TREK WARS: A Tale of Two Galaxies
By William Victor Speer, III
In a future yet to come, in a time of intertwined fates…
It has been more than two full centuries since that Great Rift mysteriously opened, linking together the Galaxy of the Force, and the Milky Way, home of Earth and the United Federation of Planets. Seventeen generations have past since the grandson of Cade Skywalker became one with the Force. Now two hundred years later the Jedi face an Intergalactic Empire far more vast and deadly than anything faced before.
The uneasy peace of the Federation has been unbalanced by the emanation of midi-chlorians into the Milky Way Galaxy. Democracy and interstellar law begin to crumble under the strain of new found power. Dictators have become Sith Lords. Jedi have become explorers. Explorers have become warriors. In the tale of one such explorer… a new hope was awakening in Starfleet.
Captain Jill Hannah had just become the master of her ship not 6 months ago. She felt as though it would be another 600 years before she would become a master of the Force. She swore in whispers and grunted desperately as she tried her best to catch red darts of energy on the round, blue edge of her lightsaber. The yellow, grid-lined wall of the holo-deck emitted the laser blasts from its many squares at random. Jill had a nifty metal blindfold across her cerulean blue eyes, which stuck painlessly to the side of her temple. A blonde padawan's braid hung from the opposite side of her head.
Every third or fourth blast was hitting her, harmlessly sizzling in holographic sparks against her blue Starfleet uniform; a terrible training score even for a youngling.
The door opened and in walked a mocha-skinned Vulcan, instantly recognizable by his thick brows, smooth skin and pointed ear lobes. A laser blast pelted his shoulder, harmlessly bouncing off of him. The program froze in place with several laser bolts all converging near Jill's blue blade.
"Soresu?" the Vulcan said raising an eyebrow.
Jill sighed, "You could call it that," She straightened her back, slipping back into the role of a Starfleet commander. "What have you to report Commander Ruvok?"
"We have arrived in the Neutral Zone, Captain."
"And the Cardassians?"
"As you guessed, Captain Hannah, they are after the refugees."
Jill removed the visor from the side of her head and stared blankly for a few moments. "The Dark Side… So Master Mahtek was right. The King's prophecy is coming true."
"One could only assume so, Captain." Ruvok waited, knowing what she would ask next.
"… Has Jack …?" Jills lips quivered ever so slightly. She looked down at her wedding ring remembering. Jack Hannah, was a Corellian "scoundrel" who found himself siding with the Federation against the Dominion trying to overthrow the mines of Neo-Kessel on the M-Class Planet, Hadrian VII. They fought together, bled together, and fell in love together. He proposed to her under a bright red nebula. The USS Diamond Sword's maiden voyage was their honeymoon.
"He is among the Corellian Hood Runners assisting Starfleet's humanitarian effort in the region."
"Humanitarian!" Jill scoffed. "Do you know how the Hood Runners got their name, Ruvok?"
"Ah, yes," Ruvok replied confidently, "the classical Earth literature files speak of one Robin Hood, expert swashbuckler and archer who stole from rich nobles in order to donate food and gold to the impoverished."
"They're professional pirates who do the Federation's dirty work while we sit around pretending to be too holier-than-thou to protect innocent Bajorans from murderous tyrants!" She was embarrassed to realize she was shouting.
"You're very distracted, Captain," Ruvok said softly with a smile.
Jill laughed nervously, "As is evident," she said gesturing to the floating laser barrage that had dominated her so badly in the lightsaber training session.
"If I may suggest: control your anxiety – keep your concerns within reason. Use the Force, Captain. You are one of the few Force-users in all of Starfleet, only two of you are being fully trained as Jedi, both of you are on this starship and so far you're the only naturally born Earthling in Starfleet able to use the Force." Jill breathed deeply, and clipped her lightsaber onto her belt where a standard issue phaser would normally be. They left the holo-deck and walked into the turbolift leading to the bridge.
"No pressure, eh, Ruvok?" Jill said as the doors opened to the bridge. Her bridge.
The crew she had been with since the Academy was poised and ready for anything this new roiling universe of magic forces and mysterious missions had to offer.
The most skilled star warrior among them stood before her at attention.
"We now hold standard orbit above Hadrian VII. What are your orders, Captain?" Lt. Commander Kyriol Rola was the Diamond Sword's tactical officer. Even at the tender age of twenty-one Rola was a fierce starfighter pilot as well as a master tactician in battle. Stunningly fit and beautiful, Rola was a Romulan orphan raised by Bajoran Jedi on the planet just ahead of them on the viewing screen. A black braid hung down from her short hair behind her serrated ear. Her skin was a gentle olive green, complimenting the black fabric of her uniform and its golden-brass com-badge.
Jill steeled her eyes, averting Rola's gaze. "Starfleet's orders are, observe and report."
She turned to the caramel skinned Trill girl at the helm terminal. Her hair was bright white in shocks around her face and light hazel eyes. "Take us in on stealth running, Ensign Bray."
"Aye, Captain," Sheila Bray muttered softy. She could sense the tension between the two Jedi women coming to a head. She guided the ship as sweat beads ran across the spots on her temples and neck.
Kyriol Rola's chin shook with rage and anguish. "And the refugees, Captain?" Her voice was deep and shaky. She was use all of her control not to shout. "The Cardassians gun placements are rapidly finding them all. Two tankers of supplies have already been destroyed."
Jill felt her heart palpitate. "Ensign Gray?" she asked in a vulnerable voice.
The young, grey-skinned Duros sitting parallel to Sheila Bray, turned to the Captain with a compassionate look. "It is confirmed, Captain. Two tankers destroyed. No survivors."
"Captain, please," Kyriol said standing close to her, whispering. Only Ruvok could over here them. "Starfleet is mad if they don't see the power you wield."
"Our way is not about power, Kyriol." Hannah said softly.
"The Jedi Way is about justice!" replied in an anguished hissing whisper. "Even your Master Mahtek – the Crown Prince of the Klingons, cannot understand why the Federation thinks you are a science project instead of…"
"That's enough." Jill said sternly, where everyone could hear them now. "This is a Starfleet vessel. As such it will obey Starfleet rules."
Kyriol lowered her gaze. "Aye, Captain." She turned completely 180 degrees from the view screen.
Jill turned to face a 3 foot tall floating shiny, black oval. "BEREE 496," she addressed the newest astromech droid prototype. The Biotech-Engineering Relations Engineered Entity, known as the Black Berry by the crew. "Is the cloaking device stable?"
"Aye, Captain," she said in a female synthesized voice, "There is only a one in 7,349 chance in which Cardassian armaments could detect us."
Jill nodded, and turned to Ruvok. "You have the bridge, old friend." She turned to Kyriol who would not look up from her terminal. "Commander Rola," Kyriol met her gaze, her eyes full of anguish "Walk with me."
As the door to the turbolift closed, the Captain apologized, stunning Kyriol to the core. "Forgive the charade, Commander Rola. Matters of the Force, are often never as simple as they should be in Federation Space."
"I don't understand what you mean Captain… but what I said to you on the bridge," Kyriol bowed, "I am sorry. No one is a science project. That was disrespectful and cruel and…"
"…and true," Jill said flatly. Kyriol was taken aback, being left speechless. "Listen Kyriol, we were made into Starfleet officers, but we were born Jedi." Jill sighed shaking her head in frustration. "Ever since I grabbed up that phaser with my powers during that hostage crisis on Deep Space 20, Starfleet has called me back to Earth for test, after test, after test."
"Why do you never protest, Captain?" Kyriol said compassionately. "You are a Captain of Starfleet, not a toy for the Intelligence Department."
"I am a new life form, Commander Rola," Jill said it almost in defeat. "The mandate of Starfleet is to seek out and scientifically understand me. Besides Admiral Carn is right – as much as I hate to admit it – I do have great military potential… and terrible danger as well."
"Scientists will never understand the Force as you and I do. Besides why do they only pick on you? There are many Force-users in this Galaxy not to mention the other side of the Rift."
"I am the only Earth-born human being of fully human ancestry that possesses such a high midi-chlorian count. As much as the brass tries to deny it, we are as much at war with the Third Empire of the Sith as the Klingons and Jedi are." Jill turned to Kyriol, "Which is why I need your help to prove it to Admiral Carn."
"An away mission?" Kyriol smiled.
The doors opened in the shuttle hangar. Before them was a magnificent merging of the two galaxies worth of technology into a single vessel. The ship was X-shaped, each of its four, square, solar panel wings were tipped with small, thin, oval-shaped nacelles. Its cockpit was a tapering cube much like the frame of a Runabout, sitting at the center of the X shape.
"What the hell is this!?" Commander Rola blurted before she could stop herself. Her jaw was frozen agape at the sight of the strange, elegant hodgepodge of technology.
Jill laughed in utter self-congratulation. "This, Commander Rola, is my wedding present. I present to you, the X-Runner."
"It's beautiful and elegant and artful and… contraband!" Kyriol nervously half-laughed the last words.
"Uh-uh. Unregistered. Not necessarily contraband." Jill sighed crossing her arms. "You can beam down if it makes you feel uncomfortable," Jill smiled teasingly.
"Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait! I didn't say that, it's just…" Kyriol unhooked her elaborate, brass-like, electrum lightsaber with its V-shaped emitter shroud and pyramidal tapering pommel. "I lost my master trying to prove myself on the battlefield – on an away mission just like this." Kyriol looked her captain in the eyes. "This crew needs you captain."
"You did prove yourself, Kyriol. And you didn't lose him – Jem'Hadar and battle droids killed him. There was nothing you could have done."
"I held Jedi Master Serko Kergi as he died, Captain." Kyriol said, squeezing her saber hilt, trembling. "He told me that the Force would teach me what I needed to know. He said I passed the Trials of Spirit and Courage. Losing him was a Trial I never thought I would face."
"But you did face it." Jill said smiling. "You are still on the Path and you still serve Starfleet with honor."
"Thank you, Captain." Kyriol looked at the ship. "What about you, Captain?" she said. "If we do this, Starfleet Intelligence will have their excuse to relieve you of command and try to conscript you to become a living Petri dish."
A hatch opened out of the saucer-like ship, revealing stairs into the cockpit of the Wing-Ding. Jill took a few steps into her personal starship before answering.
"If we do this right then Starfleet Intel will have to admit that they have been turning a blind eye to genocide in the Neutral Zone for the better part of a standard year."
"And Admiral Carn will have to condone – or even award everything or face an outcry for his resignation." Kyriol lowered her chin. "Brutal."
"Just one thing, Commander Rola," Jill said firing up the X-Runner's ion-impulse bifurcated engines.
"Aye, Captain," Kyriol stood at attention replacing her lightsaber hilt on her waist.
"That's my husband down there." A hint of frantic neediness crept into her voice. "I need your feelings on this mission to be clear, Kyriol … because mine aren't. All I can see is Jack."
Kyriol nodded, then climbing in and sat next to her. "Then lead the way, Captain."
Jill smiled gratefully and tapped her com-badge. "Commander Ruvok,"
"Yes, Captain," Ruvok's voice came in over the com-badge.
"Lt. Commander Rola and I are going on a special away mission to Hadrian VII. We have intuitive reason to believe interstellar law is being grievously violated. We are uniquely equipped to ascertain the situation. To avoid inflaming the situation further, we will be traveling in a private vessel of mine. Have BEREE increase long range communications. Wait for us outside the Neutral Zone."
"If your suspicions are correct, Captain, would it not be more logical for us to handle this as a complete crew? Should we not go with you? Whatever craft you are employing is not regulated and will assuredly attract negative attention from Starfleet Command."
"Master Mahtek taught me something once, Commander Ruvok. 'The hunter who kills a thousand great beasts may still die from a single insect's sting.' We're going in, Commander; light and maneuverable. The Dark Side is moving and I will not leave my…" She stopped herself before she made this far too personal too soon. "I won't leave the innocent in harm's way."
"I see…" Ruvok said. "And how shall I report this to Starfleet Command?"
Jill looked and Kyriol and smiled. "Tell them… it's Jedi business."
Jack Hannah was many things. Lucky wasn't one of them. He had grown up in the Galactic Republic Fealty. It was always at war with the Third Galactic Empire, made up of clone armies of stormtroopers and Jem'hadar ruled by a nameless Sith Lord who was only known as the Dark Master. The Empire occupied Corellia for about four months. During that time Jack Hannah, then known as Jack Khan'ash, the Huttese translation of the human name Hannah, was sent to the slave mines of Kessel and forced to work, nearly to death.
Before they could finish him off, Jack was saved by Jedi Lord Dhalgahar Fel, noble descendant of Emperor Roan Fel of the Old Imperial Knights, and his new Knights of the Senate. With them was King Vahtek, father of Mahtek, Emperor of Qu'Onos and the Klingon Race, then still a Jedi Knight and a former trainee of Lord Fel. He remembered beholding them at the victory parade in all of their splendor, adorned in golden armors, shining their lightsabers proudly before the cheering crowds. He swore his allegiance to them from then on.
He was a born gunslinger, capable of shooting the eyes out of a rampaging gundark with his left hand. He became a privateer of His Majesty, a space pirate with a code. He toted phaser pistols, blasters, disruptors and even a lightsaber – Jill's first blade, his wedding present. It didn't work, at least not properly. The emitter had been bitten off by the above mentioned rampaging gundark. Nonetheless, it made for useful short ranged beam weapon, now – and he wouldn't be caught dead without it by his side.
Speaking of being caught dead – the Cardassians were beginning to shoot back. He found himself in danger again, now on Neo-Kessel, in a distant Galaxy from the original slave mine where he was first imprisoned, wondering at how terrible the Universe's sense of humor was.
The mission was to take food salvaged from vanquished Cardassian vessels and ship it to their Bajoran victims – many of whom were fully trained Jedi, though not enough to fight the relentless Cardassian war machine. Now the mission was to escape alive with as many Bajorans and slaves as he and his men could. That meant breaking into the slave mine's prison-fortress ten clicks ahead of them. A fortress guarded by crackpot Jem'hadar warriors with a tripod, rapid fire disruptor cannon.
Luckily, his team was crackpot as well. As he shot down two more Cardassian riflemen, he saw his oldest friend in the Hood Running business charge directly into a gunnery bunker, spinning his body as well as his laser sword as he swatted aside a rapid stream of deadly energy disks with his own green-bladed lightsaber, and sliced down the two Dominion warriors manning the tripod blaster that had them pinned down. "Konno!" Mahtek shouted back to them in Klingon. "Let's go!"
The Klingon Jedi's bravery, skill and foolhardy did his Klingon tradition proud, but it belied his importance in the grand scheme of intergalactic politics. He was Mahtek, Jedi Knight and Crown Prince of the Klingon Empire. More intimately, he was Jill Hannah's Master. More importantly, Jack Hannah now owed him another life debt. The first was when he earned his Jedi knighthood by saving Jack's life ten years ago at the Battle of Kessel.
"Unbelievable…" Jack said shaking his head. As he ran towards the giant door to the prison-fortress where Mahtek stood burning through it with his laser sword, the ground beneath them began to shake. Jack whipped out a pair of Romulan disruptors as he struggled to keep his balance.
They looked up to see an Imperial All-Terrain Hunter-Killer droid walker. This walker was anthropomorphic with its hands being chain gun laser cannons. It trained its mighty weapons on Jack and Prince Mahtek and fired.
"The Empire is … here!?" Jack fired non-stop, his tiny energy pellets sparking uselessly against the giant robot as Mahtek desperately struggled to deflect the hail of deadly turbo-laser shots with his lightsaber.
Suddenly, a large red bolt struck the 20-foot-tall robot's shoulder. Fire erupted from the metal death machine's shoulder joint and one of its laser-arms fell to the ground, sending up a cloud of the arid, tan dust that covered Hadrian VII.
Near the horizon they could see the ship they had "borrowed," with dozens of Bajorans running into it. Atop the small cruiser was a young girl, 19 years old, holding a scoped rifle whose barrel was ten feet long, supported by a tripod. She fired again striking the automated mech in the head.
The AT-HK walker fell backward onto the prison-fortress, smashing its watchtowers and knocking down the door that Prince Mahtek had already begun to weaken with his lightsaber. Out of the ruined prison stumbled wounded, emaciated, and exhausted aliens, mostly Bajorans who had been slaved – apparently by Cardassians, now working with the Empire of the Galaxy of the Force.
Jack put a com-link to his lips kneeling in exhaustion. "Good shooting, Jayrene," he said to the girl atop the starship. "Bring the ship closer. These poor bastards ain't gonna make the distance."
Jayrene Shayheart was a charming, dark-haired girl, whose darkness you could only see if you looked into her Sith-red eyes. "You got it Cap," she replied climbing back down into the ships cockpit through a hatch next to her.
She was only ten when Corellia was occupied by the Dark Master. The stormtroopers' cybernetic enhancements sensed her midi-chlorians and sent her back to the Sith Lord to become a Shadow Guard. Chafing under the burden of the Dark Side for five years, she was not freed until she was sent to fight the Senatorial Knights of Dhalgahar Fel. She defeated the Jedi, but could not bring herself to kill him. She fled the Empire, taking its anger and shame with her. She would not join the Knights or any of the Jedi scattered across the Galaxies. She could not, however resist the thrill of an alien sky. She joined Jack Hannah as a privateer of the Galactic Republic Fealty.
Jayrene looked back over the miserable broken Bajoran slaves they had just rescued. Their anguish and rage flowed through her. She would destroy the Empire and murder the Dark Master. It was her destiny. She had no pretenses about Light and Dark – only right and wrong mattered. The Dark Master would die for making her a monster – for making her kill those who fought for freedom.
Blaring alarms broke her dark, brooding inner thoughts. A dreaded roar heard for over 400 years in the Galaxy of the Force now boomed in the air over Hadrian VII in the Delta Quadrant of Federation Space.
"Cap…" she moaned plaintively into the com-link in utter disbelief of what she was seeing. "We've got TIE fighters coming in!"
Ten clicks away at the ruined prison, Jack and Mahtek fell under the shadow of a giant wedged shaped craft – an Imperial Star Destroyer like nothing they had ever seen.
"That ain't the big problem, Sweetheart. Prime the engines." This beast had evolved into a new class of death machine over the centuries now with impulse engines and quantum torpedo bays. The wedge extended from a saucer studded on its massive underbelly with quad turbo-laser batteries.
"Only the Federation's best scientists could have built something like this," Jack panted.
"This can only mean one thing, Jack Hannah," Mahtek said. "The Empire now has pawns inside Starfleet."
"Jill …" Jack said in horror. "I've got to warn Jill. She'll never see this coming, even with her Jedi senses."
"It's too late," Mahtek said as he turned and pointed to a small light in the sky. "You're wife has come here for you."
"Oh my God!" Jill exclaimed. "That thing is a … Star Destroyer!"
"Captain…" Kyriol said, "I have a bad feeling about this…"
Before they could say more a green flash whipped by the X-Runner. They were being fired upon by the latest generation of Imperial TIE fighters. These were monstrosities with three straight, thin solar-panel wings jutting out from the sides of a circular center. In place of a cockpit was a chain gun which fired the green laser blasts at merciless speeds.
"Commander Rola," Jill ordered, "Switch to analog control. They're coming in too fast to get a phaser lock."
"Aye, Captain," Kyriol smiled. "Perfect 900 score since day one at the Academy – and no dirty Imps are gonna to break my streak!"
"No hot-dogging this time, Commander," Jill said struggling with the double joystick helm of the X-Runner twirling the ship around vicious streams of green TIE fighter fire. "Send out a signal to the Diamond Sword. Tell them to report everything we see here back to Starfleet."
"Distress signal sent, Captain. Now what? There's at least three dozen of these things out here." Kyriol grimaced. "I don't sense any life forms either… they're machines."
"There!" Jill pointed down to the planet where more of the robotic TIE ships were headed. These had two elongated pods between their tripled wings. "Those are bombers. They're going after the refugees…" she breathed and spoke lower to herself, "…and Jack."
Kyriol cracked her neck and took the controls tightly into her hands, "Not today!"
The X-Runner twirled through the stars under the masterful guidance of Lt. Commander Kyriol Rola. The medium-sized space cruiser's red turbo-phaser beams sliced through several of the TIE bombers before bolting into the atmosphere. Flaming chunks of freshly halved TIE droid ships plummeted in fiery hail behind the X-Runner as they sped towards Jack's location. They were skimming close enough to the desert surface of the planet to see the flashes of light from Jack's disruptor pistol.
"We have visual contact, Captain," Kyriol announced. "Mercy! The refugees are all but wiped out," She seethed. She grimaced as they both peered in closer. They could see a bulky robed silhouette wielding a green lightsaber with amazing skill and elegant acrobatics, swatting down disruptor blasts and bouncing phaser beams back into the shooters that mercilessly assaulted the abused Bajorans. "Is that…?"
"Master Mahtek!" Jill said breathlessly. The X-Runner blasted two more TIE bombers before hovering over Jack and Mahtek who now stood alone in a heap of dead alien bodies. They looked up at the ship over them. In the distance Jayrene could be seen running towards them shooting over her shoulder as their ship was vaporized in a plume of orange smoke. "We're attracting way too much attention. Get us cloaked."
"Aye, Captain." The X-Runner shimmered, wavered a bit and finally vanished into a barely visible transparent shadow. "We are cloaked. Preparing to beam up survivors.
"Do you have them all?" Jill said.
"Energizing, Captain." The two Hood Runners and the Klingon Prince dematerialized from the ruined scene.
The trio appeared about ten feet behind them on the transporter platforms.
Jack and Jill ran and embraced either each other and kissed deeply.
Jack smiled at his wife, "What have you done to my ship?" he asked playfully.
"The usual… war… rescue missions – Oh my God!" Jill turned to Kyriol, forcing her mind back to the mission. She searched the large transporter. She realized in a horrible flash that only Jack, Prince Mahtek and another Hood Runner had been beamed up. "The Bajoran Colonists!" Kyriol struggled with the controls. Jack shook his head.
Kyriol glared at the Star Destroyer. "They put up a dampening field around all Bajoran life forms!" she seethed through her teeth. "I can't beam them out."
Jill shook her head. "That thing has to be destroyed!"
"Jill Hannah!" A lordly voice said from behind her. "Hatred is a path to the Dark Side."
Jill snapped her gaze to the Klingon Jedi in outrage. "Master! All of those people and you just…" she was shouting again. "Forgive me, Master," she said softer. "But I have duty a to the Federation as well as to the Force."
"Clear your mind, Captain," he said approaching the cockpit. "Use the Force… what should a Federation captain do?"
Jill nodded as she replied. "Engage the aggressors from a place of strength and unity." She put a hand on Kyriol's shoulder, "Where is the Diamond Sword now?"
Kyriol touched a few buttons, then smiled, "Within short-range communications."
Jill tapped her com-badge. "Commander Ruvok,"
"We have your signal Captain, we are at full battle stations, and will reach you ETA six minutes. However, a field has been erected… we… can… not… able…" Static overtook Ruvok's voice.
"Commander? Commander!" Jill said frustrated. "They're being jammed."
"Sensors indicate another battalion of those TIE fighters are swarming the Diamond Sword!" Kyriol added frantically panting, "Too many to count!"
"And that thing is coming straight at us!" Jack said pointing to the saucer-bodied Star Destroyer.
"Even worse…" The mysterious dark haired, red-eyed girl who had beamed up with Mahtek and Jack Hannah spoke up for the first time. "I sense a dark soul aboard that ship."
Jill cocked her head to one side as she looked at the girl. "The Force is strong in you…" she looked to Jack questioningly, "But so is the Dark Side."
Jack sighed, "Jill this is Jayrene –"
Jayrene interrupted him, choosing to introduce her sordid past for herself. She would not have anyone apologize for her, in any way. "Jayrene Shayheart, TS 421 – Imperial Shadow Guard … formerly, of course." The girl's black hair was combed up into red-tipped flame-like spikes on one side and down in shocked bangs across her eye on the other. Across her back was a lightsaber pike, a lightsaber connected to a long staff of saber-proof phrik alloy – standard issue for the Sith Assassin Corps. "I know darkness when I see it."
"I see…" Jill said contemplating the pain, guilt and bitterness emanating from Jayrene's young form, "Welcome aboard, Jayrene Shayheart."
"Um, Honey," Jack said matter-of-factly, "The Star Destroyer…?"
"We are cloaked," Kyriol assured.
"Not from… him…" Jayrene said like it made her nauseous.
"Who?" Jill said.
Before an answer could be spoken the USS Diamond Sword bolted out of hyperspace with in firing range of the monstrous Imperial warship. Several TIE fighters exploded around it, shredded by the warp field of the starship. The battle ensued almost immediately. Bolts of energy and beams of destruction were exchanged between the two ships, cutting huge flaming gashes in the hulls of both. The Diamond Sword took the worst of it being less the half the size of this new Star Destroyer.
A merciless hail of green turbo-laser blast rained down upon the saucer section of the Gallantry-class Federation Starship. Pockets of flame exploded all over the starship's circular hull.
"Such a weapon… Who could devise such a monstrosity?" Mahtek thought aloud. "No capital ship in either Galaxy would be able to stand against such a force alone!"
"Oh my God!" Jill said in horror. "Kyriol beam them out of there!"
"We can't hold them all, Captain!" The Romulan responded desperately. "The Diamond Sword is too unstable. The magnetic fields are nullifying the transporter beam!" Kyriol struggled with the computer for another tense moment. "The dampening field is down! We can get the survivors from the planet."
Jill look down at the TIE fighter-swarmed world and then at her beloved ship. She breathed deep. "The Jedi will defend the helpless…" Jill quoted the old Skywalker Code to herself. She closed her eyes, unable to view her ship as it fell apart. "Do it," she muttered. Behind them about twelve tattered and battered aliens materialized on the transporter platform.
"Oh,no…" Kyriol said in despondent panic. "She's coming apart! The warp core implosion shockwave!"
"Honey," Jack said, touching the frozen Jill's shoulder, "Let me drive." Jill nodded trading seats with him, never taking her eyes off of the flaming ship.
The Diamond Sword screeched, lurched, twisted and finally exploded with brilliant orange shockwave. Jack pulled hard on the control sticks. He turned the X-Runner around, putting the backs of its engine nacelles to the shockwave.
The ship lurched and shook violently around them. "The shockwave is on top of us!" Kyriol strained.
"Now – make the trans-warp jump!" Jack shouted over the clanging ruckus.
"We don't have a heading solution!" Kyriol rebutted.
"Anywhere but here," Jack reached over to her terminal and pulled the hyperdrive lever.
The X-Runner somersaulted precariously into hyperspace, thrown mid-jump by the explosion of the Diamond Sword. Everyone was thrown to the floor of the ship. Everything went woozy for a long time…
"Where … are we?" Jack moaned looking around to see if everyone else was okay. The alien refugees huddled together on the transporter platform utterly terrified. "Hey, it's okay." He said rubbing a cut on his head as he stood up. "You're safe now, right?"
"Honey!" Jill said in a warning voice. He turned to see a space filled with the ruins of dozens of Borg Cubes.
Kyriol whispered to him, "We are cloaked now, but the enemy can still detect high decibel sounds when they go for life form sweeps."
Jack whispered back. "Where the hell are we?" He remembered he had made a warp jump without a heading. Apparently this was why that was such a bad idea.
"Borg Space," The stunning response came from one of the aliens on the transporter. He was a young Romulan boy in a Starfleet uniform. Jack gave him a questioning grimace. The young boy shook his hand. "Ensign Shody Briggston, Science Officer, Junior Grade."
To Jack's amazement, as the Romulan ensign held his hand the wound on his forehead closed up completely. He wiped the blood off with his sleeve, and it was as if he had never been hurt. "How…?"
Shyly, Shody unclipped an organic, tree-like lightsaber from the back of his pants. "I'm a padawan," he whispered sadly. "My master cut my braid before he died on Hadrian VII. He said a Jedi persecution was coming and that I had to blend in." He sighed and sat down. "I'm not much good… except for medic duties."
Jack turned to notice the view screen. He grimaced as he saw only light years and light years of Borg debris. "Who are we hiding from? The Borg look pretty dead to me."
"The Empire and the Borg have been at war with each other over the Great Rift for the past century now," Shody explained. "The Borg are nearly extinct, but they are still just as deadly as ever…" Shody became grim, "Especially to Jedi coming through the Rift."
"They have an appetite for us," Jayrene said suddenly, startling both as she seemed to appear out of nowhere. She sat coldly polishing her light-spear with dry cloth. "The Borg think that if they assimilate enough Jedi that they will be able to defeat the Empire." She laughed sadistically. "As much as the Imps deserve it – a quick stab to the neck is probably a more fitting death for a Sith Lord." She said it as if she could taste the moment.
She leaned close to Shody, close enough for his brown eyes to lock with her orange-red disks of corruption and hate. "You should study more, boy. If you couldn't sense me coming, you won't since them."
Shody started to answer then stopped. "I… I do sense them."
"No …" Jayrene said standing up. "You sense them… sensing us!"
A spherical Borg vessel, the size of the Diamond Sword's saucer section, floated close to the X-Runner. Suddenly a frayed green beam of light shone across the hull. The ship rumbled. "We are caught in a Borg tractor beam!" Kyriol announced.
"We are the Borg," said a droll, multi-person, unison voice, "We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."
"Damn it!" Jill swore, "The trans-warp hyperdrive is almost recharged. A few more par-secs and we will be within visual range of the Great Rift."
'They're pulling us in, Captain," Kyriol said a bit of a tremor in her voice. "Weapons are inoperable."
"What about the transporter beam?" Jayrene asked twirling her spear.
"It works, but what good will it do?" Kyriol replied confused, "There is nowhere to beam to."
Jayrene stood on the transporter. "Get me aboard the Borg Sphere," she said staring at it intensely.
"Are you crazy, Shayheart?!" Jack exclaimed. "We need to get out of here!"
"The Sphere's tractor beam is too strong for us," Kyriol interjected. "We are at full impulse and we are gaining no distance on them."
"The Borg that found us is a Jedi!" Jayrene retorted with a shout. "I'm the only one here qualified to kill a Jedi."
"This won't be easy, Jayrene," Jill said, "Sensors indicate at least a dozen drones. And if one of them is an assimilated Jedi …"
"Captain!" Kyriol exclaimed, "We are almost inside the Sphere!"
"Kyriol, Jayrene, together with me!" Jill ordered as she stood up stretching her hands towards the Borg Sphere. Jayrene and Kyriol joined her.
The X-Runner vibrated violently as the three women pressed against Borg technology with the power of the Force. Streaks of blue lighting crawled across Jayrene's body as she used her anger and frustration against the Borg ship. Unsecured guns and tools began to float as Captain Hannah and Lt. Commander Rola entered deep into Jedi telekinetic meditation.
All at once the green Borg tractor beam blinked, sizzled and finally exploded on the Borg Sphere. Jayrene took a ready stance with her saber pike. "When I give you the signal, hit the Sphere with everything you've got." Jill nodded. Kyriol clicked a few buttons and the panels on transporter platform began to glow. "I'm ready."
"May the Force be with you," Jill said.
"Energize." Kyriol announced as Jayrene and her light-spear dematerialized.
Jayrene found herself in a room with a long haired young woman. She wore a black body suit marked. Large cables were attached to her all over hear body. Her arms and torso were covered in a light exoskeleton with tinkering device attached. On the far wall was a large circular view screen, through which she could see the X-Runner battling the sphere desperately with phaser beams and turbo-blasters, all having no effect. For a long moment only the hum of Jayrene's red lightsaber-pike made any sound at all.
Then the girl turned to Jayrene. She was shocked to see such a human, emotional face on a Borg. "You shouldn't have come," the girl said here face contorted with horror, fear and grief. "They only wake me up from the hive when I sense a Jedi." The drone had no facial implants or optical lens. Her pupils were colored like gray microchips. "Please go!" The girl shouted. "Please! They only let me think and feel so I can find you… run away…" the girl began to sob.
Jayrene lowered her weapon. "Who are you?"
"I am 88 of 300 … uh, I mean… Viridian… Viridian St. Claire. At least I was until…" Suddenly, the emotion was wiped from Viridian's face. The cables plugged into her became prehensile and detached themselves one by one. She looked Jayrene up and down. "Priority subject. Assimilation in progress."
Suddenly, two lightsaber hilts emerged on her wrists from among the exoskeleton of devices implanted all over her. Their blades were green. Jayrene lit her saber pike took a strong stance. She was shocked as the same thing happened on her ankles. These blades were 10-inches each. The lightsabers on her ankles spun around rapidly, mounted 3 inches above her exoskeleton, making an unnerved buzz, transforming Viridian's every punch and kick into a deadly blade assault.
Jayrene caught one of her wrist sabers on the phrik staff of her weapon. She spun the pike around, locking Viridian's wrist-sabers together. Without flinching Viridian gymnastically brought her leg around in a foot sweep. Jayrene leapt sideways over the deadly spinning swords, letting the wrist-sabers pressing against her crash into the ground as she rolled out of their way.
Viridian did not relent. She stabbed mercilessly into the ground leaving round orange burns in the cold metal floor. Jayrene retaliated spinning her saber-pike in a rapid circle as she lay on her back. The arc of her counter-attack sent the red energy blade of her pike through the implants connected Viridian's saber's to her wrists. The deactivated saber hilts fell to the floor, and Jayrene leapt up to her feet.
The Borg Jedi somersaulted into a handstand, assaulting Jayrene with the spinning blades on her feet. Jayrene parried the whirling green sabers with the red tip of her saber-pike. Viridian spun around on her hands, whipping her legs about in a Capoeira-like fashion, smashing the full force of her saber-spurs into Jayrene's light-spear.
Jayrene struggled desperately parrying and dodging as Viridian's attacks forced her backward until they were both surrounded by Borg alcoves. Viridian stood upright her saber-spurs still spinning. Jayrene made a strike for her head. Viridian kicked bringing her foot over her head, catching the saber-pike on her ankle-blade. The saber-pike crackled loudly as the spinning, green energy swords were grinding into its still, crimson blade.
Viridian brought her foot down, taking her body into a perfect split, pinning Jayrene's saber-pike to the floor. The Force-powered Borg gestured to the drones in the Force. All around them, Borg drones began to awaken and close in on Jayrene. Their assimilators extended from their wrists towards her like hungry tentacles.
Viridian met her red gaze with her emotionless, circuit laced eyes, "Resistance is futile."
Rage and horror welled up inside the ex-Shadow Guard. As the Borg drones closed in, Jayrene leapt straight up in the air about 8 feet. Upon crashing down, she released an explosion of kinetic Force power in all directions. The Force repulse smashes the drones deep into to the walls and shattered most of the recharge alcoves in a shower of sparks, fire and smoke. Viridian was smashed into the far wall.
Jayrene screamed in primal rage, her red eyes glowing brightly. She sent a violent blast of Force lightning into Viridian's body from her hands. The Borg Jedi screamed horribly as the Dark Side blast lifted the girl high into the air. After a few moments of horrible screaming, Jayrene let Viridian drop to the floor, motionless with a loud thud.
She pulled her com-link from her belt. "Do it now, Captain," she said panting. "The Jedi was the central control here. Hurry before the ship adapts."
"Well done, Jayrene," Jill's voice replied from the com-link, "Will beam you out in twenty seconds."
Jayrene pulled her lightsaber-pike to her with the Force. She looked around to see the Borg drones dead, their bodies shattered by her Force repulse wave. She turned to leave the grizzly scene when she heard moaning behind her.
Viridian was alive. Jayrene jogged over to her as the sphere began to rumble, being pelted by a full salvo of the X-Runner's quantum torpedoes. Chunks of the ceiling began to fall down all around them. Jayrene picked her up as the transporter beam de-materialized her, taking the Borg Jedi with her – the first Jedi life she had ever managed to save with her dark powers.
Starfleet Command was a peaceful place. The influence of people from the Force Galaxy gave its newer buildings a more temple-like feel. Such holiness was in stark contrast to the meeting of evil minds going on beneath the roof.
The Diamond Sword was destroyed and Captain Jill Hannah had fled to the home world of the Jedi. The trap was nearly sprung. Only one obstacle stood in the way of their plans.
"The Sith will want her for themselves, Admiral." She stood hooded and cloaked in black before the admiral's desk. Only a silver com-badge revealed her identity as a Starfleet Intelligence officer. On her hip was an onyx black lightsaber hilt. "It is only logical that they will turn her to the Dark Side in her disillusion with Starfleet – or kill her as an enemy of the Empire."
The Admiral was a white-haired man with cold eyes and a stiff, sharp chin. "Can I trust your abilities against this eventuality, Maira Shorn?"
"The Force is with me, Admiral Carn," she removed her hood to reveal her Vulcan ears. "I live to serve Starfleet and the preservation of order in this Galaxy. Captain Jill Hannah has endangered us by interfering with our agreement with the Dominion Alliance. The Bajorans are too volatile to know the ways of the Force. Logic demands that they all be destroyed."
"Not to mention the Dark Master will have our heads if they get in the way of his coming."
"What of the Jem'Hadar Sith – Darth Krygat and Darth Mergmer?" Shorn asked.
"Those deluded fools think they're the vanguard of the Empire, with their paltry army of antique droids and mercenaries. They are mere tools of the Master. The Jedi will deal with them. Or they will deal with the Jedi for us. It is inconsequential either way. Your mission is Captain Hannah. No disintegrations, you understand? Kill the Hood Runners. Bring her back to me. Alive if she'll listen to reason, if not – do what you must. Don't worry. You have the Kolinhar discipline to control your fear. You are the only one worthy of becoming the Dark Master's Right Hand."
"The Jedi Knight Mahtek is among Jack Hannah's Hood Runners, Admiral Carn. He is an Imperial Knight of Qo'Onos, and the future ruler of the Klingon Empire."
"Those barbarian scum! We should have wiped them out when we had the chance 500 years ago – when Praxus exploded, instead of repairing their filthy atmosphere like cosmic maids. It was an omen from the Force."
"I will deal with him."
"No need." Admiral Carn stood from his chair. Maira raised a thick eyebrow. "Your… colleague will deal with him."
"Ah…" Maira, "The Master's Left Hand. Who…?"
Carn shook his head. "The hands of the Sith obey the word of the Master without question. Kill the Hood Runners, and bring Captain Hannah to me. Her body is the key to the Master's plan for the future of the Federation."
"Yes Admiral. The Empire will bring order to the Galaxies."
The Fourth Moon of Yavin was a serene, lonely, contemplative place. There was over 5,000 years of history here. Jill could feel it. The silhouettes of dark plans carried out by ruthless and ancient Sith, long given over to the tides of time. Heroic rebels fought and won against overwhelming darkness here. Hope was reborn, lost, and reborn again on these very grounds. The temple stairs that she and her master, Mahtek tread had been walked by Jedi Masters and Sith Lords.
Since the days of the Rift, the landscape had become a hodgepodge of shuttlecraft, Vong-formed meditation towers, and home to a Klingon battle dojo. As for the inhabitants of the Jedi Temple on Yavin 4 she was lovingly embraced by the most pivotal man in the Galaxy of the Force. "Master Skywalker," she said bowing.
Jedi Master Oben-kade Tiberius Skywalker was the Grand Master of the Jedi Order in the Galactic Republic Fealty. He had dusty blonde hair and a thick, fuzzy beard. On his belt were two lightsaber hilts, both as old as the Empire and the Rebellion it spawned. One was the smooth round convex hilt built by Anakin Skywalker during the Clone Wars. The other was the round, grip-wrapped, flange-emitter hilt built by Luke Skywalker to face Anakin's Dark Side aboard the second Imperial Death Star. Both still cut as surely as when they were first ignited – over 420 years before.
His birthright legacy was even more powerful than the history of his Jedi lightsabers. His paternal ancestor was Peter Kirk, the legendary Captain James T. Kirk's nephew. On his mother's side Cade Skywalker's great grand-daughter, Gabrielle Aben Skywalker was among those who first completed the Outbound Flight mission, discovering the Great Rift, thus beginning relations between the Jedi and the Federation.
Mahtek bowed, "Master, it has been far too long."
Jill puzzled, "His Majesty is not your master, Prince Mahtek?"
"It is the will of the Force that our Galaxies fates be intertwined, Jill Hannah," Mahtek replied. "My father trained me in the arts of battle – as with all Klingons. He sent me here to know peace in the Force, and how to resist the evils of the Dark Side."
"I served Lord Fel and Emperor Vahtek in the Third Corellian War." Oben-kade explained further. "Together we forged the New Jedi Order and gathered Jedi from both our worlds and from Lord Fel's training camps. We built three new Jedi Temples here on Yavin, on Ossus, and on Qo'Nos, all with the common goal of finally ending the ways of tyranny and oppression in the Universe." Oben-kade's countenance grew darker. "And to leave the Dark Side no shadows in which to hide."
"You mean the Dark Master," Jill deduced. Master Oben-kade nodded. "Master Skywalker, speaking of shadows, Starfleet summoned me repeatedly to Earth for study."
"Study?" Oben-kade became visibly disturbed.
Jill swallowed hard, wondering what could make a Jedi Master as powerful as Oben-kade Skywalker worry. "Yes, Master. I am the first Earth born human to feel the Force as a Jedi. The Intelligence Department thinks this is very important. They study me for hours on end. It's never painful… but it is intrusive. I always feel a disturbance in the Force whenever I go back to Earth. Like pure evil is sleeping inside Starfleet Command. I tell myself I'm just afraid of my new responsibilities, but now…"
"Always trust your feelings, Captain," Oben-kade told her. "What is the purpose of these experiments?"
"That's just it, Master. They say that it's a matter of intergalactic security, but it's always classified above me." She began to breathe hard clenching her fists in rage. "Just like the top-secret Star Destroyer that murdered my crew."
Oben-kade touched her shoulder. "Grief is only natural, Captain. You must feel your emotions first, if you hope to control them."
"Yes, they are natural, Master," she said sucking back tears. "But, only justice is worth the effort." She strode confidently down the stairs leaving her master and his master to ponder the coming storm.
"She seeks to bury her pain." Mahtek said with a sigh. "A dangerous technique for a Jedi."
"What happened?" Oben-kade asked with a grimace. "I sensed so much guilt, loss, and such a sense of responsibility. The weight of being whatever Starfleet thinks she is … its crushing her."
"That is why I came to see you my old master." Mahtek said. Oben-kade gave him a strange look. "The Federation has begun to embrace the Dark Side." Skywalker's eyes went wide. "They have begun to build powerful warships for the Galactic Empire. We watched helplessly as a Star Destroyer the likes of which we have never seen tore Jill Hannah's starship to pieces!"
"So … the circle continues. The Dark Side speaks power and the power-hungry listen." Master Oben-kade Skywalker sighed wearily, running his hand over his face. "We have no choice but to alert Lord Fel and the Senate Security Council. The Federation has been compromised." Mahtek nodded and walked purposefully back into the Temple building.
"That's not all." The voice startled Oben-kade. Only a dark assassin could evade the wide-reaching senses of a Jedi Master and get that close to him without him noticing. Jayrene stood across the balcony of the Temple from them, leaning on her saber-pike, appearing as though out of nowhere. "He was directly commanding that super ship."
"You sensed the Dark Master?" Oben-kade asked. Jayrene nodded sheepishly. "No Jedi Master for the last fifty years has been able to sense him. How…?" He noticed her saber-pike. "You… were Imperial…" Jayrene's hard, cold expression began to crack. "You know the Dark Side, don't you…?" He asked compassionately.
Jayrene fell apart, falling all but prostrate before Oben-kade Skywalker. "Forgive me, Master Jedi!" she half-sobbed. "I… I killed your students! I killed Jedi! They took me when I was ten. I was trained to be a Shadow Guard from the time I was twelve. I was always so angry. I didn't even care what I destroyed…"
"Enough, enough," Oben-kade picked up her chin and looked into her red eyes. "The Force brought you to me for a reason."
"I agreed to this mission, only because I would get the chance to meet you, Master Jedi." She looked down. "You must want to kill me," she said. Oben-kade winced at the thought. "Please, Master Skywalker. I can't live with someone else's soul on my hands forever. Not with all this hate."
"Let it go," Oben-kade said, "Free yourself to embrace the Light. I wouldn't harm you. I don't even know your name."
"Jayrene Shayheart TS 421, Shadow Guard, First…" She realized all of these years she had still been hammering out her Imperial serial number as if she were still in the Assassin Corps. "I have to make him pay for what he's done, Master Skywalker!" she growled. "It's the only reason I go on living."
"Then I will show you that life is the meaning of life, Jayrene Shayheart," Oben-kade, gestured with his right hand ever so slightly, moving the Force. One of the longer shocks of her hair twisted itself into a braid.
Jayrene looked up, her mouth agape in disbelief as she looked at the braid and then at Skywalker. "You… you don't mean …?"
"You saved the life of a dangerous enemy by bringing Viridian St. Claire back to humanity from the Borg. That kind of inner strength and courage takes the heart of a Jedi." Oben-kade smiled broadly, "Rise, my apprentice."
Jayrene stood up and bowed, welling over with emotion. "Thank you… my master."
"We will face the Dark Master together – but not to take revenge. Instead, we will save all that we hold dear from eternal darkness."
"But to do that we must destroy him." Jayrene said. "The dark circumstances remain!"
"Indeed. Out of respect for the Force, not for revenge, the abomination of the Sith must be destroyed. It is you who must change, not the circumstances."
Jayrene nodded thoughtfully. "What is thy bidding, my master?"
"We must go through the Rift and search through the underbelly of the Federation. To do something of this magnitude, the servants of the Sith will require great wealth. Even if the Federation doesn't use a system of currency, they will be involved with those who are still controlled by avarice and greed."
"The scene of the crime; the Gamma Quadrant… The Federation's hive of scum and villainy. We'll have to find evidence to show Lord Fel and the President of the Federation. When do we leave, Master?"
Dusk had fallen over Yavin 4. Jack and Jill spent the evening in each other's company, having been deprived of each other's presence for so long. War stories and laughter filled the air between them.
"Do you remember the time we ran into that gundark on Dantooine?" Jack held up the broken saber hilt. "Oh, Jack… you kept that old thing?"
"Old thing! This puppy saved my ass on that run into Dominion Space last year."
They kissed. "I don't know what I would do with out you, Jack." Jill admitted.
He grabbed her hand tightly, "I'm not going anywhere, Jill. Not from you." He paused. "I love you Jill."
They went on and on in playful laughter and reminiscence.
Viridian and Shody spied on their romantic banter in the courtyard from above in one of the Jedi Temple's Vong-formed spires. "She's so much stronger than he is," said Shody, "And yet, somehow he holds her together."
"Humans are a strange spectacle, Shody," Viridian told him as she sat down in one of the Temple training room's round chairs.
Shody grimaced and turned to her from the window. "You're human, too aren't you?"
She looked at her hands, remembering her battle with Jayrene. She caressed the scars on her wrists where her wrist-sabers were implanted. "I was … I don't think I am anymore. I am my own person just not who I was. I am Viridian St. Claire… but also 88of 300."
"Viridian 88. It sounds confusing." Shody did not need Jedi intuition to see her pain. "Eh, humanity is overrated," he smiled. "You can always be a pretty decent Romulan – trust me there's perks." He wiggled his serrated ears. He managed to get the brooding Borg girl to eke out a smile. "See! Chicks did the ears."
Her smile faded. "Viridian 88… but there aren't many perks to being a Borg."
"There must be something to it," Shody shrugged. "You're a better Jedi than I'll ever be."
"That's not true," Viridian said. "Your Force powers are amazing. You healed those refugees without a tricorder or a single drop of hypo-spray."
"Not much good against the Borg, or the Empire." Shody rebutted.
"Sounds like you are out of practice, Ensign Briggston." The saber-spurs attached to her ankles ignited and began to spin. "Care to brush up on your technique?" she smiled.
Shody smiled back and drew his saber hilt. He ignited its silvery-white blade and took a stance. Viridian delivered a series of kicks, half-speed to warm up. He parried each spur meticulously, shunted her legs aside. Using the momentum she would spin into the next kick, creating a good rhythm between them.
"Good," Viridian said, "You're learning faster than you give yourself credit for."
Before Shody could respond, an explosion rang out and the Temple began to rumble. He look to the sky and froze in horror. Several Jem'Hadar ships now hung high amidst the night stars. Black, stealth Imperial LAAT drop ships flew down from them. "Oh, no… the Empire!"
Hadrian VII was now an utterly barren wasteland. Oben-kade T. Skywalker found all crime scenes the same – grim reminders of the cruelty that still persisted in the Universe. The Empire has razed this planet, bombarding it with turbo-laser fire from close orbit. Now only merciless dust stormed swirled about, attempted to choke away any evidence that the two intrepid Jedi might find.
Jayrene searched in wide arcs with a tricorder. Suddenly something blipped.
"Master Skywalker," she pointed, "Over here." In the sand was a large black oval about 3 feet long.
It spoke with a female, synthesized voice. "Message to Starfleet: Unauthorized technology… Interstellar Law infraction 30335: Genocide. Intervention necessitated."
"It's a Federation astromech droid," Oben-kade deduced.
"I-I… I am BEREE 496 Biotech/Engineering Relations – how may I assist you?"
"It's still alive," Oben-kade said amazed. "Let's beam it up with us and see what it knows about what happened here."
Everything shifted as the transporter beam took the Jedi Master, his new padawan, and the Federation's most advanced astromech droid aboard their Jedi Runabout, immediately recognizable by its twin, bent, solar panel wings.
Aboard it they placed Berry on a table. "Fixing this thing's going to be hell," Oben-kade half-chuckled. "She's got some kind of circuitry."
"Not to worry, Master," Jayrene said, holding up a pair of hydrospanners "There isn't a droid in the Universe I can't hack, fix, or reprogram." She tinkered around for a few minutes. "Berry will be back on her hover-lifts in no time …" Berry beeped to life and floated off of the table. Her one red eye turned to Oben-kade, then to Jayrene, and then back again. "See?"
"Captain Hannah!" Berry exclaimed frantically bursting into a verbose spill of panic and techno-babble. "Warp core implosion immanent! Abandon ship! Escape pods inoperable – tractor beam interference. Heavy turbo-laser fire incoming…"
"Berry! Berry!" Oben-kade said throwing up his hands. "Calm down. You're aboard a Jedi Runabout."
"A Jedi Runabout?" Berry echoed, dizzily.
"Yes. My name is Oben-kade Skywalker. This is my padawan," he gestured to Jayrene, "Jayrene Shayheart. We rescued you from the surface of Hadrian VII."
"I… Oh my circuits…" Berry half-gasped in horror, "Commander Ruvok, must have beamed me down, but why? Of course – the memory files he input into my system!"
"What files?" Jayrene asked sitting down next to the floating black droid.
"Special genetic studies, star maps of the Force Galaxy, and above top-secret logistics from shipyards in the Gamma Quadrant and Alpha Quadrant," she replied.
"What did I tell you, Master?" Jayrene said crossing her arms, "Scum and villainy."
"Well go ahead, Berry," Oben-kade said. "Tell us what you know."
BEREE 496 paused. "I am about to commit an act of high treason against Starfleet Intelligence, by divulging this information, Master Jedi."
"Berry, that ship that killed your crew was made by dark forces using Starfleet's resources," Oben-kade told her.
"If you don't help us the Federation will be usurped by the Sith and become part of the Empire," Jayrene elaborated.
"I see…" Berry said in a defeated voice. "The following was recorded by Admiral Kilroy Carn, Commander and Executive Officer of Starfleet Intelligence." Berry's eye became blue and emitted a human-sized hologram which stood in the floor.
A 3-D hologram of Captain Jill Hannah appeared before them. It was not Jill precisely, but a detailed 3-D photograph of her which spun around slowly. Oben-kade was shocked when the hologram suddenly changed into a large graphic of a DNA helix.
"Intelligence Log: Stardate 433.2516," Berry began, "Classification above top-secret. Captain Jill Hannah: Born 3015. September 29. Age 27; Height: 5 feet, 9 inches; Weight: 160 kilograms. Midi-chlorian count: above 18,000. Jedi, Padawan class. Known disciplines: Interstellar Law, Jedi lifestyle codes, Djem So, and Soresu. Mentors: Admiral Kilroy Carn, primary instructor; alma mater: Kirk-Skywalker Academy of Diplomacy and Astro-Sciences, located at Wolf 359, Alpha Quadrant; Jedi Knight Mahtek, Crown Prince, Klingon Empire, primary instructor; Jedi lifestyle codes and lightsaber combat training …"
"They certainly have had their eyes on Jill for a while," Oben-kade pointed out. "Berry," he said, interrupting the droid mid-dissertation, "Why was the Diamond Sword destroyed?"
"And what was that horrible thing that destroyed it?" Jayrene added.
"Processing…" The images of Jill and her DNA helix flickered and were exchanged for the image of the Star Destroyer that had overpowered the Diamond Sword and single-handedly razed all life on the surface of Planet Hadrian VII. "Dagger-class Imperial Star Destroyer. Status: Working prototype. Dimensions: 2 kilometers length, 1 kilometer radius saucer section. Armaments: 15 phaser banks, 3,000 quantum torpedoes, 57 quad turbo-laser cannons, three tractor beams. Fighter compliment: 136 TIE Hunters. Troop capacity: 700 Dominion sector troopers, 700 stormtroopers. Number commissioned for construction: 50 fully complemented Dagger-class Star Destroyers."
"Monstrous!" Oben-kade exclaimed. "Berry, who built this thing?"
"Ore processing center, location: Hadrian VI, special rehabilitation camp. Ion-warp bifurcation factory, location: Hadrian III, applied skills outpost. Parts construction factory, location: Gamma Quadrant Alpha Draconis VI. Above top-secret final construction site: Shipyard. Location: Bajor."
"They used those poor people in the Hadrian System as slaves to build that thing…" Jayrene said, her face contorted in horror.
"…And then destroyed them when they were no longer of use," Obed-kade said in disgust.
"The shipyard is on Bajor," Jayrene added, "Officially under Caradassian-Dominion occupation."
"And the Dominion Alliance is nothing but a front for the Empire's beachhead here, in the United Federation of Planets," Oben-kade said further. He turned to Jayrene. "We've got to halt construction of this new super fleet before it's unleashed on the Federation!" He turned back to BEREE 496. "What kind of security are we talking about on Bajor?"
"Admiral Carn seems to be obsessed with logic." Berry replied. "The entire planet is controlled by a vast army of droids and computer control systems – including seven compliments of TIE Hunters in patrolling orbit. Only three squads of Jem'Hadar troops commanded by Cardassian commanders are in place to man the droid control spire on the planet's equator."
"Then that's our mission," Oben-kade said. He turned to his padawan. "Jayrene, plot a course for Bajor – maximum trans-warp."
Crown Prince Mahtek, Jedi Knight and former student of Oben-kade Skywalker stood on a world under siege. The hologram before him showed him betrayal.
"Son," Emperor Vahtek said to him, "Qo'Nos has fallen. Imperial clones march through the streets of Kling. I fear this is the last time I shall look upon you son."
"No! Do not speak so, Father," Mahtek rebutted frantically, "Your Jedi powers are immense!"
"And your powers will exceed mine. I have foreseen it." Vahtek smiled breathlessly, hot magenta blood streaming down his face as his golden-bladed lightsaber shimmered in his hand. "What I cannot sense is the one behind this dark betrayal. No one but a Klingon in the royal basilica could have –Ugh!"
Suddenly, a red lightsaber blade jutted through the chest of King Vahtek. "Father!"
Vahtek fell forward, fading out of the hologram, revealing another Klingon holding the Sith laser sword. "Hello, Brother!" The Klingon wore the same golden armor as Vahtek.
"Rahtek!" Mahtek seethed. "You will die for this!"
"Everyday is a good day to die, Elder Brother. Unfortunately, you will go to the Halls of Honor far before my spirit rests with Dark Lords of the Sith."
"Rahtek, how could you betray our father – the Sword of Freedom in the Federation!?"
"That name is no longer of use to me, Brother. I am the Left Hand of the Dark Master!"
At that moment the chime of a transporter beam filled the air. Through the beam came Jem'Hadar warriors, now dressed in the segmented white armor of the Galactic Empire. In their hands were pulsing phaser rifles. Several of them fired on Mahtek.
"Ah my associates," Rahter mocked, "The Empire's newest class of stormtrooper. I'll leave you in their capable hands."
"I swear on Father's honor – I shall fulfill the Law of Revenge!" Mahtek shouted as he skillfully deflected their phaser fire, "Justice shall be done upon you!" Rahtek only chuckled sadistically as his hologram flickered and vanished.
The Jedi prince spun around, pivoting gracefully on one leg, holding his green lightsaber downward parallel to his body, making a wall of revolving light around himself. The energy blasts bounced off of his spinning saber, crashing back into the incoming horde of Dominion troopers. Several of them fell motionless, others vaporized.
Mahtek went on the offensive, leaping the twenty-foot distance, somersaulting in the air spinning with his saber as he landed between the Jem'Hadar stormtroopers. He sliced hot, orange gashes through their torsos and legs, as he twirled and did cartwheels between their phalanxes.
He fought his way outside, leaving a heap of stormtrooper armor-clad Jem'Hadar bodies in his wake. He looked around to see Jedi being surrounded and killed by endless waves of Dominion troopers that kept beaming in by the dozen. TIE Hunters blasts the spires of the Jedi Temple, destroying thousand-year old structures in mere seconds.
His eyes found a royal blue lightsaber on the horizon. "Jill Hannah!" She and Jack ran toward the X-Runner, shooting and cutting down troopers as they went. He looked the other way and could see Viridian and Shody in the far Spire of the Temple battling against Imperial troops as well. He looked and saw a speeder bike with a dead Jem'Hadar soldier sprawled across it. As he went to push the soldier off and board the bike, two lightsaber wielders leapt down from the top of the building.
"I am Lord Krygat, Master of Hate!"
"I am Darth Mergmer, Bringer of Terror!"
They were Jem'Hadar. "We are messengers of the coming Darkness!" Krygat hissed. Their faces were covered with Sith tattoos. "We have been sent by the Left Hand of the Dark Master to make you one with the Force – a parting gift from a dear brother!" said Mergmer. They each held a double-bladed lightsaber, Krygat wielded red, Mergmer's connected blades were fiery orange.
"Corrupt servants of greed and cowardice!" He shoved Mergmer down the long stair with the Force and spun around to crash his green saber into a saber lock with Darth Krygat. "Tell my brother, that if he wants me dead…" He spun in the opposite direction bringing his saber up at an angle, slicing off one end of the Jem'Hadar's red double-saber, then quickly locked with the other sword. "…then he will have to face me himself!" He shoved the dark assassin's blade up and delivered a spin-kick to his gut, flooring him.
He turned around to see Mergmer charging up the stairs twirling his fiery blades with a vicious lethality. Prince Mahtek spun non-stop, leaping between turns, parrying high and then low, shunting one blade only to quickly strike the other.
As he battled the two Sith assassins his thoughts drifted to Jack and Jill as they fought their way up the jagged mountain to the landing pad where the X-Runner awaited them.
Jack and Jill fought their way up the side of the craggy hill, Jack shooting down troopers from above Jill as they beamed in. Jill, further down the incline, swatted down energy blasts with her blue lightsaber.
"Come on, Jill!" Jack called out, "It's just a bit further up. I can see the – Aaaargh!"
Jill turned to see a purple blade of light jutting from Jack's chest. "NOOO!"
Jack fell forward and rolled down the hill to her feet. She caught him in her arms. Jack was panting rapidly. "Jill…" he managed, "I'll always … be with you. No matter what… I'm always…" The light flickered from Jack Hannah's eyes.
Trembling, Jill looked up the hill to see a Vulcan holding a purple lightsaber. "Come, Jill Hannah." The Vulcan said, emotionlessly, as though oblivious to the fact that she had just murdered a man. "I know that the rage driving you cannot resist me."
"You work for the admiral – don't you!?" Jill demanded almost frothing at the mouth in rage.
"He understands that power is the only way to order. The Federation needed your body and yet you refused, choosing instead to live according to some sentimental notions of a right to privacy." Maira Shorn shook her head. "You killed Jack Hannah the day you embraced the Force. Only the passionless can rule with the power of the Dark Side."
"The Dark Side!? You and Admiral Carn are working for the Dark Side? You killed my husband for those genocidal monsters!?" Jill leapt the twenty feet distance between, somersaulting forward, crashing her blue lightsaber into Shorn's violet blade.
The fight began. Jill assaulted shorn with deadly over-handed power strikes as Shorn parried them with elegant, deft, often one-handed counter-strikes. The two women worked their way up the hill as they fought, slicing through rocks and leaving hot scars in the blades of grass.
Jill spun her sword in wide arcs, hungry for the kill. Shorn somersaulted backward high into the air, landing on the landing platform where her ship was. Jill followed kicking the Vulcan down as she did so.
She brought her blade down on the Vulcan's head as she lay on her back. Shorn caught her blade with her own sword, straining against Jill. "You… will … die …!" Jill strained.
"You underestimate the power of the Dark Side, Captain." Shorn released a barrage of lightning from her free hand, shoving Jill 10 feet away. Jill lay there moaning in pain, her body stiff and smoking. "I would have brought you back to the admiral alive," Shorn twirled her blade, preparing to stab Jill through the heart, "Alas …"
As the blade neared her chest, Jill riposted it to one side as she sat up pushing her blue blade through the Vulcan Sith Lady's chest. Shorn's eye's widened as she coughed green blood. "You've taken your revenge… a logical outcome …" Shorn crumbled to her knees. "But an irrelevant one…"
All around them Jem'Hadar troopers emerged from transporter beams. They were completely surrounded. "The Federation… had dark plans for you since you were born, Jill Hannah. Starfleet has been traveling down the dark path for decades … and now … it will forever dominate our destinies …" Shorn closed her eyes and died, perfectly peaceful, as if oblivious to the evil she had helped to unleash on countless worlds.
Jill turned to try to fight the Dominion-made stormtroopers, only to be shot in the back by a phaser set on stun. Her vision faded into blackness as the troopers picked the two motionless women up and vanished into a transporter beam.
Sensing Jill's departure, Mahtek spun around making a huge Force wave. The Sith assassins flew backward from him, smashing them painfully into opposite walls. As they lay stunned, he jumped on to the speeder bike, shoving the dead Jem'Hadar scout trooper off of it with the Force. Using its repulsorlift engines he drove the bike straight up the side of the spire where Shody Briggston and Viridian 88 where beleaguered by the Empire.
The speeder bike smashed through the window. He flew clear through the building to the opposite side of the tower, swiping three troopers out of the 50 foot high spire as he went.
Viridian was doing the better of the two surrounded padawans against the Imperial Jem'Hadar invaders. She was a living spectacle of gymnastic ability as she constantly kicked and spun about, often while in headstands, as well as well floating in mid-air, slicing through flesh and metal alike, cutting apart blasters and phaser rifles as she cut down stormtroopers.
Shody Briggston, knowing only Shii-cho was quickly backed into a corner by a phalanx of Jem'Hadar. He desperately struggled to deflect their merciless onslaught of energy blasts. Mahtek made a gesture, shoving the stormtroopers out the window with the Force.
"Climb on!" he called to them. Shody hurriedly obeyed climbing on the the back of the speeder bike. "We must get back to the ship. Captain Hannah has been taken."
Viridian turned to him as her saber-spurs flickered off. "I can travel faster over land." To both of their astonishment, a pair of anti-gravity rockets jutted from the exoskeleton on her back and she bolted out of the window at the speed of an impulse engine shuttle.
Shody screamed as Mahtek took the speeder bike straight down the side of the tower, full speed then bolted across uneven land with blinding speed. After catching his breath he looked up into the air. TIE Hunters were closing in on Viridian.
He tapped his com-badge. "V, look out!" he said over the whirring of the speeder bike's engine. "TIE fighters on your six!"
The speeder skid to a stop, on top of the hill where the X-Runner was, where Jill had been kidnapped only minutes ago. They hurried into the ship and started up its engines.
Viridian reactivated her saber-spurs, looking around through her wildly blowing, dark hair to see the 3 TIE droids and their jutting chain guns following closely behind her.
They opened fire. Their tapering, green laser blasts were far too big to deflect at this close distance. She spun around sideways, ballet-like, narrowly dodging the giant green bolts of hot energy. As they passed her, she extended her feet shredding the solar panel wings of the one that came closest to her, with the small blades spinning on her ankles. It burst into flame then crashed into the ground with a fiery splash of debris.
The other two circled back, their chain guns pointed straight at her. They were too fast. Her gut tightened. This was it.
Shody looked on and noticed several tall trees with thick vines – taller than most of the Temple buildings. He stretched forth his hand as the TIE fighters' shots got closer and closer to Viridian's slender body. "Old tree, please…" he said half-whispering, closing his eyes. "In the name of the Light, for the will of the Force – help us!"
To Viridian and Mahtek's utter amazement, the trees sprang into action. Their huge vines became prehensile whips as one of them flailed past Viridian as she floated high above the Temple and smashed the TIE Hunters into each other. The death machines plummeted to the ground as a massive, tangled, metal wreck.
Viridian vanished into a transporter beam, and found herself floating a few feet above the transporter platform inside the X-Runner. She floated down. Shody ran and hugged her. She returned his hug wanly, too shocked to think.
They looked at each other in amazement. "How did you do that …?" they both said.
"You flew!" Shody said.
"The trees…!" Viridian replied.
Shody looked around frantically, "Gods no… Where is Kyriol?"
Mahtek looked in the co-pilot's seat and found a holo-disk. "I sense our Romulan friend has gone and done something rather rash." He turned it on.
Kyriol Rola appeared in a hologram in the floor. "If you find this message, I have gone to fulfill my duty as a Starfleet officer. Captain Hannah has fallen into enemy hands. I could not stop them. I was able to trace their warp signature and our worst suspicions are true. They have taken her to the very heart of the Federation – Earth. What their plans are I cannot say, but this I know: Because of the actions of Admiral Carn, all of Starfleet Command is now the unwitting servant of the Dark Side." Shody winced as she said the words. "Please, Master Mahtek. If you are listening to this I am most likely already on Planet Earth. Please report this to Lord Fel. The Empire must be stopped at all costs …" Kyriol breathed heavily, her voice cracking as she dreaded her own next words, "Even if it means, open war between the Galactic Republic Fealty and the United Federation of Planets." She sighed deeply, "May the Force be with you – always." The hologram vanished.
"Oh, no," Shody groaned, "What do we do now?"
The reply was interrupted by a rumbling. Outside the ship they could see Klingon battle cruisers entering the atmosphere. They engaged the Imperial forces fiercely their phaser beams slicing through scores of TIE fighters as their photon torpedoes blasted LAAT drop ships to flaming shreds.
"The Klingons!" Viridian beamed. "They got the distress signal."
"Now we can go save Captain Hannah," Shody said moving toward the helm.
"No," Mahtek said stopping him. "You will deliver this message to Jedi Lord Khalgahar Fel on Coruscant. I will journey to Earth and save my padawan from the Dark Master's will."
"But – you'll need help," Shody said taking the holo-disk.
"The Force is my ally, young one," Mahtek assured. "And a powerful ally it is."
Viridian and Shody stood on the transporter platform. Mahtek tapped his com-badge. "Maltz! Choi-Chuu!"
The two young padawan vanished in the chime of the transporter beam.
The X-Runner bolted off into hyperspace.
Bajor had become a prison planet. The inhabitants worked wearily under the watchful eyes of heartless, metal overlords, digging for the ore that would construct the means to the further enslavement of their brothers and sisters. It was dark now, further deepening the despair. There was however one light left – the Light of the Force.
Oben-kade Tiberius Skywalker and his padawan, ex-Shadow Guard Jayrene Shayheart hunkered down behind a cargo speeder filled with battle droid parts. In the immediate distance was the droid control tower. Between the two Jedi and the tower were about 400 freshly activated battle droids marching down the road. They were thin silvery creatures, basically unchanged since the Clone Wars, except now they had decent aim and their robotic faces had been molded to resemble the Imperial stormtrooper norm. Each of their right hands was a small chain gun – a miniature turbo-laser blaster.
Beyond them was a large cave, all around which were Bajoran slaves, forced to pick apart rocks as hovering droids quickly came to pick up freshly discovered ore from them. Inside, one could here the hum of drills and the groans of humanoid misery. Lining the top of the cave were another dozen or so battle droids.
Needless to say they would need a distraction. Oben-kade looked up to see a crane moving durasteel plates onto the Dagger-class Star Destroyer being constructed as it loomed over the entire area. He had just found one. As the crane began to move back towards them, over the marching phalanxes of battle droids he stared at it intently, concentrating.
"When I make my move," he said to Jayrene "You go for the control signal."
Jayrene searched with her eyes. She saw a scaffolding bridge leading to the top of the tower. "Got it, Master." She moved over to the scaffolding and pressed the button for the lift. Two baffled droids were on it.
"Hey," one of them said in their signature high-pitched, nasal, synthesized voice, "Who did that?" He turned to the other droid, "Check it out, Corporal."
"Roger, Roger." As the second droid stepped off of the elevator, Jayrene gestured with her fist. Both of the droids skinny necks were instantly crushed flat, letting their trooper helmet-shaped head fall to the cold ground. Their headless bodies stood still in their place, slumping forward slightly. She went into the elevator and nodded to Oben-kade.
Skywalker made a downward gesture with his hand. Suddenly the large metal beam broke loose from its hooks and fell onto the droid garrison with a deafening clank. Oben-kade leapt out into the open igniting his blades – the blue lightsaber built by Anakin Skywalker and the green laser sword fashioned by his son, Luke. Rolling forward with a Kirk's daring he lit into the bewildered droids with his shimmering blades. Using the Force to guide his skillful motions, he became a windmill of death to the oppressive droids.
Jayrene started her way up on the lift. She reached the bridge where she encountered a pair of Magna-Guards armed with electrified staffs. She ignited her lightsaber-pike's red blade and engaged them. She jabbed at the droids with her saber-pike, trying to out-shunt their versatile staffs.
As they fought she looked over and saw Cardassians in the tower, where Imperial armor. They were speaking frantically into communicators, alerted to them now. A large blast door was closing at the far end of the bridge. She spun around with her spear shoving the droids to the floor with the shaft of her weapon. She then, ran towards the objective, sliding beneath the door at the last possible second, leaving the Magna-droids on the other side.
Waiting on her were a pair of four legged droidekas – now with rocket launchers in the place where laser cannons were in the Clone Wars. She barely dodged the explosive darts and was stunned by the concussion of the blast as it threw her to the floor. As she lay dazed she was aroused by her Jedi danger sense. The droids had reloaded. She gestured quickly in desperation as they opened fire again.
The missiles curved upward and smashed into the pillars supporting the covered scaffolding bridge. The bridge fell down with her on it. The droidekas fell to the ground below and shattered with a bright burst of flame. Jayrene stabbed her saber into the thick plates of metal.
Above her, two Cardassians took aim with disruptor pistols. She bobbed and weaved as the energy pellets whizzed close past. After a few seconds of desperate ducking, she thrust her hand out, shoving the two Cardassians down with the Force.
Using the Force, she vaulted herself up onto the broken ledge where they were. The Cardassians stood up with there pistols ready. Without turning around she called to her saber-pike with the Force. It came, spinning like a shimmering red boomerang to her hand – slicing straight through the two Cardassian gunmen.
She entered the control tower. Below she could Master Oben-kade Skywalker laying waste to droids by the dozen with his two legendary lightsabers, twirled his body and swords in an ancient ballet of justice and death. Before her was the computer controlling the every droid on Bajor. With a shriek she stabbed her red lightsaber-pike into the large, wall-sized, humming terminal. Spark filled the room as all the whirring stopped.
Oben-kade Skywalker froze holding a strong stance with his blue and green lightsabers. All around him was silence. The droids all over the planet fell lifelessly. Floating construction drones crash to the ground. Bajor's automated prison shackles had been shut down. Taking a deep breath he retracted his powerful swords.
All around Bajorans left their picks and boulders and gathered around him. He was an interstellar hero like so many before him in the great lineage of Skywalkers and Kirks. Jayrene joined his side to receive the same warmth for the people they had just liberated.
Suddenly Oben-kade's smile faded. "I sense him."
"The Dark Master?"
"No, but it's a Sith Lord, nonetheless." A few tense moments passed. Everything began to rumble. They looked up. One of the incomplete Super Star Destroyers was leaving the dry dock.
"Master! There!" Jayrene pointed.
"It is the Overlord!" cried one of the Bajorans. "He sends the droids to torment us for the Dark One."
Oben-kade searched with his eyes and found a pair of droid STAP speeders. "Come on!" he said to Jayrene. "I've got an idea."
Jill Hannah awoke to find herself strapped to a medical bed. On all sides of her were intimidating mechanized syringes, attached to the monstrous prison-bed. Standing over her was the architect of her dark circumstances.
"Admiral Carn!" she seethed his name. "You bastard! You killed my husband!" He met her angry gaze with his own. "Why?!" she sreamed in anguish.
"You killed my apprentice for him didn't you …" Jill's eyes widened. "A shame, really, that she had to die in the dark about me. Even with her perfect Vulcan training, she would have felt pride…" The admiral's face began to twist, warp, and liquefy. "…to see her master's true form!"
Jill felt sick as she watched Admiral Carn melt. In the place of the calculating man stood a pillar of dark, oily, viscous gelatin. "Oh my God! What are you?"
"I am the last of the Founders, Emperor of the Third Galactic Empire, and Lord of the Dark Side." The deep, inhuman voice seemed to come from everywhere. Jill panted in terror. She felt as though she would drown in the malice emanating from the Changeling next to her.
"I am Darth Metris! And I shall bring order to the Galaxies." Jill struggled haplessly as the syringes began to close in on her. "And your perfect blood is the key," She screamed horribly as the syringes began to bore into her shoulders arms and legs.
"You'll never… get away with this!" she panted in agony.
"Do not flatter yourself, Captain. I can become whoever I wish. The President. Jedi Lord Fel…" He leaned in a tentacle closed to her and momentarily formed her face. "Even you."
A Vorta wearing a lab coat walked in. "My lord," he bowed. Darth Metris began to slither past him out of the room.
"Isolate the proteins binding the midi-chlorians to her cells. Our army must be perfect."
"What army?" Jill demanded.
"Why, your children, Captain Hannah," he replied gleefully, "The most powerful clone army ever created; an army of Jedi born to serve me!" Metris returned to the form of Admiral Carn and walked out of the forbidding lab.
The Vorta doctor came towards Jill's eye with a large drilling device. "The pain will only increase if you struggle."
Jill panted, feeling utterly helpless. Suddenly, the Vorta dropped his syringe, grabbing for his neck, coughing and choking. After a few horrible seconds he fell lifeless. Jill was as perplexed as she was relieved.
A few moments later a vent cover fell from the ceiling behind her with a loud crash. Down from the air vent leapt Kyriol Rola who landed cat-like in the examining room.
"Oh thank God! Kyriol!" Jill gasped, "Get me out of here – Carn! Carn is the Dark Master; the Sith Lord controlling the Force Galaxy."
"I know," Kyriol replied, "Here," She handed Jill her lightsaber and took her own into her hand as she pulled the restrains loose.
"He could do anything, Commander – he is a Founder."
"A Founder! I thought they all died …" Kyriol said whispering as they approached the door.
"He's the last one." She held her saber hilt in both hands and peered out the door. He was in a room with two Jem'Hadar stormtroopers.
"After today, they'll be extinct!" Kyriol said snapping on the gold blade of her lightsaber.
They rushed in. The Jem'Hadar opened fire only to be vaporized by their own deflected disruptor discharges.
The admiral smirked. "Have you ladies ever heard of a vaapad before?" Darth Metris began to transform, "A truly magnificent species to be sure!" He became a bulbous creature with seven tentacles – a lightsaber hilt being held in each one. "How many sabers to you see?" he twirled them too fast from the humanoid eye to keep up. "The swords of all the Jedi who died cursing my name," he informed. They all activated in rapid succession. Blades of green, purple, red, silver-white, and orange spun around the Dark Master's form with blinding speed. "Come! Let us do the dance of death!"
Oben-kade and Jayrene took their STAP speeder craft high into the clouds and flew towards the great Star Destroyer. Around the unfinished Dagger-class Destroyer were several TIE Hunters. They blasted their way through several of the Imperial droid starfighters. Several of the Star Destroyer's phaser banks came online and fired on them with amber rays. Spinning around the beams the two Jedi glided into bridge through its unfinished port side, passing easily through the safety force fields filling the gaps in the construction.
They leapt off of their flying platforms and snapped on their lightsabers. Facing them both was Prince Rahtek, the Left Hand of Darth Metris, assassinator of King Vahtek of Qo'Nos.
Rahtek snapped on a yellow double saber.
Oben-kade was surprised to find the darkness he had sense emanating from Vahtek's younger son. "You?" Oben-kade demanded, "You're the Sith Lord?!"
"You're already too late, Jedi. Qo'Nos is controlled by the Empire. Soon all of the Neutral Zone will bow to the power of the Dark Side!"
Without further words Oben-kade lunged at Rahtek with his two blades. Before Jayrene could engage the Klingon Sith Lord, clone troopers opened fire on her. She spun her staff weapon rapidly and deflected the hail of red blaster bolts.
"Get to the controls!" Oben-kade told her as he pressed against Rahtek's twin swords. "Activate the ship's retro-rockets – send it into the dry dock!"
"What about you, Master?" Jayrene called back as she made a wide sweep with her saber-spear, cutting down the stormtroopers.
"Just do it and go! There's no time to argue." He said inching cautiously toward Rahtek's double-blades never taking his eyes off of the Klingon Sith Lord. Jayrene obeyed, punching in the coordinates on the ship's computers.
Skywalker and Rahtek went at each other full force. Rahtek twirled his double-saber with blinding speed. Skywalker parried at struck seamlessly, spinning his body and his wrists in tandem, gracefully and powerfully pushing the Sith Lord's double-saber back from its raging advance.
The four energy blades became locked. The ship shuddered around them as it plummeted towards the frozen droid construction site below, as their arms crossed, desperately shunting each others sabers around in wide circles. Consoles exploded showering them with sparks as their blades clashed with brilliant flashes that shone brightly threw the ambient flames breaking out all over the half-built warship.
The two warriors pressed against each other with the Force, Rahtek sent lightning from his free hand crashing against Skywalker's Force power, focused between the crux of his two crossed lightsabers, as he pressed against the two blades one-handed, leverage his Klingon strength on his saber-staff. A bubble of bright energy formed between them. It grew until its brightness engulfed them.
Jayrene looked back to them as she boarded her STAP speeder, shielding her eyes from the light. She flew through a gaping force field ducking hot sparks as she did so. She turned around in mid-air, to see how the Jedi Master was fairing against the Sith Lord.
As she turned, the Force bubble exploded, shattering Rahtek's double-saber into sparking pieces and hurling Skywalker out of the Star Destroyer. Jayrene sped downwards on the STAP. As she approached Oben-kade, she snatched Anakin and Luke's lightsabers out of the air as they whizzed by her in freefall and hooked them to her belt. The wind blustered as she grabbed Skywalker's hand.
"I've got you, Master!" she yelled over the oppressive wind, "Just hold on!" Oben-kade looked up and smiled as the wind buffeted his Jedi cloak up around his bearded face.
Rahtek roared in rage. He whizzed up past them on a swoop bike. "Another day Jedi petaq!" he called out. "Another day will be a good day for all of you to die!" He vanished into the brightness of the sunrise.
Oben-kade climbed up onto the STAP next to Jayrene. "Yes…" he panted. "Another day."
Below the shipyards bearing the Dagger-class Star Destroyers began to explode and break apart as the unfinished Star Destroyer dove into them in a plume of fire. All around Bajorans celebrated, throwing up droid parts and dancing on their chains. The Federation was still free – at least on this planet.
Earth had been called many things. Serene. Boring. Blue. Green. Yet for the first time it had become the center of the battle between Light and Darkness. No longer was evil out there. It was in the heart of the seat of Earthly power. It was up to one woman to stop it.
Jill panted, sweating dripping from her blonde brow, her blue lightsaber glistening against her skin. Kyriol was unconscious but alive. The roiling mass of Dark Side tentacles had caught her with a blast of Sith lightning. Now Jill fought alone against his many lightsabers.
They fought atop the boardroom table now, beneath a globular sunroof. Their stray movements sliced apart the expensive chairs all around them. She spun with her sword, using the flourish to get closer to the thick, bulbous, squat body between the tentacles. Darth Metris assaulted her from all sides at this distance, bending his tentacles backward towards his body to reach her with his blades. She parried desperately, weaving her body to dodge the many blades between counter-strikes.
Her valor was of no avail. Darth Metris was wearing her down with his multi-handed, relentless strikes. She became tangled in his tentacles. She dropped her lightsaber as his many limbs held her cruciform. He brought a red lightsaber close to her throat.
"Any last words, Captain Hannah?" Darth Metris asked.
"Yeah…" Jill looked up towards the sunroof. "Kapla!"
Mahtek suddenly burst through the sunroof above them raining down glass as he landed atop the table behind the vaapad-formed Founder Sith Lord. He brought his green lightsaber down in a perfect diagonal slash. Darth Metris' tentacles went limp, letting Jill fall to the floor next to her saber hilt. Metris melted into a foul-smelling, lumpy goop.
The Dark Master had been slain.
Once Viridian 88 and Shody Briggston told Lord Fel what had transpired an armada was formed and sent to Federation Space. Upon hearing the testimonies of Captain Jill Hannah and the astromech droid, BEREE 496, The President of the Federation formally declared war upon the Galactic Empire and signed a treaty of alliance of with the Fealty of the Galactic Republic, avoiding a war between the Jedi and the Federation.
Jill Hannah was made into a Jedi Knight by Prince Mahtek – the first of her kind in the Federation. She was given a new Starfleet commission: The Enterprise M.
Kyriol Rola was also knighted by the Klingon Prince and was invited to join the Imperial Knights that her master, Serko Kergi was a distinguished member of. She turned them down to remain with her Captain, Jill Hannah of Starfleet.
Mahtek was crowned King of Klingons and a made a Jedi Master, vowing to never rest until Qo'Nos was freed from the clutches of the Empire and his traitorous brother Prince Rahtek.
Shody Briggston became the padawan of Captain Jill Hannah and her science officer.
The Borg Jedi, Viridian 88, became Mahtek's new student and Supreme Allied Commander of the Klingon Rebellion Force.
Oben-kade Skywalker and Jayrene Shayheart returned to the Galaxy of the Force to combat the Empire at its source – and to break the power of Sith Lords Krygat and Mergmer and the Jem'Hadar war machine over their home world.
And so, the saga continues in a tale of two galaxies, near and far …