Star Wars: The Rise of Darkness

Chapter 1

A culmination of plots.

“I have a bad feeling about this,” Kish Roo Vas said as her hand instinctively trailed to her lightsaber hilt that sat underneath the light colored over tunic she wore. The streets of Alkalai spaceport on Tatooine where an unsettling place for anyone, even Jedi.

For the young Jedi apprentice it was a culture shock, as it was for most newcomers to the planet. The heat was brutally stifling, and the sand seemed to cling to literally everything giving a courser feel and look to her surroundings. On top of this, the populace seemed to live by some sort of loosely formed unspoken code without any form of visible law enforcement. Not even a settlement appointed branch of peacekeepers, which she guessed was where all the rumors came from of the outlaws that called this planet home. Deserts lacked many things and apparently on this desert civility was one of them.

“Of course you don’t. Neither do I for that matter, we are tracking a group of dangerous smugglers that may be linked to the Sith after all.” Scion Diin said as he walked beside her. Most Jedi Masters would have spoken comforting words of encouragement, but Scion was far from most Jedi masters. His teaching methods where often considered to be unconventional, but nobody could argue with how fast Kish had excelled. Many thought it was her raw potential that was the cause, but she gave the credit to her master.

There was something else that had been weighing heavily upon Kish’s mind ever since they had arrived and met with their Bothan contact several days prior. It was something that she couldn’t shake, the feeling of being followed as if by some wild thing that was dangerous and primal. It brought to mind a similar occurrence of a time that she had been stalked through the wilds of Cholganna by a Nexu.

“Do you think anything will come of our lead Master?” Kish asked her eyes searching the surrounding crowd as she realized that she was a rare sight in this spaceport, a clean human being and from what she was told a good looking one at that. As far as she could tell she had captured a great amount of attention as they approached their destination. Never a good thing for a Sentinel in training.

“I certainly hope it does,” Scion replied his gate relaxed and his demeanor calm, despite his open confession of being internally worried about the situation. Unlike Kish, Scion seemed to fit in just fine, more than likely due to his years of working as a Sentinel and the fact that his imposing Iktotchi appearance blended better with the criminal element of Alkalai.

Up ahead the hangar for which they where heading came into view, Scion stopped and Kish came to a halt beside her master. She looked up into his red leathery features as she felt a quiver through the force. Scions eyes where narrowed to slits and his lips where drawn tightly across his mouth.

“Master?” She asked her mind reaching out to attempt to tap into the Force in hopes of sensing what ever it was Scion was feeling. It was obvious that her master had felt something. He started as if he was seeing something far away from where they stood, something that only he could see.

A moment later he grunted and shook his head, like he was clearing away a troubling dream upon waking from an uneasy slumber, but then he looked to his apprentice and smiled.

“What is it Master?” Kish asked again, her voice seasoned with concern. It was not always a good sign when a smile crossed Scions face.

“I believe things are going to get rather interesting,” He replied and motioned to the front door of the hangar, “You go in through the front I will circle around back and come in through the top, and be ready my apprentice.”

“But Master-,” Kish started to object but let her words trail off as Scion hustled away down the street to get to the rear of the hangar bay.

With another, rather disgruntled, sigh Kish moved across to the front of the hangar bay, keeping a constant vigil on her surroundings. As she came up to the wide sliding door she halfway expected to catch a Cycler rifle round through the back, but one never came.

She pushed the button on the side of the frame and the door began to slide open. The moment their was enough room to enter she gracefully slipped through and used the force to shut the door behind her.

Lightsaber in hand but not ignited, Kish fell into a readied stance her eyes searching the wide chamber which she found herself in. The top of the room was open to the sky above, the opening large enough to accommodate a medium sized transport entry, though no such vessel resided within. In fact the hangar was next to empty except for several crates that appeared to have been hastily dropped during a quick exit. The kind of quick exit that might be preformed by smugglers that heard that Jedi where hot on their tail. It was in the very center of the hangar that Kish saw what had most likely tipped off the smugglers.

“Ah, its about time,” The lone figure stated. It was a female, that much was certain, and a rather athletically built one. She was leaning against a speeder bike with her arms crossed confidently over her chest. The armor she wore was primarily a deep maroon with burnt orange trim and was obviously of Mandolorian craftsmanship.

Kish had seen her many times on holo-warnings from the Jedi order. Each time one of the warnings would arrive there would be a number to symbolize how many Jedi the Mandolorian had conquered in combat, and each time the number grew.

This changed everything. It was obvious that Vytal had been assigned as a protection duty for the smugglers and once she had seen Jedi getting close she had them clear out. Negotiations where also out of the question now, considering that once Mandolorians where under contract they would rather die than break it. It may have seemed like a twisted form of honor but it was still honor nonetheless. Scion was right things where going to get interesting.

“Vytal Neeshra,” Kish said as she proceeded carefully forward, “Why am I not surprised?”

Vytal chuckled, any warmth or humanity in the sound was drained by the echo caused by the t visored helm the Mandolorian wore, “So I guess there’s no need for introductions than. And if you know who I am then you know why I am here.”

Kish’s body primed itself to move at a moments notice, “Of course I do, but before we get started I have to ask, how much does being a cold blooded murderer pay these days?”

“Far more then being a Jedi,” Vytal said a steely and dangerous tone inflected in her voice, “Why do you ask? You looking for a real job?”

Good, Kish thought, shake her up a bit, buy some time to allow her Master to show up. Kish was confident in her abilities but she was also no fool. This opponent was dangerous, many dead Jedi could testify to that. She could feel the air begin to tingle around her as the tension grew, “Me? Oh no I could never stoop so low as to work as a hired thug.”

Vytal stood, her clenched fists hanging close to her pair of blasters at her hip, “Gonna be shame when a hired thug bests a pair of the galaxies finest,” Disdain practically dripped from her voice.

“If thats what you think is goi-” Kish began.

In less time it takes to blink Vytal had drew and fired a shot. The report echoed through the hangar, and the angry red bolt tore through the space between the pair. The Mandalorians aim was true, if not for the beam of thrumming blue energy that erupted from the hilt of Kishs’ lightsaber. It intercepted the shot and sent it streaking into the sky.

Inwardly Kish kicked her self for falling for her own trick that she was trying to employ. She was almost positive that if she hadn’t been holding her lightsaber she would be dead right now.

And thats all she had time to consider as Vytal yanked her other blaster and began blazing in Kish’s direction.

Kish’s lightsaber flashed before her in quick yet decisive arcs deflecting the bolts in all directions, though they where coming too repetitively to try and redirect one back. So she moved to the left instead and took cover behind a stack of crates. It wasn’t the best plan but it was better than nothing.

Focusing on the force Kish reached out and took hold of the top crate behind which she hid, and waited. There came a noise of Vytal’s jet pack as the Mandolorian launched into the air in an attempt to get a higher vantage point on her opponent.

Just as Vytal came into view above the edge of the top crate, Kish let it fly. More sound of blaster fire could be heard but there came a pained grunt as the crate bashed into Vytals flying form and sent her spiraling out of control. She crashed to the ground on the opposite side of the hangar.

Taking advantage, Kish closed as much distance as possible before Vytal rolled over and attempted to right herself. Kish could she that the Mandolorian had dropped her blasters as the crate had smashed into her.

She was not going to make it in time.

Vytal pushed her self up to a knee and aimed her left arm at the quickly approaching Jedi and moved her right hand to push the trigger mechanism of her wrist mounted flame thrower. Kish rolled toward Vytals speeder bike as the searing hot jet of flame erupted forth in a billowing torrent.

Heat licked at Kish’s tunic and caught the edges of it ablaze. As she came up on her feet she flung the tunic aside and gave a force push with her left hand which sent the Vytal rolling backward.

Something landed on the speeder bike which was behind Kish and she spun around lightsaber poised to strike. There was no need, there crouched on the frame of the vehicle, was her master his green bladed weapon ignited and held to the side, his other hand placed down to help steady him.

“I was wondering when you where going to show up,” Kish said as she directed her attention back to Vytal, “I was starting to get worried.”

Scion hopped from his perch and raised his weapon in a readied posture, “Well you seemed to be doing so well on your own, I didn’t want to swoop in and steal all the glory,” he said.

“How polite of you Master,” Kish responded as she took her place next to Scion, “Shall we finish this together than?”

“Indeed,” Scion said as Vytal once again pushed herself up and faced the approaching Jedi.

“I would love to stay and play some more, but you see I really must be going,” Vytal said and she tossed a small disk shaped object down in front of the pair.

It felt as though the world had imploded on Kish as the cuncussion grenade exploded. The sound was deafening even in the wide open space of the Hangar and a brilliant flash of intense white light accompanied it The world took to spinning in front of her now splotchy vision and Kish couldn’t help but drop to her knees.

Vaguely by way of the Force Kish was able to track Vytal as she jet packed over their heads and landed perfectly onto the speeder bike. The vehicle lifted up out of the hangar and shot away.

The last thing that Kish remembered was falling down for some reason and feeling the warm embrace of the Force as the second explosion rent the air and crumbled the walls of the hangar.

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