Star Wars: Darklight

by AB

Chapter 16

A new path lies ahead

"This mission is a suicide you realise, yes?" Six months had gone by.

"Yes, Kaa'ara…thank you for reminding me…for the umpteenth time…we must win this. Darth Gore is an ally of my brother and we have to deliver a significant victory. I don't know how else we…I can manage to hold this Coalition without my mother…or…" Volun replied irritated. Six months had gone by since that fateful day. Lavos, Karos with Hara with their Masers had tried to free him before his brother could kill him and Darth Solus even with one hand severed had not only defended himself he had managed to injure Varog and sever Ravela's leg. His scythe blade and technique far too superior to theirs.

Kaa'ara had appeared out of nowhere and she had been able to push him back using solely Force abilities. He might even have been able to defeat her as well if not for an urgent message from Moraband. He had defended against Kaa'ara's Force usage until a shuttle had taken him away from the planet.

They had learned a few days later from their spies in the Sith ranks of the civil war between the various Sith Lords of the Conclave.

Volun had managed to take away his mother's body but had been unable to even locate Tern's in the abyssal chasm and pressed for time he had been unable to form a proper search party down in the gorge's depths to locate his lover's body and retrieve it for burial later. Lavos with Varog had had to almost drag him away.

"Then if you realise it why not strike at a more winnable target?" Kaa'ara continued.

"No, I will not defend myself anymore. I am the Leader of this Coalition and I have given us an order. Follow it or leave the Coalition. No one asked you to join us in the first place." Volun snapped. Kaa'ara scoffed crossing her hands in front of her torso but did not further reply.

They were aboard the Coalition cruiser Alderaan heading with the rest of the fleet to a planet they had received information on, from an "unknown source" stating Darth Gore's secret laboratories and new fusion reactors were there. The unknown source had also told them Darth Gore would be in the planet for a few days supervising the roll out of a new experimental fusion reactor. A reactor which if it lived up to the expectations of its engineers would be able to power a normal Sith cruiser with the same energy output of a Life-Eradication cruiser. Volun did not need to be an adult or seasoned soldier to know if this was allowed to happen it would give the Sith fleet a huge advantage over the Coalition. Coalition ships would be unable to penetrate the Sith ships' shields.

"You are not the Leader of the Coalition. Your mother is…was. Do the rest of the Coalition Member Leaders know of her death?" Kaa'ara asked under her breath.

Volun, Kaa'ara and the rest were heading to the cruiser's bridge. Volun stopped dead in his tracks, clenching his fists in cold seething rage.

"No, they do not know. If they did the Coalition would have splintered months ago as pretty much every faction Leader would want and vie for the Leader's position. Hopefully we have been run ragged by the Sith and all the information we've been receiving about their plans, locations and so on that I have been able to mask her death and fool them by having my mum "appear" in the holographic projection and not have to be in Tatooine for six months now. I want…need us to earn this victory, kill Darth Gore so that I can finally burst the lie. "My mother is dead but I have secured us our most significant victory in six months, I am your Leader now." Volun paused taking a breath. "Besides…we are almost at the breaking point. We've had some insignificant victories and some pretty heavy defeats. If we do not secure this the Coalition is heading to a fast death and the Sith will not fight each other for long. Eventually one will rise above the others and after that he or she will be virtually untouchable. We must win this if for no other reason than to raise the soldiers' moral. You know all of this, why have me reiterate it?"

"I suppose…" Kaa'ara mumbled in even more of a whisper. She did not answer Volun's question.

"What? I actually managed to win an argument against you?" Volun sounded shocked.

"No, let's not go that far…you just didn't lose it like all the previous times." Kaa'ara replied leaving the corridor.

"Sometimes…" Volun started making Lavos chuckle. Lavos held his hand moving them forward. "Why do you think she's stayed?" Volun asked.

"I do not know but she's crazy powerful with the Force even if she's still very primitive in her use of the lightsaber." Hara answered.

"Yeah…who knew that being in the core of a Life-Eradicator weapon could make you this powerful." Karos replied.

"No, that didn't make her this powerful I don't think." Volun asserted. "She must have been this powerful from before, probably why Darth Mortus selected her in the first place." Volun replied. Kaa'ara had told them about her past and her, genetic, link to Tern a few days after the day of Cyra's and Tern's death. She had told them of her past and announced she wanted to join them.

"I guess…maybe why she joined then. She must be royally pissed off with the Sith for what they have done to her and her parents." Hara said.

"Yes, I am. Are you all going to sit here in idle chat about me or are you going to come to the bridge?" They heard Kaa'ara's voice. They nodded following her and Volun into the bridge.

"Sir," General Atos greeted them. "I have to ask? Where are we getting this information about the Sith?"

Volun didn't even look at him. "Spies in the enemy's ranks." He replied in a tone of apathy. More of a poker face than apathy really. Volun knew he could not tell anyone where he was really getting this info from. Darth Novus had been very active in passing them information. Volun knew that with the Sith civil war currently waging between the Sith Lords of the Conclave it probably meant Darth Novus was passing them off information concerning his rivals and opponents but Volun did not care. The more they weakened the Sith the Order better it was no matter how or from where their info originated.

"Is the fleet ready?" Volun asked. General Atos was clearly unhappy and his face showed it.

"Where's your mother?"

"She had some matters to attend to." Volun lied.

"Is it not true your mother has been dead for six months now?" General Atos pressured.

Lavos felt his hand squeezed almost to blood-stopping point.

"Yes, it is true, how did you know?" Volun answered with a deathly tone in his voice.

"I am not a fool and you are not the only one with a secret source of information. I am having the fleet turn…"

General Atos was cut short by Varog who powered up his lightsaber bringing its tip to the General's neck.

"No, you will not. Volun keeping it a secret was wrong but until the Coalition's council of Leaders votes for another one to take Cyra's place Volun has charged us with a mission and we will see it completed." Varog spoke loud and clear before powering down his lightsaber.

"Now, is the fleet ready?" Volun asked again. It was plainly clear to everyone present that General Atos was silently seething. "Yes."

"Jump us out of Hyperspace as soon as we arrive in Nal Hutta. You have your orders." Volun left the bridge with the rest of the Force-sensitives.

"I should get to my Starfighter." Lavos told Volun.

"Be safe, I can't stand to lose another person whom I…care for." Volun squeezed his hand.

"So you DO care for me!" Lavos teased him. Volun didn't giggle, he did not laugh anymore.

"Don't worry I'll be safe. I have the Force with me." Lavos answered him.

"Didn't do much good for my mum and…Tern." Volun whispered leaving for Hangar Bay Alpha where the shuttles were. He would lead an assault team down to the planet's surface to plant explosives to the laboratory's fusion core and find the blueprints of the experimental fusion core if they could. Karos and Ravela would be going with them.

"Be safe…Volun." Lavos said loud enough to be heard by the departing boy. He sighed and headed for Hangar Bay Beta where the fighter craft were.

Hara and Vorag were to provide them with air support with gunships and bombers.

"We have arrived in Nal Hutta." A voice spoke through the ship's inter-coms. They all felt the familiar "tag" of deceleration from Hyperspace.

"There doesn't seem to be anyone else here General." Sensors officer told General Atos.

"That's something…the information…Volun received stated there would be no fleet orbiting. It is a secret laboratory…apparently. Launch fighters and mission squads."

Volun's shuttle launched along with two more carrying soldiers, and Varog's air support squadron. They were going to try and infiltrate the lab without being detected, plant the explosives and leave.

Lavos and the other squadrons launched patrolling the fleet, on standby if they were required.

They landed on a clearing nearby the laboratory and made their way through the thick jungle forest.

"The entrance should be around here somewhere…?" Volun whispered to Karos and the others near him.

Ravela closed her eyes for a moment concentrating. "I do not like this, I sense a lot of life forms and an underground complex." She whispered back.

"Isn't that a good thing? There is a secret, underground laboratory with scientists in it, working for the Sith."

"I do not know, be vigilant." Ravela replied and walked to a spot, dug through some leaves, branches and soil until she found what she was looking for. She pressed something making a metallic "clink" noise and a large hatch opened vertically to the ground revealing a pathway large enough for vehicles to enter and exit.

"This must be one of the entrances. Shall we?" Ravela suggested with a motion of her right hand.

"Alpha squadron, you're coming with us. Beta squadron…" Volun was interrupted as he saw a lightsaber, powered up, thrown his way from the canopy of the tall jungle trees. The red blade impaled the ground before it was pulled back by its owner. Volun jumped back to avoid it landing on his back.

"Pathetic." A voice said from up above. "You call yourselves Jedi? Welcome to one of my secret laboratories." A hooded man jumped in front of them followed by another ten men and women clad in red and black.

"You must be Darth Gore? You were not supposed to be here." Volun stated.

"Ah but you see…I intercepted Darth Novus' message to you and swapped it to one of my own redirecting you here. This is not the planet you were looking for I can assure you. You are not going to Nar Shaddaa, no you're not. You will die here. Kill them. The boy is mine." Darth Gore spoke in a hushed voice.

"General! We have ten, no thirty, fifty new signatures. A Sith fleet has jumped behind us sir." The Sensors officer yelled.

General Atos pushed a button patching him through to the fleet's coms. "Battle stations! Battle stations! Helmsman turn us about. Bomber squadrons launch!" corvettes protect our flanks." Lavos pushed the throttle pushing the engines to full. He headed for the enemy fleet.

Below, on the planet's surface Alpha and Beta squadrons' men were dropping like flies.

One of the Sith Warriors Force-pushed one of the soldiers on two others dropping them to the soil. Before they could stand back up she threw her lightsaber at them decapitating them.

Ravela defended against another Sith Warrior. Parrying the man's lightsaber, he Force-pushed the Sith into Karos' lightsaber. The Sith dropped dead. Karos pivoted around parrying a Sith Warrior's double staff blades. They exchanged blows until Karos deflected the man's blade and Force-pulled the fallen Sith Warrior's lightsaber, powered it up and severed the man he was fighting from the waist up.

Darth Gore was toying with Volun Force-pushing and pulling him, deflecting his blade and giving him small wounds with his, just gently "rubbing" the lightsaber's blade on the boy's skin to burn his skin but not enough to sever a limb.

"Pathetic." He laughed.

Ravela killed the She-Sith Warrior and powering down her lightsaber she cast Force-lightning to Darth Gore.

Darth Gore did not even bother jumping away, instead he turned his hand to the direction of the incoming Force-lightning, absorbed it and redirected it to Volun.

Volun screamed for dear life, feeling every nerve ending along his body sending signals of pain to his overwhelmed brain.

"Yes, keep trying to electrocute me bitch, keep hurting your friend." Darth Gore laughed. Ravela stopped the Force-lightning and jumped at him, her lightsaber powered up.

He grabbed her lightsaber hand and twisted it violently towards the ground. She gave a pained yell and dropped to the soil. Darth Gore brought his lightsaber above his head and formed an arch meant to kill her. Two lightsabers blocked him.

Volun and Karos had leaped into action blocking him off. Karos deflected Darth Gore's blade as Volun slashed his at the man.

Darth Gore used his free hand to cast Force-fear into Volun's mind. Volun screamed and fell back on his back waving his hands about as if attacked by invisible enemies.

"Pathetic." Darth Gore Force-chocked Karos before pushing him up against a tree.

"Sir. Sith cruiser vengeance down, she's exploding." The Weapons officer informed the General.

"Keep firing at the next cruiser! Frigates, come about, engage their auxiliary ships." General Atos commanded. "This was a fucking trap!"

"General!" The Sensors officer yelled.

"What? What now? More Sith incoming?" General Atos asked in a sarcastic tone. They had already lost two cruisers and some of the smaller capital ships.

"No, sir. Incoming ship, its signature is…ancient."

"Hail them. Are they foe or friend?"

A small fighter jumped near the planet's outer atmosphere.

"Unidentified ship please respond." The Coms officer hailed on all frequencies. She received no reply.

"Is it firing on us?" General Atos asked.

"No, sir. It just destroyed two enemy fighters." The Sensors officer replied.

"Lavos here, I can see it. No matter what the Sith fire on him nothing even touches the shields. It's as if…." Lavos paused for a moment when he felt a Force-sensitive mind in the unknown fighter.

"Who are you?" He whispered. "Whoever is inside that fighter, General Atos, he is one powerful Force-user." Lavos told the General through the coms.

"Should we engage, General?"

Lavos replied before the General could. "You don't understand. That person is very powerful. He is deflecting fighter laser shots with his mind. He or she is not attacking us, why provoke him to do so?"

"Sir, he is heading for the planet's surface." The Sensors officer told the General.

"Inform our teams down there." General Atos ordered his officer.

"Sir, only the Force-sensitives remain alive. Everyone else is dead. Sir." The coms officer informed him.

"Lavos, escort that fighter down to the surface of the planet. If he so much as fires on our guys, shoot him out of the sky. Varog and Hara are preoccupied with enemy fighters.

Lavos angled his flight stick changing course. "I doubt I can even make a dent on his Force-battle-meditation, General but for Volun I will try."

Darth Gore exchanged lightsaber blows with Ravela before Force-Choking her. Volun interrupted his torturing her. Karos was fighting two Sith Warriors. He was panting, tired from a ferocious if short battle.

"Motherfucker is toying with us. Die already!"

"Oh? You want to die little one? Why? I can sense there's much power inside you. Where's Kaa'ara? You can both be my apprentices. Together we can rule the Galaxy, me as Leader of the Conclave. You as my apprentices." Darth Gore jeered.

"I will never join the Sith." Volun told him, parrying his blade. Kaa'ara had been assigned with boarding the Sith cruisers with a battalion of men. She was to secure the ventilation shafts control panel, drop a nerve agent in them and once the crew was dead secure the bridge, leave two men behind to withdraw the cruiser from battle and move on to the next one.

So far she had secured two cruisers but she was getting tired.

"Kaa'ara is strong with the Dark Side. Your brother is as well. I can help train you. You can unleash your hatred on him and kill him." Darth Gore tried seducing him.

"No! Never!" Volun replied resolute.

"Very well then. Enough playing around. Time to die." Darth Gore raised his blade above his head to the right.

"I could not agree more." An unknown yet familiar to Volun voice said behind them. "But how about you try killing me instead, if you can." It was the voice of a teenage boy.

"Who are you? I should know your name before I kill you." Darth Gore spun around facing the stranger.

Volun saw the lips of the unknown boy, covered by a hood, form a smirk. "You, kill me? Bring it on then, pathetic weakling." He baited the Sith Lord.

"Me? Pathetic? DIE!" Darth Gore launched himself at the boy. The boy kept his hands behind his back, side stepping left and right, avoiding Darth Gore's blows with great ease.

"You have not even a lightsaber. How do you intend on killing me?" Darth Gore brought his lightsaber down from his head on arch trajectory meant to slice the unknown teen in half. The teen sidestepped to the left and brought his foot front tripping Darth Gore over. Darth Gore fell flat on his face.

"But with the Force of course. The lightsaber is only but a manifestation of it." Darth Gore bounced up on his feet and swung his lightsaber as he turned meaning to hit the boy.

The boy did not even bother moving. Instead he brought his right hand to his fore literally grabbing hold of the plasma blade's tip.

He moved his hand front pushing the lightsaber back to its emitter until it powered down and then Force-pushed Darth Gore back with a wave that sent the Sith Lord flying to a nearby tree trunk.

"Have it your way then." The teen boy moved his hands to his sides and flexed his hands. In an instant Cyra's, Karos', Ravela's lightsabers as well the blades of the fallen Sith Warriors flew to him levitating around him like moths to a fire.

The boy clenched his fists and the lightsabers powered up. All of them. At the same time.

He made a small circle with his wrist and they started circling around their axis as well as him.

"What…what are you?" Darth Gore groaned. For the first time since the battle started Volun saw not anger in his eyes, not hatred but fear.

"What am I?" The boy walked slowly towards Darth Gore. "What am I…" He lifted his hands lifting Darth Gore off the ground choking him, crushing him with a combination of Force-choke and Force-crush. The smaller bones on Darth Gore's hands and legs cracked and broke under the increasing Force-energy pressure.

"I am one overpowered motherfucker and your death incarnate." The boy whispered and every single lightsaber levitating around him threw itself on Darth Gore. Finding his thigh, torso, pelvis and neck, impaling him on the tree trunk before the teen powered them down and he fell, lifeless on the forest soil.

The boy lowered his hood and Force-pulled the lightsabers of Cyra, Karos and Ravela from the air letting the rest fall on the ground.

"Tern…?" Volun's voice sounded for the first time since the boy had first appeared mid-battle. He sounded in pain and full of doubt.

"Yes, I was called that once. I have come back to end the Force-Wars." Tern turned his head staring deep into Volun's teary eyes. "I've missed you more than words can describe."

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