Typed this out to Purity Rings-Stranger Than Earth. The story continues in The Sight of Power.


Mikelkor was a partially abandoned mining station of a moon. Elijah asked the pilot if he was going to wait for him before strapping on a breathing mask. The oxygen in the air was thin here and yet the atmosphere seemed heavy and oppressive.

"Yeah sure. Just don't take too long, okay?"

Sullist's last known position had been at the Borderlands, a plain that stretched far and wide over the natural satellite. Underneath it was a network of caves, built by the miners. Ducking into an alleyway on the edge of the town, he tried to send a quick message to Delmarre and Sullist's Padawan, but the transmission simply bounced back to his comm., the nearest receiving tower too far away. In front of him lay the plains, rolling hills that seemed featureless, color sucked out by the night. He avoided looking at the sky, wrapped his jacket firmly around him and with a judicious application of the Force, 'borrowed' a hoverbike from outside the dingy cantina he'd just passed.

The landscape blurred past him as he pushed the hoverbike to its limits. Ever since he'd landed on Collassan, he'd felt on edge. The Force provided no answers that would be of any use to him. It was much easier to simply lash out at everything. He wondered what would have happened if he'd accepted Daneel's offer. From what he knew, Aurora had joined the Separatists because it seemed the most prudent thing to do at the time. They had little in the way to offer the Separatist Council, other than a relatively large robot assembly industry and some resorts. The Spacer worlds played little part in galactic affairs and generally avoided conflict.

But it would've meant running away from a fight, which Elijah was loathe to do. Pride was always his greatest sin.

Master Baley

Elijah slammed on the brakes. He had heard Cedaar Sullist, clear as day.

Master Sullist? Are you nearby?

Yes.

Baley focused on the arid landscape, searching for the spark of life that would reveal the Bothan woman's presence to him. There was nothing.

Where are you?

Underground.

Frustrated, Elijah dismounted and slammed a palm into the ground. He reached downwards, rooting through gray dust and rocks. Focus, he told himself. There- was a tunnel beneath him, he could sense it. He could use it to get to her. All around him, the Force twisted and writhed like an impatient child.

Can't you come out? As soon as he thought it, he felt foolish. Perhaps she was injured.

There was an ominous cracking noise from under his feet. Elijah barely had enough time to crouch and cover his head with his hands before the ground collapsed underneath him and he fell into the tunnel. His roll let him avoid most of the debris. A chunk of stone had fallen on his shoulder and he growled, flexing the injured arm. Again, he reached out with the Force. Sullist's presence glimmered far ahead. He had not noticed it before, but there was something discomfiting about her spark. What was she hiding?

He set off at a smart pace. Sullist had punched a hole through the roof of the cave. Clearly, he was meant to get to her. The uneasy feeling grew as he moved closer to where the other Jedi was.

He came upon a circular room that had tracks crisscrossing it. Bright lights gleamed all around and he blinked rapidly, unaccustomed to it after all the running in the dark. Sullist sat in the middle of the room in a classic meditating posture. She watched him serenely, but her Force presence was agitated.

"The Republic has fallen," she said. Her voice had that dreamy quality it always got after she'd seen the future. "The Sith have won."

"Who is the Sith?" he asked.

"Palpatine."

Elijah stared at her, aghast.

"Do you want to die?" Her voice was serene. "They are killing all of us."

"Impossible," he breathed.

"But not improbable. We are outmatched. Do you want to die?"

Sullist had gone mad. What had she seen? Palpatine , the Sith Lord? They'd suspected the man for a long time, but this…

"Why do you keep asking me that?"

"Better now than later," she was muttering to herself. "There's nothing to wait for, no, no, Tam is gone, Delmarre is gone, gone, gone."

"Delmarre? What happened to Master Delmarre?"

His only reply was the hiss of an igniting lightsaber.

"Do you want to die? If you do, you should leave."

"Master Sullist, we must leave this place. If you come with me-"

But she attacked him. He slid backwards, weapon slipping into his hand. She had the advantage; she knew this room, but he was smaller and lighter. Several times he caught her shaking her head, as if something was in her ear. Finally, she used the Force to slam him into the walls. He slid down, stunned and winded.

Sullist stood over him, eyes vacant, lightsaber hovering at his throat. It deactivated and she cocked her head. "But the Force is not ready to take you," she murmured. "Something greater, but...the Force is not ready to take you."

Sullist backed away, one step at a time. She flipped the lightsaber, reigniting it and stabbed herself through the chest.

Elijah had no idea how much time had passed when he climbed back up through the hole. He only realized that he'd been crying when he strapped on his mask and found wet trails on his cheeks. The pilot was dozing in the cockpit but jolted upright when Elijah banged on the ship's belly. Whatever questions remained unvoiced when he saw the glare on the Jedi's face. The ship jumped to hyperspace and they shot out over the planet. The pilot had begun landing protocols when the transmission light blinked. Elijah pressed play.

"Master Baley, do not land on Collassan." It was Daneel.

"Why should I not?" he transmitted back.

"The Jedi have betrayed Chancellor Palpatine and tried to take over. Order 66 is now in effect."

Elijah gaped at the screen. The ambassador's face was impassive. The pilot was watching him out of the corner of his eye. To the right loomed a Separatist ship.

"If you go down there Master Baley, Republic stormtroopers will kill you immediately. If you join me, I can offer you sanctuary."

Elijah cut the transmission. "Have we gained permission to land?" he addressed the pilot. He nodded. The commlink on the Jedi's wrist beeped. Master Obi-Wan Kenobi's voice issued out of it.

THIS IS OBI-WAN KENOBI

REPUBLIC FORCES HAVE BEEN TURNED AGAINST THE JEDI

AVOID CORUSCANT, AVOID DETECTION

STAY STRONG

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU

The message repeated, over and over again. Elijah finally shut it off.

When he came down the boarding ramp, he found himself surrounded by Separatist droids. The Separatist ambassador stood in front of him clothes a little creased, his expression infinitely patient as ever. Behind him, the Migelian lifted off, the heat of the repulsor engines washing over him. The backflip took the droids by surprise. Balancing on the nose of the Migelian, he then leaped onto the roof of the station and ran. His commlink crackled and he could hear the droids beginning to give chase. The distinctive hum of a LAAT/I gunship reverberated through the muggy air.

Who had called stormtroopers? Knowing his luck, it was probably a concerned politician. He tuned into the frequencies the troopers used.

-JEDI YOU ARE ORDERED TO STOP AND SURRENDER

Elijah had worked rarely with them, but it had never seemed like they would turn on the Jedi.

He ducked down into the shadow of an awning, glorying in the brief respite from the harsh sun. Red blaster bolts flew past him and he ran again. There were droids on the rooftops. As he went on again, pushing past hysterical passersby, he began to feel he was being herded.

In the dead end of an alley, he stopped short. He was surrounded. Another jump back onto the rooftops and he'd taken off the heads of two clankers, grabbing their guns. Elijah had given up on sparing the clones; now, he shot them, his aim impeccable. Another two, then three, then eleven were coming up behind him and he could hear their comm chatter.

-armed and dangerous

-surround him move with caution

One of the clones screamed. More droids had appeared and they were firing at the men. Four or five clankers were firing at him from the alley below. He returned a few shots, then, deftly inverted the power cells in one of the rifles. A bolt seared past his ear and he hissed in pain before lobbing the rifle at the troopers. It overloaded in a huge explosion of light and sound and Elijah toppled over the side of the roof, landing on the dirty pavement. There was a sickening crack from his shoulder. He tried to get up but he was seeing two of everything and crumpled again. There was the sound of nearly a dozen clanker rifles being set to maximum. Daneel was there. He must have run, because his clothes were even more mussed than before, bronze hair windswept. In a last burst of strength, Elijah sent the circled droids flying.

"Don't shoot," Daneel ordered. "He is scared and desperate."

"I am not desperate!" screamed Elijah. He'd lost his lightsaber and staggered to his feet, using his remaining rifle as a crutch. He knew he was lying, but he needed something to hold on to. He was so, so tired, he could not reach the Force at all. He leaned on the wall for support. His broken shoulder grated as he brought up the rifle to aim at Daneel. Elijah would not be a servant to a Separatist.

Elijah opened himself up to the Force, let it guide his actions. He remained standing, eyes downcast. There was a stormtrooper creeping up behind Daneel.

"Shoot him and tell me where the Separatist transport is," Elijah mentally commanded the clone. The man obeyed. "The Separatist ship was in the docking port five rows down from where the Jedi landed."

Elijah did not spare a second glance for the ambassador who was lying in front of him, very still and quiet. Smoke rose from a neat hole in his back. He ran and dispatched the droids who came after him with easy efficiency, staying out of sight from the strormtroopers. It was a simple matter of pulling off the heads of the piloting droid and guessing which control was which. The Sanctity rose into the atmosphere, ignoring the hails from the other Separatist cruisers and shot into hyperspace once free of Collassan's gravitational pull.

Only then did Elijah Baley feel regret.