Hello again everyone! I'm back! Despite what you may have thought or considered this story and I are not dead! I know, it's fantastic, consider this your earliest and best Christmas present of all time! But in all seriousness, I want to apologize for the…9-ish months it has taken me to update this story, especially after the amazing hot streak I was on in getting these chapters out back in May. Life has been a HUGE roller coaster of ordeals, business, trials, and great blessings. I am on my way to finishing up my BA this semester and I will be entering into graduate school in January, so any thoughts, prayers, or supports would be much appreciated! The last bit of news update, the main reason I had to take a break from writing, and the best thing that has ever happened to me is that I got married! This woman is the complete love of my life and has been so helpful and supportive in keeping me motivated and going. In fact, you all can thank her for this newest chapter, I had been telling her how down I was that I hadn't updated the story in so long, and she sat me down and got me to start writing again. I couldn't ask for a better partner. Anyway, last thing is I do not know when I will be updating this story again. Obviously, life is crazy right now, just for me but for all of us. I do promise that this story is not abandoned, and I will be working on it whenever I have the time. I hope you are all still here to read it with me and that we can continue in this fun narrative together. Thank you for all of the support, feedback, and encouragement that has been sent my way over these past 9 months, I will be taking some time this week to go through and finally reply to the few reviews that have been piling up. I did not feel right reading and replying to any reviews or comments until I got you guys the next chapter. I hope you enjoy, please stay safe and healthy out there, and I look forward to hearing from you guys!
Chapter 6 – Dangerous Dealings
Clones moved hurriedly around the security center in the Jedi Temple. Consoles flashed and beeped with information as data was passed between a number of individuals, offices, and departments throughout the Temple and the surrounding areas. In the middle of the commotion stood several Jedi, all quietly and somberly reviewing a slowly scrolling text of information, along with multiple pictures attached at key intervals. The data moved slowly across the main circular console in the middle of the room, and was projected as a flat document of information, so each reader could better see, the designated symbol of: 'For official access by Jedi Council approval only' was embedded on every part of the file being read.
Jedi knights and masters read the document in contemplative silence, each with a mixture of confusion and worry etched on their faces. The members in question were:
Anakin, Yoda, Windu, Plo-Koon, Obi-Wan, and Adi Gallia. The document slowly descended until it came to a final stop, showing a blurry image of several Jedi fighting on the bridge of some kind of a ship. The Jedi had their lightsabers ignited and were squaring off against a black-cloaked individual, wielding a red lightsaber, and wearing a red and black mask. Anakin's fist clenched slightly at the sight of the image, only Obi-Wan spared him a slight glance but the other Jedi did not notice.
"This doesn't make any sense." The young Jedi Knight stated in frustration. "How can any of this be true?"
"Patience apprentice, the Force often does not reveal things all at once." Master Plo Koon advised with an air of assurance and peace, but even his mind was reeling with questions that had begun to flood his thoughts since the conclusion of the data before them.
"While I fully agree with Master Plo's assertion, I do share Young Skywalker's skepticism on this matter. This may all be the work of our elusive Darth Sidious." Master Windu interjected between the two Jedi's comments.
"One has to wonder," Master Adi finally said breaking her silence, "if this is the same Revan who helped save the republic, why would he choose to attack it now?"
"I am afraid that our records show no information on what happened to Revan after the Jedi Civil War." Obi-Wan answered her query, "All the Jedi archives mention is that he simply disappeared into the unknown regions. If this is the same man, his perspective on the Republic and Jedi could have drastically changed, especially if he ever discovered what the Jedi did to him by wiping his mind and using him to kill his former apprentice."
"I will admit," Anakin began, "I want to catch this guy more than anyone, but how could the Jedi destroy someone's entire mind and identity like that?"
"Sometimes, hard and often foolish decisions are made in war." Plo Koon answered the younger Jedi. "Do not be so quick to judge your predecessors while you sit with the benefit of hindsight on their choices."
The master's words resonated in Anakin's mind, but as he stared at the screen in front of him, a part of him was not fully convinced.
"Do we know at least how he escaped off-planet?" Adi asked.
Windu quickly answered as he pulled up records from the Coruscant fleet, "It seems his ship managed to breach the blockade by mind tricking a clone officer into giving him clearance to get through the blockade, without being properly searched. The commanding admiral wanted to court marital the clone, but the council has countered the order as this 'Revan' is obviously powerful in the Force.
"Little we accomplish, through theory and speculation. The time for action, now, it is." Master Yoda stated definitively, bringing a moment of silence between the Jedi.
Master Windu stroked his chin in contemplation before speaking, "Master Yoda is correct, whether this character is the real Revan or not, our focus now should be finding and capturing him. With that in mind, we need to assemble a strike force to bring him in to stand trial for his crimes."
"I nominate Master Kenobi as head of this team." Plo spoke with practiced eloquence, "He is the master who has spent the most time hunting this man and has proven himself capable in doing so."
Kenobi looked slightly surprised by the nomination, but after a moment of thought, he nodded his head slowly. "I will take on this assignment, but until Master Vos recovers from his injuries it will be difficult to track him."
"Assistance in this matter, require you will. Capture Revan alone, you cannot." Yoda stated.
"I will join my master." Anakin spoke up confidently. "I have also spent some time tracking this man and I believe I can be of some benefit when it comes navigating the outer rim if he chooses to go there."
Kenobi was about to object when he was interrupted, "I am coming too." Kenobi turned to see a slight smirk on Master Gallia's face. "Can't let you go having all the fun Kenobi."
Kenobi looked between the two volunteers before sighing and shaking his head, "It seems my team is decided for me."
Windu nodded before speaking, "Then it is decided. We cannot afford to spare many Jedi due to the state of the war, you three will make up the entirety of this strike force, at least until other Jedi can be spared. Use any means or resources needed to bring this terrorist back to Coruscant for trial."
"Working together, your strongest ally, will be. Trust in the Force, guide you along your path, it will." Yoda gave a last encouragement to the Jedi before they each bowed to one another and slowly exited the room.
The soft hum of hyperspace, oxygen being recycled through various air filters, and the occasional beep or chirp of different computer systems mixed together in a subtle symphony of background noise that occupied the otherwise silent space of an old run-down cargo ship. A figure cloaked in black sat in the pilot seat of the dark and dusty cockpit, his dark grey eyes slowly scanning over the various instruments before him. The man's face was slightly pale like it had not seen sunlight consistently in several weeks. A subtle five o'clock shadow had started to form a beard on the otherwise clean face. The stubble was a perfect black and matched the almost shoulder-length hair that was slicked back to stay out of the man's face. A few scars could faintly be seen on his face as he slowly turned from looking at one end of the instruments to the others.
After a long period of silence, Revan finally leaned back and rubbed his eyes with his gloved hand, and let out a tired sigh. He had tried to get some rest after the close escape from the hands of the Jedi, but he had been interrupted by alerts coming from the ship's computer system. He had spent the past several minutes looking over the status of the ship and soon realized that while he had managed to patch the hyperdrive as best he could in the time he had, the quick escape had clearly been too much for the old freighter and now the ship was slowly leaking fuel. It seems the former dark lord could never catch a break.
Revan took a moment to compose himself and think about his options. He certainly did not have enough fuel to make it to his intended destination, so he would need to stop somewhere to make proper repairs and more fuel, or just an entirely new ship. Revan placed his hands back on the console before him and pulled up the existing navigational charts that were in the system. Thankfully, the pirates did not seem interested in wiping their ship's navigational memory every time they landed.
Most of the planets were too far for the ship to reach with its current fuel supply. As his dark eyes slowly scrolled through the list before him, he stopped on one planet in particular: Florrum. Something clicked in his memory about one of the pirates mentioning needing to get this shipment of spice to that place. Part of Revan's mind rejected the idea of bringing the now stolen spice of dead smugglers to its intended destination as the recipients were no doubt familiar with the crew on Coruscant and would most likely want revenge when they realized what Revan had done. However, another part of his mind saw the opportunity to use the spice as a resource for his own benefit. The two different scenarios waged war between each other in the former Jedi's scarred mind as his tactical genius did its best to find which of the options was the most strategic.
Revan leaned away from the console and turned his head to look back at the cargo hold filled with various containers of spice. His eyes narrowed as he glanced around his surroundings, looking for some kind of obvious answer to his question. He slowly leaned forward and rested his elbows on his knees, placing his face in his hands as he did so. He hated to admit it, but he was tired, he needed rest. Revan slowly rubbed his temple to alleviate some of the tension in his head. He wished the others were here right now. Carth would have a plan, Mission would have a crafty solution no one had thought of, T-3 would have repaired the ship better, and Bastila...
Revan's eyes opened and his movements stopped. None of them were here. None of these thoughts were helpful. There was only moving forward. Revan leaned up in the chair, looked at the spice, then back to the console. He knew what he had to do.
The medical ward in the Jedi Temple beeped and hummed with the quiet rhythm of various kinds of machinery. The white walls, floors, and sheets on the two beds of one particular room seemed to all blend together in a clinical yet peaceful manner. Barriss and Ahsoka sat on the two beds both still attached to a few monitoring devices and machines. Both had almost completely recovered from their minor injuries and were beginning to reach a point where no one would have known they had recently been in a fight.
Ahsoka was doing her best to pass the time, but her mind was racing with questions and she was starting to feel restless being stuck in this room waiting for the final medical check to grant her release. Barriss, who had decided to pass the time through meditation, looked over at her padawan friend.
"What's troubling you Ahsoka?"
"Huh? What?" Ahsoka answered after a short pause, seemingly having just been pulled out of some deep thought. "Sorry, I got distracted. Why do you think something's bothering me?"
Barriss chuckled and shook her head, "This whole time I've been trying to meditate, your thoughts have been flying around the room like blaster bolts. It's made it very hard to concentrate I must say." Barriss explained with a slight smile. "But seriously, what's wrong?"
Ahsoka looked over at Barriss apologetically, "Sorry." She said, before lowering her gaze to in front of her, her face scrunching slightly as she tried to piece together her thoughts into words. "I just can't keep thinking about that fight."
"We got beaten by someone obviously much more powerful than us, there's nothing to be ashamed of in that. We did what we could to protect the archives." Barriss quickly interjected to try and reassure her friend.
"I know that." Ahsoka answered, "It's not that we lost that's bothering me, it's more...what happened with me before the fight. Like, how could I sense him when no one else in the temple could? And why did I feel the temple was going to be attacked before anyone else did? I feel like something changed in the Force yesterday, and I'm not sure what to do." Ahsoka finished by looking over at Barriss with questions and slight worry in her eyes. Before her friend could answer her, however, both females turned as they heard their door room open. Stepping through the door was with his usual smile was Anakin Skywalker. "Hello girls, sorry if I'm interrupting."
Barriss smiled slightly back and replied, "Hello Anakin, good to see you again. And no, we had just finished talking actually." She said, glancing at Ahsoka with a reassuring expression.
Ahsoka smiled as Anakin walked in the door, she was genuinely happy to see him and his presence soothed some of her anxiety away. She did notice the slight worry behind his eyes that couldn't be completely hidden. "Hello master, what brings you here?"
"Just wanted to check on the two bravest padawans in the order. You should be proud, you did your best to protect the temple, even if running in without backup is kind of a dumb move Snips." Anakin teased his padawan slightly as he made his last comment.
Ahsoka shrugged slightly and replied, "I learned it from you, master."
"How is the search for Revan going?" Barriss decided to chime in with her own curiosity.
Anakin's expression soured slightly, and a flash of anger crossed his face, but he quickly recovered and put on a more serious and neutral expression. "Unfortunately, Revan escaped the planet, so now we're just waiting to see if any leads or sightings come up from the Republic or others. The chancellor has already approved a sizable bounty on any information pertaining to Revan's location, and a larger one if he's brought in alive. Hopefully, that will give that terrorist almost nowhere to hide."
Ahsoka couldn't help but feel slightly angry at Anakin's news. She wasn't hoping for Revan to get away, but what had just been shared didn't sit right with her. "Do you really think it's fair to call him a terrorist?"
Anakin and Barriss both looked at Ahsoka with surprise in their eyes. "I think it's more than a fair label, based on everything he's done." Anakin answered strongly.
"But did he kill anyone innocent? Did he jeopardize the Republic in any significant way?" Ahsoka continued her line of questioning, "I'm not saying he hasn't broken the law, but calling what he's done terrorism seems really extreme."
"Enough!" Anakin said a bit harsher than he intended to, his inner anger almost boiling over as he remembered watching the security footage of Revan taking Padmé as a hostage. Seeing the padawans slightly worried expressions at his tone, he sighed and continued more peacefully, "I know you mean well Snips, but justice is being served here, and this is what needs to be done."
Ahsoka decided not to press further, though it was clear on her face she was not satisfied with the answers she had received. Breaking the moment of silence Barriss spoke once more, "Are you going to be one of the Jedi who goes looking for him?"
Anakin smirked slightly before answering, "Of course, who else would the council send on their most dangerous missions?" Anakin's communicator beeped at him as he finished his rhetorical question and he looked at his wrist for a moment before saying, "And that's my que, got to go. Glad you two are doing well, and Snips, try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone, okay?" And with that, he quickly left before receiving an answer from his padawan.
"Always on the move." Ahsoka stated with a slight sigh.
"You know," Barriss began, "Your master might have a point. Revan did run from the Jedi and the Republic both. If he's not really that bad why run?"
Ahsoka mulled the question over in her mind, "I know. Anakin probably is right. I don't know how to explain it, but I just have this feeling there's more going on here than the council realizes. Almost like...they're missing something."
Barriss shrugged slightly at Ahsoka's comment, "Could be. Jedi aren't always right, and the council is not infallible."
Ahsoka's mind slowly drifted off as she thought about Revan's words about not following things blindly. Unfortunately, she was still left with more questions than answers.
The bright blue and white tunnel of hyperspace caused frequent moving shadows to appear and disappear across the interior of the cockpit. Revan sat in his chair, enjoying the few precious moments of peace and relative silence he had to himself. He had tried to spend the first part of his short trip meditating, but without the comforting presence of his link with Bastila, meditation brought nothing but troubled memories and stressful thoughts. Giving up on the chance to meditate and center himself in the Force, Revan decided to use his travel time to read through the information he had received from the Jedi archives. He was now sitting in the pilot's seat with a datapad in one hand, while the other slowly scrolled through the information that glowed a dim blue directly into his grey eyes.
Some of what Revan had been reading disturbed him, but there were some bright spots. He was happy to see that most of his former crew had lived long and successful lives, each seemed to have carried out their instructions with relative success, leading to a stronger galaxy that had managed to withstand the Sith invasion. Bastila had even managed to become head of the Jedi council and their child, grandchild, and great-grandchild had all managed to go on and do the same. There was an undeniable sense of pride and satisfaction in knowing that the Jedi could never fully remove his legacy from their order. Revan chuckled slightly when he saw that Jolee had actually taken his advice and joined the reformed Jedi council. Juhani had taken up teaching with the Jedi after Revan left, but dismissed herself from the order in her twilight years, which wasn't entirely surprising to Revan due to her background. Carth managed to climb his way through the ranks of the Republic military and eventually succeeded his great ambition of becoming head admiral of the entire Republic Navy. Mission and Zaalbar went back to Kashyyyk to help with the growing issues of slavery. Revan frowned slightly when there was no substantial information on Canderous, only a small footnote of his participation and honoring in the battle of the Star Forge. Either the Jedi had chosen not to keep an eye on the Mandalorian after the Jedi Civil War, or Canderous had managed to keep his mission secret from the prying eyes of the galaxy. Regardless of which was the case, Revan would have to do some investigation of his own.
Just as the former Jedi was about to read on to the Great Galactic War, the console in front of him began to give off a warning noise. Revan quickly put down the datapad into the seat next to him and once again maned the controls of the ship. Pulling the accelerator down as gently as he could, the ship still gave an unpleasant jolt as it slowed back down to normal speed. Revan cursed in Mando under his breath as he heard the scraping of metal and saw a few pieces of the ship fly off in front of him. Shaking his head slightly at the absurdity of it all, Revan looked up to find the planet Florrum directly in front of his ship. Taking a deep breath, Revan willed the crumbling ship to begin making its way towards the surface of the planet.
As the ship slowly began its approach, one of the consoles began to blink with an indication, Revan was receiving a hail. Taking only a momentary pause, Revan quickly reached across the controls and answered the comms. "I am receiving you." He stated simply and plainly so as not to give any tactical information away.
"You are entering territory belonging to the dread pirate Hondo Ohnaka." A gruff and clearly annoyed voice spoke back in response. "Identify yourself or be blown to smithereens."
Revan frowned slightly at the immediate threat. His first instinct was to squash whatever pitiful creature was speaking to him but taking a second glance at the state of his craft and its low levels of shields persuaded him otherwise. "I have an expected delivery from Coruscant. I apologize for the long delay, there were some…complications."
"Hmmm," the voice responded back, "alright, just hang on a moment." It finished before the line went silent.
Revan's jaw began to clench slightly as the seconds dragged on, he did not fancy his chances of being able to make it to the surface in one piece if he started to get fired upon.
Finally, after a tense several minutes, the line crackled to life once again. "Listen here, you've been granted access to land, proceed to the provided coordinates, and don't try any funny business, or it'll be the last thing you ever do."
Revan shook his head and sighed in frustration, "Understood, proceeding to the landing zone." He called back before cutting the line off. He really needed to relieve some stress.
As the sun finished its zenith, on the never sleeping city world of Coruscant, Padmé Amidala sat in the main lounge of her loft penthouse. Her recently manicured fingers held a cup of recently brewed tea, lines of steam still coming off it as she blew on the hot liquid to try and cool it slightly. The sun seemed to glow more brightly in the luxurious space, as the former queen of Naboo had practically created her central living area to take advantage of the sunlight whenever possible. Two security guards stood just around the corner flanking either side of the main elevator doors, while a few handmaidens quietly moved around the senator as they prepared her afternoon lunch.
Padmé paid her surroundings little mind. Spread before her and scattered all over a long marble table were a number of datapads, digital files, and storage chips all culminating in a sizable pile of information. She cautiously took a sip of tea with one hand, while the other held one of the many data pads, this one displaying the most recent public news report on the attack that had occurred yesterday morning. Anakin had stopped by earlier to check on her and had also given her his summary of the non-public report of events, along with updates on the case, but she was still interested to see what the media had been told to feed the public. Her eyes narrowed as she reached the end of the article and saw no mention that Revan had actually left the planet, and while the news had not explicitly stated it, it was heavily implied that the culprit was still on Coruscant.
Padmé's concentration was broken as she heard the familiar sound of her private security holo began to beep. She quickly answered the call and looked up to see the familiar figure of Gregar Typho, the head of her security detail.
"Senator Padmé," He spoke with a quick bow, "sorry for the interruption, but it seems we have an unscheduled visitor-"
Before he could finish his report Padmé quickly interrupted him, "Oh that should be senator Organa arriving for our tea date. Would you mind letting him in please?" She finished with a quick smile.
Typho sighed and shook his head before speaking to someone out of view, "You know," he began, "I really wish you would get in the habit of telling me your daily schedule, then I wouldn't have to keep getting surprised by things."
"Come now Typho, you wouldn't be earning your pay if I wasn't able to keep you on your toes." she said with a small smile as she took another sip of tea.
Typho simply chuckled and said, "I suppose that's true; we're sending him up now."
"Thank you, captain."
"At your service, ma'am." And the call was terminated.
A moment later and an elevator ding was heard. Senator Organa stepped into view and was greeted with a warm smile. Organa smiled back before his eyes slowly began to scan all of the various items strew about before Padmé. "Good to see nothing keeps you from staying busy." He commented before gesturing to the pile.
"Well, when the chancellor decides to give you a two-day mandatory stay home and rest order, your house would probably not look so different." Padmé quickly countered back before taking another sip of tea.
Organa chuckled slightly before replying, "I guess you have me there." A handmaiden quickly walked over and asked if she could get Organa some tea, to which he politely smiled and said, "I'm fine, thank you." He then turned back to Padmé before continuing, "So, what's this very important meeting you made me promise I would come over for?"
Padmé did not immediately respond, but instead politely asked both her handmaidens and security guards to give them the room, which they quickly obliged her request.
At this, Organa raised a brow curiously at Padmé before taking a seat beside her once she gestured for him to sit down. "Alright, you have my attention, but I must say I don't like that look in your eye. It's the same one that always seems to happen right before you get into trouble."
Padmé rolled her eyes at the comment before pulling a datapad up from under one particular stack, "Here, look at this." She directed before handing Organa the pad.
Organa took it and his eyes began to scan the document displayed before him quickly. His eyes grew large and he asked in a slightly hushed tone, "How did you get the official crime scene report of the bombing from yesterday?"
Padmé smirked in response before saying, "It pays to have friends."
Organa laughed slightly despite his initially worry and simply shook his head. He continued to read in silence for a moment before he stopped and leaned back slightly. "That's odd." He said as the unfinished statement slowly faded from his lips.
"That's what I wanted to talk to you about!" Padmé replied eagerly, "This is the official security report, it's not even been released for public access yet, but already some information has been redacted."
"That is very strange, to say the least," Organa agreed with his friend, "...but maybe your, 'friend,' just got you a copy that the censors had already begun working for public release?"
Padmé shook her head, "I checked that the date and time of the server timestamps match up almost exactly with the time I received this document. That means this hit the local security server WITH redacted information, meaning…"
She paused slightly to give Organa the space to fill in the conclusion, which he did: "Someone got access to the official report before it went to local security and removed information they didn't want anyone to see...not just the public."
Padmé began to nod enthusiastically, "What's doubly strange is that my friend has been forwarding me any relevant chatter from inside local security, no one in their archive team is talking about this, so this wasn't an outside force, this was someone from the inside who had enough power and position to make people turn a blind eye. This could lead to something, I know it!"
Bail tapped the side of the datapad with a finger thoughtfully for a few moments before slowly handing it back to Padmé, "Look, I know you have a knack for digging up things others would rather leave buried, but something like this...I don't know if this is really enough to warrant one of your famous investigations." He slowly got up from the shared couch, "Thank you senator for a wonderful discussion, but unfortunately, I have a meeting to get to. I hope to see you back at the senate soon. Don't forget to actually get some rest on your mandatory rest time."
As he turned to leave, he stopped when Padmé spoke, "Bail, please... You know I'm on to something, I don't get this focused when it's nothing."
Bail looked her in the eyes for several moments before taking a deep breath and saying, "Okay. What do you need me to do?"
Padmé slowly began to smile again.
Revan cursed as the cockpit began to blare with warnings and the ship's instruments spiraled into the unreadable. The ship shook violently as it burned its way through the atmosphere, the shields having given out only a few minutes into the descent, leaving the hull vulnerable and pieces of it literally flying off into the atmosphere. Revan wrestled for control of the ship and forced the hunk of metal to stay on course, muttering to himself about how the smuggler's mechanic had received too quick of a death.
Finally, after several moments, the cloud cover broke and the ship began to stabilize itself. Revan left out a sigh of relief as his grip loosened on the controls. He took a moment to examine the mostly empty landscape before him, immediately understanding why pirates would choose to hide out in a remote and uncared for planet. His gaze eventually fell on a well-fortified, but crudely set up base in the back of a small canyon. Revan considered that it wasn't a terrible setup, with a decently defensible location, but surely there must be better places to have a less obvious and easily surmountable base. If any substantial or legitimate military force wanted to conquer this place they easily could. It would be much better to be hidden in a mountain or cave somewhere, but honestly, what did he expect from pirates?
Revan steered the ship towards the base, and after only a few minutes of flying, brought the vessel down with a hard thud as one of the landing gear failed to deploy, resulting in the ship leaning and resting on its side.
Revan looked out the viewport and examined the outside, noting the general causal and haphazard nature of the layout, but appearances could always be deceiving, and one should never underestimate pirates. Revan also noticed a large number of pirates that were slowly gathering around the ship. Their obvious desire to take whatever was on the ship for their own individual profits was very clear in the Force. Revan huffed to himself, a whole group of self-serving individuals...one wonders how they've managed to accomplish anything as a group, let alone stay alive this long.
Revan decided it was time to greet his hosts and made his way towards the back of the ship. As the cargo bay doors slowly opened, Revan stood with his arms crossed and observed the rabble below him. Many of them took steps back or grabbed onto their pistols when they saw his intimidating masked figure. His presence caused quite a stir in the camp and soon the entire outside area was either looking at him or whispering to one another. Eventually, as Revan stood and scanned the group before him, one Weequay came up to speak with him.
"Welcome to Florrum, mister ah…" The pirate did not finish his sentence as he wanted for the masked figure to identify himself.
After a moment of consideration, Revan finally responded, "Revan." He reasoned because now that the Jedi and Republic knew his name, there was not much sense in trying to hide it from this lot.
"Mister Revan." The pirate finished his welcome with a dramatic flourish, and not so subtly eyed the containers of spice behind Revan. "My name is Sabo. I do have to ask, if you don't mind the intrusion, but I believe this shipment of spice you're carrying often comes from some other friends of ours…"
Revan glanced behind his mask at the group of pirates below the ship, most of them tensely gripping their blasters. "Unfortunately, your friends on Coruscant will no longer be able to deliver your spice as they all decided to take…an early retirement, shall we say." Sabo grimaced slightly at Revan's implied meaning, and several pirates stepped forward in anger. "But" Revan continued, "I am sure we can come to some kind of, arrangement."
Sabo's frown quickly turned into a smile and he gestured for the others to back down. "Now that's the kind of talk we like to hear around these parts!" He said enthusiastically, "Anyway, before we get into the business side of things sir, there's someone who would like to have a word with you if you wouldn't mind following me…"
"Lead the way." Revan replied simply.
Sabo smiled and turned, leaning Revan towards the main entrance.
Revan rolled his eyes as the pirates quickly began to run into the ship and start taking whatever they could get their hands on, not even waiting for him to be out of view first.
Revan was lead through several dark and dimly lit halls, before finally entering into the noisy and smoke-filled center room of the pirate base. Sabo led him past several haphazardly set up tables, benches, and other random pieces of furniture. Several tables were positioned specifically for twi'leks dancers, who were currently being jeered at by different pirates, while female Weequay moved around the room handing out drinks, though it seemed everyone already had a cup in hand. 'It seems some things never change, even in 4,000 years of galactic history' Revan thought to himself.
As the pair made their way through the active space, half of the room eyed Revan with suspicion when the other half was too drunk or preoccupied to notice him. The stares, thoughts, and emotions were all clearly be felt by Revan in the Force and most of them were not friendly to say the least.
Eventually, Sabo led Revan to the largest table near the back, where several pirates were gathered, clearly enjoying themselves. At their center was a more fashionably dressed Weequay with tinted glasses and a red jacket to further make him stand out from the crowd. 'The boss then,' Revan noted.
The head Weequay was laughing and telling a tale in some grandiose manner when he noticed Revan and Sabo approach and stopped himself. "Well well well, look what we have here boys! A guest! Come, come, someone get this man a drink! After all, he has brought one of our long-awaited shipments all the way from Coruscant and must be thirsty from such a long journey.
Revan's brow raised slightly as he was surprised by how much this boss already knew. Despite his carefree appearance, he must stay well informed of whatever goes on in his base, reinforcing Revan's caution to not let his guard down.
A female Weequay approached the group with a tray of drinks, quickly offering one to Revan, but he simply put a hand up without looking at her. The waitress, obviously intimidated, immediately took the out and walked away quickly.
The boss frowned slightly at Revan's refusal but quickly turned to Sabo who proceeds to fill him in on who Revan is and that their friends on Coruscant are no more.
"Well, that is unfortunate, but! These things do happen! And, what use is staying in the past, I say. The future is where profits are to be made! But I'm getting ahead of the plot, I haven't even introduced myself, how rude of me! My name is Hondo Ohnaka, and this," He says as he wildly gestures around the room, "is my home! So, now that introductions are out of the way, and you clearly are not in the mood for refreshments, at the moment, let's get down to business, eh? So, Mr. uh...Revan, was it? Since you went to the trouble of coming all the way here, I must ask, what can I do for you?"
Revan waited a moment before replying "A new ship."
Hondo chuckled slightly at his answer, "Yes, I heard the boys watching your approach. We weren't even sure you were going to make it to the base in one piece. Well, I'll tell you what, why don't you stay here one night and in the morning, we can discuss some… business arrangements." Hondo leaned back in his chair and put his feet up on the table, "As the way I see it, I am going to need some extra compensation for you killing my good friends on Coruscant." He finished his proposal with a slow sip of his drink.
Sabo and the other pirates nearby turned to look at Revan expectantly, most of them already having their hands on their blasters.
Revan crossed his arms and stood looking at Hondo for several moments, calculating his next move. After a lengthy silence, he spoke, "No deal. I want a ship now or you can forget about getting your spice."
Hondo frowned before leaning forward to glare slightly at the masked figure before him. He then began to tap his fingers slowly on the table and his tone lost its playful touch, "You know... Mr. Revan, I was hoping we could be more, how do you say? Diplomatic about all this, but then you have to go around and start making these kinds of forceful demands and reject my hospitality!"
At this point, several pirates around the room begin to slowly get up from their seats and draw their blasters. Revan did not move to react in any way.
"I am sorry to say my friend," Hondo continued, "but you're really in no position to bargain at this point. My men have already acquired the spice, but on top of that," Hondo then pulled out a small holocommunicator which showed a display of Revan's wanted poster, "It seems the Republic have put quite a large bounty on bringing you in alive…" He said this last part with a proud smirk, "But! Let it never be said that I am not first and foremost a businessman, so, if you have a better offer than the one sitting in front of me, I would love to hear it!" Hondo smiled at Revan as he leaned back in his chair and crossed his hands behind his head.
Revan now knew why this group had ever had a successful day in their lives. The entire operation rested on this one alien's shoulders, and he had to admit, Revan was impressed. Hondo certainly looked and acted like a carefree fool, but he was clearly anything but, in fact, Hondo may just be one of the most dangerous individuals in the galaxy Revan had yet to encounter.
After several moments of silence, as Revan contemplated his observations, Hondo finally spoke with a hint of frustration, "Well? Come now I do have other matters to deal with today."
"I have a better offer," Revan finally spoke, causing Hondo to smile again, "Your lives."
There was a moment of tension as the whole room seemed to now be focused on Revan, even the dancers and musicians stopped at his words which seemed to echo with a deadly seriousness over the room. Hondo, who seemed to be the only one not gripped by a small level of fear began to laugh, which slowly caused the tension to die down, and the room slowly filled with laughter in agreement with Hondo. "Oh, my friend," Hondo shook his head and slowly stood up, "I admire the tenacity and confidence, but surely you must see the situation for what it is!" He held his arms up as the pirates fully pointed their blasters at Revan from all sides and some began to move toward him on his sides and behind him, "You are surrounded, so, I suggest you come quietly and this can all be settled nice and easily, hmmm?"
Revan tilted his head slightly and stared back at Hondo, slowly uncrossing his arms, and lowering them to his sides. He spoke again with the same deadly conviction as before, "Very well. If that's what you want."
Hondo smiled and nodded to Sabo who quickly pulled out a pair of handcuffs and moved towards Revan. When he was about a foot away Revan suddenly called two sabers out of his robes directly into his hands and ignited them.
The smile on Hondo's face disappeared as he yelled out: "Jedi!" but it was too late. Sabo was already cut in half by one saber, as an invisible force grabbed the next closest pirate, and flung him directly onto the other waiting saber. The room erupted into chaos as blaster fire began to go off in every direction. Revan used the force to begin sprinting around the room, cutting off limbs, legs, heads, and torsos with every swing. He was like a swirling vortex of death that moved through the room almost too fast for the eye to keep up with, the flashing colors of red and purple sabers leaving a trail of devastation behind them. The number of pirates in the room began to drop exponentially, some not even managing to draw or fire their blasters in time before a saber found its way into or across them, killing them instantly. The pirates who did get to fire soon regretted it, as any shot that did somehow manage to not miss Revan, was instantly and expertly directly straight back into their chest or head. Revan called on the Force to enhance his movements, running, leaping, and dodging between tables, pillars, and pirates, choosing not to rely completely on his sabers for full offense and defense. He was tired of having to hold back for so long on Coruscant, and it felt good and powerful to be fully immersed in the Force again.
Hondo stood stunned as he watched his pirates get massacred in front of him. He had dealt with Jedi and Sith before, but nothing like this. Revan was something else entirely and for one of the few moments in his entire life, Hondo began to feel fear creep up his spine. His thoughts were interrupted as he was pulled behind the now overturned main table by one of his guards and he quickly pulled out his communicator and shouted at his men to keep shooting Revan. Hondo active his comms and called in for reinforcements into the main hall, as one pirate beside him stood up, took a shot, and a moment later fell backward dead with a smoking blaster wound set perfectly between his eyes. Hondo yelled again into the communicator for his men to hurry up!
Revan stabbed two more pirates straight through their chests and then used the Force to aim their blasters at two others who had just stood up from cover and shoot, both bolts embedding themselves in their ally's skulls. Revan smiled slightly under his mask at how easy this was going to be when something in the Force drew his attention. He slowly stood up straight and looked at the main entrance before suddenly there was a large explosion that tore a large hole where the small doorway had just been. Revan moved his arm up slightly to protect himself from the scattered derby and then lowered it as the dust slowly settled. Coming out of the cloud of destruction were three large tanks tightly packed together. They were each manned by a pirate on the main open top gun, and they all began to laugh confidently as they aimed their cannons down at Revan. Revan stood confidently, not moving at all, he then put one of his sabers away, and taking a deep breath, he slowly raised one hand into the air in a fist.
The pirates looked at each other confused, wondering if he was trying to surrender. One of them shrugged and was about to order the others to fire when he was cut off. Suddenly the air around Revan began to swirl slightly, whipping his cloak around him, then small sparks of electricity randomly began to shoot off around the room from the area surrounding his hand. The whole room began to feel like the air was becoming statically charged, and one pirate even got shocked harshly as he placed his hand on some metal on the wall. The pirates in the tanks shook themselves from their stupor and pressed down on their gun's triggers. Before the triggers were fully pressed, Revan opened his first and a massive burst of Force Lightning poured out from his raised hand and split into three separate massive arcs that slammed into each of the tanks. The lightning was so powerful and massive that random bolts started to break off the main arcs and fly off Revan's hand, randomly striking around the room, causing the few pirates remaining to duck for cover. The pirates in the tanks could only scream in pain as their skin, blood and organs began to boil and smoke as they burned from the pure energy which relentlessly poured into them. The tanks started to shake violently from the energy, and sparks of wiring and internal components began to flash randomly off the tanks as they were quickly and devastatingly destroyed by the Force Storm. Soon the pirates' screams faded as they died from the massive amounts of lightning. The tanks quickly reached their limited and exploded in massive fireballs that sent furniture flying across the room and the hole in the wall to quadruple in size.
Revan, however, was unmoved, like a mountain defiantly coming up out of the ocean. The blast seemed to roll over him, blowing his cloak and robes backward wildly, but not moving him an inch. He slowly lowered his hand and took several deep breaths to steady himself, but not loud enough that anyone would hear it. He remained there for quite a while, simply looking at the smoldering fire and wreckage that used to be three tanks. He couldn't help but feel impressed with himself.
Finally, he heard a familiar voice call out from the back of the room, "Stop! Stop! Everyone! Put your weapons down! "Hondo said as he came from around his cover holding his blaster and empty hand well above his head." Revan turned and examined Hondo, choosing intentionally to leave one of his sabers on. Hondo cautiously approached Revan and said, "It seems you have made your point Mr. Revan. So please, let us not us have any more senseless bloodshed today. As I said, I am a businessman, and this current exchange is not profitable for either of us." He accented his intention to have peace by slowly lowering his gun to the floor and kicking it towards Revan. "We are clearly at your mercy Jedi, or Sith, or whatever you are. So, what can I, and my humble crew, do for you?"
Revan smirked slightly at how quickly Hondo adapted to every situation, clearly never missing a beat, the Jedi could benefit from that kind of thinking he mused to himself. He turned his saber off and put it back inside his cloak before answering, "As I said, I need a ship, and I was going to give you that spice and my old ship for free if only for the scrap it could give you." Hondo's smile slowly began to make its way onto his face as he heared this news, "But now," Hondo's smile immediately turned into a frown, "I think I'll be needing about… 50,000 credits from you, as well as a brand new ship."
Hondo scoffed before saying, "50,000?! You know that's most of the worth of that shipment and a new ship is worth a considerable amount already and-" Revan simply tilted his head as if to say, 'Do you really want to test me?' Hondo, seeing the implied question, stopped his rant and put his hands up, "Alright, alright! Like I said, you've made your point. You know," Hondo began with a chuckle, "I think I might like you, Mr. Revan. You might drive a hard bargain, but you are surprisingly simple to deal with all things considered."
"Trust me Hondo, when you have lived through everything I have, keeping things simple is a refreshing state to be in, and a luxury I often am not afforded."
Hondo smiled at this and said, "Yes, I get what you mean... Well! Now that all this unpleasantry is behind us, let me show you to your ship then. We have a few already fueled up and ready to go, and I will have one of my men bring you your credits.
Revan simply nodded and said, "Lead the way."
A 3-way holocommunications call is in progress. The one side of the call shows Jedi Masters Yoda, Mace Windu, Plo Koon, Adi Gallia, and Obi-Wan Kenobi, along with Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker, all of whom stood around a holo-terminal in the Jedi Temple hangar. Another side of the call was Chancellor Palpatine, sitting back in his newly fixed primary office. The last line of the call belonged to a certain notorious pirate.
"Wait, hang on a minute. Are we really going to trust information from the guy who kidnapped up and tried to hold us for ransom? Does no one else see a problem with this?" Anakin spoke up to all members of the call.
"For once, I must agree with my apprentice on this one." Obi-Wan added into the conversation.
Palpatine spoke up from his end of the communication, "I understand your reservations my friends, and while I was perfectly content to ignore this low-life pirate's obvious game, some of your other masters thought it prudent to hear him out when they learned of his transmission." Palpatine couldn't help but let out a small amount of frustration in the back end of his voice out as he finished.
"Hondo did manage to capture Count Dooku, and he did not lie to us about holding him at their base on Florrum." Master Adi countered.
"Unwise, it would be, to turn away the council of another, before hearing that which they have to say." Yoda stated, as a way of ending the argument.
"Very well, what does the infamous Pirate have to say for himself?" Plo finally moved the conversation forward, growing tired of the debate.
Hondo cleared his throat and stood up straight, "Well, gentlemen, and lady," he said bowing slightly to Audi who simply crossed her arms. "I have come to you today to humbly offer my services to the great Republic and Jedi." He accented with another bow and dramatic flourish of his hand.
"How many credits do you want?" Audi asked bluntly.
"Ah, I knew I would like you," Hondo said with a smile, "So, since it's straight to business then? Very well, here is my offer, the location of your recently escaped terrorist friend..." All eyes slightly widened at this possible lead, but waited for Hondo to name his price, "for free."
There was a moment of silence as the group looked at Hondo all very surprised. "I think I might be going crazy, did the Hondo Ohnaka, just offer to give something away for free?" Anakin asked in obvious disbelief.
"I'm afraid I might be entering into that delirium with you Anakin, I heard it too." Obi-Wan quipped.
"Hardy har har! Yes, let's all laugh at this situation and waste everyone's time! That sounds like a great plan to me." Hondo crossed his arms slightly annoyed.
"What's the catch?" Windu broke his silence.
Hondo dramatically put a hand to his chest and gasped, "Oh! Me? A catch? I am insulted! How could you accuse a simple man like myself, of double-crossing anyone?" The Jedi and even chancellor all turned to glare slightly at the pirate. Hondo looked around at all the different faces trying to play innocent when he finally sighed and said, "Alright, the truth is...if you send some Jedi after this man, you'll be paying me back simply by doing it."
"What do you mean by that?" Windu asked.
"Let's just say your terrorist friend and I had a bit of a... crossing of paths, shall you say, and I would very much never like to cross paths with him again. So, if you are able to remove him from the galaxy for me, I will consider us even on the payment front!"
The Jedi all looked at each other skeptically before Anakin spoke again, "How do you even know where he is?"
"Ah-ha, good question master Jedi." He then pulled out a datapad from his jacket, "Our mutual acquaintance demanded one of our ships and while I was less than happy to oblige, I did give him one of our... special ships." He said with a mischievous smile, "All the data on the ship is sent directly back to me, including-"
"It's navigational inputs." Plo stated before Hondo could finish his explanation.
"Hmmm. Not a bad trick, even for a pirate." Obi-Wan admitted.
"So where is he headed? Adi asked firmly.
Hondo sighed slightly before he answered, "Well since we are all such good friends now, I guess I can tell you. He is headed…" he looked down and double-checked the information, "to Tatooine."
As the call finally ended Palpatine leaned back in his chair, his fingers interlaced and brought up to his face as he pondered his options for several moments. He had expected a man like Revan to stay low and not draw attention to himself, being in such an unknown environment, and as tactically minded as the historical data had described him. Perhaps this wasn't the Revan of legends, but an imposter inspired by him. It might answer why he keeps getting found so quickly. It seemed there was only one way to test this new hypothesis.
Pulling up his display Palpatine typed in a code on the console, before a retinal scanner appeared and verified his identity. His screen then changed to a black and red display with an entirely different selection of information than what had previously appeared. He began typing a simple but important message: 'Revan has been spotted. Headed to Tatooine. Send Ventress.'
The Jedi looked at each other once the communication had ended. "Quickly, you should go, to Tatooine, several steps behind our target, we already are." Yoda spoke to the group with authority in his voice.
Windu added, "We will notify any Republic fleets in that area, but as you are entering Hutt space if you need reinforcements, they will likely only be able to offer you an exit."
Kenobi answered, "We understand masters. We will report in as soon as we confirm or deny Hondo's information."
The group was about to bow and leave when they all heard a "Wait up!" The Jedis turned and Anakin spoke and moved forward towards the newcomer, "Snips?"
Ahsoka jogged over to the group, a minor scar on her cheek as the only indication she had ever been in a fight recently. She looked her usual determined self. "Sorry I'm late, they discharged me from the medical ward, and I heard the strike team was heading out on a new lead."
"Possible, lead." Anakin corrected with a slight scolding tone, "And you aren't part of the strike force, what are you doing here?"
"It's obvious Skywalker, she's taking after you and wants to join where there might be some danger." Adi said with a slight bit of teasing which the other Jedi smiled at.
Ahsoka lowered her head sheepishly and said, "I'm sorry master, but I really feel like I should come on this mission…"
"I do think this is the kind of assignment for a Padawan." Windu spoke up, "Now come along Ahsoka, I'm sure your master will be fine without you."
The group began to move as the matter looked settled and they began to turn away when Ahsoka blurted out, "Wait!" causing the Jedi to again turn back towards her "...there's something you should know."
Plo moved forward and spoke, "Go on Ahsoka, we're listening."
Ahsoka nervously began to rub her arm before she finally said, "I think I can sense Revan even when he's making his presence in the Force."
The Jedi all looked at her with a mixture of confusion, worry, and skepticism. Seeing their disbelief, she spoke louder and stood up straighter, "It's true! Why do you think Barriss and I came across him first? We weren't just wandering the archives aimlessly. I could feel him in the library when clearly no one else in the temple could."
The Jedi all began to look at each other unsure of what to do, Ahsoka looked at her master pleading with him to believe her, he sighed and began to speak, "Ahsoka, this is some pretty big information to suddenly be dropped on us, and I don't think it's a good idea-"
But before he could finish Plo suddenly put his hand on Ahsoka's shoulder and cut him off, "-To leave her behind." The group looked at Plo surprised, before he continued looking down into Ahsoka's eyes, "If Ahsoka can sense Revan when none of us can, it would be a huge waste of an advantage to not bring her, and with how many hiding places there are on Tatooine, she may be our only chance of finding him."
Ahsoka felt surprised that Plo was standing up for her, and a little hurt that Anakin didn't take her side, but before she could thank her former master, Adi spoke up, "Master Plo has a point. Now, if this is all settled, let's go already! Revan is probably halfway to Tatooine by now!" She said as she moved towards the waiting ship.
Obi-Wan looked at Anakin and shrugged before saying, "Welcome aboard Ahsoka Tano. Glad to have you as part of the team." and he too went to the ship.
Anakin looked at Ahsoka and sighed, obviously overruled before saying, "Alright then. You're on the team but try not to fall behind Snips."
Ahsoka smiled slightly and went to follow Anakin when she turned to look at Plo, "Master I-"
Before she can thank him, Plo simply holds up his hand and says, "There's no need Ahsoka, just promise me that you will be safe. I fear this mission may be more dangerous than we realize."
Ahsoka smiled, nodded, and bowed deeply to Plo, "I promise, master."
Plo bowed back slightly before saying, "May the force be with you."
Ahsoka smiled once more, then, hearing Anakin calling for her, she quickly turned and ran towards the ship.
Plo watched the ship until the moment it disappeared into the atmosphere. Quietly he breathed a heavy sigh. It never got easier, seeing them leave...