Far and Away
Naboo Royal Starship enroute to Naboo
They were halfway to Naboo when it happened the Jedi, Harry and the twins all cringed and the children began sobbing. Within moments they received a signal from Obi-wan who was traveling to Tython with the rest of the order. "I have some unfortunate news Knight Bariss Offee was killed on Belsavis we are unsure what exactly killed her we have sent eight masters and three legions to investigate she discovered some sort of sickness that desiccated the locals but left them alive breathing and unresponsive to external stimuli. Whatever it was that killed her was not a Sith or any being with a lightsaber her fear and desperation are still present in the force."
"Whatever it was we felt it even the babies did," Ahsoka said holding Leia up to the Holocomm. "See here princess there is your crazy uncle the grandmaster of the order isn't he so silly being all serious."
Obi-Wan understood what she was doing and let it slide "We have dispatched a contingent of sentinels and guardians to Naboo. Rex has also put together a few fire teams they will be joining you as well. They will not be on-site at Padmé's lake house but they will be in the region" he looked over his shoulder at someone else "I am sorry this is not going the way we initially planned please be careful if anything comes up and I do mean anything let us know immediately."
"Yes Master," Ahsoka said turning off the holocomm and turning back to her apprentice to see him comforting Balia and Luke seeing his questioning look "We will talk about it once we are settled on Naboo."
Harry looked at all the women in his life one by one they all nodded at Ahsoka's assertion. "As you wish master," Harry said hoping whatever it was would wait that long and was not that bad.
Sadly, they would learn that things were far worse than they seemed in the days to come.
Belsavis: five hours later
Plo Koon could feel the despair keenly as he made orbit. The feeling grew exponentially as he landed at the prison that they had known nothing about. He had been reaching out into the force hoping to soothe the spirit he was surprised when he felt a peaceful presence enter the area muting the terror and pain that marred the force "Rest my friend your journey has been long. Find the others and rest for now Investigate the other fallen I believe our answers will be found in them" Plo turned "Take your rest then move deeper into this prison. Whatever murdered Young Bariss fed here disrupting its victims' connections to the force before stealing their very essence leaving nothing but husks."
Plo Koon meditated for the better part of an hour. He could see from the currents of the force how whatever being it was now wearing Bariss Offee as easily as it would wear a robe.
"I have never felt anything this vile." Plo Koon murmured in a low voice opening his eyes, "Bariss did not deserve this, none who lived here deserved this. What did this?"
"You must go deeper into the prison," The force ghost said "But first you, the sentinels, and the other masters must move cautiously and no padawan can enter." Plo Koon nodded and walked out of the hanger deeper into the prison he activated his communicator and began recording what he saw "AS you can see the bodies are alive but there is no consciousness it is as if their very essence has been consumed by whatever entity killed and subsequently inhabited Knight Offee's Bodies."
As he moved deeper into the prison, he came to a place that was not on the blueprints as he carefully moved down the wide corridor, he would stop by individual holding cells until he came to one that had opened looking in, he could feel the darkness begin to fade but it would take time before it dissipated completely, pressing the record button again "I have found the place where the being was being held. The technology in this area of the temple is much older than even the old republic suggesting it might be a holdover from the infinite empire. Will continue recording as I go."
He continued down the corridor that ended in the control room while he could not recognize the language, he was able to see it was a map of every system in the galaxy showing updates by the moment. It took him a moment to realize this array was updating in real-time he could see pinpoints of light. Plo focused on Belsavis and counted the lights. Recording once more "There is a system in place here that actively tracks force users there is a fleet with a single force user heading toward the edge of the galaxy." Plo Marveled at the technology and the feeling of dread settled on his shoulders as he realized what this could be used for. "There is another dot that is pursuing I believe it may be the entity. This endangers users of the force. With this force-users could be tracked and possibly eliminated. It is my recommendation that we destroy this unit and hope there are no others." Finishing the report, he sent it marked as urgent
Obi-Wan Kenobi was looking over the reports from the team that went to Belsavis there was no sign of Barris Offee's body. The darkness had receded leaving only Bariss Offee's Death and despair lingering in the force. The overwhelming feeling of despair made staying on-site more than a few minutes made it hard for the masters and the sentinels. It was all but impossible for padawans as everyone was overcome by the scream of despair. The masters had to use for their padawans elsewhere. His thoughts were interrupted as the preliminary report came in from master Koon as he read it his concern grew flipping open his communicator "Communications, please get me, Master Koon, on Belsavis right now!" thinking further Harry Potter had received the vision of what this being could be. "Conference in Knight's Tano, Secura, and Olin aboard the Senator Skywalker's yacht!"
Naboo High Orbit
It had been less than an hour since the death of Bariss Offee had rippled through the force. Most of the time of it had been spent calming the twins down. It had finally taken Fawkes singing to get the children to calm down and it assisted in raising the spirits of the Jedi Padme and Mon Mothma were both watching with great amusement as the Jed knights took turns giving both Balia and Harry pointers about footwork as they worked them through the first form.
Harry watched his master perform form one. After watching he stumbled his way through it a few times. He had an epiphany and compared the movements to the wand movements and while sparring with Balia he did a swish and flick catching all the Jedi by surprise
"Whoa" Balia exclaimed dropping into a back roll the practice blade passing at where her eye height was
"Hold" Ferus Olin called out interposing his body between Balia and Harry "Padawan Potter is there a reason you are trying to maim your future padawan?"
Harry looked mortified at the thought "That was not my intent at all. I noticed something about the various lightsaber moves you have all shown me" Running a hand through his hair "That move on my world mirrors a wand movement is called the swish and flick. It is used by wizards to levitate objects." He pointed his finger at the cup on the table "Wingardium Leviosa" he whispered performing the same motion
Ferus was unhappy with this explanation "I never want to see you use that in sparring against Balia ever again" he was up in Harry's face at this point "Scratch that I never want to see you using some like that against any padawan. Am I clear?"
Harry was not cowed by Ferus at all. "I am sorry if it is against the Jedi Order's delicate sensibilities." Harry stepped up to Ferus forcing him back letting a hint of his aura flare "I will teach Balia every move I think will help her survive in a fight."
Ahsoka and Aayla were about to get into the discussion but were interrupted by a throat clearing which again caught everyone off guard as Cin Drallig seemed to Materialize off to the left side of the room.
"Knight Olin calm yourself. In the past yes maiming has been frowned upon." The battlemaster stated calmly "However, Padawan Potter is also correct in using anything he can to survive a fight. Considering he has faced a Sith Master and apprentice, I am not going to quash that instinct. Mistress Secura, Knight Tano do you have anything to add."
"While the move would be frowned upon by the order of old, "Aayla spoke softly "Now that we know of it, we can temper Harry's use of it with one of us rather than with Balia or another padawan."
"Ferus," Ahsoka spoke firmly "While I am glad for your help in training my padawan. You came on a little hard dial it back a little."
By this time Harry was looking down at his feet he did not see Balia step into his space "You surprised me!" Balia said softly "Now that I know about it and I saw the mechanics I can avoid or maybe even stop it the movement is rather noticeable. We can work on it though because I can see a use for it!"
"It was never my intent to take one of your eyes," Harry mumbled running his fingers through his hair again. "I think I am done for the day I am going to go finish etching runes on my saber. My apologies everyone." Harry turned and left the room his head down. Balia made to follow him when she felt a hand on her shoulder and saw the sad smile of Mon Mothma shake her head
"Let us give him some time alone to gather his thoughts"
Before the obvious discussion that was about to take place could start the holocomm unit flared to life. Showing Masters Kenobi and Plo Koon. Aayla Stepped forward "Masters I am assuming you are calling because of the earlier disturbance in the force?"
"Yes and no, Bariss Offee is dead and after seeing the footage in the hanger whatever killed her seems to left everything in the prison alive but there is no presence of being." Plo Koon stated gravely "We have run into a new problem. Whatever being this is has a presence so vile that its passing left its mark in the force. Padawans have not been able to enter the facility. The presence is so strong even the knights and masters have had to cycle out of the facility to center themselves."
"We wanted to talk with you before asking to talk with Harry. Whatever it is he knew it was coming maybe he has some insight." Obi-Wan stated
"Obi, Wan I think we need to leave Harry alone for a bit." Padme said lightly "Ferus and Harry had words. Harry incorporated a technique native to his homeworld and if it had hit Balia Aldan with one eye."
"Harry is finishing the etching on his saber staff" Mon Mothma spoke softly "Balia …" she tapered off finding that girl was no longer by her side. "I am assuming you want us to divert to Belsavis"
"I would Like Ahsoka, Aayla, and Harry to divert to Belsavis" Obi-Wan ordered "Under no circumstances are Padme and the twins to come anywhere near the prison planet Master Drallig and Knight Olin will provide physical security on Naboo we figure this will take us 24 to 48 hours then Ahsoka, Aayla and Harry will rejoin you and Harry will be left to the tender mercies of Master Drallig.
"Obi-Wan Are you sure Exposing Harry to this is advisable" Padme snapped at her friend, "Master Yoda himself says he needs time to heal. I fail to see how this will help him.
Obi-Wan was at a loss for words.
The moment the Holocomm went off Balia slipped out of the room to the quarters that she and Harry were sharing she saw him idly playing with etching tools before setting them down looking at all the parts of his saber staff he drew in a breath and brought his magic to bear his eyes glowing a bright green. The unfinished runes on his staff began to slowly appear.
Instead of tiring like he thought he would, he felt sustained. With the runes now complete he willed his saber staff to assemble. Adding one final rune to the activator. He let his concentration wane and the saber staff settled into his hand he carefully set it down and took out a knife that his friends had seen fit to send him with Fawkes. He cut his hand and placed it on the activators making it so only he could activate
"You are incredible!" Balia said the look of wonder prevalent on her face.
Harry shared a rare smile "I am just Harry,"
"Knight Olin came at you the wrong way." Balia snarled "you caught me off guard but I knew the moment you did it you were experimenting and not trying to hurt me. The movement was grossly telegraphed like you were feeling it…"
They were interrupted by Padme's raised voice Harry was already moving
"Padme, we want nothing more than for Harry to give his possible insight into what we are seeing" Obi-wan backpedaled "at no time do I want him any farther than the landing hanger."
Harry had heard everything Padme had said as he came up behind her "I know I am a mess right now but I am not so much of a mess that I can't help when asked." He pulled Padme into a hug "Thank you for trying to help me. Even when I am too stupid to realize I might need it."
"Padawan Potter, we need your possible insights." Obi-Wan stated "Master Plo will you please transmit your findings."
"Master Obi-Wan, Knights and masters watching." Plo Koon began "I have a holo droid preceding me as you can see all the victims are still living however it is like whatever process was used left them in a vegetive state."
"You have not identified what has done this?" Aayla asked to hope that they had at least found something.
"So far I am the only one who can operate within the facility." Plo Koon admitted "Padawans are affected immediately, Knights and masters last longer but not much. Even I am going to have to leave the facility to meditate."
Harry was looking at the bodies and had a sinking feeling "is there any holo footage of the facility over the last day?" he asked dreading the answer "If so, will it have sound as well"
"There are several substations where security holo is stored I believe they maintain 6 months' worth of video in the new prison" Plo Koon admitted "However, we found a hidden prison. It has horrors from before that were legends before the old republic. It also has a device that can track force sensitivity and there is an empty cell Transmitting the holo footage now.
Everyone held their silence as they watched from the time the entity left its cell and began consuming people. Their horror mounted as they heard and watched it overwhelm and inhabit Bariss Offee.
"It is referring to my people," Harry said his eyes burning. "Wizards, are from this reality and fled through some portal. Somewhere in the galaxy a long time ago. That Creature is quite possibly the first Dementor and it knows I am here."
"Padme, we need to get you and the children settled." Ahsoka said softly "but not on Naboo. For the safety of the children, I would suggest we send you on to Tython."
Padme looked at her children sleeping in the bassinet that Harry had created for her. She then looked at Harry and rather than seeing him collapse in on himself he stood rock still "Harry what will you do?"
"I have to go to this prison planet…" Harry said angrily "if this is the original dementor then there is possibly only one defense." He did not even say the spell A magnificent stag appeared next to him. "It is looking more and more like magic is an offshoot of the force."
"Obi-Wan, I thought the consensus was that Harry needed time to heal, to learn, and to just acclimate," Padme asked a frown on her face "Can this not wait. Is there no one else who can stand in his place until he has had a little time to rest?"
"Harry, what do you want to do?" Mon Mothma asked, "I know there have been few times in your life where you have had the choice."
Aayla walked up to Harry and placed a hand on his chest in an intimate gesture. "I think I can speak for the three of us where you go, we will follow!" The gesture reminded Harry of the vision he had seen which brought a smile to his face
"Thank you all of you for trying to ease my life some. To answer the question. What I want, I have a life with all of you." He paused looking at the holocomm seeing both masters looking at him. "I know I am not in charge of anything but I would hope my opinion would matter to everyone here."
Looking around at everyone nodding their heads "Padawan Potter we owe you enough to hear the opinion." Plo Koon Stated, "You have consistently been an example of what the Jedi should be."
"Aayla, I think you and Balia should accompany Mon Mothma, Padmé, and the twins to Tython with Master Drallig, and Knight Olin to Tython," he said looking at the holocomm. "I think all the knights and masters on Belsavis should pull out of the facility. I also think the device that tracks force users should be destroyed with it hunting down force users becomes very simple."
Ahsoka listened to her padawan "I assume you have a plan for us as well. I am sure the others will weigh in on your opinion as well." Again, there were murmurs of assent
"I think master that you are going to have Rex choose a small strike team and you are going to lead us into that facility" he paused when he saw Aayla "There may be a time when I ask you to follow me into darkness. Today is not that day."
Aayla nodded and then walked over to Balia whispering in her ear the younger padawan nodded and followed her out of the room."
"Those are valid opinions that come with distinct courses of action" Padme interjected as she and Sola rose and took the twins out of the room she paused at the door "we will be landing my parents need to meet their grandchildren we will stay for two weeks. I would like to offer everyone the hospitality of my home."
Everyone recognized that Padme Skywalker had spoken and would brook no argument on the subject.
"Yes Ma'am," Harry said with a bow.
"Padawan Potter, you are in charge of this mission your ship will be in orbit tomorrow. Your Knight and Captain Rex's squad will be at your command." Obi-Wan ordered then his countenance softened "Snips could you send Padme back in and then clear the room. We need to speak privately."
Ahsoka nodded and herded the remainder of the crew out of the living area Padme Closed the door to the room and it remained closed for three-quarters of an hour. When she came out, she wore a thin smile.
"Ahsoka is your strike team ready?" Padme asked before turning to Harry "I don't like this. The only time you have been in the infirmary. However, I will not stop you nor will I complain after you are done on Belsavis you will return to Naboo and you will be on leave for one week. During this week we will be seeing the sites of Naboo and relaxing. By order of the Jedi council, there will be no official training" she declared to the assembled group.
"The second and third week," Sola asked trying to move things along "I know you demanded more time sister!"
"Yes, yes, I did! The second week" Padme answered quietly "Harry, Balia, and Aayla's New padawan will be undergoing light training while the Naberrie clan prepares to Emigrate to Tython."
"I am receiving a new padawan?" Aayla asked wondering why the council did not talk to her directly "Anyone I know?"
"You have met him. From what I understand he is a very upright young man." Padme smiled as she spoke "Nema Mentel, there is a problem in the padawans barracks. Several people did not like the fact that he stood up for Balia, Ahsoka, and Aayla. There were some heated words and threats with a lightsaber"
"Wow! Did they punish the instigators" Harry asked "Is Nema okay?"
"There were punishments handed out," Padmé said her distaste evident for all to see "one person had their connection to the force severed and were turned over to Republic Security."
The room was eerily silent after that.
"Rex, besides you and me who else should go to Belsavis?" Ahsoka asked the commander.
"Well, I was thinking of keeping it to Myself, Apo, Jessie, and Tup. With you and General Potter making us a nice even six."
"General what?" Harry sputtered "have you lost your mind? Can you imagine the damage I would do to a military structure if you trusted me to be in charge?"
Mon Mothma started giggling at her lover's reaction everyone looked at her as if there was something wrong with her. She could barely breathe but spoke, "We should have seen that response coming." Before wrapping him in a hug "That was funny don't change love… ever."
"Harry for the entire duration of the clone wars, Jedi have been Generals leading whole legions of into battle." Padmé admitted, "your own master holds the rank of general."
"Well, bully for her!" Harry looked around and seeing there was no understanding Slapped his forehead "Doh! I am not going to be actually in charge of anyone. I trust that everyone knows how to do their jobs better than I ever could."
"Sir with the respect you were put in charge of the mission!" Rex explained carefully knowing new officers needed to be handled carefully "That means you give orders and we do the thing."
"Okay, my orders are this do your job. However, if I tell you to retreat you will retreat." Harry said quietly. That goes for you as well master. Having heard the holo and seen it I believe this thing may be the progenitor of the dementors. They consume the souls of their victims leaving only husks. My pal here is the only known defense." He pointed to the Patronus next to him "His name is Prongs!"
On route out of the galaxy
Darth Sidious felt the moment his new apprentice was severed from the force. Her paralyzing fear was exquisite something he had never experienced before and then he heard it "I am coming for you…Master" the voice raised the hair on his neck and for the first time in many years He knew true fear as he fought to sever a connection that was supposedly already dead.
It smiled as it watches the various force users move the infected into a place for medevac. It also sliced its way into the holocomm conversation with Jedi masters and their ilk it also gave a glance at the Man who could bring ruin to all of his plans, Harry Potter. He did not look impressive this Harry Potter, but one could sense the untapped power in the boy. 'He is going to the prison planet perhaps it would be good to eliminate him there' then it saw the being of light appear before his very eyes and even though he was half the galaxy away that construct made him feel distinctly uncomfortable. 'Potter's people have evolved if they can conjure constructs of light. He may be a worthy adversary. Arise my minions'
The oppression had begun to build and Master Koon decided to follow Padawan Potter's advice he clove the device with a flurry of saber strikes having already sliced the security feeds and routed them to another terminal. He then walked out of the prison. As he got to the hanger, he noted the bodies had been laid in rows and covered with sheets of multiple different colors. With a sad heart, Plo Koon Activated his comm "Form up outside the facility we are waiting for Knight Tano and her squad"
After he walked through the doorway, he used the force to close the blast doors. Never noticing the fog that had begun to rise from the floor of the hanger.
Naboo, Theed Star Port
They had all disembarked from Padmé's ship. Harry knew this was going to be rough so he decided to keep it light and started with the twins
"Fawkes my old friend now more than ever. I need you to protect Her majesty Padmé, Princess Leia, and Sir Luke." Harry said as he kissed each child before hugging their mother whose face was a study of worry. "I will return I promise."
Balia surprised Harry by wrapping him in a hug and resting her head against his chest "Please be careful Master." She said as she tightened her grip on him.
"Balia, I am not nor never will be your master. I will be your teacher and hopefully and more importantly your friend or possibly family." Harry said gently. Before turning his gaze to Mon Mothma and Aayla. Who both joined the hug?
"Don't be a hero, Harry?" Mon said her voice quivering "All too often our heroes come back only to be buried" Harry did not know how to respond so he stayed silent.
"Open yourself up to the force let it guide you back to us, My love." Aayla whispered into his ear "Please come back to us."
Harry nodded before kissing the top of Bali's head. Then both Mon Mothma and Aayla got a sweet kiss full of hope and finally, he went over to Padmé where he was pulled down and kissed on the forehead
"This is much harder since Anakin has gone. Be careful and may the force be with you." Harry wrapped his arms around Padmé and hugged her.
"I have many reasons to return "Harry stated "I will Swear I will."
"Padawan it is time to go" Ahsoka snickered "the faster we get there the faster we can return and enjoy the reprieve before going to Tython."
Now Harry looked embarrassed but followed the strike team onto the nearby transport.
10 hours later high orbit Belsavis.
This was the second time Harry was looking down on a planet "I hope this never gets old." He murmured
"Why do you say that, Harry?" Rex asked curiously as to what Harry had meant "I mean you see one or two planets they start to blur together."
"Rex my friend. My homeworld had only been as far as our moon." Harry was trying to explain "There is no centralized government something like 193 separate governing entities on my homeworld. It is like a miniature version of the Republic Senate. Except that other native sentient species are not represented at all."
"That is a sad state of affairs" Ahsoka shook her head in disbelief "However, their loss is certainly our gain. I deem you to be the best representative of your homeworld. Wherever it may be!"
Harry blushed bright red causing Ahsoka to laugh "Don't let it go to your head, Harry."
"For this op Padawan Potter is in command" Rex barked "Also he is not to be called general or commander! Am I Clear?"
As one of the other three responded "Yes sir!"
"But what are we supposed to call him," Fives asked
"Call him Harry," Ahsoka said shaking her head "Let's move out."
Belsavis – Jedi Operating base
For the last five hours, the feeling of despair had grown. Plo Koon and the other Jedi looked at the blast doors 1500 meters away from their base with growing unease. From their terminals, they had been monitoring the interior they had seen the fog begin to rise and obscure the bodies. They had also seen the 100 bodies that the Jedi teams had found were now dead and a dense black fog swirled around the room.
Plo Koon had faced many things in his life but this fog seemed to be the things dark side given form. His thoughts were disturbed as the shuttle he knew was carrying Ahsoka Tano, her team, and most importantly her padawan was making the planet fall.
Ahsoka shut down their shuttle and she could feel exactly what the masters had discussed. Dread, despair, and loss she looked to her padawan and wondered what he was thinking. "Ready to lead Padawan?"
"No, I am not ready," Harry said quietly "Then again very few are ever ready."
"One of the greater truths I have ever heard." Ahsoka agreed with her Padawan "I Have set us down 50 meters from the blast doors. I will open the doors the rest of you stand ready for whatever happens."
Harry nodded and looked down at his saber staff hoping it would be enough. A moment later they were all facing the Blast door. Ahsoka reached out with the force and opened the door. All anyone could see was a roiling dark mist they had not even had a chance to step forward before the mist surged forward catching them all off guard.