see for herself what it was.
She followed them two blocks up to the old building that once housed the church of the old Republic. Ameria's heart froze when she saw the red armored troopers standing armed at the door. She stopped walking and tried to back away. Suddenly she felt a blaster against her back.
"Keep moving." The trooper pushed her forward. "You heard the siren. It's time for the Emperor's mass. Get in there!"
Scared out of her mind, Ameria kept walking. She wanted to turn and run but she knew the trooper behind her would shoot her without question. Looking around she noticed the blank stares of the rest of the people. Something strange was going on inside the church of the Holy Zygerrian Empire, and Ameria was afraid to find out what it was.
The old church had been changed. Everything inside was red and there were rows and rows of blank eyed people waiting for the service to start. There was a weird blue skinned man dressed in black standing at the altar. Above his head on a huge red tapestry, Ameria saw the Imperial crest.
"Bow before the Emperor's altar and give yourself completely to him!" The blue man said as his eyes started to glow. "Your life is his. Surrender to Emperor Achem Aldmos!"
As Ameria stood there, she could feel herself getting weaker. She was getting sleepy. Somehow the strange blue skinned man was draining the energy from her body. It felt like her soul was being drained. She fell back onto the pew.
The blue man looked out and saw her fall. He smiled and started down at her. The girl was of average height with beautiful golden blond hair. She was dressed in the same drab, plain clothes that the natives wore but there was something different about this one. Yeah, she was very pretty. More beautiful than any of the other native girls, but that wasn't it. There was something in her eyes. A spark, a power. Sularr reached out with his mental sense to probe her and was surprised when he felt her chi. This girl it seemed had a deep connection with the force. She might be just the one the Emperor was looking for. Sularr waved a trooper over to grab her.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here!" He smiled as she was lifted up. "We have a very special sister here today and she is very strong with the force. The Emperor will want to meet you. Put her on my ship, the rest of this visit will have to wait."
At that exact moment, Ameria screamed out in her mind for help, and her uncle Kylan's eyes opened.
By the time Kylan reached the Braden farm, it was dark and the moon was high in the sky. He parked the jumpspeeder and ran to the house. With a wave of his hand, the door opened and he hurried in. Sitting at his desk in the living room, his brother Orin jumped up surprised to see him.
"Kylan." He said. "What are you doing here?"
"Where is she?"
"Who?" He asked looking around. "Maya? She's in the kitchen making dinner."
"No, I mean America. She's in some kind of trouble. I can feel her fear. Where is she?"
"She went into town earlier was afternoon to go shopping." Orin looked at his watch. "She should have been back by now."
"You sent her to town alone?" Kylan couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Orin, you know how dangerous that is. The Empire is in Tadyn, she's not safe there alone."
"Kylan." Orin sat back down. "Relax, she's a big girl and able to protect herself."
"No." Kylan put his hand to his temple. "I can feel her fear. She's in trouble. Her mind is screaming for help. Take Maya and head for my cottage, you'll be safe there. I'll go find her and bring her back. Pack whatever you need. I think Nimos has become too dangerous for us to stay here."
"Are you serious?"
"Do I sound like I'm joking?" Kylan took out a small communicator device and passed it to his brother. "Go pack. Get moving before it's too late. Keep this communicator with you and I'll message you once I find her."
After handing over the comm and the key card, Kylan turned and hurried out of the farm house. He jumped back on the jumpspeeder and headed down through the forest to look for his niece.
Using the force, Kylan focused his mind to trace the path she had taken into town. He parked the jumpspeeder and donned his cloak and made his way into town to the hardware store where she had shopped. Her trail was strong and he followed it back and found the Hopper hidden in the forest with all the supplies she had purchased. From there the trail started to get stronger. With all his senses open, Kylan felt the presence of the Empire all around him. Then suddenly he felt something he wasn't expecting. As Kylan wandered through the shadows of Tadyn, he felt a presence that sent a chill through him. It was something he hadn't felt in many years. Something dark and powerful. He felt the presence of a Sith Lord. It seems that true evil had finally come to Tadyn.
From shadow to shadow, Kylan slipping all through the city. He made his way through Tadyn's dark streets avoiding all the Empire sentries. He passed trooper stationed near the town treasury and the vaults where Tadyn's crops and mining resources were stored. There he watched as droids loaded Empire hoppers to be taken back to their ships. It looks like there was going to be another year with barely enough to feed the people.
"This is wrong." Kylan said to himself. "So much greed. How can one with so much, care so little about the people he is starving?"
All the Emperor cared about was conquest and power. The next planet he would conquer, the next system he would rape and put down under his thumb. When would it stop? Would the people of the galaxy ever have peace?
Would the Republic ever rise again?
Pulling shadows around him for cover, Kylan took off into the village. Ameria was out there somewhere and he had to find her.
From the village storage vaults, Kylan first checked the school where Ameria had friends. He probed the dark building and found it empty. As he turned to leave, a Empire patrol vehicle came speeding around the corner and caught Kylan in its spotlight. Kylan froze for a second covering his eyes from the glaring light.
"Halt!" blared from a loudspeaker. "By order of the Empire you are under are under arrest for breaking the curfew! Do not move or we will open fire!"
With a wave of his hand, the spotlight exploded in a flash and Kylan disappeared into the shadows of the night leaving the trooper's blinded and confused.
"He's gone!" The trooper commander shouted. "Everyone spread out and find him! I want him found immediately!"
Kylan ran down the alley and climbed a storm pipe to the top of a set of buildings. He jumped from one to the next using the force to keep himself from falling. As he moved along the rooftops, he felt for a trace of Ameria. He had last felt her at the hardware kiosk. After that he lost her until now. Now he felt something. She had passed here earlier. She had headed west towards the old Republic church.
Kylan looked down along the street to make sure there were no troopers, then leaped down and headed out towards the church. What was once an old catholic style cathedral type church had been renovated by the Empire into a huge glass and steel like fortress. It had high towering steeples with intricate designs worked into it. At its center there was a tall dome of glass that stuck out like a sore thumb against the simple architecture of Nimoss.
As Kylan walked up to the door of the church, a trooper stepped out and pulled his blaster.
"Stop right there!" He said aiming the blaster at Kylan. "You shouldn't be out this late. You're under arrest!"
Kylan's eyes flashed as he waved his hand in the troopers face.
"I am not under arrest." He said. "And you will answer my questions."
"You're not under arrest." He repeated as his eyes glazed over. "I will answer your questions."
"Who was the Sith Lord that was here?"
"His name is Darth Sularr." The trooper answered.
"Why was he here?"
"The Emperor ordered him to reorganize his new church of the Holy Empire."
"Why does the Emperor want a church?" Kylan asked.
"To become a god."
That was crazy, Kylan thought. The Emperor may be a Sith Master but he would me mad to think himself a god. He must be insane and that would make him extremely dangerous. He wondered where Ameria could possibly fit in this madness.
"There was a girl here earlier." Kylan said. "A very pretty girl. What happened to her?"
"Lord Sularr took her away with him."
"Where did he go?" Kylan asked.
"He took her to his ship." He said. "He was taking her back to the Emperor."
"I have to find him." Kylan passed his hand over his eyes. "I need a small ship, where can I find one?"
"There are ships at the spaceport." His eyes closed as he dropped down to sit in front of the church doors. "Find Captain Nalos, he can get you a ship."
"I was never here." Kylan said in a deep voice. "You will forget you ever saw me."
"You were never here." The trooper got back on his feet to stand at attention at his post. Pulling his cloak close, Kylan backed away from the church and started down the street. As he turned the corner, a group of troopers spotted him and he took off at a run for the spaceport.
So here he was, it was morning and Kylan had evaded the troopers search for him all night. He had made his way out of Tadyn and to the back fields beyond the Empire spaceport. The spaceport was busy with troopers and droids packing and loaded the cities resources into larger ships to be transported back to the Empire for relocation. Kylan had probed the spaceport, so he knew neither Darth Sularr or Ameria were here. He had already taken her aboard his ship and lifted off. That meant Kylan would have to discover where he had gone and follow after them.
With the sun rising, Rein and Nae'shail set down their carrier ship in one of the furthest landing spots on the Nimossian spaceport. Since this was a Human planet, Nae'shail couldn't disembark from the ship without being recognized. He had to trust Rein with their mission to locate the Wookie's and his family. Rein reassured Nae'shail that he would do his best and donned his helmet and walked off down the ramp.
"13874 to spaceport control. Who is in command here?"
"I am." A voice answered. "Identify yourself and have your ship ready for inspection in ten minutes."
"And who are you?" Rein asked.
"I am Commander Hinemo Nalos." The radio buzzed. "Identify yourself trooper!"
"I am Captain Trigon of the Emperor's Black Guard. Do you understand?"
There was silence for a minute before Commander Nalos came back.
"Yes." He said with a touch of fear in his voice. "I understand. What can I do for you Captain?"
"I would talk with you privately Commander."
Commander Nalos switched to a secure channel and radioed back to Rein.
"I'm in my office." He said. "This is a secure channel. How can I help you?"
"You can clear all these ships away from my ship." Rein said with authority. "Send droids to fuel my ship. If anyone asks, tell them I will be loading supplies and meet me at the hanger to my left immediately. I need some information."
"Yes sir." Commander Nalos answered. "Your orders will be carried out. I will meet you in ten minutes."
Rein smiled to himself at he turned left towards the hanger. Using the Black Guard had just come to him. The Black Guard was a secret dead squad that the Emperor used for special missions. No one would dare question a Black Guard order. They were known for making people disappeared in the night. He knew this commander would answer whatever questions he had without question.
As he walked to the hanger, Kylan kept a close eye on him. There was someone on the ship he had just left that sent a ripple through the force. It wasn't a dark feeling so he knew it wasn't Sularr on the ship. Whoever was on that ship, was sensitive to the Force and had an untrained mind. Kylan reached one to probe the ship.
"A Wookiee? How curious."
Moving closer to the door, Kylan slipped in and hid himself behind a pile of crates and watched as the two troopers entered the hanger. Rein walked in and stopped in front of a row of Hoppers. Commander Nalos walked in and took off his helmet and went to join Rein.
"Commander." Rein said. "I have a few questions I would like for you to answer."
"What can I help you with?" Commander Nalos looked Rein up and down. He was wearing the armor of senior ensign which didn't make sense. Why would an officer in the Black Guard disguise himself as an ensign? And what could he be hiding on that ship? As the Commander of this base, he should know about everything here.
"What is your status here on Nimoss III?"
"We are going from city to city collecting tributes from the people." Nalos said. "Crops, livestock, iron, gold and platinum. Anything the Empire might think is useful. These Nimossian are very good with technology. Like the Wookiees they are very inventive and we can use them. The Emperor wants them taken back to work for him on a special project."
"You mean the Nimossian?"
"I mean both." Commander Nalos said as his hand slowly went down to his holster. "We invaded Kashyyyk first before we came to Nimoss III. We have resources from both planets on the ships en route now."
As Rein listened to Commander Nalos, a voice suddenly popped into his head.
'Beware, the commander is about to attack you!'
Kylan leaped out from his hiding place and slashed down with his lightsaber knocking the blaster from the Commander's hand just as a shot blasted into the roof of the hanger. Rein jumped forward and hit the Commander with a punch to his stomach then two rights to his jaw. Nalos fell to the floor unconscious.
Rein looked up at the handsome man standing in front of him. Who was he? He couldn't be a trooper. He must be a Nimossian. Then he remember the voice in his head. A Jedi?
"Who the hell are you? Rein said as he pulled off his helmet.
"I'm the one that just saved your life." Kylan knelt down to check the Commanders pulse which was steady and strong. "Had I not been here, he was going to blow your brains out."
"Thank you." Rein said. "But I had it handled. Now how do I get info from him? And again, who are you?"
"My name is Kylan Braden. I'm here looking for my niece. The Empire took her from their weird church. Why are you here? I know you're not a trooper, so why are you questioning an Zygerrian Empire Commander?"
"Because the Zygerrians took some friends of mine." Rein said. "And I want to get them back."
"Yes." Rein was surprised. "How did you know?"
"You got excited when the Commander mentioned Kashyyyk. And your friend on the ship. You might want to get him off the planet before your ship gets scanned."
"You are a Jedi." Rein smiled. "I'll make you a deal. You need a ship. We'll help you get to your niece if you'll help us free the Wookies. Maybe together we'll have a better chance against the Empire.
"What about him?" Rein gestured to the Commander on the floor. "What do we do with him?"
"Bring him." Kylan waved his hand and lifted the Commander up to a walking position. "He may be the only way we have to find out where they took our friends."
"You take his armor." Rein said. "They think I'm loading supplies, so we can load him on a small hopper and drive it onto my ship."
"I like the way you think." Kylan said as he undressed the commander and put on his armor. Together they hoisted his unconscious body and hid it in the hopper. "You think fast."
"As a smuggler, I have to always think on my feet. You never what's around the next corner and you have to be prepared for anything."
"Now," Rein jumped into the driver's seat of the hopper. "Can you use your magic to convince the tower to let us take off?"
"It's not magic." Kylan told him as he took his place next to him. "The Force is an energy field that connects all living things in the galaxy. It surrounds us and penetrates us. It binds the galaxy together."
"Sounds like magic to me." Rein shrugged. "Can you hokus pokus the tower?"
"No." he said, "I don't think I can reach that far or control that many minds. We'll have to use some of that fast thinking of yours."
"I'll think of something." Rein started the hopper and drove out of the hanger.
The Empire spaceport had once belonged to the Nimossians. For a small village, it was pretty big. It had been used to export ore shipments so it had room for huge cargo ships to land and load. At one point Tadyn's mines were producing a little under 18 million tons of iron and platinum in a year. There were fuel and water tanks situated near each hanger, When Rein saw them, he had an idea. He triggered an intercom to Kylan next to him.
"See those fuel tanks?"
"Yes." Kylan answered.
"If you can ignite one. It will give us enough cover to take off."
"Which one?" Kylan asked.
"The one over there close to my ship." Rein said. "I'll radio an emergency take off. They'll be to busy with the fire to think about us. Wait until we start up the ramp."
"You do think fast." Kylan laughed.
As they drove to the ship they listened to chatter on the radio. From the reports in Tadyn, they were still searching for the man that had been seen roaming the streets the night before. The search was about to be moved to the spaceport area.
"Would that be you?" Rein asked.
"Don't worry." He said as they neared the slave ship. "They'll never figure it out."
Then a call came over the radio for Commander Nalos. He was needed to authorize men to search the spaceport.
"Now." Rein said as he drove onto the ramp. Kylan looked over the hanger they had just left. Right next to it there was two large tanks. A blue water tank and a red tank of fuel. Clearing his mind, Kylan stirred the molecules in the fuel tank causing them to heat up. Suddenly it exploded sending flames and fire into the air and blowing the hanger apart. Once they were in the ship, Rein and Kylan ran quickly to the bridge.
"Kylan." He yelled. "This is Nae'shail. Get ready to disable the radio as soon as they answer. Nae'shail, get us out of here!"
Nae'shail howled at Rein.
"No time for questions. Take off!!" Rein keyed the radio. "13874 to air control. Permission for emergency take off!"
"Granted 13874. Lift off and take a position in orbit."
Just after the tower controller said 'take off', Kylan pulled a connection on the radio and jumped into a seat and strapped himself in. Nae'shail keyed in the ignition sequence and they took off. The force of the powerful engines of the carrier slammed them back into their seat as they rocketed up into the upper atmosphere of Nimoss. Kylan held on tight for his life hating every second but knowing this to be their only way to escape.
"Now I remember way I hate space travel!" Kylan yelled.
Once they were out of the planet's gravity, the pressure dropped away and they could all relax and move around the ship.
"Where to?" Nae'shail barked.
"Get us out of the system for now." Rein said as he unstrapped himself from his seat. "We have a hostage to question."
Once in space and away from Nimoss III, Nae'shail hit the hyperspace and they were gone in a streak of starlight.
With a sudden splash of cold water, Commander Nalos bolted up awake. As he looked around, he saw Rein standing over him holding a bucket.
"Where am I?" He asked.
"Well." Rein smiled. "I guess you could say you're in deep shit. But that really all depends on you."
"You kidnapped me!" He fumed. "I knew you weren't a member of the Black Guard."
"Why?" Rein smiled. "Because I kidnapped you? You think the Emperor's Black Guard wouldn't kidnap someone if they thought it was necessary? I got news for you, they do it all the time. The Empire kidnaps millions every year! As a matter of fact, that's why you're here."
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"He's talking about a young girl Darth Sularr stole from Nimoss." Kylan sad leaning on a console. "Where did he take her?"
"Missing your girlfriend?" Nalos sneered. "That's too bad. Wish I could help you."
"Oh, you're going to help us." Rein smiled.
"And why would I help you?" Nalos said. "You're nothing but enemies of the Empire. What are you going to do, torture me? You don't scare me."
"Maybe I don't." Rein stepped back and walked around Nalos. "I doubt my friend he scares you either even though he's a Jedi."
Nalos looked at Kylan. That smug look on his face faded away. He knew the Jedi could get into his mind and learn his secrets and it might be painful.
"But his niece isn't the only one missing. I have another friend here whose whole family was taken in an Empire raid. Would you like to meet him?"
"Bring anyone you want out." Nalos spit at them. "I've been trained to resist whatever you try on me."
"We'll see about that." Rein laughed and went to the controls for the cabins door. He pressed a button and the door zipped out. For a second there was no one there, then Nae'shail stepped from the side into view and charged howling at him. Nalos screamed as he cowered back and pissed all over himself in fear.
"The Empire raided Kashyyyk and took a load of Wookiees away." Rein said. "Tell us where they took them."
It took no more than two minutes for Commander Nalos to tell them everything they wanted to know. They tied him up and left him quaking in his cabin. With a destination plotted into the Nav computer, they were off to their next destination.
Once the Commander was secure and their course was set, Rein took some time to get some rest leaving Nae'shail and Kylan on watch. Kylan went to the food replicator and ordered himself a lite meal. It had been hours since the last time he ate. He took it to the bridge and sat in the copilot's seat opposite Nae'shail and took a sip of his hot spiced tea. He turned his chair to look at Nae'shail.
'Can you understand me?'
The Wookie jumped when he heard the voice in his head. He turned to Kylan and howled.
'Yes, I understand. How can this be?'
'We have a very special talent you and I.' Kylan sat his cup down and held his hand over it. 'Watch this.'
As he slowly raised his hand over the cup, it lifted slowly up about two feet into the air.
'It's called the Force.' He said as pulled the cup to his hand and drank the rest of his tea. 'I can feel it very strongly in you. I will teach you the ways of the force if you let me.'
'I could never do anything like that.' Nae'shail said.
'You can if you believe in yourself.' Kylan assured him. 'But doubt is the enemy. You must believe in yourself. Here, try it.'
Kylan sat the cup back on the console and leaned back in his seat.
'I don't want you to lift it. Just move it an inch. Look at the cup and concentrate. See it move in your mind. Don't stain, just give a little push.'
Nae'shail nodded then looked down at the cup. He calmed his mind and tried to push it. Nothing happened. He looked back to Kylan.
'See, I cannot do this,'
"Yes you can." Kylan said. "You're trying too hard. Close your eyes and relax, Listen to my voice. Let in sooth your thoughts, let it calm your emotions. Relax. Now open your eyes and see the cup move."
Nae'shail opened his eyes and gently touched the cup with his mind and it slid two inches across console.
'I did that?'
"Yes you did." Kylan smiled. "Congratulation, you have just taken your first step with the force. But be aware, you have a long hard road ahead of you with many dangers but I will be there to guide you if you let me."
'I want to learn.'
"Good." Kylan said. "Let me tell you all about the Force then."
When Ameria woke up she heard strange music. It was like nothing she had ever heard before. It was soft with some kind of string instruments with soft horns and bells. It was almost hypnotic the way it droned on sometime loud and sometimes soft. She sat up in bed and looked around. This wasn't her bedroom. She was in a big bed covered with pillows and thick blankets. It was very warm and comfortable. The walls were covered with silk drapes of black and red and the floor looked like it was made of marble. There was a water dispenser and a small table with a plate of fruit and a carafe with some liquid in it. Where was she? The last thing she remembered was being in that church. The dark man was up at the podium doing something to her. Had she passed out? Was she still somewhere in the church?
She pushed the covers off and climbed out of bed and almost screamed when she realized she was naked. She grabbed the sheet off the bed and wrapped it around herself, then tore a strip from one of the drapes and made a belt. Dressed, Ameria went to the table and picked up the carafe of wine and took a sniff. It smelled strange, strong not like any wine she had ever had before. She took it to the water dispenser and poured it out then rinsed the carafe and filled it with water and took a drink. The fruit looked delicious, but she wasn't Nimossian. There was something round, brown and fizzy. A long tubular thing with spots and some green berries. She had no idea if any of it was fit for her to eat so she pushed it away and decided to look around.
There were no windows in the room and the only light came from a dim set of tubes on the ceiling. Ameria walked up to the door and bumped into it when it didn't open automatically. Strange she thought. Someone must have put a lock on the mechanism. That means she was in a Zygerrian Empire building because they were the only buildings on Nimoss III with locks.
"Now what do I do?"
She looked around and noticed the control console on the wall beside the door. If she had tools she could probably open the console and get the door open. But there was nothing in the room she could use to pry the console open to get to its inner workings. Then she remembered something Uncle Kylan had taught her.
As a Jedi master, Uncle Kylan her recognized that she had the talent to use the Force. He had tried many times to get her to sit down with him and practice, but being young, she always had something better to do. But his constant insistence did eventually get her to work with him on a few summer days and she found he was right. She did have the talent, but it was hard work. So far she had lifted chairs and moved tables, small things around uncle's cabin. She wondered if it would be possible, if it would work on the door.
Ameria reached out and put her hand on the console. She could feel the heat of its energy source beneath her hand. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and concentrated on the inner mechanism of the door. The circuits and micro switches, transistors and sensors. She could see the blinking and flashing lights of the electrical processors in the wall. With a lite touch, she heard a click and the door slid open.
With the door open, Ameria peeked out to look up and down the corridor. It was long gray and cold steel with many doors on each side and at each end.
She stepped out and went from door to door, listening at each door. Finding no one, she went to the door at the end. It slid open to reveal a lift. Ameria stopped for a second. She had no idea where the lift went. Was the exit, up or down? She would just have to take a chance. Stepping in she reached over and pressed a button to take her up to a higher floor. The doors closed and the lift hummed as it started to rise. After a few seconds it stopped and the doors slid open. Ameria stepped out and froze, she couldn't believe what she saw. She was on a ramp with clear walls all around her and all she saw was space. She wasn't in the church on Nimoss III, she was in a ship in space.
She stood there staring out at stars as they streaked by wondering how this could be possible. Who was the dark man and where was he taking her?
Confused and a little bit scared, Ameria made her way down to the end of the ramp. She had never been so far away from home, and never off planet. She had to find some way to get off the ship and back to Nimoss.
As she walked, she heard a voice. It was deep and cold and coming from the room ahead of her. She stopped at the door to listen.
"Nimoss III will offer no resistance Master." A voice said. "There is a church in every city and I personally built the psychic resonator for every church. When they go online, psychic energy will be absorbed and transmitted back to just as you ordered."
"And when do they go online?" Asked a different voice. This voice was much colder.
"They will all go online in two days."
"You have done well Sularr." Chuckled the deeper voice. "And what of the other matter you spoke about?"
"She is here with me." Darth Sularr said. "And we will arrive on your planet in less than twelve hours along with the muscle you ordered."
"I will have everything ready when you arrive." The Emperor said. "Make no delays.
Ameria turned away from the door scared out of her mind after what she heard. They were doing something to the people of Nimoss and the dark man was taking her to the Emperor. She needed to run and hide. But where could she hide on this ship that he wouldn't find her?
'There's nowhere for you to hide Ameria.'
She stopped and turned back to the door. There stood Darth Sularr smiling at her. Darth Sularr was six feet tall and muscular with deep blue skin. He had black hair and glowing yellow eyes. He was dressed in a black body suit with red lines that ran from his left shoulder down his arms and legs and a long black coat. Belted at his side he had a lightsaber on the right and a blaster on the left.
"How do you know my name?" She asked.
"You are strong with the Force." He said. "But you are not trained very well. That is something my master will have to work on if you are going to be his bride."
"Me?" She laughed. "Bride to the Emperor? That's not gonna happen."
"You have two choices." Darth Sularr walked toward her. Ameria backed up. "Either you marry my master, or I will kill you."
Somewhere in the Raziel system in an Empire Carrier ship.
Sweat ran down Rein's face as he worked on the hyperdrive unit of the carrier ship. Somehow they had burned out the Thelman converter and it had to be replaced. Fortunately, they had a spare in storage. After escaping the Zygerrian fighters chasing them, Nae'shail found an old abandoned communication station orbiting a far out L class planet. He and Rein managed to dock the ship and set the station in an orbit hidden behind one of the planet's moons, then Rein grabbed a set of tools and with Nae'shail's help they removed and installed the new converter. With his fingers crossed, Rein stood at the com in the engineering bay whiles on Nae'shail did test on the new converter. As they checked off each ignition point, smoke started rising from the sublight modulator.
"Cut the power!" Rein yelled as he jumped down to the engine and grabbed an extinguisher and started to spray the small electrical fire. With the fire out, Rein picked at the burned unit. "Damn! I hope there's a modulator in storage. We need a new one."
He looked up to the walkway where Kylan stood staring out at the green planet outside the portal. He seemed to not be listening to anything Rein said. Funny Rein thought. He had been quiet ever since they arrived at the station. He wondered what was on his mind.
"Kylan." Rein snapped his fingers to get his attention. "Hello, Come in Kylan."
"Huh?" Kylan turned to Rein. "What were you saying?"
"You seem distracted. Are you that worried about your niece?"
"Yes." He said. "Well, no. That's not really it. It's that planet. There's something about that planet. I'm getting a really weird feeling from the Force about that planet."
"Really? weird like what?" Rein asked as he got down and slid himself into the crawlspace to work on the hyperdrive. "Like dangerous? Is there something down there dangerous? I wouldn't want to see you get hurt."
"No, it doesn't feel dangerous." Kylan smiled. "It feels attractive. Like something wants me to go down there."
"Hmmm, attractive huh? So what does this mean? What are you going to do?"
"I mean the planet" Kylan laughed he knew Rein was hitting on him. He was enjoying it. "This ship has a shuttle craft, correct?"
"Yes." Rein's arm reached out of the hatch way and accidentally touched Kylan's leg. "Can you hand me the micro-resonator?"
"How long will the repairs take?" Kylan bent down and picked up the instrument and passed it to him.
"I'll be done in twenty-four hours."
"That should be enough time for Nae'shail and I to go down and investigate the planet." Kylan said as he headed out of the engineering bay. "While we're gone, find somewhere on the station to put the Commander. We'll be back as fast as we can."
"Hey, good idea." Rein smiled at the handsome Jedi. "What if I need help here?"
"If you need me." Kylan said seductively. "Just call and I'll be here."
"I just might do that."
As the shuttle flew over the surface of planet, Nae'shail was overjoyed to see it was a forest type planet. He checked the readings for gravity then life and found there was nothing here except plants. No intelligent life, no animals at all. His next move was to check the air quality. Oxygen and nitrogen, high on the nitrogen. They would need to take rebreathers with them, but the air was breathable for short periods of time.
Unbuckling himself from his pilot seat. Nae'shail got up out of his seat and went to the weapons locker and took out his C blaster and the rebreathers. He passed a breathing device to Kylan then headed to the hatch. Kylan stopped him.
"You won't need a weapon." He said. "There's nothing here to fight,"
'Are you sure?'
"Yes, there's no animal life on this planet." Kylan assured him. "Your sensors prove that."
'At home there is a plant called a Tonsero. It is an ugly thing. It walks and kills like a beast. It is as dangerous as the Crarun. Plant life can be just as deadly as animal.'
"Your planet is a very dangerous place." Kylan agreed. "But I understand your point. Keep the weapon."
Reaching up, Kylan triggered the hatch and it opened with a low hum. As they walked down the ramp, Nae'shail and Kylan stepped out onto a beautiful garden planet. All around them there were flowers and plants of amazing colors and heights. Great rose like flowers with multi colored petals. Blooming bell shaped crystal that rang softly as the wind swept through them. Long plants with star shaped petals opened and closed as if they had a heartbeat and tall trees with umbrella like canopies. Though the grass was green, it moved and swayed like it was alive. As they stepped down off the ramp, it moved away to keep from being stepped on.
"You were right." Kylan said. "This planet is alive. Be careful where you step and what you touch."
Moving carefully, Kylan walked out as the grass parted into a path. Behind him, Nae'shail followed closely.
'Where are we going?'
"I don't know." Kylan said. "Let's like the Force guide our steps."
Keeping their eyes down, the walked following the path up into the hills. As they walked, Kylan saw flashes from his past. He saw himself back on Nimoss when he was 13 and his abilities had just started to awaken. It was the day Master Kaunos found him alone bleeding from the beating he had taken at school. Three boys had met him after school and beat him and tried to steal the Jumper his father had given him for his birthday. When they attacked, Kylan had lashed out with the Force for the first time knocking two of the boys down. But the third one got away with his Jumper. Master Kaunos caught the boy and returned the Jumper. That was the day he learned about the Force. Kylan remembered that day well. Master Kaunos explained to him what the Force was and that he would teach him if he promised to never again use it in anger.
'And you kept that promise.'
Kylan stopped and turned to find Master Kaunos standing under one of the umbrella tree in a small clearing. Kylan blinked, he couldn't believe his eyes. What he was seeing was impossible. Master Kaunos had died years ago saving a group of slaves during the Jedi-Zygerrian conflict.
'Nothing is impossible when you are one with the Force.'
"Master." Kylan said. "I don't understand. Why are you here?"
'I am here to remind you of your promise.' Master Kaunos walked out from the umbrella tree to meet Kylan. 'I know what troubles you Young Kylan and anger is not the answer.'
"But Master, they have my blood. My niece. The Emperor has my niece!"
'Will anger get her back?' Master Kaunos asked. 'Or will it get both of you and your friends killed? You know what anger leads too.'
"The dark side."
'Yes my young friend.'' He nodded. 'And it will not help you train the Wookie either. he has family that needs your help too. Will you abandon them too?'
"No Master." Kylan felt a calmness replace the anger that had been raging in his heart. "I will remember your teachings."
'Then I will be with you on your journey.' Master Kaunos smiled and started to fade away. 'Take heart, all is not lost. The Force will be with you.'
'Are you feeling well?' Nae'shail asked.
"Yes." Kylan said. "Why do you ask?"
'You talked to a shadow.'
"You saw him?" Kylan looked at him in surprise.
'I saw a shadow in a robe.'
"A ghost from my past." Kylan told him. "He was the one that trained me. Nae'shail, this place is very strong with the Force. Your training should be extensive, it should be for years. But right now we don't have that much time. We have some very difficult and dangerous things to do so I will teach you what I can. We have a day here. Let's start your training."
For the next twenty hours, Kylan instructed Nae'shail on how to meditate and move objects. He taught him how to use his senses to probe the area around him. Then they moved on to larger objects. Kylan found a cove that had a number of large boulders. He picked one that was the size of a small droid and lifted it up about ten feet, then set it gently back down so Nae'shail could give it a try. It took the Wookie a number of try's, but eventually he was able to lift it. Then they moved on to even larger objects, from stones the size of a speeder bike, to boulder almost the same size as an Empire tank. Nae'shail struggled with the large stone. He could lift them a few feet but that was all.
"You're trying too hard." Kylan stepped out and calmly raised his hand lifting the boulder straight up into the air.
"The size doesn't matter." He said. "Big or small it's all the same. With a calm mind, you can move starships. Emotion leads to chaos and the dark side. Remember that. Right now we should be getting back. Rein should be finished with his repairs."
Nae'shail nodded and they started heading back to the shuttle craft. As they moved up the beach, Master Kaunous reappeared.
'Go in peace.' Echoed through there their minds. 'The Force will be with you.'
Teos was late as he ran through the palace. He had been ordered to tend to the Emperor's bath but he had been delayed coming back from the construction site with the daily report on their progress. He knew he would be punished for being late, but it wasn't his fault. The Emperor's pyramid was not an easy thing to build. Especially since he ordered everything done by hand. He wanted no droids or any kind of power tools used. The slaves had to carve the stones by hand and drag them to the site with simple muscle power and the inhabitants of Omari II were not built for such heavy work.
The Omarians were humanoid with two arm and legs but they were not very big or strong. Their hands had three fingers and a thumb and they had the lower extremities of an equine. They had dull yellow skin and completely hairless bodies. Though they were highly intelligent, sometimes simple things confused them making the Omarians a bad choice as slave labor. But there were millions of them and they learned very fast and did not fight back.
Teos felt sorry for them. They were nice people but they didn't deserve what was about to happen to their entire race. He had seen it before. It had happened to his own people.
The Empire had come and everyone thought they had come in peace and by the year's end, carrier ships were taking his people off to the mines and to be sold into slavery. He hadn't seen any of his family since the day they were all dragged out of their house and put in the slave camps. Teos knew his father had been killed fighting to escape, and his brothers had been sold to a rich Devaronian. His sister was sold to a Hutt in that time, he had no idea what had happened to his mother. Since Teos had been highly educated in many different languages, the Emperor had taken him into service in his house and that's where he had struggled to exist for the last ten years.
Teos was in his twenty sixth cycle. He had dark hair and brown eyes and a lean body. He wore the black and red of the house of Aldmos with the platinum slave ring around his wrist. Teos hated his life. He had tried many times in the last ten years to end it a was caught every time. The first two times, the Emperor had him beaten. But once he realized how much Teos wanted to die, he changed his tactics. The next time Teos tried to kill himself, Emperor Aldmos had twenty slaves lined up and executed as Teos watched. Then he told Teos next time he tried, he would execute fifty, then one hundred until he realized his life now belonged to the Emperor Achem Aldmos. To prove his point. Emperor Aldmos signaled Darth Sularr who had been standing at his side. Sularr smiled and walked to a door on the side and knocked. The door opened and a woman was pushed into the room. Teos cried out and tried to run to her when he recognized his mother. A trooper grabbed him and pulled him back as she was led in to stand in the middle of the bodies they had just executed. Teos knew what they planned to do next. He fell to his knees pleading with the Emperor.
"Please my Lord." He begged. "She is all I have left. Spare her life, I will serve you forever. I beg of you, please!!"
"Yes." Emperor Aldmos smiled. "You will serve me for the rest of your life. And I will bestow upon her my holy mercies."
Darth Sularr pulled out his lightsaber and struck her down. Teos screamed and fell to the floor in tears.
"There." Emperor Aldmos said as he stood up. "She is now one with my holy body. Have dinner ready in an hour."
He turned and walked back out of the audience. Weeping, Teos got up on his feet and stared after the Emperor. That was the day he swore to the gods in heaven that he would see Emperor Achem Aldmos dead.
At Teos stepped off the lift in the palace, he could hear Emperor Aldmos screaming for him from all the way down the hall. Teos hated the sound of that bastard's voice. It turned his stomach every time he heard it. But he dared not disappoint Aldmos again. The last time he did, the Emperor sold Wyla and Jemma, two house maids, and shipped them away. Teos didn't want to jeopardize anyone else from house Aldmos.
As he approached the Emperor's dressing room door, he stopped and took a deep breath, then went in. Aldmos was sitting in a high chair getting his haircut and his shoulders massaged by one of the house maids. As Teos walked in, he turned to look at him.
"You called for me my lord?" Teos bowed down to him.
"Come here." Aldmos waved him closer. Teos knew what was coming but he had no choice but to obey the command. With his head up, he walked over to the Emperor. Aldmos reached out with the Force and grabbed him by his neck and threw him across the room.
"You're late." He said with a glare. "You know better than to ignore my call!"
"My apologies." Teos said as he climbed back up on his feet. "I was delayed at your temple. There was a problem that needed to be straightened out."
"I know." Aldmos said as he got up out of the chair. "They are behind schedule. these Omarians are worthless. I should sell off the whole lot of them."
"They aren't very strong." Teos said. "They are better with mechanical things, not muscle power."
"I have more than enough muscle power on the way." Aldmos stood with hs arms out while the maid helped him into a dark cloak. "They should be landing within the hour. I want you to get them to work right away at the pyramid."
"There will be a girl arriving with Sularr." Aldmos said. "She is very important to me. I want her cleaned up, and dressed and made ready to entertain me tonight,"
Aldmos went to a full length mirror to admire himself. He was of medium height and very thin. He had pointed ears, dark eyes and a long nose. His face was framed with bony spurs two sharp ones on his chin. He had a grayish skin tone which showed his advanced age, though for a Sith master, age meant power.
"Watch her carefully." Aldmos said as he headed out the door. "Do not lose her or you will be sorry."
As Aldmos shut the door, Lila shivered,
"I hate touching him." She said. "I always feel sick when I'm near him."
"Be careful what you say and think around him." Teos warned her. "He can hear your thoughts."
"I will." Lila said as she collected his soiled clothing. "Are you alright, Teos?"
"Another load of slaves." He said sadly. "And I have to be responsible for them. I can't take much more of this."
"You have protected us for all these years. You shouldn't have all this responsibility. You do what you think is best. We'll be fine."
Teos smiled and kissed Lila on her forehead. "You have work to do. I'll figure something out. Don't worry."
Back on the Abandoned Com Station.
When Hinemo Nalos woke up, he knew from the feel of the deck that he wasn't on the carrier ship anymore. He sat up and looked around the cold gray cell he had been sleeping in and wondered where he was. He knew this wasn't Omari II, the gravity was too lite and the air had a stale taste to it. He had fought on many different planets for the Zygerrians and this place felt more like a ship or some kind of station. On the table next to the bunk, Nalos found a stack of Zygerrian field rations and canisters of water. There was enough here for at least a week. This had to be his kidnappers doing. They had found somewhere to leave him so he couldn't warn anyone that they were coming.
He stood up and walked to the cell door and pushed on it. It swung open. That was a relief. Had they locked him in, he might have died in there. There was no telling when someone might come along or if they planned to return for him.
Nalos grabbed a canister of water and went out to find out exactly where he was. From the cell he searched deck by deck until he realized he was on an old Rodian communication station. That meant he was somewhere in the Raziel system, and that wasn't too far from Omari II. With just a small amount of luck, there might still be a small Rodian shuttle here that he could repair that would get him to the Emperor's planet.
Finding the landing bay had been easy and he was in luck. There was a ship still there that didn't need any serious repairs. He ran back and grabbed the rations they had left him and set himself to work fixing the Nav computer. When that was done he tried fixing the comm system, but it had been completely burned out. This would have to do. With his supplies aboard, Commander Nalos took his place behind the controls and launched his ship into space. There were three rebels out there heading to destroy the Empire, and Hinemo Nalos wanted his revenge.
Darth Sularr's Z fighter set down to land, Teos looked up to see the slave ships following him in. One by one they started to land just as the ramp came down on Sularr's ship. Like a dark phantom, Sularr descended down the ramp to Teos and his skimmer.
"Where is the master?
"I don't know." Teos said. "He left me with orders to take care of a group of new slaves and a girl. Where is she?"
Sularr stepped up to Teos and reached out and paralyzed Teos with a thought.
Teos lifted off the ground struggling to breathe. His lungs had stopped working.
"Watch what you think. I am not Aldmos, and I am not as forgiving as he is."
Sularr released him and he fell gasping for breath. Sularr walked to the skimmer and climbed into the pilot's seat.
"The girl is locked in a cabin on my fighter." He said. "See to it that she is ready when the Emperor calls. And don't forget the Wookiees, they may be hungry."
Sularr started the skimmer and drove off to find his master.
Coughing and gasping, Teos sat there for a second trying to get his breathing under control. Once he could breathe again, he got up and headed into Sularr's fighter and made his way to the cabin. When he reached the cabin, he keyed in the entry code and the door slid open. The room was dark, Teos didn't see anyone there in the room. He reached to the controls on the walls to brighten the room. As the lights came on, Teos took one step into the room and Ameria attacked.
She jumped out from the side of the door and kicked him in his back. Teos fell and rolled to the side trying to get away. As he tried to get up, Ameria slammed her fist down at his chest. Teos dodged to the side, then pushed her off him. He kicked out at her knocking her back then rolled over onto her chest and held her arms down.
"Please stop." He said. "I'm not here to hurt you."
"Yes you are!" She screamed. "You're one of his men! You're here to make me one of his slaves! I'd rather die than be a slave to the Emperor!!"
"No!" Teos shouted. "I'm a slave. I'm not one of his men! I hate him, he killed my family!!"
Ameria stopped fighting as she looked up at the handsome man sitting on her chest.
"I'm trapped here." He said as a tears ran down from his eyes. "Just like you and I'm sorry. I'm sorry this had to happen to you. I promise I'll do what I can to help you."
"I want to get off this planet." Ameria said. "Can you help me with that?"
"I don't know." Teos got up off her and reached down to help her up. "But there's always hope. My name is Teos. Let's get you out of here."
"I'm Ameria Braden from Nimoss III." She said. "Where are you taking me?
"The Emperor wants to see you." Teos told him. "He ordered me to have you cleaned and dressed to meet him."
"What does that mean?" Ameria asked nervously.
"I'm not sure. I don't know why he wants you. You're not what a Zygerrian would find sexually appealing. It has to be something else."
"Emperor Aldmos doesn't always make sense." Teos said as he led her out of the cabin. "He can be very selfish, possessive and chaotic. Sometimes erratic.
"He makes impulsive decisions. I never know what he might think or want. Today, he wants you. We'll have to wait and see why."
"Is he dangerous?"
"I'm afraid so." Teos said. "He's a madman and very dangerous."
"What should I do?" She asked.
"Be calm. Don't upset him. Listen and let him talk. He loves to be praised."
"You seem to know him very well." Ameria said. "How long have you been here?"
"Ten years." He said. "But it seems like forever. I came from the planet Rymor. It was a happy place until they invaded. Now I guess most of my people are gone and it's just an outpost for the Zygerrians. I miss it. We had such beautiful beaches and cities. My first mother had a small house by the Rakinee Ocean that always made me feel safe. Last time I was there, I saw the Zygerrians blast that entire beach turning it all to a wasteland. I hate them so much. Even if I manage to get free, I can't go back. There's nothing to go back to. The planet is lost."
"I'm sorry." Ameria said as they left the ship. She could see the pain written on his face. He must feel terrible. "It must have been terrible. But you shouldn't give up. You should fight to get out of here. You don't have to be a slave, you could be free again."
"You think I gave up? You have no idea what I've had to live with!" Teos yelled at her "The torture, the murders, the beatings. If I disobey, people die. He kills people when I don't do what he wants. How would you like that on your head? The lives of all my people here depending on what I do! Me! I would beat him to death with my own hands if I could! But I have to be careful of my every thought, every emotion or he will read it and kill more slaves! Now do you understand?"
"Yes, I'm sorry." She cried. "You're a brave man in so much pain. I'll do what you say and be careful. There may be a way out of here for both of us."
"Maybe for all of us." Teos took out a small com unit and called for one of the house footmen to get a skimmer and come and meet them. When he arrived a few minutes later, he put America in and ordered him to take her back to the palace.
"This is Danom." Teos introduced them. "You can trust him. He's going to take you back to the palace to get you cleaned up. Don't worry, you'll be safe, no one will bother you. I don't expect the Emperor back until later tonight."
Ameria looked at Danom. He seemed like a nice trusting soul, but though she had just met Teos, she felt comfortable and safe in his presence. She didn't want to leave his side.
"Teos." She said. "I'm scared. Please let me stay with you. I won't get in the way of what you have to do."
"I'm sorry Ameria." He said as he gazed into her beautiful blue eyes. He wanted to keep her with him, but where he was going could be dangerous. He really was beginning to like her so he had to send her to somewhere safe. since the Emperor was off planet, the palace would be the safest place for her. He reached out and took her hand. "Where I'm going could be dangerous. I can't let you get hurt. Damon will feed you, get you something to wear and watch over you until I get back. I promise you will be safe and I won't be long."
She grabbed him in a hug and held him tightly. That surprised Teos, but it flt good. He wrapped his arms around her and inhaled the scent of her hair. His heart started to pound in his chest and he could feel himself growing hotter. He didn't want to let go. He wanted to hold on to her forever, but he had to let go.
"Go Damon. Keep her safe."
"I will." Damon promised as he started the skimmer and drove away. Teos wiped the sweat from his brow and turned to head into the spaceport to see about the Emperor's new load of muscle.
As Teos rode out through the slave ship, he counted fifty ships and they were all loaded with huge hairy beasts. They must be the Wookiees Sularr had mentioned. They were tall, at least six or seven-foot-tall and covered with long hair. From what Teos could see they were very muscular. They should have no problem hauling the stones for Aldmos's pyramid. He wondered how intelligent they were? They looked like animals but looks can be deceiving. They could be as smart or smarter than the Omarians or even the Zygerrians. He would find out soon enough since it was up to him to get them working.
As Teos enter the first ship, one of the troopers met him in the cargo bay.
"You must be Teos." He said as he looked down on him. "Here are the new slaves the Emperor wanted. Be careful with them. Don't let them get too close, they are very strong and very smart."
"How are we to get them to work?" Teos asked. "How do I talk to them?"
"These things understand Galactic standard." The trooper passed him a laser whip. "We use them in the asteroid mining. This will get them moving."
Teos looked at the whip in his hand. He knew he could never use it on them or any other slave. He would have to find another way. This would not be easy.
A cold wind blew through the trees of Narrroll as Conner Tortan, general of the Coruscant military forces stood staring at the empty branches of one of many Wookiee villages he had visited today. No Wookiee cubs leaped or dived in the branches overhead. There were no hunters out today in the tree crowns, hunting Kalets or wild Bankeloes. The trees were quiet, there wasn't even any animals or insects out singing their mating calls. It was like the planet was weeping quietly for the loss of its children.
As General Tortan walked along doing his inspection, he found a stuffed Erlor laying of the deck and picked it up. He thought it resembled the squirrels that once lived in the forest of his home planet. It must have been dropped by a young Wookiee when they were taken from the village. It seemed almost sad and alone laying there by itself.
At his side, an L4 translator unit beeped as it announced the presence of an intruder. General Tortan reached to his side for his blaster as Mmilllorro of Grakmarb dropped down from above. General Tortan sighed with relief and bowed to the brave Wookiee elder.
"Greetings Mmilllorro. I came as fast as I could."
"BUT TO LATE." Mmilllorro barked. Beside Tortan the translator said. "THEY ARE ALL GONE AND IT IS THE SAME IN MANY MANY OF OUR VILLAGES ALL ACROSS KASHYYYK."
"I know my friend." General Tortan said. "But we know who took them. Achem Aldmos of Zygerria."
"Why?" Mmilllorro/Droid asked. "WHAT DOES HE WANT?"
"Emperor Aldmos is not quite right." Gen Tortan walked over to the entrance to one of the hollowed out trees. There was a small childs crossbow lying there, broken into two pieces. "He's mad, crazy. He thinks he's some kind of god. And there may be something to his claim."
"I DO NOT UNDERSTAND." Mmilllorro/Droid said as the Wookiee scratched his head.
"We don't know how." Gen Tortan explained. "But the Empire seems to have acquired a number of new systems. They come in and somehow drain the will of the people and turn them into mindless things that just walk aimlessly around. We have no idea what to do or how to help these people."
"IT IS THE FORCE." Mmilllorro/Droid said, "HE IS USING THE DARK FORCE. THE EMPEROR IS SITH."
"I don't know much about the Force." Gen Tortan picked up the crossbow and handed it to Mmilllorro. He took it and howled out his pain "But I have heard the Jedi talk about the Sith and how dangerous they are. If the Zygerrian empire is using this Force, we'll need help. I'll have to find a Jedi master. Don't worry, we'll find your people. Somehow, We'll bring them home."
"NAE"SHAIL." Mmilllorro/Droid said as he turned back. "TWO CHASE EMPIRE. HE WILL SIGNAL."
"Then we should be ready when that signal comes." Gen Tortan took out his com unit and stepped over to the walkway rail. "Tortan to the Roguestar, Come in Roguestar."
"Roguestar, Lt Waldin here. What can I do for you General?"
"Lieutenant, I want your ears on." Gen Tortan ordered. "I want communications in all sectors listening for a signal."
"What kind of signal Sir?"
"Something you can zero in on and get a location." He said. "We have friends out there we have to find. I want all sensor on long range and pass that on to all ships. That includes passenger ships, freighters, yachts, research ships, outposts and anything with an impulse or star drive."
"Aye aye Sir. I'm on it."
"I want to know the second anyone hears anything."
By the time they were ready to land on Omari II, the sun had gone down and the sky was filled with stars. Zygerrians had built the Emperor a handsome spaceport. The main structure was an X shaped two story building with portal bays situated on the east and west for ground vehicles and cargo receiving. At the north end of the building they built a massive landing field with several runways and landing ports for many different types of ships. At the south end they built the secure area for unloading of slaves and any other dangerous types of cargo. Electrical fences and guards were posted all along a path to the compound where the slaves were to be housed.
Rein and Nae'shail carefully maneuvered the ship to an open space near one of the dark and quiet hangers in the secure area of the spaceport. Rein had put on the Commander's uniform and Kylan wore one he had found down in the lower cabins. Once dressed, they went to the exit ramp.
"Finding the Wookiees shouldn't be hard." Kylan said. "There will be a compound where they will be kept. Nae'shail, I reworked your blaster into a sound saber. It works just like the lightsaber you used for practice. Remember what I said about anger. Stay calm. Rein, escort him into the compound and try and stay with him."
"Where are you going?"
"I have to find Ameria." Kylan put on his helmet. "They have her here somewhere. I have to get her somewhere safe. Be careful. Both of you."
Rein reached up and keyed the exit sequence into the ramp doors. He took cuffs and carefully put them on Nae'shail's wrist and handed him a key to hide somewhere in his fur.
Rein and Nae'shail nodded their heads.
"Let the Force be with you." Kylan went down the ramp and disappeared into the night.
"Let's go." Rein pulled out his blaster and they started on their way down the ramp into the Zygerrian spaceport.
With a blaster at his back, Nae'shail walked with his head down but always watching what was around him. They made their way down the fenced path to a gate where two troopers stood guard.
As they approached, the troopers snapped to attention to salute the Commander.
"Another hairy beast?" A trooper said.
"Just open the door." Rein said. "This one's important. He's one of their leaders."
"Yes sir." The trooper opened up and Rein pushed Nae'shail forward through the gate. He stumbled but easily regained his footing. As the gate closed they looked around, they had entered a huge fenced in yard with rows of strange stone buildings with roofs covered with wood and grass. This was the weirdest place Rein have ever been, but he immediately knew this place was meant to house slaves.
As they walked through the rows, yellow skinned aliens stopped to watch them pass. These had to be the natives of this planet. They were all hairless and dressed in rags, even the small breasted females. They didn't look very strong; the planet had probably been very easy to conquer. Rein doubted these people even had any weapons.
Together they walked through the Omarian compound. There were troopers everywhere beating and forcing the Omarians to do various jobs. Digging trenches, moving piles of lumber and stones, they even saw them outside of the fence cleaning around the trooper's barracks and farming crops in the fields.
As they made their way pass one of the stone houses, a door flew open and an Omarian came flying out to land in a puddle of mud. As the Omarian tried to sit up, a trooper ran out of the building yelling something. He pulled his blaster and shot the little alien. Rein could hear deep growling coming from Nae'shail.
"Remember what Kylan said." Rein whispered. "Calm down. This stinks, but we can't do anything. Right now we find your people and we see what we can do to get them out of here."
"What happens to them?" Nae'shail barked as three trooper's came out of the building dragging female Omarians behind them. At the door, little ones cried while being pulled back into the building. "Are we to let this happen?"
"Nae'shail." Rein said. "This is their planet. We just got here. What do you want to do?"
"Stop them." He pointed to the laughing troopers as they dragged away their screaming victims. "We help them. Only three."
Rein watched as the three troopers dragged the females toward a dark empty row of building. One broke free from her captor and tried to run off, but the trooper ran after her. He smacked her, then grabbed her arm and pulled her back towards the building. The three Omarian females screamed and fought against the troopers, punching and kicking weakly to get free. The sound of the screams, the laughter of the arrogant troopers was to much for Rein.
"Can you keep that buildings door from opening" Rein asked. "Hold it closed with the force Kylan taught you, can you do it?"
"Yes." Nae'shail huffed. "Why?"
"Just do it."
With his hands still in the handcuffs, Nae'shail spread his fingers and reached out with the Force and took a hold of the door and held it tight as a trooper tried to pull it open. When he couldn't budge it, he pushed the female over to one of his comrades and tried again with both hands. No matter how hard he pulled, the door wouldn't open.
"Honus, what's taking so long. Get it open so I can get at my business."
"It won't open." Honus said as pulled and tugged at the door. He looked up and saw Rein and Nae'shail. He knew the Wookiee could get it open. It could probably rip the door off right off, which really didn't matter to the troopers.
"Hey." Honus called. "You down there. Bring the Wookiee up here. Help get this door open."
"Coming right up!" Rein said as he looked to be sure no one else was watching. He led Nae'shail over to the stone building where he reached out and grabbed the handle on the door. Rein stepped over to stand behind the two troopers holding the Omarian girls.
"Pull!" The trooper yelled.
With a mighty heave, Nae'shail pulled the door open and off its hinges then slammed it into the trooper knocking him off his feet and smashing his skull. At the same time, Rein turned his blaster on his two companions and fired. Like target Womp rats, they fell to the ground dead with charred with holes in their chests. The three Omarians girls screeched and hugged each other afraid to move. Rein went over and pulled them up on their hooves and shooed them on their way.
"Come on." Rein said. "Now can we get out of here before someone finds us with these bodies?"
"Wait." Nae'shail gruffed. He grabbed the arms of the bodies of the dead troopers and dragged them off behind the building and stuffed them down into a well.
"Now we go."
The Zygerrian Imperial Palace
As Darth Sularr paced back and forth in his dark chamber, he wondered where his master was. What madness was he up to now? He was probably out somewhere trying to prove his divine providence to some poor weak minded world just like he had done many times before. Once he had looked up in praise to Achem Aldmos. He had always been so strong minded and so determined in the way he conquered and ruled his empire. But now things were different. His thoughts were unclear, his motives were erratic and his ideas were insane. He was very powerful and strong with the dark side of the Force, but he was no god. Then there was the psychic amplifiers that he had him plant in all the churches. Sularr had spent his time after he returned connecting all the sensors of the amplifiers to relays that went to the throne. All the Emperor had to do was take his place on the throne and use the Force to activate the machines and the power would flow into him. But Sularr knew he could never allow Achem Aldmos to tune himself into the machines. That much power would make him a threat to every living being in this galaxy and anything that lay beyond. Sularr knew his only choice was to put an end to Achem Aldmos and all his madness. To put himself on the throne and take over the Zygerrian Empire. That means the Emperor must die.
With the decision made, Sularr left his chamber and went to the Emperor's throne room and called out for Teos to come and attend him. As Teos entered the room, Sularr was standing down at the foot of the throne waiting for him.
"You called for me Lord Sularr?" Teos bowed but kept his eyes on the dark man. He didn't trust him.
"Yes." Sularr said as he stepped up and sat himself in the throne of the Emperor of the Zygerrian Empire. "There is madness in this house. You know it and I know it. It is time for sanity to take control of the Empire. I want you to bring the captain of the house guard and contact all the Generals. I want to speak with them all immediately. Is that clear?"
"Yes sir." Teos said. "Is there anything else?"
"Yes." Sularr said as he folded his hands together and looked down on the Rymorian. "When the Achem Aldmos returns, I want to know before his ship lands. I want to meet the ship when it arrives. Make it so."
"Yes sir Lord Sularr." Turned to leave.
"One more thing." The dark man stood up and stepped down from the throne. "You may call me Ryad from now on. Emperor Enar Ryad."
"Yes Emperor Ryad."
Teos bowed and left the throne room to follow the new emperor's orders and make the arrangements. He knew what he was being ordered to do. He didn't like Sularr, but maybe there was a chance for escape in there somewhere. He would have to keep a careful watch.
Alone in the throne room, he climbed back up and took his place on the Imperial throne. It was time he took that last step to initiate himself into power.
He closed his eyes and reached out with the Force to switch on the relays. In his head he heard the hum of the machinery's power begin to pulse. He leaned back and clutched the arms of throne as the amplified power of the Force started to flow from the church resonators to the throne and into to him. Enar Ryad screamed as power burned through every nerve and cell of his neural network. His eyes flared with power as the Dark force invaded his body. Enar Ryad laughed as his mind looked out on all the areas around his new palace.
"Now I am one with the dark side."
As Nae'shail and Rein finally made it to the Wookiee compound, they found themselves staring at a twenty-foot double force fence with pressure mines planted between the two fences. There were spot lights that blazed down to cover every inch of the security fence. Strung around the top of the fence, there was barbed wire set to keep anyone from climbing and escaping. Spaced every fifty yards, there were guard towers armed with a laser cannons, spot lights and manned with two Zygerrian troopers. Twenty yards ahead of them there was a high steel gate with sirens and flashing lights. This looked like the most heavily fortified prison Rein had ever seen, and he and Nae'shail's uncle Chorrr escaped the Kessel mines.
"Move carefully." Rein whispered as he urged Nae'shail forward. "This is far worse than the mines of Kessel."
"Zygerrians bad." Nae'shail howled. "I stay calm."
Slowly they approached the gate as a trooper signaled for the gates to open. The sirens and lights blared as the steel doors started to open like the mandibles of a great spider. Inside a trooper waved them in.
"Another one?" The trooper said. "Where'd you find him?"
"I was told this one is a chief from one of their big clans." Rein said. "I was ordered to bring him in."
"I'll take him from here." The trooper said. he kicked Nae'shail in the back pushing him in through the gate. Nae'shail stumbled in then turned and howled at the trooper. The trooper lifted his blaster and aimed it at Nae'shail's head.
"Lift a paw at me and I'll blast your head off."
Nae'shail snarled but turned away. Rein started to follow him in but the trooper stopped him.
"Where are you going?"
"I'm to bring him in." Rein said. "Those are my orders."
"Why would you want to go in there with them?" He looked at Rein suspiciously. "Those things would kill you. Get back to you barracks. We'll take care of it. Get moving."
Rein wanted to go in with Nae'shail, but it looks like that would be impossible. He walked off to the side of the fence and watched as Nae'shail made his way in.
'Go send signal.' Nae'shail sent to him. 'I find uncle and family. I call when I find them.'
'Be careful. '
From the gate, Nae'shail made his way in going from building to building until he turned a corner and saw a young red-furred girl sitting outside of a stone building digging in the weeds and greenery. It was his little sister. He howled her name and ran to her.
She turned when she heard her name and jumped up when she saw Nae'shail running toward her. Crying Kastu leaped into his arms. He held her and rocked as she cried into his shoulder.
"Kastu, I was so worried about you." He hugged her tightly. "Where is Mother and Uncle?"
"Dead." Chorrr said from the door of the barracks building. "We grieve with you."
"How?" Nae'shail lifted his sister and carried her over to uncle and into the barracks. "What happened?"
"Your mother fought bravely during the attack on Narrroll." Chorrr explained. "When the troopers came, she was out in the higher branches collecting eggs from the Tasec nests. The troopers came in blasting anything that moved. There were four other females with her when the fighting started. She caught and defeated five troopers giving the others time to escape. Unfortunately, she was hit many times and taken in the first ships. When we arrived here, her body was delivered to us. We prayed and sent her spirit on to our ancestors two moons past. We howled all night in honor of her sacrifice. She will be avenged."
"Yes she will be." Nae'shail said. He stood up and walked over to a pile of straw that was made into a sleeping nest and laid the sleeping Kastu down. Once she was sleeping quietly, Nae'shail went back and sat with Uncle.
"So tell me Nae'shail, how did you get here?" He asked. "You were not in Narrroll during the attack. I had hoped you were back on Kashyyyk safe."
"I am here with Rein Daviron. We captured a ship to come and bring everyone home."
"One ship?" Chorrr said surprised. "Nae'shail, there are hundreds of us here. One ship will not be enough."
"I know Uncle." He said. "We are the first, but we'll get everyone home. Trust in the Force, it will take care of everyone."
With Nae'shail in the Wookiee compound, Rein decided his best chance would be to find a place with long range radio capabilities so he could send out the signal for help. He left the secure area and made his way to the heavily guarded gates of Dialos, Achem Aldmos' own private palace complex.
Rein straightened his walk and went to the guard booth at the gate and flashed his Ident badge and was waved through without question. The walls were dark and the halls were tall, like the corridors of the ancient cathedrals of the old Xarelian churches that once dotted the galaxy. There were long columns with bright flame shaped crystals that cast a dim light all through the halls. The floors were all made of black marble with a white and black checker board pattern that ran down the center. There were lavish silver designs that ran all along the walls through the great halls. The whole palace seemed cold to Rein, but it was Zygerrian and they were a cold hearted people with centuries of conquest in their history.
The complex halls were rather busy as troopers and nobles from many of the Empires planets went on with their duties. There were droids and messenger bots buzzing and chirping along in and out of all the different offices. Rein stopped a young trooper and asked for directions to one of the many communication offices.
"Down the hall." The trooper said. "Take a left to the lift and go up two floors. From there go right and down three doors. It will be on the right."
Rein thanked him and walked off down the hall following his directions. He took the left pass an office with a sign that read Planetary Controller's office and down pass a door with two guards in black uniforms to a lift. He reached out and grabbed a hold of the of the rotating lift then stepped on and started on his way up to the higher levels. As he stepped off two levels up, he turned right in the empty hall and continued on down three doors to a door marked Special Operations office. This was it, the communication bay the young trooper had directed him to. Rein stood for a minute and listened at the door. He could hear voices coming from inside. Three different voices. Rein checked his blaster then triggered the door and went in.
The room was filled with all types of machinery. There was a radionics bay, a raytar sector subspace broadcast unit, wide band transceiver, vack traffic control and two different subspace transmitter consoles. One trooper stood in a commander's chair in a raised platform in the center of the room while the other two ran traffic control for the spaceport. As Rein entered the communication center, the commander turned his chair to face him.
"Why are you here trooper?"
"Orders sir." He said with a salute. "I was ordered to relay a message to Cerden from Lord Sularr."
"These are Lord Sularr's orders?" Commander Oldema looked at him with suspicion.
"Yes sir." Rein said. "He seemed very angry sir. But if it is your wish, I will go back and tell him you said he has to have your permission to send out a message. I'm sure he will understand, though he is not known for his patience."
Commander Oldema stared down on Rein with contempt. He was right, Lord Sularr's anger would be great and the punishment would be severe if he didn't comply with his orders. He had no choice.
"Fine." He said as he turned back to his work. "Send his message, then get out of here. And don't get in anyone's way."
"Aye, aye sir." Rein smiled as he went to the console on the far left side and sat down. A minute later the console powered up and Rein started working the controls. As he worked, a trooper spotted an unknown ship on the orbital radar that had just entered orbit over the planet.
"Commander." He called. "We have an unidentified Rodian ship entering orbit."
"Hail that ship." Oldema ordered. "And get a fighter in the air and ready to shoot it down."
"Aye sir." The trooper keyed in a channel to the unidentified ship and sent out a call. "Zygerrian control to unidentified Rodian ship, Identify yourself."
"Zygerrian control. This is Commander Hinemo Nalos, Commander of Tadyn unit on Nimoss III. I'm here on a very important matter. I need to see your security Commander."
"You will provide me with proof of your identity." The Commander said. "What is your Ident badge number?"
The trooper ran the number through the computer and a full read out of Hinemo Nalos appeared on his view screen. He transferred it over for Commander Oldema to read.
"Commander Nalos." He said. "You're far away from your post. In fact, it says here you disappeared off Nimoss III more than a week ago.
"I was kidnapped." Nalos told him. "By the same rogues I've chased here. I need a landing vector and your security Commander waiting when I land. The rogues might be here on Omari II."
"Land your ship at DT3-43541." Commander Oldema said. "Someone will be there waiting for you. Control out. Have security meet him. Looks like we might have some kind of trouble."
"Trooper, you might want to tell Lord Sularr about this." The Commander turned to Rein, but he was gone. Oldema sat staring at the empty transmitter station that Rein had just been working at. He thought something about that trooper hadn't been right. Lord Sularr had his own transmitter unit in both his ship and his quarters. Why would he send a trooper here to send out a message that he could have sent himself?
"Strange." Oldema said as he turned back to work. "Lieutenant, have you ever seen that trooper before?"
"No sir." He said. "But he may be one of Lord Sularr's men. Would you like me to check?"
"No, but pull up one of the security views of this room and get his image. Send it to security and tell them I want him found. I have questions."
After hearing the call from Commander Nalos, Rein knew they were in trouble. Once Nalos set down and met with security, he would tell them all about them. They should never have left him on that station. They should have dropped his ass on the planet and forgot about him. Now he will have every trooper on the planet searching for them. Nae'shail would be fine, but somehow, Rein was going to have to find Kylan and let him know. But how? How do you find a Jedi if he doesn't want to be found? Where could he be? He had said he was going to find his niece who had been taken by Darth Sularr. If that was true, then she would be somewhere in the palace. But he couldn't search the palace, that would definitely get him caught. Then Rein remembered something Kylan had said. He said if Rein needed him, all he had to do was call. Could it be that easy? That simple? He could try and see if it works.
As Rein headed back to the lift, he pictured the handsome Jedi in his mind. He tall stature and gleaming ice blue eyes that could easily steal your heart. His straight nose and strong chin. The way he looked at him and made his heart pound like a hammer in his chest. The way he looked when Rein had passed him after his sonic shower all naked, clean and fresh.
'I told you I would hear you if you call me Rein.'
Rein jumped and almost fell off the lift.
'Hold on carefully.' Kylan said in his mind. 'And don't talk. I can hear your thoughts. Just think to me, I will hear you.'
'The Force really is magic.'
'No.' Kylan said. 'But you can call it that if you want. Have you found your Wookiee friends?'
'No, but I'm sure Nae'shail will find them. I'm calling to warn you that Commander Nalos is here on Omari II. With the Empire security, they will be looking for us.'
'Then get to the ship and send out the signal. I will do the rest.'
At that moment, Rein reached the first floor of the complex and security was there waiting for him. They grabbed him and cracked him in the head knocking him out. Kylan felt his scream and the pain and knew what happened. As Rein fell, the last thing he heard was Kylan's promise to come and save him.
Teos had spent all day locating and sending out Emperor Ryad's messages to the Generals all over the Empire. Has last task had been to inform the commanders and troopers on Omari II. He passed the word from one end of the palace and out to the spaceport and lastly, the pyramid which Ryad had ordered destroyed.
As Teos stood on a hill overlooking the Emperor's unfinished pyramid, he watched as the Wookiees dragged the heavy blocks down to the site to be lifted and set in place. The pyramid was a three sided structure, built to five hundred feet on each side. It had an intricate maze design on its interior with many secret rooms with traps and pitfalls to stop an intruder that might enter. On the higher levels, all the rooms and chamber for the Emperor had been planned. But so far only the base and lower levels had been built.
Teos made his way down the hill to the planning tent of the Emperor's architect, a Zygerrian named Omolt. Two guards stood at the tent opening barring his way.
"I am here with a message from Enar Ryad, the new Emperor." Teos said. "I must see the Architect. It's important."
The trooper parted the tent flap and let Teos in. Inside, Teos found a tall Zygerrian standing at a table by an opening that overlooked the unfinished pyramid covered with plans. He looked up when Teos came and recognized him.
"What do you want? The Wookiees have not been mistreated."
"I have news for you." Teos walked over the table. "There's been a change."
"What's he want now?" Omolt threw up his hands. "A hundred-foot-tall statue of himself? Or maybe a mile-high tower?"
"Lord Sularr has ousted Achem Aldmos from the Empire's throne. He sent word out to all worlds of the Empire of Aldmos' madness and now he is taking control."
"What about the Pyramid? Do I finish it?"
"No." Teos said. "He wants it destroyed. He doesn't want anything of Achem Aldmos left on Omari II or anywhere in the Empire."
Omolt walked over to his desk set in the back near a small cot. He picked up a com unit to send out new orders.
"Captain Belage, come in."
"Belage here." Came the answer.
"We have new orders. I want you to clear all personal then plant charges on each of the corners. Blow the damned thing up."
There was a minute of silence then Captain Belage asked him to repeat the order.
"You heard me." Omolt yelled. "I said blow the damned thing up!! The Emperor wants it destroyed."
Teos turned and left the tent. He had been thinking of Ameria all day he wasn't sure what the new Emperor might have planned for her. When he delivered her to him at the spaceport, Sularr had said he had plans for her. Teos had to find some way to hide her before the Emperor found her.
As Teos started on his way back to the palace, he passed a group of Wookiees heading back to the Wookiee compound, a tall red furred Wookiee stared at him as he approached them.
Teos stopped and stared at the Wookiees. Did that Wookiee just project into his mind? The Emperor had touched his mind many times in the past, Teos knew what it was he had felt. He wondered if the Wookiee could hear him?
'Yes, I hear. I am here with others. We search for Ameria.'
'Others?' Teos sent. 'How many others?'
'There are two others' Nae'shail sent. 'Find Rein and Kylan. Kylan Jedi, her uncle.'
'What about you?' Teos said. 'How can I help you?'
'I free my people. Find Kylan. He get Ameria home. Tell Kylan I keep my promise.'
As the Wookiee disappeared over the hill, Teos took off running back towards the palace. Now he had hope. There was someone here that could rival the power of the Emperor. All he had to do was find him and this could all be over soon.
In a dark cold room, Enar Ryad sat crossed legged as he held himself three feet of the floor in meditation. His senses were keen and stretched out to feel any dark disturbances in the Force. He was searching for the ship of Achem Aldmos. He had tracked it to Osas IV where he had gone to collect his tribute from the inhabitants. His ship was full precious metals and gems; riches he had collected from the many worlds he had visited. Now he was on his way home to Omari II for he felt that something was wrong and his empire was in danger.
With a grim smile, Enar Ryad opened his bright yellow eyes and lowered himself down to the floor.
Standing up, Enar reaches out for his cloak and with the Force pulls it from the rack to settle itself around his neck. Turning to the door, he walks out and down through the palace. It was time for him to face his master and put an end to his madness.
When Rein woke up, he opened his eyes and found he was chained to a wall in an interrogation room. His vision was still a bit fuzzy but he could hear people talking.
"Why are these people so important?"
"Because they were on Nimoss and they may know about the power resonators Darth Sularr planted in the churches."
"So what if they do." A voice said. "There's nothing they can do."
"Fool! One of them is a Jedi. If he finds out, it could ruin the Emperor's plans. They could send word to all the planets and every church and resonator could be destroyed. we have to find out what they know. Wake him up."
A trooper grabbed a pitcher of water of the table a threw it at Rein.
Soaked, Rein shook his head and looked around.
"Where am I?"
"Right where you belong." Said a familiar voice. Rein closed his eyes and blinked a few times to clear them. When he opened them again, he was staring into the eyes of Commander Hinemo Nalos and two other troopers.
"Let me guess." Rein said. "My fairy godmother?"
Commander Nalos slapped him across his face. "Guess again."
"The big bad wolf?" Rein smiled.
"You're very funny." Commander Nalos said as he hit him again. "You didn't expect to see me again did you?"
"Sure I did." Rein spit out a wad of blood. "You promised to take me to the dance didn't you?"
"I have a dance for you." He hit him in his stomach then a right to his chin.
"You hit like a girl." Rein laughed.
"Where are your friends?" He asked.
"You know you're my only friend Commander." Rein said with a smile. "I missed you."
"Perhaps this can lighten your tongue." Commander Nalos waved one of the troopers forward. The trooper had a stun rod in his hand. He clicked the power on and Rein heard the hum of the electricity as it ran through the rod. He walked over to Rein and placed it to his chest. He screamed and flinched as the electricity ran through his body. The troopers laughed as Rein screamed. When he took it away, Rein fell back gasping for breath.
"Now." Commander Nalos said. He knelt down to face Rein. "I'll ask you again. Where are your friends? The Jedi and the Wookiee?"
"What Jedi?" Rein said as he lifted his head to look at the Commander.
"Give him some more." Commander Nalos stood up. The trooper reached out to touch Rein again.
"I think not." Said a voice from behind them. Suddenly the trooper slammed the rod into Nalos's back. He screamed as Kylan's lightsaber flashed and sliced down at a trooper. With a kick, he sent another trooper to the floor and stepped up on Commander Nalos. Quickly Nalos grabbed the blaster at his side and fired two shots at Kylan. Swinging out with speed and precision, Kylan deflected the blaster then with a blow to his stomach and a right cross, the Commander went down in a heap.
"My hero." Rein smiled as Kylan sliced off his bond and he fell into his arms. Kylan smiled at him then pulled him into a deep kiss. Rein held on to him tightly as their tongues danced in each other's mouth.
"I could get used to that." Rein said as he was lifted to his feet.
"Can you walk?" Kylan still held on to him.
"I think so. Have you found your niece yet?"
"No." Kylan said. "But she's here somewhere in the palace. I can feel her presence. Once I find her we can get out of here."
"There's something else you should know."
"What's that?" Kylan asked.
"It's about those churches the Empire built all over the Empire." Rein said. "Come on and I'll explain what I heard."
Ameria sat quietly in her room. She had been bathed, fed and dressed in beautiful gown of black and silver. Damon had even sent someone to cut and trim her hair. She looked in the mirror and hated what she saw, but fighting would have been useless. The emperor would get his way no matter what she wanted. Her only hope was Teos finding some way to get her out of there. But where was he? She hadn't seen him since he left her at the spaceport. She was beginning to get worried. The Emperor could call for her at any minute.
Feeling depressed, she got up and went over to the huge picture window and looked out at the greenery of Omari. It was a beautiful planet with its tall trees with huge wide leaves and flowers. If it weren't for the empire, this would be a lovely place.
Just then, Teos came in and quietly shut the door behind him and hurried over to her .
"I must ask you a question."
"Yes?" She said as she turned to him. "What is it?"
"Who is Kylan?"
She was surprised when she heard her uncle's name. "He is my uncle. He's a Jedi master. Where did you hear his name?"
"He's here somewhere." Teos told her. "He's here looking for you. Do you think he can get us out of here?"
"Yes!" Ameria hugged Teos. "You have to find him and bring him to me before it's too late."
"How?" Teos asked. "I have no idea how to find him. He could be anywhere in miles of halls and chambers."
"I can find him." She released his hand. "All I have to do is call."
"Then hurry. I don't know how much time we have."
Ameria sat back in her chair and thought about the lessons her uncle had taught her. How to relax, how to meditate, how to let the power of the Force flow through her. She closed her eyes and reached out with her mind and let her consciousness roam.
'Uncle? Are you there?'
'Ameria? I'm here. Where are you?'
'I don't know.' She sent. 'But I'm somewhere here in the palace. I need your help to get away from here.'
'Be calm Ameria. I'm going to find you.'
"Ask your uncle where he is." Teos whispered.
'Uncle, where are you?'
'I'm in the security area.'
"I know where that is." Teos smiled. "Tell him I'm coming to get him. I'll bring him back here."
'I'm sending a friend to come find you. Stay low until he gets there.'
'Tell him to hurry.'
"Go!" Ameria waved him off. "And hurry!"
Teos hurried through the palace down into the administration building. From there, he went down into the security halls and offices. There he had to slow down. There were too many security officers coming in and going about their business for his taste. He was here looking for a rebel to the empire, any one of these officers would kill to get a hold of him.
As Teos walked down the hall, troopers watched wondering what he was doing there. A trooper stopped him and ordered him to explain his presence there in the security section.
"I'm here on the emperor's business." Teos said sternly. "And I will not be explaining to you or anyone else. Now get out of my way!!"
The trooper stepped aside and Teos went on his way. But the trooper watched him as he walked off don't the corridor.
After Teos left the trooper, he hurried on and down two more levels to the holding cells where Ameria said Kylan was waiting. There was a trooper their standing guard. Teos walked on pass him and checked the holding cells. In the fifth one, he found two troopers. One looked like he was hurt. Teos was about to move on when a trooper called his name.
"Teos?" Kylan stepped forward to meet Teos. "Are you Teos?"
"Yes I am." Teos said. "I can take you to Ameria."
"Is she safe?"
"Yes." He said. "For now."
"Then there's somewhere else I need to go first." Kylan went back and helped Rein to his feet. "Darth Sularr and your emperor installed power resonators all through the empire to steal the life force from the people. I must find out where those resonators are and destroy them. I can't let the emperor use that power. He would become impossible to stop. Do you know anything about this?"
"Maybe." He thought about Sularr's movements since he returned to Omari II. "When Sularr returned, he spent the day installing strange machinery in the throne room. I didn't get much of a look, but he said it was all at the Emperor's command. It was after that when he declared the Emperor a madman and decided to take his place."
"Can you get me into the throne room?"
"Yes, I think so."
"You mean us don't you?" Rein said. "I'm going with you."
"No." Kylan said as he took Rein's hand. "I have to do this, but I want you somewhere safe. Rein, I want this to be the beginning of something real between us. So I want you to go find Ameria and get her out of the palace. Will you do that for me?"
"You'll be OK?"
"I'll be fine. Kylan smiled.
"I promise." Kylan pulled him into a kiss. "Is that better?"
"It'll do for now." Rein laughed.
"OK." Kylan straightened Rein's uniform. "Teos, lead us out of here."
After the explosion of the pyramid, Nae'shail went back to the Wookiee compound. It was time for the Wookiees to take a stand. Once he was back at the barracks, he told everyone it was time they went home. He slipped out and went from barracks to barrack spreading the word. The word was rebellion.
The night was cold as Enar Ryad stood on the platform high above the palace and waited for the Emperor's ship to land. He watched as the wind blew the flags of the empire. He was anxious to get this over. It was time for the apprentice to prove his might by taking out his master. As the ship came down to land, Enar stepped up on the platform and readied himself for the final fight of Achem Aldmos.
As the landing ramp came down, Enar placed his hand to his side to reassure himself that his lightsaber was still there at his side. He looked up the ramp as dark fog came streaming out and covered the landing strip. Dressed in his dark cloak, Achem Aldmos stepped out on the ramp and gazed down at his apprentice. Slowly he walked down the ramp and out onto the platform and stopped opposite Enar. His eyes blazed red with the power of the Force.
"Achem Aldmos." Enar took a step forward and pushed his cloak back out of the way to reveal his lightsaber. "Your days leading this empire are over. You are no longer my master."
"And you think you can defeat me?" Aldmos said in a grim deep voice. "You think you can take my place as the emperor? That day will never come!"
"That day," Enar raised his hands at Aldmos," Is here today!!"
As Teos lead Kylan through the halls, troopers saluted and moved out of the way. At the door to the throne room, two troopers stepped out to block their way. Teos argued with them insisting that they were there at the Emperor's orders. The guards refused to allow them entry and pulled their blasters. Kylan stepped in front of Teos with his hand out.
"Calm yourself." He said. "You have done a fine job in protecting your Emperor. But the days of the Zygerrian empire are over. Stand aside and let us pass."
Mesmerized, the two troopers dropped their guard and stepped aside. Kylan took another step ahead then gave them one last order.
The troopers closed their eyes and fell against the wall and slowly slid down in a heap on the floor. Teos looked at them surprised. He had seen both the Emperor and Lord Sularr use the Force before. But always in a destructive way. Never with compassion and mercy. They would have killed anyone in their way.
Teos reached out and pulled the door to the throne room open, then went in.
"This way." He said. Kylan followed him into the dark chamber.
The throne room to the Zygerrian empire was a large dark chamber with high ceilings and dark cold stone walls. There was a red carpet that led from the door to the throne in the exact center of the room. In a half circle around the throne, there was an array of machinery with cables that ran to connect to the back of the throne. On the walls there was a display of ancient war weapons. Hammers and axes, swords and shields.
"Is this what you're looking for?" Teos asked.
"Yes." Kylan nodded. "I can feel the strength of the Force here in this room. It's like the lives of hundreds of millions of people all right here for the Emperor to use."
"Then let's destroy it so he can't hurt anyone else." Teos looked around for something he could use as a weapon. He saw the hammers and went and grabbed one. "This is for every life you destroyed. Every world you tore apart."
"Wait!" Kylan put his hand on Teos shoulder to stop him. "There's something else. This throne has been used. The dark one, Sularr. He sat here and absorbed power. He must be stopped or he will become ten times worst the Achem Aldmos."
"What do we do?" Teos dropped the hammer.
"There's only one thing to do." Kylan stepped up to the throne then turned back to Teos. He took his lightsaber from his side and gave it to Teos. "I'll have to use it, than you can destroy it."
"But what about all the life force you'll be taking?" Teos asked him. "Isn't that stealing people's life?""It's either that or we lose and the Emperor goes on stealing lives for who knows how long" Kylan explained. "This is our one chance to stop the Zygerrians without a war that would kill millions and last for years. Teos, it would only be seconds from all the lives from all the Zygerrian held worlds, than the throne gets destroyed. Isn't that worth it?"
"Yes, it is.""If this goes wrong and I come out on the dark side, I want you to destroy me. Do it quick, I don't ever want to hurt anyone. Please tell Ameria and Rein that I love them very much."
Then Kylan sat down and began to scream.
High in orbit over Omari II
In a flash of light high over Omari II, the New Republic's Armada dropped out of hyperspace. In his command chair aboard the Roguestar, General Tortan ordered a scan of the surface.
"Lt Walden. These are the right co ordinance from the signal?"
"Scan for Wookiee life signs." Gen Tortan said. "I want to know exactly where they are."
"Scanning." Lt Walden went to the science station and gave the order. Ensign Ryen initiate a scan of the surface.
"What have you found Ensign?"
"The Wookiees are all located in one area Sir. It looks like a highly secure compound of some kind. My scans detect pulse cannons and some sort of force fence. We found them Sir."
"I want infiltration teams ready in ten minutes." Gen Tortan ordered. "Lieutenant, you're in command. Body armor and pulse rifles, you're authorized to do whatever it takes to get the Wookiees free. Keep me advised at all times."
"Yes Sir!!" Lt Waldin called for security troops on all ships to be ready to launch in ten minutes and he left the bridge.
"Weapons on standby."' Gen Tortan ordered. "I want any ship that leaves or approaches the planet stopped and taken into custody. You have you orders. Everyone to your battle stations!"
As blue lightning flared from Aldmos, Enar created a force shield to block his strike. It hit his shield like a hammer forcing him down and back as Enar held on. Aldmos laughed hysterically as Enar went down to his knees. He thought his power was supreme and no one, especially his apprentice could stand against him.
"Now you will learn it means to anger a god!" His eyes flashed his he sent another burst of power at Enar. Enar strengthened his shield as Aldmos laughed. He stepped forward and walked around Enar.
"You thought you could oppose me!" He zapped Enar again. "You thought you could steal my empire out from under me! You thought me weak, too weak to hold power! But I am Achem Aldmos, Emperor and god of the Zygerria and this whole galaxy! No one can defeat me!!"
"I can defeat you!!" Enar stood up and sent his own blast of red energy at Aldmos. It flashed out and struck Aldmos knocking him off his feet. Aldmos scrambled back up surprised that Enar had hurt him. "You seem surprised. Did you really think I would stay a lackey to your mad crazy plans? You knew sooner or later I would turn on you and take all that you have for myself. Well, that day has come!"
Like two angry Garrals, the masters of the dark Force circled each other looking for an opening. Then together they blasted each other. Red and blue energy blasted out to meet between them rumbling like thunder. For a second, it looked as if Aldmos was winning and the red energy turned and advanced on Enar. Then it changed and the red was moving down on Aldmos. It went back and forth for a few minutes until finally the red energy overcame Aldmos and he screamed in pain. As Enar's red energy overwhelmed him, Aldmos fell to the ground and rolled in pain as the power of the Force burned through every vein and muscle. He couldn't believe this was happening to him. He had reigned for two hundred years subjecting thirty or forty worlds to his domination. How could it be over now? How could the Force have failed him? He looked up to see Enar standing over him.
"You want to know how?" Enar raised Aldmos up frozen in his power to face him. "Your madness is your downfall. It makes you weak, too weak to stand up to me and I did use the resonators. So another god falls. Farewell Achem Aldmos."
Enar Ryad blasted the former emperor to dust and he died screaming as he began to fade away.
It was quiet at the gate as Nae'shail slipped out from building to building until he stood staring up at the first of six watch towers. Two troopers manned the tower. He wasn't sure if what he planned would work, but he had to try. His people's life depended on it.
Nae'shail looked up to the watch tower and calmed himself. One trooper stood staring into the compound with binoculars. As he watched, his partner stood at the pulse cannon taking shots at anything that moved in the secure area. He rained down pulse fire into the compound sometimes hitting one of the Omarians or a Wookiee if they were caught out in the open. This is what they sometimes did for amusement. These Zygerrians could be sadistically mean.
Nae'shail stared up concentrating on the one at the cannon. He took hold of his mind and looked out through his eyes. The trooper with the binoculars was jabbering on about something Nae'shail couldn't hear and didn't care about. Once he had him under his control, Nae'shail reached down and pulled his blaster and aimed at the trooper. With two shots, the trooper fell and Nae'shail had him throw his blaster over the side and move back to the pulse cannon. He turned it towards the watch tower across from him and had him fire. Pulse blasts rained down on the other four towers destroying the cannons and taking out the troopers that manned the towers. Then Nae'shail had him aim at the generators that provided power to the force fences that surrounded the compounds. Sirens blared as troopers searched the sky for attack vehicles that weren't there. With his last push of power, Nae'shail sent the trooper sailing over the towers side to plunge to the ground and his death. With a howl he signaled his people to attack. Wookiees armed with picks, shovels and axes charged out and at the gates. It only took a matter of minutes for them to tear the gate down and they were into the Omarian compound then out into the Zygerrian complex and city. Zygerrians fell like toy soldiers at the hands of the Wookie's. By the time they reached the spaceport, soldiers of the Republic had arrived to join the fight. Nae'shail with his uncle Chorrr, headed straight for the palace and their friends inside.
Everything was crazy in the city and palace of the Zygerrian empire. Troopers were everywhere blasting out windows and manning the palace defenses. As Teos ran through the palace, he saw Republic assault ships zipping around firing on Empire assault tanks and fighter ships. Wookiees had gained weapons and were attacking the armories, the trooper barracks and the administration buildings. They soon would be here in the palace. Teos had to get to America to get her to safety.
From the throne room, Teos hurried through the halls. He went up three levels to the living areas where he had left America. He had told Rein to wait for him with America and he would come to lead them out. When he reached Ameria's room, he found her passed out, but Rein was nowhere to be found. Teos hurried to her to wake her up.
"Ameria." He lightly tapped at her face to wake her up. "Are you OK?"
"Yes." She said as she woke up. "I'm fine, but there was someone here. He said Uncle sent him."
"He was telling you the truth." Teos smiled. "Your uncle did send him. What happened to him?"
"Another trooper came." Teos helped her up on her feet while she explained. "He wanted to take me with him, but the smaller trooper stopped him. He was protecting me. The taller one said he would be back for me once he killed the short trooper. He called him Rein. We have to find him and save him!"
"Getting you out of here comes first." Teos said. "That's an order from your uncle. He can save Rein."
"Then I have to tell him." She said. "Or no one will save him."
'Uncle, Rein was taken.'
'By who?' Kylan's thought were ten times clearer this time. Ameria knew something was different about her uncle. 'A Zygerrian trooper. He knew his name.'
'Nalos.' Kylan said. 'You and Teos get out of the palace and find some place safe. I will find him.'
"We can go now."
Teos took her out of the room and down the hall to the left. They could hear explosions going off all around them, then the lift came and they jumped in and ordered it to take them down. As the lift swiftly dropped down, Teos took Ameria in his arms and held her. When it reached the bottom, the doors opened and three Zygerrian troopers were standing there firing out into the lobby. The Zygerrians grabbed them and pulled them out. Ameria screamed as Teos fought them trying to get her free. Using the Force, Ameria slammed one of the troopers into a wall then turned to the one holding her. She was about to throw him across the room when the trooper hit her knocking her out. Teos screamed her name and doubled his efforts to get to her. Just then, a huge red furred Wookiee came running down the hall towards them. He roared and cast out his hands at the troopers. The trooper holding Ameria lifted up off the floor and was slammed twice into the wall at his side. The trooper holding Teos dropped him and pulled his pulse rifle up to fire at Nae'shail. The Wookiee roared then grabbed him by the arm nearly jerking it off and slammed the trooper into a nearby wall. Teos heard the troopers back snap as he hit the wall and fall on the floor. Free from the troopers hold, Teos knelt and picked Ameria up. He looked up at the Wookiee and said.
'Come, I get you out.'
"I thought we had finished with you." Rein said as they walked through the broken ruins of the security building.
"Not quite." Commander Nalos said. "But this will be the end. The Empire is falling. The Republic is here and there is no escape. But there is still one pleasure left."
"What's that?" Rein asked. "Found your teddy bear?"
"Always with the jokes." They stopped just inside a chamber that looked like some kind of medical bay. "This time the joke will be on you."
"I'm not laughing." Rein said.
"Neither am I." Said a voice behind Commander Nalos. He turned quickly and fired his blaster at the intruder. The shot blasted out and was caught in the hand of Enar Ryad and deflected away.
"Darth Sularr!" Commander Nalos said still aiming his blaster at him. "The Empire is done. This one is mine to kill."
"I don't think so." Enar stepped out into the chamber. "I am Emperor of what is left of this Empire and that makes him mine!"
"Then let me be the first to say I quit! Commander raised his blaster and fired a series of shots at the Emperor. Enar covered himself with a red shield of power then cast it out at the Commander to surround him. Like a vice the energy began to shrink in on itself and crush the Commander. He screamed as his body was broken and crushed down to a little ball then tossed aside.
"Now." Enar stepped up to Rein. "What shall I do with you?"
"You're going to let him go." Kylan said as he stepped into the room to face Enar Ryad.
"A Jedi?" Enar laughed. "I remember you. We met long ago on Altares V. I thought you were dead."
"I guess not." Kylan waved his hand at Rein and made the cuffs around his wrist drop off. "Go my love. Get out of here. I'll take care of this."
"I want to stay here with you." Rein said as he rubbed his wrist. "I'm not afraid of him."
"You should be." Enar laughed as his eyes glowed yellow. "You will be."
"Do as I say and go." Kylan told him. "I will be fine. Get Ameria and Teos on a ship. I will find you once I'm done here."
"Promise?" Rein asked.
Rein left the chamber leaving them alone staring at each other. Enar reached up and took off his cloak and dropped it on the floor and put his hand to his lightsaber.
"If I remember correctly." Enar pulled his lightsaber and turned it on. A red blade flashed to life. "You were very good with your blade."
"As were you." Kylan's white blade flashed to life. "Shall we?"
Enar rushed forward swinging in at Kylan's head. Kylan blocked then swung across at Enar's chest. Their blades clashed and sparks rang out. Jumping high, Enar leaped over Kylan and swung a chop down to split his skull. Kylan's blade spun in the air deflecting Enar's chop. As Enar came down, Kylan kicked out connecting with his back and sent him flying across the chamber. Sending a force wave at the wall, Enar caught himself, flipped in the air and bounced back ready to fight.
"It will not be that easy to defeat me." Enar sneered as they circled each other. Kylan was quietly going over battle strategies in his mind. Enar dived forward at Kylan stabbing at him then sweeping down at his legs. Kylan leaped up and snapped a kick at Enar's face. It hit him in his chin snapping his head back. Enar staggered back with blood running from his mouth. He wiped the blood away, reached out with the Force to slam Kylan into a wall. Kylan held on strong using the Force to anchor himself to the floor.
"That won't work." Kylan said calmly. "I'm just as powerful as you are,if not stronger. I used the throne too. I fight for right and justice and freedom. You fight for domination and enslavement of the free worlds. The light will always overcome the darkness!"
"We shall see about that!!" Enar reached out and grabbed a block of stone and sent it at Kylan. Kylan deflected the block as Enar leaped in to attack. His blue blade swung in again for a head slice. Kylan's blade shot up to intercept the blow. As they stood there holding their blades in the air, energy crackled and popped sending sparks flying. Enar kicked out at Kylan hitting him in the chest and forcing him back.
"Now you die!!"
Enar raised his blade and dived at Kylan. Kylan ducked down and lifted his lightsaber and sliced right through Enar's chest cutting him open from his neck to his stomach. Enar crashed heavily to the floor, blood running out in streams. Kylan stood up and turned back to Enar who lay there mortally wounded.
"Is this to be how it ends?" Enar choked as blood ran from his mouth. "The Dark will raise again one day. We will control the entire galaxy; I have seen it."
"Not today." Kylan said as Enar Ryad let go of his last breath. "Not today."
"Where is he? Rein said worried as he paced back and forth in front of one of Lt Waldin's landing crafts. "I never should have left him. I should have stayed right there!"
"Calm down Rein." Ameria said. She stood there with Teos's arm around her neck. "He'll be ok. He has the Force on his side."
"I wish you people would stop talking about the Force!" Rein yelled. "I don't know about any Force. What I believe in I left up there facing a crazy dark fiend. I should never have left him."
"He will prevail." Nae'shail barked. "Trust in Kylan. I do."
"I'm going in to find him." As Rein turned Kylan came walking up of the ruins. When Rein saw him, he ran straight into his arms and a huge kiss.
"I hear you don't believe in the Force." Kylan smiled.
"I'll believe in anything you want me to as long as you stay with me."
"That was my plan all along." He said. "Let's go home."