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re: The Regathering

Prologue:

In the many months following the tragic events of Scattered, many of the Saints found one another throughout the galaxy often fighting together against the evil Sith Empire. Some were reunited through subspace communications, others by fate, while others have yet to be found.

The Saints base was never rebuilt on Ord Mantel, instead, they lived on their own personal ships and met together at the behest of their leader, Jedi Master Jao Thaun to fight against the evil Sith Empire and to complete missions assigned by the Jedi Council. Until one day, while on such a mission in the unknown regions, their leader suddenly went missing leaving the Saints of the Old Republic in disarray.

Now leaderless, in the months that followed, many of the Saints splintered off into their own groups or joined with other groups to carry on the fight against the Sith Empire, some even fell to the dark side, while others left the war for good traveling to unknown parts of the galaxy. Some Saints, however, loyal to their leader, tracked his last known location and launched out into deep space on a search and rescue mission following the faint trail left behind in space.

"This is Commander Renegade, approaching the anomaly. Rogue Squadron standby. Scanning the area. Scan comes back affirmative, General, the particle signatures I'm picking up definitely belonged to Jao's ship."

"I've analyzed the signature path, his ship proceeded on bearing 155.392 before.., well Sir, it just disappeared. I don't know what to tell you, all I know is that my gut tells me that Jao is in trouble and we should go help him." said General Gabby. "But it is your call General."

General NYG thought for a second, then gave the order. "All ships proceed on bearing 155.392."

"Aye Sir" was heard all across the com system. As the ships proceeded on the same flight path of Jao's ship, suddenly a vortex erupted in space and all ships began to shake violently.

"What is that thing?" said Eagle.

"I can't maneuver! It's pulling me in!" Shouted Thiggs.

"Thrusters not responding Sir!" said Captain Aqualarion to General NYG.

"It's a wormhole!" said Recklan.

"All ships..." NYG began to say.

But what happened to Jao Thaun and the last remaining Saints who set out to find their missing leader? What fate awaited them in deep space? This is the story of their unexpected fate, the story of their journey into unknown space and the alternate universe that awaited them, this is the story of the Saints Regathering.


Keep your eyes peeled for the continuation of The Regathering during our June Guild Meeting and the reveal of our next Game.

OOC Comment Thread can be found here.


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re: The Regathering

"All ships..." NYG began to say when suddenly the vortex pulled the Saints fleet in at light speed. The sudden force caused the ships to collide causing hull breaches on many of the vessels.

"Status report!" said the General.

"Comm systems down, sensors down, engines offline, shields inoperable, we have 3 hull breaches sir," said Lieutenant Kyrath.

"Try to get the comm systems back online Lieutenant, Sergeant Kix, take a team and see if you can seal off those hull breaches."

"Aye sir," They both said.

Ships were scattered all over the system, kilometers apart from one another. With communications and sensors down in most of the vessels, it would take time for the fleet to regroup.

"Rogue Squadron report in," said Commander Renegade, but no response. Where was everybody?

Slowly the fleet was able to get their Comm systems back online, a few ships began reporting in damage on massive scales, hull breaches, sensor malfunctions, weapons failures, shield systems inoperable, engines damaged or destroyed, the fleet was utterly disabled due to the severe gravity and collisions caused by the wormhole. Some ships were even destroyed or their crew lost in the dark vacuum as it tore ships apart. Most ships were unaccounted for.

"I've managed to repair the Comm systems General."

"Good work Lieutenant!"

"General Gabby is hailing us sir."

"On screen."

"NYG, I've managed to repair and activate my ships sensors and ran a scan, I'm picking up the same debris trail that we followed into this wormhole. Jao's ship went through the vortex, as a matter of fact, I am picking up what appears to be the remains of his ship 5 kilometers bearing 135 off my starboard. One moment please, boosting power to sensors... I've scanned Jao's ship and no sign of him, but it appears that there is an escape pod missing, I believe Jao was on it and headed towards that planet. Sensors indicate that the planet appears to be inhabitable."

"Most escape pods are online sir," said Aqualarion.

"General, I've detected several escape pods en route to the world Gabby spoke about. It is the only planet within pod distance," said Kyrath.

NYG thought for a moment, he knew that as bad as his ship was, he was probably going to have to put his ship's escape pods to use. "Kix, any luck yet with that hull breach?"

Meanwhile, on Rhyldan...

Jao noticed what looked to be an escape pod entering orbit and then crashing a few miles from the Wilds where he was currently at.

Jao had used his escape pod weeks prior to land on Rhyldan. His ship damaged beyond repair. He only hoped that no one risked coming after him, he barely made it off his ship alive. He had managed to find other humans here on this planet, and not to his surprise, they were at war. The Free Peoples Republic warring with the One World One Nation, and both warring with the Lesoo, the hostile native inhabitants of Rhyldan. It was the classic battle between ideals, freedom and tyranny, much like that of Republic and Empire. There was always conflict it seemed, on every planet and in every galaxy in the far reaches of the universe, and as fate would have it, the Saints would be there to protect the good against the evil.

As Jao approached the escape pod, he saw two of his Saints only yards away from the pod. One Twi'lek, two Kel-Dor and a Zabrak. All dead. It looked as if they died gasping for air. Strange. Perhaps the atmosphere on this planet was hostile to certain races he thought. But if there were Saints here, then they must have tracked his last known location and others would soon be here as well, that is, those who survive Rhyldan.

If Jao knew anything about his Saints, he knew they would eventually find their way on Rhyldan and join him. However, the Saints would have to rely on skills, wisdom, and each other to survive this planet. The Jedi have no power here. The planet somehow blocks the use of the Force and now seems to also be deadly to certain alien races. If only there was someway to warn the Saints... it seems that all there was to do now was wait for them to come and prepare for the regathering. No doubt, they each will have stories of their own to tell about their journey here or how that fate brought them here.

Jao thought for a moment on these things while looking into the sky, and then gathered what supplies he could from the escape pod, and headed back into the wilds and then to Freedomtown. Perhaps the Free Peoples could download the memories of these Saints and upload them into a clone body... he could only hope.


This thread is now unlocked for those of you who would like to post your own stories to The Regathering. What happened after your ship went through the vortex? Did you launch an escape pod? Did you encounter the Lesoo when you landed? Tell your story!

All alien races die on Rhyldan, but they do have Cloning. Your memories can be downloaded and then cloned into a Human's body. Also, the planet hinders the Force via a strong negative force crystal element in the strata, the Force cannot be used on Rhyldan or within its atmosphere.


OOC Comment Thread can be found here.


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re: The Regathering

Chapter 1: The Crash of the Archimagon

"General... General, can you hear me? GENERAL SPECTUS...!"

Slowly, dimly, I felt myself coming back to consciousness. It didn't feel so good. Even with my eyes closed, I felt like I was at the bottom of a spinning refresher tub. I recognized the voice of my ship's doctor, Theran Cedrax, speaking urgently to me to bring me back to consciousness. The voice paused a moment, then I caught a noseful of arinium vapor and was jolted rudely out of my semi-blacked-out state.

My eyes snapped open, and I slapped the vial of smelling salts out of Cedrax' hand and glared at him. Unfortunately, the refresher tub did not cease its spinning, so I didn't try to get up.

"Nasty knock on the head you took there, General," Cedrax offered. "I wouldn't try to get up right away."

No kidding.

Repenting of my momentary lapse of calm, I ran through a brief Jedi mental exercise to regain my bearing. "There is no emotion; there is peace..." While the ancient ritual calmed my emotions, it did nothing to stop the world from spinning around me. Puzzled, I attempted to enter a meditative state. Painfully, I raised myself off the pile of bracken I was lying on, and assumed the traditional kneeling position. Again, I cleared my mind, and awaited the wash of The Force over me. But, nothing! I opened my eyes and glanced up at Cedrax. He cocked an eyebrow at me. "What's wrong, Jedi?" he asked.

"I can't sense the Force!" I replied.

Cedrax' other eyebrow went up. Long pause. "You can't... feel the Force?" he hesitantly replied. "But that's... " he paused again, and a wash of emotions chased themselves across his face. I knew he'd never felt truly comfortable with my Jedi mysticism, but there was very little of his usual atheistic bravado in him now. He looked up at the forest canopy towering over our heads, looked around at the jungle undergrowth, listened to the distant screeching of fauna utterly alien to us. Then his eyes met mine.

"That's... that's terrible," he finally managed to blurt out.

Indeed it was. I was about to state my agreement with his assessment, when I suddenly discerned a most unnatural odor: the smell of burnt fiberplast and other synthetics. A sudden thought hit me in the pit of my belly. I lifted my head and saw my ship, my proud Archimagon given to me by the Jedi Council, now a crumpled mess barely visible through the undergrowth. Smoke wafted out of her hull amidships. Clearly, we weren't going to be flying anywhere anytime soon. But that was the least of the concerns that hammered my head.

"Where are the others, Cedrax?" Nadia Grell, Qyzen Fess, Zenith, and Lt. Iresso -- they were nowhere in sight.

Theran winced. It took him a long time to reply, and his silence hit me harder than the words when they finally came.

"Nadia... Qyzen... Zenith... they... didn't make it."

The refresher-tub whirl tightened and intensified.

"Iresso's still alive, but badly injured. He took over the controls of the ship when the collision with the wormhole knocked you out. He did the best he could to land, but when we hit the atmosphere, our control stabilizers failed. The control circuits were compromised when the hull buckled from the impact with the wormhole, and we hit atmosphere so hard, the port-side circuit broke completely. Starboard controls worked only intermittently. Best Iresso could do was aim the ship for the biggest gap in the trees he could find, and hope for the best. Obviously, that gap wasn't so good."

Cedrax looked down at his hands. "The crash split the ship's hull across the middle. I came through without a scratch, but Iresso... was skewered by a tree branch. I have him in a kolto tank, but he's unlikely to survive."

I swallowed hard, trying to voice my next question, but Cedrax anticipated it.

"Qyzen was pretty banged up too, but he seemed to be recovering quickly, thanks to his Trandosian regenerative physiology. Zenith and Nadia seemed okay at first -- only a bit shaken up by the crash. But within minutes after the ship finally stopped skidding, all three of them started to gasp for air. Their eyes watered; even Qyzen was in distress. Big welts and red blotches began to appear on their skin. It appeared they were all going into some sort of anaphylactic shock -- a massive allergic reaction to some substance in this planet's air, perhaps. I tried to get them into kolto tanks too, but they collapsed in seconds and went into respiratory and cardiac arrest. I got Nadia into a kolto tank first, but she never recovered. And by the time I came back for Zenith and Qyzen, they were both gone, too."

Slowly, Tharan's head drooped. His words came out in a whisper: "I couldn't save them, Jedi. After all my years as a scientist and healer... I couldn't save them." He looked up at me, and his eyes filled with pain and tears. "I'm sorry, Jedi." And the water in his eyes spilled over and dribbled down his cheeks and into his beard.

There is no emotion; there is peace.
There is no emotion; there is peace.
THERE IS NO EMOTION; THERE IS PEACE!


This time, though, there was no peace.

Stripped of my connection to The Force, the cry ripped through me like a vibroblade....


Last edited by Spectus on Jul. 12th, 2013 4:28 pm; edited 1 time in total
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re: The Regathering

Part I: Arrival

Oxygen. He couldn’t live without it. And without the Force to give him mastery over his body’s metabolism, he could no longer refrain from breathing. With his dark blue eyes beginning to haze over, he surveyed the area around him: the crumpled hull of his crashed escape pod, the bodies of the four strange aliens that had attacked him, the shattered hilt of his lightsaber. Is this how it would all end? Lost and alone, stranded on a distant planet, without even the Force to sustain him.

Trying to gather his muddled thoughts, he attempted to touch the Force one last time. But all he could feel was his own heart pounding in his chest, beating slower and slower—already succumbing to the deadly toxins he had inhaled upon opening the hatch of the escape pod. Thud. Thud. Thud. As his vision faded, his last breath of air escaped his lips and his lungs reflexively filled themselves with the toxic atmosphere. Thud. Thud. He fell to the ground. Thud

-One hour earlier-

Ever since getting the communications system back online, Lieutenant Kytrn “Kyrath” Katalaya had been swamped by distress calls. The wormhole—or whatever it was—had caused severe damage to most of the fleet. Many Saints had already been forced to abandon ship, launching escape pods to the nearby planet. Preliminary observations indicated that it was habitable.

General NYG’s ship, the one he was on, had suffered at least 3 hull breaches. But assuming they could be repaired, it was their job to track down the escape pods and coordinate the rescue of the shipwrecked Saints. There were even indications that their missing leader, Jao Thaun, had crashed onto the planet as well. The only problem was that the damage to the ship had disabled the long-range sensors. Without the sensors online, it would be impossible to track down all of the escape pods.

The crew was already short-handed; Kytrn knew what he had to do. He lowered his head to the computer station in front of him, and with a few quick keystrokes he linked the communications terminal to his datapad. That way, he could monitor for further communications while attempting to repair the long-range sensors. Stowing the datapad in his pocket of his Jedi robes, he headed for the port section of the stern, where the long-range sensors were located.

As he left the bridge, the acrid stench of scorched plasteel and the metallic tang of sparking computer counsels assaulted his senses. He lifted his sleeve to protect his nose and mouth from the smoke; the ship was in need of serious repairs. Hopefully the long-range sensors were still salvageable. The flickering lights made navigating the corridors tricky, but he had almost reached the long-range sensor relay station. Suddenly his datapad chimed.

“This is the captain of the Tarnished Arrow, we’ve lost all flight controls. We’re on a collision course with your port-side stern. Collision imminent.”

The port-side stern! That’s where I am! Calling upon the Force to steady himself, he used his datapad to connect to the bridge.

“Bridge. Veer starboard immediately! Collision imminent!”

The ship listed to the side as the damaged gravitational systems failed to fully compensate for their sudden shift in momentum. With any luck, the course correction would be sufficient to avoid a collision.

Kytrn felt it in the Force moments before it happened: they weren’t going to make it. He lunged for the hatch of a nearby escape pod.

With a deafening shriek, the two ships collided. Luckily it was a glancing blow; their last minute maneuvers had avoided a direct impact. The following events seemed to happen in slow motion. Like the maw of some horrendous beast, the bulkhead of the corridor cracked open about 15 meters from his current position. The pressure difference shattered all of the lights in the corridor instantly, throwing sparks everywhere.

As the vacuum of space ripped along the corridor like a writhing snake chasing its prey, Kytrn threw up a Force shield. It abated the power of the vacuum just enough for him to stumble into the escape pod. A loose piece of bulkhead was wrenched off the corridor wall, barely missing him as he slipped into the pod. As the corridor became completely depressurized, Kytrn clutched a safety harness to avoid being sucked into the void. Desperately, he slammed the hatch shut with the Force, hoping that the life-support system would be able to compensate for the lost air pressure.

Luckily the small compartment repressurized quickly, popping his ears. His teeth were chattering as he pulled up his cloak around himself and drew warmth from the Force. The icy cold of space had chilled him to the bone. There was no way he could reenter the corridor, he was trapped in here. The glowing screen of the pod’s computer system revealed that he only had an hour’s worth of life support remaining; repressurizing the pod had drained most of its life support capacity.

There was no way he could wait in here for the crew to repair the hull breach. That left him with only one option. Regretfully, he pressed a button and the escape pod’s engine ignited with a shudder. A glowing trail of plasma traced his path as he rapidly gained distance from the ship.

He spoke into his datapad, “I don’t know if anyone can hear me, but the collision tore another hull breach in the port-side stern. I was forced to abandon ship before I could repair the long-range sensors. I repeat, the long-range sensors are still disabled…May the Force be with us all.”

Against the speckled backdrop of stars, Kytrn could make out the scattered remnants of the Saints’ fleet. They hadn’t suffered a setback like this since their base on Ord Mantell had been razed by the Sith. But the Saints were resilient; they would bounce back. They always did. The One they fought for was stronger than any force in the universe.

As his escape pod drew nearer to the planet, Kytrn moved his gaze to look out the opposite viewport. The unknown planet loomed larger and larger, a giant eye staring back at him from the curtain of space. The pod rocked slightly as it entered the planet’s atmosphere.

Emptiness. Total emptiness. Deep, utter, crushing emptiness. A stifling darkness that constricted around him, making him feel as though he were drowning in a pitch black pit of tar. The Force was gone! Kytrn started to panic, how was this possible? He had heard of voids in the Force before, such as those created by the ysalamiri of Myrkr, but he had never experienced one himself. This high in the atmosphere, no creature could be responsible. Somehow this world was devoid of the Force.

Trying to pull himself together, he reached for his datapad, “Be advised, this world appears to be devoid of the Force. I repeat, as soon as I entered the atmosphere, I lost all contact with the Force.” His voice was eerily steady, a stark contrast to the terror he felt inside.

His pod streaked toward the ground, a crimson flare crackling with the heat of reentry. But Kytrn barely noticed the violent shaking of the escape pod. He felt helpless and exposed without the Force. He wanted to be rescued and get off of this hideous planet as soon as possible. Just think, if Jao was still alive, he had been on this planet for who knows how long! The thought made Kytrn shudder.

Realizing that the planet’s surface was rapidly approaching, he strapped himself into a safety harness. Moments later, the pod ploughed into the side of a small hill with a thud, splaying a billowing cloud of dirt and debris. He instinctively tried to use the Force to cushion his body, but the impact threw him painfully into the safety harness. Luckily the pod’s inertial dampeners kept him from being torn apart by the landing.

Rubbing his bruised chest, Kytrn unbuckled his safety harness and moved to the viewport to assess his situation. He had landed in a small clearing among a grove of trees; brightly colored flowers dotted the grassy hills. It would have been quite beautiful if the absence of the Force hadn’t made it feel like an evil prison. At least the planet seemed to be as hospitable as it had appeared from orbit.

Movement at the tree line suddenly caught his eye. There were four strange, bipedal creatures cautiously approaching the escape pod. They seemed to be carrying melee weapons of some sort. Kytrn didn’t want his first contact with life on this planet to start off badly. Hopefully they spoke Basic.

He hit the release switch for the hatch of the escape pod, and stepped out, holding his hands in front of him in a placating gesture. The breeze and fresh air felt good against his skin after the smoky interior of the ship. The aliens seemed startled by his green skin; apparently they had never seen a Mirialan before.

Suddenly he felt-light headed and began coughing violently; something was very wrong. The atmosphere must be toxic! He quickly held his breath and turned back to look for an emergency air pack inside of the escape pod.

But a loud cry drew his attention back to the four aliens. They were taking advantage of his sudden display of weakness, brandishing their weapons as they charged toward him. Kytrn grabbed his lightsaber off of his belt and ignited it. The golden blade didn’t give him any comfort. This would be a difficult fight. Without the Force to guide him, his saber felt awkward in his hands, plus his head was already starting to spin from the toxic atmosphere.

The sudden appearance of the glowing energy blade startled his attackers, but it didn’t slow them down. The first alien reached him and swung its weapon at his head. He dodged under the blow and swung his blade toward his opponent’s chest. His years of practicing Soresu had paid off; even without the Force his attack connected, slicing easily through the attacker’s armor. One down.

By this time the other three aliens had reached him as well. One of them struck at his side with a sword. He adjusted his lightsaber to parry the blow. Unexpectedly, the blade sliced right through the weapon. He had been expecting their weapons to be resistant to lightsabers, as most melee weapons in the galaxy were. The burning hot fragments of the broken sword continued their trajectory past his lightsaber and nicked his skin, leaving two deep gashes in his side. He gasped in pain, drawing in more of the toxic atmosphere. But knowing that their weapons were susceptible to his lightsaber, he dispatched two more of his attackers with a swift twirl of his saber, slicing right through their defenses.

As he looked up, he saw an axe descending toward his head. There was no time to dodge the blow, and if he tried to block it with his saber, the pieces would still hit him in the face. That left him with one option; he spun the hilt of his saber into the path of the descending weapon, hoping that it would withstand the impact. It didn’t.

The blade of the axe sunk into the core of his lightsaber and the golden blade sputtered out. No! Thinking fast, he pulled the hilt of his now-useless weapon toward the ground. His attacker’s axe was still embedded into the hilt, and this movement caused him to stumble forward. Kytrn threw out his knee and flipped the alien to the ground. Before his attacker could get back up, he knocked him unconscious with a blow the head.

His adrenaline had suppressed the pain of his chest wound, but it flared up in full force now that the fight was over. It had lasted only seconds, but the fight had used up all of his remaining oxygen. He no longer had the energy to find the emergency oxygen canisters in the escape pod. Despair gripped him and he collapsed.


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re: The Regathering

Part 1

Boom...Boom...Boom...It sounded like a drum coming from his chest...an occasional spark would come into his view...then it went dark...


He thought he saw a Lightsaber...then a Ring...then a Centaur...then a phaser...finally he was aware again. It felt like at one time he had seen these things but could not remember where.
He sat up and looked around. He saw what looked like pieces of a spaceship..."How did I get here?" He Thought.
He sat there thinking for a moment then it all came back to him. How he leaderlessly tramped around the universe looking for a leader and a cause to fight for. But every anti sith organization that he had found had corrupted. He remembered speaking with the old man who told him tales of the great Jao Thaun and the Saints of the Old Republic. How they were once a great defender of the republic but their leader had gone missing and that they fell apart after that. Some left looking for their leader. Others joined other groups and continued fighting the sith. He decided to join the remnants of this group and fight against the sith. So he traveled to their base at Ord Mantel and to ask for admittance to their company. He remembered finding it abandoned and curious he went inside. After looking through the building he found a door which read "Initiates" So he opened it up and found a holograph which seemed to be addressing all new Initiates. At the end of the recording the speaker instructed him to enter the door to the right which he did. Immediately it locked down behind him and he felt the room jolt and the felt himself being mechanically fastened to a seat which he did not notice till now was there. He noticed that now he coud see out of the room and he could see stars he realized he was in space. He frantically looked around for controls and but all that he could see were displays. One read "Executing Order 41796" The other said booting up hyper drive". A couple of minutes later He heard a siren Go off and the display read " Error 5423 Ship track error" then he felt a jolt and he thought that he slept for some time. Then he remembered getting up and he looked around and found a manuel which read "Initiate Loading Pod" after reading through he realized that this was supposed to take him to the Ship of the Master Jao Thaun who would accept or reject his application. "Why didn't it take him there?" He thought.
He hacked into the ship's log and read that the ship that he was supposed to land on(Jao Thaun's ship) was not active. So it was programmed to automatically land at the nearest planet. But it's emergency landing mechanics were not programmed for this planet. He also read in the log that many of the Saints Of The Old Republic including their Leader Jao Thaun had sent distress calls from the planet Rhyldan....
The same planet he was on. Then he remembered the strange planets and weapons like a phaser that had been in his dream. But he didn't have time to think about that now. He thought that the best plan would be to find a safe place for the night and in the mourning to continue his search for The Saints Of The Old Republic.


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re: The Regathering

Part I: Slight Complications

Commander Kylar worked furiously to gather his gear and organize his team: what was supposed to be a rescue of a single man had suddenly transformed into a chaotic rescue of half the Saints. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, but then again, anything involving Jedi rarely went according to plan. Kylar realized he had paused in thought and quickly scolded himself and went back to grabbing cryo-grenades out of the locker. He didn’t join the army for normal anyway.

On the plus side of the situation, NYG’s cruiser had all the latest weaponry and tech he could ever want, and if the catch was to be thrown into an unknown and possible deadly situation, so be it. All around him his unit scrambled into full spec ops gear, including the newest helmets equipped with advanced sight options ranging from night vision to thermal imaging to solar protection.

“Jayla, make sure you pack plenty of kolto; we’re going to need it.”

“Yes sir.” Replied Jayla, the unit’s rebellious yet procedural medic. “I already have all I can carry, sir.”

“Good. Once NYG gives the word, we’re deploying onto the surface.”

Suddenly the entire ship began to shift, and, with a damaged gravitational system, the ship jerked violently, throwing the soldiers against the bulkheads. The open lockers began spewing weapons and grenades everywhere. Kylar could do nothing as he was pinned by an anti-aircraft launcher that fell from a nearby locker, luckily unharmed due to his armor. As the initial jerk dissipated, his unit lifted the launcher off of him and he began to stand back up. Suddenly a loud screech sounded down the corridor and another shockwave ran through the ship and Kylar was again thrown to the ground.

“Something must have hit us.” Kylar quickly commed the bridge. “NYG*, what’s going on up there?”

“The Tarnished Arrow grazed our hull, we have another breach, but nothing flight critical was damaged.” Came the quick reply in NYG’s recognizably calming voice.

“Any chance we’ll be able to get down there soon? My men are almost ready.”

“Negative, Kylar. Our long range sensors are still down, so we wouldn’t know where to send you, or what’s even down there. Your brother was going to repair it, so it shouldn’t be too long. Stand by in the hangar.”

“Yes, sir.” Kylar motioned to his men and they began to walk out of the armory.

As they were walking another voice came over the comms, “I don’t know if anyone can hear me, but the collision tore another hull breach in the port-side stern. I was forced to abandon ship before I could repair the long-range sensors. I repeat, the long-range sensors are still disabled…May the Force be with us all.”

It was Kytrn Katalaya, his brother. Immediately Kylar commed the bridge again. “NYG, did you get that transmission?”

“We did. We’re sending a team to fix the sensors.”

“And what about my brother?”

“He’ll have to wait until we get the sensors back up, just like the others. He should be fine, just be patient.”

“We don’t even know what’s down there, sir! They could all be dying right now!” His patience was quickly evaporating as his adrenaline mounted.

“Which is precisely why we’re being so cautious. I don’t like leaving fellow Saints down there any more than you do, Commander, but we have no other choice.”

Kylar barely heard NYG as his mind flashed back to when the Jedi recruited Kytrn. He of course wasn’t born yet and didn’t even know Kytrn existed until eight years later, when the Imperials came for his parents. The Emperor needed more force-sensitive warriors and had somehow discovered the existence of Kytrn. They figured that his parents could have more force-using children and so had come to take them back to Korriban. Kylar had been out hunting with his younger brother Kyphael when they came. When he saw the imperial shuttle fly overhead, he immediately ran home, only to find it abandoned and burning. Quickly he and Kyphael sprinted to the shuttle, only to see his parents being dragged up the ramp. In a fit of desperation, Kylar attacked the Imperials; one of them pointed a blaster right at his head when suddenly the soldier was cut in half: the Jedi had come to his rescue, but his father was killed in the fight. It was only after that event that Kylar found out about Kytrn. He never expected to find him again, but after the Imperials were pushed back in the last battle, Kylar was invited to the Jedi Temple, where Kytrn had made a name for himself as a Jedi healer, as much as Kylar had earned a reputation of a skilled spec ops trooper. Now, only a few months later, they were separated again. Kylar was not about to lose his brother for a second time.

“Commander, did you hear me?” The voice of NYG brought Kylar back to reality.

“Sir, I can’t just sit on my hands while my brother needs help.”

“What do you think Kytrn wants you to do? There’s more at stake here. Half the Saints have already landed on the planet, and they all need help too.”

Kytrn’s voice came over the comm again, remarkably calm, “Be advised, this world appears to be devoid of the Force. I repeat, as soon as I entered the atmosphere, I lost all contact with the Force.” The comm stayed silent for a few seconds, until Kylar broke that silence.

“Sir, you heard that. Now half the Saints can’t even go to the planet to mount a rescue! You’ll lose the Force, which makes you too vulnerable. My team and the other units are the only ones now capable of carrying out the rescue, and if we wait too long we might not have enough time to save everyone.”

“Kylar, we still don’t know what’s down there.”

“Which is exactly why I need to go” Kylar protested emphatically as he entered the hangar with his unit. “Without the Force our people are in greater danger. I’ll go down, locate my brother, and give you the intelligence you need to start a large scale operation.”

“Commander, are you sure? We won’t be able to render much assistance.”

“Positive, just work on repairing those sensors. Commander Kylar out.”

Kylar turned to his unit, five men strong and not technically Saints, but as far as he was concerned they were some of the best men he had ever fought alongside: Medic Jayla Everen, Marksman Marshowd Baxter, Scout Larn Imala, Demolishionist Crashan Marl, and Rifleman Rayo Kenf. All humans, they had joined his unit during his last battle against the Empire as an infiltration team.

“Men, I know you’d follow me anywhere, but I don’t know what to expect down there, so I’m not ordering you to come with me, but I could use you all.”

“Of course we’re going with you sir,” Replied Imala, always eager to go into the unknown.

The others all voiced in agreement and began boarding the BT-7, still shining from its last maintenance period. Kylar took a deep breath in and followed them, his boots ringing on the durasteel boarding ramp. When he agreed to Kytrn’s request to join the Saints, he had not expected this to be the outcome.

The BT-7 hummed as its systems were brought online.

“NYG, we’re prepped for launch.”

“All right, Commander, you’re clear. Normally I’d say ‘may the Force be with you’, but I guess it won’t be, so I’ll just say ‘good luck.’”

“Thank you sir.” Kylar motioned to Marl. “Take us out, Lieutenant.”

“Yes sir.”

The hanger glowed as the powerful engines came online, sending the BT-7 out in the deep vacuum and silence of space. The space around the NYG’s cruiser was filled with debris from itself and other Saint vessels that were damaged by the vortex. From the outside, the now four hull breaches were clearly visible. Kylar could tell that none were too serious, but repairs were clearly necessary. The Thunderclap sped its way through the debris towards the planet.

“Bridge, can you give me Kytrn’s last known approach vector?” Kylar requested, hoping to find his brother quickly and safely.

“Yes, transmitting the data now. It’s not very accurate without our main sensors.”

“It’ll have to do. Thanks.” He turned to Marl. “Follow his heading. We’ll do a high flyby first to get the lay of the land, and then we’ll go in.”

“Yes sir.”

The vessel entered the atmosphere and stayed in the thick cloud line, flying over the terrain.

“Corporal, what are the sensors reading?”

“Initial scans reveal a diverse biosphere, with many life forms on the planet,” Replied Corporal Imala. “The atmosphere appears breathable. There are also clusters of life and energy scattered across the landscape, possibly sentient towns and cities, sir.”

“Are you getting any pod beacon signals?”

“Yes, there is only one near our position; others are more clustered together in other regions.”

“Great. Transmit the data to NYG so he can coordinate the rescue operation.” He turned to Marl, “Lieutenant, find an isolated area near Kytrn’s pod and take us down. If there are people down there they probably saw the pod go down, let’s try to stay under the radar for now.”

“Yes sir. I’ve found a small, forested valley. It should give us the cover we need.”

The ship landed in a strange jungle, with unknown species of all kinds. The leaves whipped in the drafts created by the craft’s vertical landing. Small organisms scurried to the safety of the dense fauna of the valley. Inside, the unit was preparing for departure. Kylar motioned for them to stop.

“Stand down men; I’m just taking the corporal with me on this one. If Kytrn is still at the pod, we’ll bring him back. Lieutenant Everen, set up the med station just in case. Marl, Kenf, and Baxter, you all need to guard the ship. Be ready to set down cover fire if we need it. If Kytrn is not at the pod, we’ll do some more advanced scouting. I’d take all of you, but since we don’t know what we’re going into I want to maintain a very low profile. Corporal, are you ready to go?”

“I was born ready sir.” He proceeded to give the Commander a hearty salute.

“Well, let’s get to work then. Helmets on just in case the life here likes using toxins.”

The ramp lowered with a metallic hum, an odd sound in the middle of the jungle. Kylar and Larn walked cautiously down onto the grassy earth. The sound of the jungle put them off their guard; normally they were entering into the middle of a heated battle, but here the world seemed to stand in calm opposition to the anxiety that they both felt.

“It’s too quiet out here.” Corporal Imala stated, summing up both his and Kylar’s feelings about their new environment.

“We really need to take a vacation, don’t we Larn? Let’s go.”

Suddenly the forest came alive and attacked, sweeping both off their feet. They hit the ground hard and were immediately surrounded by dark, quadrupedal creatures with spikes on their limbs and head. Kylar stared right into the bright, yellow eye of one of his assailants as it tried to break through his tough armor. Their beaks made horrible screeching sounds against the alloy, but made no large impact. Kylar attempted to get up, but the creatures’ had put their full weight on him. He glanced over at the corporal and noticed he was in a similar predicament and was reaching for his weapon which was lying on the ground a meter away. Kylar quickly scanned the ground for his rifle and spotted it, now broken in half, next to his right leg. The air above him erupted in laser fire and the animals howled in pain and retreated into the undergrowth. Kylar looked up and saw Marl on the ramp, holding his still smoking gatling blaster. He struggled to his feet, noticing that the creatures had bent his armor in several places, and helped Imala up.

“Thanks for the assist, Lieutenant.”

“What were those things?”

“I have no idea, but now we know the forest is definitely hostile. We’re probably going to need a new strategy.”

“I’d tend to agree with that;” said Larn, rotating his shoulder, “they bruised me good.”

“We need some way to get to the pod quietly,” remarked Kylar. “Do we still have those speeders?”

“I think...” Suddenly one of the creatures leapt from behind Marl and landed on his back. It went for a bite to his neck, where he was unprotected without his helmet, which he had left in his rush to save the others, but Larn opened fire with his blaster, pushing it back into one of the ramp supports. It started to get back up, but Larn lit it up with a ten second barrage on full-automatic. The air was filled with smoke and the smell of burned flesh, not that the helmeted soldiers could smell it. The charred corpse of the creature laid smoking on the ramp.

Kylar rushed to Lieutenant Marl and saw a huge gash on the back of his neck where the bone was exposed. He wasn’t moving.

“Everen, get out here now! Marl’s down!” Kylar turned to Larn. “Nice shooting. Get that thing inside, I want to know everything about it.”

“Yes, sir.” Larl answered shakily. He began to drag the large beast inside the ship. “Kenf, give me a hand here!”

The rest of the unit rushed out onto the ramp, Baxter providing cover for Everen as he examined Marl. Kylar watched, highly concerned; a rescue mission for Jao went into a full blown crisis, his own brother was MIA, and now one of his men lay bleeding on the durasteel. This was not at all what Kylar had expected; the events of the last 24 hours began to pile up in his mind, causing him to become extremely exhausted.

Baxter’s stern voice brought him back to reality, “Sir, we may have a problem.”

Kylar turned towards the forest and noticed a dozen pairs of glowing yellow eyes shining from the undergrowth as the sun began to set. The fight, it seemed, had just begun.

* OOC-NYG approved the dialogue of his character


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re: The Regathering

Part II: Rising Tide

Baxter’s stern voice brought him back to reality, “Sir, we may have a problem.”

Kylar turned towards the forest and noticed a dozen pairs of glowing yellow eyes shining from the undergrowth as the sun began to set. The fight, it seemed, had just begun. Kylar’s mind quickly analyzed the situation; while their blasters appeared to have some effect on the creatures, it took far too long to neutralize just one. The team would be hard pressed to defeat another dozen of them with Marl severely wounded. In addition to that, Kenf and Imala were still inside dealing with the dead one, and in the time it took them to reappear the others could already be dead.

“Everen, can Marl be moved?”

“I think so, as long as it’s slow.” Replied Jayla. “Why?

“Move him inside, now. Baxter and I will cover you.” He turned to Baxter as he drew his blaster pistol. “Don’t fire until they attack. We should try to avoid provocation.”

“They’re the ones who provoked us, sir!”

“That’s an order. We don’t understand how this world works yet. We could just make it worse.”

“Yes sir,” Baxter replied, disgruntled, “but if those things move at all, I’m taking them out.”

“Agreed.”

They both continued to monitor the undergrowth as Everen pulled Marl slowly into the BT-7. A slight moan escaped from his mouth, which caused Kylar to feel relieved-if his neck were broken that would be nearly impossible. A strange clicking sound came from the jungle, and the yellow eyes suddenly vanished. Baxter became even more unsettled.

“What was...” He stopped as Kylar motioned him to be silent.

They slowly began to back up the ramp as Everen and Marl made it inside. The chattering returned, emanating from multiple locations, and then suddenly ceased.

“I have a bad feeling about this.” Baxter said, as his resolve started to weaken.

As if the creatures had heard him they suddenly erupted from the undergrowth and charged toward the still-open ramp.

“Kenf, close the ramp!” Kylar yelled, but he knew they weren’t going to be able to raise the ramp in time unless they could push the creatures back.

Baxter opened fire with his high-powered sniper rifle, his adrenaline coursing through his veins. His second shot connected with one directly in its eye, bringing it down on impact. The others continued forward as Kylar shot a volley of lasers, trying to interrupt as many as possible, but his sidearm merely stung their strong hides as they continued their approach. Panic flared up in his mind, but his training quickly took over as he instinctively reached for a cryo grenade and lobbed it off the ramp, just as the metallic hum signified that it had begun to rise. The grenade detonated right in front of the ramp, creating a large sheet of ice blocking the ramp from the view of the creatures. Their silhouettes could be seen pausing on the other side of the sheet as they inspected this foreign object. Kylar knew he had only bought a couple of seconds, but he hoped it was enough. The ramp continued to close, seemingly taking a lifetime for every meter.

“Kenf, activate the cannons!”

“Sir?” Rayo’s voice came over the comms, puzzled.

“Just do it, Corporal.”

He quickly complied as Kylar continued to monitor the ramp, with Baxter close behind. He moved closer to the end as the gap became smaller in order to maintain a clear line of sight on the creatures, which were now clawing at the ice furiously. The ramp was almost closed, but one of the creatures broke through the ice and leapt up onto the durasteel and charged Kylar, claws clanging against the hard surface. Kylar was ready and plugged five bolts directly into its face, severely damaging its left eye, but it kept coming and ripped the blaster from Kylar’s hands. It shoved Kylar hard against the ramp and began to assault his armor. Baxter swung his rifle around to point at the pair but didn’t fire.

“What are you waiting for?” Kylar exclaimed as he beat at the creature with his fists.

“I don’t have a clear shot, sir!”

“Just do it!”

Baxter pulled the trigger and Kylar’s heart skipped a beat; any error at this close a distance could easily kill him along with the creature. The next moment he heard an impact and a sizzle as the creature’s weight was lifted off of him, flying into the ramp support strut, colliding with a loud metallic ring, like a gong.

Kylar’s heart fell back into a normal rhythm and he turned to inspect the creature. He noticed that the ramp was still closing and he could hear the others clawing at the underside, eager to get inside. As he got up he turned to Baxter.

“Nice shot, Sergeant.”

“Thank you sir.” Baxter’s posture seemed to mimic Kylar’s own relief. He suddenly tensed up and raised his rifle again. “Behind you sir!”

Kylar spun around just as the creature charged Baxter; somehow it was still alive. Baxter fired again but missed, having only milliseconds to aim, and the animal crashed into him, ripping the helmet off his head.

Kylar, weaponless, quickly weighed his options and decided that he wouldn’t let any more of his men get injured because of his decisions, so he did the only thing left to him; as the creature went for Baxter’s neck he charged it and full body tackled it, his momentum carrying them off the ramp and flying towards the ground a few meters below. His armor absorbed most of the impact, but the creature was below him and forced the air out of his lungs.
As both laid on the ground the others tried to get aboard the ship, but the ramp closed just in time. Kylar saw it out of the corner of his eye and felt a surge of relief; Baxter and the others were safe. He slowly got to his feet and looked at his adversary; it appeared unconscious, probably a combination of the blaster damage and the impact. He glanced up and saw the other creatures, now deprived of entry to the ship, began to turn towards him.

“Kenf, how are those guns coming?”

“Almost there sir. Give me a few seconds.”

“I don’t have a few seconds!”

The creatures began to leap towards him and he quickly threw another cryo grenade into their path. He knew it wouldn’t stop them for as long as last time.

“Kenf!”

“I can’t aim there, sir! What am I supposed to do?”

“Just fire anywhere. The concussion should scare them off.”

The sound of shattering ice brought him out of the conversation as he saw the ten creatures burst through the barrier. They collided with him and began to attack his armor. Kylar felt he had just been in a similar situation; he was amazed at the persistence of the creatures as they tried to kill him. He suddenly heard a metallic crunch accompanied by a sharp pain in his left leg; the armor had been dented in severely. He knew eventually they’d wear the armor down.

The air exploded with the sound of turbolasers as the Thunderclap sprayed volleys into the side of the valley. The distinctive deep twang ricocheted off the walls of the mountains, creating a deafening blanket of sound. The creatures stopped their assault and frantically looked around. When the sound continued, they fled quickly back into the forest. Kylar was grateful for the sound suppression system in his helmet as he sighed, both in relief and pain.

“Are you okay, sir?” Came Kenf’s concerned voice over the comms.

“My armor’s dented, but I’m alright. Just get me onboard before they decide to come back.”

“Yes sir.”

Kylar heard the ramp start to lower as he lied on the ground, the pain in his leg really starting to throb now that the danger had subsided, at least temporarily. The sun was almost completely behind the horizon as a stiff breeze came into the valley, whipping the flora in its grip. In the darkness, Kylar could just make out the edge of some sort of storm approaching from the eastern side. He wondered what else this strange planet would throw at his unit; his brother seemed farther away than ever, and the storm would make it difficult to find him. The ramp finished its decent and Kenf and Baxter, both helmeted again, walked down to Kylar, rifles pointed towards the periphery.

“Can you stand, sir?” Questioned Kenf as they approached warily.

“The armor on my left leg is dented in, so I might need help making it up the ramp.”

“No problem sir.”

The two grabbed his arms and helped him to his feet. He gasped in pain as his left leg twinged. They slowly made their way up the ramp, and Kylar made an immediate path to the medbay as Kenf stayed to close the entrance. When he hobbled into the medbay he saw Marl lying on the table as Everen worked on his neck at a feverish pace.

“Everen, how’s he doing?”

“That thing somehow missed his spine, but his main artery to the brain has been clipped; if I don’t repair it now he’ll suffer severe brain damage at the very least. Could you hand me that Kolto spray?”

Kylar complied with his medic’s request as he watched his team member. All this was his fault; if he had never gone after Kytrn this wouldn’t have happened. And he didn’t even have his brother back, either.

“Commander?” Everen’s voice cut through his thoughts.

“What?” Kylar asked, confused.

“Hand me that skin graft, if you please; I’m almost finished.”

“Of course.” Kylar handed it to him and felt relieved; it seemed like Marl would be all right. Again he felt the pain in his left leg, and he began to feel light headed. As he began to fall, Baxter caught him and set him down on a chair.

“Are you okay, sir?”

“Fine, just get me out of this armor.”

Baxter did as ordered, and Kylar grimaced when he removed the badly damaged left shin guard, but the pain began to fade as soon as his leg was free.

“They really did a number on you sir, didn’t they?”

“I guess they did.” Kylar replied, looking at what remained of his armor.

Everen walked over to them and scowled when he saw Kylar’s leg.

“The Lieutenant is stable, but still unconscious. I’m running a full tox screen on him in case those things have some sort of venom or parasites.”

“Nice work, Lieutenant.”

“What happened to your leg?” Jayla inquired, as he inspected the bruising.

“My armor dented in on it. I’m fine.”

“That remains to be seen.” Jayla ran his scanner over the bruising. “Well, no fractures, but you do have several large blood vessel ruptures. If I don’t deal with them now your leg will swell so much you won’t be able to wear your armor. This will just take a few moments.”
He injected Kylar with Kolto and some other chemicals, and the pain began to fade completely.

“That should do it, sir. If you don’t mind, I’d like to take a look at the creature Larn brought in, sir.”

“We should all go; we need to figure out their weaknesses.”

They all walked over to the room where Larn had placed the creature. He was crouched next to it, examining the damage he did with his blaster. He had a puzzled look on his face. When he saw them standing there he immediately stood up.

“Is Marl all right, sir?”

“For now. Have you found anything useful?’

“Not really. I can’t believe how little damage I did to it, sir. That long of a blast would have made even a Krayt Dragon realize I was there.”

Kylar motioned to Everen, “Lieutenant, I think you’ll be more helpful here.”

“I’ll see what I can find, but it might take a while.”

“Work as fast as you can; time is something the other Saints don’t have.”

“Yes sir.”

Kylar and the others left him to his work and joined Kenf on the bridge. He was staring intently at the data screens when the metallic sound of boots made him turn around.

“You’d better look at this sir.” He said, motioning to the display behind him.

“What is it?”

“It’s some kind of storm, like a hurricane. It’s very large and it’s headed straight for us. We won’t be safe out in that thing sir.”

“Which means we can’t go looking for Kytrn as long as it’s there. How big is it?”

“Well, the sensors are a little scrambled because of the weird atmosphere, but I estimate the storm will take twelve hours to pass, at least.”

“We don’t have that kind of time, corporal.” His mind flashed to Kytrn’s pod being obscured by the storm, any evidence lost in the deluge. “How far out is it?”

“About ten minutes, sir.”

“What if we take the ship to the crash site, sir?” Suggested Imala.

“Are you crazy? We’re supposed to stay under the radar!” Exclaimed Baxter.

“Think about it; any people wouldn’t dare go out right before this storm, so they won’t even see us. Not to mention we’d be giving ourselves valuable time before the front hits to look for Kytrn.”

“Good idea Corporal.” Kylar replied, finally seeing a way to find his brother. “Kenf, any word from General NYG?”

“None. I sent a message about the creatures to the general, but I have no idea if it went through. I think the storm is causing interference; there’s a crazy amount of electric energy in that thing. I don’t think any of us wants to be outside when it hits.”

“Well then, we shouldn’t waste any more time. Take us to the escape pod; I’m going to the armory.”

As Kylar walked away from the bridge he felt the comforting vibrations of the ship’s engines firing up and heard the familiar sound of the BT-7 soaring through the sky. The mission had finally gotten out of that valley, one step closer to finding his brother. He entered the armory and grabbed his alternate armor, identical to his original set, and began to put it on. The ship rocked with turbulence, no doubt from the storm, as he grabbed more grenades and a new rifle and sidearm from the lockers. He quickly made his way back to the bridge.

“How close are we?”

“Less than a minute out, sir.” Replied Baxter.

“Good. Corporal Imala will accompany me down to the pod. We’ll use the cables; I want the Thunderclap still airborne in case we need a quick evacuation because of the storm or something else.”

“It’s going to be difficult to keep this thing steady in the winds, sir.” Kenf commented.

“We shouldn’t be too long, Corporal.” He turned to Larn. “Let’s get going.”

“Yes sir.”

They both walked quickly to the boarding ramp and grabbed thick durasteel fiber cables from an alcove that housed the winches. They connected the cables to their belts; Kylar’s heart began to pound at the sound of the familiar click that signified a good connection. He glanced over at Imala.

“Are you ready?”

“Yes sir, just give the word.” Imala said, fidgeting slightly in his excitement. “I can’t wait to get back down there.”

“Just remember this is a quick scouting mission, not a sightseeing trip. The less time we’re on the ground, the better.”

“Of course sir.”

“We’ve reached the pod, sir.” Came Baxter’s voice in his helmet.

“Roger that. Deploying the ramp.” Kylar reached over to the control and activated it.
The ramp began to descend, more slowly than normal; a result of the damage it had taken during the fight, Kylar assessed, but at least it was still functional. The ramp creaked to a halt and they walked to the edge, pulling out more cable as they went. Kylar peered over the edge to get a view of the surroundings; he activated his helmet’s night vision to pierce through the darkness and saw the pod in what appeared to be a meadow clearing of some kind. He saw four objects near the pod, brown. They appeared to be humanoid.

“Corporal, it looks like we’ve got four unknowns below us, proceed with caution.”

“Yes sir.” He imparted one of his signature salutes and then jumped over the edge.


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"For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." Romans 1:16 (ESV)
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re: The Regathering

Part II: Rebirth

I’m still alive...Curious. This was Lieutenant Kytrn’s first thought upon regaining consciousness. He began to use his senses to evaluate the situation. He was lying on his back; the material under him was soft and supportive. He took a hesitant breath; the air had the faint tang of antiseptic, but seemed breathable. The last thing he remembered was collapsing from the planet’s toxic atmosphere. I thought I was dying; I guess I was wrong. He opened his eyes. Maybe not!

The first thing he saw was his own face staring back at him. It wasn’t a mirror, or even a holo-image. The body lying next to him was his own lifeless corpse! Alarm shot through him. What’s happening?

He tried to sit up, only to discover that he was strapped to a bed. He tensed as he felt a hand grab his arm.

“Relax. It’s okay. You’re safe now,” a male voice uttered soothingly. He wasn’t speaking Basic, yet somehow Kytrn could understand him. He looked to his left, and saw a human male sitting in a chair.

“Ah. You’re confused as to how you can understand me,” the man said knowingly. He was of average height and build, with dark hair and a clean shaven face. He was wearing a red tunic woven from some sort of fiber. “We gave you memories of our language so that we could communicate with you. We’re very interested in what you have to say.”

Gave me memories? What is he talking about? Kytrn looked around the room, trying to find some answers. He caught his gaze on the polished metal wall to his right. It can’t be! The reflection of the man strapped to the bed—his reflection—was human! No green complexion, no facial tattoos, how could this be! He looked down at his hands, thinking that it was some sort of trick. But rather than their customary forest green color, his hands were pale.

“I’m a human!” Kytrn exclaimed incredulously.

“Yes. It seems that your species is incapable of life on this planet,” the man explained, motioning to Kytrn’s dead body lying on the table.

“I died!?”

“Only a minor set-back. We were able to transfer your memories into a new—human—body with this,” the man said, gesturing to what appeared to be a computer chip. “It’s a Judair chip. It allows us to transfer a person’s memories into a new body when they die.”

Kytrn was speechless. This was absurd! Yet the very fact that he was now living in a human body validated the man’s story.

“We merely added memories of our language to your chip before transferring your memories into this body,” the man continued.

“Why? Why bring me back?” Kytrn questioned.

“We were curious. We have so many questions to ask you,” the man responded eagerly.

“I have a few questions myself,” he replied.

“I’m sure you do,” said the man, chuckling. “We call this planet Rhyldan. We’re refugees fleeing the destruction of our home planet. We’ve been living here for years now, struggling to survive. You’ve met the planet’s indigenous inhabitants, the Lesoo. They’re quite hostile and impossible to negotiate with.”

At this Kytrn opened his mouth to interrupt, but the man held up his hand to silence him.

“Originally, we were all united under the common goal of survival, but eventually a group of malcontent insurrectionists decided to change all that. They declared full out war against us. Now we’re in an even tighter situation, with the Lesoo on one side and the rebel 'Free People’s Republic' on the other. We need every advantage that we can get.”

“Advantage?” Kytrn inquired.

“Yes. For instance, what’s this?” The man reached behind him and pulled out the hilt of Kytrn’s broken lightsaber.

“It’s a lightsaber; it emits a focused beam of plasma,” Kytrn answered.

“So we saw. Quite impressive,” the man remarked with a strange look in his eye.

“You were watching me?” Kytrn asked, astonished.

“Do you know how to build one?” The man continued, ignoring his question.

“Do I know how? Yes. Can I? Not without the Force,” Kytrn answered dejectedly, his answer drawing his attention once again to Rhyldan’s despicable lack of the Force.

“The Force? What’s that?” The man asked, furrowing his brows.

“It’s an energy force that permeates everything in the universe, binding it and holding it together. Jedi are trained to harness this power. Control over the Force grants us telepathic and telekinetic powers as well as the ability to see things before they happen. We train our whole lives to listen to the will of the Force,” Kytrn explained wistfully. “But this planet is somehow devoid of the Force.”

“You expect me to believe that?” The man said, raising his voice. “Just tell me how to build one of these lightsabers!” He thrust Kytrn’s saber in his face.

What is going on here? Kytrn was very confused. Why was the man getting so angry? He wished that he could still use the Force; then he might be able to get a better sense of the man’s intentions.

“I don’t understand,” Kytrn said calmly. “I’m telling the truth. The Force exists…just not on this planet.”

“How convenient,” the man responded gruffly.

Not really, Kytrn thought, but he held his tongue.

“You landed in some sort of escape pod. Where is the ship that you launched from, and how many others are with you?”

The man’s outburst had set off warning bells in Kytrn’s head. He wasn’t sure whether to trust him or not. He decided to play it safe for now. “I launched from a single-man vessel. I was flying alone.”

The man’s face hardened; he had obviously been looking for a different answer. “I’ll be back later,” he said pointedly.

“Wait. Could you unstrap me before you go?” Kytrn asked. Lying down on the bed was becoming quite uncomfortable.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” the man said quietly. “You haven’t earned my trust yet.”

The man stood up and walked to the wall behind Kytrn’s head, outside of his field of vision. He rapped sharply on the wall, and someone opened a door from the other side. The man walked through and closed it behind him, leaving Kytrn in silence.

He closed his eyes and let out a sigh. How was he going get out of here? Was this man a friend or an enemy?

Suddenly the sound of raised voices from the hallway caught his attention. His new ears didn’t seem to be quite as sensitive as his old ones (or maybe the walls were just thick), but it sounded like two men arguing over something. The voices quieted and the door opened again.

“Hello, my name is Johnathon,” said the newcomer as he moved across the room to take a seat. He was wearing similar clothes to the first man, but his demeanor was completely different. Rather than harsh and serious, Johnathon seemed more friendly and inquisitive. His eyes flashed with curiosity and excitement.

“Nice to meet you Johnathon. My name is Kytrn,” Kytrn said. The sudden appearance of a friendly face made him wary. But if this was an interrogation tactic, he might as well play along. One of his roles in the Jedi Order had been diplomacy; he may be able to use that to his advantage.

“You’ll have to forgive my colleague; I’m afraid he can be rather brash. But I suppose you can’t blame him for doing his job.”

“His job?” Kytrn inquired.

“The military was quite excited by your little “lightsaber” display and they wanted him to find out how to build one. We need every advantage that we can get in our struggle to survive, just like Gerson said. He just got a tad frustrated by your mystical little ‘Force.’”

“I was telling the truth, not trying to avoid his question. The Force exists,” Kytrn responded. Johnathon eyes gleamed as he failed to hide his excitement. That was obviously exactly what he had been hoping to hear.

“I thought so. As a scientist, you don’t know how many strings I had to pull to have this conversation with you,” Johnathon explained, his voice quickening in excitement. “You said the Force gives you premonitions? And grants you telekinetic abilities? And does your lightsaber really create a stable blade of focused plasma?”

“Yes to all three questions,” Kytrn said, hiding a smile. Johnathon was like a kid with the keys to his father’s speeder. Hopefully he would be more cooperative than Gerson.

“If I unstrap you, do you promise to behave?” Johnathon asked, eying the straps holding Kytrn to the bed.

“You have my word,” Kytrn promised. Johnathon reached over and undid the straps holding his chest, waist, and feet to the table. Rubbing his arms to get his blood flowing, Kytrn slowly lifted himself to a sitting position. His body was so stiff it felt as though it had been lying in the same position for his whole life. Perhaps it had, he thought ruefully.

“Why can’t you build a lightsaber without the Force?” Johnathon asked.

“A lightsaber is more than just a weapon; it’s an extension of the Jedi who wields it. We have a saying: The crystal is the heart of the blade. The heart is the crystal of the Jedi. The Jedi is the crystal of the Force. The Force is the blade of the heart. All are intertwined. The crystal, the blade, the Jedi. We are one.” Kytrn recited the familiar mantra.

“The crystal is the heart of the blade?” Johnathon questioned. “What does that mean?”

“The core component of a lightsaber is the focusing crystal that is used to generate the energy beam. It determines the color and appearance of the blade. Mine was yellow.”

“Fascinating,” Johnathon commented. “So even if you had access to all of the materials, you couldn’t build a lightsaber here?”

“No. Unless I had access to a spacecraft capable of leaving the planet’s atmosphere. Then I could reconnect with the Force. But I don’t see that happening since I’m a prisoner here.”

“I wouldn’t use the word prisoner,” Johnathon fidgeted uncomfortably. “More like a very important guest.”

“Am I free to leave?”

“Well no, but…”

“Let me ask you something. Gerson said that the Lesoo are impossible to negotiate with. How do you know? Has anyone tried?”

“Certainly, but they’re a primitive and savage race.”

“What about this ‘Free People’s Republic?’”

“What about them? They’re enemies of the rightful government bent on sowing discontentment and chaos.”

“The same ‘rightful’ government that’s keeping me caged up in here?”

“We’re locked in a struggle for the survival of our entire race; we can’t afford to please everyone. Our government may have its flaws, but it’s the best thing we’ve got. Besides, we don’t know your intentions. If you were in our situation you would do the same thing,” Johnathon argued.

“Perhaps,” Kytrn allowed. He realized that he was in no position to pass judgment; he certainly didn’t have enough knowledge of this planet to make an informed decision. He was letting his displeasure at being held captive interfere with his outlook. “I am grateful for what your people have done for me. I would be dead if not for your intervention.”

“You’re welcome. We brought you back because we were hoping that you could return the favor,” Johnathon said. “There’s so much that you could teach us if you were willing to trust us.”

“A little more freedom would go a long way toward improving our mutual trust,” Kytrn replied. “I would love to get outside and see more of this world. I don’t suppose you could arrange that?”

“Look, I want to help you. But I’m afraid it will take more than words to convince the people in charge,” Johnathon said with hesitation. Kytrn didn’t know whether to trust him, but he didn’t really have a choice. “You have to give me something to work with.”

“If I gave you a list of the supplies I needed to construct a lightsaber, could you bring them to me? I could try my best to construct one without the Force, but I don’t know if it’s ever been attempted before.”

“There you go!” Johnathon broke into a smile. “Now we’re getting somewhere; I’ll see what I can do. In the meantime, try to get some rest. Cloning can be exhausting.” He walked to the door and knocked, exiting as soon as the door opened.

Kytrn let out another sigh. He knew that he couldn’t give them a working lightsaber without knowing more about them, but hopefully this would buy him some time to think of a better plan.

Suddenly the loud wail of a warning siren cut through the air.


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re: The Regathering

Chapter 2: I Once Was Blind

Not much of a Jedi after all, are you?

I don't know how long the thought had been bouncing around inside my head -- an hour? A minute? A couple days? All I know is that, when you can't see, it's awfully hard to keep track of time.

Painfully, I rolled over. Soft, cushiony material. Clean sheets? I sniffed cautiously. At least I could still smell, which was something to hang onto. Without my connection to the Force to illuminate my surroundings in my mind, I found my hearing and sense of smell acutely sharpened. And this, apparently, without the benefit of the Force to boost my sensory perceptions. And in addition to the rich, subtle details of the sounds emitted by the creatures of the forest surrounding my crashed ship, the musky, earthy smell of the environment settled into me, like a thick quilt covering my face. Yet woven into the feast of aromas was the unmistakable, yet ever-indefinable smell of kolto.

My hands swept across the sheet under me and found the edge of the mattress on which I'd been lying, and I swung my legs over the edge. Gingerly, my feet felt for the floor and found it, bumping reassuringly on the durasteel deck. Slowly, I shuffled across the floor until I found the opposite wall, then groped my way around the perimiter of the room until I was satisfied that I was back in my own sleeping quarters in the Archimagon.

My bearings established, I shuffled into the conference room outside my chamber. "Tharen?" I called.

"Coming..." floated up Cedrax' voice from somewhere in the depths of the ship. I smiled at the familiarity of his petulant tone, sounding the same as it always had, as though I'd interrupted him in the midst of some universe-shaking experiment. Slowly, I made my way forward, angling as best I could toward my ship's bridge. And I heard Cedrax' footsteps echoing on the floor as he emerged from the lower deck and came alongside me.

"Good morning, Jedi." I returned his greeting with a nod and a greeting of my own.

"How's Iresso? Is he still alive?"

"I'm sorry, Jedi -- he didn't make it. He was just too badly injured. His final neural functions ceased about three hours before dawn."

It wasn't unexpected news, but I still felt as though the darkness in my head darkened a few shades further. And then there were two, the voice in my head recited.

"We need to get the communications array up, if we can. Any functionality left to it?"

"It appears we can neither receive, nor transmit."

"What about cobbling together a hybrid of the transmitter and receiver from their parts, so we can do one or the other?"

"We'll have to see what parts I can scrounge, Jedi. I don't know yet what components are still good."

"All right. Well, let's take care of the bodies of our friends, then that will be your next job." I sighed, and another stab of grief lanced through my chest.

-------------------------------------

That evening, the funeral preparations were complete. Qyzen Fess, Nadia Grell, Eclipse, and Lt. Iresso all lay side-by-side on a single large funeral pyre. Slowly, guided by Tharen, I touched the flame of a wooden torch to the fuel-soaked wood, and heard the soft whump as the oils burst into low flame, and felt the gentle heat as the flames spread around the base of the pyre.

We backed away to about eight meters from the blaze, and we stood there, alone with our thoughts. I contemplated my friends' reunion with the One Who had given life to all of us and our surroundings. "Fare well, my friends, until we meet again," I murmured.

"Jedi, do you believe in more than The Force?" Tharen asked.

"Yes."

"Interesting. Tell me more."

"Life originates from somewhere, Tharen. Or I should say, some one designed it. Sometimes, when I am meditating deeply, I have the idea that the Force doesn't emerge from life, but from this One that created all things. Life itself also owes its existence to this One. I don't quite understand this yet, but I just get the impression that whoever this One is, he or she is almost laughing, waiting to be discovered.

At any rate, Tharen, I think our friends at least have some better understanding of this now than I do."

And I turned back to face the pyre.

"I don't know, Jedi," Tharen replied. "I have never felt comfortable with your order's mysticism, and this goes beyond that! But it does seem hard to believe that this whole universe just emerged out of nothing. It had to have something, or some One, as its originator. What that is, though, I don't know. But maybe we will know, one day."

And with that, we both stopped talking, and simply stood quietly, each content to follow our own thoughts.

Until I heard a twig snap softly somewhere to Cedrax' left.

(to be continued)
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re: The Regathering

Part III: Eye of the Storm

“Corporal, it looks like we’ve got four unknowns below us, proceed with caution.”

“Yes sir.” Larn imparted one of his signature salutes and then jumped over the edge.

Kylar took a deep breath and followed him. The decent was fast and soon he found himself on the ground near the pod, wind whipping fiercely. He quickly located the four life forms and noticed that they all were lying on the ground. He slowly walked over to them as Imala scoped the perimeter of the meadow. As he approached, Kylar noticed the distinctive marks of a lightsaber on three of them and an unconscious sigh of relief escaped from his lungs; he had been preparing himself for the worst, but this meant his brother had at least made it out of the pod and away from the clearing. He examined the creatures more carefully; they were bipedal and had a skeletal face. More interestingly he found the shattered remains of weapons surrounding them, signifying that they were a somewhat intelligent species.

“Corporal, come over here.” Kylar waved Imala over to get a second opinion.
Imala came running over and stopped when he saw the bodies. “Your brother’s handiwork?”

“I think so. Look at these weapons. Do you think these creatures are what live in those settlements we detected?”

“It’s possible, but wasn’t there a noticeable energy level at those? I can’t believe that a species with power would still be using such primitive weapons.”

“Good point.”

Kylar’s vision drifted to the fourth alien and noticed a pool of odd colored blood beneath it; apparently this one hadn’t been killed by a lightsaber. He looked at its chest and noticed a large hole right in the middle.

“This looks like a bullet hole.” Kylar voiced aloud.

“From a slugthrower?”

“Maybe. But none of the creatures have firearms.”

“I guess we’re dealing with some other sentient race then, sir.”

“But did they show up during the fight or after?”

Imala started inspecting the rest of the meadow near the pod. He stopped and gestured to Kylar.

“Look sir; tire tracks. I’d say from a fairly large land vehicle of some kind. The tracks head off to that gap in the trees.”

“Anything else?”

“Well, there are boot marks all around here, but none that head away from the meadow. I’d say that whoever these people are, they took Kytrn with them.”

Suddenly they both felt a tug at their waists and found themselves being pulled into the air by their cables. They began to swing violently in the wind.

“Kenf, what’s going on up there?”

“Sir, the storm front is here, we need to get you back on board; I can’t keep the BT-7 steady anymore.”

“Understood.”

Kylar and Larn hit their belts and the cables began to be drawn back into the ship. The wind hit even more violently and Kylar heard a crack from below; a tree had been snapped clean in half and the top was now flying through the air. The wind blew them so that they were nearly at the same height as the ship itself. Kylar just held onto the cable as tightly as possible as it shortened. He glanced over at Imala and saw that he was doing the same. Suddenly a blinding flash came out of the darkness, over stimulating Kylar’s night vision, followed immediately by a tremendous boom that pounded Kylar’s chest. Kylar felt like he was falling; the lightning must have hit the ship. His vision returned and he found himself plummeting to the ground.

Suddenly he felt a jerk at his waist as his rapid decent was halted by the cable. He turned his head and saw the ship, far above him.

Baxter’s voice came into his helmet. “Are you all right?”

“Cutting it a little close, sergeant.”

“That lightning shorted out the winches, sir; we had to pull up and hope the cable length ran out. I guess it did.”

“You said the winches are dead?” Inquired Imala as he was buffeted by the winds.

“Affirmative. We’re preparing to land to bring you on board.”

“You’ll never be able to take off again in this storm.” Kylar objected. “We’ll release the cables.”

“Are you crazy sir? Don’t be ridiculous, we’re coming to get you.”

Another lightning bolt struck, this time hitting one of the trees around the clearing. Luckily it did not catch fire; it was probably too wet from previous storms. Kylar turned to Imala.

“Corporal, disengage the cable.”

“Yes, sir.”

They both hit their belts again and the cables disconnected. Kylar felt himself begin to plummet to the ground again. He had fallen about five meters when he abruptly struck the ground, his armor making a crunching sound as he lost his breath. He was again glad to be wearing it. He looked over at Imala, also on his back, a few meters away.

Baxter’s voice came into his helmet again. “What did you just do, sir?”

“We’re loose. Get clear of the storm. Pick us up once it’s over.”

“We’re not leaving you sir.”

“That’s an order sergeant.”

“We’ll be back sir.” Baxter promised woefully as the ship peeled off from its position.

Kylar got up and walked over to Larn as the storm opened up with a torrential downpour. He could hear the rain pinging off his armor and noticed that visibility had been greatly decreased.

“We need to find cover, corporal.”

“Yes, sir.” Imala agreed as he got to his feet. “What about the pod?”

Another lightning bolt descended, striking the pod and igniting its fuel reserves. It detonated in a huge fireball. Kylar tackled Larn to the ground as the flames leapt over their heads. Shrapnel began to rain down on the clearing.

“Does that answer your question?”

“I guess so, sir.”

“We need to get out of the clearing; our armor will probably attract the lightning next. Which way did the tire tracks go?”

“That way, sir.” Imala gestured to the left.

“Then that’s the way we go.”

They both hurried into the forest as the flames were quickly quenched by the rain. The forest offered some protection from the wind and the precipitation. Kylar was glad to be out of the clearing and on the trail of Kytrn; hopefully most creatures would be hiding from the storm. They both began to walk in the path created by the vehicle as it carved through the lower jungle. The rain dripped off the foliage and onto the ground, quickly turning the soil into a soggy mud, making it very difficult to walk.

“I hope these people are friendly, sir, especially when we find them.” Imala commented, breaking the ominous silence.

“So do I.” Kylar replied. He, however, had a different vision in his mind; Kytrn being held captive on a foreign planet by an unknown race, far from any reinforcements or escape routes. “So do I.”

They continued forward through hills and valleys of thick jungle until the forest began to thin. By this point Kylar’s muscles were feeling exhausted after hours of battling the fierce wind, rain, and mud. He was tempted to use a stim to boost his endurance; after all, he had no idea how much time Kytrn had left. He started to pull one out of his belt then decided against; perhaps it would be needed in a more urgent situation. Kylar began to hear a slight hum through the canopy.

“Do you hear that, sir?” Larn inquired, and Kylar realized it wasn’t just his exhaustion that was causing the hum in his ears.

“Yes. If we’re close to a settlement it could be a weather warning siren.”

Kylar’s heart began to race again as they walked further along, the noise getting louder and more clear. Suddenly the winds died down and the rain stopped; he could see the wall of rain proceed quickly ahead of him. The trees still dripped with moisture and droplets continued to ring off Kylar’s armor. Still, it was nice to be out of the worst of it, at least for the time being.

Imala stopped and looked up. “Is the storm over?”

“Kenf said it would be longer. This is probably just the eye of the storm. We should try to cover as much ground as we can before the next front hits.”

“Yes sir.”

They both broke into a slight jog, trying to take full advantage of the turn in the weather. They approached the edge of the tree line and stopped just before it, to stay in cover. Kylar looked out and was stunned to see a walled city that could easily hold thousands of people sitting in a clearing next to the dense forest, the lights cutting through the darkness. The siren could now very easily be heard; clearly emanating from the city.

“Well, I guess we found it, corporal.”

“So what’s the plan, sir?”

“We don’t know anything about these people, so we’ll have to scout it out carefully.”

“Yes, sir. I’ll set up an observation point in the trees.”

“You’d better wait until the storm passes, Larn.”

“Oh, right.” Imala replied, embarrassed that he forgot about the front in his excitement.

Suddenly a spotlight lit up their position and a strange voice came from outside the forest, definitely not basic. Imala quickly turned to Kylar.

“How did they find us?”

“I don’t know.” Kylar’s mind raced to find an answer to that question as the voice continued, sounding angry. “We should walk out and put down our weapons.”

“Are you crazy?”

“The last thing we want is to start a war, corporal.”

“Yes, sir.” Imala acknowledged, grudgingly.

They slowly walked out of the forest into the light. Kylar could see several bipedal figures standing next to a large, armored vehicle that had a spotlight mounted onto it. As they approached they slowly set down their weapons and held their hands in clear view. The voice began to say something new and the figures tensed; Kylar could see that they were holding rifles of some type. As they got closer he saw that they were human.

“Why aren’t they speaking Basic?” Imala queried.

“I have no idea.”

The voice became louder; obviously he did not approve of their conversation. Kylar realized that perhaps they were frightened by their helmets.

“Corporal, take off your helmet. Maybe if they see that you’re human and I’m close they’ll stand down.”

Kylar reached up and slowly took off his helmet, the foreign air entering his lungs. His eyes took a few seconds to adjust to the change, but when they did he saw that he was only a few feet from the vehicle. The men did not seem startled by his pale green complexion; maybe they couldn’t see it in the darkness. The voice came again and the men walked towards them and grabbed their arms. As his arms were handcuffed behind him, Kylar hoped that he had made the right decision. His vision began to fog and he became light headed.

“Sir, are you all right?” Larn could see his unsteadiness.

At that moment, Kylar’s vision went dark as he fell to the ground, and darkness closed around his mind. His last thought was: I’m sorry brother.


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re: The Regathering

Part III: Aggressive Negotiations

The warning siren had been going off for at least an hour now, yet Kytrn still had no idea what it was for. He could only hope that the base wasn’t under attack, and that the rest of the Saints were safe.

The time alone had given him a much needed opportunity to think things over. What was happening to the other Saints? Gerson had said that Mirialans were incapable of life on Rhyldan, but what about other species? Were all the non-human Saints doomed to die a painful death upon exiting their escape pods? What could he do to help them?

That was the question weighing the heaviest on Kytrn’s mind. So far he had kept the existence of the other Saints a secret from his captors. But his captors might be the only ones with the power to save the other Saints from death. But what would the humans do if they learned about the other Saints? That was the real question.

So far the humans seemed more interested in their own survival than in helping him. He was being held prisoner in the hopes that he could provide them a technological advantage over their enemies. Indeed, death may be the better option when faced with being brought back to life only to be held captive for eternity.

Kytrn had realized that even if he died in this cell, the humans would just insert his memories into a new body. He could be a prisoner forever! The thought filled him with dread.

He tried to push that thought out of his mind. He wasn’t here in vain; the Saints had been brought to Rhyldan for a reason. All they needed to do was discover that reason. Kytrn tried to sooth himself with a familiar meditative exercise; he sat down cross-legged on his bed facing the door.

But after a few moments the door opened, and Kytrn squinted as the harsh light shone in his eyes. Through his narrowed eyes he recognized his visitor as Gerson, the man looking for knowledge that would give his people a military advantage in their struggles.

“Hello Kytrn. That is your name, correct?” When Kytrn nodded, he continued. “I apologize for not introducing myself last time; the name’s Gerson. I think that we got off to a bad start. What do you say we start over?” said Gerson, smiling as he extended his hand.

“Pleased to meet you,” Kytrn took his hand and shook it. But he wasn’t buying into Gerson’s act. He was clearly just trying to match Johnathon’s success with being polite.

“I hear that you’ve decided to help us out,” Gerson smiled again. “I’m here to get a list of the parts you need to build a lightsaber.” He held out a thin piece of material resembling flimsiplast and a writing instrument.

Kytrn accepted them, wondering if his implanted memories of the humans’ language extended to the written word as well. As he wrote the list, he quickly discovered that it did.

“What does that warning siren mean?” Kytrn asked as he worked on his list.

“That’s a weather warning siren. A nasty storm is passing overhead, but it’s nothing to be concerned about.”

“Okay.” Kytrn handed the completed list back to Gerson. Just to be sure that their scientists couldn’t cobble a lightsaber together based on his list, he had left out a few ingredients and added numerous extra ones.

“Your help is greatly appreciated Kytrn,” Gerson thanked him. “I don’t suppose you could help us out with another matter?” He reached into the small bag that he was holding at his side and pulled out Kytrn’s datapad. “This appears to be a computing device of some sort. But our technicians can’t figure out how to unlock it.”

Kytrn’s heart skipped a beat. His datapad! They must have recovered it from the escape pod. His mind began racing wildly. The datapad might still be connected to the communications terminal on NYG’s ship. That meant he could get in contact with the other Saints! It also meant that the humans would discover the other Saints as soon as he unlocked the datapad.

He needed the dapatad to remain locked for the time being. But he also needed the humans to think that he was willing to cooperate. He quickly devised a plan.

To cover for his brief moment of speechlessness, Kytrn affected a shocked expression, “My…my datapad! You found it! Brilliant!” Kytrn stood up in excitement and extended his hand to grab the datapad. He needed these next few moments to look convincing. “This will be most useful in constructing a lightsaber; now I won’t have to do it from memory!”

“There are schematics for building a lightsaber on this thing?” Gerson asked excitedly, handing it to Kytrn.

“Yes. And much more!” Kytrn quickly activated the datapad, bringing it to a log-in screen. He confidently typed in an incorrect password. He frowned deeply as the device denied him access. He deftly input the same incorrect password, with the same result. He let some frustration creep into his voice, “What did your technicians do?! They’ve ruined it! It’s not accepting my password!”

“What do you mean?” Gerson asked, bending closer in concern.

“Your technicians shouldn’t mess with things they don’t understand,” Kytrn said, coloring his voice with hostility, trying to put Gerson on the defensive. “You should have brought this to me right away! Now look what you’ve done!” Kytrn shoved the datapad back at Gerson, displaying its flashing red screen. Gerson couldn’t read the “Access Denied” message scrawling across the screen since it was in Aurebesh, but the point was clear. “You’d better give me my list back; I’ll need additional parts if I’m going to salvage this back into working order!” Kytrn set his face stoically and glared at Gerson, hoping that he would buy into the deception.

Gerson narrowed his eyes and stared intently at Kytrn. “Our technicians know what they’re doing,” he stated sternly.

“The evidence begs to differ!” Kytrn emphatically punched in the incorrect password yet again, trying to look as aggravated as possible. “Look!” He held out the “Access Denied” screen again.

Gerson snatched back the datapad and returned it to his bag. “I’ll go have a talk with our technicians. I’ll be back shortly.” Gerson left, closing the door behind him.

“Give them my regards!” Kytrn called harshly after him.

Kytrn sat back down on the bed, trying to keep his emotions from showing on his face. Had Gerson believed him? Only time would tell.

_____________

Kytrn awoke from a fitful nap to the familiar sound of the weather warning siren; it had been going off for hours now. Yet Gerson still had not returned. Kytrn began to worry that his deception had been discovered. Maybe they had managed to break the encryption on his datapad without him. Perhaps they were more technologically advanced than he thought.

Kytrn tried to dismiss those thoughts; worrying wouldn’t get him anywhere. He fell into a familiar breathing pattern as he tried to calm himself. The harsh glare of the electric lights faded as he gently closed his eyes. His chest rose and fell as he searched for peace. But where the warm glow of the Force would normally wash over him, there was only emptiness.

Quite abruptly, the wailing of the weather sirens cut off. After the hours of noise, the silence was deafening. But as he sat and listened, other noises began to catch his attention: the soft hum of the device feeding air into the room, the almost imperceptible whine emanating from the panel of artificial lights, the muffled clump of boots walking through the hallway. If only the loss of the Force could be replaced so easily.

Abandoning his attempts at meditation, Kytrn opened his eyes and stood up. In a few steps, he walked to the counter on the wall of the room. It was empty except for a pitcher of clear liquid—presumably water—and a cup. Kytrn took the handle of the pitcher, poured himself a glass, and took a sip.

The water was cool and refreshing as it ran down his parched throat. He didn’t know whether its slightly strange taste was due to its quality or his new human taste buds. Either way, he emptied the glass quickly.

The door opened behind him, closing just as quickly. Kytrn set the cup down on the counter, turning to discover the identity of his latest visitor. It was Gerson.

“What size ship did your escape pod launch from again?” he asked roughly.

“A single-man vessel.”

“Oh yeah? Then who’s this?” Gerson brandished a computer tablet; a large image covered its surface. Kytrn took the device to get a better look. He gasped in shock before he could help himself.

It was his brother, Kylar! And from the looks of it, he had also succumbed to the toxic atmosphere. From the picture, Kytrn could see that his brother was wearing a set of standard-issue armor. What was he doing here?

“Recognize him?” Gerson taunted, obviously noticing Kytrn’s reaction to the image. “What size ship did your escape pod launch from again?” he repeated the question.

“A single-man vessel. Like I said.” Kytrn lied as his mind raced furiously. He didn’t know how much to reveal. A genetic test would quickly identify them as brothers, so he might as well tell them that much. But there was no way to know if Kylar had been captured alone or if there were other Saints with him. “I don’t know how my brother got here. He must have been following me in another ship.”

“Your brother!” Gerson exclaimed. “Who else is with him?”

“I have no idea. But my brother prefers to travel alone…”

“Try again,” Gerson interrupted, glaring.

Kytrn realized that Kylar must have been captured with at least one other Saint. His brother had told him a few stories of the trooper squad he normally worked with; were they all here? Maybe they had been forced to leave Kylar behind after he died from the atmosphere; all the others were all human as far as he could recall. If so, some of them could still be out there. Maybe they were working on a rescue plan!

“He wasn’t alone?” Kytrn asked, feigning ignorance. “He must have been desperate to track me down if he’s working with someone. How should I know?”

“You think you’re so clever, don’t you Kytrn?” Gerson goaded, crossing his arms in front of his chest. “You and your brother aren’t the only newcomers to this planet, and we’re going to find them. Maybe one of them will be more helpful than you!” He turned around and stormed out the door.


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re: The Regathering

"THE DOWNING TOUCH..."


"Whoo,...Whoooooo...fly you stratching little manokin..."

"ZEI....ZZEEIIIII..."
I heard behind me.

As I turned my head as far as I was able in this small escape pod, I noticed my dear close friend Zasjo'rhen with a terrified look and his face growing pale.


"How did you get in here mate, and what happened to my pack, I put it in that seat?" I shouted over the flames on the outside of the pod as it came into the atmosphere.

"How did you not notice me throw the pack out as i jumped in?" Zasjo asked trying not to upchuck.

"This is amazingly fantastic, I haven't been in a shipwreck since Maro Nalto IV, HAHAHAHAHA WHOOOO...." I screamed shaking with excitement.

"You're crazy, we could die..." Terrified of more the vomit in his mouth than the dieing, Zasjo could not continue his sentence.

The pod quickly shook off the flames and I could see the beautiful planet for what it was, and in the far distance a white gleaming city shown. Landing in a deep jungle was definitely the destination of the pod, and I would land with enthusiasm and jump out ready for anything.

"Uh-oh" I thought, "my saber and blaster were in my pack, a piece of this useless pod better be able to be shafted into a weapon or I am using Zasjo as a club." I chuckled at the end of my thought, knowing he would do more damage with his upchuck.

"If we die, then it will be a good death, dieing with our boots on....wait, when did my boots come off mate..?..." I shouted in response, just as the pod collided with three huge trees before sticking into a fourth.... "Now where are my boots?"

Story by Kei-Duum (Gabriel)


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JESUS BLESS, GODS' STRENGTH!
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