"This is Where the Fun Begins"

By Kpmh2001

It was a quiet Autumn Day on base in Menagerie, and Ilia, along with the rest of Onyx Team, had been given nothing important to do for the whole day. With the day effectively off, Yu suggested that they binge through some movies, both old and new, ostensively to get Ilia up to speed with a few bits of Earthly culture, which they'd all agreed sounded like a lot of fun.

They started off with a newer movie, "The Hunt for the Bellicose," which Ilia thought was pretty good, but most of her squadmates felt was just a rip-off of a far older, more high-quality film.

Star Wars.

As soon as Ilia had revealed that Remnant had no Star Wars equivalent, there had been something of an unspoken agreement that they had to show her all six films. Apparently Ben had never seen them either, which made it doubly important to the rest of the squad that they got to see it.

Around ten hours later, surrounded by empty buckets of popcorn and candy bar wrappers, their marathon finally came to an end with the conclusion of Return of the Jedi. Ilia, for the most part, loved them all, but started to feel somewhat sick towards the end of their movie binge. At first, she'd thought that the rather gross Jabba the Hutt was to blame, but her feelings of revulsion and nausea lingered even after his death, and soon she was forced to face the truth of what she was suffering from, food poisoning.

Maybe it was the candy bars, or the popcorn, or maybe she'd just had too much to eat. One way or another, after a bout of furious puking, she was interned at a local Clinic for the night on the off-chance that she'd caught some near-extinct disease from Earth and the Colonies.

When sleep finally came, it was far from restful.

Theed Palace Hangar

Jedi Padawan Ilia Amitola and her Master, the wise and powerful Jorge, made short work of the small ensemble of Battle Droids that were guarding the Hangar of Theed Palace on Naboo. Coupled with the palace guards backing them up, there was little doubt that they'd be able to find the Viceroy and force a ceasefire, ending the conflict and freeing the people of Naboo.

This is almost too easy! She thought, bisecting a hapless battle droid with her blue lightsaber while effortlessly avoiding fire from the others.

"Ilia!" Jorge called out. "Come along, we cannot fall behind!"

She extinguished her lightsaber and sprinted to catch up with the rest of the group, unaware that she'd even fallen behind. Curious, normally she'd have been able to feel something like that through the force, perhaps it was being clouded by-

A large door opened, and the group slid to a halt as a single, black-robed figure stood before them. He slowly raised his head, revealing a horribly deformed face and a pair of terrible yellow eyes. It was Darth Ben, Sith apprentice, antithesis of everything that the Jedi stood for.

In his hand was a small datachip, projected from which was a small blue figure, also clad in dark robes. She issued him a command that Ilia couldn't make out over the sound of boots squealing to a halt, but what she did hear was the robed man's reply.

"It will be done… my Master."

Ben raised the datachip and slotted it into the back of his head, before glaring at the two jedi and the Naboo people around them.

"We'll handle this." Jorge said.

Queen Fairfire and Commander Richard nodded. "We'll take the long way."

They and the guards split off, leaving only Jorge and Ilia to face off against Ben. Ben disposed of his outer robe first, followed quickly by the Jedi, both sides looking to improve their maneuverability during the fight.

Ben drew his lightsaber, a simple, silver cylinder, and ignited it. The single angry red blade rose to life, spilling its light across Ben and his nearest surroundings. He took a strong Shii-Cho stance, a blunt and simple defense that would be useful against multiple opponents.

In response, Jorge drew his own green lightsaber, taking a more offensive stance. He was a master at Makashi, a form designed for more precise, elegant strikes against a single target. Ilia drew her own blue lightsaber once more, and fell into a similar stance as her Master.

Jorge nodded to her, and Ilia nodded back in understanding. They'd practiced together for many years, together, there was no way a single fighter could stand against them.

Ilia kickstarted the battle by leaping over Ben's head and getting behind him, delivering a slash that he effortlessly blocked, but it had never truly been intended to connect. The true purpose of her actions was to keep Ben's attention divided between herself and Jorge, inevitably giving one of them the chance to deliver a crippling blow.

Ben's defense proved to be as strong as they had expected, if not stronger. He blocked every blow he was struck with, and after a full minute of furiously trading blows, he caught Ilia off-guard by kicking her in the stomach and launching her backwards. He then used the brief window to force Jorge on the defensive, forcing him to retreat into the Theed Palace Power Generators.

We can't take him on alone. Ilia realized Ben's strategy. If he separates us, he'll kill us both!

Large pillars of light and floating platforms surrounded them, ideal terrain for a lightsaber duel, provided the Jedi could correctly use it. Ilia swiftly caught up to Jorge and Ben and rejoined the fight, helping to keep her Master from being overwhelmed.

Ben glared at her from behind his saber with an uncharacteristically empty expression from a Sith. A typical Sith lord was full of anger, passion, malice, and many other emotions. But when Ilia reached out with the Force, she felt nothing from Ben but cold, calculated determination. Whatever his motivations were no longer mattered, however, the Jedi Council had made the fate of any potential surviving Sith perfectly clear, he had to be killed.

After minutes of clashing sabers in a furious battle for supremacy, Ben knocked Ilia back with a force push and retreated deeper into the generators. Jorge gave chase, and so did Ilia, once she had gotten back to her feet.

"Wait, Master!" She called out in warning. She didn't want to use the Force to warn him to stay back, not with Ben clouding it with the Dark Side.

Jorge slowed his pursuit and allowed her to catch up. "Stand your ground Padawan, he may be strong with the Dark Side, but we are stronger with the Force."

"Right!" Ilia voiced her affirmation, resisting the urge to lunge forward and attack.

Ben stood across from them only a scant few meters away, twirling his red blade and slashing deep grooves into the durasteel floor. "Stronger than the Dark Side, is that right? What other lies have the Jedi taught you, Youngling?"

Ilia narrowed her eyes at the Sith, determined not to let him get into her head. "What lies has that witch in your mind taught you?"

Ben glared at her with undisguised hatred, and when Ilia reached out through the Force, she could see that the once oddly-calm Sith had exploded with fury. "The Jedi have polluted your mind, child! Take heart, know that when your Master is dead, I will teach you the error of your ways myself!"

Jorge looked unimpressed with the boast. "And how do you plan on doing that, Sith?"

Ben laughed malevolently and extinguished his blade, before reaching both hands out. Ilia felt the Force itself strain as Ben began to tear at the catwalk they were all standing on, causing it to shake and shudder.

"You madman, you'll fall too!" Ilia shouted, well aware that nobody could possibly survive a fall into a live reactor.

Ben did not reply, and instead leapt into the air, landing on one of the support rings around one of the pillars of light.

As the catwalk began to give way, Jorge and Ilia both leapt after him, only Ilia couldn't quite manage the same kind of leap that Jorge could. While Jorge landed beside Ben and engaged him in another lightsaber clash, Ilia landed one level below them, and even then, she was barely gripping onto the edge of the structure with her fingers.

She fought off the panic and brought herself back onto the catwalk, leaping up to support Jorge… only to find Ben, pulling a red lightsaber out of his chest.

"No!" Ilia cried out in dismay, as Jorge fell to the catwalk with a smoking hole through his heart and lungs.

Already she could feel Jorge ebb away from life through the Force, but as he fell, he reached out to her and commanded the Force to aid him, one last time. His lightsaber flew out towards Ilia, who pushed her grief aside and caught it, along with Jorge's last word.

"Fight..."

Ben turned to face her, a wide smile on his mangled face. "Now then, where were we?"

Faced with such a callous display from her Master's murderer, Ilia could barely keep herself from falling to the Dark Side there and then. "You will die where you stand!"

Ben laughed and launched himself forward, using a different form of lightsaber combat, Vaapad. Ilia fought hard against his relentless assault with everything she had, but even with her Master's training and lightsaber, she was still too badly overpowered.

"You cannot hope to defeat me as you are!" Ben taunted her. "Go on, use your anger, your hatred for me! Strike me down, and take my place at my Master's side!"

Ilia tempered herself, but Ben, still maintaining the advantage, used her moment of weakness to swipe her blades aside and twirl his blade around, slashing her Master's lightsaber, and a few of her fingers, away from her hand. She cried out in pain and fury as she staggered back, as Ben howled with laughter.

The agony of her new wound, along with her existing grief, anger and hatred, finally pushed her over. The Dark Side threatened to take hold of her entirely as she leapt forward, slashing away at Ben, again and again.

At some point they'd re-entered the Hangar where they'd started, and a handful of Droidekas had tried to come to Ben's aid. They never even fired a shot, as Ilia simply lifted them into the air and crushed them into scrap metal, only then did Ilia finally sense the fear in Ben's heart.

She didn't relent, again and again she struck at him and finally, she severed his Lightsaber in half, followed by separating his torso from his legs. Ben looked at her with shock, fear, and finally a strange sense of acceptance, before his body fell to the ground. Uncontented, Ilia plunged her lightsaber through his heart, just as he had done to her Master.

"No, no no no!" A feminine voice called out from Ben's corpse. With narrowed eyes, she pulled the datachip out of the slot at the base of his neck and held it in her hand.

In her palm was the holographic form of Darth Curie, Sith Lord. She was Ben's Master, the puppeteer to his strings. Ben might have wielded the lightsaber, but Curie was the reason that Master Jorge was dead.

"Wait… yes." Curie said, smiling up at Ilia's hateful glare. "Crush me, give into your hatred!"

For some reason, whatever it was, she paused. A second passed, then another.

"Dewit!"

Ilia glared down at the tiny hologram in her hand, it would be so easy to crush her, to avenge Master Jorge's death…

But revenge was not the Jedi way.

"The senate will decide your fate." Ilia stated.

"I am the-" Curie was cut off, however, when Ilia pressed the mute button on her datachip, before putting it into her pocket.

She turned to find her way out of the Hangar, and hopefully to find some medical attention for her hand, when a ghostly apparition of an armored soldier appeared before her. "Ilia, it's me, Jorge, can you hear me?"

"Jorge?" Ilia asked. "Why are you wearing that armor? And why don't you sound like Liam Neeson?"

"He's not actually my voice actor." Jorge explained. "This is all a dream Ilia, you need to wake up."

His strange comment caused her to raise an eyebrow, what did he mean by that?

Meanwhile, on Remnant

Jorge sat waiting at Ilia's beside, and was relieved to see Doctor Larsen approaching him, but was less relieved by the look on her face. "What's the prognosis, Doctor?"

"It's worse than we thought, she has Mutated Malaria." The Doctor explained. "She's probably hallucinating pretty badly."

True to what the Doctor was saying, Ilia was stirring pretty badly in her sleep, and she even seemed somewhat aware of what was going on around her.

"You will…. Urgh, where you stand!" She murmured, sounding remarkably angry for someone who was asleep. Then again, she also had a forty degree fever, so she was quite literally hotheaded.

Jorge shook his head in regret, he should've caught onto Ilia's illness earlier. "Will she make it?"

Larsen smiled. "With all the new meds you guys gave us? Please, she'll be out of here by the end of the week. Just uh, try to go a bit easy on the jungle hikes, okay?"

Jorge nodded. "Will do ma'am, thanks for the help."

He stood up to leave, and found Ben in the hallway, talking to Yu.

"I have a bad feeling about this…" Ben was saying, before he noticed Jorge showing up. "Lieutenant, Sir. Curie's had a look at Ilia's symptoms, she thinks she has-"

"Mutated Malaria." Jorge answered before Ben could say it. "Don't worry, the Doctors have her covered."

Ben sighed in relief. "Good, and here I thought she was gonna go the way Yoda did…"

"Leave the jokes to Nathan, tin man." Yu chastised him with a slap on the gut. "Come on, we've still got the Clone Wars, Rebels, The Bad Batch, Rogue One, and all of the video games to go through."

Ben groaned with annoyance as Yu led him back to the base, all the while ranting about Star Wars trivia that Jorge was honestly surprised she knew. Jorge said nothing all the while, content in the knowledge that, even though the day had ended on a sour note, nobody was dead, a milestone he was perfectly content in clearing.