Title: A Destiny's End -Post ROTS [COMPLETE]
Description: BO/DV [Rated: PG-13 - Violence]
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:17 PM (GMT)
Cast of Characters:
Jedi Knight Barriss Offee
Slain Jedi Master Luminara Unduli
Captain Enderas – Star Destroyer Emergence
Captain Rinton – Frigate Quandry
TA-404 – Vader’s Personal Clone Trooper Guard
TA-405 – Vader’s Personal Clone Trooper Guard
Post-ROTS by a few weeks
This story takes place a few weeks after Revenge of the Sith. Barriss Offee is on the run and Vader has been tasked by the Emperor to take her out.
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:18 PM (GMT)
"WHHHYYYYY!?!?!?!" he screamed, "What did I do to deserve this?"
Objects flew around the room, smashing, colliding, and tearing the room apart. Serenely his Master stood near a window looking out toward the cityscape. A small smirk escaped his lips as he fed on the anger that was emanating from his apprentice. Bile rose in his throat as he thought of how his new apprentice had been weakened. He would make him strong though, the dark side was a powerful ally a tool to conquer, and his apprentice would wield it mightily no matter how deep his wounds ran. He also knew how to control this currently out of control Dark Lord.
"Padme is dead Lord Vader." Palpatine said softly.
Crashes around the room then silence as the dark mask turned to look at him.
"H-how, did she die..." asked Vader.
Palpatine grinned evilly, "Reports say Obi-Wan were the cause. He thought that she was a traitor of sorts, so he struck her down."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooo........" Vader's scream died down, his body shaking as he knelt on the floor. “It can’t be true, it just can’t be!”
“Oh, but it is my young apprentice.” replied Palpatine, “Your mentor that trained you, taught you the ways of the force and then tried to strike you down because he became jealous of your powers, has now slain your wife.”
“I will kill him. I will have my revenge….Padme’s Revenge!” spit Vader.
“Oh you will get that chance soon enough, but first I have a problem that I need solved.” answered Palpatine.
The only sound in the room was the sound of his rhythmic breath modulator. Palpatine could feel the turmoil rolling off his apprentice. He would use this to mold Vader into a weapon to help his great Purge, to seal his power over the galaxy!
Slowly, but strongly Vader spoke; "What would you have me do, my Master."
"There is a Jedi that is causing me quite a deal of trouble and friend of yours and Kenobi's. She fled her duties quite well, and has slain the clone squad I sent after her. I want you to deal with It." said Palpatine.
"What is her name, and where can she be found?" asked Vader
"Her name is Jedi Knight Bariss Offee and currently Intelligence has her on Dantooine. She was seen at Kashyyk then was lost for a few days until sources found her on Dantooine. We are fortunate that we have this information for many of my officers have died in the pursuit of this skilled Jedi. I want you to confront her, if she can be turned, then so be it, if not; destroy her. Also, she might be your key to finding Obi-Wan Kenobi, and if you do get information, waste no effort on finding him and ending him." ordered Palpatine.
"It will be done, my Master." answered Vader.
Slowly Vader exited the room. His steps still awkward, he was still getting used to his new suit. Palpatine would have to retrain this one to accompany the suit. Strong was he in the force, but even with the dark side he could see the hole in his heart where his former love was. That hole would have to be filled. Palpatine planned to fill it with the hatred of Padme's "killer", Obi-Wan, still at large in the galaxy. The lie was simple yet to the naive Anakin, it could be seen as the truth. Palpatine was just getting in system when he saw Obi-Wan take off in the Naboo ship. A simple life scan reading found Anakin near a lava pool almost dead. Anakin knew Padme had gone with Obi-Wan, and with a simple twist of the truth and a subtle push with the force, the lie had been created and imbedded in Anakin's mind. Anakin and his immense power rivaled even his, and with more training could surpass him, of course he would never let his apprentice know this, for it would be his undoing. Palpatine turned around and stared out at his cityscape, his world, his EMPIRE.
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:19 PM (GMT)
Barriss Offee was at peace. She swam in the life that this planet gave off; she felt the blades of grass that surrounded her like no other inhabitant of this planet ever could. The Force swelled around her as she saw past this planet, to the galaxy as a whole. From the inner rim to the outer rim, she felt pain, she felt death and destruction, and she felt the burgeoning Empire. She saw her Master slain before her eyes again and again. She saw the clone troopers constantly firing at her Master as her skill with a lightsaber deftly blocked every shot. Yet with every clone trooper slain it seemed two took its place, and her Master grew tired as Barriss watched from the ship. A bolt came through and knocked Master Unduli backwards, and another, and as her body fell to the ground, Bariss felt a nudge in the force and her master saying: "Flee!". Through tears she lit up the ion engines and blasted away from that terrible planet, she fled, first to Kashyyk where she encountered more conflict. She was on her way to Coruscant when the order to "Run and Hide" from the Jedi Council was broadcasted. From there she flew to Dantooine. Within a few days they had caught up with her. Clone Troopers, who were now all dead. Three more attacks and she was still alive. Now she meditated in a quiet valley seeing if she could reach out to any other Jedi. Something touched her back, but the feeling was malice and hate. She pulled back quickly. She knew who had touched her; it was Anakin or as he now called himself Darth Vader, newly apprenticed Dark Lord to Darth Sidious. Darth Sidious, Palpatine, how were the Jedi so blind. Surely Master Windu or Master Yoda could have seen what was behind the eyes of Palpatine. Maybe she would ask them if they were alive, and if she got off this planet. Again her mind went back to her Master, if she was only fighting next to her Master instead of prepping the ship, she could have saved her. A small tear rolled down her face, quickly dropping on a blade of grass.
Her lightsaber came up before she could even think a snap-hiss and a blocked laser blast. Another deflection and another. She finally opened her eyes and saw grey-green armor. Anger crept into her mind, and in her soul. She wanted to hurt these soldiers; she wanted to revenge her Master. A simple force jump and she was in the middle of all six of them. With a whirl wind flash of her blade four were incapacitated. Then a flip over the fifth and a slash and the second to last one was cut in half. The last clone trooper slowly backed away, a small hint of fear rolling off his emotions. Bariss smiled and threw her lightsaber at him, cleaving his head from his shoulders. She called the lightsaber back, flicked it off and reattached it to her belt. Then the death hit her like a speeder running into her at full power. Her knees buckled and she fell to the ground. Tears flowing from her eyes as she saw the carnage she had just committed. Years of war had taught her to fight and to survive for the good of the galaxy, but these deaths were from the dark side. Stressed and fearful she let the tears well up as she fought to control her emotions.
"Do not fret child." said a voice.
Barriss looked up and saw the pale form of her former Master. "H-How is this possible?"
"Not long ago Yoda came to me and taught me of a higher plain that all Jedi must go. Where no Sith could reach us, because they could not see. Blinded by hate their end would come to no meaning. Yet for Jedi who are in tune with the force can leave a mark within the physical universe. Like a buoy. The only other Master that knows of this is Obi-Wan Kenobi. If I knew more about this power I would try to find him, but I left my mark within you. You are my buoy in this plain of existence, my one tie to the living world. Through you I am able to appear, and through me are you able to confront the terror that is coming for you." said Master Unduli
"Vader," replied Unduli, "No longer is he the man you once knew. You of course know this, yet even if you know that he is evil it is much more than that. He is driven by such hatred and sorrow that would drive a regular Jedi to insanity. It was his tremendous control over the force that has controlled these emotions into a power that I think even Palpatine fears."
"If he's that powerful, how am I supposed to stop him?" asked Barriss
"It is not a matter of stopping him," replied her Master, "I believe your powers of healing and the ability to reason can help him. There still must be some good in him. But if worse comes to worse you will have to do battle with him.”
Barriss closed her eyes and opened herself up to the force and brooded for a few minutes. She opened to see her former Master still staring at her. “I do not think this is a battle I can win. He has always been more powerful than me.”
“Sadly I have foreseen this too. But have hope my young Jedi. All you need to do is find and preserve any good in him you can find. For if you fall and join me, at least someone someday can see that good in him and find the Anakin he has left behind, and maybe just maybe redeem him. I remember him and his training since he was brought here, I remember the little boy he once was. Always in him there was a sense of loss. But there was goodness in his core being that no Master could deny, even when he grew older and more cocky and self-assured, he always wanted to do the right thing. It was the twisting and the malevolent lies of Darth Sidious that broke his spirit and rebuilt him. A shame we did not see it. But that is enough for now, you need to mediate and gather all your energy for the battle to come.
Barriss stared at her Master for a few moments longer, gazing in wonderment. It was almost too much to take in. In one part of her mind she was afraid of her forthcoming battle and more than likely death. In another she was confident that she could complete this last task put before her. She knew she was completing her role that she has been trained since infancy, by saving others by putting herself in the line of danger. She would sacrifice herself for the good of generations to come. Clearing her mind she sifted deeper into the force, closing herself and yet opening herself more than she had ever done before, the force her ally and she would use it to her fullest potential.
Within the depths of the Star Destroyer was a room unlike any other. Although appearance was the same, the lack of amenities were the same, it was the power emanating from that room that made it different. This power could not be recorded from the engine room or bridge. This power wasn’t noticeable in any light spectrum. This power was noticed by a sudden chill by one’s passage by the room. A sense of dread. Anyone unlucky enough to have to pass by this room did it quickly, and they thought quickly that they made it by unscathed. Inside this room sat a man unlike any other. He was hardly recognizable as a man. Sheathed in black, as black as is soul was and his thoughts dwelling in his head. His cape was a dark as his heart, and the culminating piece was the dark helmet that covered his face. The room was silent except for one noise; a rhythmic breathing noise that was coming from the triangle shaped mouth piece on the front of his helmet. No one on the ship knew what he looked like; he was totally clad in this dark suit. Everyone knew though what he was, he was Sith. He was a Dark Lord of some importance yet with no proper rank within the military. He This ship was his to command though he rarely left his room.
Deep in thought his mind was in chaos. Slowly but surely he was beginning to harness his out of control anger and suffering. Pain was still present from the great battle and the subsequent treatment and rehabilitation. The pain might be with him until his end. He now could use this pain to fuel his power within the dark side. Use it to break the minds of others to do is will; to bring order to the chaos that was this galaxy; to bring down all that would stand before his new Master, the rightful ruler to the galaxy; the one that had tried to save Padme. He had tried to save Padme, but he failed. His head bent down into his hands. He had failed again. First his mother, and now Padme. Maybe if Palpatine had more time to train him he could have saved Padme, he could have stopped Obi-Wan from killing her. Anger rose to the surface, the power reaching an edifice, if one looked hard enough they could see the durasteel walls around the room slightly bend outwards. Anakin, no not Anakin; he hated that name now. That is what his past was as a Jedi. His past was no more, the Jedi were no more. Darth Vader was his name and his whole life now. No longer did Anakin Skywalker live. What was left of Anakin Skywalker when he first arrived on Mustafar died there, slain by his former Master. Darth Vader was truly born, and rose from the mangled body into this new mechanization.
When he first came to consciousness on Coruscant, there wasn’t enough of him for the Bacta to treat. It was then that his Master decided to have his suit created. Almost like a lightsaber it was created with the utmost care and with a touch of the force. When Vader was locked into the suit for the first time he used the force to completely seal it. It was his new skin and apart of him. Whatever hindrance that it could have been was wiped away when he became one with it in the force. It was more than a suit, it was who he was. It brought fear, he could see it in the eyes of the soldiers that were on this ship, and he could see it in the eyes as he walked the hallways of the Imperial Palace. First it startled him, but soon he began to enjoy the fear, to use it to bolster him and make him more powerful. He could use this fear to command legions. He would make the galaxy whole again under the powerful reign of the Empire.
Back to brooding. His last fit in front of the Emperor was not unusual. Occasionally he would lose control of his emotions and slip into a depressive state about his situation. Not much longer, though, he would have his emotions in check. For the past few weeks he had been training with his Master the ways of the Sith in earnest, perfecting his control of the dark side powers, which blasted through his very core. His sparring matches with the Emperor were becoming long and more even; he even thought he saw fear one time when he almost had defeated him in a match. Slowly, he unclipped his lightsaber from his belt and tilted it upward. Snap-Hiss . The hum, the distinct sound of a lightsaber being turned ton. For ten thousand years this sound brought fear into the lives of criminals under the reign of the Jedi, and even in Jedi if the wielder was Sith. The ardent red blade reflected off his red armor as he inspected it. It was very different from his other lightsaber. His previous one was a blue azure blade. That blade had served him well in many battles, up until his final one with Obi-Wan Kenobi. Lost was that one now, where it had ended up, most likely destroyed in a lava flow, he did not know. In reality he didn’t really care. That lightsaber was also of the past, another version of his weak Jedi self. His new blade was perfection; dark side perverted it and made it and him stronger.
Slowly he stood in his room. Swinging the blade almost childlike, getting the feel for it again. Gripping it with two hands he slowly went through some practice motions. Blocking high guard to his left, then low guard right. Thrusting forwards then back slashing to his left to block the imaginary lightsaber that was his opponent. His speed slowly increased the hum of his lightsaber getting louder within the confines of his room. With a flick of his fingers the lights in the room turned off. Now it was only him, his lightsaber, and the darkness of the universe. Reaching within himself he called all the power that he could wield against this mighty foe that he imagined in front of him. Surprisingly or maybe not so surprisingly he could see Obi-Wan in front of him, his blade lit. Anger welled as he attacked this opponent. His blade moved with a ferocity unseen to anyone but to his former Master. Yet this time he held more power behind the blade, enough to defeat his adversary if they ever met again, WHEN they met again. Emotions again went out of control has his blade became a circular wall around him of red light, moving faster than the eye can follow. With a one final blow he killed Obi-Wan, struck him through his center section. He almost could hear the scream of his former Master as he slipped from reality. His body faded to nothingness and Vader returned to reality to find his blade burning through the bulkhead. Flicking his blade off, he clipped the lightsaber off and opened him to the force. It was in the force he could tell that the scream was real and it came from the room he cut into, it was from a single occupant, a Private who was now terrified of him and the weapon he possessed. Darth Vader allowed himself to smile, one of the few smiles he had now a days. Again he sat at the foot of his bed and meditated, deep within the dark side of the force, he tried to gain as much power as the universe would allow. And as his mind slipped from the physical reality he saw the image of his former love flash before his eyes, and disappear into nothingness.
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:21 PM (GMT)
The view from this vantage point was impressive, to anyone else but Barriss Offee. She had seen views such as this on dozens and dozens of worlds, and right now the view did not concern her. She sat on a ridge overlooking the valley below and many miles on the other side of the valley. There in the stillness did she sit meditating. A slight breeze brought in the smell of the scattered flowers on the plains, the scent of the trees, and the barest scent of water from the river a few kilometers away. The sun was rising and was casting its first golden hues across the land. The slight chill from the night was quickly brushed aside as the first rays touched her. The warmth that it brought brought new energy to her as she channeled it through the force. Standing up, she started to walk towards the river, taking no exact course, but letting the force guide her actions. Her battle that would come she would need to become one with the force, let it strengthen her and control her movements. This guiding of the force was just a mild practice. Getting used to letting go was one of her first lessons. As Yoda said: “You must unlearn what you have learned!” This would entail that all the studies of the physical world, and the dealings of the galaxy, were essentially wrong compared to the force. The limitations set forth by the universe did not apply to the force and those adept at controlling it.
Her body knelt down in front of an almost blooming flower. She looked at it through her and the force. It was bright to her through the force, living energy flowing through it as the bright blue petals folded backwards in bloom. There was no sentience, of course, but within it held more light than a lot of the denizens of the galaxy had. The force guided her hand to the edge of the flower then brushing its soft willowy petals and then to its stem. She felt a sharp sting on her fingers and pulled back her hand. The flower had a defense mechanism. Her hand a soft red look to it and she wondered why the force had told her to touch it.
“Because, even the weakest of things in this universe has, or needs a defense mechanism.”
Barriss looked up to once again find her Master’s pale ghost form looking down at her. “I don’t understand Master.”
“The Jedi rose to prominence in this galaxy helping others,” said Master Unduli, “defending those who could not defend themselves. We have not always succeeded, but we do all that we can in the service of others. We are that defense mechanism. In the galaxy as it stands now, that defense has failed. Although I know more Jedi have survived the betrayal of the Emperor, I can’t say for sure how many, or if we could ever mount an upheaval of this new despot. What I do know is that you, Jedi Knight Barriss Offee, are going to perform that role as a defense mechanism for future generations. This test with the flower was just a subtle way of showing you what the Jedi have done for thousands and thousands of years. The force does not yell at you to do something, and does not show you how to do things with physical explanations, but it does guide you as you have just seen and you have been taught over the years.”
“I see. Although I have used the force for many years and it has guided my actions, I did not see the subtleties as much as I thought I did.” replied Barriss
“You were thrust into a war that should never have been. It stunted the end of your training,” Unduli continued as she saw a look of dismay on her former student, “Though you were ready for the knighthood that was given to you, you did not have the chance to finish the regular training that normal Jedi take. Instead like all Padawans and Jedi, our training was switched to more fighting and defensive styles than learning of the living force. We had to learn to protect ourselves more and to change our ways for the time being. The Council knew in the past that ignoring change was our almost death Nell. When the war closed the Council would switch back to our regular teachings and training of students, unfortunately that will never be.”
Looking to the heavens above, Master Luminara Unduli let out a noticeable shudder.
“Do you feel it, Barriss?” she asked calmly.
“Yes,” she replied, “Vader is getting closer. I think there is more than just hate towards me that drives him. I think there is a deeper purpose to this confrontation.”
“I think you are right. Of course we will not know until he arrives and you must face him.”
“I know what I must do. I remember Anakin as a young boy. I saw the good in him as we trained with Master Yoda. His eagerness to learn, his willingness to help others even if he did not have the proper training was addictive. The one thing I think the council ruined in him was the fact that they let him know he was the Chosen One. I don’t think any Padawan could handle the burden of knowing that he or she was the one that would save the galaxy by bringing balance to the force. The council should have been smarter than that; they should have trusted the force to guide Anakin to his proper destiny. By acting on their own initiative they doomed us all.”
“Don’t be so hard the council young one,” said Unduli calmly, “for quite some time the council’s power of the force was dimming. They did not know how, but slowly it was clouding over. This dark force was something they could not control, could not understand and it scared them. Now we teach to keep your emotions in check, but if you came across a hidden power that you could not fight, could not see, you too might grow nervous and cautious. So, they put their faith in the boy, yes they should have kept his destiny a secret, but they didn’t. Hindsight is 20-20, and we were blind toward the future. We found out too late, and even by Anakin himself, that this cloud, this Sith Lord was under our noses the whole time. What happened in Palpatine’s office only Anakin knows, but we do know that four Jedi fell there and Palpatine secured his lock on Anakin Skywalker. I don’t know everything that happened after that, but I do know that our once brilliant beacon of light, our temple, is now burning and in ruins.”
“With the Emperor’s rise came the call of treason on all Jedi, and the clone army turned as we well know. We know that at least Yoda and Obi-Wan survived for they turned on the “Run for Cover” beacon to all Jedi. Who else survived we don’t know.” Luminara saw her former apprentice lower her head, a single tear rolling down her face. “Do not shed tears for me Barriss. I died in the service for others, I died to give you the chance to live, and I would not have chosen to pass on any other way.”
Barriss looked up to her Master to see her smiling down on her. Wiping the tear from her cheek she spoke softly, “I will not dishonor your death this way. I will complete my task so that further generations do not have to suffer as those now do.”
“That is all I ask my apprentice, my friend.” said Luminara.
Barriss once again looked into her Master’s eyes and smiled. Luminara and Barriss were always close, knowing each other’s thoughts and ways to go about things. Yet this was the first time her Master had called her a friend. Warmth flowed through her as no sun could ever hope to achieve. She knew her Master would never truly leave her. Alive or dead she would always be with her, in her thoughts and in her heart, and if she was struck down by Darth Vader she would join her friend in the force. All she needed now was to train for her destiny’s end.
“Master, we have dropped out of hyperspace and ten hours out from the planet. I have ordered frigate Quandary ahead to scout out the planet and set up a suitable landing zone.” said Darth Vader.
On the desk in front of him a miniature version of the Emperor stared back at him, eyes hidden within a black hood. Even this far away Darth Vader could feel the power of the Emperor, controlling everything that he was.
“Very good Lord Vader, you will find the Jedi and force her to see our ways, if it means killing her than so be it. Leave no Jedi left on the planet either way.” replied Emperor Palpatine.
“As you wish, My Master.” answered Vader as he shut off the holo-transmitter.
Darth Vader walked out of the conference room and onto the bridge of the Star Destroyer. As he walked to the main transparasteel windows at the head of the bridge he was away of the bridge crew following his every move. Though not part of the military, they all knew he was in charge here, even the weak minded Captain. They went back to their current tasks as he reached the window and stared out at his destination. Dantooine was nothing more than a bright pinprick right now. Vader decided to come out of hyperspace early so as not to spook the Jedi into running, thus losing his quarry. Curiously the Jedi was not hiding her presence from him. In fact he could feel her quite clearly as if she was propelling her presence to all in the system. He felt determination and when he touched the presence through the force he did not feel her recoil, but become stronger in the force. She would not run away from him, not this time, they would meet.
The Captain, Captain Enderas, a Corellian, had walked up behind him and stood a few respective meters away. “Captain.”
“Yes, my Lord?” asked Enderas.
“Move the ship up to flank speed and get us to Dantooine at all possible speed.” answered Vader.
“Is there some change in the situation.” asked the Captain
“Yes….” answered Vader.
Enderas knew the conversation had just ended and moved away to give orders to the proper crewmen. Vader kept looking out at Dantooine. He felt the ship’s engines come to full power. Efficient, he would reward the Captain when this was all over. Closer was he getting to Barriss Offee which also meant he was one step closer to finding Obi-Wan Kenobi. Silently he turned around to face the whole bridge. The crewmen in the pits were now ignoring him, prepping their shields and weaponry in the event of an attack on the ship. This was highly unlikely since they were going to a relatively uninhabited world, but it was good to be prepared. He walked toward the turbo lift at the left of the bridge, hands clasped behind his back. Once more he was lost in eternal thought again, the one thing that would allow him to escape the standard imperial gray that was his current universe aboard this ship.
Stepping into the turbolift he pressed the button that shot him towards the hanger level. The doors hissed open and he began to walk down the cavernous hall. No soldiers were present in this hall at this moment in time. The soldiers aboard this ship were either sleeping or in various training rooms getting ready for the upcoming mission. The hanger crew was prepping fighters and drop ships within the hanger itself and there were no duty stations along this hallway that led directly to the main hanger. The grayness still pervaded the walls, but on this level it was a few shades lighter, and almost looked white under the glaring lights overhead. As he approached the main door to the hanger he could see two white-armor clad clone troopers standing on either side, with crewmen monitoring the cameras that were in the hallway he just passed. Two more soldiers came stepped out to stand on either side of the monitor stations. These were his personal guards, he had fought with them on planets during the clone wars and knew they could be trusted. The door slid open as he walked into the vast expanse that was the hanger, the two soldiers falling in step behind him.
He stopped about ten meters into the hanger and looked at the fighter cradles above him. The ship held three squadrons of fighters. Two were made up of the six-winged, now locked together, craft that he had fought along side in rescuing Palpatine during the final days of the separatist war. The third squadron was made up of a prototype squadron called TIE-fighters. This would be the first time they were ever used. A test run of sorts for the new craft. Vader did not like the TIE-fighters at all. They did not have the shields like his old Jedi fighter and did not have hyperspace capability. On the plus side was that they were more maneuverable in space and any pilot that survived his first battles would have to be skilled indeed. The early battles with these new fighters would cull the weak and unskilled leaving the Empire with a mighty fighting force indeed.
A shuttle near the middle of the hanger was his, and as soon as he saw it he started a brisk pace for his two flanking soldiers to follow. The shuttle was a troop carrier that could hold 24 clone troopers their gear, and 3 pilots. Vader and his two guards would be the pilots for this mission. He inspected the wings first, which were now folded up. When the ship took off the wings would fold down in a diagonal position below the ship. The hydraulics were well oiled, no rust, and looked to be in peak condition. It took him a good half hour to inspect the outer parts of the ship, he then moved inside the ship. Another fifteen minutes and he was more than satisfied at the condition of the ship. He walked out the back of it and down the ramp and nodded at the mechanics who had been watching him the whole time. They collectively let out a sigh of relief and went back to prepping the final ships.
10 hours left…
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:23 PM (GMT)
A mental jab at her thoughts and Barriss was wide awake. Ana-Darth Vader was prodding her thoughts. She bolstered herself to the intrusion and blocked her mind. Surprise is what she felt through the force. Surprise that she didn’t shy away perhaps she didn’t quite know. As suddenly as the mental problem probing began it stopped. The evil still lingered though, it was close now. Vader was in the system. She already knew about the frigate overhead. It couldn’t find her on any scans with herself blending in with the life around her. Sonic booms had sounded over to the east early on in the day, no doubt soldiers setting up a base camp for Lord Vader.
“You must destroy the imperial camp,” said the voice Master Unduli.
Barriss looked around but could not see her Master. “Why?”
“It will make Lord Vader cautious, and slower. Anymore time he has to think about confronting you, is time we can put doubt in his mind.” the voice continued, “and the more he respects you as a warrior the more pliable he will be to your powers.”
“I will complete the task, but is it not of the darkside?” Barriss asked.
“We walk a fine line along light and dark these days, what truly crosses it we can never be sure, but what I am sure of is you must destroy the camp before Vader arrives and get to a safe distance.” answered Luminara.
“Let us begin then,” said Barriss, still sounding skeptical.
Barriss took off at a light jog towards the east, letting the force be her guide. It wasn’t that hard to tell where she had to go, when she opened herself to the force she only had to see where the wildlife of the plains was most troubled. Not far, maybe 1 or 2 kilometers east animal life was scurrying for cover. That is where she turned as she kept jogging, the force was not only her guide, but it helped keep her strength up throughout her run towards the camp.
The plains on most worlds don’t offer much cover. That’s what they are “plains”, at most shrubbery and a few groves of trees here and there, but for the most part it is kilometers and kilometers of terrestrial grasses. That is why when she got closer to the camp she had to move slower and lower to the ground. She was silent, and any small noise she did make when she crept closer to the camp was covered up by the soft wind in the area. It was getting close to nightfall by the time she reached the first signs of the camp. Lights illuminated the camp as she approached the camp from downwind. Prefabricated buildings were in 4 neat rows around the clearing. A flimsy wall more to keep the local wildlife out than a Jedi was erected around the camp with poorly made guard towers on either end of the compound, one guarding the gate.
The guard tower at the other end of the compound was her target, with only two soldiers in it, and in a very dimly lit part of the camp it would be easy to dispose of the guards. She crouched as she walked around the camp making sure none saw her and any that did she sent a simple force command telling them they saw a indigenous animal. When she was five meters from the dimly lit guard tower, she made a small motion with her hand towards the two guards. They quickly looked off to their right pointing as if they saw something. In that instance, propelled by the force, Barriss jumped up to the platform. With the force giving her strength she grabbed the soldiers’ heads and smashed them together rendering them unconscious. Keeping low, she stood still for a few seconds to see if she could hear any shouts of alarm or any other telling signs that the attack had been heard. The other guard tower hadn’t noticed either; the three guards were barely paying attention to anything outside the camp let alone inside. Most likely they were just idly chatting or one or two were sleeping.
Quietly she jumped down inside the camp. Moving along the edge of the first building she peered inside one of the open windows. It was a mess hall, currently unoccupied seeing how it was passed meal time. Looking around the corner to the center of the camp, she saw two guards in front of the door to the central building and two patrols of three moving around the camp. The first patrol was heading in her general direction, probably to make a round on the perimeter of the camp. She needed to take these soldiers out without having to use her lightsaber which would cause too much commotion and the light would give her away. So she melted into the grass right next to the building. Voices sounded as the patrol got closer and eventually turned the corner. As they passed she got up and using finesse with the force that even surprised her she lifted off their helmets so they couldn’t comlink for help. When they turned around she used the force to pull their guns out of their hands one coming neatly to rest in hers.
“Down on the ground quietly!” she ordered softly.
The troopers eerily the same, met her command in silence kneeling to face her, scowls on their faces. The helmets which she still held up with the force turned over and came crashing down on their heads upside down, knocking the patrol out. Again, like as before, no sounds of alarm or excitement in the camp, so she pulled each soldier into the empty mess, helmets and all. The blasters, she took out their power packs and put the empty guns with their owners. Looking out the window, the other patrol was half way around the perimeter on their way to where she just took out the first one. Moving silent back toward the guard tower, she knelt right under it, letting the darkness be her ally. The second patrol was coming around; they came slowly, cautiously, obviously wondering why they hadn’t passed the first patrol yet. Just as they were an arm length away she sprang into action. A high round house kick to the head of the closest soldier and he was down, the second soldier turned on her, but she was too quick, knocking the gun out of his hand, sidestepping and kicking his back so he went head first into the outer wall. The third one almost had her, she hit his gun, and with the force guiding her put her finger in between the trigger, he could pull back all he wanted but it wouldn’t fire. Before he could contemplate that, she punched him in the chest hard enough for his armor to crumple under inward. He slowly fell to his knees clutching his chest, and with a downward kick the head, he was out.
The alarm had been raised. Either because the first patrol did not comlink in or the noise from the second scuffle, the alert was all over the camp, shouts could be heard and the remaining guard tower had its flood light sweeping the camp. Barriss left the bodies where they were, it was useless and it wasted time to try and hide them. Taking one of the blasters she decided the guards in the guard tower had to be taken out first. Again the force came to her aid as she peeked around the building. With three rapid shots all three guards were eliminated; and a fourth shot destroyed the light. Dropping the gun and turning towards the edge of the perimeter, she used the force to add a burst of speed and was half way across the camp before clone trooper reinforcements made it to the source of the laser fire. Two full squads of clone troopers had made it to her previous position and were searching the immediate area for any signs of the attacker. Barriss ran toward the two guards at the central building who were also distracted by the recent attack. She jump kicked the first soldier knocking him out while bringing the butt of her lightsaber down on the second one before he knew what was happening. Picking up one of the blasters she zeroed in on the main group of clone troopers inspecting the downed patrol and opened fire.
Two troopers went down in the first hail of blaster fire, and a third and fourth shortly there after. By this time the rest were turning around and firing at her. The blue blade flashed in front of her deflecting the bolts. A few shots were deflected back and a scream marked another trooper going down. Gathering the force she shoved her hand forward launching six troopers off their feet. That left thirteen soldiers on their feet. Another gathering of the force and she was up in the air moving forward faster than the troopers could follow. She came down swinging deftly striking down three within a matter of seconds and then she was into the main pack. She was thrusting forward with her lightsaber to slay one, while bringing it back up to guard against another blaster shot, her lightsaber was a blur of motion as was her body. Within a minute the rest of the clone troopers were on the ground, either unconscious or dead. No more could be seen coming to challenge her, so she walked toward the center of camp, blade in front of her in a guard position just in case. She moved to the door of the center building and pushed it open while staying to the side of the opening. Blaster fire shot through the opening in rapid succession. Barriss looked around wondering how she was going to get in there. She could use her lightsaber to cut an opening in the side, but they would be on to that in a second and be waiting for her. Opening herself to the force she could see inside the building, a half dozen remaining troopers and one imperial officer were barricaded inside, hiding behind toppled tables. The force guided her vision to a pair of rocks, immediately she was reminded of the prairies of Ansion before the outbreak of the Clone Wars, when her master, to impress one of the nomadic tribes made pebbles fly in an acrobatic whirlwind of beauty. Her ability of the force was being stretched thin as she made the rocks float into the opening of the building. Through the force she could see the clone troopers look at the rocks in confusion. Before the Imperial Officer could give an order to shoot the rocks, they flew straight at the nearest clone troopers and knocked them out cold. The rocks flew fast around the room hitting the soldiers until everyone was down including the officer.
Walking into the central building she saw the clone troopers sprawled on the floor or the downed tables, most had deep indents in their helmets and other various parts of their bodies. Luckily she didn’t hit any computer screen in the process of eliminating the opposing squad. She accessed the main computer that linked to the frigate. The captain of the ship was demanding an update on the attack. She looked right at the captain who could now see her.
“The attack has succeeded; do not send any more men to the surface. I do not want to have to kill anymore, today has seen enough bloodshed.” Barriss said calmly.
With that she put flicked on her lightsaber and plunged it through the terminal. Then she ran, she didn’t know why, but she was running head long out of the building and towards the west side of the camp, her legs propelled her over the camp wall and away from the area. Before she got 50 meters away bright green light flared down from the skies to impact on the compound. Within seconds the camp was totally obliterated, scorched to the ground. She ran on, for what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes. Finally she stopped, all she could see of the camp was black smoke billowing up in the distance. All that death, for what, she didn’t know.
“It was necessary.” came the voice of her Master.
“Necessary? I slaughtered dozens of men!” she cried.
“Yes, but it delays the evil that is stalking you.” Master Unduli replied, “Though death is never a good option it was the necessary choice in this event. You did not strike these men out of hate; you struck them down because you had to. I will not insult you to believe that what you did was necessarily right, but it was a good solution to our problem. Vader will respect your resolution, and your skill, this will help you in your final battle even if he does not know this.”
“Why should he care about the death I have inflicted upon these soldiers. Sith care nothing of the dead, they walk over people without caring.” answered Barriss
“This is true, but now he has to reassess you.” Unduli said, “He did not think you would do this and doing so he will see how strong you are in the force.”
“I concede your point, I have to hurry away from this place,” replied Barriss, “Vader is almost here.”
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:25 PM (GMT)
The Star Destroyer Emergence had finally arrived at Dantooine, and was moving into a parking orbit right off the starboard of the Frigate Quandry. The last few hours little word had escaped the frigate. Repeated requests on updates from the ground team was met with a lot of running around and no real information, except for the team had landed and set up a small camp/base. This did not bode well to Darth Vader. Something had gone wrong down on the planet, at most Vader expected the camp to be under attack right now or some men were slain on the plains by the Jedi. He turned to face his view screen in his cabin and turned it on. Immediately a picture of the bridge on the Quandry came up with Captain Rinton looking over a crewman’s shoulder at a monitor.
“Captain Rinton,” Vader said sternly. This caused Rinton to jump and turn around too look at what would be a full size holo of Vader standing behind him.
“Y-yes Lord V-Vader?” asked Rinton, obviously nervous.
“I want an update now, no more circling the truth.” commanded Vader.
“W-well around 2100 hours the b-base camp reported a-an attack. Within m-m-minutes we lost c-c-contact with all personal on the planet.” replied Rinton.
“Why did you not report this before? It has been two hours.” answered Vader angrily, “What have you done since the attack.”
“W-w-well,” the captain was noticeably shaking, “as soon as we lost contact we bombarded the base with turbo laser fire.”
“So, you destroyed the base…” Vader calmly said.
“Yes sir,” stated Rinton.
“And any survivors that could have helped us find the Jedi.” replied Vader.
“Y-y-yes sir,” said Rinton.
Darth Vader made a small motion towards the view screen and Captain Rinton started choking and grabbing his throat. “You have failed me. You let the Jedi escape, and you lost your whole ground team, AND any survivors that might have told you where the Jedi fled to. You will NOT fail me again, or I will not be as forgiving.” With that, Vader released him and canceled the transmission.
Quickly he stood clipped his lightsaber to his belt, grabbed his comlink, and left his room and marched to the turbolift. He waved his hand and the doors opened immediately, stepped in, and proceeded to go to the hanger level. Lifting his comlink he contacted Captain Enderas. “Captain, begin with the landing of your soldiers, two shuttles full of troopers and one of the bigger shuttles full of supplies and speeders. I want two TIE-fighters protecting each shuttle. My personal shuttle will be escorted by two of the remaining tri-fighters.”
“Yes sir,” was the reply and within seconds the orders were over the ship’s communication net. The turbolift doors opened and he was walking down the light-gray hallway again. Already his two personal crack clone troopers were waiting for him. The door to the hanger opened and his guards fell in behind him. The big cargo carrying shuttle was just taking off when the doors open with its TIE-fighter escort following suit. The three shuttles would be on the ground by the time his hit atmosphere.
Reaching the ramp of his shuttle he could see the two squads of clone troopers strapped in and silent, their rifles locked in place beside them. He took his place at the main pilot chair with his two troopers taking the flanking seats. The trooper on his left started powering up the ship while the one on the right talked to hanger control and their tri-fighter escort. Vader got on the comlink to the TIE-fighters; “TIE=Fighter escorts, make a larger landing zone near the original encampment, then land on the perimeter to provide protection for ground troops. He flicked the switch for the back ramp to close and then nudged the engine power up and gracefully flew the shuttle out of the hanger, with his tri-fighter escort right behind him. Once he was out and in open space, he boosted the power to the engines to full and sped towards the planet. He felt free behind the controls of another ship, it may not be a fighter but at least he was flying again. Flying came naturally to him, from his first pod-race up too fighting for the republic in the clone wars. Shaking the memory out of his head, he silently cursed himself. That was the past, that was not who he was now, he was weak back then. That life was someone else’s not his; his was the life of a great warrior that would bring order to the chaos.
Thoughts were lost when his ship hit atmosphere, all his focus was turned to landing the shuttle safely. Within minutes he came across the scorched earth that was the previous camp, at least the Captain could glass a planet with accuracy and ferocity; that could come in useful in the future. The new landing zone was forty meters to the east; the surrounding small forest had burned down to the ground by laser fire from the TIE-fighters who were now landing to help with the defense. The tri-fighters took off speeding away to patrol the surrounding area. As his ship landed he saw half dozen speeders take off through the plains heading towards the small forested area a few kilometers away. His ship landed, he flicked the switch again that lowered the back ramp and hurried off, his squads of clone troopers and two guards following suit.
“You men,” speaking to the former occupants of the ship, “get two speeders and pile in we’ll be taking off in pursuit soon.” He watched them take off to the cargo shuttle. “You two”, he pointed to his guards, “Grab another speeder, for us, we will ride separately from the rest.”
The two guards quickly followed the other troopers to the cargo shuttle. The leader of the first wave of clone troopers was quickly jogging over to him.
“Sir, this area is secure!” he said as he snapped a salute.
“Good work, but why did I see speeders take off when I was landing?” replied Vader.
“We thought we could track the Jedi down so it would be quicker for you to do battle with her, we only mean to trap her.”
“Your orders were to secure the landing zone, not to go off on the chase. Those orders were for the safety of you and your men. Those men will die soon, this Jedi is powerful.” said Vader.
Almost if on cue, the first explosion could be heard in the distance…
Barriss Offee heard the speeders coming, long before she saw them. These were stripped down military speeders, made for speed not for protection. What was funny was that while the speeders matched the surrounding area in color, the stark white of the clone troopers was easy to see from great distances. They came quickly entering the trees at reckless speeds. She jumped down flicking her lightsaber as the last one came up on her location. Her lightsaber sliced the front end of the speeder, sending the rest and the rider into a tree ten meters away. The other troopers, hearing the explosion banked their speeders around and came to the crash site, only to find fire and speeder wreckage. Incredulously Barriss did the same trick again, jumping down from her elevated position and slicing another speeder up, as the scout party just hovered in place. The speeder crashed to the ground with the rider as Barriss was already moving towards the next one, striking down the trooper on the speeder to the right. Two speeders took off, while the third turned around to fire its guns. She sliced the cannon tip off right as the soldier fired; the resulting explosion threw Barriss back a few meters. By the time she stood up the last two speeders were heading back toward her. Her lightsaber was up in front of her blocking the speeders’ shots, one picked off the front speeder’s rider. The second kept coming at her at top speed. At the last second she sidestepped and sliced down and cut the speeder in half. Once again; it sent the speeder and its rider into a tree resulting into an explosion.
He was here. On the planet; that was the only reason for this second wave of Imperial forces. Barriss caught her breath as she looked at the wreckage surrounding her. Two shuttles had landed earlier with the third fifteen minutes later. The last one had to be Vader. The fighter escorts were strange, though. She didn’t recognize the H-shaped ships that had escorted the first two shuttles down and had burned a huge part of the forest down for a landing zone. So she did what any sane Jedi would do, she opened herself up to the force and goaded Darth Vader. She challenged him; she sent visual images of the downed scout patrol he had sent. Not the smartest thing to do to a Sith that helped bring about the destruction of the Old Republic, yet it was something she had to do, anger would distract him.
“Good work,” said her Master, “I must take my leave of you my apprentice. You must do this on your own. If he detects me it will be all for naught. I am so proud of the Jedi you have become; you have surpassed all my expectations!”
A tear slowly rolled down Barriss Offee’s cheek as she listened to her Master’s parting words. “I could not have done it without you my Master. I will not fail you!”
“I know, and you never have. Goodbye Barriss, my friend.” said the softening voice of Master Luminara Unduli. With that her ghost faded from sight and Barriss knew that she had finally given herself fully to the force.
Darth Vader seethed in anger. His speeder was just behind the two troop speeders that were racing along in front of him. Soon he would reach the Jedi and put an end to her taunting. He eased down on the accelerator letting the speeders full of clone troopers get ahead of him by quite a distance.
“Why are you slowing down Sir?” asked TA-104, his clone trooper guard on the right.
“I want those soldiers to wear her down.” replied Vader, “I doubt they can bring her down, but they will wear her out for us.”
TA-104 and TA-105 stayed silent. They would do their jobs well; their experience in the battlefield was unparallel. It was sad that these fine clone troopers would be replaced soon by trained regular soldiers which the Emperor called storm troopers. Clone troopers had done a magnificent job during the clone wars and at helping wipe out the Jedi Plague. Yet, the newest batches that had been grown faster than the older ones had been acting unusual, reports had some squads opening up on their fellow units. This prompted the Emperor to open training centers around the galaxy to train new soldiers, storm troopers, cannon fodder. Luckily for Vader these two were of the older breed, smart, experienced, and obedient.
The two squads of storm troopers ahead of him; slowed their speeders down as they entered the forest. Vader slowed his speeder until it was stopped and waited. His comlink was on and he could hear the clone troopers talking, as they explored the wooded area. Nothing unusual, a little tension in their voices, but they were otherwise calm. He just waited, and soon enough before he could hear it, he could feel the gathering of the force, soon after he could hear the firing of their blaster rifles and the yelling of orders over their comlinks.
A new tactic. There were limited ways through the forest, and Barriss had an idea of where they would enter and the path they would need to take awhile before the forest opened up. She laid out downed thick branches in an irregular pattern, with a space big enough for her to lie down in. She then scattered leaves on it and some small twigs so it looked a bit more natural. Then when she laid down in the little crevasse in between the branches she put more leaves on her and hid her lightsaber up her sleeve so no sunlight would reflect off it. Sure enough not five minutes after she settled the first speeder ambled slowly towards her, the repulsors making it hover a foot above the ground. The first one passed over her, the repulsors pressing her hard into the ground. Then the second one came a few seconds after just as slow. Gathering the force she used it to strengthen herself against the pressure of the repulsors, she slid her lightsaber into her hand and pointed it upwards. Flicking the power button to the on position, the blue blade surged upwards with a snap-hiss, and sliced through the back to repulsors and the back of the speeder came crashing down closer than she would have liked to her head. Two clone troopers spilled out of the back right next to her. The one on her right got his helmet crushed by her force powered fist, while the one on her left got a lightsaber to his side.
She did a back flip, landing on her feet and turned to face the rest of the soldiers in the wounded speeder. One was running at her, no gun in his hands. He launched himself at her with a jump kick. Sidestepping the overzealous soldier she grabbed the outstretched foot and swung him down onto the ground, knocking him out cold. Looking up she saw the remaining soldiers scrambling for their weapons they lost in the sudden crash. Ahead the first speeder was coming in fast, though it could not fire without fear of hitting their own troops. Barriss ignored the unarmed troops ran for the down speeder, jumped on the upturned nose of the speeder (which still had working repulsors under it), and vaulted towards the oncoming speeder. Her lightsaber blocked two blaster shots before she landed on the front of the speeder. The troopers piled out except for the pilot which she quickly cut down with her lightsaber. She jumped out of the speeder seconds before it the other wounded speeder. The blue blade flashed all around her as she let the force guide her blade. It moved faster than the eye could follow as it blocked every shot that was on target. The clone troopers from the first speeder ran in at her unable to find their weapons in the foliage of the forest. Barriss ducked a high punch and sliced one of the unarmed soldiers through the abdomen and brought her lightsaber up just in time to block another blaster shot that zinged back hitting its owner. Then in the same motion she brought her lightsaber down through the leg of in coming kick from another clone trooper spilling him onto the ground. Another three shots blocked and another clone trooper was down.
Three more clone troopers came in at her unarmed; she blocked one kick with her right leg but got propelled forward by a roundhouse kick to the back. She dove to the ground as a hail of laser blasts crisscrossed where she just was and came rolling right up to an armed trooper who was immediately skewered by her lightsaber. Grabbing the dropping blaster and deflecting a shot to her left side she twirled around finger pressed down hard on the trigger, opening up on the clone troopers to her left, two shots hit one of the armed soldiers, while the main spray hit the unarmed soldiers who were two slow to duck, three went down within seconds before the blaster’s power level drained to zero. Running at the nearest armed soldier which was on her right she threw the blaster at him, causing him to duck, within those few seconds she was on him and had removed the hand holding the blaster at the wrist. Using a burst of the force she propelled him into a trunk of the tree.
Before she turned around her lightsaber hand was grabbed and twisted and she lost grip on her lightsaber, another soldier grabbed her other hand. A third clone trooper was running toward her in front of her fist cocking back to strike her. Right before he struck her, she brought up her right foot fast kicking him underneath the chin, snapping his neck back and making his helmet fly off. She used her other her other foot to kick off the soldiers chest flipping herself backwards. The two troopers holding her lost their grip and she landed behind them. An elbow came from the left one which she grabbed and snapped backwards breaking it, the soldier on the right came around with a kick which she deflected and punched the face of the helmet, cracking it. He was coming around with a punch so she took his hand and swung him into the other wounded soldier sending them flying. She called her lightsaber to her as she dodged some blaster fire and switched it on in time to deflect another shot.
She twirled around to face the remaining soldiers. They were reloading their power packs into their rifles. Seven left of twenty four. All seven had blaster rifles; one had taken up a rifle from a slain comrade. They moved slowly toward the Jedi. Barriss had her lightsaber up in high guard. A trickle of sweat moved down her brow, her breathing slightly more ragged than normal. This fight had to end quickly and she knew how. There was a branch almost as big as she was to the left of the remaining clone troopers. “Size Matters Not!” She remembered the familiar line of Master Yoda. Gathering the force, she lifted the branch and heaved it at the soldiers who were too slow to react. It impacted the farthest one to the left with an audible crunch and kept moving into the second soldier, and then landing on the third. She was upon the last four in a flash cutting out one’s legs while twirling around and sweeping the legs out beneath the next trooper. She stood up and slammed her foot into the second troopers head. A burst of the force and the third one flew at a tree hitting hard. The final soldier was only twirled around by the force shove and with a punch to the chest and knee to the head was unconscious.
She fell to her knees. The last use of so much force had exhausted her. Catching her breath she took in the surroundings. Twenty-four clone troopers, two full squads, were strewn around her some dead, some wounded, some merely unconscious. The fight had taken everything she had. Exactly what Darth Vader wanted. Wiping the sweat from her brow she started walking away from the area. She had to get away from the area, but she had to conserve her strength. The force was gently flowing through her again, slowly regenerating her energy.
Just on the edge of the forest Darth Vader gave a simple command to his two personal clone troopers; “Go.”
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:26 PM (GMT)
Barriss sat in a clearing in the forest. She felt the two clone troopers headed toward her. They felt different to her, unique. They were not driven by hate, but by purpose. They had a job to do and they were going to do it. This was like most clone troopers, but what made them unique was the fact she couldn’t probe their minds. They had been taught to resist force driven efforts. This made her wonder what else they had been taught to do. The force was flowing through her like a nice gentle breeze. Her strength had come back and no longer was she feeling exhausted or even tired. Master Yoda always said what a powerful ally the force is, and throughout her times in war, whether it is fighting on the battlefield, healing the injured, or trying to guess what the enemy had in store for her, Yoda’s words rang true.
At the edge of forest two clone troopers emerged. First one and then the other, they moved to stand a good arms length away from each other. Barriss slowly stood up and looked over her new adversaries. On the outside they looked like any other regular clone trooper. They were clad totally in white armor, white armor that couldn’t even stand against one hit from a blaster. They were the same height, that being because they were clones. And like the rest of the clones, they were eerily silent and still. On the inside there was a strong power within both of them. Not of the force, but a power nonetheless.
“You do not have to die here,” she started, “I don’t want to fight you, leave now and you may go free.”
The clone trooper on the right spoke, “We will not die here today; you will Jedi. We have never failed our Master and we will not today.”
With that they reached over their shoulders and each pulled out a long glass-like shaft that had been hooked onto their armor. They were just over 1 ˝ meters long with bulbous ends on them. They flicked a button on their strange weapons and it looked like an electrical current was running inside them. It was then that Barriss recognized the weapons. She had seen them in briefings in the Jedi Temple. The weapons were used by the late General Grevious’s henchmen. It was a weapon that no lightsaber could cut in half, and was very deadly in the right hands. But the only ones in existence were supposed to be destroyed. ‘Apparently not,’ she thought. She looked on as the soldier on the left twirled the weapon in front of him.
She detected the feint before it happened. The clone trooper on the right made a quick motion to attack, but the intent of the left was more inclined to strike. Shoving her hand out, she sent a burst of the force propelling the incoming soldier backwards a few meters and onto the ground. She brought up her lightsaber and turning it on and coming down with a heavy swing on top of the other soldier. Moving his hands quickly to the outer parts of the staff, the lightsaber struck in the middle hard, but the weapon held. The soldier pushed her lightsaber up hard and twirled his weapon around and struck her hard on her left flank with one of the large ends. He made a move to sweep her off her feet with the staff but she moved faster than he, and deftly blocked the low swing. By this time the other trooper had regained his feet and was coming into the fray. Barriss retreated a few meters to reassess the situation. They were definitely skilled with these staffs. The force started to swirl around her; she did not come so far as to fall to these two.
They attacked; the right one ahead of the left by barely a foot. She twisted her lightsaber down towards her right foot to block a light slash to her side; then swung her lightsaber up to deflect a thrust to her middle. Twirling around she came in with a round house kick to launch one of the soldiers of his feet. The soldier was around swinging around and caught her square in the back with his staff sending Barriss flying. Without add of the force and fighting through pain, Barriss came down into a somersault then standing up on her feet. Turning around the soldier was almost on her bringing his staff around like a sword as hard as he could. She brought her lightsaber up to deflect just in time. The force of the swing almost wrenched the lightsaber from her grasp. Another blow on top of her blade but she held on this time. The other clone trooper was now running at them. This moment of distraction was all the first one needed, and he brought his staff around low and knocked her off her feet. She landed hard, but before he could bring down his staff again she used the force to propel her forward landing a two-foot kick in the center of his chest, he fell backwards with her on top of him, riding him like a sled.
Using the momentum she jumped off to the side twirling as she came down to stand right next to the second soldier. She slashed quickly and even with him stepping away, her lightsaber dug into his armor slightly. This caused a grunt of pain from the soldier who quickly thrust his staff at her abdomen. Sidestepping, she grabbed on the staff and pulled it forward bringing the soldier with it. When he was to her side, she came down with a hard kick to the back of his knee with a loud crunch. Letting go of his staff, he stumbled away from her, barely able to stay on his feet. The other soldier now attacked and she deflected his low slash. Moving quickly she parried a high thrust and then a low swing to her knees. His staff looked burned from the multiple lightsaber strikes, but it still held strong. Another strike to right and again she parried it away and then both of them came around and locked weapons together. There was no expression on the mask of course, but a sharp determination boiled off him. She felt the other soldier standing up weakly, knee hurting him badly. Her total concentration was then toward the fully capable clone trooper in front of her. Putting all effort into their deadly locked weapons, she started winning the small battle. His strength ebbed for just a second and she took full advantage, twirling both weapons until the clone trooper lost grip of his staff and it went flying. Except before she could get her lightsaber in position, his fist punched her hard in the face. She stumbled backwards and he grabbed her wrist. In trouble she did the only thing she could think of, she kicked him in the groin. The armor may protect some, but it was weak down there as the two sides joined together. The soldier doubled over in pain falling to his knees. She stepped forward and with a thrust backwards with her lightsaber, she ran him through.
He felt the anguish as the first clone trooper fell. These were his best soldiers; he had trained them during the war with bladed weapons. Not only were they crack shots but they were expert duelists now too, and the Jedi had killed one. Darth Vader knew the last clone trooper was injured and it would not be long before he fell too. Pity, they were good men. From now only he could only trust in his own skills to get the job done. He unclipped his comlink and put it on the dash of the speeder. Opening the door of the speeder he stepped out and looked at the forest. This was a very different location from his last true duel, against Obi-Wan. He almost preferred Mustafar to Dantooine. All the violent energy that was Mustafar, the hot lava flows, the harsh climate, it all elevated that duel to mammoth proportions. Mustafar left a mark on him more than just physically. The lava that flows on that planet, which was the reason he was in this suit, burned in his veins. It fueled his every step, it had burned into his torn soul and smoldered it back together. “Sometimes I’m afraid you’ll be the death of me”. Funny, was it the force being subtle, did it know that Anakin turned Darth Vader would someday hunt his former master? That quote from his former Master was given to him after a short lecture about losing his lightsaber. At the time Anakin was abhorred at Obi-Wan even thinking he would try to do him any harm. If only that past Anakin could see Vader now; a sense of evil satisfaction entered Vader’s mind. He would use this power to get the information he needed from Barriss Offee about his former Master. So he was off, he entered the forest and to meet with this Jedi.
Barriss faced the wounded clone trooper. He was now standing with his staff in front of him in a defensive position. She could tell he wasn’t putting all his weight on his bad knee, but this wouldn’t make him any less lethal. A wounded animal will fight ten times as hard to preserve one’s own life then it normally would. Off in the distance an evil presence closed in. Vader was finally coming to meet Barriss Offee face to face.
She focused on the trooper as he straightened up as best he could. He twisted his staff in front of his face in salute to his fellow warrior. Her face remained neutral but she quickly twisted her lightsaber up in the same position and slightly nodded toward him. She then gripped her lightsaber with her other hand and cautiously moved forward. The soldier did the same, his hands in the middle of the staff. He struck first with a low shot to her stomach; she blocked it, and brought her lightsaber up to deflect and high swing from the top portion of the staff. Taking one foot step back she parried a shot from the lower end then went on the offensive. Thrusting forward, she tried to stab his right side, which was deftly deflected, and using the momentum of the deflection she twirled counterclockwise and made a glancing blow to his back searing through the armor. The soldier stumbled forward as Barriss turned to face him. He brought up his staff in a weak defense, but she batted it away. As she swung her lightsaber around to end it, the soldier nodded once, and was cut down.
Barriss turned around to see Darth Vader watching her on the other side of the clearing.
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:27 PM (GMT)
How long had he been standing there? Did he let his personal clone trooper be slain in front of his very eyes? That would be Sith-like. He still hadn’t moved or said anything more. Just staring at her, it was unnerving. She turned completely around and stared back unwavering. From head to toe he was clad in black, culminating in a very unique helmet. It was a wonder how he could since even though the mask looked like a weird face, it looked solid; an advanced viewscreen in the eye pieces? That could also help with peripheral vision too.
“Anakin?” she asked cautiously.
Seething hatred coursed through him as he answered; “That name no longer has any meaning to me.”
“Ah yes, Darth Vader, Lord of the Sith,” she replied, “Look how far you have fallen Anakin. We trained together, we fought together, I remember how you wanted good for everyone. What happened? Why did you fall to the lure of the darkside?”
“Being the good Jedi only brought failure. First, it meant not saving my mother. Then it couldn’t save Padme!”
“Senator Amidala? Why would you care?” she answered, immediately knowing this was the wrong question to ask.
Vader raised his hand toward her and pushed it towards her. Suddenly it got very hard to breath; she grabbed her throat almost panicking. Then she realized what was happening and shoved her hand towards Vader, the burst of force sent him staggering back. It wasn’t as powerful as her other force shoves, but that was only because she was concentrating on fighting the choking affects.
“Indeed you are a formidable warrior,” Vader said as he regained his rigid posture.
“I know why you have come; to kill me,” Barriss said slowly, “But answer me this, why did you betray the council? Why did you turn on the brethren, the Jedi?”
“My Master showed me how weak you all were,” answered Vader, “The Jedi and all their high ideals are as slow as the senate in dealing with problems. This slowness made me reach my mother too late, she died in my hands, and I promised her I would not fail her again. Then I lost Padme when Obi-Wan killed her. I failed twice. Jedi are a plague on this galaxy, they don’t bring justice, THEY BRING MORE CHAOS!”
“Obi-Wan…killed Amidala? So he does survive?” asked Barriss.
“Yes, and you are the key to finding him!” Vader said, “And you will tell me where he is. I will get the information if I have to take it from your last breath!”
“But, I don-“
With that Barriss took a few steps back. The venom in those words hit her hard. The anger was raging inside him, but there was something else fueling this anger. He..was…desperate? Obi-Wan! He wanted Obi-Wan! He was desperate to find Obi-Wan. He was accusing Barriss of protecting him, hiding him away from Vader and the Emperor. Of course if she did know where Obi-Wan was, she would never tell Darth Vader, but he didn’t believe that she hadn’t even known that he still lived, let alone knew where he was. His Will to find Obi-Wan was very strong, but how did Senator Amidala fit into this. Then suddenly it hit her, there was a crack in his barrier around his feelings as he lost control of his emotions. She followed his emotions to their heart, and saw the marriage of Senator Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker on Naboo saw the tender moments they shared on Coruscant, saw Anakin kiss her goodbye for the last time. There it was, the goodness that Master Luminara Unduli had spoke about; the love for his dead unborn children. Children!?!? That was unheard of in the ranks of the Jedi, she had heard of some Jedi long before her time leaving the order for loved ones, but never had she heard of a Jedi hiding a relationship!
Suddenly the doorway inside him shut, knocking her back on her heels. He knew he had been invaded through the force. She needed to get back to that spot inside him, lives depended on it.
“I will give you one chance,” Vader began slowly, “Just one chance. Join me and the Emperor. I- We respect your history, your natural talent in the force, and your intelligence. It could be very useful in the service of the Emperor. Do not make me destroy you. The dark side could make you even more powerful. Serve Palpatine, and help bring order to the Empire.”
“Anakin…” she felt the anger redouble as she mentioned his real name, “If you truly knew me, like I thought you did, you would know I would never turn to the dark side. It may seem strong to you now, but when it sucks all the energy out of you and leaves you a hollow husk, you will cease to be a person; you will be a dead mind inside a living body. You will not be Anakin, you will not be Darth Vader, you will be a mindless drone of the dark side. I saw the good in you Anakin, you can come back, I still feel the good in you. Don’t let the last spark of the smiling little boy be vanquished from this galaxy!”
“That little boy is gone, dead, what you felt is nothing more than a disappearing memory. That boy truly died on the planet Mustafar, died at the hands of his trusted mentor; Obi-Wan Kenobi.”
“NO! I felt the good in you, for your slain love Padme, for the love of your mother, your childhood friends, for everything that you enjoyed in life!” cried Barriss.
It was Vader’s turn to take a step back. Even with the suit, Barriss could see he was visibly shaken by her outburst. His dark thoughts did battle with his memories. His helmet was jerking left to right as if he the thoughts in his head were controlling his emotions. It almost looked like he was watching a fight that was playing out before his eyes. She could imagine seeing his eyes wide and scared.
“NOOOOOOOOO!” he screamed and fell to his knees.
She felt deep pity for the man she saw. No one deserved this torture. Maybe this was her point of entry, but she didn’t know if she could bring herself to take advantage of him at this, his weakest moment. She wanted to help him, but doubt clouded her mind. If the whole of the Jedi Council could not save him, how could a young Jedi Knight be too? Barriss inched closer. Not sure of what to do, his emotions were in control of him, he could not rein them in, and they were doing terrible damage to his psyche at the moment. What would she say, how could she say it. His impenetrable barrier to his heart was closed shut to any prying, and she didn’t know what would happen if she tried to unlock it at this moment in time. So she knelt down, looking at him with sorrow. Barris was far enough away to react to any aggression; close enough to where she could almost feel the anger in him. His poor mind, his poor soul. At this moment she wished her Master would give her advice like she did before she attacked the imperial camp.
“It’s ok Anakin, it will be ok!” she said softly.
“I will help you, we can fight this together!”
“The pain will go away in time!”
With that, almost faster than she could follow, he grabbed for his lightsaber turned it on and swung upwards aiming to run her through from the waist up. She jumped backwards turning on her lightsaber. Bringing her lightsaber up and deflecting a fast slash to her side and another to her other side. Barriss was forced back under this furious attack by Vader. The sheer raw emotion roaring out of his mind almost overwhelmed her as he brought down his lightsaber once again with terrible power. She almost thought that her lightsaber would snap in half at the weight he brought down upon her blade. She flipped to her right parrying away another thrust. Landing on her feet, he was on her again blade swinging down for her head. Ducking, and with a burst of speed she tackled him. Both fell to the ground wrestling each other, she kept up with his strength, barely. He was going to overpower her soon if she didn’t get out of their entanglement. She twisted sideways, kicking the side of his helmet. That caused him to release her wrist, allowing her to flip backward onto her feet. Vader was shaken by the kick, but it hardly fazed him. He was on his feet in seconds running at her again. They both swung their blades and locked them. Her fierce determination matched only by his hatred for her kind words.
“Don’t do this Anakin,” shouted Barriss.
“It is… unavoidable.” replied Vader.
With that, he shoved her lightsaber upwards and shoved his fist, powered with the force, and she was sent flying. The wind was knocked out of her as she hit the ground hard. She tried shaking haze in her eyes. Looking up she saw Darth Vader in the air coming down on top of her, lightsaber pointed at her chest….
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:28 PM (GMT)
Her hands dug into the ground getting her fingers a few millimeters of hard soil as a grip, within those few nanoseconds she used the force to sustain her grip and explode herself backwards away from the crimson blade. Vader’s lightsaber stabbed down, the strength behind it sent it a foot into the ground. Barriss did a backwards summersault and landed on her feet. Her lightsaber immediately came up into a high guard waiting for the attack that didn’t come.
Darth Vader tilted his head upwards and looked at her; his blade still in the ground.
“You are talented Jedi,” Vader said, lifting his blade out of the ground and bringing it at a low guard position.
“Barriss! MY NAME IS BARRISS! You know this Anakin!” she cried.
“I did not call you by who you are, I called you by what you are; a weak pathetic excuse for a sentient being. You are one of the last of a dying order. Jedi had their use once, when they took action. They brought justice to the galaxy; they made people listen to reason. No more…they have become lax, lazy in their own power. For too long have the Sith been waiting for an opportunity to strike. For too long have they seen the Jedi grow arrogant in their seats of power, in their high towers of the Jedi Temple, convincing themselves superior to all others while keeping the moral high-ground. Now that the Sith have returned there shall be a new era of justice, where things get done, without the bumbling of greedy senators who just greatly increase strife, while being strung along by the Jedi, the keepers of the Peace. Ha; now you will see true power. The Sith have come to bring back order to the galaxy...”
“…no matter who you have to kill in the process...”
“If it comes to it; yes.” he finished.
“I will not let you do that.” she stated.
“You I am afraid do not have a choice in the matter. The choice that you do have is whether you want to die for no reason on this waste of a planet, or if you want to be apart of a grand new order with the Empire. The power you possess could be used to change the galaxy, you could Lord over whole systems! Make your choice!” commanded Vader.
She turned off her lightsaber, almost goading him to attack her while she kept staring at him, “You know my choice already.”
“And you have decided your fate is death.” he replied.
“If it comes to that…” she trailed off.
“Your destiny comes to an end Jedi!”
“And yours seems to have just begun.”
He gauged her for a second, almost unsure of himself and then dark energy gathered around him, “You are unwise to lower your defenses!”
With that he threw his lightsaber at her, guiding it by the force. Barriss jumped over it, deflecting it towards the trees with her own, now luminescent azure blade. She came to a landing to Vader’s left sweeping her blade in low only to have it crash against his lightsaber.
“Your fleeing around the galaxy has not dulled your skills, you still know how to stand and fight. I didn’t think you would be much of a challenge.” remarked Vader.
“You will find I am full of surprises!” she replied.
With that she spun around bringing her blade to cut across his middle. His wrist snapped quickly deflecting the shot. Both warriors twirled away from each other. Meters apart they were closer than ever. She attacked spinning the blade in front of her, and brought it down upon Vader. The blades flashed together in between them, over them, around them. The beautiful dance of death traveled the whole area of the open space in the forest. Blue and red blades clashed and whirled around their wielders. The epitome of darkness and its exact opposite clashed together. With each minute’s passing, though, Barriss’s energy ebbed while Darth Vader’s seem to grow stronger. She deflected three slashes, low, high, and to her side. Doing a back flip she her feet came around and kicked Vader underneath his chin. He staggered backward but wasn’t fazed it seemed only to make him angrier and he was on the attack again. Spinning around he swung his blade hard into her side, then spinning back around he swung at her other side. She deflected both and retreated a few steps. Vader thrust his lightsaber forward in an attempt to run her through; she sidestepped and grabbed his wrist. Barriss tried to snap it but immediately Vader grabbed her hand spun her around and kicked her square in the back, sending her reeling. She barely kept herself on her feet and turned around only to be attacked again. Again she turned around to find Vader coming down upon her. Her blade came up to defend, but the force of the attack drove her to her knees. She scrambled backwards slashing her blade with one hand while crawling backwards with the other. Vader pressed on, both hands gripped his lightsaber bringing terrible strength with each downward swing. Barriss’s lightsaber would get batted away each time, just barely making it back in time to be batted away again.
Barriss quickly changed her direction, instead of moving backwards, she propelled herself toward Vader, which caught him off guard. Where his blade came down, where her head should have been; there was nothing. She had used the force to propel her forward between his legs. Barriss came up, back to Vader, spinning her blade around to come in with a blow to his shoulder. What she felt as she came forward was a terrible pain in her stomach. She looked down to see a crimson red blade going into her abdomen. Vader saw what she was doing twisted his wrist so that it was pointed backwards and as she turned around and came forward she fell upon his blade. Her stricken face looked into the black lenses where Vader’s eyes would be and felt nothing but victory in his eyes. Her hands feebly grabbed his wrists to no avail.
And then she saw it, a chink in his armor. Not physically but emotionally. A scar from his past, in the same respects that he saw his mother die, he now looked upon her with that same emotion. Sadness; an emotion that was overcome with inevitability of her death, and of his victory. She had to use this chance to get into him somehow. Then she had it, she gathered the force around her, and pushed her life force through his red blade of energy up into his hilt, through his hands, up his arms and then through his body. There she found it, locked deep away in his soul, the good that had all but abandoned him. She saw it do battle with the overwhelming power of the darkside. The light was ebbing but it was still shining brighter than Tatooine’s two suns. And with Vader’s light she saw what lay before him, a generations worth of suffering at his hand and the Emperor’s rule. Then curiously she saw something else, a boy, not much younger than she was facing Vader in some sort of dark factory. Saying the exact line she just said; “You will find I’m full of surprises.” and with great surprise she recognized Anakin’s features in his face. HIS SON! That was the key! The light in his soul would be locked by the love of his son. The key to breaking the darkness, an emotion forbidden by the old order, but would embrace the new. She sealed apart of herself around the light, a protective bubble that no darkness could twist, or break, and would only be undone by the Son of Skywalker. With her final task complete, she gave herself to the force. Barriss Offee, Jedi Knight, was no more.
Darth Vader felt the intrusion but did not know what it was. He felt the light in him burgeon out and then suddenly disappear, along with the presence of Barriss Offee. Her body faded around his blade and her robes fell to the ground. In near panic he stamped on her empty garbs of clothing to make sure she was truly gone. When he was totally sure she was gone he stopped and stood back from the area where the Jedi fell. Another Jedi gone and he was no closer to finding his old master; Obi-Wan Kenobi. Anger boiled out of him. One day he would find out where his master was hiding, and destroy him. With Barriss dead, one more tie to his past was gone, and one more weak Jedi was taken out of existence. Beneath his masked he grinned cruelly at the thought. A little disoriented from the fight he opened himself up to the force and located the general direction of the new imperial encampment. He slowly walked through the forest, past the dead clone troopers, past the down speeders and to his own personal speeder waiting on the edge of the trees. Despite victory he no longer felt satisfaction, like something clamped his heart; he felt his end looming in some unknown distant future. Quickly pushing the thought out of his head he knew this to be untrue, he was a Dark Lord of the Sith, no one would stand before him without falling beneath his blood red blade. Turning the speeder on he turned it towards the camp and powered the engines to full and sped off.
Using his comlink he spoke to Captain Enderas; “Captain Enderas, my task is complete. Begin getting your troops back into their fighters and shuttles, we shall leave immediately.”
“Yes Lord Vader,” came the reply.
Darth Vader approached the activity of the camp as the unused speeders were packed away into the cargo shuttle and the remaining clone troopers filed into their ships. He piloted the speeder into the cargo shuttle and then went to his own. His was empty, all of the clone troopers including his two personal guards, were dead or grievously injured. The injured had failed him, and were best left dying on the battlefield. He piloted the shuttle alone using the force to guide switches to their appropriate on/off positions and moving levers that his copilots would usually work that were out of his reach. His shuttle lifted through the atmosphere and into open space and towards the Emergence. Vader’s thoughts were once again brooding of all the things he would have to fix in the galaxy before the Empire was truly the only power in the universe. His shuttle entered the hanger and touched down. He turned off all power and walked slowly to the hanger door to the long light-gray hallway that led to the turbolifts. Without his order, the Captain knew to head back to Coruscant, along with the Frigate Quandry. Both ships, since no caution was necessary anymore, entered hyperspace as soon as they were out of the gravity well.
Alone in his room Darth Vader sat on the edge of his bed, once again dark energies swirling around him as he thought about his former Master, and how to find him. There he went to his new Master, to receive his next order. Barriss was long gone in his mind, yet her presence would always be fighting him. An eternal battle inside him that would never end until the Son of Skywalker came to confront him.
Neosakid - March 31, 2005 11:29 PM (GMT)
Her body faded as she became one with the Force. She didn’t really feel herself moving to anyone place; it just felt like she was becoming one with Life itself. She felt her Master touch her through the force.
“Welcome young one.” said Luminara Unduli.
“I have completed my task my Master.” replied Barriss Offee.
“I know, you have achieved more than I could have ever have dreamed. And now have come to be where the great Masters of the past have come to rest. Only the greatest of us can achieve clarity when becoming one with the Force. The rest of us become emerged as a greater whole. Those with truly vast control can keep their own minds, yet most choose not to.” her Master explained.
“Why do most choose not to?” Barriss asked.
“It is a tie to the physical universe that keeps us apart. Like I said you were my buoy, you are the reason I choose to stay as my residual self. I wanted to guide you to a greater end than what Vader had in store for you.” Luminara answered.
“I thank you Master.”
“Please, there are no Master/apprentices here. Only Jedi.” said Luminara. “Only friends…”
“You were a great teacher, and a great friend, and I thank you for teaching me in my final days, and helping me with my ascension to the Force.”
“You had it in you my young Barriss. Ever since I met you I saw the inner strength that resided in you, and that is why I picked you as my apprentice, and never have you failed me.”
Barriss was heartened by her words. Something troubled her though. The attack in her mind of the imperial encampment still plagued her.
“Luminara, was that attack on the imperial encampment truly necessary?”
“What do you mean?” Luminara asked.
“Why did you ask me to attack the imperials?”
“I didn’t.” stated Luminara.
“But I heard you, you spoke to me. You told me it had to be done to help me in my fight with Vader! When it was all done you said it was necessary!” said Barriss
“I did none of those things, although I followed you throughout your trials, I left you alone to fight to give you distance and not distract you from your task.” answered Luminara.
“Then who did I truly hear?” asked Barriss.
Alone in a dark cavernous room within the newly crowned “Imperial Palace”, a dark figure sat watching the sun die and the dark night arise. Already the news of the Jedi Barriss Offee slaughtering peace keeping clone troopers was spreading through the news. The propaganda machine was in full force. Lord Vader was seen as the hero as he avenged the clone troopers’ deaths by slaying the evil Jedi. His lips cracked an evil smile as he thought about how he manipulated the weak Jedi. One less Jedi to deal with, one less nuisance his Empire would have to swat out of the galaxy. The Jedi defeated, his military conquering all known worlds, his seat of power growing throughout the galaxy, the Emperor was content for now. Now came the hard task of putting up with the Imperial Senate, and to see about the rumors of a small band of senators rebelling against his rightful rule. None would stand against him, he would see to it. None could stand against him and his incredible power of the dark side. All sentient beings would tremble at the very mention of his name and know that he, Darth Sidious, Dark Lord of the Sith, was the ultimate power in the galaxy!
And alone in his dusty home on Tatooine, a down trodden, Jedi Master waited, biding his time when he could once again face his former student.