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The inactivity of this forum.
Thu Apr 02, 2015 11:06 pm by Burkman
It's depressing to see how inactive it has been recently. I mean, everybody is pretty much primarily posting in the never ending thread now and there's not enough people here to make this place really booming. We need to find some way to bring more people here before this place just fades into nothingness...

I know for a fact that a lot of boards out there are thriving because of how many people are there. We just need to get back into the game and pull people here. However, where we obtain these people might matter, because we don't to end up pulling in douches like those at Selkath.

I understand that people are busy these days, but it doesn't seem like they're rarely at their computer anymore. I know most of you are still dicking around with your computer. I don't know how we …

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Happy New Year!
Wed Jan 02, 2013 2:56 pm by Scott
Happy New Year OT! We may be dying... BUT WE'RE STILL HERE! We had an... interesting year last year. Vice Admin Burkman is taking a long earned vacation and Uly is stepping into his position. Well... I'd have more to say but I've got other things to do atm... and oh yeah... to quote Callin... "GET A MIC YA BUM!"

~Scott

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 Conviction

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Scott
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Posts : 11280
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Location : Burkman's attic... drilling...

PostSubject: Conviction   Sun Sep 09, 2012 2:41 am

Chapter I
(Coruscant, Jedi Temple 9 BTC)

The setting sun beyond the tranparasteel windows gave a soothing orange and red hue to the Council chambers. The blur of traffic faded to the horizons. Master Rowand was the only stable being in his sight. The beings filling the surrounding throne-like-chairs were shadows and phantoms waving in and out of existence.

"He is like no other lifeform the Order has encountered. Veiwing him in the force is like seeing color in an otherwie black and white universe."

"He has anger... hate... rage... these are not ideals of the Jedi."

"He has potential-"

"He has potential to do harm... Master Rowand... we feel as you do for this child... but he is an unknown. Training him in his current state will not lead to salvation."

"Look at him..." Master Rowand was gesturing to him. "and tell me you sense the Darkside in him."

"We cannot sense anything but emotions from him... and that is the problem."

There was a long silence. He felt awkward and confused standing in the middle of such a large room having unknown faces debate over him.

"What I hear is... you're afraid he breaks the teaching of the Jedi Order. He defies your conveniently shaded perspective of the Force."

"The Force appears to everyone differently Master Rowand. We are not naive to think all Jedi view the Force the same.... but... now is not the time for such neo-philosophical conversation." The phantom turned to him with a polite and kind tone. "What is your name child?"

He wasn't sure how to respond... clearly some of the words were foreign to him.

"I... ver kesh?"

Rowand put two large, solid palms on his shoulders and smiled down to him.

"He has trouble speaking galactic basic still."

"Do you know where you are from? Your homeworld?" This time the phantom tried to relate words to him through the force... a sense of... home.

"T... T'vian?"

A few of the shadows looked at each other in small murmurs. Whatever he had said they took a keen interest in.

"Master Rowand... have you ever heard of a Nebulan Elf?"

"I believe they are rumored to be seen at the edge of nebula in the Unknown Regions." They were a celestial bedtime story told to children and joked about by spacers. No more than myths like the Angels of Iego. "You think he's from the Unknown Regions?"

"We will need to consult the archives... perhaps a task for Master Shen. In the mean time... the child will be examined and will be placed in a class with young-lings of his age."

A relieved expression settled over Master Rowands face. With a low bow he quietly and quickly steered the boy out of the room. After walking for a few minutes Rowand knelt down to him.

"Well... you've got a big future ahead of you little one. Now... what shall we call you?"

The boy merely looked blank at the man before him and shrugged. Whether it was because he didn't understand... or he didn't know what to say was unknown.

"Very well... we'll call you... Scott... Scott Chain." Rowand smiled warmly and Scott grinned back. Then the vision snapped back to reality.

***

"JEDI CHAIN! ENOUGH!" The shrill scream of the spar moderator snapped him out of his day dream. Her light orange and yellow robes flailed when she reached out in the force to pull him back. Dammit... he'd done it again. Lost control in his blood rage. He looked down... not a pretty sight. In his left hand a handful of tunic from his opponent. In his right... a blood covered fist with his saber in hand. Thank the force it wasn't activated. Tho... he couldn't tell which would have done the more damage at this point. His opponent, Gav Feltor, a Corellion male had his nose beaten to the point it was almost concave.

Two other apprentices rushed forward to hoist Gav over their shoulders and scurried off to the med-bay. Scott snorted... little kefrik deserved it. No one was going to make fun of his features and walk away unscathed. He took pride in the change of his appearance when he called upon the Force. It made him look intimidating... feared. Usually that wasn't something a scrawny 5' 9" adolescent could do.

He turned to walk to the end of line of sparees. Most of whom were Jedi that had already passed their trials more than a year ago. He was no longer allowed to spar with most apprentices. That was something else he took pride in... they had to give him more skilled opponents just for him to break a sweat. There were whispers that he could challenge the masters if he wished. Tho he didn't have that much confidence in himself... he relished the thought of getting to spar with one other than Master Rowand. He relished sparring in general. Any challenge... any opponent...

Drevan Kelot, a male Twi'lek Knight, and Gav's best friend furrowed his brow in disapproval as Scott walked by. Scott smirked at mischievously.

"Tell your friend to size his opponents better... oh... and that I did him a favor on that nose job... looks more defined now."

Drevan didn't rise to the bait... he was a far more patient and calm than Gav. In most ways he was the holo-perfect Jedi Knight.

"Violence only begets more violence Chain... you should focus on more than combat."

"Then tell Gav he should focus on more than his tongue... and a way to back it up."

Before Drevan could retort Scott moved on to his spot on the sideline to watch the next match. Tho... he wasn't sure Drevan would even indulge him in another comment.

"You really really need to tone it down. I think Gav only wanted to see your... battle form." Jarl Tulëk, a male Kiffar, and Scott's best friend leaned over slightly whispering to him.

"Well then... I'd say he got a good look at it... nor will he be forgetting it anytime soon... unless I beat the past out of him."

The thought of giving Gav amnesia felt counter productive to the lesson he wanted to teach the kid. Jarl gave a low sigh. His dreadlocks tuging at the back of his training tunic. Scott's own long hair had returned to its natural black color. Since his hair was so thick and long he had to keep it back in a warrior's braid when sparring. If his eyes, hair, and force markings didn't make him stand out his custom sleeveless tunic would. Some how "different Jedi" always seemed to wear different attire than normal Jedi... well... customary Jedi. Jarl wore a similar style to him. Usually Scott would want to fight with his torso stripped... but they didn't allow it in customary Jedi spars. Modesty... Scott never understood the concept the core worlds had of it.

"Master Rowand isn't going to be happy with you... nor is the council... this is the third time you done this to another peer... at least in the temple."

"Look... it's not like I black out intentionally. I just.. do it. You know that."

"Yeah... 'cept that look on your face... you were enjoying it. Everyone could see it."

That reminded Scott... he glanced across the sparring chamber to the line of Jedi in wait. He picked out his target quickly. It was her white hair pulled back into a high ponytail. Ira Ten'jur had the white hair of an Arkanian but the Teal eyes and freckles of a Coruscantii human. And she was staring right back at him... but not with the same impressed eyes. She was clearly upset with him. He would hear about it for sure at dinner.

His attention shifted when the crackle of Jarl's comlink chimed. No... not Jarl's... his... he had handed it to Jarl before his last match. Good... he was expecting a call from his master. They had been grounded at the Jedi Temple since their last mission nearly 2 months ago to Onderon. It had been a relatively non-eventful operation, but one he enjoyed none-the-less. The one thing he enjoyed other than a good fight... artifacts... he loved ancient tech and holocrons. They always seemed to unveil the unusual or forgotten of the galaxy. When Jarl handed the comlink over he read the message that flashed on the small screen. The council? Maybe they were being briefed by the council in person. It wouldn't be the first time.


"I'll... I'll meet up with you and Ira in the mess hall." Scott bowed and turned to walk out along the backs of the observers when Jarl tugged at his shirt.

"You might want to clean up real quick if you're going to the council." He pointed to Scott's hand... that was still covered in blood and gripping his lightsaber.

"Right... thanks."

***

By the time Scott reached his dorm's 'fresher the blood had completely crusted over his hand. Just as he started to wipe the red from his saber another message chimed his comlink.

<<Meet me outside the lower archives ASAP. -Rowand>>

What... but they needed to be at the Council chambers shortly.

"Great..." Scott clipped his saber to his belt, pocketed his comlink, and was out the door without even changing his tunic. He could change later.

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:57 am

Chapter II
(Coruscant, Jedi Temple)

The giant corridor that lead past the lower archives was abnormally dark and... empty? Where was everyone? The archives were usually dim... but the further he got down the corridor the dimmer the glow rods along the wall seem to be set. Reaching out into the force to find a mere presence in the vicinity he was met with no response. What was more odd than the fact he could not sense anyone nearby... was that it still didn't feel off in the force. When he reached the under archway he paused before entering the archives. There didn't appear to be anyone in the lower archives either.

Where was his master? A low rumble and gust of wind came from behind him. A larger archway on the other side of the corridor seemed to echo ominously. The room was pitch black... to the point even he with his nocturnal enhanced eyes could parely make out it's edges. It was big... enormous. The floor was offset into hundreds of pillared hexagons. A training room? The tallest mound led up to what appeared to be the center of the room. Scott cautiously drew into the dark chambers.


"Scott... Chain." A figure on top of the tallest pillars in the center spoke. What?

"Sorry to disturb your meditation... sir... but have you seen Master Rowand?"

"Yes..." That was all the figure would give for an answer.

"And... you aren't going to tell me where or when?"

"Prepare yourself..."

"Look I just came from the the sparring chambers upstairs, and I have priorities to attend to." Scott spoke as he turned to walk away. It was then that he realised the great archway was gone... like literally somehow disappeared. Then came the all to familiar sound... the snap-hiss of a saber. Emerald light gleamed on his back.

"I really don't have time for this... but... if you insist on having your shebs handed to you on-" Scott couldn't finish the taunt before the glow of his opponents saber grew. He whipped around activating his own saber in time to catch the oncoming sweep. The deep blue and brilliant purple of his blade mixed evenly with his foe's emerald saber lighting the room in a flash of sparks. He could only see glimpses of his opponents face... covered by a hood. It was a human male... that much he could tell... wearing customary Jedi robes.

Possibly an impostor. The next swing went for his neck. Instead of diverting it with his own blade he used the force to leap up and over the man, gaining the high ground. In a flurry of blows he battered his opponent down the hill of hexagonal pillars. While he was gaining ground and running the offense he could feel that his opponent had far more skill than he lead on. Time to test his reaction in the Force. One never won a battle without knowing the strengths and weaknesses of his enemy.

As a child he remembered his father telling him, "Surprise is your best weapon... surprise them with brute force... surprise them with a direct attack... surprise them with superiority." There weren't many fights he got into that he couldn't handle in one on one combat... but then again... he had never fought a Sith Lord or Jedi Master. At least not other than his own master. And he was far from Rowands skill. So he had to assume that this opponent outclassed him in martial combat.

With a shove in the force he tested the reaction of his opponent. As expected the man ground the blast out with his open palm directly into the stone pillars causing a following shockwave, but not enough to bowl either of them over. With the light from the sabers his eyes could make out most details of the chamber now. Before he could read his surroundings tho the environment shifted. The pillars began to realign. His opponent jumped away and he rolled backwards to steady himself on a single rising pillar in a low defensive stance.

When the hexagonal pillars stopped shifting he was high above the basal floor. Only hexagons every two or so wide had risen and all to the same level. It made it so one had to battle jumping from pillar to pillar... it was a now a battle of balance. No sweat... he was use to such training. Tho... he had another idea. As the last few pillars fell into place he deactivated his lightsaber. He knew his opponent was human... and even with the force... that meant Scott could see better than him in the dark.

He back-flipped with the help of the force to balance him on an outer pillar. There he studied his enemy. It wasn't long before the man deactivated his own saber, crouching to secure his own balance. So it was a waiting game. Using the force Scott shattered his soundwaves and they rebounded off all corners of the large chamber.


"You wont tell me who you are... and you wont tell me where my master is... so what will you tell me?"

The man only gave silence in response. So that's how it was? With complete silence Scott bounded forward at the man. He wasn't going to wait around all day. Then he saw it... the man's lips... they were counting off something. His paces! At the last second Scott twisted into mid air as a pulse of force screamed into the pillar he just launched himself from. The top of the pillar blasted into chunks, but Scott didn't have time to even worry about the first blast as a second was headed right for the pillar he was about to land on.

At the last second he twisted once more guiding his foot to the pillar beside the one soon to be reduced to shrapnel. Instead of landing on top of the pillar Scott used his momentum to push off the front face, accelerating himself at his adversary. As soon as he was within range Scott spired leftdriving a fist straight at the man's head. There was a loud smack as his fist hit palm. Dead weight palm. He adjusted his impact to flow in the form of a kick to the mans side but another palm abruptly stopped his save.

Teräs Käsi... there was no doubt. It neutralized his Force imbued strikes. So it was a battle of techniques now... so be it. After rebalancing on a nearby pillar he lowered his stance. He didn't need the Force to land a solid blow. His opponent cocked his head. The next few minutes seemed like they were perfectly choreographed. Each throw, block, lunge was perfectly followed by each strike. Then came the surprise.... in one fluid movement both sabers were out again and the forms changed once again.

The man who fought him was definitely proficient in Makashi, the same one of the two forms he studied. At this point it was coming down to who would tire out first. Perhaps it was time to unveil a secret weapon. Hopefully there weren't holo-cams in the chamber... at least there were none he could see. In the next spin Scott charged his arm in the force. The energies tingled and he could hear the crackle start to form. The next instant a brilliant display of tendril like energies lept from his hand at his hooded opponent.

Shock convulsed through the Force. It was clear the man did not expect this kind of attack. The lightning swallowed Scott's opponent throwing him across the chamber. His foe caught on quick raising a lightsaber to absorb the storm of energy. Charging the man clearly meant to put his full effort into the duel now. That's when it occurred to Scott. Why was he hear... his Master... his Master had called him to the lower archives.

The lower archives were where he learned his first lessons about the force within the Jedi Temple. This man wasn't an impostor. He held a green saber, he was within the temple's walls, he clearly knew the area, Scott himself wasn't important enough to infiltrate the temple for. This wasn't an ambush... this was a test! Instead of raising his blade in defense he deactivated his saber. The cloaked figure's sizzling saber stopped a centimeter from his neck as Scott stood their in frustration.

Almost immediately the overhead lights were illuminated and his opponents saber deactivated. A low mechanical rumble sounded and the floor reverted back to level ground. One couldn't even tell the floor was designed of hexagonal pillars. There were no visible seams. The only indication of separation were the two pillars his opponent had shattered.

His opponent lowered his hood to reveal a relatively youthful face. The man couldn't be more than 3 years older than him. But... it was the eyes that caught his attention. They were similar to his... that near faded blue glow... but... maybe not. Maybe he was seeing things. Though... he was pretty sure his ex-opponent could see as well in the dark as himself. The great archway was where it had originally been again. And strolling though it was the council... and his master.


"Well done Scott..." Master Rowand said with pride.

"To be perfectly honest we did not think you would attempt reason." One of the council member gaffed.

"So what is this? Some sort of test of loyalty?" Scott's mood was darkening. While he relished combat and training... it was his choice when to do such. Not other's choosing. Especially when it wasn't an actual opponent. He had fought plenty of Sith... and was use to their... untimely presents... but this was different.

"Apprentice Chain... this wasn't just any test... this was your Jedi Knight trials." The man he'd just fought spoke. Scott eyed the man. "Jedi Knight Valkus Werdana."

Valkus bowed to Scott, but Scott did not return the favor. The man had made him reveal one of his darkest secrets to the council.

"It was an honor to fight you. I've never fought anyone with your... tenacity and skill before." Valkus smiled at Scott. Reviewing the fight in his head he understood now why he was paired with Valkus for his trials. Albeit that his personality was the polar opposite... his fighting style and process was similar to his own.

"There is a few things that need to be discussed before the official ceremony..." A council member spoke up. Scott knew what was coming. "While we encourage each and every Jedi to fight with their own style and conviction... we... stress the caution of certain abilities that can cause... damage of a collateral nature."

That was it? He was off the hook? He had just used what was certainly one of the most forbidden forms of Force technique of the Jedi Code within the temple itself and they used the word "stress!?"

"Thank you Masters... but may I request some supper before we continue with this?" Scott's stomach was fighting its own battle... and hopefully made enough excuse to dodge the matters all together. One of the council members was about to speak when his master interrupted.

"Of course... but we will call for you first thing tomorrow morning." Rowand glanced down at Scott's tunic as he said so. That's when he spotted the blood. As if Rowand's size wasn't intimidating enough his scowl of disapproval nearly doubled that. He knew the blood wasn't from his duel with Valkus. But Scott ignored his glare, bowed, and was out the archway in a half-jog.

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Tue Sep 11, 2012 1:57 am

Chapter III
(Coruscant, Jedi Temple)

Scott walked casually into the mess hall in a fresh set of clothing and barefoot. He went everywhere in the Temple barefoot... it was like home... almost... it wasn't Dantooine. Luckily he wasn't the only Jedi that had such unusual habits. The cafeteria droids buzzed and hummed as they went about nutrient preparations. There must have been hundreds of rectangular tables all laid out in a distinct pattern. A large fountain was the centerpiece of the mess hall and the only thing other than large, white, marble pillars that obstructed the view across the room. Jedi were scattered out among them. Some in groups... some in solitary.

Scott had been told that before the war hundreds of Jedi would eat hear at any given time. Now there was barely a hundred. Most Jedi were out on the front lines of the war, on individual assignments, or worse... dead. He had not been on the front lines for nearly a year. He was only 13 the first time he saw open warfare... or rather... the first time he participated. Bandomeer was a large trade world along the Hydian Way... and not far from Dantooine... his first home in the known galaxy.

After being brought before the Jedi Council when he was taken to the academy on Dantooine to be trained. For 5 years Dantooine had been his home. Then when he turned 11 Master Rowand had accepted him as his apprentice. That was nearly 6 standard years ago now. 4 of which had been spent on the battlefield. Not many his age had the combat prowess he did... not even other Jedi. Next month (well next week actually) he would turn 17 when the "prodigy" Jedi usually reached knighthood. But it wasn't strange for the Jedi to promote their ranks so hastily in the time of war. He simply had advanced skills for his age and the Jedi needed him in a more important roll with such skills. This was the case with many of his peers.

It hadn't sunk in yet... he was now a Jedi Knight. He had fought face to face with Sith... he had spent 3 weeks trudging through a jungle alone with Sith Acolytes hunting him down... hell he had even saved the Republics kolto supplies on Manan. Though that last one was majorly with the help of his master, Ira, and Ira's Master. Ira had been his first... crush. They had shared more than words since the Manan incident. One of the fewer secrets he was able to keep from his master.

After getting his food he turned to see Jarl waving across the chambers to him. He didn't even need the Force to catch the sight of Jarl and Ira... one was a blatant Kiffar and the other was half Arkanian.


"So what'd dey give ja?" Jarl spoke with his deep Kiffar accent... or maybe that was the food he was star-lining into his mouth. Ira didn't even look at him... he was sure she'd give him the carbonite shoulder for the next couple days. No point in trying to reason with her. Jarl ignored the still air and continued with his mouth full. "Lemme guess... Obrda-Skia... ev'reh one knows dat's where the Sith ah gonna strike next."

"No... it was... my Knight Trials." Scott spoke with disbelief of his own words. Ira looked as if she were about to congratulate him... but oh yeah... she was mad at him at the moment. Women...

"Wow... congrats... well... I can seh I tout dey were gonna giv ja dat long ago." A congrats and not a "how did it go?" Jarl had more faith in him than he did himself. Jarl was trying to batter him up for one of his jokes... Scott could feel it. It was his way of lightening the mood. "We all know dey want ja as far aweh frum tah Temple as possible."

"Right... well I'm with them on that. I'm sick of sitting around here... and having to ask permission to take a piss. Now maybe I'll be able to get better assignments."

"Oh juu betah believe dey gonna giv ja somethin' nice an borin' for all da trouble juu cause here."

"Speaking of which I'm still waiting for that chewing. I'm guessing they didn't hear about it until after I left the trials."

"Probableh not..." Jarl went back to eating with a shrug.

"You should at least apologize to Gav..." It was the first time Ira had spoken up at the table. Great... here they went.

"Apologize to a kid who can barely activate his saber without something blazing stupid coming from his mouth? Needs to learn to shut up and learn to fight... it's not all gentle nerf herds and repulstor cushions out there. I did him a favor."

"Nor is it all violence... excuse me." Ira got up with half her food still on her tray, marched over to the trash compactor and was out the archway.

"Juu'd betah go talk ta hah... or et's gonna last for a week an not just a few deys."

"Maybe in a bit... I've got things to do first." Scott stirred the stringy nutrients on his tray before getting up. He was hungry... but wasn't at the same time. Usually he'd nearly eat his own weight in food... but not today. There was too much to do and too much on his mind.


***

It was late afternoon by the time Scott reached the Council Chambers. He stood outside the great sliding doors surprisingly calm. It still hadn't sunk in. Why did it feel like just another day of sitting on his shebs? He had put on his customized Jedi robes. They were the most formal attire he had. They consisted of sleeveless robes over a sleeveless tunic. Rune's written in his native language accented the outer robes. He had never opted for the Padawan's Braid, but instead let his hair grow out long as he remember the features of his parents. He placed his hand over his saber latched to his belt. Inside housed his mother's crystal... and his vengeance.

The doors swished open to the side and he let out a deep breath. Apparently he had been holding it without realizing.

"Jedi Chain..." One of the masters said in greeting with a nod of his head. Master Rowand stood on the outside of the center of the room by the other seated masters.

"Apprentice Chain... in accordance to the Jedi Code... set down long ago by out fore-founders you are to be accepted into the ranks of the Jedi Knights. As an apprentice you have fulfilled your duties admirably."

"Through the trials of skill, courage, flesh, spirit, and insight... you have gained recognition among the Masters of this Order and are hear-by granted the title of Jedi Knight." Another master spoke. "We have seen your combat feats and thus you have passed skill, courage, and flesh. By seeing through the purpose behind your match you have demonstrated insight. Through that insight you can see your limits and have thus passed spirit."

"However... young Jedi Chain... we must urge precaution on the path that you follow. Had this not been a time of galactic strife past councils would not be so forgiving for the use of such... violent techniques." This master interjected with clear disapproval in her voice. She was of course referring to his use of Force Lightning... or maybe the incident from that morning... he wasn't sure. "Be sure to know how, why, and who you are fighting. These lines are not always clear."

"Use humility and know there are still battles out there that are beyond your abilities, but stand for what is right and just to your last breath. The code will guide you." Oh the code... the code he had broken in so many ways... it felt as if they were finding excuses to let him stay a Jedi of the Order. But he wasn't the only one nowadays that had trouble keeping to pure Jedi beliefs. That was again... thanks to the Great War going on.

"Now before you leave we need to brief you and Master Rowand. There is an important matter that we need attending to."

"Ossus..." Yet another master spoke. They always liked doing this... as if they tag teamed as one brain and one voice. "we have reports from RMI (Republic Military Intelligence) command that a small team of Sith have landed on our sacred world. For what we do not know. And that is why we are sending you."

Scott had been to Ossus once before... long ago with his parents. While there was a strong surge in the force... at the same time there was a terrible void. He had felt... empty at the time.

"There is much that is buried at Ossus... that should remain buried." Another master emphasized. "With Master Rowand's and your own record we believe you will be the best team for this assignment... and given that you have been tasked with artifact research and recovery before should give you somewhat of an advantage."

The rest of the conversation involved the details, parameters, equipment, and permissions they had in their mission. Simply put they would take a small commando squad, a newly christened YV-100 series Defender, and the standard equipment any Jedi was given. Seemed interesting enough. As Master Rowand and Scott walked away from the council chambers Scott felt like a weight was being lifted off his shoulders. As he glanced out the pillared side of the huge hallway the sunset reminded him of his first meeting with the council. Coruscant had one of the most beautiful skies at dusk even with all it's building, factories, and otherwise sentient structured surfaces.

"Good to see you taking this roll up with such stride." Master Rowand started. He had been silent the entire meeting accept for a few "hmmms" and "yeses".

"Hasn't really hit me yet." Scott said blandly.

"Speaking of hitting... that blood wasn't from your trials... and I know it isn't from you."

"Yeah... just a messy spar... that's all." Scott knew the conversation was coming.

"Messy spar? I heard you beat the poor kid to a bantha's cud." Scott stopped and pinched the ridge of his nose.

"Then they need to not pair me up with someone who is going to double over so easily."

"You do realize that sparring isn't just about the combat... it's about understanding your fellow Jedi."

"Yes... Ira has told me hundreds of times... as have you. But I CAN'T HELP IT!" Scott's tone was harsher and more sarcastic than he meant it.

"Well maybe I'll let Ira handle this one... I'm no longer your master... I can only give you advice. You walk your own path now Scott. There's no one to shield you from consequences but yourself." While Scot knew Rowand knew there was something between him and Ira... he was confident that he didn't know just how strong of a bond it really was.

"Sorry... I... I have a lot on my mind... surprisingly nothing to do with the knighting itself. I thought I'd feel exhilarated when this day came."

Rowand gave an audible sigh and placed two hands on his shoulders staring down at him. Just like he had done all those years ago.

"You're still young... you'll figure things out... the best part of being you... is that you get to choose your fate. And I know that in time you will grow to be a fine Jedi... if not... at least fine man. You will learn to control your rage and your visions. I know because if you don't they will destroy you... and I know that you are too strong willed to be destroyed by anything less than an exploding star." Corny... but then his old master had always been one for such things. His smile was approval... like his father had never left. In fact... he had known Rowand longer than he could remember his real father. So it made Rowand more his father than even his biological one. Rowand smiled warmly and Scott grinned trying to not laugh at the corny phrase of inspiration.

"Thanks..."

"Oh... and yes I did know." The words made Scott freeze... know what? Ira and him? While his master was far from traditional he had never known what his stance on Jedi attachment was. He merely felt... cold when such conversations popped up. Perhaps he would never know why... and perhaps that was for the best.

"The Force Lightning..." Rowand clarified at the expression of confusion Scott had. "Heh... you didn't think I don't know what my own apprentice practiced in the late hours of the night did you? Like I said... I know you know your limits. Well... at least you know which should and shouldn't be pushed... usually... I trust you."

Rowand saw the flaw in what he was saying, but it didn't matter. His old Master trusted him and that was enough.

"Well I'm going to go... face punishment... it'd be better I didn't leave for an assignment and let frustration fester."

"Alright... I believe we should start out first thing tomorrow morning." The key phrase being "I believe" since Scott was no longer his apprentice... it was no longer an order.

"Make a database tonight from the archives on every reference you can find to Ossus... should be a pretty big file... so you might want to start the download and let it run overnight." And there was the order...


****

As the Coruscant sky grew from yellow to orange to red Scott made his way into the vegetative filled room. The Room of a Thousand Fountains had always been Ira's favorite spot in the temple as it had for many Jedi. It's calming atmosphere and gentle sound of running water made the room probably the most relaxing and meditative places on all of Coruscant. Thought Scott was not as attached to it as Ira was... Ira had grown up in the temple where as he had been sent to Dantooine. He found her in her usual spot at the top of a giant slab of granite brought in to mimic rocks in nature. Tho he supposed the rocks really weren't mimicking rocks if they really were rocks.

The small watherfall ran from a current a few meters behind Ira. One of her legs dangled off the side of the stone while the other was tucked up under her chin. She was staring out the transparasteel window towards the setting star. He knew she could feel him approach.


"Congrats... I'm sorry I wasn't more supportive earlier." She looked up at him as he walked over to sit next to her. Her face looked sad... but he knew she was merely frustrated and truly was happy for him.

"Yeah... well... would'a happened sooner or later." Scott paused for a second and then spoke again abruptly before she mistook his comment for being about Gav instead of gloating about his knighthood. "Jedi Knight Chain."

"I like it." She smiled and leaned her head on his shoulders. There was a long silence as both of them watched the sun set further over the horizon. Scott knew she wouldn't address it before he got too uncomfortable so he spoke first.

"I didn't do it intentionally... but I'm sorry for acting so coy and smug about it."

"I know...you just... you need to figure out how to control it." She choked a little. It made his heart skip. It was something that hadn't really occurred to him... that he could hurt her. What if they were training together and one day his blood rage activated on her? Would he be able to shut it down? Sometimes he hated who he was... others he relished the power he could wield. There wasn't another of his kind to tell him what his abilities, strengths, and weaknesses were. No one to tell him when his body was sick or acting normal. No one to tell him if his mentality weas healthy. Everything was first hand knowledge to him.

"That's what I have you for..." He reached an arm around her in a side hug and squeezed her.

"Ha... I can hardly keep you from eating too much at meal times."

"Well you always said my stomach was stronger than my head." She laughed at the comment.

"So... sounds like the ceremony was hardly a ceremony... they must have a mission for you." Ira was sharp... definitely sharper than Scott was.

"Y'know... you would have passed my trials quicker than I did. I know that for a fact." He laughed.

"Oh? How'd they test your skill... and not drive you to your... rage?"

"I guess I'm a faster tactician than I give myself credit for... the guy I fought was tough... but... there was a critical flaw to the trial. There was no malice in the Force... no intent of violence." It meant something when Scott gave credit to his opponent.

"Assassins are good at that..." She was trying to poke holes in his reasoning as she always did.

"Why would an assassin target ME out of all the Jedi in the temple?"

"Fair enough... I know I would ignore you if I were an assassin." She smirked and Scott's face went expressionless.

"So who was this tough guy? They put you up against a master?"

"No.. no.. a Jedi Knight... Valkus Werdana. He wasn't much older than me. But he was... strong. He was fast to change tactics and techniques, even in a changing environment. Even my Force Lightning hardly phased him."

"He sounds like... you."

"Yeah... but his attitude was that of an illustrious stoic Jedi." Scott searched his memory for those eyes... Valkus' eyes... there was something... familiar? Maybe... it didn't matter at the moment.

"You mean he wasn't cocky or hot headed, and intelligent?" She leaned in for a kiss.

"Hey!" She cut him off before he could protest more.

"I know Valkus..."

"You do?"

"Yeah... he was a few classes above me when we were young-lings. But I was in a study course with him in the archives because my intelligence aptitude scores were so high."

"Was he always so... old order?"

"Mmmmhm... he was your classic iconic Jedi pupil. I swear you'd think the guy was a saint at how close he followed the Jedi Code. To be honest there aren't enough like him anymore these days. He's the type that keeps the Jedi bound to their core beliefs with a show of just how strong they are. He's a man of conviction."

The sun had fully set over the horizon. And the stars filled the sky. They laid back to look up at them.

"Thanks for the poetry Master. I swear you and Rowand and your love of all things corny."

"Laugh if you want... but we're still Jedi... and we need to stick to what we know."

"Hmmmph." She knew his feelings of the Jedi Code and it's specific ways.

"So... mission?"

Dammit... he didn't want to talk about the mission. He wanted to just sleep... even better just sleep there with Ira looking up at the stars. It almost felt like there wasn't a war going on. Too bad that was an illusion of the moment.

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:40 pm

Chapter IV
(Ossus)

As they watched a shuttle lift off from the camp of Sith personnel a giant gust of wind picked up dust from the planets barren surface. Dark clouds of dust continued on their path from west to east just North of the camp. They would likely never reach the settlements due to the planets Coriolis effect. One of the system's suns had set long ago... the other hovered just behind the stormy clouds to the north making it darker and brown out. Ossus had odd seasons considering the planet moved in a figure 8 orbit around it's twin suns. Not that a barren dust ball had many seasons to begin with.

Scott hit the zoom on his elctro-binoculars. He noted the distance to target and field of view. Correcting the angle at which he laid across the ridge to the south of the camp he put two fingers to his head com.


"I can see the dig site... shuttle just left... think they were dropping off more excavation equipment." There was a shuffle of sound to his right. Captain Okal adjusted his own electro-binocs before confirming Scott's description.

"They've already landed an outpost building. Not much in the way of scouting parties... don't think they thought they'd catch any attention. But they have enough of a force to handle anyone that was interested in their activities. My guess is that they're doing this as fast as possible... and they know what they're after."

Captain Okal's voice sounded less gruff over the head com than from two paces to his left in person. His dark skin helped him blend in with the ground beneath him. Master Rowands voice came over the com.

"So it's infiltration then. Damn... I don't think they're have no scouts out because they're not expecting anyone. I think it's because they don't wan't an infiltration unit to pick them up. Make a note of personnel, defense and scans of the camp and dig site."

"Right away sir." Okal responded and the com went silent once again. Scott turned his head towards the Captain.

"There's structures just to the north of here... I wonder why they set up camp here?"

"Unknown territory. They want to get in and out with no surprises, and way out here in the valley... they can see someone coming for kilometers."

It made sense. Captain Okal was a seasoned soldier and Scott respected the man for his experience. Doing one last sweep of the camp a flash caught his eye... or memory... or maybe it was the force. He paused his electro-binoculars just long enough to gather the details from the being's face. A Sith warrior or acolyte. Why did it tug at the back of his head. A hand touched his foot he looked around. Captain Okal was headed back down the back of the ridge to their ship.

"What is it?"

"Nothing... I just thought... just a Sith acolyte I think."

"Let's move." Scott nodded in response.


***


"I've sent a report to Dr. Hazon he seems to think the Sith are after a holocron of some type. He says he can't find anything about what's on it... only that the tags from the archive keep referring to it as a codex."

Dr. Hazon was an Arcona from the scum filled moon of Nar Shadaa. He was often a source that Rowand had turned to in regards to artifacts of the force. Though the doctor's primary interest was in the history of the Jedi Order. The only thought that went through Scott's mind when he heard the man's name was the anvil shaped head and constant referral to "we" instead of "I".

"Why does he think this is specifically what they're after?" Captain Okal spoke up.

"The structures 50 kilometers to the north... that's what's left of the Akos Temple. It was once a holocron filled archive. And this "codex" isn't listed as recovered in the Jedi Archives."

"But there are a lot of holocrons that are listed as non-recovered." It didn't make sense to Scott.

"In the ancient days of the Order we created codecs to keep track of other holocrons. The doctor and I believe that this might have been the codex for the Akos Temple."

"So that means if they find the codex... they could possibly find what they're really looking for." Among other things they didn't want in Sith hand's he was sure.

"Right..." Rowands voice echoed an answer but he was thinking of other possibilities.

"So... how are we getting in... and then back out? There's no scouts or anything." A corporal asked. It was a fair question. No one said anything for a short while... then it occurred to Scott.

"I have an idea..." He said with a wicked grin.


***


A rush of wind came blasting through the cargo bay of the Defender transport as the bay doors opened wide. With the new stealth technology that the Republic had implemented this was a good test of her abilities. If they couldn't walk in... they'd drop in. First he and Rowand would drop and clear a zone so the rest of the commandos could drop in unnoticed. They had waited till dark and climbed a kilometer over the Sith encampment. The dig site was just to the east... but the only way to access the underground portion was to go in from the camp.

"You and your lust for adrenaline!" Rowand shouted over the wind. That same wind would mask the sound of their landing. Rowand and Scott would land using the force. Luckily since this was Ossus... if their were Sith acolytes present their force presence would be mistaken for the residual force nexus. The 5 commandos would follow with micro-netting chutes and micro repulstors to guide their trajectory.

"Oh you use to be young Master!" Scott laughed and dove out the cargo doors. He wore a complete black combat suite. The only thing standing out was his gold and silver saber hilt clipped to his equipment pack. Wind attempted to spin him as he feel but he reached out into the force and brought himself into a head dive... straight for the east side of the camp. He had done controlled drops before... but never for anything other than training.

Gathering a pocket of energy at his feet he pushed off in the force and sped towards the ground at faster than terminal velocity. His face began to feel the burn of rushing air... but he was too wrapped up in the thrill of free falling. At about 20 meters above the ground he flipped his body around and pushed in the force. Sheilk... the wind had died down slightly since earlier near the ground. His exertion caused dust to blow away from his zenith above the ground and into nearby soldier housing.

He landed as softly as he could without making anymore noise in a tri stance. For half a minute he stayed in his landing position with his breath held... listening for surrounding movement. When he was sure the Sith troopers had just thought it was another gust of wind he moved to the side of the nearest bunker and out of the camp floodlights. Crouch running to the other end of the building wall he peaked around up at the Outpost tower. There was no indication they had seen him either, but then again... they most likely weren't even looking into the camp. Then the bunker door opened at the other end.

Scott drew his father's short blade from the sheath across his mid-back. The blades curved and intricate design made it look somewhat bulky for a stealth operation tool. As he got back to the other end of the building he waited to hear footsteps. Sure enough... two soldiers noisily clanked in armor strode by Scott in the shadows. There was one problem... the shadows weren't nearly dark enough to disguise someone from seeing them. If these troopers were just out for a round they would see him as soon as they turned at the next building.

As soon as they were a few paces away Scott stuck his head out along the main walking area between buildings and where the troopers were walking around. There was no one there but the two troopers. In two great leaps Scott brought his blade in-between the first trooper's helmet and armor. Blood gushed out as Scott pulled the blade. In a synchronicity spin he reversed the grip on his blade and brought it into the second trooper's neck while standing back to back with him. There was no sound but the gurgling of blood in windpipes and the wind.

Rapidly he dragged the two troopers back to the shadows of the building he hid behind. It would at least be a while before they were found. He scavenged a comlink from one of his victims and patched his head com into the Sith com system. That would save him and his team valuable time instead of waiting to find the position of every Sith. The flip side was... if those Sith troopers didn't report in when called... they were in trouble. Not that it would necessarily be that much trouble. There couldn't be more than 30 Sith personnel there. Now probably 28... maybe less if his Master had gotten a clean landing.

At the end of the traffic zone was the entrance to the underground dig site. Two more troopers were stationed at the entrance, idly chatting with one another. He felt a presence to his imediate right... Rowand. The large man was gesturing to him to follow. Follow him where....into the open? Sure enough that seemed to be the plan. As he walked into the entrance's flood lights the troopers turned and quickly drew and leveled their blasters.

Rowand's hands shot up in surrender... or so it seemed. There was a slight wave to his hands.


"Halt! Where's your uniform?" One of the troopers demanded.

"I don't need a uniform... we're with the archaeologists... they're expecting us." Rowand calmly stated as Scott moved up next to him. There was an abnormally long pause as the troopers kept their blasters raised. It didn't look like it was going to catch. Scott's arm slowly moved for his blade again.

"Alright... go on through... I think the other scientists are expecting you." The trooper mimicked Rowand's voice.

As Rowand and Scott moved to the enterance the other trooper turned around to punch in a code to open the blast doors. The rounded doors parted leading to a slightly sloped tunnel. Rowand waved his hand once more at the guards.

"Your relieve shift will be coming soon... they are wearing a new prototype armor for night operations."

"Our relieve shift will be here soon... go on through sir..." Karking amazing. For an instant, as he and Rowand moved into the tunnel, he was envious of Master Rowand's ability in the force. He couldn't use Force Persuasion... mostly because he had opted for more physical techniques in training. That... and they didn't allow him to practice the technique after he overloaded and blew up a force drone's head.

The end of the tunnel split into two directions. Scott and Master Rowand looked at each other.


"Meet back here in an hour reguardless of whether or not you've found the artifact."

"Aye..." Scott responded before sprinting off down the left passage.


***


As Scott moved soundlessly through the hallways he lept and vaulted over equipment and broken tunnels at a dead set pace. Never slowing or stopping. The Sith couldn't have been there long... but... these tunnels... there were too many of them for the Sith to have built them. Some tunnels were completely devoid of equipment and lights... those were the areas he was avoiding. Instead he followed the large power cables that ran along the circular wall and the bright glow rods hanging from the cable. Every now and then there was a zone door-ed off... but they looked like doors that hadn't been touched in centuries.

A couple of times he ran into troopers or scientists... most of whom he slit their throats. He couldn't let the scientists go either... lest they put the entire place on alert. A couple he had managed to knock unconscious as it was a preferable means if available... but this was war... and these men and women were his enemies and the enemies resources. If Ira had seen him in this state she might have slapped him... never said a word again to him... he didn't know... and right now it didn't matter. Rowand would understand... he had to.

There... just ahead the tunnel abruptly opened. The force... it was enormous. A huge underground cavern. But what was in it was more astonishing. A giant cube standing on one of it's points... as if it were partly sunk into the ground. It had intricate symmetrical carvings on it's faces... like a holocron. No... it couldn't be... was this the codex? I giant karking holocron? After a moment of gawking at the leviathan sized structure he realized there was a giant stone stair ramp leading up to one of the points tilted towards the tunnel. The tunnel had come out at about a quarter the distance from the cavern's floor. There was a hall or something leading to the inside of the giant holocron.

There were flood lights placed all around the gigantic structure. However he couldn't see anyone. Must not have brought night-shift and day-shift scientists. What was more curious was that he had yet to run into any Sith acolytes, but he wasn't going to press his luck my hoping there were any. It took him a good 3 minutes to get from the tunnel to the top of the giant ramp and inside the holocron shaped structure. Damn... ancient Jedi really had a thing for architecture. It was apparent in the Jedi Temple on Corusant alone... but this... this was just one of their buildings.

As he moved deeper and deeper into the giant holocron the walls were carved with the same intricate designs. Eventually it opened into what felt like a smallish room for the large structure. If he had counted his paces correctly... this was nearly the center of the cube. The room was in the shape of two saucer bowls put together. There were two other passages that were on the right and left sides of the room... just like the one he had come through. The far side of the room had no exit. In the center was what looked like an ancient terminal sticking straight up out of the rounded floor. On the other side, towards the far side of the room with no exit was a flat circular stone carved into the ground. It had runes lining the outside of the circle and terminal.

No... it wasn't a terminal... well maybe it was. As Scott drew closer he realized it seemed like more of a stand... with something still resting on it's pedestal. A circular holocron... with the same designs as the hallway and outside walls. There were no visible command panels. He reached out a hand to touch it. As his middle finger first touched the sphere and echo reverberated through the chamber. It sounded like a single drop of water splashing into a calm pool... only amplified. A blue wave of force energies repulsed out from the sphere nearly bowling him over.

When he regained his balance. A mist of light was appearing over the flat circular stone with the runes. As it warped he could start to make out what looked like a galaxy... the galaxy. It looked like a million droplets of light shining individually... some more brighter than others. And at different intervals and colors. By now Scott's hands were cupped around the sphere.. but not touching it... getting the feel of such a weird device. The galaxy zoomed in and out... shifted view points. Accept for a few miss-colored stars blinking at random it was a damn near perfect map of the galaxy.

Wait... those weren't miss-colored stars. Those were markers. What had Rowand said it was? A codex... a record of holocrons. But this... this was a map... a map of what... holo-. At once his view of the universe felt like it took an abrupt dive. This wasn't just A codex of holocrons... this was THE CODEX. The Force...


"Quite amazing... isn't it?"

Scott's hairs stood on end. In one fluid motion he whipped around and drew his saber. As it ignighted the blue and purple light lit up his stalker. His... that voice... that stance... his father? What in the Force!?

"Who are you?"

"I think the better question is... what am I?"

"You're not my father."

"No..."

Scott's blade was turning into a pure blade of white... just as his features changed. It was so easy to draw on the force on Ossus. Damn it felt like the purest of energy. His father's impostor's appearance changed. Now it looked like he was looking right into a mirror.

"Are you Sith?"

"I am you..."

"I'm me... how can you be me?" Scott's mood darkened... he didn't have time for games.

"I'm the half of you that has patience... and the half that you fear... the half that has no patience."

In an instant the doppelganger Scott's hair sheened to white and his eyes and hair glowed slightly. The next moment a second white lightsaber appeared clashing into his. The force... it was... physical. It couldn't be just in his head. Whatever this was it was real. Shrugging of the shock of physical force from a phantom the real Scott parried and returned a thrust at his clone. For a few seconds they twisted and clashed in perfect harmony. Every move the other made was mirrored perfectly by the other Scott. He began to feel the tug of a bloody haze in the back of his head. It nagged at him... pushed for release.

Then the clone shifted appearance again. This time he did not recognize the person standing before him. He was roughly the same age as him. But he had shorter hair and different features in his face. They somewhat reminded him of Ira... was this...


"Hello father... why can't you control the rage?"

Scott jumped back as his so-called son swung at him with his own saber. This wasn't real... he didn't have a son... he and Ira would never be able to... would they?

"Harness your rage father!"

The phantom swung with more and more power. His features becoming more and more fearsome. Soon Scott's defense and saber were batted away. Then came the killing strike... no... the killing strike if he would let it be so. Enough... Scott accepted the tug from within. An inhumane roar followed and the phantom stumbled back. It was too easy... in three rapid succession strikes the phantom was on the ground with one arm missing just below the elbow. His "son's" eyes went wide for a moment as the whit blade of energy plunged right into his chest.

The figure disappeared as if it were smoke, yet reality still had not quite come back. The rage... the blood lust... it remained. Scott knelt there with his saber half in the stone floor where the phantom had been physically manifested. Then a clap reverberated through the chamber. In the entrance of the left hallway stood a man clad in long black robes and belts. His hair was slicked back with each long lock of hair braided, and his skin was paler than the average human's. But his eyes... his eyes were bright yellow and red with fire.

Darth Gareth...

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PostSubject: Re: Conviction   Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:53 pm

Chapter V
(Ossus)

The grotesque appearance of the Darth Gareth's appearance only made Scott's skin crawl more... or perhaps that was the hatred building. Long tubes that marginally resembled hair fell across Gareth's shoulder. Some of which filtered up into his rebreather mask.

"I knew we needed a Jedi to activate it... but to find out you of all beings..." Darth Gareth sucked in a long steady breath with the joy of his luck. "We have a score to settle young one..."

"Not soon enough..." Scott's face finally broke into the pent up rage building. This man... this man had caused him more pain than anything else in his lifetime. This man... this man would bleed... he would break.

Scott charged forward letting the Force take him over in a surging waterfall. Gareth let out a low cackle as Scott approached only to activate twin blood red sabers before Scott's white blade could cut.


"I thought it was against your "code" to attack in anger... to be greater than revenge. You Jedi are so weak! As were your parents..."

Scott roared as he swung wildly at the Sith before him. While he forced the man to take several steps back Gareth simply laughed as he parried every one of Scott's attacks. Soon a wave of Force energy swept Scott off is feet and sent him flying across the chamber. Again and again he would jump to his feet and run yelling at the man he hated more than the worth of his life. Again and again the man would simply laugh and toss him around.

Leaning on his hands and knees he spit a mixture of saliva and blood from his mouth. He needed to reach deeper... fall deeper into the blood haze. But he was out of strength. Something was sapping it from him... the Codex... it had to be. Then he felt it... two presences closing in. Apparently Gareth felt it too. From the the corridor on the right came Rowand and Okal. The captain leveled his rifle on the Sith and prepared to open fire.


"Well... another time perhaps... Jedi." There was a sneer in Darth Gareth's voice. An instant later a field of lightning greater than Scott had ever seen a Sith produce rippled through the room. Something was different about this attack tho. Instinctively, Scott reached into the force and created a force bubble around himself to shield him from the discharge... and explosion.

The blast knocked away his force bubble and sent him into the curved wall by the entrance he came through. By the time he was back on his feet the room was clear once again. Well... clear as a room collapsing could be. Captain Okal was cursing and Rowand hovering over Scott.


"What was over there?" Rowand directed Scott's attention to the pedistal that held the Codex... that use to hold the Codex. Gareth must have taken it. "Nevermind we have to get out of here."

There was a low rumble and a ping just as there had been when Scott had activated the holocron. Only... it kept repeating now. Lines of light began to seep from the intricate designs along the hallway. Something was building in the force... and it wasn't friend to either Jedi or Sith.

"Let's move!" Captain Okal shouted and began sprinting down the main corridor out of the structure. The same one he could feel Darth Gareth's presence moving in.

The three of them scrambled out of the collapsing chamber. There was a tug at the back of his mind. As he ran he looked over his shoulder. A woman... no... the phantom of the woman he had never seen. It was not Ira... but she was beautiful. She raised a hand and placed it forward as if there was an invisible wall. He could see tears on her cheeks... and he didn't have time to understand. Letting the force fuel his mind he turned from the thoughts that clouded him and focused on Darth Gareth and catching up to him.


***


When they emerged from the tunnel system and into the outpost camp there two of the commando bodies laid still with the glowing embers of a fresh saber cut. The rest were pouring laser fire down the main walkway. Scott expected to see Sith Troopers alert by now... but the rest of the camp was silent.

"Captain get me the Defender on the com now!" Rowand bellowed and slowed his chase. Scott did not wait for orders... he could see Gareth in the distance. "Scott... wait!"

He shrugged off the plead and charged forward as fast as he could. As he came to the end of the makeshift road he watched as Gareth lunged up the boarding ramp of an Imperial shuttle. A shuttle that had it's repulstors on standby. It was too late... and Scott knew it. Instead of using the force to leap to the closing boarding ramp he took a deep breath and thought. From his belt he retrieved a tracking sensor. How many times had he seen this actually work? He chucked the puck-like instrument at the departing shuttle's hull. It gave a satisfying clank as it struck metal.

Scott stood and watched as the shuttle flew off. After a few moments the rest of the squad met up with him.


"Did you get the tracker on him?" Rowand asked with a labored breath.

"Yes..."

"Good... he's not going to be able to make it back to Sith space. We have a fleet en route to intersect along the trade route."

Scott allowed himself a moment of pleasure... knowing Gareth wasn't going to escape after all. But then again... Sith were always crafty.


***


(Defender Class Transport)

It had been a few hours since they cleared the Imperial camp... making sure there were no survivors left to operate on on Ossus. Scott had remained mostly silent.

"Master Rowand we have tracked the shuttle and closed off the trade route as you ordered. But..." The ghostly blue hologram of a man spoke with discipline.

"What is it General?" Rowand asked just as direct.

"Your target is headed for the outer-rim. We can't possible blockade that far along the route. And what's more is that there are reports of a Sith fleet amassing outside of MonCalimari space. We simply don't have the ships."

Rowand let out a long sigh.

"We'll do what we can Master Jedi... but I can make no promises of an impenetrable scanning network."

"Thank you General." Rowand wiped a hand across is face in frustration.

"Hold on... we NEED to capture this vessel." Scott interrupted.

"Scott... I know who the man was... this is no time for-" Rowand began.

"This has nothing to do with personal revenge!" Scott was suddenly furious at the lack of confidence his old master displayed. He lowered his tone before continuing. "This... has to do with what that Sith just took from Ossus."

"The chances of that codex being any use to the Sith is less than the worth of a wamprat's backside. Most holocrons from that temple are either definitively destroyed or in the Jedi Archives."

"That's where you'd be wrong... it's not just a codex for the holocrons from the temple... it's THE Codex for all holocrons."

"A what?" Captain Okal asked. Rowand seemed at a loss for words.

"I saw it... it displayed a galactic map with glowing markers of some sort. The Jedi Temple on Corusscant was one of them." Scott let it sink in for a moment before continuing. "And not just Jedi holocrons... any holocrons marked in the Force. It's not just a record of locations... it's an active Force scanner."

There was a long silence in the central chamber of the ship before the pilot leaned through the cockpit bay doors.

"We picked up a trace along the fleet network, sirs. It's heading for MonCalimari."

Rowand spoke before the General on the hologram could.

"General... get your fleet to MonCalimari. Get ready for a battle."

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