It was a large thing, amidst the sea of stars and endless night.
The size was so great that it rivaled that of the average moon's, an artificial crater lying in the northern hemisphere bearing a satellite dish in the epicenter. It was a sphere, yet so much of its unfinished sections of the metal interior could be seen with circuits of metal jutting out from the open wounds of the structure, all of which could be seen outside the window of a space shuttle from afar.
If the structure was completed and fulfilled its design, it would cast a large shadow in the galaxy for decades to come.
However, inside the structure was another story.
Within lies the Observation Dome and private area of the owner, the Emperor of the Galaxy far far away. The presences within the dome were few, most of them watching a grand battle between two powerful individuals taking place but soon reaching its dramatic climax.
Sheev Palpatine, Emperor and Ruler of the Galaxy, stood in the center of the Observation Dome. He bore the visage of a disfigured old man, his deathly pale skin wrinkled with age and unnatural, dark degradation. Standing against him was Galen Marek, codenamed Starkiller, a young man wearing a light gray long sleeved hooded robe with sleeveless dark brown leather wrapping around his forearms and torso, with a light blue lightsaber reverse grip in his right hand.
Observing the conflict outside the dome were Senators Bail Organa, Mon Mothma, and Garm Bel Iblis, captured prisoners on the charge of treason. Alongside them was General Rahm Kota, Jedi Knight of the Fallen Republic, and now mentor of the warrior fighting against the Emperor.
Streams of violet lightning flew from the old man's fingertips, but the other leaped aside with acrobatic grace right before swiftly closing the distance. More lightning was discharged, but the glowing blade of the blue lightsaber interposed and, with a telekinetic shockwave thrown from the other hand, Galen threw the old man off of his feet to midair in a slow descent. Galen closed in, and with a mighty thrust, blasted the Dark Lord of the Sith to the ceiling, his spine impacting the metal, with a powerful Force push before telekinetically pulling him back, slamming him to the metal platform.
Afterwards, the pale old man turned over, his prone body revealing no signs of critical damage despite the abuse, and stared at the other, his sulfur eyes gazing into Galen's blue.
"You are destined to destroy me." The man stated with a voice old but with dark malicious energy, as the other only stared down at his prone form with eyes slowly burning with spite.
"Do it. Give in to your hatred."
After the elder's taunt reached his ears, words of hateful temptation sinking in his ears, Galen tightened his grip on his lightsaber ready to kill the Sith; before another hand was placed on his shoulder.
"He's beaten. Let it go…" The old Jedi Master Kota advised.
Galen shook his head, his mind addled with killing intent.
"It's a trick! He's stronger than you know, and he deserves to die for what he did to me…" Galen rebuked with a dark threatening tone directed at the Dark Lord.
"Maybe so… but if you strike him down in anger, you'll be right back to where you began." Kota argued back.
Galen's eyes slowly closed, his breathing steadily calming as he felt his heartbeat echo in his ears from the tension, memories of his youth flowing through him in remembrance… before exhaling his anger out in one last breath as his lightsaber was extinguished.
"Get Bail and the others out of here. I'll be right behind you," Galen said.
An advanced starship can be seen through the glass windows, slowly descending in the landing pad outside.
However, all was not over.
Palpatine sprung to his feet and fired two streams of violet Force Lightning at the old Jedi's back as if refusing the Jedi to have Galen on their side.
With swift feet, Galen quickly interposed between Kota and Palpatine, his hands taking in the force lightning with his hands, but not without the cost of lighting his nerves in searing pain, pain unlike anything he ever endured even under Vader. Absorbing Palpatine's lightning was akin to a star exploding in his body, threatening to burst out at any moment.
While struggling in a deadlock, Galen turned his head to see his former master, helmetless, with a squadron of Stormtroopers entering the Observation Dome. They do not have that much time.
"Go! Hurry!" Galen shouted to the cuffed senators. "Protect the senators!" He shouted to Kota who rose back to his feet.
Kota did not think twice as he nodded and joined with the senators, leading them towards the docking bay.
Now without his friends and allies, Galen slowly inched closer with each pained step towards Palpatine while Stormtroopers ran past the battling force users to fire their blasters at Kota and the Senators. Darth Vader was standing beside him and the Emperor, simply watching.
Seeing this, and how his hands are tied… Galen has no choice but to make the ultimate sacrifice. With resolve, he gave himself to the force as he fought towards Palpatine. He could feel it, the power coursing through him, a sense of omnipotence he had never felt even with the Dark Side, allowing him to power his way through the dark side lightning and the growing pain.
"Noooooooooooooooooo!" Galen screamed with resolve as he grasped Palpatine's hands and released all the energy he absorbed back at him.
A powerful radiant explosion erupted, one so great that it engulfed Vader, reached the Stormtroopers and launched them away. Kota and the senators looked back, grimacing at the event, before resuming their efforts to flee the space station for their fallen friend.
Once the explosion faded, Galen's body sprawled on the ground supine, his hand lifelessly laid on his chest and eyes closed as his soul left him. Vader walked to the epicenter of the explosion, seeing Starkiller's body on the ground. He gazing at his corpse while the emperor walked to Vader, joining him in inspecting the Jedi. The light from the nearest star shone upon Galen's body as if the heavens were calling for his soul to the light.
"He is dead." Vader said upon brief scrutiny of Galen's body.
The two could sense it - the absence of presence in the corpse.
"Yes, and he is now more powerful than ever." Palpatine replied with distaste in his tone, angry that a potential replacement of Darth Vader died and that the rebel leaders fled. Their conversation continued on with the two Sith lords preparing to hunt down the rebels, while the said rebels planned to start a revolution long overdue.
Eyes fluttered open, cerulean blue staring at the ceiling of his bedroom.
He stared at the white plaster in his daze until he let out a sigh as he rubbed his hair.
"…Hah. It felt like an eternity since then."
Jaune Arc muttered as he rose out of his bed, the dream of his past life still fresh in his mind.
At first, they were brief when he was still unaware of his former identity, lasting only an hour before either switching to another dream or waking up in confusion without any memory of said dreams.
But later on, the dreams grew longer, clearer, more defined as time went on. He dreams of a man wearing menacing armor as black as the starless night. His hand was raised towards another man levitating in the air with his hands clutching his throat, the dark man's fist clawed as if choking the other through powers unknown. This was the first time he felt the darkest of emotions at its strongest peak.
Overwhelming fear…unlike anything he ever felt. The man clenched his black hand, followed by a loud snap as the other man fell to the floor lifeless. And when the dark man slowly approached him, Jaune woke up that night, similar to waking up from a nightmare.
Next, he fought against…a bipedal robot who can change its form, each humanoid form holding a sword of light but held different fighting styles. And he was fighting against the droid using his own sword of light. He felt anger, belligerence, yet with a tinge of adrenaline and burning desire to prove himself.
Another dream was when he was sent to…fight against an old man, his eyes worn with age yet brimming with life. He battled against the man, defeated him after taking his eyes, and in the end, he fell down into the atmosphere of what he later recalled as Nar Shadaa.
Each immersive dream grew more and more intense, teaching him experiences and emotions never before encountered by the age of seven. Bothered by the memories, Jaune once asked his mother for a spar to answer some of the questions plaguing his mind.
He did not know what Huntsman or Huntresses were, but she was a warrior and that was enough for him. Joan Arc obliged to her son's request with motherly compassion as they went to the backyard, each armed with a wooden stick.
It was the first time Jaune tried to reconnect with his roots as a warrior of the Force, using Djem So to fight against her. She was definitely surprised by his form, the reverse grip application catching her off guard enough for him to sneak a few hits in while using his small size to his advantage.
His spirit remembered, but this body was not - however, he nearly struck her legs more than once and almost knocked the stick out of her hands. However, his current mother was not an inexperienced warrior, able to block his series of swift consecutive strikes, each aimed at her openings. The mother was very surprised by his perception, anticipating her attacks as if he had some form of precognition despite his eyes lacking focus.
He definitely left a strong impression on her with his performance. He really shouldn't have done that but he was in a lot of confusion at that time.
In the end, she defeated him just when another vision assaulted him, the one where the man clad in armor night stabbed him from behind.
He received a lecture about his unorthodox fighting style, his stance was unbalanced, leaning too much on the offensive. Little did she know that every move, every stroke was pulled from the visions that assaulted him during the spar, each relating to combat with various duelists he did not know until now.
Afterwards, his mother hugged him tight like a teddy bear, squealing with joy and pride in his 'talent,' to which he replied with many complaints regarding the case of accidental suffocation.
At the age of eight, the memories of the dreams finally came crashing down on him like a falling mountain. He remembered, all of it.
After getting out of bed, Jaune stood before a large mirror in his room.
He gazed upon himself, seeing the reflection of his face. He sees an androgynous face of a young boy with blond messy hair and blue eyes, not even the age of ten… a face he has so long yet so unfamiliar with the same time. Jaune was his name, yet he felt as if it belonged to another.
"...No matter how many times I see it, I still can't get used to seeing this face." The blond boy muttered with a mature tone contrasting what his age allowed. The boy closed his eyes, and when he reopened them he saw a grown man, his head shaved, his face chiseled and well defined, and his body lean, agile and strong without too much muscle. The man in the reflection wore tattered clothes. His hood white, covering his face while extending to the gray vest over his shoulders. Under it, was a loose, wrinkled dark brown tabard covering his upper torso. On his lower half were dark brown trousers and boots with ridged soles.
Gazing from the mirror was Galen Marek, aka, Starkiller. And gazing back at the mirror, was Jaune Arc, the son of a long line of hunters. The two were gazing at each other, vying for any form of consensus on their identity despite the two being so…contradicting.
Galen Marek, a man who lived a dark life from childhood under one of the cruelest men in the galaxy, raised from the fires of pain and dark resolve only to live a life of redemption into the light.
Jaune Arc, a boy not even ten lived a life of color and love, free from the dark side or the Sith, and his personality once meek yet still loved by his family.
The two were, in a way, complete opposites, now in one body and soul. They were two halves, two sides, yet they now belong to the same coin. The two sides of the coin continued staring at each other, wanting answers to their predicament. Jaune is now Galen Marek… yet in the same way, Galen Marek is now Jaune, with Galen's memories and experience dwarfing the latter's. Yet, it also led Jaune to cherish his family even more upon comparing his life to Galen's.
Still, in the end, it only flooded his mind with more questions than he could bear. Who was he now? Was he Galen Marek, the former apprentice of Darth Vader and friend of General Kota? Or was he Jaune Arc, beloved son of the Arc Family? If neither, the real question addled his mind. Who will he become now?
Jaune blinked once again, now seeing his own reflection in the mirror, and then walked away out of his room. His steps lightly strode across the polished wooden planks, his posture cultivated to that of a skilled fighter. After shoving the questions deep into his mind for later on, he now must handle a serious problem he never thought of before…how to learn more of his world, Remnant, and practice his abilities without his family knowing?
After completely reacquiring his memories, Jaune was now aware that his… journey to understand his metamorphosis definitely left a mark on his family. He must ruminate how to blend back in.
There was no way that they would accept that their son bore the soul of a man from beyond the stars without making him look like he stole Jaune's body.
However, unknown to him, he was being watched from afar…very afar, even in his own home. The watcher being his own mother…Joana Arc.
She was using small cameras placed around the Arc Household to monitor Jaune's growth and development as he proved himself an abnormal child. One of the abnormal development was him having what she labeled as a sixth sense. The boy could tell that her husband and sisters were home before they even entered the door.
As a retired huntress of the Arc Family, she still retained her senses and keen perception, able to sense that something was awry with him. She tried to spy on him on the premise that she was away, or when he walked out alone into the forest around their house, but she cannot get close to him. Whenever she enters the proper visual distance, Jaune stops and turns his head her way each and every time.
The boy was unnaturally perceptive, so aware of his surroundings it was terrifying. If it weren't for her training and honed instincts, she would've been discovered and confronted. She spoke about this to her family, and the result of the debate regarding Jaune was to let her investigate and bring up her discoveries, and if at least one of them was detrimental, then they will confront Jaune afterward. If they must, they would have to send Jaune away with a specialist that could handle special children at the very least
There were cases of children that awoke their Semblances, but could not control said Semblances, after all. There was an even more extreme case of one awakening their Semblance as a fetus and killed the mother as a result. Joan, fortunately, had some contacts that she could rely on to help Jaune in case of such an event.
She was afraid that her only son would hurt himself during this time as he had the signs of Semblance awakening, but currently there were only recordings of him wandering around the household in his spare time, sometimes sitting on a wooden stump, sky gazing.
She was watching him with her scroll, a portable handheld device used by the common citizens of Remnant with this one capable of surveillance. Currently, she was in her room on the premise of sleep from a hard day's work, but in reality, spying on Jaune.
She watched as the boy stood in front of a mirror, muttering words so quiet the sound failed to reach the listening devices. She watched as Jaune looked up above the head of his reflection, his eyes affixed to something intangible to her eyes. Then she watched him exit his room, walking slowly towards. She switched from camera to camera to keep visual on her son as he poured a bowl of his favourite Pumpkin Pete's Marshmallow Flakes.
After Jaune finished his breakfast and his morning bathroom rituals, Joan watched him return to his room, crawling to his bed before he sat down on it… cross-legged.
Is he… meditating?
Eyes closed in a trance-like state, hands cupped together on his stomach's center, and the bowleg posture, there was no mistaking it.
Someone of his age should be completely oblivious to the concept of meditation. Did John told him about it? He didn't even have a scroll, yet.
He was sifting through the Force, using his limited knowledge and experience regarding Jedi meditation. Last time he tried, it was to pry for cracks to peer into the future. This time, he wants to better connect to his surroundings, to see the world past the crude matter.
Jaune's breath slowed to the point of near breathlessness as he detached his senses from his bodily confinements. The last time he tried this, he was, for lack of a better term, swimming through the Force. Now, he is trying to see through it like a spyglass in an observatory…though he did not expect to see this.
I… what is this? That's not the Force…
Jaune started by feeling the flora outside him home, yet he cannot feel even a drop of force through them. Only…something else. It is similar to the force, yet foreign to him on a molecular level force wise.
He then tried to sift through himself, wanting to see if his current incarnation holds the same foreign life…which it did. Not only that, he can sense it was locked, contained by what he sensed was a 'door.'
He may be the only force-sensitive in this household, but that did not mean that he was probably the only force sensitive around. If someone like him could use the force, there could be others, but no matter how much he tries, he cannot find any signs of force based life, which makes it even stranger and stranger as he can feel the force around him in the air despite otherwise.
The Force is all around him, yet he couldn't sense a trace of it in the life around him.
'How is that even possible? Can something actually live without the force? I mean… Know what, screw it.' Jaune thought with the dialogue of Galen's. The world he is in defies everything he knows, flooding his mind with even more questions to answer.
It did not help that he was pressured to learn all applications of the Force to bolster his combat abilities above all else since his past lift.
For now, he turned his focus to the door within himself. He will start absolving his questions through the only way he knows - intense training and experimentation, only this time he would not have to inflict torments on himself to better connect with dark powers.
Beginning with his own self. He does not know what the door is, or why it was there, but he does not care. He then carefully focused on the door and the contained energy, simultaneously calling out to the power while prying the door open using all the accumulated knowledge he had.
Feeling the grasp on the two, Jaune then tried to draw it out of the door, pulling the knob with every tug. The energy was difficult to connect due to it being a new experience, but the difficulty lessened with each and every try. The door also weakened with enough effort, energy starting to leak out through the cracks, making him smile in triumph.
Little did he know that doing so would leak it outside his body, visible for all to see via bright white radiant aura.
Joana, still watching, almost jumped from her bed upon seeing her son unlocking his aura. Without any notable guidance or supervision.
The brilliance of her son's aura cast him in a cloak of the purest light as if he had bathed himself in the brightest star. It looked as though she were observing an ethereal being encompassing her son in a protective shell of the purest white. As quickly as the brilliance of his aura arrived, it vanished like the fading of the brightest flame. After vanishing, an incredible form of pride swelled in Joana's chest. Her son, however, as distanced he may be from his family, had to have a pure soul in order for his aura to become such a beacon of light.
However, fear slowly crept into the deepest recesses of her mind.
Those that unlocked their Auras at a young age were destined to be sent to an academy, and many eyes would be laid on them, like Jaune.
Joan did not want to rob Jaune of the chance to have a normal life. She knew several people out there that would attempt to pull him in as a pawn of a game she did not know, but was aware of at least due to some contacts from her Huntress days.
She would have to be tactful with the approach she took to uncover her son's secrets, thus consulting with Ozpin on this was out of the question. While she trusted the wizard in the clockwork tower with her life, despite his high regard for human and Faunus life, she was aware of his tendency of…sending students into danger regardless. Meaning that in his critical duties, she could sense that he was a little detached with some of his humanity.
Not only that, that man was a bit too secretive for his liking. Maybe not Ozpin, but perhaps…
She can consult with her. She could indeed trust a friend she knew from her time at the academy, despite them being on different teams. She cares deeply for others and was rather strict for their safety.
She could rely on her in the worst case scenario at least. Quickly, Joana turned off the camera feed and searched her scrolls contact list, and found Glynda with little effort.
The sound of the dial ringing filled the room with a light echo, though the tension weighed down on her as if pounced by a falling Ursai. Had she thought this through? Had she considered her options? …who else could she turn to, what would her son think of her if he were to find out she was telling others about something that he wasn't even ready to share with his family? Once more the reverberating ring bounced off the walls as if it were a mocking mechanical cackle.
She took a deep breath. She was a huntress, one who should be able to deal with doubt … it's not like she was on a Bullhead since motion sickness was an insurmountable adversity compared with a simple call. She could do this. Then came the last ring followed by an audible click. It was show time.
The groggy voice of her old friend, the current assistant headmaster of Beacon, came through with an exasperated tone.
"Mmmn… Joana? Why are you calling me at this hour? It's not assorted wine and cheese night is it, and please don't tell me Beignet is there…" Joana giggled at the thought of her old foppish lightish red-haired teammate. He and Glynda were regularly at odds. Joana gathered herself quickly, now assured she made the right choice. Even when exhausted, Glynda was always considerate of her.
"No, it's not; that's next week. I called to ask you about a more serious matter. Something I feel that you would be best suited to handle." She could practically hear her friend tense up at her tone.
"It's of utmost importance that you swear upon your life you won't inform Ozpin of what I'm going to tell you." A chilling pregnant pause filled the air between them. She took the pause as Glynda's reluctant consent.
"It's about my son. You know he's been distancing himself from the family as of late, and I might have found part of the reason behind that. I was watching him through the cameras I installed in the house and you wouldn't believe what I saw." Once more Joanna stopped talking as if to build up the tension for the grand reveal. Glynda on the other hand, with a tone she usually reserved for stubborn students, belted out.
"Out with it, woman. You're a huntress, not a television announcer. Tell me, already."
This was why she could always trust Glynda. she would push her whenever doubt would crawl into her mind.
"He unlocked his aura."
"Well…" Glynda's tone fell flat. "I admit that it is an accomplishment, but is it that serious? You did not have to call me at this hour to tell me that you have-"
"He did it by himself." Joana hushingly interrupted.
"I didn't unlock his Aura, Glynda. Nor did I teach him how to unlock it. Jaune did it all by himself! Without prior knowledge!"
"He DID what?!" Glynda yelled.
Her revelation left Glynda speechless. After all, Jaune belonged to one of the special cases like the child that awakened during the fetus stage.
"I know, Glynda. I saw it through the cameras, and I still don't believe it." Joana replied with pained sympathy.
"Awakening it by accident is one thing, but to do it willingly… If you're not training him, then who is?"
"...I don't know. I've been monitoring him for over a year, and I cannot see how he could've been tutored under my nose." Joana sighed, unable to answer her friend's questions.
Glynda, feeling the emotional pain in her friend's voice, came up with a tenuous suggestion.
"That kind of talent is unprecedented. I could see if I could call in a favor from that drunkard crow to see if he could either check on him or offer him his guidance. I am positive he will since he's grown a soft spot for kids when his nieces were born."
"Nieces? Oh, what are they like?" Joana asked, wondering if she could introduce Jaune to them.
"Huhu, I'm sorry, but I never met them. But I could ask if he'll set up a playdate to keep your son in good company."
Joana didn't know if she was ready to risk losing her special little boy to girls yet. He's too young, but if this will keep him safe and have him open to his family again, it would be a cross she would willingly bear. Plus, it would help keep away any other girls who didn't meet her standard if they were anything like Raven. Even she could admit Raven was a beauty whose strength was unquestionable.
"A play date sounds great! You're doing me a huge favor here thank you, thank you, thank you-!" she nearly yelled at the possibility of her problems being solved.
"Calm down, Joana. You are an adult, so please show some composure, or else you will set a bad example for your children." Said an exasperated Glynda.
Regaining control of her emotions, Joana quickly explained herself. "I'm sorry. It's just he's my little boy and I feel like I'm missing my chance to bond with him as a mother. This could be a chance to both keep my son safe and reconnect with him. I thank you for your help, and see you on wine and cheese night." Joana said before hearing a 'goodbye' from Glynda and turned off her phone. She smiled on her bed, knowing that Jaune will grow close to his family once again.
Jaune, on the other hand, was busy trying to comprehend what he just unleashed from his core. He opened the door hindering his…his…
'What do I even call this? Does this thing even have a name?' Jaune does not know. Even with the memories of 'Jaune' prior to Galen's resurfaced remembrances did not hold the answer. He was pretty sure there was a name for that, so he will need to research this later.
Getting off his bed, Jaune decided to head back to the neighboring forest for experimentation. He must make sure none could follow him, fearing that revealing his connection with the Force will ostracize him from his family and society itself using his assassin training as reference. He was well aware of the importance of avoiding attention, civilization or not.
He exited the house, checking once or twice with the Force for any tailing presences, before heading to the red forest. The sky above was a night black veil, with stars dotting the blanket above, making it the excellent opportunity to sneak outdoors unnoticed. He knows a good place to practice his force powers and newfound energy, clear of towering bark and trees and the ground littered with red leaves of fall.
After some trekking later through the red sea of leaves, he finally arrived at the circular clearing. He smiled as he finally got the chance to truly stretch himself, and let loose without fear. He wanted to see if his connection to the force changed as well.
Jaune…no, right now he was Galen Marek, son of former Jedi Knight Kento Marek, freed from Vader and the dark side. Galen now stood before a decent sized tree, the bark brown weak and about to crash down.
He took a deep breath, excitement bleeding out into the ambiance, and then cupped his hands together condensing force between his two palms, forming a swirling sphere of pure unadulterated force energy. And then released it with a thrust at the trees.
What followed, later on, was not what he expected.
What he expected for was a moderate charged Force Push befitting someone of his age was instead an even stronger force that blasted a small hole through the tree, breaking it in half after taking a sizable chunk and toppling it down as it crashed into the ground with a mighty groan.
He did not expect this.
While the size of the Force Push was smaller as expected due to his young age, the power behind it was almost as strong as before when he was an adult. If he was this strong as a child, imagine how powerful he will be when he matures.
'Did my connection with the force strengthen after my death?' Galen does not know, as Darth Vader never taught him properly about the force and the more abstract concepts behind it.
The Sith Lord usually forced him to learn on his own and improve, nurturing his individuality and adaptability instead of the more conventional methods. And he knew the reason why… if he learned everything from Vader properly, he would be more powerful than Vader could control. Although he was no longer under the threat of the Sith, Galen still wanted to obtain strength to protect his new bonds. He refuses to allow the same tragedy in Kashyyyk from happening again, new world or not.
Pondering this, Galen nodded as proceeded with telekinesis. He aimed for the branch on top of the tallest tree, testing his range and precision, and snapped it off before steadily bringing it to his left hand. Grabbing the branch, Galen nodded with satisfaction at the level of control. His control and effectiveness with the force had improved along with his reincarnation.
Next, came the darker aspects… Force Lightning.
This one, Galen must be careful with, as one wrong move might start a forest fire around his home. With a flick of his arms forward, he instantly discharged streams of unrestrained power towards the night sky, flashing the night around him with white blue brilliance. He made sure he was far away enough to not catch his family's attention, assuming that their senses were compared to that of normal citizens'.
He ended the test as blue tendrils sparked from his fingertips.
The ability was arduous to control, but it was he felt his control with it significantly improved as well. Satisfied with the results, Galen surveyed his surroundings for any presences attracted to the light, and when he confirmed none were around, he quickly headed back towards his home, returning his new identity Jaune Arc. He cannot be out for too long else he will arouse further suspicion from his new family. He does not want to curry any more favors from his sisters, or he will endure torment far worse than Vader will ever think of…