(Leviathan Class Battleship Revenge)
Meetra awoke and was feeling far more rested than she had before she had been found by Rikka and her friend, getting up she headed for the refresher where she relieved herself before having a nice hot shower. The hot water was a change from the semi warm water in her shuttle and once she was finished she dressed and headed back to the bridge. She found Rikka already there, listening to reports from a young woman Meetra recognized as another former Jedi. If she recalled right her name was Samara Zahl, a Corellian Jedi. She waited as Samara finished her report and Rikka turned to greet her, she could tell the young Twi’lek was a little less stressed than she had been when they had met on the planet’s surface.
“I hope you slept well General,” Rikka said in greeting.
“I did, actually for the first time in I don’t recall how long,” Meetra answered, nodding in greeting as Samara passed with a quick salute. It was obvious this fleet was run by standard military rules as it had been during the war.
“The news of your return has already run through the entire fleet General,” Rikka reported. “It has galvanized the troops, especially those who had begun to fear we would never find Revan alive, but with your return they are seeing it as a sign that Revan will either return or be found alive soon,” she admitted with a smile, one Meetra could see was filled with the same hope as the rest of the men and women in the fleet.
She knew there had been very few people in history who could inspire such loyalty in people like Revan could, but here and now only Revan’s very name had held this fleet together even though most feared he was dead.
“We’ve had scouting groups land on all the planets with a star map as you ordered,” Rikka continued. “However the Kashyyk team report seems to be odd, although if I’m reading it right it might be our first clue as to where Revan is,” she stated as confidently as she could.
“What do you mean by that Rikka?” Meetra quickly demanded to know.
“According to the team the planet is in complete revolt against Czerka and from what they’ve found out it started with a group of visitors that included a Jedi who seemed to despise slavers,” Rikka answered with a small smile, she seemed to be fighting to hold in. “The former Wookiee chieftain was in league with Czerka, selling out his own people and he made these visitors a deal that involved them killing a supposed madclaw,” she explained. “Turns out that this madclaw was the former chieftain and father to the traitor and his brother who was traveling with this unique Jedi,” she went on as Meetra listened intently. “Instead of doing as this traitor wanted they made a deal with the former chieftain and helped him not only kill his traitorous son, but removed Czerka from his village in a very violent and bloody way,” she stopped as she took a breath before continuing. “From there they inspired the Wookies to wage a rebellion, one that is still ongoing,” she finished.
“And you think this Jedi was Revan?” Meetra inquired, already seeing why she would think that.
“It would make sense as no normal Jedi would ignite a rebellion, they stay clear of violating things they consider outside their jurisdiction and they’ve ignored slavery for years,” Rikka argued.
“Who else was in this group this particular Jedi was in?” Meetra asked, not willing to even contemplate the idea this Jedi was Revan just yet.
“A couple of Jedi which may have included the one who led the ambush that allowed Malak his opening to attack Revan when he was distracted,” Rikka answered. “Bastila Shan is her name, she is the reason the Jedi and Republic are even still in the war,” she stated. “We also believe she is the one who captured Revan, if as we believe he is their prisoner,” she added.
“How so?” Meetra asked, not recognizing the name, but then she had been in exile since the end of the war so that was no surprise.
“Shan has the rare ability of battle meditation,” Rikka told her. “She is the Republic and Jedi’s secret weapon, although not that secret as we found out about her quite quickly when the battles began to turn against us that we had won up to that point,” she explained to the very interested Meetra. “It is how their ambush on us worked so well,” she pointed out with a frown.
“Who else?” Meetra asked, steering the conversation away from Shan as she got the distinct impression Rikka held a grudge against her and blamed her for the current situation.
“A Wookiee and a young Twi’lek, a republic pilot, a droid and a Mandalorian,” Rikka continued. “Before they left Kashyyk they were joined by another Jedi who was traveling with an Arkanian Offshoot,” she added.
Meetra frowned at this piece of information as she remembered Alek had been interested in an Arkanian Offshoot during the beginning fazes of the Mandalorian war, and if she remembered correctly the Arkanian Offshoot rejected him in favor of the Jedi who was supposed to have committed the Taris massacre right before the Revanchists entered the war. But why would Revan, if it was him, been traveling with a Mandaloorian? Granted the war was over, but some hates refused to die and she knew this personally. Everyone who had followed Revan had a deep abiding hatred of the Mandalorians, and that was not something that was so easily let go.
“Do we know where this group is now?” Meetra asked as she began to feel the first faint hope that Rikka might be right and that Revan was in this group. But she still had doubts, if it was him then why was he traveling with Jedi who, according to Rikka, they were at war with. Why had the Jedi in the party allowed him to incite a rebellion on Kashyyk? Too many questions and not enough answers, and she didn’t like that.
“Not so far General, but we have people out looking for them and their ship which we have a good description off,” Rikka responded with a smile. “And if they land on any of the other planets with a star map, our teams there will let us know,” she added confidently.
“Good, because you might be right Rikka, this might be a lead as to what happened to Revan,” Meetra replied with a sharp look at the Twi’lek. “Even if he is not in the group, I want this Bastila Shan captured at the least, so that we can learn what she knows and I want her unharmed,” she ordered. “Understood?” she asked.
“Yes General,” Rikka agreed and nodded quickly. “I will put the word out to all our teams,” she told her.
“Good, now I think you better give me the complete run down on how we stand fleet and man power wise,” Meetra said as she sat down at a nearby console. “If Revan is in that group and we get him back, you can bet he will want to move to squash Malak and anyone else who stand in his way to complete his mission,” she stated with a smile.
Rikka nodded in agreement, when Revan returned and she refused to believe he would not return to lead them, then he would want to kill Malak as quickly as he could so they could continue the mission they had all vowed to finish.
Revan and Bastila led the group straight into the desert city taking note of everyone they passed. Revan’s warnings rang in all of their minds. They came to a stop as a Duros stormed out of a building yelling at someone behind him. It turned out to be a human woman wearing a Czerka outfit. Revan stopped the group and listened as the two argued, clearly the Duros was a bounty hunter and he was surprisingly in Revan’s mind turning the contract down. As he listened he heard that the city was having trouble with the local Sandpeople tribe, an increase in attacks on any who exited the city into the desert. That would prove troubling for the people living here. It could also prove troubling for them if they encountered any Sandpeople. Finally the Duros shouted something in his native tongue before storming off, the Czerka woman growled before she turned to storm back into her shop, but paused as she took note of Revan and his companions.
“You look like Jedi or at least some of you do,” the woman said, sounding surprised by their presence. “I don’t suppose I could interest you in doing us a favor?” she suggested.
“Why are you having trouble with the Sandpeople?” Revan demanded to know, surprising Bastila who had expected another furious reaction because of who the woman worked for. “I overheard your conversation with the Duros bounty hunter,” he added at the woman’s look. “How many have they killed?” he asked pointedly, gaining the others attentions especially Bastila’s who was surprised he cared although given her constant changing view of him that should not be so much a surprise.
The Czerka woman let out a sigh before she answered. “In total they’ve killed twenty people in the last two months. Two were entire families living beyond the safety of the city in small vapor farms,” she told them. “I’ve been trying to find someone to deal with them, the few hunters we hired ended up dead,” she admitted.
“Have they taken any prisoners?” Bastila inquired as she realized how serious the situation was and that it could get worse unless someone dealt with it.
“A few of our people are unaccounted for, mostly technicians,” the woman admitted. “The last was a male Twi’lek called Griff Vao. Not exactly one of our best employee’s but he was willing to go out to find one of our lost tractors,” she explained.
Mission immediately stiffened in shock as the woman mentioned her brother’s name, part of her felt like groaning in frustration while the other half was concerned what the Sandpeople might do to him. No matter what Lena might have said back on Dantoonie, Griff was still her brother and if he was in trouble she had to help him.
“Jaks... that’s my brother,” she whispered after moving closer to the front.
“I know Mission,” Revan whispered back, having already remembered where he had heard that name before. Glancing back at the young Twi’lek he could see she was both concerned and frustrated by this development, as any sibling would be he guessed.
“We’ll take the job,” Revan told the Czerka woman half disgusted that he would have to actually help the company who profited of slavery instead of doing the galaxy a favor and wiping the company out wholesale.
Bastila frowned as she caught some of Revan’s more blood thirsty thoughts where Czerka was concerned. She could see why he held such hate for slavers, but wiping out an entire company in her view was going a little too far. The whole company couldn’t be all in on the slavery business, at least she hoped not.
“We will?” Canderous inquired, sounding somewhat bored.
“It is best to keep the Sandpeople under heel or they will eventually try and wipe out every other species on this planet,” Revan shot back without turning to look at the Mandalorian. “All it would take is one of them to rally the others into an unstoppable host. What no one has taken into account is just how many tribes of Sandpeople there is on this dust ball of a planet,” he continued with a grim look in his eyes. “And just how many Sandpeople are in those tribes,” he added.
“You paint a very disturbing picture Jaks,” Juhani stated and they could all see she was troubled by what they had been told.
“Guess you have a point,” Canderous reluctantly agreed.
“Excuse me, let us not forget we are here for a reason,” Carth pointed out before anyone else could say anything. “We don’t have time for this,” he stated.
“Yes we do Carth,” Revan shot back as Bastila actually turned and glared at the pilot. “The local tribe is close to the location of the star map so we will not be going out of our way,” he assured him.
“And need I remind you Carth that people are been killed by these attacks,” Bastila could not help but to add heatedly. “It is our duty as Jedi to stop these attacks and stop them we will,” she told him.
“And they have my brother you nerf herder,” Mission growled with her own glare. “We have to rescue him,” she insisted.
Carth looked between the two women before turning to glance at Jaks before nodding in agreement. He could see the others were all willing to take on the mission including Canderous. That meant there was nothing he could do to change their minds, but if Jaks was right and the star map was close to the Sandpeople tribe then at least it would not be too big a diversion.
“We’ll take the job,” Revan repeated to the waiting Czerka employee.
“Excellent,” the woman stated with a wide smile at finally finding someone who looked like they could actually sort this particular problem out. The fact the person was not alone and seemed to be a Jedi was just the icing on the cake so to speak, granted looking over the group it seemed there was more than one Jedi in this particular group and that should help. “Here, you will need this,” she told them as she handed over a plexicard. “It is a hunting license and it will get you through the gate which is on lock-down right now. Only people with a license can get out,” she explained as Revan pocketed the card.
“We’ll let you know how it goes,” Revan said with a nod of his head before leading the group onwards.
Bastila frowned as they got close to a wide corner just ahead of them. She was getting a feeling of impending doom. She was about to ask Revan about it when he let her know through the bond it was another ambush squad. She frowned even more as she processed that information. It was clear to her that Malak would never let up in his attempts to capture her, he was willing to expend as many of his people as it took to take her prisoner.
‘Over my dead body,’ Revan assured her over the bond and she could sense the utter truth in his statement. He meant it. He intended to ensure she never fell into Malak’s hands even if it killed him.
The very idea made her tingle from head to toe no matter how much she told herself not to let it affect her, but no matter what she tried to tell herself she found the idea of meaning that much to Revan that he would die to protect her an amazing feeling. Then she frowned when she considered that thought, did she mean anything to Revan or was it more about him wanting her on his side in whatever plan he was eventually going to hatch? She was not dumb enough to believe he would not want revenge on the Jedi for what they had tried to do to him. If she was honest she would want revenge as well had it been her in his position.
‘You think too much Bastila,’ Revan’s amused voice sounded in her head and she quickly became aware he must have heard what she had been thinking over the bond. She flushed in embarrassment before gaining control of herself. She tried to glare at Revan, but he simply shrugged it off. ‘And to ease your mind and your concerns about my motives where you are concerned, yes I want you on my side, but not only to help me complete my mission,’ he admitted with as much sincerity as he could muster. ‘As I told you before I’m interested in you for more personal reasons as well, and the more time I spend in your company the more I find myself wanting you,’ he told her.
Revan knew he was taking a risk opening himself up like this, but the truth was he wanted Bastila with a burning passion that was growing the more time he spent with her. She had a unique attitude that he found inviting, and even though she tried to play things to the Jedi code he knew she had trouble controlling her emotions and following their rules. She was not one of the empty headed drones the council usually created, in a lot of ways she reminded him of Meetra. She had spirit and courage. She refused to be beaten as she had shown on the bridge of his former ship. Even as he cut down her fellow Jedi as they tried to kill him, she stood defiant and willing to stand up to him. She could be feisty and stubborn. All in all she was everything he wanted in a woman. Bastila could feel Revan’s emotions as he talked, knew he was serious and this had the effect of making her blush once more. ‘Why did he have this effect on her?’ she wondered once more.
Her feelings were conflicted, now more than when they landed on this planet and she had a jealous reaction to the thought of Revan having a previous lover, and that was only twenty minutes ago. What was happening to her? Was she really falling for Revan or was he using the bond to change her? ‘Now you are just being silly, the bond can’t allow us to have such power over the other,’ Revan assured her, clearly still listening to her thoughts.
‘How would you know?’ Bastila shot back trying to use anger to divert her rather confused emotions from what she feared was the truth to her question.
Revan paused at the beginning of the turn, where he knew right at the end of the turn the Sith ambush squad awaited them. He turned and locked his eyes with Bastila’s, she met his gaze evenly.
‘Bastila force bonds can allow two people to feel the others emotions as well as open their minds to each other so they can read their thoughts as we can do,’ Revan told her calmly. ‘The deeper the bond, the greater the connection,’ he stated. ‘What it does not do is allow one to change a person’s core beliefs,’ he continued.
‘But it can allow you to influence my thoughts,’ Bastila said cutting him off.
‘As you can mine,’ Revan shot back evenly.
“Do you two mind not doing that?” Carth interrupted their inner discussion. Both turned to stare at the pilot and the others who were watching them. “Seeing you two stare at one another like that knowing you are actually talking over that bond you share is annoying and kind of rude,” he told them. “And we have a lot of things to do, important things so whatever discussion you are having leave till later,” he added.
Revan glared slightly at the pilot before glancing at Bastila who looked just as annoyed at their talk being interrupted, deciding they could finish their talk later both nodded.
“You are correct Carth,” Bastila said in an even tone as she did her best to keep the frustration she felt out of her voice.
“Indeed, especially as there is a Sith ambush team just ahead of us,” Revan agreed moving on although inside he felt like hitting the other man for interrupting them.
“How do you know?” Carth inquired in a somewhat suspicious tone which was not a surprise to Revan who had gotten used to the man’s deep mistrust of others, not that he did not have a good reason for it. Been betrayed by someone you considered a friend or mentor could have troubling side effects, making it hard to trust anyone again.
“We felt a warning through the force,” Bastila answered as she turned away and looked forward. “They expect to catch us off guard, but we will surprise them instead,” she told them.
Canderous grinned as he learned there was to be a fight against more Sith, he loved fighting challenging enemies. And there was no more challenging than Sith and Jedi, he knew that from personal experience. The others all readied their own weapons, what they did not see was that they were been watched by the three cloaked strangers whose ship had landed just after their own.
“It’s them,” the tallest of them said.
“Are you certain Melkor?” the smallest inquired as he stared after the group who were deep in discussion about something.
“Of course I’m,” Melkor insisted in slight annoyance at been questioned. “Now all we have to do is confirm whether the leader really is Revan or not,” he mused aloud.
“And if he is not?” the last of the three asked.
“Then we capture the girl as we were ordered,” Melkor responded with a roll of his eyes at what should have been obvious. “The question is how we do that without harming her, as long as she is with the others taking her will be tricky,” he told them.
“Then we draw her away from the group somehow,” the smallest suggested easily.
“Not a bad suggestion Niks, but what would draw her away?” Melkor said after some consideration.
“I suggest we keep watching, perhaps something we can use will reveal itself in time,” the last one spoke up with a look of concentration as he thought over the problem.
“What do we do if it really is the General leading them?” Niks inquired.
“We make contact and hope that the Jedi have not done something to his mind to make him believe he is still one of their loyal lackeys,” Melkor growled in answer.
The very idea of the man he had followed throughout the war and beyond being enslaved in a sense by the Jedi enraged him, and he was certain that it is what had happened the Jedi would wish they had never captured Revan, especially now that they had General Surik in command at least until Revan returned. It was well known Surik and Revan had been lovers before the battle of Malachor V and if the Jedi had harmed Revan in such a way then Surik would reign destruction down on them, just as Revan would for her.
“They’re moving, we follow but stay out of their vision or senses,” Melkor snapped out as the group moved on and they quickly followed.