The Sith Empress
by AJ Marks
Jessica waited in the shadows ass her men did their jobs of finding the survivors of the battle and getting them to join her force. She felt something going on inside the tomb and realized Tavion was trying to resurrect one of the ancient Sith Lords, but even as she felt that there was another, stranger presence close by. She decided to keep an eye out for anything out of the ordinary while on the planet’s surface.
She silently counted the number of people her recruiters were able to gather from Tavion’s shattered force. The woman wasn’t very competent if so many of her forces were either defeated or turned traitor. A few stopped to look at her, and she knew some even recognized her before everything happened at the Valley of the Jedi, but she was no longer Jessica, her outward persona was now Darth Rizon.
Of course, it was good they recognized her, a challenge to her might be exciting as she knew who would win. Many of them already had lightsabers which would boost training for her forces. They would make her elite troops if they survived the training she gave them.
News drifted down the hallways of Tavion’s defeat to a Jedi named Jaden. Jessica was not surprised at all by the news, for she had foreseen the woman’s failure and now that failure would strengthen her own forces for victory.
The last of the group was making their way through the tunnel when she had that strange feeling again, this time the strongest it had ever been, and so unlike anything else she had felt. This was a warm, enveloping sensation of calm and peacefulness so strong it took her a moment to come to terms with it. Looking around she finally spotted someone, a small woman with blonde hair looking back at her with some intensity. For some reason the color green came to her.
A noise made her break contact and looked away from the woman to see what had happened. She noticed one of the men had dropped his weapon as a flash of anger coursed through her.
“If you can’t hold onto your weapon then don’t carry one,” she growled slipping back into Darth Rizon’s persona very easily.
The men stopped and looked at the upcoming conflict between the two of them. The man seemed to have barely heard what Jessica said and a few even backed away from them.
“Whatever,” the man replied gruffly as he retrieved his lightsaber, clearly annoyed at having been spoken to by her. His attitude only angered Jessica more, clearly Tavion had not disciplined her troops. “Annoying women thinking they are tough.”
Jessica flung the man into the wall watching as he staggered slightly and recovered a bit reaching for his lightsaber. She had a feeling he was slow enough to not understand who stood before him.
“I don’t care who you are, I was the commander of Tavion’s forces and I will be the new commander once I talk with whoever is in charge, and I’ll make your life a personal hell,” he said, activating his lightsaber.
“And you challenge Darth Rizon, your last mistake,” Jessica replied ass her own lightsaber came to life. She easily struck down the former leader and stood there for a few seconds. “If you were the commander, you were pathetic. Anyone else wish to challenge a Sith Lord?”
She watched as the men shook their heads knowing they couldn’t defeat her. With a bit of prodding they started back up the tunnel as another person walked up to her.
“Um, excuse me Darth Rizon,” the man said cautiously as she looked at him. “Do you want some of us to go after the woman who was watching us?”
Jessica felt impressed that the man had seen that much, but gave it some thought.
“No, we’re leaving this place,” she finally said. “She will already be with the rest of the Jedi and there is no reason for a confrontation now.”
“Um, there is a Republic cruiser orbiting the planet. How are we going to get off?” another man asked as they began walking back though the passage.
“Let me worry about that,” Rizon stated already having an answer, something she had expected before she even left to head here.
The group continued on their way as she could feel the mixture of fear and uneasiness coming from the men. They probably wondered what she had planned. Boarding the shuttle she moved to the front of the shuttle and sent out a command before ordering the pilots to lift off.
“Captain, we have three shuttle lifting off from Korriban’s surface. What are you orders?” the second in command of the cruiser asked from his position looking over the scanners. He looked up at the captain waiting.
The captain turned to his own console before activating his communicator to contact Luke Skywalker. This mission was part of the Jedi, not Republic so he would ask to see what the Jedi Master wanted. Quickly explaining the situation he received an answer to the question.
“Battlestations, we are to disable the shuttle and take any crew and passengers are prisoners,” he told the bridge crew.
The cruiser went to full alert and began to close in on the fleeing shuttles. Orders were given for the shuttles to stand down which unanswered. The cruiser closed in to firing distance when everything changed in an instant.
“Captain, new contact just came out of hyperspace,” the scanner operator said. “Computer states is a Sith battleship.”
“A what?” the captain asked not sure he heard the scanner operator correctly.
Even as the scanner operator repeated the words and the captain tried to make sense of the information the battleship opened fire. Despite it being hundreds of years old its weapons were still formidable to take on a modern cruiser. Its shields were pounded as they quickly failed.
Evan as the captain tried to figure out what was going on the battleship destroyed the cruiser. Minutes later it took aboard the shuttles and left the planet.
The group was walking back to the shuttle to head back to Yavin when Luke suddenly stopped and looked up. The rest of the group followed suit and to Gaia she thought she saw some concern on the looks on some of their faces. She watched as Kyle and Luke exchanged a glance.
“Skywalker to Captain Yept,” Luke said into his communicator. Gaia watched as there was no reply and the stretching silence caused everyone some concern.
“What’s wrong,” Kyle asked breaking the silence.
“I have a bad feeling about the cruiser,” Luke replied back to them.
“Great, when you have a bad feeling half the universe trembles,” Kyle replied half joking half serious.
Gaia remained quiet listening into the conversation going on between Luke and Kyle. There was something about the mysterious woman who appeared to be in charge of the group which she couldn’t shake. She seemed familiar to her somehow. She turned her attention back to the other two who were no looking at her.
“Are you all right?” Luke asked her.
“Yes, just thinking about something,” Gaia replied a bit honestly.
Before Luke could say anything else another Jedi came running towards them.
“Master Skywalker, we just received word that the cruiser was destroyed which was trying to intercept the shuttles,” he said to Luke.
The news was met with shock with the group as Gaia wondered what could have happened to the ship. A cruiser wasn’t something a few shuttles might be able to destroy on their own.
“Any clues as to what happened?” Luke asked
“Not at the moment,” the man replied. “The Republic is sending out a recovery team to sift through the wreckage to figure out what might have happened, either by an attack or something else.”
“It seems we have another mystery on our hands then,” Kyle replied to the group.
Gaia wondered if the woman she had seen earlier had anything to do with the attack on the cruiser. There was a part of her that hoped the woman wasn’t but another part of her figured she had to be. She also wondered why she had not mentioned more to Master Luke about her.
She headed to the shuttle lost in her own thoughts wondering what was going on with her. She had never kept information from the others and yet there must be a reason for her recent behavior. She was determined to figure it out before telling Master Skywalker or Fie-Tel.
Gaia practiced her training wondering what her next step might be and, of course, thinking about the mysterious dark-haired woman. She was trying to meditate when Master Fie-Tel came walking into the room and headed right for her.
“Gaia, you’re wanted in Master Skywalker’s office,” he told her and waited for her to get up.
She was slightly surprised to be summoned by Master Skywalker and wondered what might have happened since stopping Tavion. She walked along with Fie-Tel who said nothing making her wonder what had happened. They entered Luke office seeing he was sitting behind the desk but waved them inside.
“Come in Gaia,” Luke said to her. “Master Fie-Tel and I have been going over your recent records and you’ve demonstrated abilities which are capable of a Jedi Knight. AS of right now we are promoting you to the rank of Jedi Knight.”
“Jedi Knight,” Gaia replied slightly stunned by the turn of events and didn’t feel like she had earned such a title.
“Your actions on Korriban and the attack on the academy have proven you are ready for such work,” Luke said to her. “Just remember, a Jedi never stops learning, or being tested.”
“I won’t master,” Gaia said to them both.
“Then I have a mission for you,” Luke said to her. “Lately I’ve been feeling a disturbance in the Force, I’m not sure if its related to what happened at Korriban with the cruiser and what you were researching earlier, that’s what I want you to find out. Look around and report back to me.”
“I will,” Gaia said, wondering how she would go about this investigation. She decided to go over the reports from the Republic and meditate on the Force, this time concentrating on the mysterious woman. Perhaps she could find something.
The reports came back with nothing at this time, but they were still going over the information. Her meditation had come to nothing either and she was starting to get frustrated when during one of her meditations a planet came to her. Quickly looking it up she realized it was on the edge of Republic space.
She approached Master Luke and Fie-Tel along who were talking with Kyle when she approached them.
“Ah, Gaia, have you discovered anything?” Luke asked her as she entered the room.
“I’m not sure, but I think I have something of a lead,” Gaia said. “The reports from the Republic are still inconclusive at this time, but the name of a planet did come to me during my time meditating.”
“And you think this planet might be important?” Luke replied.
“Yes,” she said looking at the three of them.
“I think we can get a ship for you to head there and check it out,” Luke said to her.
“Thank you Master Skywalker,” Gaia said to him, feeling a bit nervous about the trip, it would be her first time going solo off world like this. Sure they were all trained to fly the fighters but she had never done so on her own until now.
“Don’t worry about it, things will be fine,” Fie-Tel said to her. “Though, what planet?”
“Well, I’m not exactly sure of its name, but it’s on the edge of the Republic, known but not part of it,” Gaia said to them.
She watched as Luke seemed to chuckle at that.
“Seems like that’s always how it is,” Luke said. “Go on ahead and pack and go, I’ll inform the hangar of your actions.”
“Thank you master,” Gaia said, then headed off to pack.
End part 15