The Sith Empress – Part 14

The Sith Empress

by AJ Marks

Part 14

Jessica watched as the techs on the bridge went over the systems and checking to make sure things were working.  So far the only thing she knew wasn’t up and operational was the main engines.  That would be the next thing to work on, bringing up main power to the ship.  She approached the leader of the techs.

“You know how to start up the engines?” she asked.

“Well,” he said looking around.

“I do ma’am,” one of the techs said.  “Or, at least I’m familiar with procedures on many ships, I’ve never done it one this type of ship.”

“See if you can start up the main engines,” she said.  “Take the guards with you.”

“Ma’am, what about the bridge?” one of the remaining guards said.

“I’ll be here on the bridge,” Jessica replied giving them a stare.  They all knew who had defeated the droids and with a nod they headed off the bridge towards the engine room.

The group worked a bit more, a few working on the start-up procedure of the engines from the bridge as it required men on both sides.  A while later reports came from the engine room they were ready to try a start-up.  She watched as the engines came to life and all systems came online.

They continued working as she moved over to the communications.

“Does this work?” she asked.

“It should,” the reply came back as she activated it.

“Tyi, you read me?” Jessica asked waiting a few seconds before a reply came back.

“Yes my lord,” he replied.  “We’re reading that the ship’s engines have powered up.”

“Yes, it seems its in working order, for the most part,” Jessica said.  “What’s the number of ships?”

“Three hundred and twenty-one,” he replied back to her.

“Excellent, the Republic and Empire won’t know what hit them,” Jessica replied, pleased that things were going so well.  She smiled at the thought of being Empress of the universe and the heart of a new Sith Empire.

*****

Gaia made her way to the main temple area as Master Skywalker had called for a meeting of all Jedi in the area.  She had been back for a few days now and hadn’t discovered anything else but had gone back to some of her training.

As people gathered she had a feeling she knew what was going on.  Reports on Tavion’s activities had been going around now for a while and there was a feeling among many that the conflict was about to reach its climax.  She looked up as Luke stood before them all.

“Thank you all for coming so quickly,” Luke said to them, glancing around at the Jedi who had shown up.  “Jaden has come across some information that Tavion has been influenced by an Ancient Sith Lord.  Right now she is on he way to resurrect this Sith Lord, we must stop her at all costs.  I will not lie to you, we will be up against other Force users who can use lightsabers as well, so be careful out there.  Organize into your groups and head out.”

Gaia felt herself unsure and wondered if she should have even attended this meeting.  Fighting like this was not her specialty, and she could end up costing someone their life by her hesitation.  Heading off she went in search of Fie-Tel, quickly spotting him talking to Luke and Kyle Katarn.

“Gaia, what can I do for you?” Fie-Tel asked as she approached them.

“I don’t feel like I should participate in this mission Master Fie-Tel.  My combat skills are not as good as the others, I could endanger someone else,” Gaia stated to him.

“Gaia, I need all available Jedi on this, the threat is that great,” Luke said to her in a serious tone.

“We’ll find you a spot to maximize your abilities,” Fie-Tel said.

“Then I’ll do my best,” she said hoping they were not expecting too much from her.  She could only hope things went smoothly.

“I have a feeling you’ll do just fine,” Luke said to her.

“Go on and join a group, probably one of the groups guarding the ships or something like that,” Luke said to her.

“Okay,” Gaia said, she could do that.  If she was guarding something she was not as likely to actually engage in the fighting, or so she hoped.  She also felt something else which was stirring out there, getting stronger.  She only wished she understood more about that.

*****

Tyi listened as reports came in from his spies in the New Republic and realized that several senators were visiting the Jedi, and there were reports that something else was going on concerning them.  They seemed to be amassing for some sort of assault, or at least that’s what one senator said.

Tyi knew that the Jedi were concerned with a group of rebels under the leadership of Tavion.  He had suggested to Lord Rizon to join her forces but she had dismissed that thought saying Tavion would be defeated.  Tyi wondered, after all she had been a pupil of Desann.  He had a feeling the Jedi were now moving against her forces.

Figuring that Lord Rizon would probably want to know what was going on he activated the communicator and waited for her to answer.

“What’s up Tyi,” Rizon’s said over the communicator.

“My lord, I’ve receive news that the Jedi are moving against Tavion and her forces,” Tyi said to her.

“Yes, I know already, the Jedi will win this battle,” Rizon said almost bored with the conversation and Tyi knew he had to tread lightly or risk her anger.

“This might be a way to boost our forces my lord,” he said carefully, waiting for her to reply.  He expected her to brush the thought off.

“So be it,” Rizon finally said ass Tyi released a breath even as she continued.  “Be sure to remain in the shadows.”

“Of course my lord,” he said as she signed off.

He turned to gather up a group of loyal people to act as recruiters informing them they would have to remain in the shadows.  It took a while but he managed to round up the group and turned in shock to see Lord Rizon heading towards them.

“I’ve changed my mind,” she said to him, dressed in black with a red cape and had the aura of power flowing around her.  “I will be going with them, Captain Pietete has orders as well, I want you to continue on your current mission of inspecting the other ships of the fleet.”

“Of course my lord,” Tyi said wondering what happened to change her mind.  He wouldn’t question her as he knew when to remain quiet.  She boarded the shuttles and it made its way off the ship and towards the planet along with several other shuttles which were all capable of hyperspace travel.  He wondered how many people would come back.

*****

Gaia double checked her equipment on her way to their destination.  She was feeling slightly nervous about what was about to happen and her fear of actually hurting someone was foremost in her mind despite the fact a fight was going to happen.

Taking a deep breath she tried to focus on something else other than the fighting which was coming up.  It was difficult for her as she could almost feel something different about this mission.  She hadn’t felt it at first, but now, it was there.

“Everything all right?” another Jedi asked her sitting next to her.

“I guess, not sure, guess its the feeling of going into battle,” Gaia said trying to explain it to him.  “I’m not sure, can’t really pinpoint it at the moment.”

“Prebattle jitters, we all get it and its normal,” the other Jedi explained to her.  He had seen battle before as a pilot with the rebellion years ago during the battle against the Empire and was one of the first new Jedi.  “I remember my first time going into battle, thought I was going to throw up.  But once you get engaged, its live or die, instinct and training takeover”

“I guess so,” Gaia said, hoping the other Jedi was right, but had a feeling there was something else there.

They felt the shuttle touch down on the planet’s surface and the door opened allowing them all out.  Gaia went to her assigned area and waited to see what might happen considering they were there to stop a force of Dark Jedi under the command of Tavion, who is seemed was trying to resurrect a dead Sith Lord.  Gaia waited to see if anyone came near her area despite hearing fighting all around her.

Movement off to her right caught her attention and saw a Jedi facing off against another attacker wielding a red lightsaber.  She moved in to engage activating her own lightsaber and together they overwhelmed the attacker with the other Jedi finishing him off, something Gaia wasn’t sure she could do.

The Jedi muttered thanks and ran off heading back into the fray.  She started to follow and stopped when she felt something different.  It was much different than earlier feelings, and she could not link it to the Force like usual.  She felt a tug more like something when the Jedi Academy had been attacker earlier by Desann.

Looking at the retreating form of the other Jedi she made up her mind and decided if she could discover the source of this feeling.  Quietly making her way around the battle field avoiding any other entanglements.

She heard the fighting start to settle down even as reports of Tavions defeat were spread by everyone.  She heard some occasional fighting going on but turning a corner she heard voices trying to be quiet.  She couldn’t quite make out what they were saying.  Moving quietly she peaked around the corner and noticed several of Tavions’ forces were heading to a secret exit she was sure no one knew about.

Gaia stepped further out watching and realized she should tell the others when she noticed the person who appeared to be in charge.  She wore all black, except for a deep crimson cape which seemed to flow around her along with long black hair which caught her attention.  The one thought which went through her mind was how beautiful the woman was which seemed like an odd thing to think of.

She berated herself for such a thought and regained her senses and looked for any sense of trouble.  She noticed there were several of Tavion’s forces which were leaving though this tunnel and she knew she had to tell someone but it was then the woman in black turned and seemed to look in her direction.

The gaze caught her and for a second she had a vision of blue eyes looking at her, despite the fact she had no idea what color the woman’s eyes were from this distance.  Her rational mind screamed she was in danger and should leave, but her soul seemed to be saying something else.  It was like it was longing for something from the woman, drawing her in and surrounding her in such a depth she never before had experienced.

One of the men heading down the tunnel dropped his lightsaber with a clanking noise which started both of them.  Realizing she had been discovered by the woman Gaia quickly fled the scene and heading to where the others were as fast as she could.  She heard no one trying to pursue her which was good news as she reached a small clearing where Luke, Kyle and another Jedi were waiting.

“Gaia, glad to see you made it,” Luke said and by the tone in his voice she understood they had lost some Jedi, probably some good Jedi.

“I think we might have more trouble in the future,” Gaia said, slightly out of breathe from her run.

“What do you mean” Kyle asked.

“I followed a feeling of something different and saw a group of survivors heading out a secret exit, led by a woman who wasn’t Tavion, tall, dark hair,” Gaia said, stopping herself before saying blue eyes.

“So, someone took the survivors,” Luke said thinking about it.  “Do you know how many might have gone with them?”

“Um, I saw about twenty while I was watching, at least until I was spotted,” Gaia said.

“They’ll have to leave the planet, and we have a Republic cruiser patrolling to prevent any ship from leaving.  We’ll inform them they might have business,” Luke said, moving to call the cruiser.

Gaia looked on still thinking about the woman, and that somehow she would be seeing her again.

End part 14

Continued in part 15

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