A/N: Well isn't this a surprise? A new story from yours truly? You better believe it! Now before you go gunning for my skin to flay me 'live, I'm actively working on chapters for my other fics, so don't worry about that, I'm working on them and I'll get them done ASAP!
Now allow me to give a short explanation why I came up with this story. Last year I was big into The Old Republic MMO, and I had begun theorizing this story's conception in two different forms. I fleshed out the pilot chapters for both ideas, but I decided to go with this one for the immediate fusion of the two universes, which helps save the whole "first contact" mumbo-jumbo headache stuff that comes with oil and water mixing. Now while I know many of you are into that sort of thing (I am too!), I didn't feel it was right for this story. I intend to include many of the aspects from the other story concept into this one as it goes on so I don't lose good content.
My first Star Wars / Naruto crossover didn't go over so well, and that was back when I was still relatively bad at writing, so I felt that this story deserved the time and effort that was necessary to make it a great pilot to a new fic.
That said, I hope you like and enjoy!
Future Comes Now
The laser fire was so thick he could barely see his opponents mere meters from his face. But he could feel them. With a knowing turn, he fell to the floor and spun his leg out, snapping the jaw right off his metal enemy. Reversing his lightsaber, he twisted his wrist, sending it flying into the chest cavity of another opponent where it sank in deep before returning to his outstretched hand. Leaping into the air, he felt the two remaining troopers turn their guns toward him, which he answered with a simple tug of the force, ripping their weapons from their grasp and cleaving them in half; all before he even hit the ground. Though disarmed, he didn't hesitate to bring his crimson blade in a wide crescent sweep, catching one right in the neck, and the other full across the chest.
He heard the bodies hit the floor before he deactivated the lightsaber. Holstering it to his belt, he eyed the pieces of flesh and metal around him, the many bounty hunters and combat droids he'd dealt with no more than heaping, smoking husks.
It was supposed to be a simple mission; report to Lord Drovar, get the intel, report back to Darth Ruinus. Simple, boring, mindless. That was the task assigned to him… He'd never expected the pleasure of Lord Drovus betraying him and sending his guards and mercenaries after him, nor the pleasure of cutting them down like the trash they were. He grinned at the carnage he'd wrought.
Of course, those five hadn't been the only ones he'd been forced to fight through. Half of Drovar's outside security detail had swarmed him in the initial rush; most of them were now dead or slowly dying.
"Heh, not like I actually expected that scum-bag to work with us for much longer," he noted to himself as he strode through the dismembered, mutilated and cauterized corpses. But that was the way of the Sith after all; kill your enemies. The only problem was that literally anybody could be your enemy: mother, father, wife, husband, child, best friend, lover… it could be anyone really.
Not that Naruto cared any. It was just another chance to demonstrate his power.
"Extraordinary. You dealt with his security well, my apprentice. Drovar should have known not to underestimate you, and he paid dearly for it."
Naruto shrugged with a smirk. "It wasn't for a lack of trying. I mean he even sent some Force users after me."
"I know," his master said. "One of my agents hacked the security system and sent me a live feed of the whole confrontation." He gestured to the screen in the large room they were in which showed an isometric recording of Naruto's previous actions.
"Ever the vicious killer, aren't you?" the dark lord remarked with a sneer.
Naruto huffed in annoyance. "That shit-stain had it coming for a long time. I just wish I could have killed him myself."
"Drovar's betrayal is… regrettable. However, it's not unexpected. My spies indicated for months he was growing tired of exchanging information with us. And now with this new information that you have acquired for me, the Dark Council will move to shut him down for good. I know you wished you could have speared him with your blade personally, but you can rest assured that you won't have to deal with that slime again."
Naruto inclined his head in mock respect. "My gratitude, master."
The Sith before him leaned forward on his console, looking at the new data that was pouring over his screen. "And better yet, we get to use his technology and research for our own ends. This is a great day for us, young Naruto."
Naruto chuckled darkly, bringing his saber hilt up to his face, as if to examine it. "Heh, any day I get to cause some carnage is a good day."
His master sighed. "As much as your will to destroy is admirable, I do wish you'd learn some less… destructive aspects of the Dark Side."
Naruto shrugged at the armored man. "I've learned a lot from you master. Destruction is simply the best way I can communicate to my enemies. Total annihilation is the ultimate deterrent after all. All beings fear dying, so it makes sense that the threat of death is the easiest and simplest way to maintain order. Not unlike how the Imperial regents do in their administrative zones."
The dark creature known as Darth Ruinus let a small smile grace his face. "It seems you have learned something after all."
Naruto smirked back at his master. "It's not that I don't learn master, it's just that I haven't had an opportunity to use a more effective method yet."
"So it seems. Then I have a small task for you." He turned and brought up a display and gestured to it. "Captain Ordo sent a request for you specifically to help defend a shipment of slave workers being delivered today. Apparently he's concerned that the local gangs will try to attack in order to steal some of the slaves to bolster their numbers. As you know, gangs wage war against each other constantly, and they're always in short supply of personnel. "
Naruto frowned. "Seems a bit below me to be honest. I mean, we already have enough workers; what's a few less?"
"The reason I'm telling you to do this is because you're too reckless. I cannot deny you have a… superb connection to the Force, and I applaud your gratuitous use of it in the name of the Sith, but you still have much to learn. Patience and subtlety not being the least."
Naruto sighed and pushed himself off the table he was leaning against, holstering his weapon and folding his arms over his chest. "Fine, whatever. I'll go be bored for an hour."
"As long as the job is done, I don't care how you feel."
Naruto yawned audibly as he glared at the backs of the slaves and Imperial troops as they moved about. When he'd arrived at the unloading point, he'd easily spotted the Imperial officer, Captain Ordo. He'd done some work with him before several months prior in a patrol mission that had almost cost them both their lives. When they'd returned, Ordo had made sure to take Naruto's advice and ask for a new posting. Personally, Naruto would have taken life-threatening situations over cargo-duty any day.
However, as the many transports landed, Naruto felt increasingly wary. Not that he let anyone else notice it; no need to put the troopers on edge. But as the final barge descended through the skies of Dromund Kaas, sliding neatly into the unloading dock and landing with a clank and a hiss, nothing out of the ordinary met the Sith's attention. Naruto's eyes narrowed as he kept his gaze on the various outcroppings of cargo and observation decks, the shadows of machinery, the stances of the officers and soldiers, dock personnel… anything that could possibly be a threat.
But the more he saw nothing, the more he was even more on edge. It was odd for his senses to betray him. He could feel the malicious intent circling the air, but he couldn't pinpoint an exact origin.
His focus was interrupted by a glance from the captain. Ordo was an older, yet youthful looking man with chiseled features and a serious complexion. Dressed in a drab grey Imperial officer's uniform, a databoard clutched in his hand, he looked every bit like a model officer of the Imperial forces.
'Right off the promo banner…' Naruto mused with a grin.
The best quality about the man, in Naruto's personal opinion, was the humorless attitude he had. The first time they'd worked together, the man didn't express any kind of qualms about Naruto's excellence in the art of mass murder. As far as he could tell, Ordo simply considered it another means to an end; he was someone Naruto could relate to (if he had to relate to someone anyway).
Ordo's glance suddenly made Naruto's grin falter. It was rare (as far as Naruto was familiar with) for the man to show any sort of expression on his face except grim determination. However, now it was a countenance of grim uncertainty. It was only by Ordo's request that Naruto had been given this mission, and that was because Ordo had inside information that a gang raid would hit the shipment when it landed.
Clearly, the good captain seemed to pick up on Naruto's odd vibe. Though no words were spoken, both of them knew to keep keen eyes on the shadows. If the tip-off was correct, then the gang attack could happen at any time. As far as Naruto was concerned, they were nothing but terrorists.
'If they even exist,' he added cynically. This far into Imperial space (and on the Imperial capital no less) the chances of any legitimate resistance to the Empire's ideals could barely be called a fantasy. Even the gangs that infested Dromund Kaas were strictly Imperial.
'The odds of there actually being an organization with the balls to steal from the Empire on its home world are-'
Naruto's thought cut off as his ear picked up a faint hissing whine. Immediately his eyes darted left and right until he saw, all too late, the streaking from of a missile before it slammed explosively into the side of the ship, sending shrapnel and debris into the numerous personnel surrounding the vessel.
Naruto shielded his eyes from the blast, momentarily stunned. He barely had time to register the whines of two more rockets before one slammed into the cluster of troopers standing where the boarding ramp would have been, and the other detonating mid-air above them all, a cloud of smoke expanding rapidly from it.
Naruto grit his teeth as he witnessed the freshly burning flames lick the hull of the final transport. Before the smoke completely enveloped him, he noticed captain Ordo hunkered down behind a nearby packing crate with half a dozen troopers. His pistol raised by his face, he gave a short look to Naruto before pressing himself against his cover.
Naruto's eyes narrowed as he readied himself, the smoke now reaching and surrounding him. As if on cue, blaster shots rang out, their red plasma bolts streaming through the vision-hindering mist. Reaching out with the Force, Naruto quickly gauged the situation. 'Four in the rafters, a dozen on the floor, three in the control room…'
Naruto's concerned frown mutated into a venomous grin. 'This is all they brought against me?'
With a laugh and a snarl, Naruto whipped out from his hiding place drawing his lightsaber as he rushed into the cloud. The deep crimson hue sliced through the cloud of blaster fire, barely aware of his allied troops behind him. With a wave of his hand, the smoke around him retreated violently, billowing out and away. Rearing back with a roar, he launched his lightsaber high into the sky, ducking to avoid crossfire.
Like a crimson scythe, it slashed through the girder above the hanger, bisecting a rebel across the waste along with the supporting struts of the walkway. Before the three living hostiles knew what was happening, the entire catwalk detached from the ceiling and plummeted to the unforgiving durasteel ground below.
Naruto smirked as he recalled his blade to him, snatching it out of the air with a snap. Without wasting any time, he rushed forward, finding a duo of enemies rushing toward the transport. Without even batting an eye, he beheaded the first and with a force empowered push, threw the severed head smashing into the skull of the second. If he didn't die on impact, he wouldn't survive the internal damage. Not that Naruto would give him the chance. Dragging his saber across the floor, he chopped off the second's head too before deftly moving on. With the hanger's emergency response systems now active, and the smoke being vented out of the choked room, Naruto quickly reach out with the Force, gripping two massive metal cargo crates and slamming them together, crushing the defensive position the hostiles had adopted. The racket was music to his ears, as were the terrified screams of those caught under the two-ton weighted crates.
Naruto grinned darkly, reveling in the pain that seared their bodies. But he had little time to enjoy it before more blaster fire erupted from the control facility built into the far side of the opposite wall. The thin, lethal beams of energy smashing against his saber, which he barely managed to bring up to intercept them. 'Damn snipers.' It certainly explained why the automated turret defenses weren't firing.
Naruto ducked as three rocket warheads thundered past his ears and smashing into the center's protective transparasteel partitions and shattering them like they weren't even there. The resulting explosion turned Naruto's surprised frown into a smile as he eyed captain Ordo behind him, his soldiers' rocket tubes still smoking.
"Good call captain. Rockets are always the best way to get shit done."
The captain hesitantly stepped out of his cover, followed closely by his security detail. Looking around at the carbon-scored durasteel decking, he made his way next to the blonde Sith. "Thank you, my lord. Good to see you well. I had hoped those rumors would turn out to be false, but it looks like they were true after all."
He spoke with a tight and distinct voice, very… Imperialistic if that made any sense. The man's clothes, even though they'd just gone through an intense (albeit short) firefight, didn't seem the least bit wrinkled.
"I'm glad they were," Naruto commented with a smirk. "It wouldn't have been worth my coming down here if they weren't."
"If you say so, my lord," the captain commented mirthlessly. "I'll have my men secure the perimeter immediately."
"Well, now that the actions over, I'll leave the boring part to you."
"As you say my l-"
Both men were broken from their conversation by the shout of one of the black and red armored troopers of Ordo's unit. "Sorry to interrupt you captain, but we caught one of the terrorists trying to run."
Naruto and Ordo glanced in the direction the trooper pointed. Sure enough, between two other troopers kneeled a combat-vested human male, his right arm sagging at his side, a nasty cauterized wound in his shoulder. His left arm held his right tenderly. Ordo narrowed his eyes at the man and approached, Naruto obligingly following suit.
The man breathed heavily, and even more so as they approached. Ordo wasted no time in getting to business. "Name, affiliation and objective." It wasn't a question.
The man's eyes flitted to the captain and his lip began to tremble ever so slightly, but he didn't speak.
"Name, affiliation and objective," the captain repeated slower, putting more emphasis on each word.
Still the man did not speak. After a few silent seconds Ordo gave a short sigh and clasped his hands behind his back. "Either you tell me what I want to know, or this fine gentleman will dismember you limb by rotten limb until you do. And you will. If not before, then by the time he's done... you will."
The captain began a slow, deliberate pace back and forth in front of the man. Naruto played along and began circling him, hoping Ordo was actually being honest. He could feel the man's fear increase exponentially with each step of his leather boots. With a snap-hiss, his lightsaber reignited, humming dangerously, as he swung it to a stop next to the man's cheek, just close enough to burn his ear.
The man winced and hissed in pain as he recoiled from the deadly instrument, but the soldiers at either side held him steady.
"Now, I'm going to ask again, and this time I want an answer," the captain reiterated as he stepped forward. "What is your name…"
"…What is your affiliation…"
"…and what is your objective?"
The man averted his gaze and stammered out, barely coherently. "W-we were ordered to m-make a raid on the l-last of the slave t-t-transports…" he admitted nervously, inching his head away from the humming saber next him.
"W-we weren't t-told. We as-s-sumed it was j-just to grab some f-fresh blood... y'know?"
Naruto laughed from behind him. "Haha! Ironic, since the only one who got any blood was me."
He twirled the red blade in his hand, bringing it up and grasping it with both hands before staring down at the prisoner, as if he was about to execute him.
The man's breath began to accelerate. "I-if you let me, live, I'll tell you everything I know! I swear!" Whether it was from a genuine spike of fear or preemptively saving his own life, neither could tell.
Ordo bounced on his heels and his clasped hands against the small of his back, nodding short, curt nods. "I see," he said at last. "I hope for your sake you have worthwhile information. Soldier."
"Notify Imperial Intelligence of this incident and have them send an agent down to collect this man."
Naruto frowned as the two troopers hauled the man up and dragged him away. "You should have just let me kill him. You'll never get him back if you send him to Imperial Intelligence."
Ordo gave what would mostly account for a shrug. "All due respect my lord, I don't care for personal satisfaction or glory. My duty is to be of use to the Empire."
Naruto shook his head and turned away, eyeing the burning transport vessel as maintenance crews rushed to douse the flames. "Some retrieval mission. There can't be any one left in there."
"Exactly. If their target was the slaves, as he said, they wouldn't have shot the transport first… or at all if they really cared."
"So you knew he was lying?"
"Or he was too stupid to think his own orders through."
Naruto stared at the man for a few seconds before returning his gaze to the transport. Where there had once been half a meter-thick armored landing ramp there was now a massive scorched hole. Most of the right side of the ship was blackened by blaster fire, and fires that had spread on the inside of the ship were now extinguished, thanks to onboard fire suppression systems. A thick mist wafted out of the blown out windows.
Naruto idly reached out with the force, letting his focus lie on the burned out husk. "Hot damn, some actually survived it… barely."
Ordo eyed his compatriot curiously. "Survivors?"
Naruto cocked his head left and right dismissively. "One or two. They're fading fast though. I wouldn't waste your time." With a rubbery squeak, he turned on his heel and began to walk away when he heard himself addressed by the all too familiar modulated Imperial soldiers' voice.
Naruto turned again, knowing he was the one being called. A trooper jogged up and pointed back to the ship.
"Sir, scans indicate life signs on board but we can't get them out with our equipment. We could use your saber prowess sir."
The Sith was about to turn and leave without even bothering to answer when Ordo spoke up in agreement. "I agree my lord. Though you might be right that we're wasting our time, it would help us tremendously if we were able to question a crew member. Obviously we can't question the dead."
Naruto gave the man a bored look before rolling his eyes. "…Fine," he growled, "but I'm gone after this, got it?"
"My appreciation, my lord," Ordo bowed with a short nod.
Both men stepped carefully through the fire-blackened corridors, Naruto's saber staining the light from the soldiers' handheld's red. The hissing of steam and popping of cooling metal echoed through the spars, steel hallways.
With careful steps, the two, followed by a squad of troopers, examined the many doors and hallways within the ship. Though it was only a small transport, slave ships were made to be deliberately intricate and durable, in case of an uprising from within. However, it seemed to work against them in this case; Naruto doubted they'd get to anyone before they expired at this rate. A technician beside him repeatedly looked up and down between a scanner in his hand and the doors on either side of them.
But Naruto didn't need a scanner to know where life existed. If it could be killed or broken, he knew exactly where it was. Feeling a faint pulse of life getting closer, he stepped forward unafraid, deaf to the cautions of the soldiers behind him.
He'd always been like this… Ignorant to those around him… Unable to feel anything other than his own rage. Of the twelve apprentices who'd arrived with him on Korriban, he was the last remaining, and among his age-group, he was virtually peerless; a prodigious anomaly the likes of which had nary before been seen.
His secret? Love and hate.
Naruto loved to hate. He hated everything that ever existed. And he just wanted nothing more than destroy everything he hated.
Naruto was his name, wanton destruction was his game.
He hated his master. He hated his assignment. He hated being stuck here until the assignment was over. He hated that the assignment wasn't over. He hated those lives inside the wreck that kept his assignment from being over. 'Why can't they just keel over and die already? Just let me be done with this!'
He stopped suddenly and turned, his gaze meeting that of a sealed bulkhead. His cessation brought the small entourage to a halt as they stared at him. Naruto looked the wall up and down before bringing his saber up and stabbing it deep into the plated wall.
"My lord?" came the surprised voice of the technician, even as he shielded his face from the molten sparks that flew from the searing metal. Before he could be given a response (not that Naruto even bothered to hear him in the first place), a door-shaped slab of metal fell bent inwards from a solid kick, forcing it into the other side of the wall.
"There's one of them," Naruto said simply, as he turned to move on down the hallway.
However, to his relief, the remaining life signature tapered off. "And the other one just died," he stated with a smirk as he eyed the technician. He didn't waste any time waiting for the man to double-check his instruments to confirm it as he stepped through the new doorway he'd created and stepped into the room beyond.
Ordo followed him swiftly, one hand on his pistol and the other waving strangely as he stopped himself from reflexively touching the still white hot edge of the opening. As he stepped inside, he felt a nauseous wave of heat hit him square in the face, the air smelling like superheated metal and burnt flesh.
Inside was a room filled with what would have been energy-lined cubical cells. As it was, all the cells had shut down, their former inhabitants now dead husks on the floor. The sole exception was the single cell at the end of the room, its red ray shields illuminating what the inoperable emergency lighting didn't. On either side was miscellaneous metal shrapnel and debris that would have no doubt killed its inhabitant had the shields failed like the other cells.
He approached it, coming to a stop beside his Sith companion.
Curled up inside its glowing walls was a small figure. Clad in a simple white tunic, the prisoner's only distinctive attribute was its long black hair that lay splayed out over its shoulders.
Ordo turned to one of the soldiers and ordered, "Get me a cargo and passenger manifest," to which the soldier saluted and marched off to complete.
Naruto stepped up to the humming walls and eyed the emitters carefully. With a flash of red, both were slashed in two, killing the energy wall.
"I suppose that's one way to do it," Ordo commented as he stepped up next to the Sith, stooping lower to eye the unmoving form. With a firm grip, he grabbed a shoulder and lifted, flipping the being over onto its back. Naruto cocked his head down at the girl at his feet. Her feminine features, in her current position, were obvious.
Naruto almost choked as a wave of stale air hit his nose. Even the captain wrinkled his nose as the brief onslaught. "She must have been suffocating in there…" he commented idly as he removed the glove of his right hand, reaching down to touch two fingers to the girl's neck. After a few seconds he retracted it and replaced his glove.
"She's breathing, though faint." He turned to the personnel behind him. "Get a medical unit in here immediately."
Another "yes sir" echoed in the ruined metal room as the soldier left.
Naruto huffed in annoyance and with a sudden movement, reached down and hoisted the girl effortlessly onto his shoulder. "Come on, outside all of you. I'm not waiting in a rotting metal trash bin."
The three remaining personnel stepped to the side and allowed the Sith to lead the way, the female draped unceremoniously over his back.
Naruto stood aside as the medical team did their thing, his attention only partially on the cargo manifest Ordo was silently reading as he paced, and the bed he so desperately desired to revisit.
"So?" he prompted, his impatient tone seemingly lost on the officer.
Ordo shook his head, still eyeing the list. "It seems that the girl we found isn't registered in the manifest, my lord."
Naruto's brow furrowed as he thought. "What does that mean? Does that have something to do with the attack?"
"We can only speculate at this point, my lord. Though it leaves us with three possible conclusions," Ordo pursed his lips and looked up from the list, eyeing nothing in particular. "One: the gangs here on Dromund Kaas were simply after new troops and the faulty manifesto is simply a coincidence. Two: the fault was deliberate, meaning someone was trying to hide the fact the girl was on her way here, and the attack was staged by someone to whom the girl appears valuable. Three: someone was trying to smuggle her here. Whether the attackers knew of her existence or not is questionable in this case."
Naruto shook his head. He wasn't the most strategically minded person. "Those're pretty broad assumptions," he commented irritably. "It could also be something we wouldn't even think of."
"I agree sir. Like I said we can only assume at this point. Regardless, the girl will be shipped off to the medical center where she'll be identified and delivered to her rightful owner."
Naruto's brow furrowed again as he watched the medical team beside them lift the unconscious girl onto a stretchlev. His gaze must have lingered on her for a moment too long, as Ordo cocked his head at the young Sith.
Naruto blinked out of his daze and looked to the officer expectantly.
"Care to share your thoughts, my lord?"
Naruto shook his head and gave one last look to the girl as the stretchlev she was laying on was lifted into a transport. Something didn't feel right. He couldn't put his finger on it, but the feeling in the back of his head was rarely wrong. He just couldn't discern what it was.
"It's nothing. Probably…" He trailed off and said nothing more. The captain didn't prod him any further, and he was glad for it; he was growing tired of conversation anyway. To his relief, the captain changed the subject to a more agreeable topic.
"Regardless of the logistical mishap, you've performed your duties as requested." Naruto noticed the man (wisely) didn't use the word "instructed." Naruto wasn't one to be ordered around. Naruto would have grinned if he hadn't chosen to suppress it; it was one reason he liked the captain. He seemed to know exactly how to deal with him as a proud Sith. "You may return to your master and inform him of your success. With the increased security, we won't require your particular services any longer."
"Fine then," Naruto said with more emotion than he intended. "I'll be on my way."
Before Naruto could turn away, Ordo quickly added, "Many of the men would prefer a more mildly natured Sith, but I admit I enjoy your temperament. I should enjoy requesting your employment in the future, my lord." The captain tipped his cap in a curt nod, to which Naruto looked at strangely. He'd never expected the ordinarily impassive man to say that.
For a moment, the blonde said nothing before a short grin crept onto his face. "I'll think about it." He felt a strange connection to the man as he turned and walked off. Sure, he'd already liked the man for his no-nonsense personality, but he was turning out to have a sort of affinity for the older man.
Regardless, Naruto strode away toward the waiting speeder that would return him to his master's headquarters, cracking his neck as he did so. 'Still, I wish I'd been able to cleave that guy's head right off his neck,' he thought with a malicious grin, his body nearly shivering at the thought. Execution kills were always a secret joy of his.
His work was interrupted by the faint smell of ionized plasma wafting through his nostrils. The Sith gave a short snort and returned to his work. "I see your mission went well… for you."
Naruto grinned as he brushed off the grime from his acolyte tunic. "For me, yeah. Not so good for those shit-stain traitors who attacked us."
Ruinus shook his head slightly. "Then I suppose your day was more productive than mine."
Naruto gave his master a curious look. "Huh, I thought you'd be jizzing yourself over all the information you got from Drovar. Whatsamatter, not find what you were lookin' for?"
"As a matter of fact, I didn't. Drovar kept all his important files in another, unknown location. I've been combing over the information I do have to see if I can find a trace."
Naruto turned and waved off his comment, completely uninterested. "Well, if you need me, I'll be in my room. I'm tired."
Naruto's eyes fluttered open as the sunlight streamed through his only window. He reflexively took a deep breath, testing his lungs. He rested for a few minutes like that, sprawled about his bed, a single sheet providing all the warmth he needed.
Most Sith masters train their student's harshly, depriving them of food, comfort, sleep, etc. in their training to grow deeper in the Dark Side. Darth Ruinus wasn't so keen on doing so for Naruto. The blonde derived very little pleasure in such things, and often went without them regardless. Naruto had learned to draw on his pure lust for carnage early on in his training on Korriban. That on his repertoire, Ruinus considered such training to be redundant.
The bright orange light of the sun streamed across his face, welcoming his consciousness to the waking world. With a deep breath, he lifted his head from his warm pillow and threw off his sheet. Swinging his legs over the side, he stretched his tired muscles and pushed himself up onto his feet. Stifling a yawn, he shuffled over to the bathroom and turned on the shower. After several minutes, he turned off the steaming water and stepped out, letting the fans on one wall dry him off.
Dressing quickly, he finally grabbed his lightsaber and hooked it to his belt and walked out the door.
It had been three days since his last mission in the loading bay, and that meant three days of sheer boredom, permeated by short moments of entertainment when he ate. If there was one thing Naruto liked besides carnage, it was food. There was one meal in particular that he'd become accustomed to eating. It was an alien soup filled with noodles, various meats, some herbs and spices, and other tasteful things. He didn't know which culture had created it, but it was delicious. Even since the first day he'd discovered it, he'd ordered his chef to prepare it for every meal, and to make portable versions for long missions or trips away from home.
Even so, such pleasant moments were few and far between, coming only three or four times a day. Fortunately, his boredom seemed to be at an end. The night before, Ruinus had contacted him and instructed him to meet him bright and early the next morning.
So here he was, strutting through the corridors of Ruinus' compound, ignoring the many droids, employees and slaves as they toiled about. He hoped Ruinus had a mission for him; he'd become engrossed with the data Lord Drovar had left behind after the raid on his facility. Though it seemed nothing particularly important was in it, Ruinus was convinced there was something secret and valuable hidden inside. Maybe he'd proven himself right.
With a hiss, the door between him and his master's inner sanctum opened before him. Without pausing, he strode in, eyeing the room until he located his master, hunched over a console across the way.
"I'm hoping my being here means you've found something for me to blow up."
Ruinus looked up from his machinery with a rare, genuine smile. "Ah, apprentice. Finally. I do indeed have a task for you."
Naruto let out a mental sigh of relief, making sure not to let it show on his face. "I take it you've found you're little secret goody on that data I brought back?"
"Yes yes," the older Sith confirmed, returning to his screen. "It turns out that some of the many pieces of data were altered to look like something else. When decrypted and pieced together, they lead to several different locations throughout the galaxy, though I suspect what I'm looking for is only in one of them."
Naruto raised an eyebrow. "And… what are you looking for exactly?"
Ruinus pulled out a small device from the machine and walked over to his apprentice. "As you know, Drovar was hoarding certain Sith artifacts. Though ordinarily, they might not appear to be much, I know for a fact that he had more powerful trinkets hidden somewhere safe. I want them for myself, to boost my powerbase. You will find them for me."
Naruto shrugged his shoulder indifferently. "Great. Where do I start?"
Ruinus gave a small chuckle. "Today is a special day for you my young apprentice. This mission could span several months, if you're unlucky. For that reason, I have some special gifts for you."
Naruto raised an eyebrow at his master warily. "Such as…?"
Ruinus held out his hand, and a holographic projection sprung up from the datapad within. "Since you've been such a good dog for me, I've decided to throw you a bone, so to speak."
Naruto's eyes widened at the sight of the schematics in front of him. "Whoa… you serious?"
Ruinus simply continued on. "The Imperial Fury-class interceptor, complete with a full complement of missiles, and four precision laser cannons."
With a toss, the hologram vanished and the device flew the air. Naruto caught it with a surprised hand.
"You're welcome. The access codes are inside."
Naruto stood stunned for several seconds. Finally the realization hit him, and his smile split his face like a chasm. His mouth twitched, his desire laugh with joy temporarily suppressed. "Well well, isn't it my lucky day?" he gripped the datapad in his hand before shoving it into his pocket. "So, what far-flung corner of the galaxy're you damning me to, exactly?"
Ruinus waved off his question. "We'll discuss more when you get into orbit. For now, head to the starport and get familiar with your new toy. I have the distinct feeling you'll want to make some modifications once you get the hang of her."
"Heh, you're talking to the best damn pilot in the galaxy here," Naruto bragged. Admittedly Naruto wasn't actually the best, but he certainly was a cut above the rest, if only for his unpredictability and blatant recklessness and risk taking. Most pilots wouldn't dream of doing some of the crazy shit he'd pulled off.
Without waiting for a response, Naruto turned on his heel and strode out the door.
Naruto whistled appreciatively as the black and grey ship grew larger in his view. Every step brought him closer as maintenance workers hurried to finish launch preparations, Naruto's Sith presence extremely obvious. By the time Naruto's boots hit the ramp, the final fuel injectors were being removed and crew cleaning up the various equipment strewn about the hanger.
Naruto felt a surge of joy as his eyes met the interior of the ship. It had a darker than normal Imperial color scheme of scarlet, black and various greys. In the center of the main room was a large holoprojector with a diagram of the ships systems, all colored green, to his approval. To his left and right were several rooms for both cargo and rest, along with several bunks, should a crew be required. Passing through a doorway on the opposite side of the vessel, he found himself standing before the spacious bridge, a blinking galaxy map flickering in front of the captain's chair.
Naruto let his hand roam the side of the seat. 'Finally, a ship all to my own.'
A series of metal clanks, alerted Naruto to the metallic construct behind him.
"Salutations! I am 2V-R8, I am programmed for a wide array of tasks, including, but not limited to meal preparation, ship maintinence, janitorial duty and etiquette. Welcome aboard this Fury-class Imperial Interceptor, a versatile craft combining a starfighter's-…"
"-maneuverability with armaments to rival larger military vessals. I've seen the infomercials," Naruto said, rolling his eyes and crossing his arms. "You come with the ship?"
The droid seemed to pause, unsure of how to address the being in front of it. "Um, well, yes. I was included in the specific package ordered by your master, Darth Ruinus. I function to serve you, new master." The droid placed a hand on its metal breast and bowed at the waist, rising a shortly after.
Naruto nodded to himself, pleased that his master had been considerate (if the word could be ascribed to a Sith) enough to give him a droid specifically tailored to his mission aboard the ship. Truth be told, Naruto was a bit of a slob, and extremely lazy when he wasn't chopping, dismembering, or defenestrating enemies of the Sith and the Empire.
"I was also instructed to inform you preemptively that I am not able to offer you combat support master. Your master presumed you would imminently attempt to use me in such a way. Frankly my chassis couldn't withstand the stress."
Naruto's pleased expression deflated somewhat. 'Well, that's a downer. Figures I'd have to do this on my own. Maybe I can just buy a droid off the market… But they're so fucking expensive!' he turned away dismissively and stepped toward his new cabin.
He was about to step into the hall when he felt something off, his instincts kicking back into gear. He turned and spotted something out of place. And by something, he meant someone, and by out of place, he meant on his ship.
In the corner of the room stood a young human female, black hair flowing down to the center of her back. She was dressed in a plain, white tunic and similarly colored pants. Fastened to the back of her neck was a metallic construct, clearly a slave collar, indicating her social position. Her head was bent low, her gaze averted from his, and her hands were clasped behind her back, though whether in reverence, propriety, or nervousness, he couldn't tell. Nor, honestly, did he really care.
"What the hell are you doing here?" he all but growled at her, as he took a dangerous step forward.
She visibly flinched as she unsuccessfully stammered out a reply. "I-I… Y-y-your… t-they s-s-said-"
Suddenly she found a gloved fist clamped around her throat. Her eyes went wide as their gazes met, his furious, oceanic eyes practically drowning her with their weight.
"I asked you a question, slave!"
Her hands quickly came to his arm as her chest struggled to inhale. Loosening his grip only slightly, he allowed her room to speak. When she did, it was with a single, incredulous word.
Ruinus quietly sifted through the many sheets of data on his desk as he awaited his apprentice's call. Fortunately for him, he didn't have to wait long. A chime emanating from his control console brought him to a surprised halt. He hadn't expected such a quick response. With a click he watched a hologram of his blonde student materialized in the middle of his sanctuary.
"Ahh, there you are. You launched much quicker than I anticipated."
"I'm still in the starport," came the boy's simple response. His arms were crossed and he stood rigidly.
Ruinus gave a surprised look toward the bluish hologram. "The starport? I would have thought you'd want to take your new gift out for a spin around the sun as soon as you could."
"Oh, yeah, the ship's awesome! Totally good with it. But this I am NOT OK with." With a flash of movement, Naruto's hand shot off screen, returning a second later with a mess of dark hair clutched in its grasp. A painful yelp escaped his captive's mouth as her hands held onto his.
"Why is this garbage on MY ship?!" he demanded furiously. "The first thing I barely hear out of her mouth is 'master,' and about half the letters of the alphabet in random order. If this is some idea of a joke, you have a fucking shitty sense of humor!"
Naruto's rage was clearly evident on his face as he thrust the girl in front of him, sending her head slamming on the invisible console in front of him, dropping her to the floor and partially out of view.
Ruinus gave a short laugh and raised his hands to calm his apprentice. "I appreciate your anger my young apprentice, but not your tone," he began sternly. "The ship is my gift to you, this you know. The girl is simply a…" he spent a few moments searching, "…bonus."
Naruto's eyebrow raised incredulously. "A useless slave who can barely talk coherently isn't exactly my idea of a bonus, unless you're just dropping your trash on me and calling it a 'bonus.'" The image of Naruto crossed his arms as the partial image of the girl at his feet curled up fearfully.
"Allow me to explain then," Ruinus began again, his humored expression wearing away. "You might notice she looks familiar to your, and for good reason. She's the survivor you rescued the other day."
Naruto's eyebrow rose curiously. He'd thought he recognized her, vaguely, from somewhere, but couldn't pinpoint where. He remained silent as his master continued.
"You see she's of a noble lineage, and is a child of a Republic senator. She was kidnapped by third-party mercenaries. One of my contacts happened to know of the abduction and placed a bid on her at an auction and sent her here to Dromund Kaas to me. I know my agent meant well, and I definitely appreciate his train of thought; manipulating a parent through their children is refreshingly relaxing, not to mention useful. But I sadly don't have time nor the capacity to look after her, and leaving her to rot in a cell would be a crime." He gave a mock expression of regret as he dramatized his plight.
"So I was right, you are pushing your shit on me."
"Admittedly while she may not be much use in a fight or on your ship, I find a woman's touch to be a refreshing sensation."
Naruto's anger nearly evaporated as his expression warped in surprise. "…You gave her to me to screw?"
"That's one way of putting it. You'd be amazed how much stress can be relieved from even one or two sessions."
Naruto's eyebrows reset as his expression turned to irritation. "In case you haven't noticed, I kind already have my own stress relief system going on," he said, referring to his destructive tendencies. "And even if I wanted some action, I'd at least have the sense to choose someone worthy of it, if you catch my drift."
Ruinus shrugged his shoulders. "Then at the very least she can keep your ship clean while you're out gallivanting about the galaxy. She's your property now. Use her how you see fit."
Naruto turned his head aside, giving a tch out the side of his mouth.
"Now, getting back on track," Ruinus diverted, clicking a few buttons, bringing up a map of the galaxy. "There are several locations where Drovar has left keys to his secret vaults. I know they exist, and I know where the keys are. However I don't know what's inside them, nor do I know where the vaults are exactly. Your job my apprentice is simple. Find the keys, raid the vaults, and gather as much information as you can along the way and bring them back here to me. Is that clear?"
Naruto gazed out at the empty space where the map would be on his ship. "I guess it's simple enough. Do I have a starting location?"
Ruinus tapped a key. "Drovar had a small facility deep in the Dune Sea where he kept a small storehouse of illicit materials." A spherical image of a desert world, Tatooine expanded on the display. A large circle indicated the base's likely location. "You should start there and see where it takes you. Now go, I have other matters to attend to."
And without another word, the transmission ended. Naruto blinked at the abrupt disconnect, but scowled shortly after. 'Great, a desert planet. Just what I always wanted.'
And speaking of what he actually didn't want… His eyes drifted down to the cowering form of the slave girl below him. She was crumpled up into a miniscule heap at the base of the console, her hands nursing her head tightly, or perhaps she was simply avoiding his gaze. He didn't care either way.
He was halfway tempted to kick the girl for being so pathetic when his master's words filtered back to him. He wasn't particularly interested in the more carnal nature of male-female interaction; as he'd just pointed out, his stress levels were already at an easily manageable point, so long as he had something to punch. In fact, beating the girl would probably do more for his stress levels and sleeping with her. If he did force himself onto her, sure it might be enjoyable (he doubted it), but what was the point? He was a prodigious Sith apprentice, she was a slave of all things! The very idea of copulating with a lowly creature made his nose wrinkle with disdain.
Granted, the Dark Council member Darth Malgus had done it, but he'd also come under a lot of flak for allowing the relationship to bud into love. Of all things.
Naruto had no intention of even going near that scenario. But even so, perhaps he could mold the girl into something that at least resembled useful. He wasn't holding his breath for it.
Her body froze as she heard him address her. With wary hesitance, she moved her arms away from her face allowing their eyes to meet.
For the first time, Naruto noticed that her eyes were a pure white. His first instinct was the curse his master for sending a blind slave as a gift, which if that were the case would have been ground to kill the worthless thing right then in there. But he noticed that her eyes, though opaque in their whiteness, seemed to twitch ever so slightly, as if she were taking in his features as he was hers. Could she actually see? She must have some strain of non-human or near-human DNA in her for a trait like that.
"I don't care what your name is," he continued harshly, ignoring her emotional wince. "You're a slave, more specifically my slave, and as my slave you have a single job: You. Do. As. I. Command."
He glowered down at her, his scowl and crossed arms enough to intimate her into averting her eyes.
"I don't suppose you have any useful traits. If you're a senator's daughter, you must have been catered to in your household. I don't care what you once were. You're now my slave. And I am your master. You will call me 'master' and only me 'master.' However, you are subject to the demands of any and all other beings on board this ship, including 2V-R8, just as he is subject to me. I am the ultimate power on this vessel, and you are scum."
She winced as his words cut into her. She didn't respond, fearing his wrath should she speak out of turn or interrupt him.
"Am I clear?"
His words left little room for negotiation. She swallowed, feeling the dryness in her throat all the more because of it.
"Y-yes… m-m-m-master," she stammered out, the word a humiliation in and of itself.
Of course, that's what Naruto wanted. He wanted to break her; to make her realize she was now lower than even the lowest Imperial citizen. She was property, not even counted as a living being. As a slave, she was at the literal bottom of the barrel, and she would stay that way for the rest of her life.
"I'd better be."
And with that he turned on his boot and stomped away, disappearing around the corner.
The flight to Tatooine had been agonizingly long. A full week cooped up in the ship wouldn't have been so bad if he'd at least had company. Granted he'd had Toovee around informing him of various things he'd accomplished throughout the day, as well as bringing him meals whenever he'd felt hunger strike him. While the droid's culinary skills were proficient enough to supply him with any assortment of moderately well-made meals, it seemed unable to replicate the specific delicacies Naruto had become accustomed to, like the noodle soup his chef prepared. He'd certainly have to get the recipe from him so he could download it into the machine.
Regardless of that, he'd hardly seen hide nor hair of the slave the entire time, which suited him just fine. Curious as to what she might be doing to entertain herself, he'd ordered Toovee to periodically check up on her, besides when he had to feed her.
She had been sequestered off in a separate part of the ship, with only a bunk to call her own. Apparently she'd taken to journaling her feelings and even sketching pictures. Of course, this was only seen via brief glimpses through the droid's videographic memory. It seemed the girl would try to hide her little pastime whenever she heard the clank of steel or the march of boots through the ship. Naruto had glimpsed enough of the contents to not be concerned that she might be trying something underhanded, not that he'd peg her as crafty anyways.
He'd not called on her at all during the several days they'd been in hyperspace, and he was pleased that she had enough sense to do as she was told, in that regard. Though if he had to be honest, he didn't know what to do with her. Toovee already cleaned the ship and kept up with its maintenance, cooked his food and did his laundry... What did he really need her for? He doubted she could do anything better or even equal to what Toovee could. He would have to think of something soon…
The instant the beaming light of Tatooine's twin suns illuminated his face, Naruto instantly regretted coming to this planet. The heat wafted over him like an ocean wave, stifling his breath and scorching his lungs. He stumbled back, his body adjusting quickly to the new climate, but not fast enough.
He growled, shielding his eyes from the shining lights in the sky, as if his utterance might cause them to flee in terror. But as strong as he was in the Force, he wasn't exactly the mystical, mythical Sith like those legends of the past capable of such feats. Reluctantly accepting that, he steped out into the sunlight, arm raised to shield his eyes.
"Keep the ship in order, and keep an eye on the slave," he called back to the droid standing at the top of the landing ramp. Toovee gave an unheard affirmative and waited 'till his master left the ramp before closing it behind him.
Naruto was in the shade before the hiss of pressurized sealing reached his ears.
Unlike more civilized planets like Dromund Kaas or Coruscant… or anywhere else really, Tatooine had open spaceports, not ray-shielded and hermetically sealed hangers like he was used to. While it made escaping from a firefight or pursuer handy since you didn't need to worry about shutting down the shield, it also made embarking and disembarking on or off of an environmentally hostile world a bit of a pain. Not that Naruto didn't have experience on the subject…
Moving into to the port itself, he strode purposefully toward the central hub of the facility. Mos Ila was once a city built and ruled by the migratory Jawa, though subsequently ousted by the criminal Exchange group. Unlike the Hutts who behaved neutrally to all groups, the Exchange saw the Empire as an exploitable entity with golden blood, ready to be bled. The Exchange sought to acquire that blood, using the Republic as a shield for their activities. Unfortunately for them, the Empire had had enough of their rabble. In a swift and merciless strike, the Imperial forces seized Mos Ila, crushing any and all Exchange who resisted, and exterminating those who remained as spies.
Ever since then, there was a heavy Imperial presence in the area. Fortunately for Naruto, that meant he had at least a semblance of a safe haven on this lawless, scum infested world. Hopefully that meant he might be able to get some help in searching out this… vault his master so fawned over.
There were numerous humans and aliens both working and milling about. Apparently someone was supposed to be his contact here who would be helping him in locating the vault, but he honestly didn't want to be doing it with only two people. There was a lot of desert to comb through. Additionally, the mayor, or rather, administrator of the city wished to speak with him immediately upon his planet-fall.
To his expectation, a red and black armored trooper stood near the exit of his ship's dock. The trooper seemed to notice him and waved to him, even as he quickly rushed towards him. Naruto's black Sith tunic was iconic to any Imperial; it meant "watch out," and "shape up and show respect."
"Administrator Dakal sent me to feth you, sir. He requests your assistance with an urgent matter."
Naruto gave the man a blank stare before whipping out his datapad and looking at it. "Oh my, look at that; it looks like I have time in my massive schedule to help a random incompetent idiot out with his problems. I guess since I clearly don't have anything to do myself, I'll just stroll on over and take care of that."
The dripping sarcasm couldn't have been mistaken for anything else, to which the soldier commented, "I'm only following my instructions sir. I'm sure your schedule is full, but orders are orders. If you wish to complain, I'm sure Administrator Dakal will hear you out."
Naruto almost growled at the man. But what good would that do? He was a soldier. Following orders was all they were trained to do. That and "point rifle A at target B and pull trigger C."
With an annoyed sigh, Naruto rolled his eyes, waved his hand at the soldier to move along, to which he reluctantly followed.
The walk to the Dakal's office wasn't as long as Naruto had expected, but to be fair, he hadn't exactly expected anything. Upon entering the circular, tan-walled room, Naruto saw the uniformed Imperial standing in front of his desk, several other officials nearby talking amongst each other.
"Administator Dakal, Lord Naruto as you requested."
The man in the center of the small throng swiveled on his feet, turning to regard both of them. As soon as his eyes met Naruto's he smiled. "Thank you corporal, you may return to your duties."
The soldier snapped to attention and offered a salute before tunring on his heels and walking out, the door hissing shut behind him. Naruto's gaze didn't leave Dakal's.
"Now then, we can begin introductions properly," the man began as he leaned back against the edge of his desk, his arms angling at either side to rest on the same edge. "I am Lorien Dakal, city administrator assigned to Mos Ila. Over here is our chief of security Vola Gusiris…"
The woman indicated gave a tip of her cap revealing a short platinum blonde cut of hair.
Naruto eyed her for only a few seconds before he glowered at the main man. "I don't particularly care who you are or your station. I have a very busy schedule and you're keeping me from it."
Dakal seemed to give a forced grin as he pushed himself off of his desk. "I'm sure you do sir, but I also have a handful of things to take care of. Exchange spies, public disorders, security details, and of course, managing the shipping of goods to and from this city," he listed on his black gloved fingers.
"But a particular thing I'm trying (and failing) to take care of is a certain issue I've been told you're particularly adept at solving."
Naruto cocked his head skeptically. "I'm in so much suspense right now."
The man gave a short laugh and leaned back on his desk. "Recently a group of rowdy bounty hunters, hired (and protected) by some incompetent fool above my rank, have been causing trouble for me. They've caused quite a bit of damage in the city, and have been "witness" to the deaths of many citizens and individuals of my administration."
"And you want me to hunt the hunters," Naruto hazarded disinterestedly.
The man gave a short shrug before denying him. "Not exactly. You see they're a part of the Mandolorian enclave here on Tatooine, and seeing as we're currently allies, sending a Sith to off them would seem a bit rude. No I need someone to find them and… 'convince' them to… rethink their recent actions. More to the point, beyond acting as muscle, I need you to gather information for me."
Naruto huffed. "I'm almost insulted, but I'll hear you out. What kind of information am I looking for here."
Dakal raised a finger as if he were making a point, pushing himself off his desk again and walking over to a small tray which held several bottles of alcohol. "Have you ever heard of the Czerka corporation?"
Naruto cocked his head to the side. "Sounds familiar."
"Czerka Arms is a top notch seller of militaristic goods and materials, including supplemental food and weapon supplies. Several years ago they occupied an area somewhere in the Dune Sea. The Mandolorian enclave is also located near the Dune Sea. You see where I'm going here?"
"You're going to have to be more speicific on what you want. 'An area somewhere in the Dune Sea' isn't exactly helpful."
Dakal gave a short shrug and nodded admitingly. "Very true. Czerka is a triple-A industrial and research corporation. It stands to reason they would have constructed a facility somewhere amidst the sandy ocean. I need you to find out where it is… at least. If you can find out what they were doing with it, all the better!"
Naruto gave a short snort and shook his head with a wearied smile. "And what exactly will I be compensated with for my troubles? If you did any homework on me, you know I'm not motivated by cheap credits."
For the first time since their meeting, Naruto witnessed Dakal's face harden into a grim smile. "Oh I'm well aware. I've been considering with what I might be able to pay you with until it occurred to me…" He leaned forward as he approached the young man. "All Sith have their own vices, which means they too, just like everyone in the galaxy, have a price. But you, a young, prodigious Sith who's uncanny talent and affinity for the Dark has garnered both the support and praise of your esteemed master… what is it you could possibly want for? Money? Companionship? Information? No, that's not you; not your interest. So I'm afraid I must ask you to tell me what you want?"
Naruto raised an eyebrow as the man raised back up to his full height, hands clasped firmly behind his back, an amused smile on his face. Actually, that wasn't a horrible question. What did he want? As a chaos worshiping Sith with few loyalties, all he could truly say he desired was power, though the form that "power" could come in could be anything. He had everything he could possibly want as far as money went; he had acess to his master's funds, at least those that had been set aside as a sort of sub-personal bank account. He couldn't care less about friends or allies... And information? Sure it could be a form of power, but his mind wasn't wired to instinctively know how to use that information. Money; spend it. Allies; use them. Information; fuck if he knew…
'I get everything I need from my master… So I don't really need any…thing…' Suddenly his brow furrowed. 'Ruinus literally provides everything I need. But…' If he were to go off on his own, wouldn't he need to separate himself from his master? After all, he had no intention of being the Sith's apprentice forever… or being anyone's apprentice forever. He'd need to find ways to make his own money… Every great Sith lord had a power base, a stable platform from which he would be able to stand atop the masses… and rule over them. But to establish a powerbase, he would need resources and (he grimaced) allies.
He hated dealing with people. Everyone had an agenda, and most of the time if they weren't trying to use you, they were too stupid to be your time.
"I'll tell you what," Dakal began again, interrupting Naruto's internal pondering, which he realized now must have been going on for several long seconds. "I'll will, in a show of good faith, allow you to name your price (within reason) after the mission is completed. Does that sound agreeable?"
Naruto, almost surprised he'd been unable to immediately answer the man, gave a halfhearted nod of agreement. "Sure, I guess. But don't give me a bullshit blanket promise like that and then turn around an' say 'oh, that's not within reason.' You hear me?"
Dakal lifted his hands up, as if he were expecting a warm hug. "Then we are in agreement! I look forward to hearing from you soon! My assistant will give you the information you need to get started on your way out."
One of women in the office nodded and stepped forward to Naruto's side. "If you please, my lord," she said gesturing towards the door.
Naruto gave one last look toward Dakal before turning and sauntering out, his stride long and heavy.
When he looked back on it, there wasn't much else he could have done. Beyond doing as the Sith naturally do, Darth Temperus had done nothing to encourage the kind of behavior his student was no exhibiting… behavior he hadn't even been aware the boy was capable of enacting.
He lay there, bleeding, his wounds spilling his precious lifeblood to the floor. His saber hand missing, lost somewhere in the darkness of the room. The blade in his chest crackled with energy… Sith lighting coursed through his body, charged by the metallic instrument. He hadn't expected a betrayal… not this soon…
The echoing of footsteps brought his dimming vision back to the scene before him, likely his last images of life. Out of the shadows loomed the familiar shape of his apprentice. Even as he slipped closer to the emptiness of death, he could feel the roiling dark radiate off of the boy. Truly, he had tapped deep into the Dark; deeper than he'd ever thought possible for a boy his age. But that much he could understand, since he'd suspected the boy may one day have the potential. What he couldn't understand was the cloudy haze of the boy's mind. The dark lord had been known for being able to perceive the mind of his enemies, predict their moves before they even made them. But his apprentice…
The boy reached down and withdrew his weapon from his masters chest with a sharp yank, eliciting a pained grunt from its victim. He stared down as the man, dying, his breaths coming in ragged gasps.
Temperus glared up at his student, now his better though it pained him to admit it. He felt almost cheated. Why couldn't he read his student's mind? Why had he been blind to this betrayal?
"You were too reliant on your power master. You expected to see any threat from a parsec away, and now you're wondering why you didn't."
His apprentice spoke to him coldly, unflinchingly, and surprisingly, unloathingly.
"Your power is troublesome, indeed. But the difference between you and me is that while you use your power to react to inevitable threats, I use my power to thwart those reactions."
Temperus narrowed his eyes at the boy. "What… do you mean…? Do you mean to say… you can read… my reactions?"
The boy grinned slightly, though it was hard to tell in the dark. "The reason you couldn't read my mind, was because of your talent. You can't read my actions if I'm not acting."
Temperus' eyes widened. So that was it!
"You… you had… someone else… control you… influence… your actions…" His breaths were coming slower and shallower.
"Yes." As if on command, three figures emerged from the darkness behind him, all of them hooded.
"I've found some useful allies. This one," he gestured to one of the figures on his left, "can read my thoughts and control my actions, if I let her. You were reading my mind, but she was the one who controlled me."
Temperus coughed angrily. "And this… blade of yours… where… where the hell… did you get refined… cortosis?! Not just resisting my lightsaber… but shutting it down-"
"I have my own allies, master," the boy said, sheathing his weapon behind his back. I learned everything I could from you a long time ago. Since then, I've been making new friends. But at the very least you don't need to feel as if your inability to read my mind was the reason you lost," "You lost because you had overestimated yourself."
With a flick of his hand, lighting arced from his fingertips, blasting into Temperus and sending him crashing through the room, slamming into the distant durasteel wall, crushing it with the force of impact.
The apprentice lowered his hand and allowed himself a short moment of relief. "First phase complete," he announced soundly.
"Fucking great start," one of the three spoke up, smacking the apprentice on the back of the shoulder, though the boy seemed to take no notice. "Killing your master gets you some freedom, but don't you think the other Sith will know who did it?"
The young man turned from the smoking husk of a corps that was once his master. "It's irrelevant. I gathered you three together so I could accomplish my own ends."
He eyed each of the shadowy figures carefully. "I understand each of you has their own ambitions, and that's fine. But you are here for my goals. If we can accomplish your objectives along the way, all the better. But I expect you to do your part."
"Sheesh, since when did you become so bossy?" the second one asked, crossing their arms over their cloaked chest. "Still, that cortosis sword is pretty badass! Kind of gives me an idea…"
"Regardless," the third individual broke in, speaking up for the first time, "Temperus was just the first step in your plan, right? So then… what's next?"
The dark haired apprentice eyed his three companions carefully, even as their attention turned to him.
"…We do what Sith do." He let a smirk crack his impassive face, stepping forth and walking past them.
A/N: And there you have it! My first installment of a decent (in my repertoire anyway) Star Wars / Naruto crossover. I'll be honest, I've learned a lot from my other story, Konoha's Silver Shinobi, including the necessity to take a story slow and develop the characters, setting, and plot in a way that a reader can enjoy without being jarred by the suddenness and Mary-Sue that plague of most FanFictions. I desire a next-level quality FanFiction, not just for myself, but for all you who share the love for quality and realism in story progression.
If you liked this first chapter, be sure to give a shout in a review! If you've followed me for a while, you'll know I love long detailed reviews, as they both encourage me and let me know how I did well and how I can improve where I didn't.
And with that, I leave you to your criticisms! I look forward to chapter two, as well as updating my other stories.