Chapter 67 (Vers. 1.1 24/10/13)
Note: Thank you to Inachis and Hawklan for fixing this chapter again.
Grey Wind emerged from the shadow and, like a knight from Earth a long time ago (and a universe away), Jaina road away towards the enemy.
Near her HK-47 was silently shooting, head shots of course. He had no need to get close; after all it wasn’t that unusual for him to drop a target from a long range using only a blaster rifle. He was enjoying himself and only one thing irritated him: the Jedi master wasn’t playing fair.
A strange fog was rising from the ground, covering everything and hindering visibility. Activating his multispectral vision he could easily see through the mist like it wasn’t even there and what he saw impressed him.
Meatbag Xander rode that robot steed Thunder straight into a pack of deadmeat and with no remorse he slashed and cut his way through. One of his lightsabers was extended to a full 2 meter length while the other was only 1.2 meters. Using the long blade Xander swooped in on Thunder, almost standing in his stirrups as he used the longer blade to parry blaster bolts and attacked with the shorter one.
The troopers were blinded by the mist. The strong minded ones could easily shake of this attack, but the thick fog was real, no mind affect there. Screams of ‘shoot them’ and bolts of blasters burned the fog as the troopers and adepts panicked.
The attackers would suddenly appear out of nowhere and another group would die to the sound of thundering hoofs and the shining light of a lightsaber. Sometimes it was two blades and sometimes only one blade, as both Xander and Jaina attacked, driving the darkside adepts around in a circle of death.
Xander could feel Jaina’s battle meditation confuse them even more. He wasn’t that good at group mind affect skills, but Jaina… she was a mistress at Battle meditation.
Then yet another blade joined them as Noh Noss attacked from the ground, swinging and waving his attack. He sliced his way through the running dark side cultist.
And almost faster than he could cut the blasting bolts of a Thunderer, the heavy blaster pistol would end another soldier life as HK-47 was in a competitive mode. It took no longer than an hour with HK-47 and Xander blasting doors open as they searched the place after more cultist. Some weakly trained in the darkside desperately tried to use it against the Jedi Master.
None of them survived.
They had been trained in Jedi tactics, they knew the way Luke would fight and they knew how Kyle Katarn would fight, which would be for Kyle to shoot or cut apart anything between him and the target faster than they could escape.
Xander’s method of fighting today broke the mold on how Jedi were supposed to fight.
Finally only one remained, a female around 25 years holding a lightsaber in her hand.
Xander could feel the force and the darkside in her. He and HK-47 had found the last live target.
“Query: Xander. How many kills? Mine are 42.”
“Damn, you are good HK-47. I only have 32 kills, unless you count that guy that died falling from the roof and landed on a steel bar that killed him. With him I have 33,” Xander replied.
“Query: Did you push him or did he jump?” HK-47 wanted to know.
“He tripped trying to run,” it was kind of absurd talking about kills in front of the female, but he could feel her being in her terror. She more or less projected her memory and it showed him everything about her like a movie. It wasn’t a good one. That female over there enjoyed murdering, she enjoyed the power of controlling others and making them suffer just so that she could feel powerful. Now she had no power and was blubbering in fear like a child and he could still not feel any regret from her. Making her feel fear wasn’t nice, but it was very satisfying.
“Statement: That was death by accident. No kill points,” HK-47 replied.
“Well, you’re the winner anyway. You do the honors or should I?” he asked, pointing his shota at the female who was now on her knees, begging for mercy.
HK-47 lifted his gun then lowered it. He liked seeing the meatbag crying like that. “Query: You are not like other Jedi I have talked to. Why do you feel it necessary to destroy them?”
Xander snorted. “First, from what I understand, they helped Lumiya sneak in Vampires on this planet. Second, they more or less murdered all civilians. The ones they didn’t murder were killed by the vampires. Third, if I let them go, they would gather strength and attack again. Like always. I’m not Luke. I don’t do redemption,” he said out loud.
“Statement: Master Revan would have liked you,” the droid said before opening up a rain of fire from the blaster gun. The darksider, too afraid and too shocked, fell down dead without even raising her blade to defend herself.
The two walked away, ignoring the wounded, but much alive trooper. One of them felt tired, the other had no more ammunition.
They found a cry-freeze in a room with a troubling content.
The computer files they found inside were truly a gift based on the pure ego of the Sith. They didn’t even have security codes except for the most basic ones. After all, they hid no truly powerful secrets, only political ones.
(Later on the Enterprise)
Noh Noss looked at his hands. He felt the blood dripping from them. This wasn’t what he expected a Jedi action to be like.
“Query: Meatbag, why the sad face?” HK-47 asked as he settled down, reading a weapons magazine. He was going to have the best weapons and Xander would be forced to buy them.
“The action today? Not what I expect from a lightsider,” Noh Noss replied. “I feel dirty, most of them were scared out of their wits. And we just... They just died.”
HK-47 could understand that. Revan had seen the danger the Sith and the Mandalorian could present and had attacked them, literally massacred them before they could regroup and attack again.
For that she was stripped of her rights as a Jedi Knight, as a general, because innocent lives had also been destroyed. In her despair she fell to the darkside. Oh what a glorious fall that had been. “Statement: Each was a trained warrior. They worked with a Sith lady that destroyed a whole world full of easy targets using vampires. Correct?”
Noh Noss nodded. “Yes, that is right.”
“Query: Meatbag, if the hostile meatbags escaped the planet, how long before these meatbags would attack and murder innocent meatbags again?”
The Jedi had no answer to that.
HK-47 sometimes blamed his translator, originally he had been a modified translator/assassin droid after all. Helping that person had been mildly amusing. Hunting down a target is fun.
Xander’s voice interrupted. “Be wary you who hunt monsters or a monster you will become. Wise words. Today we cleaned up and made an example out of the dark side cult. Luke takes out the head and lets the minions run back and regroup. Now the minions know they are not safe. The price of joining a dark side cult suddenly became a lot more expensive. The rumor will spread out. Some did escape and they will find the evidence. Then the Hapes who own the planet will have to clean it up from vampires. We, the Jedi order and force guardians will help them.”
Noh Noss nodded. “I know, but I still feel dirty. They were running for their lives and we didn’t let them live.”
Jaina, coming out from the cockpit, joined them. “After what they did to the rest of the planet, it’s a fair lesson. Besides, if we had driven them away and let them live, what would have they become then? Vampire food or more vampires. In a grim way we gave them an easy death.”
Her journey and life had taught her that sometimes the easy answer wasn’t the correct one. Uncle Luke, bless his light heart, was far too forgiving. Xander could be even more forgiving, unless you hurt family or loved ones. Hakon had done that and Lumiya had done that and he wouldn’t let them or any minion do it again.
HK-47 could understand that. Good, evil, black and white, it really didn’t matter to him. In the beginning he was misanthropic, almost sociopathic. He enjoyed causing death and destruction, regardless of bystanders. He was also programmed to deeply respect and obey his master. Some would say that he was a monster. Not his fault, he was built that way. The HK-47 series was an assassin droid with protocol droid capacity to increase their ability to infiltrate society; they where natural gifted at interpreting meatbags’ behavior and actions. HK-47 also found it amusing, but over the years his complex personality matrix had evolved. He became prideful and gained a sense of superiority to all meatbags and other droids that made his life so difficult, even if they were fun to kill.
His concept of love was a bit off, he knew that. His own personal feeling of love was –making a shot to the knees of a target a few miles away using a simple sniper rifle.-
As the Jedi meditated, HK-47 read the weapon books. He agreed with the action the young Jedi master had taken and he wondered what existence would bring him now.
Meditating, Xander and Jaina’s minds were merging as he showed her Form 8 - Way of the force user, the path of unity.
The shadow forms of ghost from Jedi masters who had died appeared in the room, 3 ghosts in total.
HK-47 considered that it was most likely a hologram. One looked like a Tchuuktai, a race of quadruped dinosaur like beings (kind of like triceratops, but much smaller and with only two horns).
One of the others was a female Echani, a pale near-human race that were rivals of the Mandalorians until they were destroyed, and the last one he knew. It was Telie. Master Telian or the Exile as she called herself, too shamed to even use her own name after being exiled from the Jedi order. Once Master Revan’s most trusted General and when Revan committed her crime, only Telie willingly returned. And the order in their infinitive wisdom rewarded her by exiling her. Telie was only following orders, as most of them were. The destruction of Malachor 5 was a brilliant way of ending the war. The order didn’t approve of Revan’s action and Telie was almost crushed by her own action that allowed it to happen.
What were those Meatbags doing with a holo of Telie? She was dead for a millennium. HK-47 listened.
“Greetings Master Thon, you bring new friends,” Xander said.
Thon, the Tchuukthai, spoke, “Many of the others are talking about what you did, young Xander. For some, like Anakin, it’s a painful reminder of their own deeds. Others feel you were too much like a crusader and Jedi going on a crusade always ends badly.”
He looked at them. “Remember… that don’t let anger or vengeance blind you for it leads only to the dark side. Also blind struggle to gain justice can be just as bad as revenge.”
Xander agreed on that and spoke up. ”It is bad, I know. This on the other hand wasn’t revenge, nor was it overly blind justice. Perhaps a crusade could describe it, but I feel that would be wrong. I see it as cleaning the house. They were dangerous terrorist that helped terminate millions, if not billions, of civilians by attacking the planet and then letting the vampires destroy what survived. If they had escaped, I’m sure similar actions would have happened again.”
Thon looked stern as always. “That may be, young Xander. You still baffle us. You have an unusual grip on the nature of light and dark. You see evil and you are not tempted by it. Even standing in the heart of the forge, it only managed to infect your mind for a short moment before you returned to the light.”
Xander blushed, Jaina smiled and HK-47 said. ”Statement: He changed channels.”
The ghost of Telie looked at him and asked, “HK-47, is that you?”
“Affirmative: Hologram of Telie,” HK-47 replied.
The three ghosts looked at each other.
Xander was impressed and then smiled. “Of course, I’m natural at summoning spirits and Jaina has been doing so with me many times. She must have learned how to do it herself. That’s why you three are so solid that even mechanical life forms can sense you.”
“Interesting... But back to what we were supposed to talk about. Jedi taking terminal action against large groups are not unheard of. I asked Master Telie, once known as the Exile, and Raskta Lsu to share with you their experience so that you can gain wisdom.”
“Query: Where is the holograpic image coming from?” HK-47 asked.
“Sweet friend. You may not believe it, but Xander is like a magnet to the spirits of the dead. They are constantly visiting him. However, you came back HK. I hope this time will treat you better than before,” Telie said.
HK-47 was baffled. Only the exile was foolish enough to call it sweet friend. He stayed and listened.
Noh Noss had heard of Jedi Holocrons filled with interactive recordings of dead Jedi master’s memories and personalities that could work as teachers. But Xander was like a living Holocron and he had real ghosts visit him. “May I ask for your wisdom? Our action, the slaughtering of our enemies, troubles me. Xander defense is logical, they had without mercy or regret destroyed a whole planet of peaceful humans. And most surely they would try to seek revenge if they had escaped. Still, I feel shame for killing them. And sometimes I feel happy whenever I think about the lives that we saved.”
Raskta Lsu started to explain. “That’s difficult. A Jedi must do what is right, not what is easy. Xander’s action was unusual for today’s Jedi. In my time, the Jedi order fought the New Sith in a full scale battle. Ten years we battled each other until it all came to a final show down on the planet Ruusan,” she said and started to describe the awful actions they had taken. How the light turned grey and the green worlds were turned red with blood. How even the peace filled intelligent race called the Bouncers, a gas filled balloon, with powerful telepathic abilities, were driven crazy from the constant war and the constant killing.
Only a handful survived as they in their madness attacked both Jedi and Sith and both groups were forced to kill them in self defense.
Telie talked about how bloody the war against the Sith and the Mandalorian war that followed had been. How finally Revan had tricked the Mandalorian to the planet Malachor 5, a solar system filled with strange gravitational anomalies, where she had used a Mass Shadow Generator in that system. The generator’s power was enhanced by the existing anomalies and Revan crushed the Mandalorian and the planet Malachor 5 in a devastation similar to what had happened to Alderaan.
The war was victorious, according to Revan. The Jedi order had demanded they had to return home and face punishment. She and only she had returned; ashamed and broken, she was exiled.
They listened as she told of a time long ago when the dark was more powerful and the Jedi more desperate than today.
Thon spoke about the mistake he had done and the war he was forced to fight. Of how his student Nomi Sunrider was forced to fight against the man she loved, Ulic Qel-Droma. How his student Oss Wilum, overpowered by a dark side artifact, turned against them and how Exar Kun had used a Sith artifact to make an unstable solar cluster go super nova only so that he could plunder the planet Ossus.
Thon talked about how he often used battle meditation to fool his enemies in combat, to make the weak minded hostiles kill each other and destroy themselves. He told them of the joy he felt after freeing Oss Wilum from the dark spirit that possessed him. And the many years it had taken before Oss had healed from that experience.
HK-47 listened as they spoke. The old assassin felt strange. For the first time in a long time he no longer felt superior to the meatbags. Noh Noss’ conscience was relieved by the stories they told. Sure it was an unusual action Xander had taken, but a grim and necessary Jedi action.
There were acts that deserved no forgiveness. Destroying a planet worth of human life just to steal a treasure wasn’t something you could forgive.