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Ronin
1 June 2002, 10:17 PM
STAR WARS
Episode II: Kindred Force

Five hundred years after Dalcer Lornyiss slew the Duinuogwuin Tzun’quain and laid to rest Etingi Delsamach on Arccapos-I, the Jedi Order finds itself under attack by myriad new foes. Not the long-extinct Sith, but raiders from within the Republic. Ubese pirates are
converging under the leadership of a shadowy, unknown alien who seeks revenge for the near-destruction of his race at the hands of the Jedi millennia ago.
The Jedi twins; Ingcha and Kalira Lornyiss, descendants of Dalcer, are fated to clash with this powerful enemy. A clash which will test the sister’s connection to the force…

CHAPTER ONE
The Arco System, Mid-Rim, two hundred years prior to the Battle of Yavin.

As the bulbous alien cruiser descended into the atmosphere of the moon Arccapos-I, it launched its fighters, similar in design to their larger cousin: a large, smooth insect shell-like upper hull with a thin ventral spine. The four short-range starfighters and the cruiser were all at their maximum speed within seconds. Their target was not military, nor was it expecting any attack, but these raiders prided themselves on their swift efficiency…

Completely immersed in his work, Elias Kintar didn’t spot the rapidly approaching specks on the horizon. Stood atop Mount Atropos, he was studying a small, relatively inconspicuous pile of red rocks intently with a holocam. The inhospitable winds of Arccapos-I pulled at his tan coveralls and dewback-hide jacket. He paused briefly to jam his wide-brimmed hat firmly onto his sweating head. He had to work quickly; Arccapos-I was wracked with ion storms during the planet’s night hours, and Elias could sense twilight approaching as the wind gathered strength. The light-level was no indicator since the dusty, volcanic moon’s atmosphere was so clogged with dense cloud that the planet received more illumination from the naturally iridescent clouds than its somewhat distant star. Little did he know that his work was about to be interrupted by something considerably more destructive than even the potent Arccaposian ion storms….

On the bridge of the Ubese Raider cruiser Lorebane, the deceptively gaunt, grey-skinned figure of Cheirach Swuenray flipped a switch on his command chair and addressed his all-Ubese crew; “Kintar and the tomb are our priorities,” he said in a horse whisper, “all else is cannon-fodder…” he added, a smile spreading across the skeletal Stennes Shifter’s face.

At the last moment, Kintar’s assistant; a short Bothan male, noticed the roar of ion engines over the wailing wind. Shielding his eyes against the sand-filled wind, he turned his gaze skyward and uttered a choice curse he had recently learned from his Corellian employer. Those were Elddanu Fey’lya’s last words.
Suddenly the mountaintop erupted in flames. Throwing himself prone, Elias’s first thoughts were that the long-dormant volcano was making a violent bid for resurrection. Only after the four Ubese fighters screamed past overhead, their initial strafing-run complete, did the truth strike him. Quickly gathering his wits he looked about for the rest of his xenoarchaeological crew…
“Stang! It looks like they’ve finally caught up with us!” he cursed, “Elddanu! Elddanu?”
Then he noticed the bodies of Elddanu and the other seven students scattered across the mountaintop amid flaming craters….Elias was the sole survivor, him and the small burial mount before him. Just what are the chances of that? He almost asked himself before his father’s old saying hammered home in his cerebrum; Corellians don’t care about the odds!
He found comfort in those words when he saw the large cruiser beginning to land at the bottom of Mount Atropos, and the four fighters looping round for a second pass….he’d rather not have to stick around and calculate his odds of surviving….
And maths never was his strong suit…

As soon as the ramp struck the dusty red rock of Arccapos-I, squads of Ubese stormed out, all clad in their characteristic beige envirosuits, bulky blaster rifles held at the ready. Two dozen raiders sprinted off toward the small Byblos-University shuttle parked at the base of Mount Atropos, in case the good doctor had fled to his ship. They found it empty.
Another squad made their way rapidly up the mountainside in leaps and bounds, aided by jetpacks. They found the seven student’s corpses strewn about the cratered summit, the burial mount undamaged…but no sign of Doctor Elias Kintar. Nyet Sayage, leader of the particular squad of Ubese raiders, noticed a pile of datacards, storage lockers and holochips stacked next to the burial mound. A grin spread across Sayage’s face under his helmet; this was no-doubt Kintar’s research notes…a find that Cheirach Swuenray would be most pleased with. Sayage knocked open the lid of one crate with his blaster’s bayonet to examine the contents.
A sole, fist-sized chrome sphere rolled out, small red lights circling around it, faster and faster. Nyet’s grin disappeared, “Devious Corellian bas-“.

From his hiding place behind a boulder some thirty meters distant, Elias winced as the thermal detonator bloomed supernova-white. He couldn’t suppress a chuckle as he jogged down the mountainside. And Elddanu had said they wouldn’t need thermal detonators on a ‘simple’ search for a Jedi’s grave.
Elddanu.
He’d only been Kintar’s assistant for a couple of months but Kintar would make sure those masked murderers paid. But back to more immediate matters; saving his own still-living hide. But how exactly would he accomplish that?

Arccapos-I was a small, volcanic, red-rock moon in a dangerously-close orbit to the gas giant Arccapos; eighth planet of the relatively remote and unknown Arco System. Due to its proximity, the planet’s night-side was periodically subjected to extreme ion storms, hence the moon’s inhabitants: Corellian miners, were forced to keep moving in vast tracked mining installations. Due to the sandy nature of Arccapos-I’s plains, the huge vehicles had gained the name sandcrawlers. They were top of the line, imported straight from Corellia to mine the moon’s abundant ore for Corellian Engineering Corporation’s expansive shipyards.
Kintar could see two of the dusty sandcrawlers a few kilometres off to the south, smoke poring from their punctured hulls as the four Ubese fighters began circling the mountain. It seemed they were levelling anything not ‘Doctor Elias Kintar’-shaped, though they were circling back in his direction!

The sudden white glow atop Atropos drew Cheirach’s attention away from the stellar cartography console on the cruiser’s bridge. The Stennes Shifter and his band of Ubese Raiders had been tracking Elias Kintar, Doctor of Xenoarchaeology, from his laboratory at the University of Byblos, for the past seven weeks, to Nar Shaddaa, Bespin, Sluis-Van and a handful of other more remote systems. But this was the first time that Kintar was within Cheirach’s reach. There would be no escape this time…

As the ion storms worsened, Cheirach was forced to call a retreat, withdrawing his ships and their crews to the day-side of the planet. The cruiser Lorebane led the way, the four starfighters following as they finished their sweeps of the plains surrounding Mount Atropos.
A vast purple bolt of lightning, followed by a roar of thunder like the death-cry of a star heralded the start of the ion storm. Kintar huddled under a crimson boulder and watched as the fighters rapidly gave up their search, fearing immolation by the next lightning bolt.
With the Ubese heading off to the east, and the ion storm approaching from the west, Kintar fled south, sprinting from rock to rock, the ion-roar of the four fighters rapidly receding to the east. He froze in his tracks as he heard a change in the engine tone…one of the fighters was turning. He dared to look to the east, and immediately spotted the last starfighter, at the tail of their formation. It was rapidly pulling around to face west, and diving. He didn’t know how, and it didn’t matter, but somehow the pilot had spotted him.
As he desperately ran for cover; a rocky outcropping almost a hundred metres distant, ruby laserbolts began raining down behind him, rapidly approaching him as the pilot steadily improved his aim. Kintar knew he wouldn’t make it. Hot shards of rock sprayed up from laser impacts only a few metres behind him.
Suddenly Kintar was blinded by a flash, his body thrown into the air. “They got me! So this is it; the final jump!” he thought, until his still-living body hit the ground hard, accompanied by the thunderous boom of the lightning strike…
The proximity of the blast knocked Kintar unconscious, but the Ubese fighter was less fortunate. As the arc of purple fire leapt from the primary to its moon, it found itself attracted to a small metallic staging point, barely fifty metres from the moon’s surface…the Ubese starfighter was wracked with sparks as several systems overloaded critically.
With its controls ionised, the Ubese pilot pointlessly fought with the flight stick. With most of its repulsor coils burned out by the lightning strike, he found the starfighter stuck on a collision course with the rapidly-approaching cliff face where Kintar had intended to seek refuge. At the last moment he managed to wrestle the ship’s nose upward, jarring the ship as its belly hit the cliff top. He too was knocked unconscious.

The remaining Ubese ships were forced to Arccapos-I’s day-side as the ion storms continued; vast bolts of lightning arced out from the parent gas giant, out across thousands of kilometres to strike Arccapos-I.
Cheirach sat in his command chair aboard the Lorebane, his quarry had again eluded him, and he was growing impatient. On the planet Byblos Cheirach had learned of Doctor Elias Kintar and his quests, sponsored by the Jedi Council on Coruscant, to search the galaxy for Jedi artefacts and the bodies of Jedi fallen in combat. Kintar had successfully tracked down the makeshift tomb of a famous Kuati Jedi master on a nameless world out in the unknown regions, and he in turn had become famous. But it was Kintar’s current project that interested Cheirach and his Ubese raiders: the grave of a relatively unknown Jedi padawan…and the information about where that particular Jedi died.
Cheirach was a Stennes Shifter; a member of an almost extinct race of shapeshifters. Hailing from the world of Stenneros were both the Stennes and Stennes Shifters races. The two races were identical in physical appearance but the Shifters possessed a pair of unique abilities. Firstly, though they could not actually alter their physical appearance like a Polydroxol, they were capable of merging into crowds with ease, altering other’s perception to ensure that they remained unseen. It was the second power of the Stennes Shifter that brought them into conflict with the Jedi millennia ago; the Stennes Shifters were able to tap into the force stored in other beings, or being manipulated by others. The Jedi of the time reacted to the Shifters with a crusade. A crusade which virtually wiped out both the Stennes and Stennes Shifter races, leaving Stenneros a barren battlefield. All Stennes Shifters since had hidden from the Jedi. In some ways Cheirach felt a kinship with the Sith Order; sworn enemies of the Jedi, though unlike the Sith, Cheirach knew that the Stennes Shifters had survived the crusade.
Whereas some Shifters hid like cowering animals, and others openly attacked Jedi at every opportunity, usually resulting in the death of the impatient, uncalculating Shifter, Cheirach had decided to seek allies with the same goals and motivations. He had found a band of Ubese raiders. The Ubese also blamed the Jedi for the fate of their civilisation after its discovery by the Republic four centuries earlier. The Ubese had eagerly accepted the Republic’s advanced technology, and had put it to use in building up substantial self-defence forces (or so the Ubese insisted)…utilising weapons of mass destruction banned by the Republic. The Republic’s sector government chose to remove their error permanently and ordered a strike on the Ubese homeworlds, devastating them. The Jedi; the ‘defenders of the galaxy’, did nothing to prevent the conflict, and so they earned the contempt of the Ubese race.
Instead of taking their personal war to the Jedi, and being wiped out in the process, Cheirach and these Ubese had decided that knowledge was the key to destroying the Jedi. And so they sought out all they could about the Jedi. Hearing of Doctor Kintar’s recent assignment from the Jedi Council, Cheirach saw fit to tail the good doctor, with the intention of stealing all he could. When he learned that Kintar had found the grave of the Jedi padawan Etingi Delsamach, he and the Ubese closed the net.
With four of their Ubertican ships forced to the light-side of the moon for the time being, and one impetuous pilot missing, Cheirach would have to wait to see if anything remained of the padawan’s grave after the exploding of a thermal detonator atop Mount Atropos.
The raider’s fighters were virtually scaled down models of the parent cruiser: a long, sleek shell-like upper hull mounted atop a thin lower ridge made the ships appear very unstable. With only two small winglets at the rear of the upper hulls, their performance in atmosphere was not impressive, but they made up for it in speed and armament. The fighters had three powerful ion engines mounted in a cluster projecting from the back of the ship’s upper hulls, whereas the cruiser had seven of the same engine. It made maintenance easy, and likewise the ships shared weapon systems; bulky twin-mounted laser cannons. The cannons were chin mounted in the fighters and fixed forward, but the cruiser was bristling with twin cannons around the join between the upper hull and the belly spine. It was also in this niche where the fighters nestled for long hyperspace jumps. The fighters had been fitted with low-grade hyperdrives more as an afterthought than a practicality; the cockpits were far too cramped for races bigger than the slight-built Ubese. Not many of these Ubertican ships were seen outside Ubese space, and Cheirach was particularly proud that it was he who commanded these ships, these raiders. They recognised his experience, his insight, his patience, his powers, as these were the qualities their quest required. Cheirach had named the cruiser Lorebane, since he saw knowledge of the Jedi to be the path to their downfall.

An indeterminate time later, Kintar picked himself up out of the dirt, put his battered hat back on and found that the storm had passed. It was perfectly quiet. Seeing a bolt of electricity from the gas giant strike Mount Lachesis, perhaps five kilometres distant, he shielded his ears but heard no boom. But he did find his hands sticky when he uncovered his ears…blood. Cursing again, Kintar looked about desperately; he needed shelter, medical supplies and a way off this rock.
Kintar had been heading toward the ruined sandcrawlers, and with nothing else except certain death via several million volts of lightning on the horizon, they were still his goal, and thankfully the ion storm was moving in the opposite direction. He eventually made it to the cliff face and began his ascent, knowing that the sandcrawlers were not far beyond.
As he pulled himself up to the top of the rock face he found a curious and yet welcoming sight before him…a slightly battered Ubese starfighter, its nose wedged into a dune of red sand. Searching around for a weapon, Elias armed himself with a large red rock and approached the crashed ship. Deafened from the ion storm, he couldn’t tell if he was being as stealthy as a Jedi Master, or making more noise than stampeding Banthas.
Peeking into the cockpit, he found the pilot tightly crammed into the cockpit, his head slumped forward on his chest. Hitting the cockpit release, Elias swung the large stone down on the back of the raider’s helmet for good measure, and wrenched his head gear off. Elias had never seen a Ubese without its helmet before, but now was not the time for a lesson in xenophysiology. He rooted about the cockpit for an emergency med pack, but there was none, though he did replace his rock with the unconscious raider’s hold out blaster.
He had to get word to someone! Tell someone of what he’d discovered at Etingi Delsamach’s grave…Jedi Master Kampaih! The old Chagrian had shown interest in Elias’s research, maybe he could help…
With the starfighter’s comm.’s relay destroyed in the crash, he pinned his hopes on the sandcrawler wreck. If there was at least some communications gear still intact, he could jury-rig a transmitter with the remains of the starfighter’s comm.’s gear.

The sandcrawler stank. A combined odour of scorched flesh, burning oil and ozone. Doctor Elias Kintar slumped down in the wreckage of the vast mining vehicles, a salvaged medipack on his lap. He’d learned a little first aid over his ten year career as a field xenoarchaeologist, and he put it to good use cleaning out his ears and dressing myriad scratches and cuts. Emergency rations brought a scowl to his face but they did stop the rancor-like grumbling in his stomach.
Over the next hours he rushed between the sandcrawler and the starfighter, constructing a basic hyperspace transmitter. Eventually, sweaty and exhausted, he sat in the hulk of the sandcrawler. With his butchered transmitter hooked up to the vehicle’s dying power cell, he prayed to the force that it would work.

Lorebane and the three Ubese fighters tore across the sky, the ion storms passed. Cheirach paced back and forth on the bridge of the cruiser, reminding himself that patience was required. Soon Doctor Kintar would be within his grasp.
“Sire! We’re detecting a transmission from the vicinity of Mount Atropos!” called out the comm.s officer from her station behind and to Cheirach’s right.
His pacing immediately ceased and he swung about, racing across to the officer’s station with a speed and grace which belied his fragile appearance.
“It’s a weak signal Sire, not encoded-“
“Let me hear it!” Cheirach demanded.
The Ubese quickly flicked a few switches and Elias Kintar’s voice came over the bridge comm.s, heavily distorted and crackling; “…is Doctor Elias Kintar of Byblos University calling Jedi Master Kampaih. I have an urgent message. The tomb of Etingi Delsamach is on Arccapos-I, on Mount Atropos. I have subsequently learned that the Black Pyramid is on – “ the signal broke up into static.
“Have the fighters fly ahead and eliminate the source of the signal, but bring me Kintar alive!” Cheirach ordered, his face tense with anger.

As the transmitter erupted in sparks, Kintar prayed that his signal made it. The sizzle and pop of fried electronics was replaced by a faint, approaching roar.
The roar of ion engines!
Realising that the chase was back on, Kintar grabbed his newly acquired blaster and sprinted for the downed starfighter. He’d managed to dig the nose out of the ground as he salvaged its communications gear, and hopefully the systems had re-set after their earlier ionising. Hauling the still unconscious pilot from his seat, Kintar could see the three Ubese fighters approaching, identical to, though in better condition than the one he now stood atop.
Squeezing into the alien cockpit, he cursed his not-entirely-healthy diet, and slammed the canopy closed, narrowly missing his beloved hat. It was only then that he noticed the hairline fractures, previously buried, in the front of the transparisteel canopy. “Sithspit! I may be Corellian, but that doesn’t mean the odds always have to be against me!” he cursed, firing up the repulsors.
With a sputtering whine, the fighter began to rise from the ground. In front of him; the sandcrawler erupted in flames as the trio of fighters began to rain salvos of laser fire down upon it as they came into range.
Coaxing more power to the damaged repulsor coils, he brought the fighter around to face the cliff-edge and the long drop below. If the ion engines didn’t fire, at least the drop would give him some time to work on them.
Suddenly a voice spoke from the discarded Ubese helmet at Kintar’s feet, in a language he didn’t recognise. Evidently the pilot’s companions thought he was alive and well, and in his own ship. As the fighter slowly crept toward the cliff edge, Kintar reached down and tore the commlink from the inside of the helmet.
“Erm…er…frell!,” he managed, realising he’d never heard Ubese speak before, never mind learned any of their esoteric language himself.
“What’s wrong Doctor? Corellian Sand Panther got your tongue?” replied a distinctly non-Ubese voice.
“Who the hell? I thought all my enemies spoke alien gobble-de-gook and wore halitosis masks!” he replied, urging the fighter’s dying repulsors onward.
“Allow me to introduce myself; I am Cheirach Swuenray. I’m a great admirer of your work Doctor. If you’d be so good as to land my fighter, I’m sure we could discuss some of your investigations…the location of the Black Pyramid, for example.”
“Kiss my exhaust pipe, Swuenray!”
With that, the stolen fighter edged over the cliff edge, and plummeted as the repulsor coils failed. As did the ion engines.
Hammering the controls, Kintar swore a blue streak as the rocky, red, decidedly unyielding ground rushed up to meet him.
Suddenly one of the engines ignited, and then a second, but the third remained unlit. But the thrust was just enough. The starfighter tore upwards, scorching the ground as it skimmed the surface, then made for orbit.

“Sire, our pilots are requesting permission to fire!” announced the Ubese comm.s officer.
“Fools!” Cheirach bellowed, enraged, “I will drain the very force from anyone who fires upon that starfighter!” He turned to the cruiser’s pilot, “track him to orbit, allow him to escape. Then plot a course to his most probable destination, we will pursue…but first we must finish searching Mount Atropos. Doctor Kintar isn’t going far in that damaged fighter, certainly not more than one hyperspace jump, unless he wants to suck vacuum…”

SORRY IT`S SOOO LONG!
I wasn`t sure if I should post such a mutha!
Chapter 2 is nearly complete...introduces the main characters (@ last!).

I`m planning a full trilogy, but starting w/ Ep2, then probably Ep1 then Ep3.....strangely I thought up the idea of Ep3 first!

Ronin
7 June 2002, 09:19 PM
CHAPTER TWO
The Jedi Chapter House on the planet Rhinnal, Mid Rim, same day.
“Let the force flow through you,” urged the aging Chagrian. He sat cross legged, clad in tan robes, floating a metre off the ground. His face was supremely calm. Unlike that of his apprentices, who were sweating heavily from exertion, Ingcha slightly more so than Kalira.
From their view point, the horned alien Jedi Master seemed to be suspended by invisible strings from the ceiling. The human women; Jedi twins, were precariously balanced, aided by the force, in handstands. Or fingerstands rather, since each had their fists tightly clenched, only their straight index fingers in contact with the ground.
“Master, all I can feel flowing through me is my blood…flowing to my head!” said Kalira, her voice wavering with effort.
Her twin sister Ingcha, almost identical except for a little extra height and her black rather than blonde hair, looked across at Kalira. “You’re not giving up are you sis’? The mighty Jedi Kalira Lornyiss, bringer of peace to the Enthis Cluster, concedes defeat to her little sister?” she said, half-mocking with a grin.
“Little?! You’re younger by a few seconds, that’s all! And anyway, the force is always stronger with the first born!” Kalira replied, her blonde hair hanging down, matted with sweat.
As the twins continued to bicker, as they had since he began their training fourteen years ago, Kampaih levitated across to a dial on the wall of the training room. As the Jedi ladies exchanged jibes, he twisted the dial, increasing the localised gravity field.
With a thud, the sisters hit the ground simultaneously.
Maintaining the oppressive gravity, though remaining perfectly steady himself, Kampaih addressed the panting twins; “five hours, not bad…but where did you fail?”
Mopping her brow, Ingcha looked up at her Master; “because you cheated?”
“We lost focus, didn’t maintain control,” replied Kalira.
A smile spread across the Chagrian’s pale blue face; “exactly, Kalira!”
It was then that his commlink began to bleep at his belt, this produced a slight disturbance in the Master’s concentration, resulting in a wobble to his levitation…eliciting a barely suppressed giggle from Ingcha.
Master Kampaih cleared his throat, extended his legs to stand and answered the commlink, conversing quietly with the caller. Meanwhile Ingcha reached out with her hand and manipulated the gravity dial with the force, returning the localised field to normal. This too resulted in an unexpected wobble from Master Kampaih. Kalira looked across at her sister with a scowl. She received a shrug in response.

When Kampaih finished his conversation, he turned back to the twins with a worried look on his face. “My padawans, it seems duty calls us away from your training once more… Have you heard of Doctor Elias Kintar?”
Ingcha gave a shrug.
“Yeah, the Corellian Xenoarchaeologist. Works for Byblos University, he’s been undertaking research work for the council, hasn’t he?” Asked Kalira, tying her hair back in a pony tail and adjusting her Jedi robes.
“I’m glad to see someone has been keeping up with their academic studies…and not just lightsaber practice” Kampaih replied, giving a warning glance to Ingcha as she re-hooked her weapon to her belt, “Doctor Kintar has been looking for the final resting place of a particular Jedi…one Etingi Delsamach”.
“Never heard of her, anyway; I thought we all fade into the force when we die,” said Ingcha, waving her arms about in a mock-ghostly manner.
A scowl from Kalira stopped her flailing.
“Hmmm. Not so, I’m sad to say. Only Jedi who are sufficiently powerful, and prepared for their passing. Padawan Delsamach was not so fortunate…” he trailed off, then seemed to regain his composure, “the rest I can tell you en-route. Gather your things and meet me at the ‘Spirit in ten minutes. We leave for the Arco system.”

The Kindred Spirit was a C-type Nubian shuttle, shaped like a teardrop of pure mercury. Its near-flawless chrome surface reflected even the faintest light. One of the finest ships a pilot could wish to fly. Fast for a ship of its era, relatively well armoured considering its pleasure-craft appearance, it was built around a pair of compact engines. The Lornyiss twins had owned the craft for a couple of years, serving them well in their missions with Master Kampaih across the Republic. Unlike the majority of Nubian vessels, the Kindred Spirit was armed; a small, retractable turret concealed a twin laser cannon. On more than one occasion pirates and would be aggressors had tasted the Spirit’s unexpected, vengeful bite.
Now, parked on a private landing pad in the gardens of the Jedi Chapterhouse, surrounded by tall Peross trees, partially lit by the sun rising over the Rhinnal cityscape, the vessel looked like a gigantic dewdrop. As ever, Master Kampaih was ready early and waited at the ramp leading up into the ship. Though he outranked them in the Jedi Order, he respected the fact that the Kindred Spirit was their ship.
The twins arrived at the same time, clad in identical tan and brown Jedi robes and stout leather boots. He studied them as they approached the ship from the Chapterhouse.
He had met them when they were six, and tutored them over the next fourteen years in the ways of the Jedi. They had met on the planet Chandrilla, in the Core Worlds region of the Galaxy. He had been there by chance, or so he had told the twins. In truth he was seeking a Lornyiss, a descendant of a great Jedi from half a millennia ago…he found the twins, both strong in the force. He had not told them of his true reason for seeking them out, he himself still did not fully understand it…hopefully with Doctor Kintar’s research he might be able to piece the puzzle together…
Kalira was the shorter of the two at five-foot five, with her shoulder-length blonde hair hanging down either side of her slim, attractive face. Her blue eyes matched her lightsaber (as did her sister’s), which hung at her belt, next to a standard commlink. On her back she carried a small backpack. Conscientious, Kalira always sought a diplomatic resolution first, though her lightsaber skills were still impressive. She had shown aptitude in negotiations on several systems, preventing much bloodshed.
Ingcha was slightly taller and marginally stronger physically than her sister. Where Kalira found words her best tool, Ingcha all too often reached for her green-bladed lightsaber, though she also insisted on training in other combat forms including a martial-art native to the twin’s homeworld of Chandrilla: Tia'vor'oet. Though it was predominantly defensive in nature, Master Kampaih was starting to be concerned with the black-haired twin’s studies. Still, he had Kalira; his star pupil, perhaps Ingcha would learn a calmer temperament from her sister. With her Ingcha carried her lightsaber, a commlink and a backpack like her sister. Only as she got closer did he notice the holdout blaster concealed in her left boot.
“Permission to come aboard?” requested Kampaih, trying to put the concerned looking sisters at ease.
With a laugh, Kalira replied; “Always standing on ceremony,” she shook her head.
Ingcha gave a flamboyant blow and motioned the pair up the ship’s ramp.

With Ingcha at the controls, the Spirit tore upward toward orbit, through flight and approach paths, the traffic-control droid screeching over the comm. Ingcha silence it with a flip of a switch. Carefully setting the navcomp for the remote Arco system, she plunged the ship into hyperspace as soon as they hit safe distance.
She left the shuttle’s bridge to join the other two Jedi in the ship’s other main room; a combined rec-room, mess and dormitory. A central ladder lead up to the retractable ball-turret, off to the rear-right was a hatch to the cramped engineering room and to the left was the landing ramp, retracted seamlessly for flight.
Kalira and Master Kampaih were engaged in an age-old Jedi discussion about how much the Jedi should help society, something about whether a wandering Jedi should help a tribe of primitives living in a valley that is periodically flooded. Ingcha had heard the parable several dozen times, and it was never settled to anyone’s satisfaction. It irritated her to spend time doing an activity without a goal.
“Well, we’re on our way to the Arco system. I’d say it’ll take us about 25 hours out along the Corellian Run, and then we hang a left for three hours at Rodia, out toward Bothan Space,” reported Ingcha. She wasn’t particularly skilled at astrogation, but aside from readying her pack and her pistol at the Chapterhouse, she dropped by the Order’s Stellar Cartography chamber to look up Arco. She didn’t like going to anywhere new without a little knowledge up her sleeve…next to a concealed vibrodagger.
“Excellent work Ingcha,” nodded Kampaih, “care to join in our discussion?”
Ingcha grinned and shook her head. She then walked across to a storage locker and took out 8 one-metre long plasteel poles. Each was topped by a cylinder of wax with a short string emerging from the top. Apparently such apparatus had been used for illumination in ancient times…far earlier than the formation of the Republic itself. Ingcha had a far stranger use for the poles.
As she set the poles in prepared holes in the shuttle’s decking, spaced equally about her in a circle, Master Kampaih and Kalira ceased their discussion to watch the practice.
Igniting her green bladed lightsaber with the ubiquitous snap-hiss, bathing the dimly-lit cabin in jade light, she turned to each candle and gentle touched the tip of her weapon to the wick. When all eight candles were lit, adding their yellow light to that of the lightsaber, Ingcha tied a black sash over her eyes and pulled up her cloak’s hood. With the irregular illumination she appeared a greenish phantasm, swathed in shadow.
“Nice touch, very spooky,” ventured Kalira.
Ingcha broke into a grin and nodded.
“Silence!” barked Kampaih. His voice struck both sisters greater than any verbal command, empowered as it was by the force, “this is a most perilous exercise Ingcha…focus, reach out with the force. Proceed.”
Suitably chastised, Ingcha nodded solemnly and spun her lightsaber in a vertical circle to her right several times, loosening up her wrist, shoulder and elbow. She sped up the spins and began to alternate sides, circling the blade on her right side, then her left. With her right hand controlling her weapon, her left hand was clenched tightly in front of her face, both to aid her concentration and to ensure it was not cleaved off by the spinning blade. She sped up again, now spinning the blade in figure-of-eights in front of her, the blade like a whirring green streamer. Still she had not struck any of the candles.
Kalira sighed audibly, a hand on her shoulder silenced her before she told her sister to cease showing off. “It is just the glare of your sister’s lightsaber Kalira, or did I catch a glimpse of the green-eyed monster, my padawan?” observed Kampaih.
Whether she had heard the exchange or not, Ingcha suddenly changed her practice, thrusting out her right arm to the side, maintaining the sabre spinning like a blur. Then she lowered her head, her chin touching her chest…and let go of the lightsaber. Kalira jumped slightly, expecting the laser-blade to scythe through the ship’s hull.
It didn’t.
It continued spinning like a horizontal disk in mid-air.
With her body frozen like a statue, rigid with concentration, Ingcha gripped the sword no longer with her physical body, but instead via the force. Steadily she moved it toward the first lit candle. The blade wavered, like a spinning coin flicked across a desk. With a deep breath, she spun the blade even faster, flattening the disk, cleaving through the wick. The wax was untouched; the fragment of burning wick blew upward in the sabre’s cyclonic draft and burned out.
As time passed unchecked, she moved on to flawlessly cut the next two flames. Pausing the sabre’s flight, Ingcha extended her arms out to each side, hands open. In a blur the sabre shot out in a circle about the shadowy Jedi, cutting effortlessly through the remaining five candle flames and spinning into her waiting right hand. The five severed flames orbited about her once and came to rest in her left palm.
Applause erupted from her small audience as she deactivated her sabre and crushed the flaming wicks into ash.
“Impressive, most impressive, my young apprentice!” said Kampaih warmly, rising from his seat to pat Ingcha on the back, “not exactly the standard candence-practice!”
“Nice parlour trick sis” said Kalira with a lop-sided smile.
“Ouch!” replied Kalira, removing her blindfold, “Next time you get your sweet ass into a firefight, we’ll just have to step into my parlour then, eh?”
“Rivalry, jealousy, #cough# darkside,” muttered Kampaih, raising his eyebrows at the twins.

As the hours passed, the sleek starship tore through the void of hyperspace, the swirling blur of stars reflecting off the flawless chrome hull. When tensions between the sisters had eased, Master Kampaih called them both back to the main room.
“Do you know the meaning of your name ‘Lornyiss’?” He asked the sisters as they lounged in acceleration couches.
Kalira frowned, struggling to remember; “Something like ‘Librarian’, I think.” Ingcha nodded.
“Close, it is old-Chandrillan for Loremaster or Lorekeeper,” the Chagrian replied, “Is the name Dalcer Lornyiss familiar to you?”
Ingcha spoke up first, a smile on her face; “Isn’t he that half-cousin of ours, icicle-harvesting on Hoth that mom told us never to talk about?”
With a scowl, Kampaih replied; “Erm, no. Dalcer Lornyiss was a chief librarian, a Lorekeeper, in the Jedi Temple on Coruscant five centuries ago. Etingi Delsamach was his padawan…and lover,” Master Kampaih let that last fact hang in the air.
“naughty boy!” chuckled Ingcha.
“Have a care, Padawan! Our Order prohibits attachment for good reason. It is only on special orders from the Council that I am permitted to tutor you sisters together. Usually you would be separated,” calming, the Chagrian Jedi Master continued his story, “Dalcer and Etingi were drawn to a planet dominated by the darkside, its inhabitants held under the will of a powerful, evil force user.”
A concerned look appeared on Kalira’s face, “A…Sith?”
Her Master shook his head, dismissing the suggestion, though his expression was not entirely convincing to the sisters, “The Sith are supposedly extinct, but…along with the planet’s location, such facts have been lost to the mists of time. We do know that Etingi perished in the darksider’s stronghold, called ‘The Black Pyramid’. Dalcer eventually slew the foul beast who had entrapped his beloved, and he rescued their child; ??????????, whom Etingi had given birth to in the depths of the darksider’s lair.”
“Dalcer buried Etingi on her homeworld, then he left the Jedi Libraries for the solitude of the Chandrillan plains. There he raised the young ???????, your (RELATIONSHIP).”
“Doctor Kintar’s message said he had found Etingi’s grave on Arcaposs-I, and from Dalcer’s words; carved into her grave stone, the location of the Black Pyramid.”
“Where?!” said Ingcha, now sat forward in her chair,
A defeated look appeared on Kampaih’s face, “The doctor’s message was weak and distorted, it appears that knowledge is to be found with Doctor Kintar, and Etingi’s grave…”

The grave of Etingi Delsamach, Mount Atropos, Arcaposs-I.
A blasted crater.
That was all that remained of Etingi Delsamach’s grave, and the majority of Mount Atropos’s peak. With a dozen of his most trusted warriors stood about him, each cradling a blaster rifle, Cheirach Swuenray inspected the devastation. There wasn’t much to look at. Giving a deep sigh, he was about to turn and leave when he noticed a faint blue gleaming in the dirt.
The alien shapeshifter bent and dug the gemstone from the cooked dirt. Examining it, he grinned and turned to the raiders. Though each wore a helmet and envirosuits, he could tell they were all fixed on his find.
“An Adegan crystal,” he confirmed, “this is…was the grave of Delsamach. This must have been her lightsaber.”
He began to stride down from the mountaintop, toward the Byblos shuttle.
“There is nothing more for us here. Send the three fighters to search for Kintar, where ever the slippery vervik went!”
Immediately three of the raiders sprinted off toward their starfighters.
Swuenray lead the other raiders from the mountain down to join the rest of their party. Some five dozen Ubese were now arrayed out in squads, awaiting Swuenray’s orders.
“If we cannot question Kintar…” muttered Swuenray, half to himself, half to Sooleld, the Ubese comm..s officer. Sooleld tried to listen, while relaying data to the starfighter pilots from her forearm comm-comp. “…then we must look to what he already knows”.
With that he stalked up the University Shuttle’s ramp.

The Questor, Doctor Kintar’s shuttle, was a Byblos University-owned KDY Nimbus-3000 shuttle. Built not for speed, comfort or combat, it was a small, bulky and cheap ship. It had served Kintar, Elddanu and the other scholars well in their travels across the galaxy, though none of them would ever fly it again.
Sooleld sat before the main data console, her fingers flying across the keys. Swuenray stood behind her, his eyes fixed on the screen. Arrayed out before the two pirates was all of Kintar’s research.
Encrypted.
Heavily encrypted, thanks to Elddanu Fey’lya’s technical expertise.
“Kyvatch!” yelled Sooleld in victory as the files opened up to her hacking. Rapidly data began scrolling across the screen, and a small holoprojector to their right burst into life. Holograms of planets, people, starships and creatures rapidly cycled in fuzzy blue light.
She connected her wrist comm.-comp to the console and began downloading the data. It was then that the console’s screen flashed red.
“What was that?!” demanded Swuenray.
Sooleld knew better than to waste time explaining. She had to act fast before the security program deleted all she had unlocked. Failure would result in Swuenray sucking the very force from her. She had seen him do it once…the unfortunate raider was not killed by the experience, but he was withered physically, and virtually destroyed mentally. The raiders had spaced him to expunge his dishonour from their clan.
As the data vanished from the ship’s computer-core, she desperately grabbed as much as she could and prepared to beg for mercy.
The screen went blank. She checked her wrist comm-comp’s display: it held one small file. She turned to look up into Swuenray’s eyes. She betrayed her failure with her body language. He raised his eyebrows; “how much did you recover?”
She bowed her head, “approximately three percent of the data, sire.”
His eyes narrowed in anger, his voice a whisper; “what did you recover?”
She transferred the data back to the console and they both examined the file. It was a historical document, written, in a hurry, by Kintar over a year earlier. It showed a family tree, with the names Ingcha and Kalira Lornyiss at the bottom; daughters of Cedili and Reduro Lornyiss…the tree stretched back several generations…to Dalcer Lornyiss and Etingi Delsamach.
All thoughts of punishing Sooleld vanished from Swuenray’s mind as he digested the information. The descendants of Lornyiss and Delsamach…surely powerful Jedi! And finally the file revealed their home; a small farm on the plains of Chandrilla, a peaceful Core World of the Republic.

Stood in front of his minions, Swuenray cast his gaze over the Ubese Raiders, silently picking out his best warriors. To the untrained eye, any Ubese raider’s envirosuits looked identical to another’s, but Swuenray had learned the signs. Different clans wore slightly different helmets, capes, used different models of blaster or varied in some other small, yet significant way.
Calling out a list of their names, he ordered his nine most ruthless soldiers onto the University shuttle.
“We are going to Chandrilla, deep in the heart of the Republic…where we will hunt Jedi!” the warriors silently acknowledged their assignment as they filed past him. He turned to the other warriors, and Sooleld.
“You will remain here, with the Lorebane. Kintar may well return, seeking his ship. Capture him alive, he may still be of some use to us.”

As the shuttle lazily rose from the red-rock planet, Sooleld returned to the Lorebane. Her failure had not been forgotten: of the nine warriors Swuenray took with him, none were from her clan.

(I know I need to edit in a character`s name and a relationship, I`ll do that when I find my original notes!)

Ronin
22 June 2002, 07:56 PM
CHAPTER THREE
Arccapos-I, Arco system, Mid Rim.
With a flash, like three small stars erupting into life, the Myrmidons returned to Arccapos, their quarry still elusive. They had tracked him to Iktotch, but the Corellianfs outstanding luck had held out and he had escaped.
The three slim ships began their descent toward Arccapos-Ifs atmosphere, when suddenly proximity alarmed blared in their cockpits. Instincts kicked in and each pilot peeled off their course, taking evasive actions as a sleek, silver ship tore through from hyperspace back to realspace.

The Kindred Spirit shook as she passed though the fighterfs ion washes. Sat at the navcomp station, Kalira frowned at Ingcha; sat in the pilotfs chair; gare you sure you couldnft have brought us out any nearer the planet? Like, inside a volcano?!h
Ingcha ignored her sister. Suddenly Kalira released the straps of her seat and sprinted for the ladder up to the turret.
gWhere are you goi-g Ingcha began to ask, and then she sensed it; hostility coming from the three ships they had just sideswiped.
Master Kampaih appeared at Ingchafs shoulder; gThose are Ubese starfighters! They arenft particularly known for being friends of the Jedi.h
gMaster, perhaps you had better strap yourself inch Ingcha suggested, throwing the ship into a snap roll to the left. Kampaih staggered into the now-vacant navigatorfs seat. Ruby laserbolts streaked past the viewscreen.
gThey seem a little critical of your flying talents, sister!h shouted Kalira, powering up the twin laser and rotating the turret to face the nearest fighter.
gSo teach them some manners!h Ingcha replied. She smiled as she heard the Spiritfs twin lasers open up, sending emerald bolts streaking toward the strange-looking fighters.
With the silver teardrop of the Kindred Spirit leading, the trio of Ubese starfighters skilfully danced behind, exchanging shots with the Jedifs ship, though no-one landed any hits.
With the force guiding her hand, Ingcha deftly dodged and rolled, evading every shot from the tailing fighters. With the special bond they shared as twins, via the force Kalira could predict her sisterfs evasive manoeuvres, and adjusted her aim accordingly. But there were skilled raiders, they too worked in unison, taking turns to fire upon the Jedi ship, as their wing mates overlapped their shields to protect the firer.
Divide and conquer said Ingcha to her companions through the force. She rolled the silver teardrop-ship and throttled toward the glowing clouds of Arccapos. Seconds later, the Ubese responded to the strange change of course and pursued.

Suddenly, as they entered the clouds; the sensor screen before her went blank. Ingcha reached out with the force, to detect the planet rushing up to meet them. She knew that the Ubese, without the aid of the force, were practically blind, just visually chasing the Kindred Spiritfs ion trail. Flicking a switch, she cut power to the engines. The glowing clouds, no longer blown by the shipfs ion-exhausts, enveloped the plummeting craft.
Realising her plan, the trio of Jedi concentratedcfeeling the vast living globe of Arccapos-I, preparing to combine their power.
The Ubese were not so fortunate. With the clouds now blinding them visually and electronically, two of them rocketed forth. One, slightly more wary, hung back.

As the clouds broke, a scant few hundred meters from the top of the Clotho mountain range, the Kindred Spiritfs descent slowed, not via repulsors or ion engines, but the focused force of its Jedi crew. With no visual or instrumental guides, and eager to continue the chase, the first Myrmidon exited the cloud base at near full throttle. He barely screamed a warning to his wing mates before impacting a mountain peak, demolishing it and vaporising his fighter.
The second Ubese pulled hard on his control yoke, his vision blackening momentarily as the mountaintops tore past beneath his fighter. Breathing hard, he spotted the unknown, aggressive silver starship ahead. Gently pulling on the yoke, he centred the fighterfs crosshairs on the chrome teardropcand fired.

The shields of the Kindred Spirit flared as laserbolts struck it. Ingcha wrenched the throttle controls back and directed the ship toward a valley, eager to get out of the Ubesefs line of fire.
gI think itfs safe to say that the good doctor is either dead, or in a world of trouble,h yelled down Kalira from the turret.
gI suggest we try to pacify or bring down one of our pursuers, for questioning,h suggested Master Kampaih.

Eager to not lose the silver ship, the Ubese pilot throttled up and gave chase, following the Kindred Spirit down into the winding valley. Both ships fired upon each other when they had a clear shot, striking either the mountainsides or their enemyfs shields. Ingcha sped through the criss-crossing valleys, the vast crimson mountains towering on each side of the ships. Through brief glances at the glowing, misty sky, she could see they were rapidly snaking toward the planetfs terminatorcand the ion storms. Each time the valley forked, Ingcha chose the path which took them nearer and nearer to the night.
gAre you crazy?!h cried Kalira, gYoufre taking us toward the storm?h
gJust keep firing! Keep him distracted!h replied Ingcha, gin case youfve forgotten; there were three fighterscone bit into a mountain back there, this onefs spitting hot laser death at uscand the third is still out there, somewhere!h
Master Kampaih nodded sagely, impressed at his padawanfs focus on flying, and yet she still had a grasp of larger strategies. He closed his eyes and reached out, immediately he found the third starfighter. Flying inverted, it seemed, he was visually tracking them from the base of the iridescent clouds, no doubt guiding his companion in the valley via comms. So that was how he had maintained pursuit, despite Ingchafs best attempts to lose him. An eye in the sky.
That sky began to change. The clouds darkened from their smoky hue to a dark grey, but the glowing vapours they also contained brightened, excited by the coming storm. The clouds began to swirl a few kilometres ahead, signalling the centre of the disturbance. At their speed, the trio of ships would be there in seconds.
Ingcha pulled up, out of the valley and accelerated further, the dangers of the mountainsides behind them. The Ubese fighter directly behind left the valley too, firing more frantically now that he had a clear line.

Strynt had to tighten his grip on the yoke as the growing wind buffeted his Myrmidon. Flying inverted, barely concealed by the cloud, the sliver starship still didnft seem to have noticed him. He gave directions to his wing mate; Mereh, ensuring that they would not lose the intruder. Suddenly he recoiled from his controls as sparks danced across their surface. Cursing in his own language, he would have to leave the cover of the clouds; the Arccaposian ion storms were coming. They had already claimed the life of one of their pilots, enabling that damned Corellian to escape. This strange silver ship could not be allowed to escape too; the raiders had always managed to stay one step ahead of the Republic Judicialscand the Jedi.

The ships dodged and weaved as small bolts of lightning lanced down from the glowing clouds to the mountaintops below.
Mereh grinned as his shots splashed across the silver shipfs shields. His sensors showed that soon its shields would fail. The kill would be his!
Ingcha straightened their course and poured all power into the engines, minimising shields and making Kalirafs guns impotent. They tore onward and upward, toward the centre of the storm. Strangely the howling winds seemed to quieten as they approached the middle, the clouds brightened as the air became electrified.
The two Myrmidons accelerated directly for the Jedifs ship, firing near-continuous streams of energy.
It was as the Kindred Spirit passed the centre of the storm that a vast fork of violet plasma shot out from the angry mass of Arccapos, through the clouds atmosphere of Arccapos-I, through the Kindred Spirit and out along the lines of laser energy, detonating their origins: the Ubese lasercannons.

Her hair standing on end, Ingcha struggled with the controls, eager to regain control of the ship before their ballistic trajectory took them back toward the ground. The controls were, unsurprisingly, completely ionised. Kalira leapt down from the turret, her blonde hair under control, except for her pony tail which fanned out like the mane of a Mantessan Panthac. The ship was surprisingly silent; the all systems dead, the only illumination provided by the clouds whipping past outside, bathing the ship in a green-purple glow. Even the storm was silent, steadily charging up for another bolt.
With the sensors dead, the three Jedi reached out with the force to find their pursuersc

Merehfs eyes grew wide as a thick bolt of purple lightning struck his target, piercing the clouds like a spear from the heavens, almost instantaneously it arced toward him, down the twin streams of his laserfire. His surprise slowed his reactions, he didnft cease fire, didnft take any evasive actions. The lightning overpowered his shipfs cannons. They, and the entire front half of the fighter exploded, the cockpit included.
Styrnt fared little better, releasing his trigger, the arc dissipated moments before destroying his ship. Flying at full throttle, he still passed through the superheated wake of the bolt, rocking his starfighter, stripping its shields and blowing a coolant duct. Immediately black smoke began billowing out of the shipfs triple-engine as it steadily overheated.

The Kindred Spirit, a C-Type Nubian 128, was one of the finest private ships in the Republic. Not only did it look good, and fly amazingly, it was also built to take considerable punishment.
Ingcha grinned and gave an incoherent howl of joy as the controls lit up and power returned, though the sensors were still scrambled. She wrenched the yoke to the left, instinct guiding them away from a second huge lightning bolt.
Bracing himself against her wild manoeuvres, Master Kampaih stood at her shoulder and pointed to a small, smoking object, flying as fast as possible away from themctoward Mount Atropos. The remaining Ubese starfighter: Stryntfs ship.
Kalira made a force-assisted leap back into the turret and cursed. The turretfs firecontrol was off-line. She took a deep breath, letting the force fill her, guide her aim. With two of their pursuers gone, she needed to cripple the remaining fighter.

With their roles reversed, the hunter now the hunted, Styrnt was desperate to contact the Lorebane and his fellow raiders. He cursed his pride at not notifying them earlier. They must know of the intruderscand ambush them. Opening a comm-channel to the cruiser, his ears were assaulted by static, though his helmet quickly compensated before he could be permanently deafened. With sensors and comm.fs out, he simply pointed his ship toward the distinctive, recently-flattened peak of Mount Atropos, safe in the knowledge that almost seventy heavily armed Ubese raiders awaited his return. Surely the occupants of the silver ship would not be crazy enough to face them? He grinned; the Lorebane would take care of the small but troublesome ship.
Emerald lasers shot past his canopy, drawing him back to the here-and-now. The damage to his Myrmidon; evident by the clouds of black smoke was thankfully acting as a screen to hamper his pursuerfs aim. But still some shots struck; his port laser cannon blew up, showering the cockpit momentarily with sparks.

Aboard the Kindred Spirit, Kalira cursed as the majority of her subsequent shots went wild. The smoking alien fighter was making a straight dash for Mount Atroposcbut why?
The three Jedi reached the same conclusion almost simultaneously; a result of years of living together, working together, fighting together. Extending their perceptions with the force, the three Jedi let out a collective gasp as they detected over sixty minds gathered just past the mountain. Dozens of mindscalien minds, not the Corellian miners who should have been the sole inhabitants of Arccapos-Icmore Ubese.
Ingcha pulled up, increasing the distance between them and the fleeing fighter, but enabling them to see over the mountaintop sooner.
gSwitch gun control over to me,h said Ingcha, not so much a request as an order to her sister.
gIfm doing fine! Just keep her steady!h replied Kalira.
gHefs nearly over the mountain, youfve had your chance! Let me take him out!h yelled Ingcha.
With a scowl, Kalira flicked a switch on her console and the gunnery chair went dead, the laser cannon on each side of the turret now slaved to the pilotfs control. Though both sisters had had little starship combat training, Ingcha had, over their adventures, accrued considerably more experience. Kalira could see her sister skilfully, steadily moving the crosshairs toward the smoking fighterfs ion engines. One clean shot and hefd be forced to land sooner or later.
Suddenly both ships cleared the mountaintop, dozens of Ubese on the ground dove for cover in surprise. The Lorebane sat, undergoing routine maintenance a hundred metres past the mountainfs base.
Kalira frowned as Ingcha rapidly adjusted her aim from the fighterfs ion engines to her repulsor coils, and fired. A pair of bright jade laserbolts impacted the Ubese fighterfs belly, detonating the repulsorcoils. Lacking aerofoil significant surfaces, the fighter needed itfs repulsors to stay aloftc
Trailing smoke and debris, Stryntfs fighter entered a power-dive, straight at the Lorebane! Cursing his unknown pursuers, Styrnt punched the ejector-switch. With residual ionisation from the storm, his bid for escape was answered with a dull, negative bleepcthen a thunderous explosion as the starfighter ploughed into its mothership. The large, curving upper hull of the Lorebane buckled as the sleek starfighter penetrated its hull, exploding deep with the shipfs innards. The force of the explosion tore the ship apart from within; huge gouts of fire erupted from open hatches, sealed ones were blew off their hinges, view ports splintered. As the cruiserfs reactor went critical, the thick armour plating peeled under the destructive force, dissecting the insectile ship and scattering debris across the plain.
As the Kindred Spirit entered a tight looping turn, many of the Ubese on the ground gathered their wits and opened up with their weapons, filling the sky with laserfire.

Aboard their ship, Kalira couldnft believe what she had seen her sister do; had she deliberately adjusted her aim to send the fighter into the Ubese cruiser? They both knew that their mission was to capture, not kill.
gPadawan!h exclaimed Master Kampaih, struggling to keep his feet as Ingcha threw them into the looping turn, gI hope for your sake that Doctor Kintar was not aboard that ship!h
Concentrating on her flying, Ingcha cut the engines, extended the landing gear and fired up the repulsors for a non-to-soft landing at the edge of the plain, as debris from the cruiser still rained down. Some pinged off the Kindred Spiritfs chrome armour.
Releasing her pilotfs harness, Ingcha rose and drew her lightsaber, turned to Master Kampaih and Kalira who slid down the turretfs ladder.
gLetfs get some answers!h Ingcha declared, igniting her green lightsaber.
Kalira looked at her sisterfs face, studying it for any anger, but she found none, just a desire to get out there and face the enemy. She unhooked her lightsaber; gI guess the time for negotiation has passed,h she too ignited her sabre, a deep electric blue.
Muttering; gI didnft notice anyone trying any negotiationsh, Kampaih dug his sabre out from beneath his robes and ignited its blue blade, gremember Padawans: we need to find Doctor Kintar. A quick lesson in Ubese physiology: they need their heads in order to speak.h Ingcha knew that last comment was directed at her. She nodded and lowered the hatch. Already they could hear blaster fire hitting their ship, thankfully only small arms, but during the fly-by Ingcha spotted a couple of larger crewed blaster-cannonsc

As soon as they descended down the ramp, the air was filled with blaster fire like a swarm of glowing locusts. Swinging their lightsabers in defensive arcs, the trio of Jedi deftly batted the attacks aside.
Before them, there were approximately fifty Ubese raiders, rapidly finding cover as their very own blaster bolts were being returned to them, many were scrabbling for weapons. None had been expecting combat, let alone a trio of Jedi destroying their ships, then having the audacity to land and confront them in open combat.
Sooleld dived prone and retrained her chunky Blastech-E3 rifle on the blonde Jedi. As a hail of badly-aimed fire from her comrades was easily deflected, she fired straight and true. And quickly rolled to her left as the woman deflected the shot directly back at Sooleld. Curse these Jedi!
gCrew the blaster cannons!h ordered Sooleld. Perhaps they could deflect blaster rifles, but how would the Jedi fair against artillery?!
With the Lorebane destroyed, over two squads of the raiders found themselves unarmed; their weapons had been aboard the cruiser. These warriors drew vibroblades and crouched behind boulders, waiting for the Jedi to get closer. Sooleld laughed to herself. Swuenray had gathered a band of ruthless warriorscbut few had actually fought Jedi before. Did they think they could hide from the Jedi? Sooleld had been with Swuenray for many years, had seen him strip Jedi of their powers, leaving them feeble mortals, one even begged for mercy. If those warriors attacked the Jedi in hand to hand combat they would perish. Swuenray had taken their best soldiers, those capable of and experienced in fighting Jedi, with him to Chandrilla. Her mood brightened as the plain was illuminated; one of their Merr-Sonn CAB-12 blaster cannons fired. She grinned a feral grin as the Jedi scattered, throwing themselves prone.
It was then that the nearest group of Ubese, armed only with blades, chose to charge the prone Jedi.
gNo! Fools!h cried Sooleld. The impetuous idiots were in the way of further cannon shots, forcing the crews to crews to cease fire.

Ingcha kicked her feet up and flipped to her feet as the first raider sprinted toward her, a vibroaxe in his hands, a war-cry escaping from his face-less, anonymous helmet. As he swung the weapon up behind his right shoulder, ready to swing back and cleave her in two, she planted a firm front kick on his left elbow. With his arms trapped holding his weapon behind him, Ingchafs jade lightsaber easily cleaved through his neck, silencing his cry and scattering his head to the floor. The force of her kick pushed the headless body back into the next raider, knocking him prone. Ingcha rapidly advanced and swung a kick that any sports-star would have been proud of, at the fallen warriorfs head. He didnft get up.
Kalira, a little stunned from her proximity to the blaster cannonfs shot, was still on her back as a raider reached her; a wicked, curved vibrodagger in each hand. Swinging her legs out and up in a circle, she deflected his twin stabs with her boots and rolled to her feet, getting some distance between her and her foe. Clearly he had never fought Jedi before; the raider made a lunge at her mid-rift which she easily met with her lightsaber, dropping his hand, still tightly holding the dagger, to the ground. He dropped the second knife and clutched at his cauterised stump. Kalira spared him; they needed someone to question, as soon as they had chance.
Pulling himself to his feet, Master Kampaih was assaulted by the scream of a Ubese raider leaping through the air toward him, a vibroblades held over his head. With a small gesture the aging Chagrian sent the raider tumbling higher though the air in the opposite direction, landing in an unconscious heap a dozen meters away. Calling his lightsaber to him with the force, he turned and ignited his azure blade, cutting through a raider with a speed that belied his age.
gMy padawans; we need some cover! Protect me!h
Both sisters retreated toward their master who stood before the crater made by the blaster cannonfs shot. The ground had been baked and splintered by the blast. As the sisterfs kept five raiders at bay, herding them so that the other Ubese could not fire the cannons again, Master Kampaih reached out with his open hand toward the broken crater. Concentrating, using the force he tore up a wedge of the splintered, cracked rock ground, tearing up a triangle away from the crater as a wall between the cannons and the Jedi.
As soon as Sooleld realised what the old Jedi was doing, she ordered the cannons to recommence firing, damn the raiders who got in the way! As the wedge of crimson rock was erected into place, the first cannon fired, blowing a blackened pit in the rock but not penetrating it. The second cannon tore a chunk from the side of the makeshift barrier. Both became silent as they built up charge for another shot.

Seven raiders with an assortment of melee weapons still harassed the Jedi. Ingcha skipped toward her opponent and spun away at the last moment, his stun rod swinging wildly though thin air. Ingchafs sabre swung out in a backhand slash, slicing across the Ubesefs back.
gIngcha!h Kampaih growled in warning.
Kalira reached out toward the three raiders in front of her and cast their weapons to the ground with the force. When one reached for a second, sheathed weapon, and the other two didnft retreat, she took a running leap toward them assisted by the force. Like a torpedo she flew toward them, kicking out to the sides; planting a boot in the face of the first two raiders. The third raiderfs neck she caught between her legs, choking him into unconsciousness as she hit the groundcin full view of the CAB-12s.
Ingchafs danger sense flared and she charged out of cover toward her sister. Just as the first cannon fired, she threw out her lightsaber, spinning toward her sister. With a bright flash the cannon shot was deflected off into the sky, the lightsaber sent clattering to the ground uncontrollably.
Then the second cannon fired.
Kalira drew the lost sabre to her, igniting it and her own, crossing them before her as the shot tore toward her. As the three shards of laser struck; the red blaster bolt, the green and blue lightsabers, Kalira was knocked backwards, the shot send wild. Ingcha grabbed her sisterfs robes and hauled her back behind the rocky shield where Master Kampaih was just dispatching the last of the three remaining raiders. Reaching out with the force, he dragged the one-handed Ubese raider into cover.
Even with his helmet on and the comm turned off, the Jedi could hear him cursing in his native language. He struggled uselessly as he was dragged by invisible tendrils of energy toward the Jedi. Ingcha planted a boot on his chest, forcing him to lie on his back.
gWhere is Doctor Elias Kintar?h asked Kalira.
The Jedi could hear rapid footfalls; more raiders charging their position.
gWe need to hurry this,h said Ingcha, frustrated, she reached for the seam of the raiderfs helmet; gspeak, or choke.h
Kampaih batted her hand aside and made a small, discrete motion with his hand in front of the raiderfs visor, then he simply stated; gYou want to tell us where Doctor Elias Kintar is.h
The raider replied in a monotone voice, speaking broken basic; gI want to tell you where Doctor Elias Kintar is. He isch
Suddenly the raider screamed and clutched at his helmet, tearing it off. It emitted a piercing screech, until Ingcha cleaved it in two with her sabre. Someone; one of the raiderfs superiors had been listening in to their conversation and had initiated the deafening electronic screech to silence the raider. Unfortunately for the Jedi, he rapidly choked in the Arccaposian atmosphere; dusty but breathable for humans, but containing elements toxic to Ubese. They noticed the other defeated Ubese rolling about in pain; their superior was sacrificing the whole squad.
Gathering their wits, the trio of Jedi prepared to face the next group of raiders as they leapt over the uprooted rock. Clearly they would have to find the leader of the raidersc
As the first raider landed, it was with dull roar as the ground shook beneath his feet. A shake far too powerful to be caused by a humanoidfs leap. After a secondfs confusion, the raiders drew their weapons and charged. The Jedi could hear the other Ubese; armed with blasters, advancing, but for the moment they had to concentrate on the ten foes before them. And there was the matter of the sudden, violent ground shakec
The first Ubese feinted with his vibroblade then thrust a kick out at Ingchafs gut. With her Jedi reflexes and Tiafvorfoet training, she caught his ankle with her left hand. Taking a step back she lifted his foot up high, eliciting a cry of pain from the Ubese as his groin hyper-extended. With a push of the force she sent him crashing into four of his comrades.
As Kalira advanced to close with another raider, she spotted movement in her peripheral vision; the wreckage of the Ubese cruiser. Her danger sense flared, enabling her to narrowly dodge the raiderfs axe chop at her throat. She leaned back sharply, turning her fall into a back-flip, catching the raiderfs chin with her feet. As his helmet flew off, he collapsed to the ground coughing. It had not been her intention to kill him, she so hated death. Momentarily she considered retrieving his helmetc
gSister! She who hesitates is lost!h shouted Ingcha, intercepting another raiderfs attack against Kalira. Ingcha severed the raiderfs arm at the shoulder and booted him to the ground.
As the three Jedi fought on against the raiders, their heavily armed comrades sprinting to better firing positions, the ground shook again. All parties stopped in their tracks and turned to the source of the shakes: the wrecked Lorebane. As the watched cracks rapidly spread out from the ground about the burning ship, like Plexiglas splintering, like an arachnidfs web. The cruiser shook, then wobbled like an aquatic vessel. As the stunned combatants looked on, the cracks emitted steam, then appeared to bleedchot, searing molten rock. The plain shook again, and the shocks echoed out from the epicentre. Off to the south, the cliffs shook, and the pair of sandcrawlers, strafed by the Ubese fighters only days earlier, began to sink into the ground.
With a great, thunderous burping roar, the ground splintered further, and the Lorebane itself became surrounded by a lake of lava. Rapidly the burning, melting wreckage darkened and sunk into the magma. The plain on which the Ubese and Jedi fought was but a thin crust. A thin crust which was breached by the destruction of the Lorebane.
Scores of the raiders panicked, sprinting for high ground as cracks tore the plain apart, fragmenting the ground.
A handful of raiders gathered their wits and turned back to the Jedi, Sooleld included.
Master Kampaih looked at his Padawans; gWe came here for answers. We canft leave yet.h He turned toward the nearest Ubese and re-ignited his sabre, setting his feet as the ground shook beneath him. The Kindred Spirit was now on an eislandf some fifty meters behind them, with growing rivers of lava between them and their ship.
Where the plain had been a seemingly solid, flat battlefield minutes ago, it was now a sea of islands of rock, floating upon a sea of searing magma. As the islands shook and rocked, several fleeing Ubese fell into the lava, bursting into flames.
The island the Jedi and raiders stood on suddenly lurched upward with a rush of magma, and splintered across the middle, each half pitched downward. The humanoids all struggled to keep their footing. Kalira charged at the break, leaping across to the raiders as the halves separated.
gGet to the ship! Ifll get our answers!h she cried out, landing and simultaneously igniting her sabre.
Kampaih and Ingcha darted from island to island, their jumps assisted by the force, and sprinted up the ramp of their ship. The Spirit was glowing a fiery red, not from heat, but reflecting the growing sea of lava about it.
As she heard the shipfs engines roar into life, over the dull growl of the quaking ground, the first of six Ubese charged her. Kalira could see the other Ubese readying their blaster riflescwould they actually fire on her and their comrade? Surely they risked hitting both!
As the reckless warrior neared her, a jagged, humming vibrodagger in hand, she leapt up. Just as the other raiders fired, seeking to catch her and the knife-wielding raider in a crossfire. Somersaulting, she momentarily performed a finger-stand on the raiderfs shoulders, as he was cut to shreds by fire from his five comrades. As his body collapsed, she landed a meter from two of the rifle-holding raiders.
They were fast, she had to admit; one quickly adjusted his aim and fired. Had she not been a Jedi, she could not have dodged and the shot would have burned a hole through her chest. But a Jedi, armed with a lightsaber, need not dodge. With reflexes as fast as the Arccaposian lightning, she deflected the shot into the nearest raider, pitching him backward into the lava. Though she regretted it, time was short; she would have to beat these four down and get answers from one or two of them. But which? The nearest was distracted by the result of his shot, but the other three were alert and firing. She turned to face them, hooking a kick backward to the side of the distracted raiderfs head, dropping him to the ground, as she deflected incoming shots.
The of the three remaining raiders, all carried bulky blaster rifles, but one was stood to the rear, her blaster not aimed at Kalira. This had to be the leader. A large computer-comms terminal on her forearm revealed her to be the source of the piercing screeches in the raiderfs helmets. She had the answers the Jedi sought.
The two raiders in front of Sooleld raised their blaster rifles again. They were her kin, and would die for her. Theoretically. She fingered a switch on her comm-comp, ready to deafen them if either showed any sign of turning on her. Her forces had deserted her, the weak-minded cowardly fools. She would take this Jedi with her if this was to be the end.
The firecontrol of the twin lasers finally de-ionised, Ingcha settled the crosshairs over the pair of raiders aiming at her sister, while Master Kampaih kept the ship inverted and steady. She squeezed the trigger, immolating both raiders. Unfortunately the shots clipped the edge of the island, fragmenting it and sending the Ubese leader reeling backwards toward the lava.
Kalira cursed her sisterfs interfering and dived forward, grasping the Ubesefs arm, preventing her from falling into the magma.
What?! Thought Sooleld. This Jedi was helping her, while the other had just tried to vaporise her! If this was some Jedi trick, they would discover she still had some tricks left herself! Pulling herself up with her left arm, she palmed a dagger from her right sleevecand dug it into the blonde Jedifs bicep.
Kalira screamed in pain but held on. She could not let the Ubese fall, no matter how much she wanted to let the vicious alien burn. She wrenched the raider back onto the rock, and pulled the dagger from her arm. It immediately began to bleed heavily.
Ingcha winced as she felt a sharp pain in her right bicep, but there was no woundcthe realisation struck her as she looked out the turretfs view port. She could see Kalira valiantly hauling the Ubese to freedom, a dagger protruding from her arm. With the ship still inverted, Ingcha climbed edownf the turretfs ladder; thanks to the gravity-shifted gunnery axis.
Master Kampaih rolled the ship upright and began lowering the ramp, as Ingcha ran down it to her sisterfs aid. Kalira was concentrating on tending to her arm, so Ingcha leapt on to the Ubesefs chest, pinning her to the swaying, shaking rock.
gGet aboard sisf!h yelled Ingcha over the whine of the Spiritfs repulsors and the steady roar of the churning lava. The heat was becoming oppressive and they were both sweating heavily. gIfll get our answers!h
Kalira staggered up the ramp, feeling very light headed. She began to suspect that the Ubesefs blade had been coated in some type of toxin, she was feeling too bad too quickly for such a wound. Ingcha drove two solid punches into the raiderfs masked face, cutting her knuckles but ensuring Sooleld didnft consider any more double crosses. She then dragged the dazed raider onto the shipfs ramp.
As the lava-lake began to consume the few remaining islands, there came a low, deep rumble from Mount Atropos. Master Kampaih fed more power to the repulsors and the Kindred Spirit began to rise. Kalira slumped into the navigatorfs chair behind him.

On the shipfs ramp, still extended out, the lava some twenty metres below, Ingcha held Sooleld at armfs length. The raiderfs toes were barely on the rampfs edge. Through the cracked view plate of her helmet, Ingcha could see fear in the raiderfs eyes as she tried to maintain balance and struggled for breath.
Slowly, deliberately, Ingcha spoke; gWhere is Doctor Kintar?h
Sooleld fought for breath. Was this truly a Jedi?: she showed a cunning and ruthlessness that Sooleld would have admired, had the situation been a little more favourable. gHefschefs gonecescaped in onecone of our fightersh, she gasped.
A look of irritation flared across the black-haired Jedifs face, it hardened with grim resolve.
gThen you are a waste of my time,h Ingcha looked back up, into the ship then turned to face Sooleld with a calm face, gNooooo!h she cried, then gently pushed the Ubese backwards; off the rampc

Ronin
13 July 2002, 02:04 AM
Well...I know each chapter is a bit of a big mutha...but I just wondered if anyone had any feedback (I`ve since edited chapters 1 and 2..but not posted the newer versions)....?

imrtl
7 August 2002, 04:51 PM
could you just attach the doc or rtf file it may be a bit easier to read than posting the whole thing here like you did.

To be honest I have only read part of chapter 1, so far it seems interesting just a bit difficult to read pasted into the forum.

Maybe its just me tho.

Ronin
9 August 2002, 09:49 PM
Cheers for the advice mate, I`m not much of a techie, but I`ll try.