New Jedi Order Era

Return of the Droids

Rated T for now, may be subject to change.

Disclaimer: I own nothing of, or related to, Star Wars, beyond my OCs and the plot.

Begins during the Clone Wars, right before the Battle of Coruscant.

The Secret Apprentice

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

It was dark when Captain Skyran Nelross walked onto the command bridge of the Ravager. His crew was working diligently when the holo-projector came on line and the image of Count Dooku appeared before him. Skyran knelt before the image in reverence.

"Lord Paxis," the count began, "You are to take what forces you have and rendezvous with the 11th fleet. From there you will proceed to the Nelroon system in the Unknown Region and make a base there until such a time as we recall you to the known sectors."

Nelross looked up at his master in confusion, "Master, is something happening that I am unaware of? Have the Jedi won the advantage or is your own master making moves that you feel are not in the best interest of the C.I.S.?"

Count Dooku paused for a moment, "I am unable to answer that, but needless to say things are not going well. I also want you to pick up the remains of Sev'rance Tann and begin the cloning process, we need her and her tactical data in case the Chiss move against us and her knowledge of the Decimators the Republic failed to keep in their possession. We need that weapon on our side, as it very well might win the war for us. You must not fail me, my young apprentice. I await you on Geonosis."

"Yes, my master. I will see that it is done."

When Count Dooku's image faded, Captain Skyran rose to his feet and started barking out orders, "All hands prepare for hyperspace travel! Navigation! put in the coordinates that are being forwarded to you now! Put all droid fighters on standby! I will be up to the bridge soon, I want us out of this sector and on route to Geonosis by the time I arrive. "

"Yes sir!"

The sound of droids and crewmen moving to get the orders carried out echoed throughout every corridor and hallway of every ship under Nelross' command.

With a sigh he rose to his feet and re-clasped his cloak. He didn't like the feeling of urgency that had underlain his master's voice as he issued the order.

Stepping out of the holo-chamber, the young dark lord made his way to the bridge, dodging droids hurrying to carry out their tasks.

Walking through the halls, he went over the conversation with his master in his head. The order to remove himself to the Unknown Region was alarming enough by itself but that he was to take the remains of Sev'rance Tann? That was on a whole other level. What could trouble Master so much that he would have me take my forces beyond the Republic? Is something brewing that I have not foreseen?

As he thought this, he stepped onto the bridge and walked up to the command chair where he sat down. Looking up he stared out before him and only just braced himself before the ship jumped to lightspeed. He had a lot to think about before he got to Geonosis.

It was two days later that the Confederate fleet left hyperspace and arrived just outside of Geonosis' gravity well, a transmission was received. Static sounds over the speaker, before they hear a Geonosian instruct them to send over their identification codes.

With a nod toward the communications droid, it was done, and he was on a shuttle down to the surface to oversee the transfer of Tann's DNA and whatever else the Count might wish to talk about.

As he stepped off the shuttle, he was greeted by a small battalion of Super Battle Droids and he was ordered to follow them to where his master was waiting.

When the group came in sight of the meeting place, Skyran spied a lone figure, as soon as he identified who it was through the Force, he rushed forward and knelt before him.

"Master," he said reverently.

Count Dooku motioned with his hand, "Rise, my apprentice, we have much to talk about. Some things have changed in your mission that required I have you meet me here. The war is not going well on our side, and I feel that my own master is soon to betray me. So I require of you to take something more to the Unknown Region." By this point the group had walked to the entrance of the nearby facility. Darth Tyrannus motioned for Darth Paxis to follow.

"We have much to talk about, and not enough time. The Republic is gaining ground, and even though the Jedi numbers are dwindling, they are still great enough that we will soon be overwhelmed."

"But Master, surely things aren't as bad as you say? The Republic is not so well equipped that they could take down an untiring army of battle droids."

"You are right in that, however, their leader is another matter entirely. Chancellor Palpatine is a wily one, and will stop at nothing to see us defeated, but he does not do it with pure heart. He intends for our defeat to benefit him, and I have the feeling that the time is near at hand. I have… seen things. Things that will come to pass that I am loathe to allow to happen. A force will come from beyond Unknown Region, and attack all known space, no one will be free from their touch.

"That is why you must go. You will confront them and halt their plans of conquest. In this you must not fail me. By the time this occurs I will be long since dead and the Confederacy finished. You will be my sword and shield. I will give you the means to resurrect me and Sev'rance Tann, but she must be brought back first. A recording has been uploaded onto your personal datapad for when you have met the unknown aggressors. Understand this, my apprentice, the battle with the clones is nearly over, the war for the universe is just beginning. You will be in command until it happens."

Nelross bowed his head in acquiescence, "I understand, Master. I will see that it is done."

Count Dooku nodded his head in acceptance, "Good. Now, everything you will be taking should have been loaded onto the ship by now, and that is your queue to leave. I must return to the Invisible Hand. I expect a transmission to be received by the time I have come out of hyperspace that you are on your way."

"It will be done, my master."

He motioned with his hand, "Now go, the fate of the Confederacy is in your hands now."

With that, the two force-users returned to their individual ships and jumped to hyperspace.

Considering that Captain Nelross was now adding the 3 fleets worth of ships guarding Geonosis to his forces, it took considerably longer to make it back to his original fleets position. When they arrived, the navigators were all instructed to input the codes for the Nelroon system, which was only known to the CIS as they had a small outpost on the lone planet in the system.

By the time they arrived at the planet of Meestor, the Battle of Coruscant was already underway, the Chancellor in his chair watching as Count Dooku attacked Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker. Of course, while this fight was going on, the message was transmitted, but the droids on the bridge were too busy with their other orders to notice.

When the battle was over, the Invisible Hand's command deck was lying on a landing strip and the main body destroyed. And with no power, the message was lost when the bridge was destroyed so all traces of the droid armada was lost, seeing as the Geonosians were all but eradicated after the order for the droids to be shut down was given. And those that did survive had no knowledge of where the ships went, just that they left right before Count Dooku's Last Stand, as the Separatist survivors had taken to calling the Battle of Coruscant.

When the last of the droid army arrived at their destination, Captain Nelross ordered that the cloning facility be set up immediately. The cloning of Tann would take a little while, not as long as it would for the clones of Jango Fett though, because the CIS' top engineers had acquired a cloning device and, upgraded it, as it were. So what would have taken several months, perhaps even years, would only take a few weeks at the most.

And so, while the Chancellor declared the creation of the Galactic Empire, the last remnants of the CIS laid in wait. Waiting for the day when they would strike back against the Republic, and bring true freedom to the galaxy.

So, what do you think? For all of you following my other stories, I have not forgotten about them, I just hit a railroad, they won't go un-updated for long.