New Force Rising

Part Five

Triggered by the death of Palpatine, a vengeance fleet had converged on the remaining ships, in order to wipe them out – Rebel and Alliance alike. Luke had managed to confuse the captain through the Force, while convincing all the other ships to stand down and scatter. All but one.

Dipping its bow, Vikko’s Star Destroyer brought all it heavy guns to bare on Executor and let loose a new barrage of fire.

The Executor’s shields, already heavily weakened by hours of battle, gave way under the onslaught. Armoured hull blackened and boiled off into space, several shots exploded against the main hanger destroying many decks before automatic damage control kicked in and sealed the affected ones.

Without giving any orders, Luke used his new powers and understanding of the Force to seek retribution. With a mere thought he saw through the eyes of the gunnery teams on the Executor.

As one, scores of turbolasers lanced out striking Vikko’s ship, Crimson Dawn. With pinpoint accuracy the Bridge Tower of Crimson Dawn was obliterated by a stream of constant fire. Shields buckled and the bridge was destroyed in an instant.

Luke released his hold on the gunners, his point made. Controlling those gunners while still holding control of the Vengeance Fleet gunners had taxed him to his limits and he sagged in his chair.

The remaining Star Destroyers of Luke’s Imperial fleet lost no time in following their orders and forming a protective barrier around the seven remaining Mon Cal Cruisers of the Rebel Fleet.

With an unerring life of its own communication channels opened between Rebel and Imperial ships. In nanoseconds feeds from the bridges of Home One and it’s surviving fleet joined a wealth of information shared between Executor and its fleet.

---

Aboard the Flagship of Vengeance Fleet, the Dark Jedi Manok Desa felt the echo of every action Luke carried out. This Jedi must be powerful indeed, he thought. Luke had killed Palpatine and was now working miracles of the Force Desa could only dream of.

Desa and his fleet had been stationed in the Galactic Core; his existence a secret to all in the Imperial establishment. Palpatine had recruited him as a Padewan on the streets of Coruscant. Faced with the choice of death in unbearable pain or servitude to the Sith, Desa had had to accept.

As a Padewan, Desa had shown a gift for Battle Meditation and he had been apprenticed to one of the Jedi assigned to the Judiciary Fleets, assigned to keep order in the Old Republic. Try as he might he could not remember the face of his former Master. Palpatine had killed him, he supposed.

Sitting in the command chair of his Star Dreadnaught Vengeance, Desa observed the tactical analysis. Vengeance Fleet massively out-gunned even the combined strength of the Rebels and fallen Imperials. This shouldn’t take long.

Desa opened his mind to the Force and willed his gunners to destroy the Imperial and Rebel Fleet. His eyes then opened wide in shock, as he found that his Battle Meditation skills were being blocked and he could barely feel the connection the Force gave him to Vengeance Fleet. This Skywalker was displaying a level of power that astounded him. For the first time since he had gave himself to Palpatine, Desa felt the ice cold tingle of fear creep up his spine.

---

Back aboard Executor, Luke gazed at the much larger Vengeance and its fleet. He felt totally out of his depth - a thrice-orphaned farm boy with delusions of grandeur, at best he was a talented pilot. Fleet engagements were way beyond any training he’d had as part of Alliance. Even with his limited experience it was obvious that his combined fleet was outgunned plus every ship, Rebel and Imperial alike was suffering from heavy damage. Luke knew he could use the Force to kill every crew member aboard the Vengeance Fleet ships, but the Living Force presence in his consciousness told him that such an action must be a last ditch effort, and to commit mass murder in that way would change him for the worst permanently.

“Admiral Piett can you get me a channel to the enemy flagship?” he requested.

Piett nodded to the communications officer and the channel was opened.

“Imperial Fleet this is Luke Skywalker, we seem to be at an impasse. Enough people have died this day. My senses tell me that a Jedi is in command, meet with me on the surface of Endor and we can settle this once and for all.”

The view screen of Executor snapped to life showing a dark clad human, he wore plasteel armour of the deepest night and Luke couldn’t help but notice an unusually long lightsaber handle at his belt.

“Skywalker, you are outgunned and out manned. Surrender now and I’ll make your death quick,” snarled Manok Desa.

“Your guns seem to be having a little trouble firing,” quipped Luke. “Meet me as I have requested or I will use the Force to rip your fleet apart.”

Luke had no doubt he could do this, but drawing on that much power would probably kill him. He may have no choice.

“Fine, Endor in thirty time parts,” agreed Desa, “Follow my beacon.”

The view screen blinked out and Luke sagged in his chair, aware that the limits of his new powers were being pushed. If it comes to a fight I must end it quick, thought Luke.

With a nod and a prod of the Force, Admiral Piett and a contingent of Stormtroopers followed Luke to the turbolift.

---

On the moon of Endor, Desa paced back and forth. He was not as strong as Skywalker; he could not possibly stand against a being so powerful. Yet his duty to his master was to delay as much as possible. Aboard The Vengeance, a clone of Palpatine was being created. How much of this clone would be Palpatine was a mystery, but Desa trusted his Master and knew he must do his duty as he always had.
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