Edited by T-Rex


��� In The Wake of The Return...

��� The Search for Xar

��� (NI Run-on 5)



��� Flight Deck

��� ISD Stormwatch


��� ����������� "Blast!" screamed Icis, slamming his fist into his X-Wing and instantly regretting

��� it. Even through his armored glove, pain shot through his knuckles. "This damage

��� is impossible!" thought Icis, "Every system on the ship is down. When I find Balfin,

��� he's going to pay!"

��� When the AD had first appeared, Icis had attempted to flee Varnus.

��� Unfortunately, thanks to some special modifications by Chief Tech Thad Balfin, his

��� modified X-Wing Traveler malfunctioned as soon as it entered hyperspace. Now,

��� standing on the flight deck of the Stormwatch, Icis could see that it was hopeless

��� to attempt repair. Traveler was a total loss.

��� Worse, Grand Master Xar was missing. It was obvious to the Icis that

��� Xar had been abducted by the Altarin�Dakor. "Just their style," he said aloud. He had

��� hoped to use Traveler to go on a rescue mission, but that option had been

��� eliminated. "I could always borrow a Defender..."

��� A beep from Icis� commlink interrupted his thoughts. He brought his left wrist up

��� in front of him, "Here."

��� "Icis, it's Vamp," came a familiar voice.

��� "Go ahead."

��� "Meet me on the observation deck. We have an important issue to discuss." The

��� fact that Misnera didn't say what the issue was made it certain that it was

��� important. Too important to say on an open channel.

��� "I'm on my way." Icis responded, clicking his wrist-comm off. Not even bothering

��� to protect his broken ship, Icis made straight for the lift. "If anyone tries to

��� steal that hunk of junk, they deserve what they get."

��� Icis adjusted his lightsaber, which had begun to ride out of its holster. "I have got

��� to fix that!"


��� Observation Deck

��� ISD Stormwatch


��� As the Icis stepped onto the observation deck, he instantly spotted Jedi Master

��� Alyx Misnera standing near the windows, gazing out at the stars. On either side of the

��� man was a large duffle bag, stuffed full. Suddenly Icis had a good idea of what

��� the important issue was.

��� "Planning a vacation?" asked Icis jokingly as he neared Misnera.

��� "Officially, yes. In reality, no." Misnera replied as he turned to face the Icis. "I

��� suppose you know what I wanted to talk about."

��� "You're going to look for Xar."

��� Misnera nodded.

��� "And you want me to come along."

��� "Not just you." Alyx added. "I'm assembling a group to go after him. Since you

��� are one of our most powerful Jedi, and since you seem to have some connection

��� to Xar, you are a logical choice for the group."

��� "Normally I work alone, but considering the kind of opposition that's out there..."

��� Icis paused. "Count me in."

��� "Great." Misnera smiled. "Now once you've gotten your things together, meet me

��� on the flight deck."

��� "I'm ready to go now."

��� "Don't you at least want to grab a change of clothes?" asked Misnera, raising his

��� eyebrows.

��� "No." Icis replied, tapping his black body armor. "This is what I always wear."

��� "What?"

��� "As a matter of fact I never take it off." Icis said, amused by Misnera's reaction.

��� "But, I mean, I, don't you..."

��� "It's a special organic body armor. It's alive, see." Icis held out his right arm, as

��� the armor pulled back to expose part of his forearm, then resealed. "Responds to

��� the wearer's thoughts. It's always clean and so am I."

��� Alyx shook his head. "Where in the galaxy did you get that?"

��� "You don't want to know." replied Icis.

��� At that moment, Deputy Grand Master Mathis Organa walked up. He was carrying

�� a couple of duffle bags and looking as wild as ever. Mathis, in many ways, was the counterpart to Icis. ����

��� Both were in the Grand Master's inner circle, but whereas Icis had become a friend

��� because of his working relationship, Mathis had developed a working relationship

��� because he was a friend.

��� "Where are the others?" asked Mathis, sounding a bit worried. It made sense that

��� Mathis would be just as concerned over Xar's disappearance as Icis and Alyx

��� had been. Even more so. The man seemed not to be sleeping much, lately.

��� "They should be along shortly," answered Alyx. "As a matter of fact..."

��� Misnera trailed off as two men entered the room. Draken Ar�Kell and Omega Kira were

��� chatting it up as they made their way across the room. Icis thought it strange

��� that they were friends again after that Glitterstim Spice Girls thing. The way they had been

��� going on, he would have thought them to be lifelong enemies.

��� "So," began Mathis. "Why all the secrecy?"

��� Alyx shook his head and replied, "Isn't it obvious? There could be spies

��� everywhere."

��� "Yeah, but if that's the problem, why meet in a public place like this?" Mathis

��� asked.

��� "We aren't ghosts, Mathis. When we leave, people will notice. Our best hope for

��� fooling the spies is to play this up like a vacation." Alyx explained.

��� "In the middle of all this, the leaders of the Division go on vacation?"

��� Alyx gave Mathis an angry glance, then said, "Well, if you have a better idea?"

��� "Oh, yeah." Mathis nodded his head, and widened his ever present half grin. "Good

��� point."

��� "Hi guys." Omega greeted them. Mathis and Misnera nodded, but Icis just raised

��� an eyebrow at the swirly-boy. Icis figured that, if nothing else, there would be

��� some entertainment on their journey.

��� "Hi and bye," said Draken with a smile. "I need to get back to work. And don't

��� worry about things around here. I'll keep everyone out of trouble."

��� "Yeah," said Alyx.

��� "Sure, okay." Mathis blinked.

��� "Right," replied Icis.

��� "Hmm." Draken looked at the four men. "Well, then. Good luck, and may the Force

��� be with you." With that Draken walked off.

��� "That it?" asked Icis.

��� "Almost." Alyx picked up his bags. "One more will be meeting us on the flight

��� deck."

��� Mathis nodded his head, then asked, "Speaking of which, what have you selected

��� as the mission craft?"

��� "You'll see," smiled Misnera.


��� Flight Deck

��� ISD Stormwatch



��� The four Jedi stood in a half circle, staring at the beautiful, formidably armed, jet

��� black ship. "We're taking the Black Star?" Omega said excitedly.

��� "I don't think Xar will mind." Mathis commented, looking on as Omega began to

��� rise off the ground.

��� "This is gonna be so cool." Omega was now about a meter off the deck.

��� "I would tend to agree." Said a strong voice. Icis looked at the man, whom he

��� had met before, but wasn't on close terms with. Average height with short black

��� hair and green eyes, DJM Gaius was easy to recognize. The man grabbed Omega,

��� and pulling him back to the deck, said, "However, I would also tend to control

��� myself."

��� "Gaius!" said Omega cheerily, shaking the man's hand. "You're the fifth man?"

��� "Well, I'm not the tooth fairy," Gaius joked.

��� "Excuse me," Icis interrupted. "Not that I don't want you along, but don't you

��� have fleet duties to attend to? I mean with your military expertise and all..."

��� "With his military expertise," Misnera broke in, "he will be very handy on this

��� mission."

��� "Hmm." Mathis grunted an affirmative.

��� Icis twisted his lightsaber in it's holster slightly, trying to hold it in place. Then, as

��� an afterthought, said, "Understood."

��� Omega grinned widely, "In that case... I mean the gang's all here... why are we all

��� standing around when we could be going on a adventure?" He seem dying to start

��� the search.

��� In reply, Misnera nodded and began to walk up the boarding ramp toward the still

��� closed door. He placed his hand on the door, and asked, "Now where is the open

��� switch?"

��� "Vrrak'ne na'sarr," responded the ship in a deep, grating voice.

��� "I'm no expert in Crinn," Icis said loudly, "but that didn't sound good."

��� "I think you're...Whoa!" Alyx yelled out, jerking back his hand just in time to

��� avoid being electrocuted by one of the Black Star's built in defense systems. The

��� door was pulsing with energy. "If it wasn't for my danger sense..." Alyx trailed

��� off, shaking his head.

��� "That's what I call a security system," said Mathis with a whistle.

��� Crossing his arms, Icis thought out loud, "The question is, how do we get around

��� it."

��� "Xar always used a remote control," Omega offered.

��� "Where is the remote control?" Gaius asked, scratching his chin.

��� "Doesn't matter," said Misnera, closing his eyes.

��� Mathis looked at him questioningly. "Care to elaborate?"

��� Giving no response, Misnera just stood there, eyes closed. To anyone else it

��� would look like the man wasn't doing anything, but to the group of Jedi, the Jedi

��� Master's use of the Force was obvious.

��� Misnera reached inside the ship with the Force and hit the door controls on the

��� inside. The door slid open and the group was on their way.

��� Alyx boarded the ship, followed by Gaius who commented, "Security systems

��� wouldn't give much protection against Force wielding thieves."

��� "Yeah, but how many of those do you know?" asked Omega as he stepped

��� through the door.

��� Mathis looked at Icis. "Aren't you bringing anything with you?"

��� "Nope."

��� "Not even a change of clothes?" Mathis sounded surprised, missing a step as he

��� passed through the door.

��� "This is what I always wear. As a matter of fact I never take it off," said Icis

��� coolly, stepping through the door.

��� "But, I mean, I, don't you..." The doors slid closed.

���������������������������������������������������������������������� Jinx


�� Bridge, ISD Stormwatch


��� Draken lounged in the captain's chair, marveling at all around him. Sure, the

��� Stormwatch wasn't as big as the Pillager Nine, but this was the flagship.

�� The thought of the Nine made him stop for a moment. He swiveled the chair

��� around to face the forward viewports.


��� "Tactical, where is the Pillager Nine, now?" The young Ensign swept his

��� gaze over the readouts on his screen.


��� "Last time we checked, sir, it was in the Moro System. Reports indicate that Moro

��� has not yet been attacked. Division resources in system include the shipyards and

��� New Marsia, on Ravick." Draken bolted upright.


��� "New Marsia, that's where House Vortigern is, isn't it?!"


��� "Y-Yes, sir. That's right."


��� "Inform the Lord Keto, we go to Moro!"


��� Ravick, Moro System, New Marsia Base


��� The three Jedi stood in a combat circle, two against one. The one carried a

��� lightsaber, and wore the red piping on his combat.

�� The other two had blue piping on his uniform. Without warning, both blues

��� sent lightning racing towards the red. The red countered the move, moving

�� his lightsaber in front of one lightning blast, and reaching out with his hand

�� to gather the energy from the other blast. Then, the two blues were knocked

�� down and back fifteen feet by a Force wave from the red.


��� "End exercise. Good job, guys. You nearly had me." The red closed down his

��� lightsaber and returned it to his belt.


��� "Yeah, sure, Jinx. Sometimes, I don't know where you pull some of the Force

��� tricks from. The number of people I know that can absorb and re-channel two

��� lightning blasts at the same time is a very limited number, and until today, you

��� weren't one of them." The blue known as Roger McReed Vortigern used the Force

��� to grab three towels from the bin along the wall. He sent one flying towards Jinx,

��� while the other two sedately floated towards Roger and his partner, Gui Sun Paan.


��� " He's right, sir. Those tricks are normally reserved for people very learned in the

��� Force, and from the official files and unofficial files around the base, you don't

��� qualify." Jinx tossed an odd look at Paan, then at Roger.


��� " You let him talk to you like that? All 'Yes, sir, No, sir, Three bags full, sir'? And to

��� answer your questions, guys, let's just say that the official files and unofficial

��� rumors don't know everything about me, and that is the way it will stay." the

��� three Jedi began walking towards the exit to the base gymnasium. "Paan, when

��� are you going to get your rear in gear and qualify for Templar, like Roggie Mac,

��� here?"


��� " No idea, si- I mean, Jinx. I still got a long way to go to even reach the average

��� level of other Templars." Just then, the base warning klaxon flared to life. The three

��� Jedi took off towards the command center, and the wailing siren followed them.

��� When they reached the command center, a dignified looking man turned slightly

��� away from the holo tank to look at them.


��� " Sirs, two vessels have appeared in system wishing to talk to you. Sensors show

��� that they are one modified ISD Mark II, and one Dungeon Ship. The Fifth Regulars are

��� currently on an intercept course." Jinx hurried around to the holopod in the middle

��� of the command center.


��� " Put the caller on, now, Colonel." The holopod flickered to life, revealing a figure

��� standing in front of a bridge chair on the ISD.


��� " Jinx, my friend. We need some help."


��� " What's going on, Draken?"


�������������������������������������������������������������������� Delta1


�� Crew Quarters

��� ISD Stormwatch


��� "What's going on, Probbie?" Vynd Acharon asked. He had finally caught up with

��� the ISD Stormwatch in the Moro system, and found to his delight that his Arakyd

��� Viper probot had evacuated on the flagship. The droid had secured a small

��� crewman's cabin as his own, awaiting his master's imminent arrival.


��� "Command channels have been severely disrupted by the evacuation of Varnus,

��� and many of our ships are acting semi-independently," Probbie said with his crisp,

��� Cybot-designed vocabulator.


��� "Like this ship, for instance," Vynd said. "You get stuck on the wrong side of a

��� planet during an invasion, everyone leaves without you, and it takes you forever

��� to track down the flagship."


��� "And when that happens, everyone of import has already left," Probbie provided.


��� "Thank you," Vynd said. "Speaking of persons of import, did they happen to file a

��� flight plan?"


��� "Not one that I have access to."


��� "No matter. Now that I've checked in with Stormwatch, I have a mission of my

��� own."


��� "Really? You've cleared it with Draken?"


��� Vynd shook his head. "I still can't believe it. Draken Ar'Kell takes an ISD to the

��� homeworld of House Vortigern and does not blow them away. Whatever happened

��� to the good old days of feudalism and inter-house warfare?"


��� "Went out with micronic circuits and electric toasters, sir," Probbie said.


��� Vynd shrugged. "Whatever. Interface with the CAGCOMP and ready an escort

��� transport. Upload file b1m1fm to its navicomputer."


��� "The route to the current?"


��� "That's the one," Vynd said. His face darkened. "And make sure it has plenty of

��� weapons. I won't have any chance against what's out there if they manage to

��� intercept me, but I won't go down without a fight."


��������������������������������������������������������������������� Icis


��� The Black Star

��� En route to New Cov



��� "Focus. Feel the Force flowing through you." Icis said, guiding Omega in the use

��� of a new Force power. "Now feel the individual molecules that make up the air just

��� in front of you."

��� Omega's voice was laced with strain, "I can feel it."

��� "Good, now move the molecules faster and faster. Friction builds... heat rises...

��� and..." Icis broke off as a small flame formed in the air in front of him.

��� "I did it!" shouted Omega with glee. "Wow, thanks!"

��� "Well, it was nothing really, I'm just glad I could..." Icis trailed off as Omega

��� enlarged the flame into a ball of fire, then made two more fireballs and began to

��� juggle them. "Why you..."

��� "Ha ha!" Gaius erupted in laughter. He had watched the whole thing, and now it was

��� painfully apparent that he knew Omega had already achieved a level of mastery of

��� Fire Control. "Quite the little firebug, isn't he."

��� "You knew!" Icis yelled, as Alyx walked into the room.

��� "Knew what?" asked Misnera.

��� "He... I... well...stop laughing!" Gaius looked like he was about to roll on the floors.

��� "Man, it sounds like I missed a good one." Misnera smiled, siting down on a table in

��� the corner.

��� "Ok! I've had enough! Gaius," Icis pulled his lightsaber from its holster, "I

��� challenge you to a duel." Suddenly screams erupted from behind him.

��� "Shoot, I dropped one of them." Turning around, Icis could see Omega beating on

��� his cloak, trying to put out a spot that had flamed up. "You aren't seriously going

��� to fight Gaius."

��� "If he's up to it," challenged Icis.

��� "Oh, I'm up to it." Gaius pulled out his own lightsaber.

��� "Oh, great." Alyx said under his breath. Shaking his head, he said, "You don't

��� know what you're getting yourself into."

��� Icis lit up his blade, a warm yellow shaft off energy shooting from the handle. Gaius

��� followed suit with his blade of ruby red. Just at that moment Mathis walked in,

��� took one look at the two men, shouted out, "Oh, stang!" and the promptly ran

��� back out of the room.

��� "Let's begin." Icis said calmly, letting lose on Gaius with a lightning fast series of

��� strikes. At first it seemed that Gaius was having trouble keeping up, barely

��� managing to block Icis' attacks. But then the man stuck back with flurry of

��� powerful attacks. It wasn't a case of one attacking and the other defending, both

��� men were attacking, each block a strike. Sparks shot out as the two men, with

��� teeth grit, continued to strike out at each other, neither making any headway.

��� "Time for a new plan of attack," said Gaius, stepping in with his strike. Locking

��� sabers together, it was no longer a matter of strikes and blocks, but a test of

��� strength. Then, releasing his lightsaber with his left hand, Gaius shot out a powerful

��� backfist strike catching Icis clean in the jaw, spinning the taller man around.

��� Then, with Icis' back to him, Gaius swung his lightsaber with his right hand, directly

��� at Icis' head.

��� Sensing the blade's movement, Icis ducked, and using the spinning motion left

��� over from Gaius' strike, came around with a kick to the gut. Gaius grunted, and they

��� locked blades again. Returned to their starting positions, Icis never expected the

��� next change of strategy. With a sudden burst of energy, Gaius let out a roar and

��� pushed Icis backward. Quickly regaining his balance, Icis tried to catch the man

��� with another kick to the gut, but no sooner had he started than Gaius caught his

��� foot, and threw Icis onto his back.

��� Scrambling to get back up, Icis was barely able to block Gaius' next strike. They

��� locked up again, but this time Icis was on his knees with his lightsaber over his

��� head, and Gaius bearing down on him. Sparks showered off the lightsabers right into

��� Icis� face, blinding him.

��� Quickly sliding to one side, Icis allowed Gaius� blade to come down beside him.

��Then, using the element of surprise, Icis ran his blade up the underside of Gaius� to

��� strike at the man's unprotected hands. But Gaius was not fooled be this tactic and

��� began to spin his blade around in small circles, the grip of the energy beams

��� pulling the weapon out of his attacker's hand, disarming the Traveler.

��� Icis stood up, red energy blade only centimeters from his face and smiled looking

��� over Gaius� left shoulder. Gaius gave a look of interest and quickly glanced behind him

��where Icis� lightsaber, still ignited, hovered in the air poised to strike. Gaius smiled.

��� "What are you grinning about?" asked Icis with a look of mild confusion.

��� Misnera laughed. "You're not the only one who can use the Force around here."

��� With that, Icis realized that he could feel a small disturbance in the Force coming

��� from Gaius and being channeled behind him. Looking around, Icis could see that

��� most of the gun racks that lined the room were empty, and the guns were all

��� pointed at him.

��� Gaius� grin widened. "Do you yield?"

��� "I yield." Icis said with resignation. He hadn't realized that Gaius was so powerful,

��� but then again, he was a Jedi Master, in addition to the Commodore of the Stormwatch.

��� The guns floated back to their places on the wall as Icis called his lightsaber back

��� to his hand, switched it off and put it back into its holster. "You're not bad with a

��� lightsaber," offered Gaius, holding out a hand.

��� Gripping the man's hand, Icis said, "If we do run into any trouble, it'll be good to

��� fight with you instead of against you."

��� "Ooh, fire." Omega intoned. Icis turned to face the young Jedi who was now

��� juggling eight fireballs. "Icisie, don't feel bad that you lost."

��� "Icisie?" The Icis glared. "Have you been talking to Delta 1?"

��� "How could you tell?" Omega asked. "Anyway, it is no dishonor to lose to a

��� superior opponent."

��� "What?!" Icis could feel his temperature rising.

��� Omega didn't answer, but began to whistle a very familiar song and added another

��� fireball to his act. Icis thought to himself, "Just stay calm, there must be a

��� bathroom around here somewhere, and when I find it, it's swirly time!"

��� With that, Icis vanished.


�������������������������������������� �������������������������������Icis


��� The Black Star

��� En route to New Cov


��� Icis stood alone in the small room eying his belt. One by one he used the Force to

��� punch small holes through the belt, and around the holster. He could have used

��� his body armor's adaptation ability to form a holster, but he was afraid that if the

��� armor ever became badly damaged it would drop everything on the belt. However,

��� he had been having problems getting his new lightsaber to fit the holster because

�� of the holsters inability to change.

��� Icis thought it quite strange that it took him as long as it did to come up with a

��� solution. By putting holes in the belt that the armor could grow through he would

��� be able to adjust his gear with just a thought and should something happen, the

��� remainder of the belt would keep his gear from falling off.

��� Reattaching his belt, Icis sighed in satisfaction as he felt the holster tighten

��� around the troublesome lightsaber. At last he was free from the nagging feeling

��� that the lightsaber was going to fall out of the holster. Then he looked down in

��� admiration at another one of his projects. He had removed his wrist-comm and

��� reworked it into his belt buckle. Now with a mere thought he could move the body

��� armor to activate his comm.

��� "And you too." Icis said aloud, pushing two ration packs into his belt. Designed to

��� be injected directly into the bloodstream, they provided complete nutrition for an

��� adult human for one day each. Hunger would still be a bit of a problem as the

��� stomach became empty and began sending the "refill" signal, but that could be

��� suppressed.

��� Opening a small box on the table, Icis pulled out one of the many small

��� cylindrical objects that he found inside. "Light Darts." he said aloud. Once thrown,

��� the miniature lightsabers would ignite at cause considerable damage to anything

��� they hit. Icis was surprised that Xar had so many of them, as they were

��� difficult to construct. "Or are you one of Runis' pets?" Icis thought aloud.

��� It didn't matter where they came from, just as long as they worked. Icis filled up

��� the remainder of his belt space with them, 24 in total. That done, he began to

��� walk out of the room to make one final check on the others before getting some

��� shut eye. He really didn't need but an hour or two of sleep each night, but

��� sleeping would make the trip go faster. It would also give him less time to think

��� about what they might run into. He had spent so much time trying to get away,

��� trying to prepare, and now the "show" was about to begin. Icis was a strong Jedi,

��� stronger than most, but there were forces out there that made him look like an

��� insignificant child. If only...

��� Mathis walked in. "Oh, Icis, I didn't know you were in here," apologized Mathis. The

��� man was looking rather haggard, with dark circles under his eyes.

��� "Hey, that's all right, Mathis. Here..." Icis pulled a chair out of the corner. "Have a seat."

��� "Thanks," said Mathis, easing into the chair. He sat normally for a moment, and

��� then slumped down with his head in his hands.

��� "I realized you were hurting pretty bad," began Icis, sitting down in a chair facing

��� Mathis. "when Alyx organized the search party. Not that he isn't qualified, but as

��� Deputy Grand Master, I would have thought that job would fall to you."

��� "I..." Mathis cleared his throat. "I started to put the search party together, but

��� it... Alyx said he'd talk care of everything. I wasn't in any shape to protest."

��� "Don't worry about it. Alyx is a capable leader, and no one thinks any less of you

��� for it."

��� "Yeah, but... I mean I did everything I could to keep Xar safe. Every time he

��� ran off to fight yet another of his seemingly endless stream of foes, I wasn't sure

��� if he was coming back." Mathis shook his head. "I mean, the risks that man

��� takes... When he finally gave it up and let me post a guard, I thought our troubles

��� were over. Just to have him kidnapped right under my nose."

��� "Me too," said Icis. "No one has kept a closer watch on Xar than me. Always

��� there in the shadows, trying to guide him... to protect him. And in the end, what

��� good did it do?"

��� "He was my leader," Mathis explained, looking at the floor. "My teacher... my

��� friend... in many senses he was my brother. I lost my brothers to the Death Star,

��� Xar lost his to that General Akira, and having no family, we became family."

��� "I know what you mean." Icis confided. "Xar was the first real friend I have

��� had. Everyone else wanted to use me, or was afraid of me. But Xar really took

��� me in, and pushed me to step forward and rejoin humanity. Now I have more

��� friends, but all because of him."

��� "Do you think he's still alive?" asked Mathis.

��� "I know it. I can feel it. I would know if he was dead." Then looking directly at

��� Mathis, Icis said, "You know that I have the ability to sense when something

��� important is about to happen. Well, sometimes it isn't a something, but a

�� someone. I found Xar because he had the spark, the undeniable mark of

��� someone destined for greatness. There are some people who seem to twist fate.

��� When they will it, the world changes around them. Xar is one of those people,

��� and so are you, and for whatever reason so am I. When we are together, nothing

��� can stop us. We are the same, you and I, a different breed from the rest. We will

��� find our brother."

��� Mathis grinned. "We will find him."



��������������������������������������� ������������������������������Icis


��� The Black Star

��� In low orbit above New Cov



��� "... requesting clearance to land." As Misnera spoke, Icis made another scan of

��� the area. New Cov hadn't changed much since he was last there only a few

��� months before. Domed cities and carnivorous plants didn't impress him much, and

��� he couldn't wait to set down and get back to the search for Xar.

��� "Request denied," was the shocking response.

��� "What?!" asked Misnera, raising his voice slightly.

��� "It seems that you were here a few months back and caused quite a stir. The city

��� of Ilic was in chaos for a week after you left, and we're only now finishing repairs

��� inflicted during the riots. You will never step foot in this city again." With that,

��� the transmission was cut.

��� "That's just great," Mathis complained from behind the pilot's seat. "Now what?"

��� "Well," said Alyx, swiveling around to face Mathis. "We could always sneak in

��� under their defenses."

��� "You don't mean landing the Black Star in that living deathtrap they call a jungle?"

��� asked Mathis, blinking in surprise. That really wasn't a good idea.

��� "That really isn't a good idea," Alyx admitted. "Those things would eat the ship

�� inside of ten minutes."

��� "Whew, for a minute there..." Mathis sighed in relief.

��� "I intended just to fly low enough to drop you guys off, and then move to a safe

��� altitude."

��� "What?!" Mathis sounded just a little stressed at Misnera's idea.

��� At that moment, Omega stepped in. "Hey, I'm ready. Bring it on!"

��� "What the Krath is that?" asked Mathis, pointing on the giant cannon looking thing

��� strapped to Omega's shoulder.

��� "It's a Merr-Sonn Munitions PLX-2M Missile Tube. It can fire a 3t3 proton missile

��� for up to fifty kilometers. Isn't it cool?" Omega was grinning ear to ear. However,

��� Gaius wasn't having the same reaction. It was obvious he knew what the thing was

��� the second he saw it.

��� "Put that thing away before you destroy us all!" Gaius screamed.

��� "No, I found it and finders keepers, losers what's that light for?" Omega asked,

��� pointing at the missile controls.

��� "Sith Spit! You activated it!" yelled Gaius, grabbing the controls. Chaos reined for a

��� minute as it seemed that they were all about to die, but finally Gaius shut the

��� weapon down. "Give me that!"

��� "Ow, Oww! You're choking me! Akk akk!" Omega choked as Gaius tried to rip the

��� weapon away, pulling the collar strap way to tight around Omega's neck.

��� Mathis turned back to Misnera. "As I was saying before we were almost killed..."

��� Mathis trailed off. "I seem to be saying that a lot since joining the Division. I wonder if

��� it's related? Oh, well, as I was saying... You can't be serious about setting us

��� down there."

�� "Just the rest of you." Alyx smiled. "I'll have to stay in the ship in case you need

��� an emergency pickup."

��� "I can stay," pleaded Mathis. "I'm not such a bad pilot myself."

��� "Yes, but you'll be leading the ground force." Alyx explained, trying to avoid

��� going down there and being eaten.

��� "Don't make me pull rank here. I am the Deputy Grand Master you know."

��� "Mathis," Icis interrupted. "Alyx's right."

��� "He is?" Mathis almost choked.

��� "I am?" asked Misnera, who was just trying not to get dead on this trip.

��� "He is." Icis confirmed.

��� "But we'll be eaten alive." complained Mathis.

��� "We're Jedi." Icis pointed out. "The Force is our ally, and a powerful ally it is."

��� "Yeah," Mathis admitted. "But Yoda was living in a nice peaceful swamp when he

��� said that, not on this nightmare world."

��� "Hold on." Icis butted in. "How do you know about Yoda? He was in hiding most of

��� your life. Skywalker only discusses Yoda with his closest friends. So the question

��� remains, how do you know about Yoda?"

��� "I... uh..."

��� "Who's Yoda?" asked Misnera, a little confused.

��� "Well, uh... a rancor told me?"

��� Icis shook his head and glared.

��� "Yes, well... I would like to tell you but we have to hurry up and get down to that

��� planet."

��� "I'm with you," said Gaius, who had finally managed to get the missile launcher off of

��� Omega. "I'm always in for a good adventure."

��� "Hey!" panted a very red faced Omega. "Don't.. I.. get a.. vote?"

��� "No," they all said in unison.



��� The Black Star hovered only thirty meters over the surface of the planet,

��� surrounded by tall trees. The boarding hatch was open, with four Jedi peering out

��� of it.

��� "Let's get it on!" cried Gaius as he hurled himself out of the ship.

��� "That guy is way too excited about this." Omega shook his head.

��� "Let's go Omega," prodded Icis as he calmly walked out of the ship, and began to

��� plummet.

��� "That looks like quite a drop," gulped Omega.

��� "Just use the Force to slow your fall," advised Mathis, who promptly dove out of

��� the ship.

��� "Well, I could, but I think that Misnera might need a hand around here. You guys

��� just go on without me." Omega hit a button on the control panel and the hatch

��� began to close.

��� Suddenly, Gaius� hand appeared through the still closing hatch doors, grabbing

��� Omega's cloak and sending them both spiraling to the ground. "Come on," Gaius

��� laughed. "This is going to be fun."


��� The Black Star shot out of sight, returning to the safety of low orbit.


�������������������������������������������������������������������� Delta1


��� Three of the four Jedi stood amongst the ravenous shrubbery of New Cov,

��� wondering where the fourth could be. "I don't know," Gaius said. "I pulled him out of

��� the Black Star, and we all saw him come down with us."


��� "Maybe he got blown off course," Mathis suggested. "Or stuck in a tree." A boot

��� hit him on the head and he looked upward, to see Omega sitting on a tree branch

��� as the leaves nipped at his thighs.


��� "Little help here," Omega asked.


��� "Is this yours?" Mathis asked, indicating the boot.


��� "Yes, I'm sorry," Omega said. "I lost one on the way down, then that one fell

��� when I lodged here in this tree. Speaking of which, this tree is looking really

��� hungry. If it gets through my pants - "


��� "We don't even want to think about it getting through your pants," Gaius muttered.

��� "Just be a man and jump out of there. You jumped out of the Black Star and didn't

��� get hurt, didn't you?"


��� "I guess you're right," Omega said. Pulling the masticating leaves off his legs, he

��� pushed forward with his hands and plummeted groundward, landing squarely on

��� Mathis.


��� "Are they unconscious?" Icis asked incredulously.


��� "I think so," Gaius said.


������������������������������������������������������������������� Vamp



��� Black Star

��� Low Orbit above New Cov


��� ����������� Alyx sat alone at a console in the lounge of the ship. The display showed four

��� red dots superimposed onto a terrain map of New Cov. �Well, at least they made it

��� to the surface all right�, he thought aloud, being glad he had covertly placed the

��� tracking devices on the party.


��� His peace was interrupted by his danger sense and a loud alarm coming over the

��ship�s speakers. He hurried to the bridge only to see 3 hostile TIE Avengers

��� closing quickly off of the port bow. �I guess they were serious about not setting

��� foot on New Cov again�. He kicked the engines into full throttle and began to

��� climb away from both the incoming fighters and the planet in a tight spiral. One of

��� the Avengers pulled in directly on his six and was quickly dispatched with one of

��� the ship�s Nova mines. �I won�t be that lucky again�, he thought, regretting not

��� having anyone to man the turrets. The second Avenger launched a pair of

��� Advanced Concussion Missiles, forcing Alyx to pull the Black Star back into a dive

��� toward the planet while releasing a pair of flares just in time. Using the Force, he

��� manipulated the weapons panel at the copilot�s station and locked the two

��� remaining TIEs into the targeting computer. He brought the ship into a wide loop

��� that placed him directly above the second fighter. Alyx smiled to himself as he

��� squeezed the trigger and twin lasers ripped through the other ship. Sensing the

��� fear in the last remaining pilot, he decided to have a little fun before destroying

��� the pathetic target. He brought the ship into a steep dive into the atmosphere,

��� pulling up into level flight just above the tree tops. The Avenger was struggling

��� to keep up and scraped off part of his solar panels on the top of a tree in the

��� process of copying the Black Star�s maneuver. Suddenly the port dorsal turret

��� swept around and filled the TIE�s cockpit with red energy beams.


��� Back in high orbit, Alyx used the commlink to call down to the ground party.

��� �Better make this quick�. You�re not likely to get a friendly reception.�


����������������������������������������������� ����������������Draken Ar�Kell


��� On Board the

��� ISD StormWatch.


������������� ��Draken sat back and was thinking to himself.

��� "I wonder what would happen if I pressed this button and all the guns started to

��� fire at Vortigen's Base!"


��� "Draken!!" shout came from the bridge door.

��� Draken snatched back his hand like a little kid just being caught doing something

��� wrong.


��� "It wasn't what you think!" Draken said quickly.

��� "I bet it wasn't," Came the reply from Havoc as he walked up the Command Chair

��� to stand in front of his Quaestor "I bet if Neres was here instead of you, his hand

��� would have been chained so that he wouldn't be able to press it." Havoc

��� continued.

��� "Well anyway, Report!" Draken said sounding a little miffed.

��� "Sir, the SoulShadow and the Galthian are ready to move and I've just finished

��� talking to the Aedile of the two other Houses, they are also preparing their

��� capitals."


��� "This is good, Aedile, now lets see what trouble we can cook up." Draken had

��� that look in his eye.

��� Havoc groaned to himself. Last time he saw that look, BlackOps stormed a

��� stronghold of the NR with forty men against a whole battalion.


���������������������������������������������������������������������������������� Nico


1700 hours,

New Cov,

Jungle, near the gates of Ilic.


������������� Finally they had reached it! Mathis stepped out into the open and pressed the switch next to the

massive door. Nothing happened. Icis and Gaius joined him, and a few seconds later Omega got there

as well, though his cloak looked torn and he had an unidentified green slimy substance on his left


"Freakin' plants in here," he mumbled to himself, "Why do they all come to me? Eat somebody else!"

Gaius looked at Mathis and asked, "What's up? Just press the button and get in there!"

"I tried to," Mathis replied, while pressing the switch several times, "but this stupid door refuses to


"Let us in hereee!" he shouted while pounding his fist against the gate.

Suddenly a metallic voice sounded above their heads. "Please refrain from damaging Ilic public

material, or defensive measurements will be undertaken against you. State your business here on

New Cov."

"Great," Gaius muttered, "a droid! Just what we need now."

"Shut up," Mathis whispered to the rest of the team, "let me handle this one." Then he turned back

to the door and said, "My friends and I were making a little walk through the city when we

suddenly stepped through the wrong door and ended up in the jungle! The door wouldn't open up

again, so now we're here! Let us in!"

They all heard a metallic clang and the gate opened up barely enough to let them all in. As soon as

they all got in, the door banged shut again. Two red eyes lit up in the dark in front of them.

"Your story sounds highly suspicious!" the same droid said, "please follow me to the waiting room

where the city authorities will investigate this case. I suggest you keep your IDs at hand."

Mathis looked at Gaius, but there came no answer. Instead Gaius just nodded with a confident look in

his eyes.

Mathis faced the droid again and said "Okay, lead the way."

Omega looked behind him for the last time before they started walking and suddenly he noticed

that Icis was nowhere to be seen!

Yeah, he thought, that's another trick he really has to teach me!


"Damn!" Omega cursed. "Now how are we going to get out of this! I suggest we wipe those guards

out and get out of here."

"No," Mathis replied sternly, "we will not kill innocent bystanders. There are less brutal ways to get

rid of them. Besides, we still have Icis out there to help us if needed."

Suddenly the door, the only entrance to the cold room, opened and a middle-aged man in an Ilic

police uniform and with a stern look on his face appeared.

"Gentlemen," he said, "follow me to the main police building. Planet authorities have taken special

interest in your case. Do not resist or you will be harmed."

"No need to use those," Mathis said, while pointing to the man�s blaster rifle, "we won't resist."


The three Jedi were walking through the streets of Ilic, surrounded by 30 policemen. Nobody said a

word, but the policemen looked tense and ready to shoot them if they made one wrong move.

Mathis moved closer to Gaius and whispered "See that walkway on your right? It's about 4 meters

high. Force Jump to it and then run to the right. We're going to leave this party."

Gaius nodded and Mathis moved to Omega to inform him of the escape plan.

When they finally reached the walkway, the three Jedi jumped to the walkway and as soon as they

landed, they started running to the right, as told.

Before the startled police commando could even give the order to blast them, the Jedi had already

rounded the corner and disappeared into the shadows.


"Okay stop here," Mathis gasped. "We got rid of them� Now let's continue with the mission."

"Aah, Mathis," Gaius began, "I feel something very wrong here� I think that� DUCK! NOOOOW!"

Instantly all three Jedi dropped onto the ground and three piercing beams cut through the empty

space where the Jedi had been only milliseconds ago.

Gaius grabbed for his lightsaber and turned to his left. He sensed somebody with bad intentions

coming. Another shot cut through the air, barely missing him. Then the black shadow got into

range. "Eat this!" Gaius shouted while stabbing his lightsaber deep into the creatures head. Then he

looked at Mathis and saw him standing him with an activated lightsaber in front of a body cleanly

sliced into two pieces.

Then he looked at Omega.

Omega charged toward the third creature while waving with his lightsaber. Two more bright flashes shot

out of the shadows, cleanly cutting two more holes in Omega's cloak.

"Noooo," Omega shouted, while running up to the creature at full speed, "first I burn my cloak, then

it gets eaten by hungry plants and now you cut some holes in it! This calls for revenge!"

The creature pointed his gun to Omega's chest, but before it could fire again, Omega cut off the

hand holding the gun. The creature gave an inhuman scream and tried to run away, but Omega

tackled him. He brought up his lightsaber to deliver the final blow, but he was stopped by Mathis.

"No, don't kill him!" Mathis shouted. "He could be useful to us!"

Gaius and Mathis walked up to Omega and the creature, which had gotten on his feet by now.

"I bet he has a lot of interesting stories to tell us," Mathis grinned, with a malevolent look in his

eyes. "But first, let's see who this is�"

Mathis pulled the cloak, hiding the creatures face, away. When he saw what lay behind the mask

and his jaw dropped. "What in the blazes is this," he finally managed to whisper�


������������������������������������������������������������� Varanus Templar


������������� ��The three Jedi stared in disbelief at the woman on the ground. She sat there

��� almost oblivious to them, nursing her wound, which had already began to heal and

��� now was just oozing blood and puss.


��� "Well, I bet no one saw that coming." said Omega "What do we do now?"


��� "Now, now we get some answers." replied Mathis. "Who are you working for? What

��� do you want?!"


��� The woman slowly turned her head upwards as if she had noticed the men for the

��� first time. As the light caught the features of her face. The Jedi were all taken

��� aback despite themselves. Her face was of a perfect symmetry that conveyed

��� austere beauty and unbridled rage. At first glance she was human. But at closer

��� inspection it appeared to be totally alien, it was in the way she held herself in the

��� subtle grace and her imperial presence. She simply stared at them. Those few

��� moments seemed to draw out. Her face, calm and serene, suddenly contorted

��� into a mask of hatred. In a single demonic gasp she screamed "Fear the shadows,

��� despise the night. We are the horrors that no man can fight." With this battle cry

��� she plunged a dagger into the side of her navel and in a single efficient stroke

��� brought it sideways across her body. There was a sickening sound as stomach

��� juices and gases burst forth and ligaments and tendons ripped and her intestines

��� spilled out on the ground below her. The fire died in her lifeless eyes and she

��� slumped forward on to the New Cov street.


��� "Well I bet you didn't see that comi..." started Omega.


��� "Shut up!!" interjected Mathis


��� "Wait it's no use arguing, besides, you'll only attract attention and that is

��� something we don't want at the moment." admonished Gaius. "Our main objective is

��� Xar. I think we should gather any equipment she has on her for later R&D and

��� move on before there is more of our dark zealots appearing."


��� The Jedi worked quickly and had gathered up any thing that wasn't attached. As

��� they turned to leave Omega commented "I've never seen so many sharp edges

��� on someone before."


��� Mathis took one last look at the still figure with blades embedded all over her

��� armor before turning away and hurrying after Omega. Gaius was the last to leave,

��� as he turned towards the shadows he could not help but think that the armor

��� seemed oddly familiar. He pushed the thought to the side of his mind as his

��� thoughts returned to the mission at hand and he ran into the night.


������������������������������� �������������������������������������Delta1


�������������� �� As soon as the Jedi had left, Lang Char left his hiding place in the shadows and

��� ran to his mate's side. "Fel!" he rasped, kneeling over her. "Can you hear me?"


��� Fel's eyes fluttered open at the sound of Char's deep voice. She licked blue lips

��� before saying, "How bad?"


��� Char looked over the deep wound. The glistening tissues were in motion, soaking

��� up spilt blood and knitting together, healing at an unnaturally rapid rate. The

��� Force at work. "It will not heal properly," he said. "But it will be functional."


��� Fel sighed in relief and closed her eyes. "How were the Jedi able to find us, Lang?"


��� "I don't know. They connected this planet to Turles; from there, it's not a far leap

�� to - "


��� "That doesn't explain it," Fel snapped, opening her eyes again. "They must know

��� more about us and our operations than we suspect. We are still in a transitional

��� age. Until the new age is fully upon us, we must fear any credible opposition."


��� Char shook his head. "None of these fools are credible. Even now, our mercenaries

��� are preparing their ambush. While the 'Jedi' are distracted, let us return to Mizar."


��� Fel nodded. The effects of her "suicide" rapidly abating, she reached up to grab

��� Lang's hand and together they started for the spaceport.


��� Meanwhile, in orbit....


�� ������������ Misnera had hidden the Black Star from the roving security patrols by setting

��� down underneath a small overhang on one of Ilic's gray, airless moons. This put

��� him out of contact with the team on the planet, but it was necessary. Since

��� destroying those three TIE Avengers, every security patrol and privateer in the

��� system was looking for him. The moon had provided a good hiding place, until

��� now. "Sithspawn," Misnera swore as he rechecked his minimal instruments. An

��� escort transport was following the terrain of the planetoid, heading straight for

��� him. The pilot was a Force-user. Its shields were up and weapons hot. The Black

��� Star had been shut down to make it harder for the searchers to find him; now, it

��� would take about a minute to get the defensive systems at full again. Only one

��� turbolaser was working. "You may have called the whole New Cov militia down on

��� me, buddy, but I only need one or two shots." He carefully aimed the targeting

��� reticule over the ETR and pressed the fire button.


��� "Black Star, I repeat, please come in," Vynd Archaron said. He could clearly see the

��� distinctive ship hiding under an outcropping of rock. All of its systems were off,

��� presumably to avoid detection by the security patrols. "Is anyone aboard? If -

��� whoa!" Delta1 broke off in mid-sentence as his ship was flooded with sensor

��� radiation. He pulled the ship back into a steep climb and was narrowly missed by a

��� turbolaser bolt. The Black Star suddenly charged out from its hiding place its pilot

��� said over a general frequency, "All systems are online, and you're dead!"


��� "Master Misnera?" Vynd said. "Is that you?"


��� There was a pause. "D1? I'm sorry, I ... All the systems were shut down, and that

��� must've included the IFF receiver. I'm not totally familiar with this ship - "


��� "Don't worry about it," Delta1 said. "But now there's about 20 ships ranging in size

��� from YT-class freighters to Loronar patrol boats bearing down on us. Suggest we

��� enter the ravine at 040 mark 65 and try to find a new hiding place."


��� "Good idea," Misnera said. He plunged the Black Star into the ravine and switched

��� his outgoing communications to encrypted tight-beam. "Where have you been?"


��� "I was looking for help," Delta1 said. "But we won't be getting any. Not from them,

��� anyways."


��� Misnera thought he caught something in Delta1's voice ... Could it have been

��� grief? Or something even worse?


���������������������������������������������������������������������� Nico


��� Mathis, Omega and Gaius were walking down the streets of Ilic when suddenly Icis

��� appeared from a nearby alley.

��� "No need to continue our search here," he said. "I have found what we came here

��� for."

��� "How do you know?" Mathis asked suspiciously.

��� "I was watching you kill that creature." Icis said. "Its suicide was a deception.

��� Then her partner arrived and they talked about 'returning to Mizar while their

��� mercenaries were attacking'. I killed them both - for good this time - and ran here

��� to catch you."

��� "Okay then," Mathis said, "the choice is made, let's call in Misnera, and hope that

��� he has news about this mercenaries stuff..."


��� Black Star

��� Low orbit above New Cov


������������� ��Both Misnera and Delta1 had their hands full for the moment. Piloting the Black

��� Star and an Escort Transport through a ravine with a bunch of hostiles eager to kill you on

��� your trail was difficult enough without Mathis� call to pick up the Jedi in Ilic.

��� Misnera switched his comm system back on and said to Archaron, "Hey, a few clicks

��� from here the ravine will split into two smaller branches... I suggest we split up to

��� divide our enemies."

��� "Deal," Vynd answered. "Let's race!"

��� Misnera plunged the Black Star into the right branch of the ravine and then cut

��� back the throttle to zero and waited.

��� The 5 YT-1300s and 2 YT-2000s had difficulty to see the ship there and they had

��� not anticipated its move so they just overshot the Black Star. Very quickly they

��� realized their mistake, but they had to pay for it. Misnera�s turbolaser bolts quickly

��� brought down two of the YT-1300s and one YT-2000 which had their shields

��� shifted fully forward to stop his bolts from coming from in front in the subsequent

��� explosions, but it appeared relatively undamaged.

��� Off course, Alyx didn't wait for them to open fire on him, and he pulled the Black

��Star into a steep climb. But the enemy pilots were now even more eager to kill him,

��� and they closed in fast. No. Misnera let them close in fast.

��� When they were only half a click away and spraying his aft shield with laser bolts,

��� Misnera switched to advanced torpedoes and before waiting for a solid lock, he

��� fired 3 pairs of them at his pursuers.

��� Luck, and a little help of the Force changed two YT-1300s into exploding fireballs.

��� Then Misnera cut to starboard very quickly and throttled up.��

��� prevent them from firing a missile at him. The other ships followed and Misnera

��� got an idea. He throttled down a little to let the ships gain on him - but without

��� getting the missile lock they wanted - and he tried one of the many tricks

��� installed on the Black Star. At the back of the ship, near the engines, a small

��� hatch opened and smoke poured out to fool the others that the Black Star had

��� engine problems.

��� Alyx then guided the ship down to a sharp ridge. The other ships flew at top speed

��� and were almost getting in fire range. It looked like Alyx would fly straight into

��� the mountaintop, but at the very last moment he throttled up and pulled out. The

��� remaining YT-1300 and YT-2000 had concentrated only on getting him killed and

��� they were too late to see through the deception. Both ships slammed into the wall

��� and exploded brightly.

��� Misnera throttled down and scanned the area for Vynd�s ETR. Soon he found

��� it. Its port wing looked black and scorched but apart from that it looked all right.

��� Misnera opened the comm channel and said "Delta1, you okay?"

��� "Well, I had some trouble with them, but I managed to deal with it," Vynd said.

��� "My left is a little burnt, but there's no serious damage."

�� "Good," Misnera said. "Now let's get our friends out of Ilic..."


���������������������������������������������������������������������� Nico


��� Ilic

��� New Cov


��� "Alyx, once again, do you copy?" Mathis spoke into his commlink once before.

��� But apparently to no avail, as he got the usual static back.

��� "Damn," he cursed. "Where could he be?"

��� Suddenly his commlink hissed and Misnera�s voice came over: "Mathis, you there?"

��� Mathis grabbed the little device with both hands and shouted "Alyx! At last!

��� We need you to get us out of here now. We're in the top of Ilic, near hatch

��� 00781546. Can you find it?"

��� "There are men who are searching us coming into the vicinity, I can feel them,"

��� Icis said. "He'd better hurry."

��� "Yeah, just keep them off for a few seconds... I'll be there right away while Vynd

��� flies cover for us." Misnera answered.

��� "Vynd? Vynd Archaron?" Mathis asked. "How is th..."

��� "Tell you later," Misnera said, "Now get aboard."

��� Mere seconds later he docked with the correct hatch and a light blinked green on

��� his console, indicating that he had a solid lock. Instantly the door slid open and a

��� few robed figures jumped in. Misnera probed with the Force and saw that

��� everybody was in, so he quickly accelerated. Then he opened the intercom

��� channel: "Tell me, Mathis, what's the destination?"

��� "Icis said our final destination, or at least another clue should be at Mizar."

��� Mathis answered.

��� "Course set and locked," Archaron�s voice came back over the comm.

��� "Okay, that�s just outside NI space," Misnera muttered, "I�m leaving atmosphere

�� and directing the ship towards the hyperspace point. Enter hyperspace at my mark...

�� Three,... Two,... One,... Mark!"

��� He slowly slid the hyperspace lever and the stars stretched out to starlines and

��� then into the bright colors of hyperspace. They were on their way to Mizar...


������������������������������ TO BE CONTINUED


��� Don�t miss Shadow Revealed, the thrilling story of the Grand Master rescue,

��� and the most shocking Plotline story yet! Brace yourself as the deadly secrets of

��� the galaxy�s ancient past threaten the future of the New Imperium and the entire galaxy...

��� And the danger is far greater than you can anticipate...